Posts Tagged ‘Chicago’


by @anarchyroll

If you have watched ESPN for more than 30 seconds in the past year, you’ve likely seen at least two feature segments on Yasiel Puig.

Puig was a bonafide rookie phenom last year who gave the Los Angeles Dodgers the spark they needed to get into the playoffs. His equal parts high level talent and high level charisma made him and instant star and darling of sports fans and networks alike. Puig provided tremendous numbers and intagibles to help his team get over a slump that many speculated would lead the their manager (Don Mattingly) being fired. There was even a strong push for him to be name to the NL All Star Roster despite Puig starting the season in the minor leagues.

If ESPN portrayed Puig as the new face of Major League Baseball, then what is Jose Abreu this year who has better numbers than Puig had last year, this year, or both combined?

Whereas Puig plays for the number one baseball franchise in the second biggest media market in the country, Abreu plays for the number two baseball franchise in the number three media market. Chicago sports teams and their players have been getting the shaft from ESPN for as long as it has existed, Abreu is just the most recent egregious example.

In the pregame coverage for this year’s All Star Game, ESPN did a side by side comparison of Puig and Abreu’s numbers and even admitted that Abreu has proven to be the better player. Yet turn on Sportscenter, Around the Horn, and/or Pardon the Interruption and Abreu seemingly has a segment on something he did right, wrong, or outlandish carved into each show’s format.

Perhaps if Abreu made some more arrogant base running errors or came up with a crazy story of being snuck into the country (like Puig) he could get a little more national play. But I’m sure he and the White Sox will be content with him playing better than Puig consistently and thus paying him more than Puig.

When one ESPN home base is a two-hour drive from Yankee Stadium and the other is literally down the street from Dodger Stadium, I suppose it is hard to expect equal coverage for a player who plays hundreds or thousands of miles from each. Perhaps if ESPN put a home base in Chicago things could change, but that is an expensive endeavor. It’s not like ESPN is owned by a hundred billion dollar company or anything.

Somethings never change. The mindset of Illinois being a fly over state and therefore everything in it apparently is one of them. The Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs, and White Sox are all franchises that make money, have large traveling fan bases, and routinely compete for and win championships (minus the Cubs of course). There is no reason what happens in Chicago sports shouldn’t routinely be the lead story on ESPN programming. One can point to population theory all they want but anything more thorough than a surface level glance at ESPN programming will show that a third tier sports story in New York, Boston, or LA trumps everything short of a Chicago franchise winning a championship. That is wrong and can’t end soon enough, though much like the Cubs chances of winning a World Series is likely more fantasy than reality.

chiraqby @anarchyroll

The placebo effect is very real and can be very helpful. The placebo effect has no place however when it comes to crime rates. Chicago has started following the trend of reclassifying homicides to tinker with the crime rate statistics in the city. This is being done to make the city’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel look like he is doing a better job than he actually is, and incite a placebo effect in the community that crime is actually going down.

The problem is, that shootings and murders are just as bad or worse than ever. The is a reason Chicago has been nicknamed Chiraq and it’s not just a hip hop marketing ploy.

Some people may not like the nickname, but it will remain as long as shootings and murders are a daily occurrence, especially when the victims are often younger than 23.

It must suck being mayor of a city where more people have died than in either of the two wars the United States has been involved in over the past ten years. Equal parts embarrassing and disgusting. If I was mayor of a city that has been called “a failed state within the U.S border” by VICE and had the city’s bonds downgraded due to “unrelenting public safety demands” by Moodys, I would take drastic action to change course or at least create the appearance of change.

Creating the appearance of change is exactly what Rahm Emanuel and his police departments have done. Following in the footsteps of New York, the second city of the United States has begun reclassifying homicides in an effort to sanitize the crime statistics of Chicago.

Desperate people, in desperate times, will take desperate actions. Reclassifying murder victims as “non criminal deaths” for the sake of appearances and smoother press conferences is despicable. But as long as the violence doesn’t regularly spill into the hyper segregated, white, affluent sections of Chicago then the violence will remain as commonplace as the reclassifying.

I wonder what the breaking point is, or if there even is one. Only time will and a higher body count will tell…


by @anarchyroll

Whether you know it or not, college athletics changed forever this week.

Northwestern University’s football players were found to be employees of the school, not merely student athletes, by the National Labor Relations Board in Chicago. This means the players now have collective bargaining rights with the school. That means the players now have a say in terms of monetary compensation for their time and effort on the football field beyond an athletic scholarship. Why is this a big deal?

The student athlete paradigm has been crumbling over the past decade. EA Sports no longer puts out it’s NCAA Football or Basketball video game franchises. Why? Because former student athletes filed multiple class action lawsuits and won (one) because they were not being royalties (residual checks) for the use of their likenesses. EA settled but the NCAA is vowing to take the case(s) to the Supreme Court. The NCAA is also saying they will take the NU case to the highest possible court/governing body. Why? Money.

The NCAA is exposing itself for what it is, a money laundering operation. They exist solely to make money off the time, energy, effort, blood, sweat, and tears of 18-21 year old men and women at Division I universities in the United States of America. They care nothing about graduation rates of the players. They care nothing about their health and medical costs. They only care about how much money they can make off of television contracts for the Bowl Championship Series and March Madness.

By exposing themselves as money hungry pigs, the NCAA is losing it’s battle in the court of public opinion. Rather than evolving and paying the students who are making NCAA and the universities billions of dollars (with a B) each year, they are trying to keep them as scholarship slaves. Scholarships are fine for athletes and universities that aren’t on national television on a daily and/or weekly basis. Scholarships are fine for academics. But NCAA Division I athletics is about money, nothing more, nothing less. If it wasn’t then ESPN and CBS wouldn’t be allowed to make anything more than enough money to cover operational costs to broadcast the sporting events.

But that’s not the way it is. It’s not 1960 anymore. Sports equals business in America. So pay the employees what they earn by destroying their bodies in the primes of their lives for the glory and admiration of their parents and peers. The times they are a changin’. You don’t want to pay students who are on national TV every week? Then;

  • Take the games off national TV.
  • Revoke all contracts outside of local public access.
  • Force all coaches to make the same as the professors.
  • Don’t allow schools to travel out of state to play away games.
  • Disperse all funding equally between all sports played at each school.

Don’t want to do any of those? That list is unrealistic and naive? Yeah, no shit. So pay the players. Don’t give them straight cash homey. Pay them in gift cards so they can buy;

  • food
  • clothes
  • tutors
  • laptops
  • plane tickets to go back home during breaks

If the students can afford these things themselves they won’t be dependent on their parents, boosters, or shady gamblers who get them into point shaving schemes. No one is saying pay the quarterback of Notre Dame $1 million a year. But how about you give the kids some money to have fun on the weekends so you can stop putting schools on probation, stripping wins, taking down banners, and expunging winning records?

Why is NU winning union rights important? It changes the face of college athletics forever. How? Because students will be looked as employees. The tide has turned on this issue. Much like gay rights and marijuana legalization, there is no going back, only forward. It is only a matter of time before all major universities are affected by this. That will affect scheduling, coaches contracts, television contracts, merchandise rights, and tuition costs. The college experience as a whole can and will be changed by this going forward. We have just witnessed the tip of the iceberg.

potatoshooterlogoAJC abbreviated

by @anarchyroll

Which came first? The chicken or the egg? Was RAW in Chicago this past week good because of the threat of #hijackRAW? Or did WWE play their audience like a violin and cut their strings?

I have much love and respect for the organizers of #hijackRAW, or I suppose I should say the attempted organizers.

Before they even got to the arena, during the week leading up, the trolls were out in full force spitting their mirrored self loathing venom at the @chicagorawcrowd for trying to try at something, anything, that involved something they love and want to improve. Then of course the minute Vince McMahon didn’t walk to the middle of the ring to ask CM Punk for the privilege to suck his dick on live television to prove he wanted him to be in the main event of WrestleMania, everyone turned on everybody.

I’m just kidding, they couldn’t turn on each other because they were never united. Trolls jealous an spiteful that they didn’t have the brains, balls, or creativity to attempt something like #hijackRAW movement were shitting on the concept in advance of shitting on it Monday night.

The movement didn’t do themselves any favors by being naive enough to think that Vince McMahon cares what they say after they pay to get in the arena to try and mess with one of 52 live broadcasts in a year. But all us wrestling fans are naive. We are all consciously naive, after all if we weren’t, after seeing one UFC event we would never watch pro wrestling again out of shame.

But wrestling is about imagination, creativity, and vicarious living. The hijack organizers were just a little too naive, and slightly too big marks to enact any meaningful change. Paul Heyman knew this, and like the lapdog of Vince McMahon he has always been, went out there and did what he has done best since 2001, destroyed the heart, spirit, and will of adult, male smart mark wrestling fans.

What happened to the crowd was sad. Put all the cynicism, sarcasm, snarkyness, and told ya so bullshit you want over it. If you’re a male wrestling fan over the age of 21, you hoped something meaningful would happen on Monday, and it didn’t. The Usos winning the tag titles means nothing. Cena and Wyatt’s promos mean nothing. The crowd shouting down Triple H and Stephanie (barely) for one segment means nothing. It was just another RAW on the Road to WrestleMania. One RAW out of 52 that will happen this calendar year.

The fans couldn’t stop tripping over each other or going into business for themselves to get a message across that didn’t involve CM Punk. If any other crowds are considering following suit, may I advise using profanity to piss of the censors and really putting Vince on his heels. Better yet, the only way to send a message is to #BoycottRAW not to pay $50, $100, $150 or more per ticket, buy merchandise, concessions, and pay for parking to say you don’t support what a publically traded organization is doing.

But kudos for the effort. Props for the desire. Respect for trying something which is always better than trying nothing. Maybe some other crowds will follow suit and learn from the failures of the Chicago crowd. Failures are just lessons after all. We all learned some things on Monday. Whether we wanted to or not.


by @anarchyroll

I’ll take hard work over born and bred talent any day of the week. More often than not, so will the city of Chicago. The only thing they love more than a good work ethic is a fun place to drink with minimal exposure to minorities, hence why the Chicago Cubs franchise makes so much money without winning in a century.

Joakim Noah is the embodiment of hustle and desire over talent and skill. Yes he has talent, but his craving to apply maximum sweat equity to his profession is what has made him a two time NCAA champion, two time NBA all star, and the unquestioned heart and soul of the Chicago Bulls franchise.

I have been a fan of Joakim Noah since the suit he wore on draft night. From there he won over the hearts and minds of both myself and the entire Chicago fan base by getting noticeably better every year of his pro career and by constantly hustling his ass off every single game regardless of time of season, home or away, regular season or playoff, nail biter or blowout. That is the kind of effort that Chicago demands of its superstar athletes. Or at least the ones who want to be considered local legends.

Derrick Rose is now perceived as being soft, fairly or unfairly, right or wrong. He has suffered legit injuries, it is in his method of recovery that a very large, very thick cloud on his integrity and grit has arisen. The only question regarding Noah is whether or not he’ll get ejected from a game for wearing his emotions on his sleeve so intensely.

With Rose habitually out of action due to injury, Luol Deng being traded, and the Bulls organization following protocol and refusing to make a trade at the deadline, Noah is both the metaphorical and leader of the Chicago Bulls for the remainder of the 2013-14 season. Because of this, they are winning. Noah has taken his game to the next level, matching his fostered talent with born perseverance. He is scoring more points, grabbing more rebounds, and assisting his teammates scoring more.

The only people who don’t like Noah now are out of towners. Fans of other NBA franchises who just can’t stand that Noah has just enough skill to back up his mouth. Chicago loves him and likely always will. He is the new A.J Pierzynski, who was the new Jim McMahon, who was the new Norm Van Lier…and the beat goes on.

Noah is everything that is right about pro sports, and he smokes weed. He’s not an arrogant primadonna. He’s not lazy. He’s not soft. He doesn’t negotiate his contract in public. He gives time and money to charity. He constantly thanks and gives props to the fans. You need only have vision to see the effort he gives every season, every game, every play, every minute, every second. Joakim Noah is the heart and soul of the Bulls, but now the talent is matching the will. If those two continue to intersect and correlate with better tangible performances, he’ll be a legend of the game in addition to a legend of the city, which he already is.

AJC abbreviated


by anarchyroll

At the encouragement of my friend and photographer Matt I decided to partake in the open auditions Q101 was accepting for a potential DJ job. I spent a few years doing broadcasting in college and enjoyed it very much. The process of making this was a great learning experience. It humbled me quite a bit, made me aware of my procrastination habit that has extended to avoiding doing things I enjoy doing. Yowza. But I got it made and submitted on time. Whether it goes anywhere is now out of my hands. I am happy that I made something that I’m at least not ashamed of considering I had no professional equipment to work with. Click on the link below to listen to it. It’s only 2:30 so it’s not within the realm of being considered a time commitment to listen to. Making it on the other hand, well that’s a whole other story and I’ve already typed too much in this post as is, hahaha.  Cheers!

by @anarchyroll

Justice came for the NATO 3 today in Chicago, sort of.  The three twenty somethings were charged with mob action and arson related charges instead of terrorism, which they were charged with as well.  It was the first terrorism case in the history of Cook County, Illinois.

The “damning” evidence was a recording of the three talking about fire bombing police stations, President Barack Obama’s re election HQ, and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s home. However, defense attorneys were able to convince the jury that the undercover officers bated, egged on, and entrapped the intoxicated protesters into making the claims.

The three men’s lawyer did not paint them in flattering lights. The closing statement saw them called goofs directly. They were often referred to as drunks, posers, big headed, and so on.  The point being that these drunk, white, suburban posers simply got drunk and talked big to impress their peers.  Last I checked that doesn’t qualify as terrorism.  The jury agreed.

The three men didn’t walk out free. You can’t get caught during a NATO conference in a major American city with molatov cocktail making equipment by undercover cops and not go to jail. But the jury was clear that they did not see the three men as terrorists. They did not see their actions as intent to commit terrorism. This was a win for protestors in America period.  Whether the judge who will decide the length of the prison terms sees it that way or not, still remains to be seen.


by @anarchyroll

I’m a Chicago resident and the Bears are always in the news, mostly because the two baseball teams (Cubs, White Sox) are perpetually in the shitter due to both bad management and even worse scouting.  The basketball team (Bulls) had a historic run for a decade over a decade and a half ago. The hockey team (Blackhawks) finally started acting like a major market franchise when the cheapskate geriatric owner died and his son took over and ipso facto, they’ve won two titles in four years.

The Chicago Bears are the Chicago team. They crammed a century’s worth of success into one season (1985) and that white hot fire has evolved into a searing hot coal of football passion ever since. How else does Ditka still have a job at ESPN after falling asleep on air?  How is Dan Hampton allowed to be an analyst when he clearly has never even taken a community college public speaking class? Why did Walter Payton get a SI cover story in 2011 when he died in 1999? Because the Bears have that aura. They are the original NFL franchise, and are treated as such both locally and nationally.

The items keeping the Bears in the current news cycle is the contract extension of Jay Cutler and the defensive coaching shuffle.  In my opinion, both actions the Bears took are indicators of poor management decisions, that of an organization running on gravitas and reputation rather than intellectual talent and experienced decision makers.

There is NO reason Jay Cutler needed a contract extension for $50 million in guaranteed money.  Not with one playoff win anyway.  Firing defensive coaches after their first season in which four starting defensive players went down with season ending injuries does nothing to make a team better.  Jay Cutler needed to be rented with the franchise tag for one more season, and the defensive position coaches needed to be given a chance to coach all of their players for one full season before being given their walking papers.

The franchise tag is not a cheap option, I’m aware. In fact, it is an expensive option, that is why the concept was agreed to in collective bargaining back in the day.  But Cutler DID NOT and HAS NOT earned $50 million in guaranteed money, yet. He can, I believe he can, he has shown flashes of being able to prove he can, but he is a poster of inconsistency and being injury prone.  Those are not characteristics of someone you give a huge contract extension to, when you have the ability to franchise tag them and make them earn it for another year.

The Bears fans don’t want to rebuild, no Chicago fan ever wants to hear that word.  But if the Bears gave Cutler a year to prove himself of the contract he has just been given, that would have been the last year for a bunch of defensive veterans to know whether they are going to contend for a title in Chicago, or latch on to a contender elsewhere.  The Bears could have drafted a QB this year, made Cutler perform under the franchise tag next year, and by this time in 2015 we would know if he’s our guy or if it is rebuilding time.  Instead we get more high priced instability, let’s hope this gamble pays off.

As for the coaches that got fired. Lance Briggs, Henry Melton, Charles Tillman, Kelvin Hayden, Shea McClellin, and Patrick Mannelly all were injured for part or the bulk of the season. How can you fire coaches based on that? I know the Bears finished the season as one of the worst defensive teams, but that happens when the injury bug bites.  The winning franchises are pictures of stability and the Bears look unstable everywhere except at wide receiver as a team on Soldier Field and an organization at Halas Hall.

But it’s not all doom and gloom, we finished one win short of the playoffs two years in a row. A bummer yes, a sign to blow it all up and start over? No, not yet. Another year, with another coaching staff however means it’s time for the wrecking ball.

@anarchyroll 's sports writing blog

ajclogo1by @anarchyroll

This just in! If you have to have reconstructive surgery on your good knee you won’t be able to play basketball very well for a while.  Derrick Rose and the city of Chicago are finding this out first hand. Adrian Peterson was the exception, not the rule…the freakishly fast healing exception.  I shudder to think what talk radio would be saying if Rose didn’t hit that game winning shot against the Knicks last week.

Rose’s rust is actually a good thing, because it is creating low expectations for the Bulls this season. After the opening night slaughter to the Miami Heat, low expectations is just what the doctor ordered for this team. The Chicago Bulls of 2013-14 have everything needed to win an NBA championship, IF they stay health and their starting five plays up to their potential.  The injury bug biting is out of the organizations circle of influence.  Playing up to potential, well that is the dictionary example of something within the circle of influence.  What does that mean for the Chicago Bulls?

Let’s start with Luol Deng since believe it or not, he is who will determine whether the Bulls win a title this year or not.  How him? Why him? Because he is supposed to be Scottie Pippen to MJ, he is supposed to be Manu Ginobli to Tim Duncan, he is supposed to be Moses Malone to Dr J, he is supposed to be Kevin McHale to Larry Bird. I mean, he’s paid like he is the number two guy. In an era barely a decade ago, he is getting paid number one guy money.

Deng’s salary makes his a poster child of disappointment.  His character, poise, integrity, kindness, humble attitude make him a poster child of how a professional athlete should act. The “nice guys finish last” paradigm first Luol Deng like a glove. He is too soft to be successful the way the Bulls need and have needed him to be successful. He doesn’t have the guts to charge the lane when we need him to, he doesn’t have the heart to make the big shot when D Rose is triple teamed at the end of the game. If he made 1/3 of his salary, Deng would be a Chicago hero due to his attitude and defensive effort, but he doesn’t make Andres Nocioni money.

Can I write a book about how awesome Joakim Noah is?! I just might. But for now all you need to know about Noah is he has been dubbed “The Heart and Soul of the Chicago Bulls”. If he can stay healthy, there’s no punditry needed. He isn’t paid to make jumpers, he earns his check and then some every second he spends in the paint on both sides of the floor.

Jimmy Butler seems to be getting saddled with the expectations Chicago used to have for Luol Deng. Butler is young and will still go through growing pains.  Thibs will whip him into shape defensively, no doubt about that. The question is, can the young fella play up to his potential consistently when the lights are brightest during the three month NBA postseason. That war of attrition can make cowards of the bravest regular season heroes.

Lastly we come to the new Reverend Run himself D Rose.  Mr. Adidas has earned a grace period of sucking it up and being off his game.  The yellow streak that was popping out of the back of all of his clothes last season is faded and forgotten…for now.  Championship or bust is the expectation around the city whether the team, organization, or press want to admit it or not.  Expectations come with the salary and endorsements, much like Luol Deng the fact that Rose is a soft spoken humble fella will buy him plenty of good will but only so much patience in a major market like Chicago.

If the Bulls maintain the status quo on defense, Rose returns to form, Noah does his thing, Butler plays slightly beyond his years, and Deng earns his money in the playoffs there is no one in either conference that the Bulls can’t beat in a seven game serious.  The question is which will be more fragile come playoff time, D Rose’s knee or Luol Deng’s will to win?