Media Hacks

If you’re of a certain age, you can still faintly remember a different Rick Telander.  He was the one “young” guy on the old Sportswriters on TV, he wrote some great takeouts for Sports Illustrated and he wrote a terrific book titled “Heaven is a Playground.”  He was a self-effacing, broken down jock who had played football at Northwestern.  Rick Telander was cool.

In fact, he might stilly be pretty cool.

But his writing has been shit for an awfully long time now.

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A Nice Little Place On The North Side

You might know George Will best from all those Sunday mornings he spent unabashedly flirting with Cokie Roberts back when David Brinkley was hosing the Sunday morning ABC politics show.  Or, you may know him for writing a fawning tribute to the genius of The Genius, Tony LaRussa.  Since we’re all Cubs fans here, we all know that he famously said that while growing up in Champaign, Illinois he had to make the choice between rooting for the Cubs or the Cardinals, and he chose a life of misery and disappointment–two things normally associated with living in Champaign in the first place.

I know I wasn’t the only person with a Cubs web site to get sent an advance copy of Will’s new book, “A Nice Little Place On The North Side” (apparently Random House didn’t get the “fading blog star” memo), but I seem to be the only one who actually read it.  Hell, Yellon will do anything for something free, and even he hasn’t written a review of it yet.

The book, is ostensibly a breezy history of the 100 years of Wrigley Field, and the stuff that’s gone on inside of the old ballpark.  Some of the most interesting stuff has little to do with the Cubs (not surprisingly.)  One long passage is the history of beer.  Seriously.  It’s actually fascinating and well done.

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There have been a lot of pixels spilled about what’s going on in Sochi, Russia in the final hours before the Olympics officially start.

Most of it is about how jacked up the hotel rooms and toilets are for the journalists who are arriving to cover the games.  It’s funny, at least to those of us who aren’t there.

The fact that Russia won the “bid” to get these Olympics in the first place is a testament to how corrupt the Olympics are.  Sochi is just about the worst place in that backassward country to have Winter Olympics.  It’s a seaside resort town that doesn’t get all that much snow.  It was woefully unprepared six years ago, and is now just a little big less woefully unprepared now.  That fact that the Olympics are there is almost undeniably because Russia bribed IOC officials to get the games.  They beat out Salzburg, Austria to get the games.  Salzburg.  One of the most culturally significant cities in our world, in Austria, one of the most idyllic places to have any kind of outdoor winter competitions.

The story that is more important than whether you can flush toilet paper in a brand new hotel in Sochi, is the one about the dogs and cats.

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100 Years of Wrigley MovieOne of the perks of being a big time journalist like myself is that you get exclusive access to things that mere mortals don’t.  I’m used to it, so I was unimpressed when the Cubs asked me to be one of the first to review their new movie “100 Years of Wrigley Field.”  They even gave me the option to sub-title the movie, but passed on my suggestion of “Six winning seasons.”

I will say that I was surprised at how much I liked the movie.  It really was a great blend of heart-tugging moments, riotous humor and crushing disappointments.  It wasn’t just a rehash of existing clips thrown together to make a buck.  This isn’t just a movie, it’s a FILM.  Honestly, I doubt they give Oscars for straight to video sports movies, but if they did, this would win all of them.  It’s already the most prized film in my vast collection.

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When Jay Cutler left his groin in a pile in DC several weeks ago, we all thought the season was over.  Once again, an injury to the one competent Bears QB on the roster would fell the entire house of cards and we’d have months of terrible football to slog through.  But lo, there was another.

The Bears rummaged through the scrap heap and pulled out Josh McCown, and he was pretty good.  He nearly won a ludicrous shootout in that game, and then after the bye he got a start in Lambeau Field.  Shea McClellin made himself useful for once and broke Aaron Rodgers’ collarbone and McCown played well enough for the Bears to win the game.

After Cutler rushed back (too soon) and got hurt again in a loss to Detroit, McCown played well in a tornadic victory against the Ravens and in a head-scratching loss to the Rams.  He did not (despite good stats) play well in a road loss to the Vikings, but then last night he went crazy on the Dallas Cowboys (helped in no small part by two dropped interceptions and another that was called back because of a penalty.)

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