Cubs

CSN to air live coverage of 'IHSA Playoff Pairing Release Show' on Oct. 20

CSN to air live coverage of 'IHSA Playoff Pairing Release Show' on Oct. 20

COMCAST SPORTSNET CHICAGO TO AIR LIVE COVERAGE OF IHSA PLAYOFF PAIRING RELEASE SHOW ON OCTOBER 20

CSN to carry LIVE announcement for every first round match-up on Saturday, October 20 at 8:00 PM; to also be streamed live on CSNChicago.com & IHSA.tv

For the second-straight year, network to also carry live coverage of all eight IHSA Football Championships from Memorial Stadium in Champaign, IL (Nov. 23 & 24)

Bloomington, ILChicago, IL (October 16, 2012) -- In conjunction with the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) and the IHSAs production partner, PlayOn! Sports, Comcast SportNet Chicago, the television home for the most games and the most comprehensive coverage of the Chicago Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs and White Sox, has announced it will once again be the home for postseason high school football in Illinois in 2012. This joint partnership will include the airing and live stream of the IHSA Football Playoff Pairing Release Show on October 20 and the IHSA Football State Championship games on November 23-24.

Comcast SportsNet will be the first media outlet to reveal the first round match-ups of all 256 playoff qualifiers across eight classes during the IHSA Football Playoff Pairing Release Show, which will air LIVE from CSNs downtown Chicago studios on Saturday October 20 from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Fans can also watch the brackets unveiled via live interactive stream on the internet at IHSA.tv and CSNChicago.com.

Five weeks later, Comcast SportsNet will air the culminating event of the season as 16 teams from around the state converge upon the University of Illinois Memorial Stadium in Champaign. The Class 1A-4A championships will unfold on Friday, November 23, with the Class 5A-8A tilts coming on Saturday, November 24. The first game will kickoff at 10 a.m. each day, with each subsequent game to follow.

We are always focusing on providing our viewers with the very best local sports coverage available and being able to feature some of the finest preps athletes in the state of Illinois is something were definitely excited to showcase once again, said Phil Bedella, VPGM of Comcast SportsNet Chicago. The IHSA Football Playoff Pairing Release Show and our live coverage of all eight state title games will be an excellent addition to our already stellar line-up of local sports programming. We also appreciate the support of the IHSA and PlayOn! Sports in helping us make the pairings show and the championships available to our viewers.

High school football in Illinois is a special tradition, said IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman. From the unique playoff pairing show, to the state championships, it is a very special time for so many communities. Comcast SportsNet Chicagos commitment to the IHSA and our member schools means that we will be able deliver a superior product to a larger audience in Illinois and beyond.

The pairings show and title games will be distributed to Comcast SportsNet Chicagos entire viewing territory. Viewers are urged to visit CSNChicago.com to find the exact channel locations in their area.

ADDITIONAL DETAILS FOR IHSA FOOTBALL PLAYOFF PAIRING RELEASE SHOW (Sat, Oct. 20 at 8pm)

Fans will be able to interact with the playoff pairing show in a real-time chat on Saturday, October 20 by visiting CSNChicago.com, where they can make comments or ask questions that may be read on the air. Fans can also interact via Twitter by using the hashtag IHSA. Teams who are gathering to watch the program are encouraged to submit photos to be shown during the program, by tweeting them with IHSA or directly to @IHSA_IL or emailing them to mtroha@ihsa.org. All submitted photos will be included in CSNChicago.coms online gallery.

The show will be hosted by Comcast SportsNet anchorreporter and Downers Grove North High School alum Susannah Collins, along with longtime IHSA TV Network personality Dave Bernhard and Kankakee Daily Journal prep writer & the states resident high school football bracketologist, Steve Soucie.

The show will feature:

-The release of the 32-team brackets in all eight classes, as all 256 playoff qualifiers find out their first round playoff opponents and path to Champaign for the first time.
-Highlights from nearly 100 schools from around the state
-Analysis from experts on nearly 100 teams from across Illinois
-Live look-ins and photos from schools hosting playoff pairing parties
-Interviews with coaches and media
-State Championship game picks from a statewide media panel
-CSN Interactive segments with fans

Nicole Darin will host IHSA on CSN Interactive, a live web stream and chat that will offer viewers the opportunity to interact directly with Collins, Bernhard and Soucie. Viewer questions and comments will be featured throughout the show and posted on CSNChicago.com.

Follow IHSA on Twitter @IHSA_IL (IHSA)

Follow Comcast SportsNet Chicago on Twitter @CSNChicago

Become a fan of IHSA on Facebook at http:www.facebook.comIHSA.IL

Become a fan of CSN Chicago on Facebook at http:www.facebook.comCSNChicago

Is Joe Maddon covering for Wade Davis? Where do Cubs go from here?

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USA TODAY

Is Joe Maddon covering for Wade Davis? Where do Cubs go from here?

Is Cubs manager Joe Maddon taking the heat and covering for Wade Davis while the All-Star closer deals with atypical soreness in his right arm?

“No, no,” Maddon said Tuesday when asked if Davis felt anything unusual that lingered into the National League Championship Series after last week’s all-out effort eliminated the Washington Nationals from the divisional round.

The Los Angeles Dodgers took a 2-0 lead in this best-of-seven bullpen battle without Davis throwing a single pitch, the backlash from Cubs fans, Twitter and the national media again putting Maddon on the defensive, the year after he got second-guessed for pushing Aroldis Chapman so hard during the World Series.

This NLCS truly is a bizarro world, with Maddon comparing the Buster Posey Rule to the Chicago soda tax, getting so little benefit of the doubt – the Cubs really did beat the Cleveland Indians in Game 7 – and working the baseball term “dry-hump” into one answer during Monday’s Wrigley Field press conference.

Maddon said he would have to check first with Davis – who would have almost five full days in between relief appearances – if the Cubs need a four- or five-out save in Game 3.

“Nevertheless, I always check,” Maddon said. “I can’t just assume that.”

Maddon’s Game 2 calculus on Sunday night at Dodger Stadium – sticking with lefty reliever Brian Duensing in a 1-1 game to start the ninth inning and then bringing in John Lackey to serve up the walk-off, three-run homer to Justin Turner – made you wonder if Davis was still dragging after ending Washington’s season and traveling on the overnight cross-country flight that got diverted to New Mexico for about five hours when Jose Quintana’s wife experienced a panic attack.

“I think he just got mentally exhausted,” Maddon said. “Physically, 44 pitches, he hasn’t done that in a while. But also the seven outs and what it meant and the plane ride itself, sitting on the tarmac, there was a lot of non-rest going on right there, so it was harder to recover.

“So, no, he was fine for the last game, but we set up the parameters before the game.”

Maddon is sticking with his story, that he would only deploy Davis in a save situation and not use him for one out against Turner (1.115 career postseason OPS) or have him totally warm up without the guarantee of getting him into the game.

“To put Wade in that position would be wrong on my part,” Maddon said. “We had already talked about the circumstances, so my loyalty there lies with Wade, or my decision-making lies with Wade, nobody else.

“That was a heavy day for him (in Washington). Going into the last game in L.A., like I talked about, we talked about one inning only, and not to get up and not put him in the game.

“If you get him up and sit him down, then you have no idea what it’s going to look like. My responsibility is to him, also, and to the players, so I told him that before the game, so I had to stick with our decision.”

Before finalizing the Jorge Soler trade at the winter meetings, the Kansas City Royals took the unusual step of allowing the Cubs to meet with Davis at his home in New York’s Hudson Valley and go through a physical exam. The Cubs wanted reassurances after Davis spent parts of last season on the disabled list with a forearm strain and a flexor strain.

The Cubs wondered if “dry-humping” had contributed to those injuries, and tried to stay conservative with Davis during his free-agent year, watching him convert his first 32 save chances and using him for three-plus outs only three times during the regular season, all in mid-to-late September.

“If you look at the numbers this year, I thought going into the playoffs his usage has been really good,” Maddon said. “Minimal, in a sense. We didn’t get him up hardly at all where we didn’t utilize him.

“He just wasn’t set up for it the other day. So honestly, I think he’s in really good shape right now, actually. I don’t think he could have gone those seven outs the other day if he had been overly dried up during the course of the season. He felt good. But that was above and beyond, and that wasn’t part of the game plan the other night.”

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Ben Zobrist shares his leadoff approach

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SportsTalk Live Podcast: Ben Zobrist shares his leadoff approach

Sports Talk Live is on location at the Brickhouse Tavern at Wrigley Field to get you set for Game 3 of the NLCS. David Haugh (Chicago Tribune), Jesse Rogers (ESPNChicago.com) and Bob Nightengale (USA Today) join Kap on the panel. 

Plus, Ben Zobrist and Curtis Granderson drop by to talk about the big matchup.

Listen to the full SportsTalk Live Podcast right here: