Word on the Street: Grace not offered radio job

Word on the Street: Grace not offered radio job

Tuesday, April 5, 2011
CSNChicago.com

Grace never contacted about Cubs' radio job

Former Cubs first baseman Mark Grace, who is now a broadcaster for the Arizona Diamondbacks, said on Tuesday that he was never contacted about the possibility of replacing the late Ron Santo in the Cubs' radio booth.

"Obviously, with Ronnie passing away(last December) that was just a shame," said Grace. "I love that manand I miss him every day. It kills me to look over to the booth. Alldue respect to Keith, but I miss seeing that toupee over there, Ireally do. But, no, I was never contacted. Before Ron passed away, Ihad already signed an extension with the Diamondbacks. So it wasntgoing to happen." (ChicagoBreakingSports)

Lovie open to Hall of Fame Game

A story that appeared in the Chicago Tribune on Monday suggested that the Bears may play in the Pro Football Hall of Fame game on Aug. 7 in Canton, Ohio. Their selection, if it does happen, would be particularly fitting considering that former-Bear Richard Dent is being inducted this year. Bears' head coach Lovie Smith was asked about the possibility on Tuesday, and said he would welcome the opportunity to play in the game.

"We'd like to play ... any time you have an opportunity to play, youwould like to play,'' he said. "We had an opportunity to play in theHall of Fame game before (2005), enjoyed that experience. Well, thispast time was the third time for me being in that game. Whatever theschedule says, I'm excited about.'' (NPR)

Rose getting plenty of rest
Bulls star Derrick Rose has played a lot of tough, clutch minutes over the last week or two for the Bulls. Because of this, some Bulls fans were beginning to worry that he would be wore down by the time the playoffs rolled around later this month. According to Rose, that isn't the case.

I'm good. I've been getting a lot of rest," Rose told "The Waddle &Silvy Show" on WMVP-AM 1000. "I cut everything off right now so I'm notdoing that much Adidas (promotional) things or appearances like that soI'm good. I'm getting a lot of rest, lifting a lot of weights, eatingright. I'm all right." (WGNtv.com)

National Championship Game ratings down

According to national television ratings, the UConn-Butler nationalchampionship game saw a significant slide in viewership from last year.The game earned an 11.7 fast national rating, down 18 percent from last year's Duke-Butler match up.Considering many commentators and fans have chimed in, calling Monday'sgame the worst in NCAA championship history, that's probably not allthat surprising. (ChicagoBreakingSports)

Fast Break Morning Update: Blackhawks win in Minnesota

Fast Break Morning Update: Blackhawks win in Minnesota

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

Wednesday on CSN: Illinois State and Loyola host in Valley doubleheader

Jonathan Toews has five-point night, including a hat trick, in Blackhawks' win over Wild

Report: Bears seeking trade partners for Jay Cutler

Bulls Talk Podcast: What is the Bulls' approach at the trade deadline?

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred open to idea of Cubs hosting All-Star Game at renovated Wrigley Field

White Sox Talk Podcast: 1-on-1 with executive vice president Ken Williams

Northwestern's offense nowhere to be found as Illini complete sweep of season series

Quick Hits: Blackhawks respond the right way in win over Wild

Under-the-radar Reynaldo Lopez impressing White Sox: 'He's got some stuff'

Why Sammy Sosa compared himself to Jesus Christ in candid interview

Why Joe Maddon won’t tone down the stunts at Cubs camp

Why Joe Maddon won’t tone down the stunts at Cubs camp

MESA, Ariz. – Joe Maddon teased reporters when pitchers and catchers reported to Arizona one week ago, promising the Cubs wouldn't tone down the gimmicks now that they're World Series champions: "We already have something planned for the first day that you might not want to miss."

A weekend of rain in Mesa postposed the first full-scale full-squad workout until Monday, and the wet grass meant the big reveal had to wait until Tuesday morning, when gonzo strength and conditioning coordinator Tim Buss drove a white Ferrari onto the field for the team's stretching session.

The bearded man they call "Bussy" rocked sunglasses, a gold chain around his neck, brown dress shoes and the same navy blue windowpane suit he wore to the White House. The overarching message as Buss blew kisses and Cypress Hill's "(Rock) Superstar" and Jay Z's "Big Pimpin'" blasted from the sound system: Humility.

"I hope everyone gets the sarcasm involved," Maddon said.

So, uh, no, the Cubs aren't going to dial it back or turn the zoo animals away or worry about the target they proudly wore on their chest last year.

"I don't know if the mime's coming back or not," Maddon said during the welcome-to-camp press conference. "Could you do a mime two years in a row? I don't know if that's permissible under MLB rules somewhere. I don't think you can bring a mime back two years in a row.

"Magicians are OK. You can anticipate a lot of the same, absolutely."

Before rolling your eyes at a star manager who loves the spotlight, it's important to note that the stunts are largely Buss productions.

"A lot of times, I'm not even aware," Maddon said. "He just knows he's got my blessings. He knows he does not have to clear it with me, unless it's absolutely insane. It works pretty well this way."

While every Maddon dress-up theme trip doesn't get universal love in the clubhouse, Buss has a unique way of getting millionaires to pay attention, almost tricking them into doing work.

"He's got several well-endowed players on the team that support his histrionics," Maddon said.

[MORE CUBS: MLB commissioner Rob Manfred open to idea of Cubs hosting All-Star Game at renovated Wrigley Field]

Since taking over this job in 2001, Buss has survived multiple ownership structures (Tribune Co., Sam Zell, Ricketts family) and the Andy MacPhail/Jim Hendry/Theo Epstein transitions in the front office, working for managers Don Baylor, Rene Lachemann (interim), Bruce Kimm (interim), Dusty Baker, Lou Piniella, Mike Quade, Dale Sveum and Rick Renteria.

"He must have some good photographs, right?" Maddon said. "He's a different cat. He's a weapon."

Buss can clearly get along with almost any kind of personality. But it took Maddon – and the explosion of social media – to give him this kind of platform.

"No, nothing's changed, man," Maddon said. "It's all the same in regards to 'the same,' meaning the methods, the process. I just got aired out by one of our geek guys for not using the word ‘process.’ It’s true. Last year, I used the word ‘process’ often. I’m going to continue to use it a lot again this year.

"Why were we able to withstand the word 'pressure' and 'expectations' as well as we did last year? Because we weren't outcome-oriented. We were more oriented towards the process. Anybody in your job and your business – if you want to be outcome-oriented – you're going to find yourself in a lot of trouble just focusing on that word.

"It's all about the process. Our process shall remain the same, absolutely it shall. Hopefully, we're going to add or augment it in some ways that can be even more interesting and entertaining."

The irony is that the Cubs have repeatedly used outcome-based thinking in defending Maddon's decisions during the World Series. But the manager obviously deserves so much credit for creating an environment where this team could play loose and relaxed and not collapse under the weight of franchise history.

"Our guys are pretty much in charge of the whole thing," Maddon said. "I love the empowerment of the players. I love that they feel the freedom to be themselves. If they didn't, maybe Jason (Heyward) would not have gotten the guys together in a weight room in Cleveland after a bad moment.

"All those things matter. And you can't understand exactly which is more important than the other. So you just continue to attempt to do a lot of the same things. Process is important, man, and we're going to continue along that path."