Archive for 2014

Dynastic Northwestern Lacrosse Triumphs at Iconic Wrigley Field

Dynastic Northwestern Lacrosse Triumphs at Iconic Wrigley Field
It's no secret that Northwestern, the Chicago Blackhawks and the Chicago Cubs are inextricably linked; at numerous levels. While the Cubs are a brand synonymous with prodigious and incessant losing, the Blackhawks have risen to the cream of the NHL crop in the past few years, winning Stanley Cup championships in 2010 and 2013. However, they're not a dynasty. Northwestern lacrosse, with seven titles in nine years, now that's dynastic. Northwestern women's lacrosse, currently #5 in the polls, has beaten six teams in the top 15 this year, including a big win over #4 North Carolina. Tonight Northwestern lacrosse beat USC 12-7 in front of a paid attendance of 5,145 at Wrigley Field, home of the Cubs. It improved NU's record to 10-5, ending their two game losing streak. The five losses are two more than we've seen in any entire season since 2003, the second season in which the Wildcats have been under the helm of Coach Kelly Amonte-Hiller....

CSN Chicago broadcasting 3 Games in 1 Night; also how to be on "Beer Money"

CSN Chicago broadcasting 3 Games in 1 Night; also how to be on "Beer Money"
Comcast SportsNet Chicago, or CSN Chicago has a very rare scenario on Friday, April 25. The network will be airing three live professional events simultaneously at 7:00 PM on three separate channels…with games being produced in three separate cities. “Friday night will most definitely be a unique experience for both our network and our viewers with three live games airing simultaneously on three separate channel locations, but we are certainly ready for this exciting challenge,” said Phil Bedella, VP/GM of Comcast SportsNet Chicago. “I’d also like to thank our sister station NBC 5 and their President/General Manager David Doebler for their assistance in making their digital channel, ‘Cozi TV,’ available for our CSN+2 Cubs telecast.”...

Joakim Noah articulates winning the NBA Defensive Award in French

Joakim Noah articulates winning the NBA Defensive Award in French
Bulls Center Joakim Noah has come a very long way since NBA Draft night 2007. Who would have thought the loud guy in the louder almost cartoon like suit and bow tie would one day develop into a star, some would say superstar. Noah has two All-Star appearances and today added an NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award to his credit. Joakin Noah was presented the award at a press conference in the Grand Ballroom of Marriott Resort Lincolnshire. Noah’s parents, former tennis legend and French pop music star Yannick Noah and former Swedish runway model Cecilia Rodhe, were on hand with other friends and family. “all the beautiful little hippies,” Joakim Noah said of his sisters who made the trip to the north Chicago suburbs...
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Gang Related Shooting and Basketball: that's what people associate with Chicago

Gang Related Shooting and Basketball: that's what people associate with Chicago
Before Michael Jordan won the first of his many NBA MVPs and the Chicago Bulls their first of many Championships, an interesting thing happened when you told people around the world that you were from Chicago. “Al Capone! Bang bang!” people said to us when traveling in Europe in the early ’90s; quite a bit... Read more »

Courts Will Decide Athlete Unionization; Court of Public Opinion is Pointless

Courts Will Decide Athlete Unionization; Court of Public Opinion is Pointless
You've no doubt heard a ton about Northwestern football players being legally deemed employees and being granted the right to unionize. Even if the NU football team votes against unionizing on April 25th, they're still legally employees. Kain Colter's "the NCAA acts like a dictatorship" soundbite made The Colbert Report. NU Coach Pat Fitzgerald's media session made The Daily Show. The unionization battle is on every channel in every medium all of the time. And when something is this ridiculously saturated in over-coverage to this grandiose effect, you unfortunately know what follows next. Yes, indeed. We've had tons of misinformation, pathetically bad sports punditry and sports "political" bloviators adopting ridiculously indefensible positions on this case, simply because they're desperate to drive up their terrible ratings. We'll expound more on all of this, but first here are two principles I need you, the reader, to take away from this column before proceeding further. 1.) None of these idiotic opinions, nor even the smart, informed opinions, actually matter in the long run. My opinion is worthless too. Unless you're a labor law expert, what you say has little to no relevance.  2.) This is not a media-driven story. It is not over-hyped. This is important; it's history, but that still doesn't make the fans actually care. The media loves this story, not the people. The media over-report this because it's cheap and easy to "report," and since no one actually knows what is going to happen, there's more speculation, less actual reporting going on. The only "work" the media are actually doing here is copying and pasting press releases, legal statements and then opining on them. This story does nothing to drive ratings, readerships or page view clicks. AT ALL. Debates about collective bargaining in sports, debates that could take over a decade in the Federal appeals process to be settled, is not what the people are looking for. Stories about Hooter's waitresses, Playboy bunnies, cheerleaders, drunk/dead celebrities or famous drunk/dead celebrity former Hooter's waitress/Playboy bunny/cheerleaders are what the people want....

White Sox Attendance is Pathetic; Hilarious Twitter Pics Galore!

White Sox Attendance is Pathetic; Hilarious Twitter Pics Galore!
Chicago White Sox attendance has been a problem for many, many years. Like most sports franchises, they only draw when they win. Unlike the Cubs, who have attendance figures that largely transcend wins and losses. (Of course, even that is starting to change, as Theo Epstein is selling blind faith and really forward looking hope, nothing else to his base in 2014) There have been no green shoots of growth for the Cubs yet, and Theo will be on the hot seat if he can't show us anything tangible in the next year or so. The White Sox are always the red-headed step-child of Chicago sports. Even winning the World Series, the first Series winner for Chicago in almost a century, has not changed that inconvenient truth. The popularity of Major League Baseball itself is in rapid decline, as a recent survey indicated that Major League Soccer is just as popular with American youths as baseball. You obviously know that MLS isn't exactly the NFL when it comes to fanbase size. Baseball has stone age policies in place regarding internet media, on all sides, with the White Sox being much worse than other clubs when it comes to this. I've been pointing this out since 2011, and now you can see it finally catching up to them at the gate. Baseball moves too slow for the Twitter era of modern life, and MLB has done nothing to even try and catch up. Fans will still keep attending games of the bigger brands (Cubs, Dodgers, Yankees, Red Sox etc.), but White Sox attendance, Tampa Bay Rays attendance, Astros attendance, other overlooked "niche" franchises are really starting to feel the hit now. And the last two days are a perfect example of this. If you want to know why I stopped writing about the White Sox awhile ago...see today's and yesterday's attendance. I get similar online "attendance" for my Sox content. I've spoken with numerous webmasters who work for the biggest news websites in the city. They all experience the same thing: online interest for White Sox content matches White Sox attendance. Terrible...
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NLRB ruling in favor of Kain Colter, CAPA: First Step Towards True Social Justice

NLRB ruling in favor of Kain Colter, CAPA: First Step Towards True Social Justice
Kain Colter and CAPA (College Athletes Players Association) scored a huge victory today, as the National Labor Relations Board ruled in their favor. I'm sure the face of the NCAA, Mark Emmert, has had some better days than today. Remember when the local media here told us NU's legal team was CRUSHING CAPA's legal team during the hearing? When they were unfairly smearing Kain Colter? When they were basically vilifying Colter and mocking his Navy Seals comment? Without actually taking the time to examine the historical credibility behind his statements? When they were basically trying to instill the socially regressive and condescending "just shut up and play, jock" misnomer onto Kain Colter...

Can Northwestern Basketball Upset Tom Izzo, Michigan State?

Can Northwestern Basketball Upset Tom Izzo, Michigan State?
Northwestern basketball upset Iowa tonight, setting up a date with Tom Izzo and Michigan State in the next round of the Big Ten Tournament. It's difficult to beat the same team three times in a single season, as the very shopworn cliche goes. MSU beat NU by double digits twice this season. However, Iowa beat Northwestern basketball twice, by 26 points each time, and they were still upset by the Wildcats in Indianapolis. NU is now 3-0 in the state of Indiana. And on day one of the Big Ten Tournament, teams from the state of Illinois represented; while teams from other states that start with the letter "I" were sent packing from the Big Ten Tourney. Iowa basketball had beaten Northwestern basketball five in a row heading into this one. Now the Hawkeyes have lost seven of their last eight overall; the only win over very hapless Purdue...

For Illini basketball, Big Ten Tournament is their NCAA Tournament

For Illini basketball, Big Ten Tournament is their NCAA Tournament
The Illini basketball team has one path to the NCAA Tournament; winning the Big Ten Tournament and receiving the automatic bid. A win over Michigan tomorrow morning would be great for their postseason resume, and give them higher seeding in the NIT. Winning in the semi-finals on Saturday would further show that this Illini basketball team is finishing the season strong (currently 5-1 in their last six road/neutral court games), but that still would not be enough to go dancing. It's run the table or else. So essentially this conference tournament is like a qualifier for the NCAA Tournament. If Illinois beats Michigan tomorrow (tip at 11 AM) and wins Saturday, then Sunday literally becomes a March Madness play-in game...
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CSN Chicago Showing Commercial-Free Chicago Cubs, White Sox Game

CSN Chicago Showing Commercial-Free Chicago Cubs, White Sox Game
The 2014 Chicago Cubs and the 2014 Chicago White Sox announce their very first commercial telecasts this weekend. Comcast SportsNet Chicago will present the Sox spring training game (Saturday, March 15 vs. LA Dodgers from Camelback Ranch in Glendale, AZ – 9:00 PM CST) and Sunday, March 16 Cubs vs. Cleveland from Cubs Park in Mesa, AZ – 3:00 PM CST In place of ads, CSN will showcase new one-on-one player interviews with new and veteran players from both sides of town, along with in-depth player profiles, numerous feature stories and much more.  All of us are over-inundated with advertising in every aspect of our daily lives; so a relief from that is welcomed. I think we've all seen way too many Nissan commercials in our lives, and that STUPID Wendy's ciabatta burger commercial just never stops. It's a novelty that the spot features Ron Zook's daughter, but it doesn't make the Wendy's add any less annoying. How can you boycott a restaurant that you would never go to in the first place? Moving on, you know and I know that for both baseball teams, it's more about the young nucleus coming up, and the prospects in the pipeline than it is the veterans. What's more intriguing and relevant are the guys who have just arrived on the team/will arrive soon. Not the guys who have been there for awhile. On both sides of town. “We wanted to start off our coverage of the 2014 Chicago baseball season in a big way by taking the time we would normally air commercials and provide some very unique content for our viewers,” said CSN Chicago GM Phil Bedella...
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    Paul M. Banks

    Fulbright scholar in media studies, MBA, small media business owner, Published author, Founder of The Sports Bank.net, a Fox Sports affiliate Member: Society of Professional Journalists, Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association. Former political writer for Washington Times.com, NBC Chicago.com and numerous business journals Credentialed for: United Nations, Rose Bowl, BCS National Championship, Final Four, Stanley Cup Finals, and NBA Playoffs. Been featured on: Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports Live, The History Channel, CBS and ESPN radio. Does weekly segments for NBC and Fox Sports Radio stations across the nation.

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