CSN announces 2012 Cubs season on-aironline coverage details

CSN announces 2012 Cubs season on-aironline coverage details

COMCAST SPORTSNET ANNOUNCES 2012 CHICAGO CUBS COVERAGE

80 Regular Season Games, including exclusive coverage of first home game vs. Boston Red Sox on June 15;
Plus Cubs Pre-Game Live now airing at 6:30 PM prior to EVERY 7:00 PM start time this season;
Exclusive Cubs content 247 on CSNChicago.com, Every Home and Road Game in HD;
Crosstown Classic action vs. White Sox and much more!

Chicago, IL (March 21, 2012) Comcast SportsNet, the television home for the most games and most comprehensive coverage of 2011 MLB All-Star2011 NL hits leader Starlin Castro, plus Alfonso Soriano, Marlon Byrd, newcomer David DeJesus, Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza, Kerry Wood, Carlos Marmol, new manager Dale Sveum and the rest of the 2012 Chicago Cubs, has announced its Cubs telecast schedule and accompanying on-air network coverage and online coverage on CSNChicago.com.

The 2012 Cubs season on Comcast SportsNet includes 80 live regular season games with the first telecast taking place on Saturday, April 7 at 12 NOON as the Cubs host the Washington Nationals live from Wrigley Field, featuring the Cubs announcing tandem of Len Kasper and Bob Brenly on the call. Live coverage begins at 11:00 AM with an expanded LIVE REMOTE edition of Subaru Cubs Pre-Game Live from Wrigley Field featuring Comcast SportsNets Cubs studio duo of David Kaplan and Todd Hollandsworth. The game will be immediately followed by an expanded edition of Cubs Post Game Live, also live from Wrigley Field.

Beginning this season, Cubs fans can look forward to even more editions of Subaru Cubs Pre-Game Live as the pre-game show will now include half-hour airings prior to every 7:00 PM game telecast. Select airings of Cubs Pre-Game Live will also take place from around the Wrigleyville area this season.

Game enhancements of note for the 2012 Cubs season include the return of CSNs popular super slo-mo technology entitled The Look, an HD technology that is capable of showing slow-motion replays of over 2,000 frames per second. In addition, fans can look forward to Pitch Trax in all games this season, which animates the precise pitch location throughout the game in a variety of angles, plus CSN will incorporate a Telestrator into select game telecasts this season, detailing key plays, defensive field formations and much more.

In addition to the 80 regular season games, Comcast SportsNet will also air a pair of live Cubs spring training telecasts beginning with a match-up against the two-time defending AL champion Texas Rangers on Thursday, March 22 at 3:00 PM live from Surprise Stadium in Surprise, AZ. The other spring training telecast will air on Saturday, March 31 at 3:00 PM, as the Cubs host the LA Angels from HoHoKam Park in Mesa, AZ.

Among the 2012 Cubs regular season schedule highlights on Comcast SportsNet include the first game of the Cubs highly-anticipated home series against the Boston Red Sox (Fri, June 15). Other key games on CSNs schedule this season include seven contests against the NL Central rivaldefending World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals, including the first home game on Mon, Apr. 23; the first road game vs. Carlos Zambrano, Mark Buehrle, manager Ozzie Guillen and the Miami Marlins on Tue, Apr. 17 (CSN will also air the first home game vs. Miami on July 17), plus two interleague battles against Prince Fielder and the defending AL Central champion Detroit Tigers (June 12 & 14) and numerous NL Central battles against division rivals Milwaukee (8 games) and Cincinnati (9 games). Also, Comcast SportsNet will carry five of the six Cubs-White Sox Crosstown Classic interleague games this year. NOTE: the May 18 & June 19 Crosstown games will be Cubs telecasts on Comcast SportsNet, while the May 18, June 18 & 20 games will be White Sox telecasts.

For the eighth-straight season, the announcing tandem of Len Kasper and Bob Brenly return to provide the play-by-play and game analysis for every Cubs game this season on Comcast SportsNet. Plus, Comcast SportsNets David Kaplan will be joined by former Cubs & MLB standoutstudio analyst Todd Hollandsworth before and after the majority of Comcast SportsNet Cubs telecasts on Subaru Cubs Pre-Game Live and Cubs Post Game Live.

From an online perspective, Comcast SportsNets website, CSNChicago.com, delivers comprehensive 247 Cubs coverage all season long, including the following highlights:

Live stream of manager Dale Sveums postgame press conferences
Cubs Insider Patrick Mooney (@CSNMooney) will attend home and away games, filing daily stories and video, as well as up-to-the-minute news via Twitter, to bring fans closer to the team. He will also make appearances on Subaru Cubs Pre-Game Live, Chicago Tribune Live and SportsNet Central throughout the season.
New-look Cubs team page offers the latest news, articles, player interviews, video, stats and more around the clock.
Cubs Talk will offer news, views and analysis from Cubs blogger Tony Andracki, Mooney, Cubs PrePost Game Live host David Kaplan (@thekapman) and Cubs analyst Todd Hollandsworth.
Weekly series preview video presented by BMO Harris

For the fifth-straight season, Comcast SportsNet will produce every Cubs regular season home and road game in a high-definition (HD) format. HD games can be found on Comcast Cable channel 200 (channel 285 for CSN HD telecasts), RCN channel 685, WOW channel 220, Dish Network channel 429 and DIRECTV HD channel 665-1 (channel 666-1 for CSN HD telecasts). Viewers who do not own an HDTV will still be able to watch all Cubs games in the standard analog format on Comcast Cable channel 37, DIRECTV channel 665 and DISH Network channel 429. Viewers can visit CSNChicago.com for the exact channel number in their area.

Before the majority of Cubs games on Comcast SportsNet (including prior to all 7:00 PM game telecasts this season), fans can tune to Subaru Cubs Pre-Game Live featuring a half-hour of pre-game analysis, interviews and the very latest Cubs news (NOTE: for 6:00 PM game start times, pre-game coverage can be found Chicago Tribune Live presented by Captain Morgan). Following the game, viewers can look forward to the most comprehensive post-game wrap-up show on Cubs Post Game Live featuring live coverage of new Cubs manager Dale Sveums post-game press conferences and live locker room interviews with Cubs players. Following primetime editions of Cubs Post Game Live, Comcast SportsNet will air GMC SportsNet Central with the most complete recap of the days top local and national sports news.

Eight regular season Cubs games are currently scheduled to be telecast on Comcast SportsNet Plus (see attached schedule). Comcast SportsNet Plus (CSN) telecasts are provided to Comcast SportsNet affiliates and distributed to viewers when two live events are scheduled simultaneously. Comcast Cable and RCN subscribers can watch all CSN games on CLTV. Cable and satellite operators who do not carry CLTV will place CSN telecasts on a to-be-determined channel. Viewers can visit CSNChicago.com for the exact channel location of Comcast SportsNet, CSN, Comcast SportsNet HD and CSN HD telecasts in their area.

Swanigan's, Diallo's decisions and how it affects Bulls' NBA Draft

Swanigan's, Diallo's decisions and how it affects Bulls' NBA Draft

The deadline for underclassmen to pull their names out of the NBA Draft passed on Wednesday at midnight.

There were a few surprises, and a handful of decisions had an effect on how the Bulls will go about next month's draft.

Staying in the draft

Caleb Swangian, PF, Purdue: The sophomore All-American surprised many by keeping his name in the draft. Swanigan actually tested the waters after his freshman season but returned to the Boilermakers in 2016. He averaged 18.5 points, 12.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 35 games, earning Big Ten Player of the Year honors and was a National Player of the Year candidate. It's no secret the 6-foot-9 Swangian can score  - he had 15 games of 20 or more points - and showed some ability to shoot from deep, making nearly 45 percent of his 85 3-point attempts. Quickness and conditioning will be the real test for the 245-pound Swanigan, who has already lost significant weight since high school. Questions about his defense (he had just 27 steals and 36 blocks in two seasons) also stand out. With Nikola Mirotic's future in Chicago unknown, the Bulls could be in the market for depth at power forward. He wouldn't be an option for the Bulls at No. 14, but if he slides out of the first round he could be an option at No. 38.

D.J. Wilson, PF, Michigan: After averaging just 6.1 minutes as a sophomore, Wilson burst onto the scene as a junior, averaging 11.0 points and 5.3 rebounds in 30.4 minutes for the Wolverines. He did his best work during the postseason; during Michigan's Big Ten Championship run and Sweet 16 appearance, Wilson averaged 15.6 points on 54 percent shooting, 5.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks. Standing 6-foot-10 with a 7-foot-3 wingspan, Wilson leaves some to be desired on the defensive end but has the ability to play as a combo forward - he had a 3-inch growth spurt after high school. Like Swanigan, Wilson won't be an option for the Bulls at No. 14 but could be a second-round option. He'd give the Bulls a similar look to what Bobby Portis does with a little more versatility on the wing.

Going back to college

Hamidou Diallo, SG, Kentucky: The NBA Draft's biggest mystery could have been a home-run selection for the Bulls in the first round. Alas, Diallo has decided to play a year under John Calipari at Kentucky and likely boost his draft stock. Having not played since December, where he played at a prep academy in Connecticut, so there wasn't much film of the 6-foot-5 leaper. Still, after Thon Maker went No. 10 to the Bucks last year there was thought that a team would take a gamble on a high-upside mystery.

Andrew Jones, PG, Texas: There was little surprise that Jones, a five-star recruit who put together a solid freshman season, returned. He's still a bit raw as a prospect despite having elite size (6-foot-4) and solid athleticism, and another year running the point with incoming five-star recruit Mo Bomba could really improve his draft stock. The Bulls clearly have a need at the point (less if Rajon Rondo returns) and if Jones had made the leap he likely would have been around at No. 38. Even still, Jones is a player to keep an eye on during next year's draft, assuming Cameron Payne and Jerian Grant don't make significant improvements.

Moritz Wagner, PF, Michigan: There's a need on every NBA team for a stretch forward with 3-point potential. But those teams will have to wait at least another year after Wagner decided to return to Michigan for his junior season. Like Wilson, who kept his name in the draft, Wagner had an excellent postseason run for the Wolverines. That stretch included a 17-point effort against Minnesota and a career-high 26-point outing in a win over Louisville. He weighed in at just 231 pounds and only averaged 4.2 rebounds per game, so adding some strength to his game will help his draft prospect for next year. He could have been an option for the Bulls at No. 38.

White Sox: Jose Abreu's five-week tear filled with hard contact, fewer strikeouts

White Sox: Jose Abreu's five-week tear filled with hard contact, fewer strikeouts

Jose Abreu has made quite a turnaround from being a guy who was admittedly lost to bashing the ball like Abreu of old.

From April 19th on, Abreu has hit at another level, reminiscent of the performances he put on throughout an eye-opening 2014 campaign in which he was the unanimous American League rookie of the year winner. Over that stretch, Abreu has slashed at an absurd .347/.404/.677 clip with nine doubles, one triple, 10 home runs and 22 RBIs in 136 plate appearances.

Earlier this week, Abreu said the run is the product of trusting his tireless preparation.

"I struggled in the first few weeks of the season but I kept working," Abreu said through an interpreter. "Now I'm at this point where I feel very good and confident with my offense and things are going well for me. That's part of what you work for and if you work hard, you know the results will be there at the end of the day."

Two numbers that have improved significantly during Abreu's five-week tear are his average exit velocity and strikeout rate.

Abreu entered Wednesday 39th in the the majors with an average exit velocity of 90.5 mph this season, according to Baseball Savant.

But Abreu wasn't hitting the ball nearly as hard early this season, which was littered with weak contact. Abreu stumbled out of the gate with a .157 average, one extra-base hit and only five RBIs in his first 54 plate appearances. Through the first two weeks, Abreu's average exit velocity was 89.0 mph on 31 batted-ball events, which was slightly down from last season's 89.6 mph average and significantly down from 2015, when he averaged 90.9 mph.

Since then, however, Abreu has seen a significant increase in hard contact. Over his last 92 batted-ball events, Abreu is averaging 92.6 mph, a total that would qualify for 15th in the majors this season. Included in that span is 35 balls hit 100 mph or more.

But Abreu's success isn't just related to how hard he has hit the ball. He's also made much better contact this season and is striking out less than ever. Abreu struck out 14 times in his first 54 plate appearances (25.9 percent). But since then, he has whiffed only 17 times in 136 plate appearances, good for a 12.5 percent strikeout rate.

His season K-rate of 16.3 percent, according to Fangraphs.com, is down from a career mark of 19.6 percent.

"You have started to see him heat up a little," manager Rick Renteria said earlier this week. "He's given us solid at-bats. He's in a good place right now."

Actually, it's a great place and one Abreu hasn't done with consistency since 2015. He once again looks like the hitting machine he was for most of his first two seasons and the final two months of 2016.

Abreu is on pace to hit 36 home runs this season, which would match his 2014 total. His current wRC+ of 138 is his highest since he finished 2014 at 167.

Last season, Abreu didn't hit his 10th home run until June 18. He hit his 11th homer on June 23 and then didn't hit another until August 4. That stretch raised myriad questions both inside the organization and externally about whether or not Abreu would return to prominence as a hitter. Perhaps inspired by the August arrival of his son, Dariel, Abreu finished 2016 with a flurry, hitting .340/.402/.572 with 14 home runs in his final 241 plate appearances.

General manager Rick Hahn said last September that the stretch was important for White Sox evaluators to see.

"It certainly makes you more confident as you see him over the last six weeks, projecting out that he's going to be that same player that he was for the first two years of his career," Hahn said. "Earlier, when he was scuffling, you looked at some of the things he was doing from his approach or some of the mechanical issues he might have been having and you felt confident he was going to be able to get back. But in all candor, you like seeing the performance match what you're projecting and we've certainly seen that over the last six weeks."

The White Sox offense has benefitted from Abreu's leap back into prominence. The team has averaged 4.53 runs per game this season and is 9th in the American League with 204 runs scored and 17th overall in the majors. But the increase in offense still hasn't helped the White Sox improve in the standings. While Abreu is glad to be on the roll he is, he'd prefer if his team is along for the ride.

"We're are passing through a tough moment, a rough stretch," Abreu said. "For me as I've always said the team is first. I want to thank God for how I've performed through this rough stretch. But it's not something makes me feel happy because we didn't win as many games as we wanted to win. It's tough."