CSN celebrates Black History Month

CSN celebrates Black History Month

COMCAST SPORTSNET CELEBRATES BLACK HISTORY MONTH

Chicago, IL (January 29, 2013) Comcast SportsNet, the television home of the Chicago Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs and White Sox, celebrates Black History Month in February with four special feature stories highlighting prominent African-American athletes, coaches and significant sports moments that will air every Sunday night in February on GMC SportsNet Central at 10:30 PM. Comcast SportsNet celebrates Black History Month is presented by the U.S. Marines.

Beginning Sunday, February 3 and airing every Sunday night in February at 10:30 PM on GMC SportsNet Central, Comcast SportsNet celebrates Black History Month will present a new feature story highlighting the tremendous impact African-Americans had on the sporting world from a local perspective. CSNChicago.com will also make each feature story video available for online viewing immediately after they air on Comcast SportsNet. Note the following Black History Month feature stories and air dates:

ISIAH THOMAS (Sunday, February 3 at 10:30 PM): A Basketball Hall of Famer whose career ran the full gamut. From a college success with Bob Knights Indiana Hoosiers, to the chief Bad Boy of the 80s Detroit Pistons championship teams, to a team executive, and a head coach on the pro and college levels, Thomas has done it all. A basketball journey began as a Charger with St. Joseph High School in Westchester, under legendary coach Gene Pingatore, Thomas is now back home in Chicago and has been working to solve the problems of violence in Chicago communities.

DOROTHY GATERS (Sunday, February 10 at 10:30 PM): The most successful coach in the history of high school basketball in Illinois. She has more than 970 career victories in nearly 40 years of coaching the Marshall High School girls basketball team, and also serves as the schools athletic director. Gaters reflects on her magical life of basketball...a career that shows no signs of slowing down.

FRITZ POLLARD (Sunday, February 17 at 10:30 PM): Born in Chicago in the late 1800s, Pollard became pro footballs first African-American head coach, while also playing with the Akron Pros 1921. In high school, he attended Lane Tech and was a star of multiple sports there before moving onto play college football as an Ivy Leaguer at Brown University. Pollard was 92 when he passed away in 1986, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005. Pollards grandson, Dr. Stephen Towns, delivered the speech on the day of his induction into the Hall. For this profile, we travel to Towns home in Indianapolis as he chronicles the life and times of Pollard as a pioneer and as a man.

ERNIE BANKSTHE MANAGER (Sunday, February 24 at 10:30 PM): Cubs enthusiasts know all about Ernie Banks, the 14-time All-Star, and slugger of 512 career home runsbut there is also the milestone of his career that isnt told often. On May 8th, 1973, Cubs manager Whitey Lockman was ejected from a game in extra innings. Banks was an assistant coach who slid into the managers seat to replace Lockman for the remainder of the game. With that move, Banks unofficially became the first African-American to manage a Major League team, pre-dating Frank Robinson by two years, when he officially took over as the full-time manager of the Cleveland Indians in 1975. Ernie and a couple of Cubs teammates share their thoughts about Mr. Cub and his one-day encounter as skipper.

Fast Break Morning Update: White Sox, Cubs both drop series openers

Fast Break Morning Update: White Sox, Cubs both drop series openers

Here are some of Monday's top stories in Chicago sports:

Preview: Cubs look to bounce back vs. Giants tonight on CSN

White Sox fall to Diamondbacks in series opener

Cubs can't complete another miracle comeback against Giants bullpen

Should Blackhawks' next assistant coach be Joel Quenneville's choice?

How Bears are using veteran videos to school rookies on NFL way

Luis Robert the latest high-end acquisition for White Sox

For Joe Maddon, Cubs winning World Series came down to Giant comeback in SF and avoiding Johnny Cueto in elimination game

Carlos Rodon 'getting closer' but still without time frame for return

Have the Cubs found their new leadoff hitter in Ben Zobrist?

MMQB's Peter King's thoughts on Trubisky, Howard, White and the Bears offense

Theories on why Cubs haven’t played up to their defensive potential yet

Theories on why Cubs haven’t played up to their defensive potential yet

“That’s what we’re supposed to look like,” Joe Maddon said Monday night after a 6-4 loss where the San Francisco Giants scored the first six runs and Wrigley Field got loudest for the David Ross “Dancing with the Stars” look-in on the big video board, at least until a late flurry from the Cubs.

But for a manager always looking for the silver linings, Maddon could replay Addison Russell’s diving stop to his right and strong throw from deep in the hole at shortstop to take a hit away from Christian Arroyo. Or Albert Almora’s spectacular flying catch near the warning track in center field. Or Anthony Rizzo stealing another hit from Brandon Belt with a diving backhanded play near the first-base line.

The highlight reel became a reminder of how the Cubs won 103 games and the World Series last year – and made you wonder why the 2017 team hasn’t played the same consistently excellent defense with largely the same group of personnel.

“Concentration?” Jason Heyward said, quickly dismissing the theory a defensive decline could boil down to focus or effort. “No shot. No shot. It is what it is when it comes to people asking questions about last year having effects, this and that. But this is a new season.

“The standard is still high. What’s our excuse? We played later than anybody? That may buy you some time, but then what?

“The goals stay the same. We just got to find new ways to do it when you have a different team.”

FiveThirtyEight.com, Nate Silver’s statistical website, framed the question this way after the Cubs allowed the lowest batting average on balls in play ever last season, an analysis that goes all the way back to 1871: “Have the Cubs Forgotten How to Field?”

Even if the Cubs don’t set records and make history, they should still be better than 23rd in the majors in defensive efficiency, with 37 errors through 43 games. The Cubs have already allowed 28 unearned runs after giving up 45 all last season.

“We just got to stay on it and keep focusing and not let the miscues go to our head,” Ben Zobrist said. “We just have to keep working hard and staying focused in the field. A lot of that’s the rhythm of the game. I blame a lot of that on the early parts of the season and the weather and a lot of difficult things that we’ve been going through.

“If we’re not hitting the ball well, too, we’re a young team still, and you can carry that into the field. You don’t want to let that happen, but it’s part of the game. You got to learn to move beyond miscues and just focus on the next play.”

Heyward, a four-time Gold Glove winner, missed two weeks with a sprained right finger and has already started nine times in center field (after doing that 21 times all last season). Zobrist has morphed back into a super-utility guy, starting 16 games at second base and 15 in two different outfield spots.

[MORE CUBS: Have the Cubs found their new leadoff hitter in Ben Zobrist?]

Maddon has tried to drill the idea of making the routine play into Javier Baez’s head, so that the uber-talented second baseman can allow his natural athleticism and instincts to take over during those dazzling moments.

The Cubs are basically hoping Kyle Schwarber keeps the ball in front of him in left and setting the bar at: Don’t crash into your center fielder. Like Schwarber and Almora, catcher Willson Contreras hasn’t played a full season in The Show yet, and the Cubs are now hoping Ian Happ can become a Zobrist-type defender all over the field.

“I’m seeing our guys playing in a lot of different places,” Heyward said. “It’s not just been penciling in every day who’s going to center field or right field or left field. We did shake things up some last year, but we did it kind of later in the season. We had guys settle in, playing every day. This year, I feel like we’re having guys in different spots.

“It’s May whatever, (but) it seems like we haven’t really had a chance to settle in yet. Not that we’re procrastinating by any means, but it’s just been a lot of moving pieces.”

The Giants won World Series titles in 2010, 2012 and 2014 with a formula that incorporated lights-out pitching, airtight defense and just enough clutch pitching. The Cubs are now a 22-21 team trying to figure it out again.

“Defense comes and goes, just like pitching,” said Kris Bryant, the reigning National League MVP, in part, because of his defensive versatility. “I feel like if you look at last year, it’s kind of hard to compare, just because it was so good. We spoiled everybody last year. Now we’re a complete letdown this year.”

Bryant paused and said: “Just kidding. Different years, things regress, things progress, and that’s just how it goes sometimes.”