'The Batter's Box' to debut Sunday, July 1 on CSN

'The Batter's Box' to debut Sunday, July 1 on CSN

THE BATTERS BOX, COMCAST SPORTSNETS BRAND NEW CHICAGO BASEBALL TRIVIA GAME SHOW, TO DEBUT SUNDAY, JULY 1

16 Chicago-area baseball trivia experts (8 Cubs, 8 White Sox) to test their wits as they vie for the ultimate Game Day Experience of a Lifetime

Fans at home can visit CSNChicago.com to participate in the Midas Trivia Question of the Week for their chance to win a number of great prizes

Chicago, IL (June 18, 2012) Comcast SportsNet, the television home for the most games and most comprehensive coverage of the Chicago Cubs and White Sox, along with StarPilot Productions, is bringing a brand new Chicago baseball trivia game show to the network as The Batters Box presented by Midas will officially debut on Sunday, July 1 at 5:00 PM (time approx. following Cubs Post Game Live). The show is hosted by Comcast SportsNets Luke Stuckmeyer.

Beginning July 1 and, over the course of 15 weeks, 16 Chicago-area contestants, who auditioned for spots on The Batters Box in May, will be competing against one another as eight Cubs trivia experts & eight White Sox trivia experts battle it out to represent their respective, favorite team, which will ultimately lead to a thrilling Cubs vs. White Sox trivia expert finale this fall.

The Batters Box is the first show of its kind in Chicago to pit passionate and knowledgeable White Sox and Cubs fans against each other in a fun, competitive baseball trivia game show, said Greg Bowman, Vice President of Programming for Comcast SportsNet Chicago. This is truly a unique, local, original programming venture for us that definitely caters to both old and new Chicago baseball fans. Plus, viewers at home will also enjoy playing along to see how much they know about these two historic baseball franchises.

The basis of the game in this half-hour weekly show is simple as contestants must answer multiple-choice questions, while applying baseball logic to move runners around the bases and score runs. The level of difficulty of the questions ranges from a Single (for easier questions) to a Home Run (for the most challenging questions). The player with the most runs at the end of three innings wins. When a player wins, they will advance to the next round.

The Batters Box grand prize winner will receive the ultimate Game Day Experience of a Lifetime, which includes a luxury suite for the winner & their guests at either U.S. Cellular Field or Wrigley Field for a to-be-determined game in 2013, along with a visit to the broadcast booth to the meet the announcers, a visit to the CSN production truck, the opportunity to throw out the ceremonial first pitch, and much more.

In addition, viewers at home can also participate for their chance to win some great Batters Box prizes by visiting CSNChicago.com and correctly answering the Midas Trivia Question of the Week. One random winner among all the correct entries will be chosen each week.

Note the following scheduled first run air datestimes for The Batters Box presented by Midas, along with the Chicago-area contestants participating in the first round (PLEASE NOTE: additional replay airings take place throughout the week; visit CSNChicago.com for The Batters Box TV listings information):

FIRST ROUND
Sun, July 1 at 5:00 PM (Cubs round) Brian Bosley vs. Will Cook
Sun, July 8 at 3:30 PM (White Sox round) Mike Medley vs. Ned Mulka
Sun, July 15 at 4:30 PM (Cubs round) Kristin Lee vs. Beau Thalheimer
Sun, July 22 at 3:30 PM (White Sox round) Milo Berrera vs. Patrick OMalley
Sun, July 29 at 9:30 PM (Cubs round) Monty Childs vs. David Sellars
Sun, Aug. 5 at 4:30 PM (White Sox round) Julie Farby vs. Tony Paink
Sun, Aug. 12 at 4:30 PM (Cubs round) John Dooley vs. Anthony Hoffman
Sun, Aug. 19 at 4:30 PM (White Sox round) Antonio Barrentez vs. Tom Pauly

QUARTERFINALS
Sun, Aug. 26 at 4:00 PM (Cubs quarterfinals, contestants TBD)
Sun, Sept. 2 at 4:00 PM (White Sox quarterfinals, contestants TBD)
Sun, Sept. 9 at 6:00 PM (Cubs quarterfinals, contestants TBD)
Sun, Sept. 16 at 4:30 PM (White Sox quarterfinals, contestants TBD)

SEMIFINALS
Sun, Sept. 23 at 7:30 PM (Cubs semifinals, contestants TBD)
Sun, Sept. 30 at 4:30 PM (White Sox semifinals, contestants TBD)

CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Sun, Oct. 7 at 7:30 PM (White Sox champion vs. Cubs champion, contestants TBD)

Expansion of the College Football Playoff field continues to seem inevitable

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USA TODAY

Expansion of the College Football Playoff field continues to seem inevitable

There were six teams deserving of reaching the College Football Playoff this season. But there were only four spots.

But what if there were more spots?

An expansion of the Playoff field to eight teams has seemed inevitable from the day the four-team system was announced. Four more Playoff games means oodles more TV viewers, which means oodles more dollars.

And then we wouldn't be having all these arguments, either — but that's nonsense because of course we would, trying to figure out who got snubbed from the expanded bracket.

But this season's emphasis on the conference-champion debate might kick the efforts to expand the Playoff into high gear. Just take it from NCAA president Mark Emmert.

Now, technically speaking, there are 10 FBS conferences, each of which crowns a champion at the end of every football season. Emmert is obviously referring to the Power Five conferences: the Big Ten, Big 12, ACC, Pac-12 and SEC. He might want to pick his words a bit more carefully, considering he represents the other five conferences — the American, Conference USA, the MAC, the Mountain West and the Sun Belt — too, but his point remains understood.

This season has sparked a ton of controversy as the Playoff selection committee opted for the first time to include a team that did not win its conference, Ohio State, and it picked the Buckeyes over the Big Ten champs, Penn State. Plus, Big 12 champion Oklahoma was passed over in favor of non-champion Ohio State, too, actually falling behind another non-champion from the Big Ten, Michigan, in the final Playoff rankings.

With that decision brought the reasonable question of how much a conference championship should matter in getting a team into the final four and competing for a national championship.

The Playoff committee's mission is to pick the country's four best teams, and there aren't many people out there that will argue that Ohio State isn't one of the country's four best teams. But there's something to be said for winning a conference championship because if the Buckeyes can waltz into the Playoff without even playing in the Big Ten title game, why even have a conference championship game — besides, obviously, earning one more night of big-time TV money.

And so the call for an expanded Playoff bracket has reached perhaps its greatest volume in the short time the Playoff has existed. The obvious solution to Power Five conference champions continually being boxed out is to lock in five spots on the bracket for the five conference champions. Then, guarantee a spot for the highest-ranked team from the Group of Five conferences, and you're left with two "at-large" spots that this season would've gone to Ohio State and Michigan, two of the highest-profile programs in the country sure to drive TV viewership in battles against conference-champion Alabama, Clemson, Washington, Penn State and Oklahoma teams. And P.J. Fleck's undefeated Western Michigan squad takes the final slot.

That's quite the field. But if you think it would've solved all this year's problems, you're wrong. Still there would've been outcry that red-hot USC didn't make the field. The Trojans are playing so well that they could very well win the whole thing, despite their three early season losses. That debate over snubs will exist forever, no matter the size of the field, something we see play out each and every season in the NCAA men's basketball tournament.

Also, what a damper an expanded bracket would put on the final few weeks of the regular season. Ohio State's game against Michigan, the highest-rated game of the college football season with more than 16 million people watching, would've been effectively meaningless. No matter who won or lost, both teams would've made that eight-team field, right?

Additionally, another round of Playoff football would expand the season to 16 games for some teams. That means more physical demands on student-athletes and a season cutting deep into January, which would impact their educational and time demands.

But again, an expansion of the Playoff bracket has always seemed inevitable. There's too much money to be made, and at the same time fans seem to be all about that idea. People love the postseason for good reason, and the win-or-go-home nature of the NFL playoffs make those games the most-watched sporting events of the year.

Now the NCAA president is chiming in with hopes of an expanded field. So really isn't it just a matter of time?

Road Ahead: Blackhawks dealing with rash of injuries

Road Ahead: Blackhawks dealing with rash of injuries

CSN's Chris Boden and Tracey Myers have the latest on the Blackhawks in the Road Ahead, presented by Chicagoland and NW Indiana Honda Dealers.

From an injury standpoint, it's been a tough few weeks for the Blackhawks.

The Blackhawks are down two key players in captain Jonathan Toews and goaltender Corey Crawford, and now may be without defenseman Brent Seabrook who sustained an upper-body injury in Tuesday's victory over the Arizona Coyotes.

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While the Blackhawks haven't had much luck on the injury front, their upcoming two opponents are in the same boat.

"You look at the New York Rangers, a very talented team, but this is what every team goes through every season. Your depth gets tested," Myers said.

Check out what else Boden and Myers had to say about the team's upcoming matchups in this week's Honda Road Ahead