Hit a Home Run, Get Accused of Taking Steroids

If you’d like to know why steroids make a great story, ask the Chicago newspapers this week.  They’ve taken one tiny insinuation made completely tongue-in-cheek by one columnist and turned it a tempest in a Theriot-sized teapot.

Ryan Theriot

That Theriot would be petite Ryan Theriot, female fan favorite and infielder for the Chicago Cubs.  He’s rattled off five home runs this spring after one all last year in a performance that reeks of small sample size.  CHICAGO SUN-TIMES columnist Rick Telander then (mostly) jokingly accused The Riot of being juiced up because we can no longer trust anyone in baseball and so on.

Then the crosstown rival CHICAGO TRIBUNE asked Theriot and his teammates about the story and all hell broke loose.

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Er, Cubs Do Allow 104-Year-Old Fan The First Pitch

Nice story here from the Northsiders. After initially dashing Leo Hildebrand’s hopes to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at a game, the Cubs relented. Hildebrand, who is old enough to remember much worse economic conditions than these and the Cubs’ last World Series title, threw out the first pitch yesterday. It also ended up being the same day the Cubs clinched a playoff berth. Good decision there, Cubbies.

The Jay Mariotti-less SUN TIMES reports: Hildebrand, seated in a wheelchair before the game, had player after player shake his hand and sign a baseball, some promising at one point to “get it done today” — the clinching of a second straight National League Central title. Read more…

Jay Mariotti Cannot Write For The Chicago Tribune

It’s been just about three weeks since Jay Mariottiresigned” from his columnist gig at the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, and they’ve been an odd three weeks for Chicago sports fans. Without Mariotti telling them why all Chicago teams suck, fans are actually enjoying their team’s division races in baseball, and there is even some optimism about the Chicago Bears after the way they beat the Indianapolis Colts in week one of the NFL season.

When Mariotti did leave the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES he did so because he said it was his belief that newspapers were a dying business (though there are conflicting stories going around that Jay threw a hissy fit over Rick Telander getting to write a Barack Obama column and threatened to leave for the millionth time, and this time the SUN-TIMES just called his bluff).

I believe his exact words were: “I’m a competitor and I get the sense this marketplace doesn’t compete.  Everyone is hanging on for dear life at both papers. I think probably the days of high-stakes competition in Chicago are over.  To see what has happened in this business. … I don’t want to go down with it.”

So that must be why Jay was in negotiations with the CHICAGO TRIBUNE until lawyers from the SUN-TIMES threatened to sue.

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Blog Jam: Craig Sager Talks Travels w/Ted Turner

• MOUTHPIECE SPORTS sits down with Craig Sager, and the fashionable sideline reporter shares a fun story about Ted Turner changing planes ’cause he was Fonda Jane.

Craig Sager and the ladies of SbB

• RANDBALL hears the editor-in-chief of the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES’ saying that Jay Mariotti will be missed - but “not personally, of course“.

• BUGS & CRANKS learns that Kenny Rogers is no fan of instant replay in baseball, and the perturbed pitcher blames A-Rod for it’s introduction.

• THE SLANCH REPORT wishes PEOPLE magazine would have chosen a better photo to announce Misty May-Treanor’s appearance on this season’s “Dancing With The Stars“.

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Chicago Tribune Gives Mariotti Haters a Voice

UPDATE: The message board’s working again! Let the bile spew.

The CHICAGO TRIBUNE and CHICAGO SUN-TIMES have been taking out their anger over their ownership kerfuffles on each other recently, especially in their sports departments (where it doesn’t look quite as petty, perhaps).

First, a Tribune intern wins a Sun-Times video contest disparaging Tribune Company and Cubs owner Sam Zell and his attacks on Wrigley. (After all, who knows the old coot best than the ones that hate him most?)

The ante has been upped, at least temporarily, by the new turn of events at the Sun-Times. The paper’s Web site now accepts comments from readers, opening a social networking-new media-Web 2.0 thingies that someone at the Sun-Times decided was essential to new paradigms blah blah. Except, of course, Jay Mariotti wasn’t having any of that. No comments on his columns, thanks.

Chicago Tribune Jay Mariotti message board remnants

For a brief time Friday afternoon and evening, though, the Chicago Tribune came up with a solution for disenfranchised Mariotti commenters: their own message board on the Chicago Tribune’s Web site. However, that board is gone as of this morning, leaving a “Server Error” behind. Proof of the board’s brief existence can only be found at Google.

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Anti-Zell Sun-Times Contest Won By Tribune Intern

Leave it to a CHICAGO TRIBUNE intern to “punk” the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES who was running an anti-Sam Zell video contest, reports newspaper insider publication EDITOR AND PUBLISHER. Katie Hamilton landed the $1,000 first-place prize and promptly gave it to Tribune charities. We’re guessing the always-tight Trib failed to give Katie a bonus for her efforts. A full-time job would probably suffice.

Sun Times, Cubs and Chicago Tribune

Ms. Hamilton’s video was created around Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It” classic. Watch it here. Sam Zell has been enemy #1 in Chicago ever since he mentioned the possible sale of naming rights to Wrigley Field. It’s like America selling one of its national parks to China.

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