Saturday, March 08, 2014

Photo Gallery from Minor League Camp

From top to bottom...

Dane Placko, C.J. Edwards (Cubs pitching prospect), JOBC's David Stern

Cubs minor league pitchers practicing bunting

Shawon Dunston Jr.


The Offspring...Dunston & Gretzky.

Photo Gallery from Arizona

Friday, March 07, 2014

Just One Bad Century--March 7

Today's Cubs birthdays include a World Series hero, a guy on probation, a member of the first Wrigley/Cubs team and more.

The A/V Club shows todays Cubs birthday boy hitting a walk-off World Series winning home run...for another team.

We're down in Arizona this week. Yesterday we were at the Dodgers/White Sox complex (see below), and today (and the rest of the weekend) we'll be checking out the Cubs.


(Photo: Left to Right, Dane Placko, Scott Redman, Rick Kaempfer, David Stern, Brent Petersen)

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Just One Bad Century--March 6

Today's Cubs birthdays feature a submariner, a pitcher who couldn't strike out anyone, and a man who got more than walks than hits in his 500+ game career.

The A/V Club features a Cubs Hall of Famer, Andre Dawson, who signed a contract with the Cubs on this day in 1987.

In Today's Cubs news, Sammy wants to come back to the Cubs family, and an architect explains the history of Wrigley Field...

I'm in Arizona today, and will be posting pictures on Facebook when I get to the game. Today we're checking out the Dodgers facility in Glendale.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014


A very bad song about a very warm place. I'm flying there tonight and will be reporting from spring training (if I can get out of town) tomorrow and Friday. Hopefully this song will be out of my head by then...

Today's Best Tweets--March 5

Here are some tweets that caught my eye today...

Illinois Policy ‏@illinoispolicy 14h
@moodysratings cuts Chicago's credit rating — now only three notches away from junk bond status

Nico Hines ‏@NicoHines 1h
London has conquered New York as the world's greatest city … (for rich people, anyway)

Keith Olbermann ‏@KeithOlbermann 6m
While @DianaNyad and others go to @DancingABC With The Stars. It's true: they asked me, I laughed, I spared humanity

Huffington Post ‏@HuffingtonPost 13m
Pope Francis suggests Catholic church may tolerate civil unions

Harry Shearer ‏@theharryshearer 15m
"charter schools don’t have an academic advantage; they have a significant risk of leading to increased segregation"

Gawker ‏@Gawker 27m
Florida judge will release censored videos of Justin Bieber's dick.

steve rosenbloom ‏@steverosenbloom 31m
Waiting to see Javi Baez play regularly. And waiting. And . . . The RosenBlog:

Guardian news ‏@guardiannews 38m
Rebekah Brooks denies covering up hacking as News International chief

Phil Plait ‏@BadAstronomer 40m
The White House budget proposal for NASA this year is like giving a haircut to a bald guy. …

Deadspin ‏@Deadspin 39m
Hockey fight turns players into bloody messes:

Everyone Knows You're High

Gotta love the Onion. This made me laugh out loud, even now as an old guy. College-age me would have required paramedics...

New Marijuana Study Says Everyone Knows You're High And You'll Likely Be Stoned Forever

Media Spotlight--March 5

Every weekday in 2014, I'll be keeping an eye on what's happening in the media. My focus will be on some of my favorite subjects...the moguls, the pundits, the broadcast news biz, show business, and the publishing business. (Read "$everance" if you want a crystallization of my positions on those subjects.) And, of course, I'll also keep tabs on Chicago's media.

Chicago Media

~Fake Chef Fools Midwest Morning Shows
This isn't technically Chicago media, but close enough. Got a kick out of this story in Deadspin. These morning anchors actually ate the "food" this chef made. As a former producer, I feel for the poor saps who booked this guy...
Over the holidays, Keith Guerke appeared on five morning shows in Wisconsin and Illinois to promote his new cookbook and prepare some meals made from leftovers. One little problem: Chef Keith doesn't know how to cook. A ham, pie, and gravy smoothie. A mashed-potato ice cream cone with corn sprinkles.

~Cheryl Scott's Future
Robert Feder assesses the contract situation and potential future opportunities of Channel 5 meteorologist Cheryl Scott. It seems the very attractive Ms. Scott is garnering quite the fan base here in Chicago.

The Moguls

~As the Rupert Turns
There really is a new story in this continuing soap opera every single day. Today's story: Rupert's Ex-Wife gets to keep their mansion in Beijing.

~Comcast Tries Spinning Merger Benefits
They claim that this merger will help expand broadband because of a plan to offer low cost broadband to needy families. The rest of us, of course, will be screwed...but then again everyone knows that...which is why NOBODY is in favor of this merger (except the five guys who will make billions). Even Variety is calling out the ludicrousness of this argument. Here's what they wrote...
Effectively, the cable giant is spinning the expanded low-cost Internet Essentials program as one of the key benefits of the proposed $45.2 billion deal for TW Cable — despite the fact that post-deal Comcast would control nearly one-third of U.S. broadband market.

The Pundits

~Ronan Farrow Fails To Attract Young Viewers
The National Review reports this news with cackling glee. Their headline is actually: "Ronan Farrow: The Young Man Only Old People Like". The subheadline is: "Young Blue Eyes fails to bring young viewers to MSNBC." Good to see that conservatives can be funny too.


~"Frozen" Tops the Billion Dollar Mark at the Box Office
My kids are finally old enough to have lost interest in these kids movies, but I'm thinking I should still check out "Frozen".

The Radio Biz

~Don't Look Now, But Radio Stocks Are Doing Well
Tom Taylor reports this news in his NOW newsletter today...
If you held Saga stock, you watched it jump more than 7%, or $3.62, to close at an all-time record of $54.43. (At one point it grazed $55.) Entercom was also up 7%, gaining 72 cents to $10.50. (It soared to $10.91 before lunchtime.) Emmis gained 5%, up 16 cents to $3.34. There was news during the day that Emmis got a favorable ruling from a federal judge regarding a suit by preferred shareholders, but other companies didn’t get that kind of news, and they’re up, too. Then there was Salem Communications – up close to 5% on the day


"Lost in the Ivy" Author Randy Richardson Interviewed by Wrigleyville Nation

Eckhartz Press author Randy Richardson was interviewed today by the Cubs blog Wrigleyville nation. There are some great stories about the characters and storylines in Randy's book and what inspired them. I hadn't even heard a few of these stories, and we're publishing his book.

Good stuff. Strongly recommended.

You can read it here.

"Lost in the Ivy", of course, is available at Eckhartz Press. We're taking pre-orders now, and the book ships on Opening Day.

(Photo by Eric Kleinberg Photography)

Randy Promo pic 2

Just One Bad Century--March 5

Today's Cubs birthdays include a world class mustache, Gee-Gee, and Lief. (Celebrating Obscure Wednesday)

The A/V Club has video from a baseball league you probably don't even remember. One of our obscure Cubs birthday boys played in it. Do you recall "The Senior League"?

Our new feature this year, "Historical Events: Where were the Cubs?" has been posted as well. Today you can read about the Cubs connection to John Belushi, Julius Caesar, and Bronco Billy. That's right, we're answering questions you've never asked. You're welcome.

And there has also been lots of Cubs news as well. Mike Olt hit a 2-run homer, the Cubs hired Ted Lilly, Justin Ruggiano had a big day, Bill Buckner has retired as a Cubs minor league coach, and the Milwaukee Brewers have given their team pet dog a Cubs chew toy. (Uncool, Hank, uncool)

I'm getting on an airplane tonight and hope to bring you a few reports from spring training over the next few days.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

John Candy

Hard to believe it's been 20 years already since he passed away. From Bob Dearborn's The Olde Disc Jockey's Almanac today...

March 4, 1994…Actor (SCTV, Uncle Buck, Spaceballs, Canadian Bacon, Cool Runnings, Only The Lonely, Home Alone, Planes Trains & Automobiles) John Candy died of a heart attack at age 43.

My kids love him in Spaceballs and Uncle Buck, but for me, this is the movie performance I always think about when I remember John Candy...

Today's Best Tweets--March 4

Here are some tweets that caught my eye today...

NBC News ‏@NBCNews 4m
Fat Tuesday: Carnival celebrations culminate on Mardi Gras around the world

MancowMuller ‏@MancowMuller 49m
Mardi Gras Fact: The traditional Mardi Gras colors are Gold, Purple, Green and Vomit. #Mardi Gras

Rolling Stone ‏@RollingStone 1m
Donna Jean Godchaux looks back on her wildest times with Elvis and the Grateful Dead:

Buster Olney ‏@Buster_ESPN 27m
Rangers GM Jon Daniels will be surrounded by reporters today, undoubtedly, after what Ian Kinsler said about him. …

Carrie Muskat ‏@CarrieMuskat 31m
Bill Buckner retires from baseball … #Cubs

Chicago Cubs ‏@Cubs 37m
One month until the #Cubs home opener at Wrigley Field!

Zach Zaidman ‏@ZachZaidman 41m
94 years ago this month, George Halas was hired to establish a football team for the A.E. Staley Manufacturing Company in Decatur. #Bears

New York Daily News ‏@NYDailyNews 1m
90 percent of the Great Lakes are covered in ice. -@IrvingDeJohn

Abraham Lincoln ‏@ALPLM 26m
Today in 1861, #abrahamlincoln is inaugurated as the sixteenth president of the United States. #lincolnmuseum #history

Time Out Chicago ‏@TimeOutChicago 6m
A very happy 177th birthday to our favorite city in the world! We hope this year you asked for warmer weather

Let It Go

This is a very cool version of the song, with Jimmy Fallon and the Roots...

Media Spotlight--March 4

Every weekday in 2014, I'll be keeping an eye on what's happening in the media. My focus will be on some of my favorite subjects...the moguls, the pundits, the broadcast news biz, show business, and the publishing business. (Read "$everance" if you want a crystallization of my positions on those subjects.) And, of course, I'll also keep tabs on Chicago's media.

Chicago Media

~The Chicago Daily News
The great afternoon newspaper in Chicago, the Chicago Daily News, closed its doors on this day in 1978. Some of the greatest journalists of all-time worked at that newspaper over the years, including Mike Royko, and the immortal Ben Hecht. They don't write stuff like this any more...

~Ted Novak's Fat Tuesday Tidbit
WGN traffic reporter Ted Novak reminds us all today via facebook: "It's the time of year again for me to point out that paczki is plural. Paczek is the singular."


~The Delivery Man at the Oscars
ABC News has the backstory of exactly how the delivery guy ended up going on stage to deliver the pizzas. #1--he was a real delivery guy. #2--he had no idea he would be going on stage. #3--his tip was a thousand dollars (and a billion-ish viewers)

~Dancing with the Stars for Season 18
Again, I really think they should be legally obligated to change the name of the show to "Dancing with the Stars, and a few other people who have achieved a tiny smidgen of celebrity". It's a little wordy, but it's accurate. I've only heard of three of this season's "stars"...
Sean Avery
Billy Dee Williams
Drew Carey
Candace Cameron Bure
Charlie White
Meryl Davis
Danica McKellar
Cody Simpson
Diana Nyad
NeNe Leakes
James Maslow
Amy Purdy

The Moguls

~As the Rupert Turns
Rupert attended an Oscars bash with a 44-year-old blonde bombshell, who by the way, happens to also be a venture capitalist. He appears to have landed on his feet. The Daily Mail has a photo at the link.

~Facebook Wants To Buy Drones
I kid you not. People scoff at me when I mention that media moguls have the power, influence, and access to take over the world, but check this out. From Techcrunch...
Facebook is interested in using these high-flying drones to blanket parts of the world without Internet access, beginning with Africa. The company would start by building 11,000 of these unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), specifically the “Solara 60″ model.


~FCC Issues $2 Million Fine
The fine is for airing a movie trailer with the Emergency Broadcasting tone in it, something every broadcaster knows you're not supposed to do. Details at the link.

The Radio Biz

~Pandora Claims They are #1 in 28 Markets
I'm pretty sure you can't say this without a third party backing up your statistics, but they said it anyway. From Radio Ink...
Pandora Chief Revenue Officer John Trimble says the Internet Pure Play dominates listening in nearly 30 markets. "The way we've looked at it, we're the No. 1-ranked station in 28 major U.S. markets."

The Publishing Biz

~Simon & Schuster Sets Up Book Review Site
The reviews will be written by Simon & Schuster staffers, and will be offered in a daily e-mail to people interested in reading good reviews about Simon & Schuster books. (I added that last part, but c'mon, let's get real here)

Suing Her Parents

An 18-year-old New Jersey girl is suing her parents, demanding they pay for her school. The parents say they would do it, if she lived by their rules.

I know I'm old school, not to mention the parent of an 18-year-old, but this could be one of the easiest court cases in the world to settle. You lose, honey.

Fat Tuesday

As I get older and doughier these fat Tuesday jokes aren't as funny to me anymore, but the youngsters seem to get a kick out of it. Thanks "TK" for sending it...

Just One Bad Century--3/4

Today's Cubs Birthdays include guys nicknamed Big Clyde, Long Jim, and Red.

The A/V Club has video from the 1945 World Series. Big Clyde got one at bat in that series.

This month in Wrigley History has also been posted. Read about what color the Wrigley Marquee was before 1960, the earthquake that rocked Wrigley West in 1933, and the day they unveiled Ernie's statue. (Complete with video)

In today's Cubs News, Javier Baez answers questions from the fans, the Cubs win their first game of the spring (thanks to Javier Baez), and good news on the injury front, Castro and Arietta appear ready to go.

And finally, here’s another bonus Ernie tidbit. On this day in 1955, the Cubs were conducting their spring training in Mesa Arizona. Ernie was cornered by Cubs radio announcer Bert Wilson. You can hear how nervous the youngster is in the spotlight this early in his career. (Listen to that here)

Monday, March 03, 2014

Let It Go, Chicago

WGN's Dan Ponce sings a parody of the song from Frozen. He's a good singer, and the video is shot beautifully.

Even if I disagree with the general message.

I was doing a lot of internal swearing as I shovelled AGAIN on Saturday night and Sunday morning. The video below is a little closer to how I feel at the moment...

Pothole Alert!

This information was spotted this morning on Pothole Store owner David Stern's facebook page. Don't miss it...

Please don't fill the potholes, please don't fill the potholes, please don't fill the potholes...I'll be on the Steve Cochran Show tomorrow morning 7:40 ish on WGN 720 AM talking about the Pothole Store Blog and the fact I have no marketable skills.

The potholestore website is here. And yes, it is part of the Just One Bad Century/Eckhartz Press media empire.

LATE UPDATE: This appearance has been moved to March 11, at 7:20AM.

Media Spotlight--March 3

Every weekday in 2014, I'll be keeping an eye on what's happening in the media. My focus will be on some of my favorite subjects...the moguls, the pundits, the broadcast news biz, show business, and the publishing business. (Read "$everance" if you want a crystallization of my positions on those subjects.) And, of course, I'll also keep tabs on Chicago's media.

Chicago Media

~Mary Dixon in the Ilinois Entertainer
My latest media column was posted in the Illinois Entertainer over the weekend. I interviewed WXRT's Mary Dixon, and one of the things we discussed was the family atmosphere that surrounds WXRT--a rather unusual atmosphere in the modern radio world...
"Someone remarked to me when Terri was inducted in the Radio Hall of Fame (2010) that it was notable how all the XRTers seemed happy for her. It struck me as kind of funny. We all know that Terri’s earned her honors, and that recognition for one member of the team reflects well on the rest of us. From Norm on down, we all feel ownership in what we’ve built together. That applies to the listeners, too, by the way. They celebrate our victories and scold us when they think we’re wrong. We see them at concerts and around town. The fact that they care so much is just amazing. And it brings us back around to how we always try to do our best, every day, to deserve it.”
The entire piece is available at the link. My April column (which I'm finishing up this week) will feature Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano.

~Tributosaurus Does Zeppelin
Went to the show on Friday night with my 18-year-old son, and we really enjoyed it. There's something about watching four different guys tackling the vocals of Robert Plant that makes you appreciate the incredible vocal range he possesses. Here's a photo from the cheap seats, with WSCR's Matt Spiegel tackling "Fool in the Rain"...

~Jimmy Fallon really did come to Chicago and do the polar plunge
It will be on the Tonight Show tonight, but here's the pre-show evidence...


~Ellen's Oscar Selfie is Most Re-Tweeted Tweet of All Time
I was online last night and was surprised at some of the negative reaction Ellen was getting as the host of the show. I thought she was very good.

~The Top Ten Oscar Moments Last Night
USA Today has their top ten list at the link.

~The Oscars in Two Minutes
If the top ten moments is too time consuming for you, People Magazine has it cut down even more here.

The Moguls

~As the Rupert Turns
When you're in your 80s and you run a giant conglomerate, it's only natural for people to wonder who will succeed you. In most companies that would be discussed openly and would be obvious to shareholders. Not at Rupert's News Corp. It changes from week to week. For years it was assumed it would be his daughter, and then she married that liberal guy who rips her daddy. Then it was youngest son James, until he did a terrible job testifying before Parliament. Now it appears to be the formerly outcast son Lachlan...
Rupert Murdoch's eldest son is on the verge of claiming the News Corp. throne, according to Michael Wolff, writing in Town & Country's March issue [unavailable online]. "Among the Murdochs, Lachlan's return is regarded as a virtual done deal. News Corp. is spoken of as Lachlan's company."


~Attention Shock Jocks and Serial Swearers
From Inside Radio today, news that may set you free:
Weather shuts FCC on Monday. The latest bout of snow and ice in Washington, DC has shut down the federal government today, including the FCC.
This has been a public service announcement.

The World Cup Jersey

The U.S. World Cup jersey was officially revealed yesterday. It's getting terrible reviews from fans, and it is kind of boring, but it's so much better than the hideous jerseys they've had the past few World Cups (in my opinion). Why is it so hard to make a cool uniform with the colors red, white, and blue?

Just One Bad Century--March 3

Today's Cubs Birthdays feature a man named Zip, and a dummy visiting spring training. That's right, a dummy.

The A/V Club features a Pat Hughes narrated tour of Wrigley Field's history.

This Week in 1945 was posted over the weekend. You can read about the swanky Cubs spring training location that year...French Lick, Indiana.

This morning we also updated This Week in 1908. How long ago was 1908? Alexander Graham Bell is featured. He and his aviation crew are preparing the first public aeroplane flight.

In the latest Cubs news, did you feel like I did yesterday when Castro got hurt and Javier Baez came in to take his place? It had a real Wally Pip feel to it, didn't it?

I'm heading down to Arizona on Wednesday night. I'll have reports from spring training on Thursday and Friday.

Today's Best Tweets--March 3

Here are some tweets that caught my eye today...

A special Oscar edition (tweets from last night during the show)

Ellen DeGeneres ‏@TheEllenShow 2h
If only Bradley's arm was longer. Best photo ever. #oscars

Los Angeles Times ‏@latimes 6m
#Oscars2014: Here's a photo of @TheEllenShow's now-famous selfie as it was being taken

ABC 7 Chicago ‏@ABC7Chicago 28m
BEST JOB EVER? The guy who delivered pizzas to stars at the #Oscars was a real delivery man:

KROQ's Bean ‏@clydetombaugh 4m
Worthless me is going to bed now thinking about that Best Song Oscar winner, who also has a Tony, an Emmy and a Grammy. At age 39.

New York Post ‏@nypost 5m
Movies that did not win a single Oscar:
-American Hustle
-Captain Phillips
-Wolf of Wall Street

JustinKaufmann ‏@JustinKaufmann 11m
How the fuck could the #oscars miss Dennis Farina? Chi should be pissed.

chuck swirsky ‏@swirsk054 39m
Leonardo Dicaprio an extremely talented and gifted actor can probably relate to the Buffalo Bills right about now.

Jamie Woodham ‏@jwoodham 32m
Luckily for Leonardo DiCaprio, his consolation prize is that he still gets to be Leonardo damn DiCaprio.

Mark Caro ‏@MarkCaro 35m
1972: "Cabaret" wins 8, incl. director. "Godfather" wins 3, incl. picture. 2013: "Gravity": 7, incl. director. "12 Years": 3, incl. picture.

Cleveland Indians ‏@Indians 42m
It's over! @JohnAxford becomes the first MLB player in history (we think; we're just guessing) to hit on 100% of his #Oscars picks!