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Archive for September, 2008

Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank
As the only person to work for both Chicago baseball teams as both a player and as a broadcaster, current White Sox radio color analyst Steve Stone is the foremost authority on Chicago baseball. Stone or “Stony” as he is nicknamed, has also done television broadcasts for ESPN and TBS and will become the Sox television analyst in 2009. Stony, also 670 The Score’s lead Baseball Analyst, is well known and loved for his baseball predictions, the high rate at which these predictions comes true, and the multitude of products that he has endorsed over the years. From 1983-97, Stone was the WGN color commentator for Chicago Cubs telecasts, working with Hall of Fame announcer Harry Caray for 15 years.

As a player, Stony won a Cy Young and The Sporting News Pitcher of the Year award in 1980.

I had an exclusive with Stony on Saturday night before the Sox-Indians game. Here’s what he had to say about the Cubs and their postseason prospects:

“They’re certainly capable of beating anybody, but I think they scored 17 runs, total against the Dodgers for the season. So the Dodgers are a team that can shut them down, not saying that they will, but I do think the Dodgers can create a more difficult match-up. And then probably the other team is Philadelphia. The first round is when you’re more likely to be knocked out by a team you’re actually better than. In 3 of 5 a lot more so than in 4 of 7. Although in 4 of 7 the best team doesn’t always win either.

On his bold predictions, and how often they come true…

This year when I said the Cubs would win their division by 8-10 games and most people in this city thought I was crazy, I stuck by that. They were actually up 11 before they took their foot off the gas pedal, but they could have pretty much won the division by whatever margin they wanted to because they were far and away better than anyone else in the division. I remember on June 11th when I did {ESPN’s} “Pardon the Interruption,” I said to Cub guy Mike Wilbon, I want to have it on record that I told you the Cubs would win the division by 8 and 10 games, because they are a far superior team to Milwaukee.

To read more from this interview Click Here.

To check out my blog, “Chicago Blue State” on the Washington Times website, go here.

For more Chicago sports analysis and discussion go here.

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Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank As the only person to work for both Chicago baseball teams as both a player and as a broadcaster, current White Sox radio color analyst Steve Stone is the foremost authority on Chicago baseball. On September 13th, it was announced that Stone, a Ford C. Frick award nominee, will take over for Darrin Jackson as White Sox TV color analyst, signing a contract that will run through 2014. Stone or “Stony” as he is nicknamed, has also done television broadcasts for ESPN and TBS. Stony, also 670 The Score’s lead Baseball Analyst, is well known and loved for his baseball predictions, the high rate at which these predictions comes true, and the multitude of products that he has endorsed over the years. I had an exclusive with Stony on Saturday night before the Sox-Indians game. Here’s what he had to say about the White Sox:

“They’ve always had the ability to win this division, but we’ve seen at times they’ve also had the ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, the bullpen hasn’t been getting the job done, it’s been an inconsistent offense, they just came off a bad road trip at 3-7, but this has always been a good team, not a great team.”

On how Chicago’s baseball summer of 2008 ranks all-time. I asked him to compare and contrast it with other seasons (like 1977) when both teams were in contention late into the year…

“I was player in the late 70s and as a player you tend to become myopic towards the team you play for. As a member of the South Side Hitmen in ’77 and ’78 I didn’t pay a lot of attention to what the Cubs were doing, because I was a White Sox player. When I played for the Cubs in ’74-76, I didn’t pay a great deal of attention to what the Sox were doing because I was a Cubs player. I know it would be a unique experience to have both teams in the postseason. They certainly are not making it any easier on this side of town. On the other side of town they have already clinched and are doing whatever they can to see the Mets in the first round.”

I’ll be back soon with his thoughts on the Cubs. To read more from this interview Click Here.

To check out my blog, “Chicago Blue State” on the Washington Times website, go here.

For more Chicago sports analysis and discussion go here.

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Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team (video)

Need I say more? The third annual Wine, Women & Shoes event will be held Thursday night at the River East Art Center.

It’s a benefit for the Midwest Regional Office of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.

The fashion fundraiser, benefiting UNICEF’s Accelerated Child Survival Initiative, will have a wine tasting bar, appetizers, silent auctions and the opportunity to browse and buy shoes.

Guests will also have the chance to mingle with celebrity judges such as Robbie Gould, kicker for the Chicago Bears, CNN and former NBC anchor Don Lemon, NBC5’s Anna Davlantes and Steven Rosengard, Project Runway Season 4 contestant, who will vote on their favorite reds and whites and decide which shoe pairs best with each winning wine.

Auction packages include guided neighborhood shopping tours of Chicago and private cocktail parties at two of Chicago’s hottest restaurants, Landmark and Perennial.

Last year, more than 650 guests raised $140,000 at the event. General admission ($85) and VIP ($185) tickets are available at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/37229.

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Blagica Bottigliero, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

It was one of those weeknights that are  pretty common these days. I have a business meeting or speaking event around 6, I finish around 7:30, swing by Eno to see my the Windy City Wine Guy (aka my husband, Michael), then hop on the red line or bus to head home.

Last week, however, the wine bar was busy, I was starving and I needed some food – pronto. I also wanted to relax (have a brewski, perhaps) and be alone with my thoughts.

I decided to venture down to Billy Goat Tavern. As soon as I swung the door open, I knew I made the right choice. Multiple baseball games were on, the gal at the counter smiled and no one gave me a funny look for being a single girl entering a tavern. Perfect.

I ordered my Double Cheese, root beer, chips and settled into a cozy corner. The White Sox game was in front of me and tables were scattered with business groups and other solo diners.

I ate my meal, yelled at Jim Thome a few times and had an across-the-room conversation with the other guy watching the game. With my tummy full, I packed my things, said goodbye to the folks behind the corner and head to the red line.

It make me smile knowing that under the rumblings of busy Michigan Avenue, we have a Chicago staple that was the home of so many writers, politicians and other city busy bodies. I’m proud to be one of those people carrying the torch!

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Jennifer and Brooke, NBC5 Street Team

It was built in 1871 after the Great Chicago Fire and is the last remaining riding stable within city limits. It’s location is a little tricky to find and may not be common to most. But if you happen to take North Avenue to Orleans and go south, you will find one of the most intriguing theaters in town.

Over the weekend, Brooke and I attended a birthday party at the Noble Horse Theater. The theater reminded me of a smaller version of Medieval Times, with its dimly lit castle-like auditorium complimented with hostesses dressed in 19th century wardrobe. Once I got past the smell of horse excretions, the aforementioned factors made the venue seem both intimate and inviting. (Who am I kidding — I never got over the smell.)

The feature presentation was the famous Washington Irving folk legend, the Legend of Sleepy Hallow, which will be performed now though November 6th. Not surprisingly, the kids were both amused and engaged by this horse-themed show. After all, who wouldn’t like to see a headless horseman, especially around Halloween?

There was a woman dancing with fire and classic horseback riding mixed with amazing tricks. At the end of the show, pony rides were offered to the audience for a small fee. The only thing that was ill-fitting about the performance were the lengthy breaks in between the narrated story. Somehow the transitions from one scene to the next seemed a bit awkward at times.

But aside from the annoying breaks, Brooke and I had a wonderful time, and plan to catch the Noble Horse’s rendition of the Nutcracker.  I will just be a little more careful where I park on our next go-round.  While taking a short-cut through the side alley, my tires engaged with some horse patties. Needless to say I had to go straight to the car wash.

Brooke’s Blog: My favorite part of the show was watching the scary girl dance with the real fire! It was awesome and lots of fun because I got to ride in the horse-drawn carriage and I even rode on the actual horse too! 

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Cara Carriveau, NBC5 Street Team

Anyone who grew up in Chicago and listened to the radio in the 60’s have fond memories of Clark Weber. I didn’t move here until 1989 but I’ve heard about him over the years and was very excited to pick up his new book, “Clark Weber’s Rock & Roll Radio: The Fun Years, 1955-1975”.  It’s a really cool coffee-table book with lots of great pictures and extremely entertaining stories.  The best part is the CD that comes with it with plenty of radio clips from back in the day.

I am so glad that I made a point of meeting him at a book signing.  He’s had quite an interesting life & career in radio.  I admire him and consider him a mentor.   His book is a must for anyone who is a fan of radio or a fan of music from the ’50’s-’70’s.

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Natalia Avilez, NBC5 Street Team

The one good thing about bars — besides the obvious — is the fact that you will meet the most interesting people! As I was sitting at the my neighborhood bar unwinding after a long day of work, a bunch of Dutch men and woman walked in with clogs and cameras in hand. Because the Journalist in me was screaming to come out, I approached the only female in the group to find out what they were about. The first words that came out of her mouth was Solexclub De Tjoptjoppers. Um, could you repeat that please?

She continued to explain that TjopTjoppers, are Velosolex (a fuel efficient cross between a motorcycle and bicycle) riders from Holland who were embarking on a nine week journey along the historic Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles on their Velosolex 4800. Not only is this ride being done in honor of the club’s 10-year anniversary, but will also be a ride for charity where three different organizations will receive some of the proceeds.

Today marks the first full day of the Velosolex adventure, where this 19 man and one woman crew will ride 2,666 miles from Chicago to Santa Monica along the Pacific Coast. Some of the donations collected during the Route 66 operation will go to Indoshelter, an organization that assists homeless children and families in Indonesia with housing, education, and food. If you would like more information log on to their site at TjopTjoppers, or if you find yourself along Route 66 and see a bunch of clog wearing riders, say hallo!

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