Cubs

Blackhawks Hall of Famer Tony Esposito to be next featured guest on Inside Look

Blackhawks Hall of Famer Tony Esposito to be next featured guest on Inside Look

“Inside Look presented by Cadillac,” hosted by Comcast SportsNet’s Luke Stuckmeyer, featuring Tony Esposito to debut Wednesday, May 20 at 8:00 PM CT 

CSNChicago.com to provide additional web-exclusive coverage of ‘Inside Look,’ including extended video clips

Chicago, IL (May 11, 2015) – Comcast SportsNet, the television home for the most games and most comprehensive coverage of the Chicago Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs and White Sox, continues to delve into the lives of some of the biggest names in Chicago sports with its candid, monthly, one-on-one interview series Inside Look presented by Cadillac

Debuting Wednesday, May 20 at 8:00 PM CT, Comcast SportsNet’s Luke Stuckmeyerhosts an exclusive one-on-one interview with Chicago Blackhawks Ambassador/Hockey Hall of Famer TONY ESPOSITO.  Esposito discusses everything from his youth growing up in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, with his Hockey Hall of Fame brother Phil Esposito, being claimed on waivers by the Blackhawks in 1969, his stellar 1969-70 rookie campaign, in which he won both the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s top goaltender and the Calder Trophy as the league’s rookie of the year, his mental game preparation throughout his brilliant career, his return to the Blackhawks organization as an Ambassador in 2008, and much more.  

In addition, viewers are urged to check out Comcast SportsNet’s website, CSNChicago.com, for additional interview content never before seen on TV.  Fans will also be able to watch every Inside Look guest interview online after it debuts on Comcast SportsNet.  Comcast SportsNet will also re-air Inside Look with Tony Esposito on the following dates/times: Sat, May 23 at 8pm - Sun, May 24 at noon - Wed, May 27 at 8pm - Fri, May 29 at 5:30pm on CSN+HD - Sat, May 30 at 2pm - Sun, May 31 at 3pm and Mon, June 1 at 1:30pm.  Schedule subject to change.

Note the following quotes from Inside Look with Tony Esposito presented by Cadillac premiering Wednesday, May 20 on Comcast SportsNet:

ESPOSITO on being claimed on waivers by the Blackhawks in 1969:

“That was the best day of my life.  I remember it.  I mean I had better times, but at the time I said 'I got to go back to Montreal,’ and I really didn't want to go there.  It wasn't my…it was a different kind of living, it was mainly French culture a lot, and I was a Midwesterner, so I was kind of used to this.  I'd been there (Chicago) before, because my brother (Phil) played for the Hawks for two-and-a-half to three years.  And I came down to visit him when I was at Michigan Tech, and we had said 'geez, what a great place to play hockey,’ and he ends up getting traded to Boston and then the next year, then I come into Chicago. So, the only time I wanted to come to Chicago for another reason was when I played in Montreal against the Chicago Blackhawks.”

ESPOSITO on returning to the Blackhawks organization as an Ambassador:

“As you get older, you reflect more on things that have happened to you, and that was one of the nicest things that ever happened to me, and I'm sure to Bobby (Hull), Stan (Mikita), and Denis (Savard), because all of a sudden, you're old, and your hockey career is pretty much passé as an administrator or whatever.  When you get that phone call and they say they want you back with the hockey team, and it's just... it's just very gratifying and they didn't have to do that.  A lot of teams don't do anything like that.  But again, this is the Chicago Blackhawks, today's Chicago Blackhawks. They're innovative in everything they do, we're emulated all over the league, so they're ahead of the curve all the time here. And they brought us guys in and we try to do the job that they ask us to do, which I think we do well. We're just proud to be here.”

Willson Contreras willing to pay the price for mound visits

Willson Contreras willing to pay the price for mound visits

News broke to Willson Contreras that the league will be limiting mound visits this upcoming season, and the Cubs catcher —notorious for his frequent visits to the rubber — is not having it.

“I’ve been reading a lot about this rule, and I don’t really care. If you have to go again and pay the price for my team, I will," he said.

The new rules rolled out Tuesday will limit six visits —any time a manager, coach or player visits the mound — per nine innings. But, communication between a player and a pitcher that does not require them moving from their position does not count as a visit.When a team is out of visits, it's the umpire's discretion to allow an extra trip to the mound.

But despite the new rules, Contreras is willing to do what's best for the team.

“There’s six mound visits, but what if you have a tight game? They cannot say anything about that. If you’re going to fine me about the [seventh] mound visit, I’ll pay the price.”

Left, right, center: Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert and Micker Adolfo are dreaming of being the White Sox championship outfield of the future

Left, right, center: Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert and Micker Adolfo are dreaming of being the White Sox championship outfield of the future

GLENDALE, Ariz. — All that was missing was a dinner bell.

From all over the White Sox spring training complex at Camelback Ranch they came, lined up in front of the third-base dugout and all around the cage to see a trio of future White Sox take batting practice.

This is all it was, batting practice. But everyone wanted to get a glimpse of Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert and Micker Adolfo swinging the bat. And those three outfield prospects delivered, putting on quite a show and displaying exactly what gets people so darn excited about the White Sox rebuild.

How to sum it up if you weren’t there? Just be happy you weren’t parked behind the left-field fence.

Jimenez and Robert are two of the biggest stars of the White Sox rebuilding effort, with Adolfo flying a bit more under the radar, but all three have big dreams of delivering on the mission general manager Rick Hahn and his front office have undertaken over the past year and change: to turn the South Siders into perennial championship contenders. The offensive capabilities of all three guys have fans and the team alike giddy for the time they hit the big leagues.

And those three guys can’t wait for that day, either.

“Actually, just a few minutes ago when we were taking BP, we were talking about it,” Jimenez said Tuesday. “Micker and Luis said, ‘Can you imagine if we had the opportunity one day to play together in the majors: right, left and center field? The three of us together and having the opportunity to bring a championship to this team?’ I think that’s a dream for us, and we’re trying to work hard for that.”

“We were just talking about how cool it would be to one day all three of us be part of the same outfield,” Adolfo told NBC Sports Chicago. “We were talking about hitting behind each other in the order and just envisioning ourselves winning championships and stuff like that. It’s awesome. I really envision myself in the outfield next to Eloy and Luis Robert.”

How those three would eventually line up in the outfield at Guaranteed Rate Field remains to be seen. Adolfo’s highly touted arm would make him an attractive option in right field. Robert’s speed and range makes him the logical fit in center field. Jimenez will play whichever position allows his big bat to stay in the lineup every day.

Here in Arizona, the focus isn’t necessarily on some far off future but on the present. As intriguing as all three guys are and as anticipated their mere batting practice sessions seem to be, they all potentially have a long way to go to crack the big league roster. Jimenez is the furthest along, but even he has only 73 plate appearances above the Class A level. Adolfo spent his first full season above rookie ball last year. Robert has yet to play a minor league game in the United States.

The group could very well make its way through the minor leagues together, which would obviously be beneficial come the time when the three arrive on the South Side.

“We were talking about (playing in the big leagues), but also we were talking about just to have the first stage of the three of us together in the minor leagues first and then go to the majors all three of us together,” Robert said. “To have the opportunity to play there should be pretty special for us. We were dreaming about that.”

For months now, and likely for months moving forward, the question has been and will be: when?

Whether it’s Jimenez or top pitching prospect Michael Kopech or any other of the large number of prospects who have become household names, fans and observers are dying to see the stars of this rebuilding project hit the major leagues. Yoan Moncada, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez made their respective jumps last season. Hahn, who has said repeatedly this offseason that the front office needs to practice patience as much as the fan base, has also mentioned that a good developmental season for these guys might involve no big league appearances at all.

And it’s worth remembering that could be the case considering the lack of experience at the upper levels of the minor leagues for all three of these guys.

“In my mind, I don’t try to set a date for when I'm going to be in the majors,” Jimenez said. “That is something I can’t control. I always talk with my dad and we share opinions, and he says, ‘You know what? Just control the things that you can control. Work hard and do the things that you need to do to get better.’ And that’s my key. That’s probably why I stay patient.”

But staying patient is sometimes easier said than done. The big crowd watching Jimenez, Robert and Adolfo send baseballs into a to-this-point-in-camp rare cloudless Arizona sky proved that.

Dreaming of the future has now become the official pastime of the South Side. And that applies to fans and players all the same.

“I’m very, very excited,” Jimenez said, “because I know from the time we have here, that when the moment comes, when we can all be in the majors, the ones that can finally reach that level, we’re going to be good, we’re going to be terrific. I know that.”