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5 Questions with...Daily Herald's Barry Rozner

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5 Questions with...Daily Herald's Barry Rozner

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 citys 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 guestan award-winning sports writer, columnist, author and radio host who has never been shy to express his opinions, even if they might upset some teams, players and fans from time to time ... he most recently received a major honor with his induction into Northern Illinois University's Northern Star Hall of Fame this past February ... if you don't catch him in the press box, you can check out his stellar columns in the Daily Herald and on the radio every Sunday from 9:00 AM 12:00 PM on 670 The Score ... get ready for 5 Questions with ... BARRY ROZNER!

BIO: A former vendor at all of Chicago's ballparks and stadiums during his college years, Barry Rozner has been a sports columnist for the Daily Herald since 1997, following a decade covering the Cubs first as a feature writer and then as the beat writer.

Rozner has won Peter Lisagor and Associated Press writing awards for his work as a columnist and sports writer, and includes among his national scoops the story that Phil Jackson would be named coach of the Bulls in 1989. In 2007, he was named "Sportswriter of the Year" by the Pitch & Hit Club of Chicago.

A graduate of Northern Illinois University, Rozner has written several books, including "Second to Home" with Ryne Sandberg, and "Where's Harry?" with Steve Stone. He's a frequent co-host on 670 The Score (WSCR-AM) and, in 2010, he began co-hosting the popular "Hit and Run" show with Matt Spiegel.

Rozner was honored by the Little City Foundation in 1998, and sits on the board of the James P. Lang Scholarship Foundation, which awards college scholarships to children of single parent homes.

Having finally given up the violence of hockey for the aggravation of golf, Rozner lives a mostly healthy existence with his family in the Northwest suburbs.

1) CSNChicago.com: Barry, with the NFL lockout upon us, many fans out there are hoping for a resolution by this summer at the latest. What specific aspect of this lockout concerns you most that may prevent the regular season from starting on time come this fall?

Rozner: Even if the players don't get their injunction, I'm not really all that concerned right now. The NFL's never been more popular and I don't think the owners really want to kill the golden goose. If it's August and the owners haven't come off their "billion-off-the-top" demand -- on top of the billion they already take off the top -- then it's time to worry. My belief all along has been that there will be at least a 16-game schedule in 2011. No amount of rhetoric or posturing is going to change my mind on that. I do think players skipping the draft is a foolish idea by the NFLPA and its already backfired on them from a public relations standpoint.

2) CSNChicago.com: As a journalist who covered the Bulls six-title championship run in the 90s, is it a big stretch to say this current off-the-charts talented Bulls team has the potential to also make a multiple-title run this decade? Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and even Michael Jordan himself stated this team can do it. Your thoughts?

Rozner: History suggests those predictions are hyperbolic at the very least. In the last 30 years, only the Isiah Thomas Pistons have won titles with a team featuring a point guard as by far its best player. The NBA has also traditionally been a league of steps, and the Bulls haven't taken the first step yet by winning a playoff series. However, all the free-agent movement of the last year has created a new NBA, where perhaps the Bulls can skip some of those steps. Derrick Rose will win a title in Chicago, maybe even a few. He won't rest until it happens and I'm convinced Rose will get there. Age is on their side and it's the enemy of teams like Boston. But it sounds crazy to talk about five or six titles at this point in their development.

3) CSNChicago.com: The defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks also have their sights set on a multiple title run themselves. In your opinion, what would you say are the top three key things that need to happen come mid-April to get this years squad on yet another solid track to playoff success?

Rozner: Health is absolutely No. 1. If they can dress their best roster, they're going to be a nightmare to play in the playoffs. Except for Detroit, every team in the West will fear them. If Roberto Luongo even hears the word "Blackhawks,'' he'll have to change his pants, girdle, garter, socks and skates. Second is effort. Jonathan Toews is always there, but there have been too many times this year when too many guys didn't show up. Third is defensive responsibility from the forwards. It doesn't work if the guys up front aren't maintaining puck possession, avoiding turnovers at the blue line and getting back to help. Not that you asked, but it's exciting to see the progress of Nick Leddy and the addition of Chris Campoli on defense.

4) CSNChicago.com: Congratulations on being inducted into NIUs Northern Star Hall of Fame last month. What did that honor mean to you personally and what advice do you have for aspiring young sports journalists out there hoping for a similar successful career in the media?

Rozner: It's humbling to be honored by your university. I don't know what else to say. Very proud, very surprised and very grateful. As for anyone who wants to get into this business, it's obviously evolving and I don't know what it's going to look like in the years to come, but if this is your dream then you should chase it. There are too many people in this world who will tell you what you can't do. Ignore them. Chase the dream and you can still succeed in journalism -- or succeed at anything -- if you're good and you're willing to work hard.

5) CSNChicago.com: Your Hit and Run with Spiegel & Rozner radio show on 670 The Score (Sundays from 9:00 AM-12:00 PM) is always a great listen, especially when you and Spiegs disagree on certain issues. With that said, tell us about the single, biggest sports-related disagreement you continue to have to this day ... and, in general, how often does Spiegel think hes right?

Rozner: I can't think of one of those really nasty fights where we wound up yelling at each other on The Score. We disagree on a lot of things, like old school vs. new school, stats vs. hunch and use of the bullpen. Spiegel hates the specialized bullpen roles. But it's a Sunday morning show and we go heavy on the information and the entertainment and try to give people an easy listen as they're shaking off their hangovers and driving the kids all over creation.

Now, you could have asked, "What do you and Dan Bernstein fight about most?'' That's easy: numbers in baseball. We've had some crazy arguments over new-age stats vs. scouting. He wouldn't want you to know this, but the truth is he's much more reasonable about it than he lets on and he's willing to grant me that some of his stats don't always tell the real story. But don't tell anyone I told you that, especially him.

BONUS QUESTION! CSNChicago.com: Anything you would like to plug Barry? Tell us, CSNChicago.com readers want to hear about it.

Rozner: Im easy to find at dailyherald.com, the Score, on Facebook and sometimes just rummaging through dumpsters. If I can be serious for a moment, I help with a lot of different charities, but have a particular soft spot for anything that involves children or any of the cancer charities. This is a really tough time for most charities because the economy is so dreadful, but if you can give at all, every little bit helps.

Rozner LINKS:

Daily HeraldBarry Rozner section

670 The ScoreHit and Run with Spiegel and Rozner

Barry Rozner on Facebook

Basket Slam: Wrigley's quirks come to Cubs' aid in walk-off win

Basket Slam: Wrigley's quirks come to Cubs' aid in walk-off win

The Wrigley Field basket has played a huge role in this week's Cubs-Reds series.

In Monday night's game, Cincinnati catcher Curt Casali hit a game-tying homer into the basket in the seventh inning of a game the Cubs went on to lose.

But the basket giveth and the basket also taketh away.

Tuesday night, it was Kyle Schwarber and the Cubs who were singing the praises of one of the strangest ballpark quirks in baseball.

Schwarber connected on a walk-off homer in the bottom of the 10th inning off Reds closer Raisel Iglesias, hitting a fly ball through the impossibly-humid air and into the basket in left-centerfield for a 4-3 Cubs win.

"Whoever thought about that basket — whenever that occurred — tell them, 'thank you,'" Joe Maddon said. "Although it did work against us [Monday]. When it works for you, it's awesome."

Schwarber has stood under the left-field basket many times with his back against the wall, thinking he might be able to make a play on a high fly ball only to see it settle into the wickets and turn into a chance for a Bleacher Bum to show off their arm. 

But is he a huge fan of the basket now that it worked in his favor?

"I guess so," Schwarber laughed. "Yesterday, it cost us, but today, it helped us out. It's just the factor of Wrigley Field. Happy it worked out today."

It was Schwarber's first career walk off RBI of any kind.

It was the Cubs' fourth walk-off homer of the season, but their first since May 11 when Willson Contreras called "game" on the Milwaukee Brewers. 

The Cubs are now 4-1 since the All-Star Break and hold a 2.5-game lead in the division.

Dylan Cease struggles early, but finishes strong in second White Sox start

Dylan Cease struggles early, but finishes strong in second White Sox start

Dylan Cease picked up a win in his first start, but his second did not go as well.

Cease pitched six innings Tuesday at the Royals and gave up six runs (four earned) on eight hits and a walk. He struck out seven, but took the loss in an ugly game for the White Sox.

The game got off to an ominous start with Eloy Jimenez getting injured on the first batter Cease faced. The White Sox defense didn’t help Cease much either with three errors (Cease had one of those on an errant pickoff throw).

After giving up six runs in the first four innings, Cease settled down to retire the final eight batters he faced. He finished with seven strikeouts against just one walk and threw 67 of his 108 pitches for strikes.

Cease struck out six in his first start and is the first pitcher in White Sox history to strike out six or more in each of his first two career appearances.

A deeper look at Cease’s numbers show his swing and miss stuff hasn’t quite caught on as expected so far. Cease got 13 swinging strikes in 101 pitches in his major league debut. He got 12 whiffs on 108 pitches on Tuesday. His slider did get five swinging strikes on 25 pitches against the Royals.

Fastball command remains a key part to Cease’s success. He only threw 26 out of 54 fastballs for strikes in his debut. Cease improved upon that with 31 strikes on 50 fastballs against the Royals.

Most of the Royals’ damage came against Cease’s fastball as well. Six of the Royals’ eight hits off Cease, including all three extra base hits, were off heaters. Cease also gave up four hits with two strikes.

There has been plenty of hype surrounding Cease since he joined the White Sox, but he hasn’t hit the ground running in the majors just yet. Having 13 days between the first two starts of his career due to the all-star break and the White Sox giving him some extra rest also isn’t the ideal scenario for a young pitcher.

Cease’s ERA is now at 5.73, which isn’t going to set the world on fire. Still, there have been enough positives in his first two starts to see where reasonable improvement could lead to Cease becoming the pitcher the White Sox expect him to be.

 

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