Word on the Street: Cubs radio search wide open

Word on the Street: Cubs radio search wide open

Thursday, Dec. 23, 2010
CSNChicago.com

Cubs search for Santo's replacement is wide open

Cubs radio play-by-play man Pat Hughes just signed a five-year contract extension, now he'll be a part of the hiring process to find a new analyst, a process that could take nearly a month.

"We wanted to do this as respectfully as we could," WGN-AM 720 sports director Dave Eanet said.

"It's not something we wanted to plunge right into. But we're not too far from spring training and there is a vacant seat in the booth. Having said that, we know we're not going to replace Ron Santo."

Several ex-Cubs-turned-analysts could get the job, a list that includes: former first baseman Mark Grace, starting pitcher Rick Sutcliffe, relief pitcher Dan Plesac, first baseman Eric Karros, closer Mitch Williams and hitting coach Gary Matthews. (chicagotribune.com)

Are your Bears, Blackhawks Christmas gifts real?

Police arrested a suburban man with more than 1 million worth of counterfeited sports clothing and equipment ready to distribute. Thousands of sweatshirts, T-shirts, jerseys and hats with with counterfeit logos of the Bears and Blackhawks were seized.

Joseph Kim, 27, of Riverwoods is charged with possession of more than 2,000 items worth more than 650,000 in merchandise. Kim operated a three-story warehouse where eight embroidery machines and more than 10,000 items of clothing existed. (abclocal.go.com)

Patrick Kane watching world juniors

The hockey world junior championships are in Buffalo, New York and Blackhawks star Patrick Kane is paying attention. Part of Kane wishes he was playing in the tournament, but he says that he's happy, the support for hockey in Buffalo has really grown.

Of course, much of hockey's rise in popularity in Buffalo has to do with the success of Kane. (torontosun.com)

Ex-Bear Orton upset with Broncos

Shortly after signing a contract extension in Denver, quarterback Kyle Orton has been replaced by Tim Tebow. Orton believes he's healthy enough to play but has been told the rookie out of Florida will get the nod.

"I'd love to play it out," Orton said. "It wasn't my decision. There was nothing I could do. ... The way it was presented to me was he'll be the starter the rest of the season and that's just how it goes.

"You never want to give up your job, you know?" Orton said. "We've worked hard as a unit for a number of months, and you'd like to be able to finish that out with your guys. It's disappointing not to be able to do that." (denverpost.com)

Jon Lester explains absence from Cubs' White House trip: 'Absolutely nothing political'

Jon Lester explains absence from Cubs' White House trip: 'Absolutely nothing political'

Jon Lester didn't make any sort of statement by missing Monday's White House trip with his Cubs teammates. But at a polarizing moment in a divided country, a high-profile player on a World Series team felt the need to respond on social media and explain his absence from the championship ceremony. 

President Barack Obama name-checked Lester during his East Room speech – both for his spectacular pitching performance and beat-cancer charitable initiatives – as the Cubs continued their victory tour off the franchise's first World Series title since Theodore Roosevelt lived in the White House.

Lester stood behind Obama when the 2013 Boston Red Sox were honored on the South Lawn. During that 2014 ceremony, Lester stood next to John Lackey, another Cub who missed this Washington trip. Lester also toured George W. Bush's White House with Boston's 2007 championship team.

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day – and with the specter of Donald Trump's inauguration looming – Obama used his administration's final official White House event to draw a direct line between him and Jackie Robinson and highlight the connective power of sports.

"The best part was the president talking about how sports brings people together," All-Star first baseman Anthony Rizzo said, "how no matter what's going on in this country and the world, three or four hours of any one particular game can just rally so many people together." 

This team couldn't have created so much joy for generations of fans without Lester, who signed a $155 million contract with the last-place Cubs after the 2014 season, a transformational moment during the long rebuild that led to the White House trip that Obama never thought would happen.

"It was a thrill and an honor for all of us," team president Theo Epstein said. "It means so much more with his roots in Chicago and his final days in office. It couldn't have worked out any better. It's something we'll all remember for our whole lives."

The time Addison Russell froze up after getting a text from Eddie George

The time Addison Russell froze up after getting a text from Eddie George

Plenty of Cubs fans surely were star-struck to meet Addison Russell at Cubs Convention last weekend. But the 22-year-old All-Star shortstop has a shortlist of people he would be amazed to meet, too. 

Russell reveres President Barack Obama, on Friday the outgoing Commander-in-Chief's work in the community when talking about getting to visit the White House. So on Monday, Russell got to check off meeting one of the people on his list. "There's probably about three people that I would be star-struck by, and (Obama's) one of them," Russell said. 

One of those three spots is "open," Russell said. The other member of that list is former Ohio State and Tennessee Titans running back Eddie George. 

Russell wears his No. 27 because of George, who wore that number during his career in which he made four Pro Bowls and rushed for over 10,000 yards and 78 touchdowns. Prior to the 2016 season, George sent Russell and autographed Titans helmet inscribed with good luck message.

After the season, Russell said George texted him seeing if the newly-crowned champion had time to chill. Few things rattled Russell last year — he became the youngest player to hit a grand slam in the World Series when he blasted one in Game 6 against the Cleveland Indians last November — but getting a text from George did. "I couldn't text back," Russell said. "It was nuts. I waited four days because I was thinking of what back to say."

Even the most famous athletes still get star-struck. Russell's been lucky enough in the last few months to meet and hear from two of the people who bring out that sense of awe in him. "Just to come in contact with people like that, it just makes me smile," Russell said. "It definitely gets me in the mood of getting better, and that's the goal this year, is getting better."