Monday Night Football makes a major change

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Monday Night Football makes a major change

From Comcast SportsNet
BRISTOL, Conn. (AP) -- "Monday Night Football" is switching to a two-man booth. Analyst Ron Jaworski has signed a five-year contract extension to appear on other programming on ESPN and will no longer join play-by-play announcer Mike Tirico and color commentator Jon Gruden on Monday nights, the network said Wednesday. Jaworski, the former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, will work various ESPN studio shows year-round, often focusing on his specialty of breaking down video. "With him doing one game each week, we don't necessarily believe we were getting the best Ron Jaworski had to offer to the network," executive vice president Norby Williamson said. Jaworski called "Monday Night Football" games the past five seasons. Gruden, the former Raiders and Buccaneers coach, joined MNF in 2009 and agreed to a five-year extension in October. This is the first time in 15 years ESPN has used a two-person lead team on its NFL game coverage. "There was nothing broken about Monday Night Football,'" Williamson said. He said network executives believed Tirico and Gruden worked well as a two-man booth and there was no need to add a third person. "I fully expect Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden to be together for the foreseeable future," Williamson said.

Cubs, Tom Ricketts and Bulls all score wins at Sports Business Journal Awards

Cubs, Tom Ricketts and Bulls all score wins at Sports Business Journal Awards

The hardware keeps pouring in for the Cubs.

After snapping their 108-year championship drought with a World Series win last fall, the Cubs earned another title Wednesday, honored with the Best Team Award at the Sports Business Journal Awards.

[CUBS TICKETS: Get your seats right here]

Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts also got to celebrate an individual win Wednesday, named the Sports Executive of the Year.

The Cubs weren't the only Chicago team to go home with some hardware, though. The Bulls were honored as the Best in Social Media.

A cool night for two of Chicago's pro teams.

Kyle Hendricks shines, Cubs bats stay hot in win over Giants

Kyle Hendricks shines, Cubs bats stay hot in win over Giants

The San Francisco Giants again seem to be bringing out the best in the Cubs, or least maybe sharpening their game and shaking off the World Series hangover. 

This isn’t as urgent as last year’s playoff series. It’s too early to tell if it will have the same impact as that four-game sweep in August 2015. And more than 25 percent into the season, the 2017 team has already gone through several stops and starts.

But the Cubs looked a little more like themselves on Wednesday night at Wrigley Field, hanging on for a 5-4 win in front of 35,617 and validating the internal belief that this would only be a matter of time.

Kyle Hendricks again looked like a No. 2 starter in a playoff rotation, following up Jon Lester’s complete game with seven strong innings, limiting the Giants to two runs and giving him a 1.96 ERA in his last six outings.

Anthony Rizzo launched two home runs off Giant lefty Matt Moore, slamming balls off the video ribbon in right field and into the center-field bleachers. When Rizzo gets hot – that’s four homers in his last four games – the entire lineup can feel different.

Wade Davis showed he’s not a ninth-inning cyborg when Mac Williamson won a 12-pitch at-bat and lifted a two-run homer into the right-field basket. Until that ball flew over Jason Heyward’s head, Davis hadn’t allowed an earned run through 18 appearances in a Cubs uniform or a homer since September 2015. Davis (10-for-10 in save chances) is still the kind of dominant closer the Giants needed last October. 

The Cubs are now 24-21 and a half-game behind the first-place Milwaukee Brewers. Eddie Butler will try to win the series on Thursday afternoon and prove he belongs in the rotation long term, going up against ex-Cub Jeff Samardzija (1-5, 4.57 ERA) and a Giant team (20-28) that’s gaining no traction in the National League West.