Sunday, April 29, 2012

Here, We-Go

No, this is not a Bud Light commercial. Don't let the headline go to your head (head, like on a beer, get it?).

But God knows I've seen enough of Bud Light after watching the NHL playoffs, the NBA playoffs, the NFL draft and doing all I can do to avoid Chicago baseball.

Maybe the Bulls are toast without Derrick Rose and maybe not, but as reported on my Twitter and Facebook accounts, there is no truth to the rumor they are activating his Simeon High alma mater's current star, Jabari Parker, to take his place.

But they thought about it...

Top Plays means plays, like great catches, amazing baskets and stupendous goal-scoring. Phil Humber's perfect accident - uh, game - is a highlight, not a play.

Just like Most Valuable Player is someone off a contender, not someone who had the best year. That would be the Most Outstanding Player (MOP?). The Most Valuable Player is not necessarily someone who put up the best stats. It's someone who provided the most-invaluable contribution to his or her team's playoff or playoff-contending season.

Oh, one more thing, ESPN: Lose Bill Polian. He has a brilliant football mind, no doubt about it, but he adds nothing with his "play-if-safe" commentaries for you. You brought him on so that when he lands his next GM job, he'll feed you inside nuggets, and you know it. We all knew when you brought Rush Limbaugh on board that he was an idiot (was?, no still is!), but we all watched, waiting for his idiot moment. Which he finally delivered.

Theo Epstein is telling Cubs fans, through the media, to be patient through the team's poor start so far this season. He's telling himself, "Oy! Bobby Valentine has it easy right now compared to this."

So, ESPN's Herm Edwards, who I love, says the St. Louis Rams did a great job in the draft, stockpiling picks to build for the future. Then how come they let Tampa Bay swoop in right under them and grab Justin Blackmon, the Oklahoma State breakout wide receiver, instead of trading up into that position themselves for the player they really wanted. Regarding that guy (LSU's Morris Claiborne) they are now saying," No, we wanted [him] all along," with the next pick.

Sam Bradford, your QB, disagrees.

So, if Robin Ventura was such a great roving hitting instructor in the White Sox organization before becoming manager this year, how come the White Sox still can't hit? And he worked with all or most of these guys in the minors! Robin, you were a great hitter. These guys ain't. Get used to it, fans. Dayan Viciedo is the next Alex Rios.

No, wait...

On my Twitter (@hschlossberg) and Facebook accounts, I predicted immediately after Phil Humber's perfect game that the Boston Red Sox, his next slated start, would light him up.

Just send cigars and I like a good merlot. Thanks.

Chicago, quit griping about D-Rose's injury. It happened, it's over, that's that. The Bulls stats, across the board, are better in the 27 games he missed this year (they were 18-9) than in the games in which he played, including a win over Miami.

My Advanced Sports Reporting students have produced a fabulous online magazine again this semester, as they do each spring. It will be active this week (last year's is still up), a tremendous feature-oriented, truly multimedia effort called, "Beyond the Game," at Please check it out. I'll put up notices on Twitter and Facebook when it goes active.

And to the students, a hearty and heartfelt thanks and congrats.


Howard Schlossberg is editor of the Journal of Sports Media, with his first edition out this year. He's an associate professor of journalism at Columbia College Chicago, where creativity and learning are embraced hand-in-hand. And he still writes sports for the Daily Herald in Chicago's northwest suburbs.; www.colum.edu  

Monday, April 16, 2012

Endangered Species

I love softball. I love playing softball.

So it was a thrill Saturday night to attend the 16th annual Chicago 16-Inch Softball Hall of Fame induction banquet at Drury Lane Center in Oak Brook, Ill.

Problem is, the game is dying. What's 16-inch, you ask? A game played with a ball that size, slow-pitch, no gloves (no gloves!) and athletes who excel at it somehow. Originally invented as a Great Depression game designed to save on space and equipment costs, it became the signature game of the Chicago area.

Now, though, everyone plays 12 inch and you can hardly find a 16-inch league anywhere, even in the Chicago area. Still, it was stirring to see a team I once covered as a young reporter be inducted along with its 16-inch parent team, the Bruins. Several of the guys were there. I traveled to Sheboygan, Wis., and Fenton, Mo., to watch them play for titles. I became known as "Flashbulbs" because I somehow managed to capture on film their most-emotional, most-exciting and most-controversial moments.

Now, like me, they play golf, raise kids, pay mortgages and try to live the American Dream. I can't tell you how much fun I had covering them consecutive summers. Mostly because, I can't...

...But suffice it to say they had as much fun off the field as they had on it and several can never return to Sheboygan, according to local county police records (jk).

Then again, I've never had anyone tell me they wanted to return to Sheboygan for anything. Except, that is (personal to Dave Wilhelm here), for a shower curtain. Thanks, Dave.

Congratulations to the Bruins, 12- and 16-inch teams. Honor well deserved.

There was a guy inducted Saturday into the Hall of Fame who once went 77-for-79 in some tournament or another. Incredible. I did that when I was potty training.

See you guys at the first tee...


Saw a post to the Chicago Tribune's web site in which the author claims the Bulls will get past the Miami Heat in the NBA playoffs this year. If they get to the Heat. If they're lucky, they won't draw the red-hot, getting-healthy Boston Celtics in the second round.

So long, Bulls, if that happens.


In a Tribune blog, a writer claims Cubs minor-league prospects Anthony Rizzo (first base), Josh Vitters (third base) and Adrian Cardenas (second base) are grooming for the future World Series the Cubs will eventually win. Guys starting at those positions now had no comment but said they hope they can get tickets to see their replacements win a World Series.


Roger Clemens is back on trial for lying about using performance-enhancing substances. Didn't anyone read the coverage of the first trial, which ended in a mistrial?

He's already been convicted by the media. Geez, c'mon.


And finally, the State of Illinois is pushing legislation to expand riverboat gambling and even install slot machines at racetracks to enhance the take.

The problem? Any state looking to balance its budget by relying on revenues generated from taxes from the gambling losses of people who likely can least afford it is in serious trouble. Illinois already tried this with The Lottery, which, almost 40 years ago, was supposed to keep education funded in this state eternally.

Uh, I teach in this state. It ain't working. Gambling revenue winds up in the pockets of guys who ... well, you know, have no visible means of support.

Go rent "Casino" and then tell me if you still want gambling in your state. Media watchdogs, where are you?


Howard Schlossberg is editor of the Journal of Sports Media, with his first edition out this year. He's an associate professor of journalism at Columbia College Chicago, where creativity and learning are embraced hand-in-hand. And he still writes sports for the Daily Herald in Chicago's northwest suburbs.; www.colum.edu  

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

What People In Sports Shouldn't Say

Ozzie Guillen, meet Al Campanis, Jimmy the Greek and Keith Olbermann, the kings of "Open Mouth/Insert Foot."

You just got your seat at their table, the place of lost careers in a nanosecond for the sake of one stupid utterance." OK, it took Olbermann three tries.

The only question about Ozzie's comment is, who's next?


I love the fact that former Illinois basketball coaches Bill Self (Kansas) and now Bruce Weber (Kansas State) are now coaching in the same conference. Self got there by winning. Weber got there by losing.

Weber's only wins came with Self's players. They're not available to him anymore. Let's see how this ... ahem ... plays out.

In addition, I want to congratulate the University of Illinois on its recent athletic coaching hires and its subsequent pending application for admission to the MAC.


Read a local column here in Chicago calling the Old Town School of Folk Music, a wonderful institution, " engine that keeps [a] neighborhood humming."

No doubt.

Except that no credit was given to the original Old Town School of Folk Music location that is the engine that keeps the engine humming "...that keeps [a] neighborhood humming."

Just saying.


Read a great column calling for the simplification of remotes. Couldn't agree more.

Except that people who design remotes - just like people who design computers, smart phones, tablets, radio engineers' boards, automobile dashboards and anything hailed as the next great app - design to impress other designers. They don't design for the end-user.

God forbid.


Phil Hersh of the Chicago Tribune did a great profile of local kid Toni Kokenis (Stanford) as part of their women's Final Four coverage. Nice job.

But he forgot to mention that Notre Dame's football team has a shot at a BCS berth. Shocking, Phil, from you, shocking.


Reading somewhere that team executives in pro sports are concentrating on "the fan experience."

Couldn't agree more on the need for this - there's nothing like spending $600 on a family outing at a pro football game to sit next to a foul-mouthed drunk while grossly overpaying for parking and concessions on top of the tickets. Plus, you get to watch gladiators try to kill each other (unfortunately, that's literal these days).

Much better seat in my living room where I can multi-task and get food, drink and lavatory usage without waiting in line.


Now that the Chicago Bears have acquired a new back-up quarterback, a new running back, two new receivers and even two new cornerbacks, before the draft, how about moving "No. 1" wide receiver Devin Hester back to defense? And how come no one in the media has suggested this yet?


Chicago Magazine is saying that coach Tom Thibodeau is the man who will take the Bulls to an NBA championship, not superstar MVP Derrick Rose.

Which gets me to thinking, how many titles did Phil Jackson win coaching the Bulls without Michael Jordan?

Howard Schlossberg is editor of the Journal of Sports Media, with his first edition due out this year. He's an associate professor of journalism at Columbia College Chicago, where creativity and learning are embraced hand-in-hand. And he still writes sports for the Daily Herald in Chicago's northwest suburbs.; www.colum.edu