White Sox

5 Questions with...The Score's David Schuster

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5 Questions with...The Score's David Schuster

CSN Chicago Senior Director of Communications
CSNChicago.com Contributor

Want to know more about your favorite Chicago media celebrities? CSNChicago.com has your fix as we put the city's most popular personalities on the spot with everyone's favorite local celeb feature entitled 5 Questions with...

On Wednesdays, exclusively on CSNChicago.com, its our turn to grill the local media and other local VIPs with five random sports and non-sports related questions that will definitely be of interest to old and new fans alike.

This weeks guest .. a guy who has pretty much seen it all in his 30-plus years of covering the Chicago sports scene ... his trust and rapport with athletes and team executives has paid major dividends in a career that most sports journalists will would die for ... calling him a sports nut is a fair assessment, but hes also one of the nicest guys around ... from WSCR 670 The Score, here are 5 Questions with ... DAVID SCHUSTER!

BIO: David Schuster has been covering the local sports scene for over 30 years and, in that time, he has seen more games and events then just about anybody. Hes covered nine local championships (six by the Bulls, and one each by the Bears, White Sox & Blackhawks), along with three no-hitters and one perfect game. Plus he had the honor of covering the best basketball player ever on a daily basis. In addition to covering numerous teams and events in and around Chicago, hes also an active sports participant in basketball, baseball, golf, tennis, you name it. Hes also a huge movie buff, a frequent traveler and even owns a piece of a local minor league baseball team and a local restaurant.

1) CSNChicago.com: David, first up, you're back in Arizona once again covering the start of spring training for Chicago's baseball teams. Tell us your top 3 hopeful predictions that will have White Sox fans excited for the upcoming campaign -- and three as well for the Cubs.

Schuster: Hope is ever eternal at Spring Training and this year is no different for both our baseball teams. The following are hopeful predictions (maybe even beyond hope) for the Sox & Cubs.

On the south side: 1) Jake Peavy returns to his Cy Young award winning form with no repercussions from his shoulder surgery to win 20 plus games, 2) Paul Konerko & Adam Dunn combine for 90 home runs and 3) the Sox win the World Series.

Meanwhile, on the other side of town: 1) Carlos Zambrano is like a choir boy and wins 20 for the first time, 2) Carlos Marmol saves 45 games and 3) Carlos Pena hits 40 HRs and drives in a 115 runs as the Cubs get back into the playoffs. Like I said, hope is eternal (if not realistic) at this time of the year.

2) CSNChicago.com: As someone who has covered spring training for years, what are your favorite and least favorite elements during your extended stay in sunny AZ?

Schuster: You have to love covering Spring Training if for nothing else the weather. Tell me many other jobs where you get transported from the snow and the cold to 80 degrees and sunny, while reporting on teams that don't even have any losses yet. Plus, all the players are in such good moods this time of the year. Five months later maybe not so much, but they certainly are affable in February.

As for the drawbacks there aren't many, but I certainly get jealous when I see the fans gulping down their beers while catching rays....hey that should be me! And, even though I love baseball, I miss covering hoops. I'm a basketball junkie and Derrick Rose is the best player I have had the pleasure of covering since Michael Jordan. He has really livened the city with his greatness.

3) CSNChicago.com: Your popular ChicagoNow.com Booth Reviews film blog does a solid job of reviewing new and classic movies, without taking yourself or the movies too seriously. Since its Oscar season and you've pretty much seen them all, is The Kings Speech the Best Picture winner this year or do you see a dark horse in The Social Network winning the big prize?

Schuster: In my mind, there is no question that "The King's Speech" was hands down the best movie of the year. I definitely liked "The Social Network" and "The Fighter," but you just get that certain feeling when you walk out of a theater after seeing certain movies and I was hit with that feeling after seeing "The King's Speech." The writing was fabulous and the chemistry between Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush was outstanding -- both should win acting nods for their portrayals.

4) CSNChicago.com: How is it possible with everything else you have going on that you also own a piece of a minor league baseball team and a restaurant!? Tell us about how you got yourself involved in those endeavors.

Schuster: I got involved as a minor league baseball owner and part owner of a restaurant through associations with close friends. After being on the other side of the ledger in baseball, I kidded Jerry Reinsdorf that I would never question him again when it came to ownership. He laughed at me. As for the restaurant, it's not normally a good investment, but I have faith in the main proprietor (Jeff Shapiro). The restaurant's name is Rural Urban Barbeque in Highland Park and the food is really good. Jeff knows the business inside and out and his cooking and sauces are out of this world.

5) CSNChicago.com: Credit has to be given when its due. Your social media following is off-the-charts impressive. It seems like every time you send out a sentence or two -- on anything -- you immediately get 20-30 replies from your friends and followers. Whats your personal secret and do you think social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter have leveled off in popularity or are they on the verge of becoming even bigger?

Schuster: I think we have just scratched the surface when it comes to social media outlets. It's truly amazing how effective they are and how all the old time media use them to their advantage. If you work at a radio or TV station or at a newspaper, you have to keep track of various Twitter or Facebook accounts. We constantly are getting stories from both and often get breaking news from these sources.

As for my own page, I love just putting out certain opinions or facts and then having all my followers make comments. Some are intelligent and some are off the wall. But I'm constantly amazed at how many comments I'll get and when it comes to baseball -- Cubs and Sox fans often go at each other. In fact, I can put up quotes from the Gettysburg Address or something so far away from baseball and yet those Cubs and Sox folks will spew their venom towards each other. It blows me away sometimes, but it also tells me of the passion that both teams enjoy from their fandom.

BONUS QUESTIONCSNChicago.com: Any finals words or comments David?

Schuster: I appreciate having the forum here to answer the above 5 Questions and will continue to say that I am truly a lucky guy. I am doing what I have always wanted, which is to cover sports in my hometown. I'm on the front line of history every day and I wouldn't trade that in for anything....except maybe a winning (100 million) Power Ball ticket.

Schuster LINKS

David Schuster sectionblog on WSCRs official web site

Schusters ChicagoNow.com Booth Reviews blog

David Schuster on Facebook

White Sox prospect Micker Adolfo sidelined with elbow injuries

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USA TODAY

White Sox prospect Micker Adolfo sidelined with elbow injuries

PHOENIX, Ariz. — One of the White Sox prized prospects will be on the shelf for a little while.

Outfielder Micker Adolfo has a sprained UCL in his right elbow and a strained flexor tendon that could require surgery. He could avoid surgery, though he could be sidelined for at least six weeks.

Though he hasn’t received the same high rankings and media attention as fellow outfield prospects Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert, Adolfo is considered a part of the White Sox promising future. He’s said to have the best outfield arm in the White Sox system.

Adolfo had a breakout season in 2017, slashing .264/.331/.453 with 16 homers and 68 RBIs in 112 games with Class A Kannapolis.

Adolfo, along with Jimenez and Robert, has been generating buzz at White Sox camp in Glendale, with a crowd forming whenever the trio takes batting practice. Earlier this week, the three described their conversation dreaming about playing together in the same outfield for a contending White Sox team in the future.

Javy Baez can do anything defensively, but what's next for him at the plate?

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USA TODAY

Javy Baez can do anything defensively, but what's next for him at the plate?

MESA, Ariz. — You don’t need to spend long searching the highlight reels to figure out why Javy Baez goes by “El Mago.”

Spanish for “The Magician,” that moniker is a fitting one considering what Baez can do with his glove and his arm up the middle of the infield. The king of tags, Baez also dazzles with his throwing arm and his range. He looks like a Gold Glove kind of player when you watch him do these amazing things. And it’s no surprise that in his first media session of the spring, he was talking about winning that award.

“Just to play hard and see what I can do. Obviously, try to be healthy the whole year again. And try to get that Gold Glove that I want because a lot of people know me for my defense,” he said Friday at Cubs camp. “Just try to get a Gold Glove and stay healthy the whole year.”

Those high expectations — in this case, being the best defensive second baseman in the National League — fall in line with everything the rest of the team is saying about their own high expectations. It’s been “World Series or bust” from pretty much everyone over the past couple weeks in Mesa.

Baez might not be all the way there just yet. Joe Maddon talked earlier this week about his reminders that Baez needs to keep focusing on making the easy plays while staying a master of the magnificent.

“What I talked to him about was, when he had to play shortstop, please make the routine play routinely and permit your athleticism to play. Because when the play requires crazinesss, you’re there, you can do that,” Maddon said. “But this straight up ground ball three-hopper to shortstop, come get the ball, play it through and make an accurate throw in a routine manner. Apparently that stuck. Because he told me once he thought in those terms, it really did slow it down for him. And he did do a better job at doing that.”

But the biggest question for Cubs fans when it comes to Baez is when the offense will catch up to his defense. Baez hit a game-winning homer run in his first major league game and smacked 23 of them last season, good for fifth on a team full of power bats. But arguably just as famous as Baez’s defensive magic is his tendency to chase pitches outside of the strike zone. He had 144 strikeouts last season and reached base at a .317 clip. Seven Cubs — including notable struggling hitters Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist — had higher on-base percentages in 2017.

Baez, for one, is staying focused on what he does best, saying he doesn’t really have any specific offensive goals for the upcoming season.

“I’m not worrying about too much about it,” he said. “I’m just trying to play defense, and just let the offense — see what happens.”

Maddon, unsurprisingly, talked much more about what Baez needs to do to become a better all-around player, and unsurprisingly that included being more selective at the plate.

“One of the best base runners in the game, one of the finest arms, most acrobatic, greatest range on defense, power. The biggest thing for me for him is to organize the strike zone,” Maddon said. “Once he does that, heads up. He’s at that point now, at-bat wise, if you want to get those 500, 600 plate appearances, part of that is to organize your zone, accept your walks, utilize the whole field, that kind of stuff. So that would be the level that I think’s the next level for him.”

Will Baez have a season’s worth of at-bats to get that done? The versatile Cubs roster includes a couple guys who split time between the infield and outfield in Zobrist and Ian Happ. Getting their more consistent bats in the lineup might mean sacrificing Baez’s defense on certain days. Baez, of course, also has the ability to slide over to shortstop to spell Addison Russell, like he did when Russell was on the disabled list last season.

Until Baez learns how to navigate that strike zone a bit better, it might make Maddon more likely to mix and match other options, rather than considering him an everyday lock like Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant.

But like Russell, Albert Almora Jr. and Willson Contreras, Baez is one of the young players who despite key roles on a championship contender the last few years still have big league growth to come. And Maddon thinks that growth is right around the corner.

“I want to believe you’re going to see that this year,” Maddon said. “They’ve had enough major league at-bats now, they should start making some significant improvements that are easy to recognize. The biggest thing normally is pitch selection, I think that’s where it really shows up. When you have talented players like that, that are very strong, quick, all that other stuff, if they’re swinging at strikes and taking balls, they’re going to do really well. And so it’s no secret with Javy. It’s no secret with Addy. Addy’s been more swing mode as opposed to accepting his walks. That’s part of the maturation process with those two guys. Albert I thought did a great job the last month, two months of getting better against righties. I thought Jason looked really good in the cage today. And Willson’s Willson.

“The natural assumption is these guys have played enough major league at-bats that you should see something different this year in a positive way.”