Cubs believe Rizzo will lead by example

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Cubs believe Rizzo will lead by example

Anthony Rizzo doesnt want to hear that this is his team now.

The media and the marketing department havent driven this idea alone. Last winter Theo Epsteins front office told Cubs fans they were getting someone mature beyond his years.

Manager Dale Sveum recognized those qualities as far back as spring training and knew he would become an important piece to the clubhouse puzzle. Veteran utility guy Jeff Baker said so last weekend after he was traded to the Detroit Tigers.

The relaunched version of the Cubs returned to the North Side on Thursday night, with almost 33 percent of the schedule left to find out what theyve got. Dusty Baker who has never known this market to be very patient watched his first-place Cincinnati Reds get beat 5-3.

When Rizzo was on the verge of being promoted from Triple-A Iowa, a team official tried to downplay all the hype and observed: Hes not (bleeping) Babe Ruth. But the Cubs are going to put a lot on his shoulders. Just dont expect any Knute Rockne speeches.

When people say stepping up and being a leader, its not like Im going to get (up) on a stool, Rizzo said. Its just kind of doing it by example. You get those big hits, which are always nice, but its about showing up to the field every day and preparing hard and other guys see that. Players see you running balls out hard and they see you working hard. Thats my definition of being a leader.

Rizzo again found himself in the middle of the action with an RBI single in the first inning. He negated his leadoff double in the fourth when he ran to third base on a groundball to short and got thrown out in a 6-3-5 double play, the kind of aggressive mistake the Cubs (44-66) will live with for now.

Rizzo took out catcher Devin Mesoraco with a hard slide on Starlin Castros game-tying, two-run double off the wall in the sixth inning. He worked an eight-pitch walk against Sean Marshall in the eighth before Alfonso Soriano crushed the game-winning, two-run homer toward the batters eye in center.

Rizzo, who turned 23 on Wednesday, is one of 12 players who werent on the Opening Day roster. Between Kerry Woods retirement and the flurry of deadline deals, the Cubs lost roughly five decades of major-league service time.

Cubs people have long predicted that Brett Jackson will become the most popular dude in Wrigleyville, a guy who loves to play hard and get his uniform dirty and doesnt mind the cameras.

Fair or not, Jacksons strikeouts are going to become a daily watch (nine in 16 plate appearances), and Rizzo knows what that scrutiny is like after hitting .141 with one home run in 49 games with the San Diego Padres last season.

Its tough because everyone has their opinion, Rizzo said. Its unfair to base everything just on results. Bretts a hard worker. He does everything he can. Hes going to get better. If he hits, he hits. If he doesnt, he doesnt. But he brings the same approach to the field every day. Thats the biggest thing.

When the Cubs returned to Petco Park this week, Rizzo stood in the visiting dugout with the San Diego media and refused to make excuses.

The ballpark could have been a T-ball field and I wouldnt have a hit a ball, Rizzo said. I wasnt hitting the fastball, or pretty much anything.

Rizzo kept most of his answers boring and didnt gloat about his numbers (.301 average, nine homers, 24 RBIs in 37 games). When asked to identify the problem, he said: Probably between my ears.

Remember that Cubs executives saw Rizzos monster numbers in the Pacific Coast League and reminded everyone that it was a mistake to rush him last season. They had to wait until he had checked off all the boxes (while pushing back free agency by a year). So its convenient to say now, but there is a roadmap for Jackson to follow this winter.

General manager Jed Hoyer who brought Rizzo to San Diego in the Adrian Gonzalez deal and got him back in the Andrew Cashner trade recalled an exit meeting at the end of last season.

(Manager) Bud Black (and I) sat down and said: Hey, until you can catch up with a mid-90s fastball and above, youre going to struggle in the big leagues. You need to shorten your swing. You need to level your swing out.

I give him a lot of credit. We had a hard conversation with him and he made those adjustments.

Vindicated is too strong (a word for us). Its six weeks. Hes going to have ups and downs like any young player, but Im really happy for him.

Rizzo has already sidestepped the media blitz in two cities. He keeps his head down and will stand in front of his locker to face questions. He has developed a quiet routine. The Cubs will expect him to be initiating hard conversations and running that clubhouse for years to come.

Pat Fitzgerald tweets apology to Lovie Smith for 'fumbling' welcome

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Pat Fitzgerald tweets apology to Lovie Smith for 'fumbling' welcome

It was an honest mistake, but one that started a small social media brushfire.

Northwestern head coach was the first coach to speak Monday at Big Ten Media Days in Chicago, and he started by welcoming new head coaches Chris Ash, DJ Durkin and Tracy Claeys to the Big Ten "coaches fraternity." Ash and Durkin were Big Ten assistants and are now working their first years at Rutgers and Maryland, respectively, while Claeys is in his first full season as the head man at Minnesota after taking over midseason for Jerry Kill last year.

But one name was noticeably absent from Fitzgerald's welcome list: first-year Illinois head coach Lovie Smith.

Social media lit up with speculation of a rivalry-fueled snub, but everybody settle down, this was hardly intentional. And Fitzgerald corrected his mistake via Twitter right after his press conference concluded.

Smith's arrival at Illinois brings plenty of attention, the former Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach bringing his NFL resume to Champaign. It also adds more intrigue to the annual battle for the Land of Lincoln Trophy. Fitzgerald's Wildcats and Smith's Illini meet in the annual fight for "the hat" on Nov. 26 in Evanston.

Dan Hayes discusses Chris Sale incident on The Dan Patrick Show

Dan Hayes discusses Chris Sale incident on The Dan Patrick Show

CSN's White Sox Insider Dan Hayes joined The Dan Patrick Show on Monday to weigh in on the recent Chris Sale incident and what it means for the White Sox and Sale going forward as the Aug. 1 trade deadline approaches. 

The White Sox announced Sunday that Chris Sale is suspended for five days after reportedly being so furious over having to wear the team's 1976 throwback uniforms on Saturday that he cut them up so they couldn't be worn. Sale was scratched from his scheduled start and sent home by the White Sox.

Hayes called the incident "a little bit of a crazy story," saying that the way it all played out "went in an entirely different direction than everybody thought it would." While he didn't have many details regarding what actually took place in the White Sox clubhouse on Saturday, Hayes did say he heard "scissors were not the culprit."  

When asked if this impacts the likelihood of Sale being traded, Hayes was quick to say "I don't see it happening now. It's possible this offseason but right now they want a major league player back amongst the package and it's going to be hard for a team like the Rangers or the Red Sox to give you the star player back during a pennant chase."

However, Hayes didn't completely dismiss the idea of a trade taking place before the Aug. 1 deadline, saying "anything can happen, teams are motivated right now."

Hear what else Hayes had to say about Sale and the White Sox in the video above. 

CSN named the new official home of the Iowa High School Sports Network (IHSSN)

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CSN named the new official home of the Iowa High School Sports Network (IHSSN)

IHSSN to Produce and Provide Live coverage for three of the Iowa High School Athletic Association’s (IHSSA) State Championship Tournaments: Football, Wrestling, Basketball

CSN Chicago to Televise & Live Stream (via CSNChicago.com & IHSSN.com) 33 Iowa High School State Championship Events, which totals over 85 hours of exciting LIVE tournament action featuring -- LIVE COVERAGE of 12 semi-final games and 6 final games of IHSAA Championship Football -- LIVE COVERAGE of the Class 1A, 2A and 3A semi-finals and finals of IHSAA Individual Championship Wrestling -- and LIVE COVERAGE for 8 semi-final games and 4 final games of IHSAA Championship Basketball!

CSN’s 2016-2017 IHSSN season begins with “bonus coverage” of the “4th Annual Channel Seed Ag Bowl,” which features the

Northeast Rebels squaring off with the Central DeWitt Sabers at Birney Field in DeWitt, Iowa. Game time is 7:00pm, Thursday, August 25th on CSN+

Chicago, IL (July 25, 2016) -- Comcast SportsNet Chicago, the television and digital home for the most in-depth coverage of the local and regional preps sports scene, along with the  Iowa High School Sports Network (IHSSN), have announced a long-term partnership agreement making the regional sports network the official home for 33 Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) Championship events.  This equates to over 85 LIVE hours of dedicated Iowa preps sports championship coverage per scholastic year.  All events will also be presented in a high definition format.

The announcement was made by Phil Bedella, VP/GM of Comcast SportsNet Chicago, Ken Krogman, Owner/President of the IHSSN and Brett Nanninga, Associate Executive Director of the IHSAA.

Beginning this scholastic year (2016-17), Comcast SportsNet will be the exclusive television home for the following IHSAA Championship events (all events to also be live streamed via CSNChicago.com to authenticated Comcast SportsNet Chicago subscribers; IHSSN.com will provide direct links to live streamed events on CSN Chicago digital platforms):

IHSAA Football Championships (18 games)

  • LIVE - Twelve playoff semifinal match-ups leading up to the state championships (November 10-12)
  • LIVE - Six (8-Player & Class A through 4A) state championship games (November 17-18)
  • BONUS GAME NOTE: “4th Annual Channel Seed Ag Bowl” featuring Northeast Rebels at Central Dewitt Sabers (Thu, August 25 at 7pm on CSN+)

IHSAA Individual Wrestling Championships (3 events)

  • LIVE - Class 1A/2A & 3A semifinals (February 17, 2017)
  • LIVE - Class 1A-3A championships (February 18, 2017)

IHSAA Basketball Championships (12 games)

  • LIVE - Eight playoff semifinal match-ups leading up to the state championships (March 9-10, 2017)
  • LIVE - Four (Class 1A-4A) state championship games (March 10-11, 2017)

NOTES:

  • Exact air dates/times/channel locations for all upcoming IHSSA Championship events appear at the end of this release. Schedule subject to change.
  • Viewers are also urged to visit CSNChicago.com’s “Channel Finder” page where they can plug in their zip code and find their local provider: http://www.csnchicago.com/channel-finder

“This is a significant moment not only for our network, but also for our viewers in Iowa,” said Bedella.  “With over 85 live hours of football, basketball, and wrestling championship coverage per scholastic year, fans will be able to watch these gifted student-athletes in HD from both a TV and live streaming standpoint.  CSN is proud to deliver these live IHSAA championship events to all of our cable and telco partners in the state of Iowa and, for the first time, these events will now be fully distributed through DIRECTV and DISH Network.  On behalf of Comcast SportsNet I would like to thank Ken Krogman from the Iowa High School Sports Network, along with the IHSAA’s Brett Nanninga and his team, for their tremendous assistance in solidifying this new partnership.”

“The IHSSN has worked with Comcast SportsNet in the past and have been impressed with all facets of their organization,” added Krogman.  “We are excited to now have a more permanent partnership not only because of the expanded coverage we will enjoy through their satellite distribution, but also their commitment to bring all of our events to our viewers in high definition.  We look forward to working with them and using their expertise to assist us to continue bringing the Iowa High School State Championships to all of Iowa and beyond”.

“On behalf of the IHSAA and our customer base throughout the state of Iowa and across the nation, I’d like to thank Comcast SportsNet for their on-air and digital distribution of the IHSAA High School State Championship Events,” said Nanninga.  “The comprehensive (digital HD) coverage that Comcast SportsNet offers to its affiliates is second to none in the high school market.  The IHSAA is extremely proud of the service/coverage that Comcast SportsNet offers the families and friends of Iowa high school student/athletes.  Together - Comcast SportsNet, the IHSSN, and the IHSAA - we have made it happen.”

2016-17 IHSAA EVENTS ON COMCAST SPORTSNET

(CSN & CSN+ DESIGNATIONS TO BE DETERMINED AT A LATER DATE; SCHEDULE SUBJECT TO CHANGE)

       DATE                TIME             GAME                                                    CSN   

  1. Thu, Aug 25    7:00 pm       AG Bowl:  Northeast  vs Central Dewitt LIVE   CSN+
  2. Thu, Nov 10    9:00 am       Football:  8 Player Semifinal #1        LIVE
  3. Thu, Nov 10    12:00 pm     Football:  8 Player Semifinal #2        LIVE
  4. Thu, Nov 10    5:30 pm       Football:  Class 3A Semifinal #1       LIVE 
  5. Thu, Nov 10    8:00 pm       Football:  Class 3A Semifinal #2       LIVE 
  6. Fri, Nov 11      10:00 am     Football:  Class A Semifinal #1         LIVE
  7. Fri, Nov 11      1:00 pm       Football:  Class A Semifinal #2         LIVE
  8. Fri, Nov 11      4:00 pm       Football:  Class 4A Semifinal #1       LIVE 
  9. Fri, Nov 11      7:00 pm       Football:  Class 4A Semifinal #2       LIVE 
  10. Sat, Nov 12     10:00 am     Football:  Class 1A Semifinal #1       LIVE 
  11. Sat, Nov 12     1:00 pm       Football:  Class 1A Semifinal #2       LIVE 
  12. Sat, Nov 12     4:00 pm       Football:  Class 2A Semifinal #1       LIVE
  13. Sat, Nov 12     7:00 pm       Football:  Class 2A Semifinal #2       LIVE
  14. Thu, Nov 17    10:00 am     Football:  8 Player Championship     LIVE
  15. Thu, Nov 17    1:30 pm       Football:  Class A Championship      LIVE
  16. Thu, Nov 17    7:00 pm       Football:  Class 3A Championship    LIVE 
  17. Fri, Nov 18      11:00 am     Football:  Class 1A Championship    LIVE
  18. Fri, Nov 18      2:00 pm       Football:  Class 2A Championship    LIVE
  19. Fri, Nov 18      7:00 pm       Football:  Class 4A Championship    LIVE 
  20. Fri, Feb 17      3:30 pm       Wrestling:  Class 3A Semifinals        LIVE
  21. Fri, Feb 17      7:30 pm       Wrestling:  Class 1A & 2A Semifinals              LIVE 
  22. Sat, Feb 18     6:00 pm       Wrestling:  Class 1A/2A/3A Finals    LIVE
  23. Thu, Mar 9      10:30 am     Basketball:  Class 1A Semifinal #1   LIVE
  24. Thu, Mar 9      12:15 pm     Basketball:  Class 1A Semifinal #2   LIVE
  25. Thu, Mar 9      2:00 pm       Basketball:  Class 2A Semifinal #1   LIVE
  26. Thu, Mar 9      3:45 pm       Basketball:  Class 2A Semifinal #2   LIVE
  27. Thu, Mar 9      6:30 pm       Basketball:  Class 3A Semifinal #1   LIVE
  28. Thu, Mar 9      8:15 pm       Basketball:  Class 3A Semifinal #2   LIVE
  29. Fri, Mar 10      1:30 pm       Basketball:  Class 4A Semifinal #1   LIVE  CSN+
  30. Fri, Mar 10      3:15 pm       Basketball:  Class 4A Semifinal #2   LIVE  CSN+
  31. Fri, Mar 10      6:00 pm       Basketball:  Class 1A Championship LIVE  CSN+
  32. Fri, Mar 10      8:00 pm       Basketball:  Class 2A Championship LIVE  CSN+
  33. Sat, Mar 11     6:00 pm       Basketball:  Class 3A Championship LIVE  CSN+
  34. Sat, Mar 11     8:00 pm       Basketball:  Class 4A Championship LIVE  CSN+

All Times Central Time