Chicago Cubs

CSN to celebrate 'Blackhawks Day' on Tuesday, Oct. 4

CSN to celebrate 'Blackhawks Day' on Tuesday, Oct. 4

COMCAST SPORTSNET TO CELEBRATE BLACKHAWKS DAY ON TUESDAY, OCT. 4

Network preps for the start of the 2011-12 Chicago Blackhawks season with a full day of Blackhawks-themed programming, including Live appearances from Blackhawks playerscoachesfront office execs & more!

CSNChicago.com to feature full-blown Blackhawks content including exclusive, live-streamed features, live interactive chats with players, plus - fans can win Blackhawks signed items via live interactive chat and Twitter
Chicago, IL (October 3, 2011) To celebrate the start of the upcoming 2011-12 Chicago Blackhawks season, Comcast SportsNet, the television home for the most games and most comprehensive coverage of the Blackhawks, is celebrating Opening Week in a big way with BLACKHAWKS DAY on Tuesday, October 4.

Blackhawks Day on Comcast SportsNet is highlighted by the replay airings of a pair Blackhawks Classic telecasts from their thrilling, seven-game, 2011 first round Stanley Cup Playoff series against the rival Vancouver Canucks (airing at 3:00 PM & 7:00 PM). In addition, viewers can look forward to Blackhawks-themed season preview & player profile features, live playercoachesfront office exec interviews and full plate of online offerings via CSNChicago.com, will have fans whetting their appetites for the start of yet another action-packed Blackhawks season.

REMINDER: The 2011-12 Chicago Blackhawks regular season on Comcast SportsNet opens up in a big way with back-to-back nights of live coverage showcasing the SEASON OPENER on Friday, October 7 at 7:30 PM (live coverage starts at 7:00 PM on Chevy Blackhawks Pre-Game Live) and the HOME OPENER on Saturday, October 8 at 7:30 PM (live United Center coverage starts at 6:30 PM on SportsNet Central presented by AT&T U-Verse) as the Blackhawks face the Western Conference rival Dallas Stars on both nights.

Note the following on-aironline highlights from Blackhawks Day on Comcast SportsNet coming up TOMORROW (Tuesday, October 4)

THE DAN PATRICK SHOW (8:00 AM)

- Blackhawks Day festivities on Comcast SportsNet kick off with an appearance by NHL All-Star Patrick Kane on The Dan Patrick Show, which is scheduled for 9:05 AM. Kane will preview the upcoming Blackhawks season with DP among other topics of discussion.

BLACKHAWKS CLASSIC: BLACKHAWKS vs. VANCOUVER (2011 Rd. 1, Gm. 4) (3:00 PM)

- After returning to the Blackhawks line-up for the first time in six weeks after suffering a concussion, center Dave Bolland was determined to make his presence felt once again as he scored a goal and added three assists in the Blackhawks 7-2 rout over the Canucks at the United Center.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE LIVE presented by Captain Morgan (5:30 PM)

- It will be a star-studded Blackhawks edition of CTL as host David Kaplan will be joined by array of Blackhawks playerscoachesfront office execs and more including Blackhawks Chairman Rocky Wirtz, President & CEO John McDonough, Executive Vice President Jay Blunk, Vice PresidentGeneral Manager Stan Bowman, Head Coach Joel Quenneville, Comcast SportsNets Blackhawks play-by-play announcer Pat Foley, along with team members Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa, Brent Seabrook and newcomer Dan Carcillo. Plus Blackhawks legendteam Ambassador Denis Savard, Tommy Hawk and the Blackhawks Ice Crew will join the festivities andmake sure to tune in for a special feature as Kap learns exactly how hard it is to be a professional NHL goalie.

SPORTSNET CENTRAL presented by AT&T U-Verse (6:30 PM)

- Hosts Pat Boyle and Mark Schanowski will be a joined on set by a Blackhawks player during the telecast, while Chris Boden will also be on hand to host a roundtable discussion featuring Blackhawks players and head coach Joel Quenneville discussing the upcoming season. In addition, viewers can look forward to interaction with Blackhawks players throughout the network as help out CSN employees with their jobs. NOTE: The 10:00 PM & 10:30 PM editions of GMC SportsNet Central, along with the midnight edition of SportsNet Central, will also feature a heavy Blackhawks Day focus.

BLACKHAWKS CLASSIC: BLACKHAWKS vs. VANCOUVER (2011 Rd. 1, Gm. 6) (7:00 PM)

- After being down 3-0 in their first round series against the Canucks, the Blackhawks stormed back to force a Game 7 following right wing rookie Ben Smiths dramatic goal in OT, lifting the Blackhawks to a thrilling 4-3 victory in front of yet another sold-out, rocking night at the Madhouse on Madison.

CSNCHICAGO.COM (ALL DAY)

The Blackhawks will have a complete take over of CSNChicago.com on Oct. 4, providing a full interactive experience for fans. Note the following highlights:

Blackhawks Talk Live on CSNChicago.com will be a live stream and interactive chat showcasing the Blackhawks visit to the Comcast SportsNet newsroom including interviews with players via Comcast SportsNets Blackhawks PrePost Game Live host Chris Boden

Blackhawks players to answer fan questions via live chat on CSNChicago.com

The live stream will include CTL Interactive on Chicago Tribune Live with Blackhawks Insider Tracey Myers participating in the live chat with fans during the show and interacting with host David Kaplan and Blackhawks guests. Fans can interact via CSNChicago.com and Twitter CSNHawks.

CSNChicago.com home page take over by the Blackhawks with players serving as Managing Editors in selecting Blackhawks content to publish

Behind-the-scenes videos of Blackhawks interviews will be posted on CSNChicago.com during the CSN visit

Twitter Q&A with players via @CSNChicago , @CSNBoden and @TraMyersCSN

Fans can win Blackhawks signed items via live interactive chat and Twitter

Photo galleries and much more

Kris Bryant knocks out Brewers and knows what big-game experience means for Cubs

Kris Bryant knocks out Brewers and knows what big-game experience means for Cubs

MILWAUKEE – Teammates swarmed Kris Bryant in Miller Park’s visiting dugout late Thursday night, flinging sunflower seeds and forming a mosh pit around the National League’s reigning MVP.

Are you not entertained? The Cubs haven’t always played with this urgency or made it easy while nursing a World Series hangover. But they can feel it now, how close they are to October and how much they learned last year while making history.

It’s too early to pop champagne bottles, but the Cubs won a huge swing game in the NL Central race, beating the Milwaukee Brewers in the 10th inning when Bryant blasted Oliver Drake’s 92-mph fastball off a beam underneath the gigantic video board.

The Cubs watched it ricochet back onto the right-center field grass for a go-ahead two-run homer, bumping up the division lead to 4.5 games while cutting the magic number to clinch the division down to six.

After a head-spinning 5-3 victory that lasted 3 hours and 57 minutes and ended at 11:08 p.m., Bryant didn’t sound surprised or overexcited, the same way he didn’t overreact when the Cubs struggled to gain traction before the All-Star break and the Brewers swept the defending World Series champs two weekends ago at Wrigley Field.       

“We’ve done that so many times,” Bryant said. “We’ve had a nice run with that. I guess it is experience. The heartbeats aren’t going too fast when the game’s on the line there. It kind of plays to our advantage.”

So did the Brewers pushing their bullpen so hard this week trying to catch up that Cubs manager Joe Maddon would have to admit “their A-listers were not available,” meaning Corey Knebel, Anthony Swarzak and Josh Hader. Classic response from Bryant, who has 28 homers and likes to think of pitchers as nameless, faceless opponents: “I didn’t find out their top three guys were down until after the game was over.”

Maybe that changes the ninth-inning rally against Jeremy Jeffress where Ian Happ sprinted for a “Respect 90” single and scored the game-tying run when Javier Baez delivered a two-out, two-strike single up the middle. But the Cubs are in their element now, playing games that matter, not what-if.

“I just think we like loud,” Maddon said. “I think we’re a little bit like adrenaline junkies with the fact we’re used to 40,000 people a night.”

Just look at the stone face Wade Davis made in the ninth inning, escaping a bases-loaded jam by striking out Domingo Santana swinging at an elevated 95-mph fastball and forcing Orlando Arcia to chop a 3-2 pitch back to the mound. The All-Star closer who’s 32-for-32 in save chances went back out for the 10th inning and struck out the side to notch the win. That is a five-out playbook Maddon can use in October.

“You definitely feel it,” Davis said of the playoff atmosphere in a road stadium filled with Cubs fans. “It’s a lot easier to get up for the moment itself instead of having to create it yourself. You feel that.”

As Cubs move closer to division title, Jake Arrieta looks ready for October

As Cubs move closer to division title, Jake Arrieta looks ready for October

MILWAUKEE – This was the type of game Jake Arrieta visualizes, a loud atmosphere with 35,114 fans on their feet and an opponent that really doesn’t like the Cubs at all.

This one would ultimately be out of his hands, lasting 10 innings and almost 4 hours on Thursday night at Miller Park, but Arrieta looked like a Game 1 starter as the Cubs roared back for a 5-3 win over the Milwaukee Brewers.

Those playoff plans are coming into focus, the magic number to win the National League Central title down to six and Arrieta managing the Grade 1 right hamstring strain that has been one of the biggest question marks hanging over the defending World Series champs.

“It’s just good to be back out there,” Arrieta said. “These are big games, and I want to be a part of as many as I can, especially to try and clinch the division as quick as possible and then kind of line things up for us in October. But we got to get there first.”

Arrieta threw his first real pitch in 18 days at 7:16 p.m., firing a 92-mph fastball toward Brewers leadoff guy Eric Sogard and giving the Cubs a shot of adrenaline. That always wears off, but the Cubs are a different team when Arrieta sticks his chest out and triggers his perfect posture into a crossfire delivery.

Arrieta looked sharp in his first real action since Labor Day, even as his five-inning, 71-pitch limit exposed how fragile this pitching staff might be right now. If it’s not Jon Lester laboring at the top of the rotation, it’s the softer spots in the middle of the bullpen, or questions about how much wear and tear the Cubs can take after a deep playoff run in 2015 and last year’s World Series madness stretched into early November. 

But Arrieta basically picked up where he left off as the NL pitcher of the month for August, realigning his unique mechanics and generating enough power from his right leg, restarting the momentum in a second half where he’s shown the flashes of dominance you saw during his 2015 Cy Young Award season. 

Arrieta exited this game with a 2-1 lead – before it spun out of control – and passed one test by hustling to cover first base to complete an inning-ending 3-6-1 double play in the fifth. He walked just one of the 20 hitters he faced and could really only regret one pitch in the fourth inning, the 92-mph fastball Domingo Santana drilled off the batter’s eye in center field.

“I felt OK,” Arrieta said. “I can tell that something happened. I think it’s just the residual feeling of something like a hamstring strain. But no pain, really no discomfort. That’s a good sign.

“Tomorrow is the biggest indicator moving forward of how we’ll be able to approach this. I don’t see any reason that I won’t feel good tomorrow.”

Arrieta is scheduled to make two more regular-season starts, but this dramatic comeback means the Cubs might be able to treat those as controlled experiments instead of must-win situations.

“Just an incredible baseball game,” Arrieta said. “This is a really awesome time to be in an organization like this, in a division like the NL Central, where there’s a couple teams that have playoff aspirations in mind. If we take care of business here over the next few days, we get a couple steps closer.”