Cubs

"Comcast SportsNet Sports Awards" salutes Chicago's Sports Stars at annual March of Dimes dinner (Monday, Feb. 13)

"Comcast SportsNet Sports Awards" salutes Chicago's Sports Stars at annual March of Dimes dinner (Monday, Feb. 13)

COMCAST SPORTSNET SPORTS AWARDS SALUTES CHICAGO'S SPORTS STARS AT ANNUAL DINNER BENEFITING THE MARCH OF DIMES

24th Annual Comcast SportsNet Sports Awards to be Televised Live on Comcast SportsNet on Monday, February 13th at 7:30 PM (Pre-Show Special airs at 7 PM)Chicago Radio Legend Steve Dahl to Emcee

Chicago, IL (January 9, 2012) Some of Chicago's best-known professional athletes will take center stage to receive honors at the 24th Annual Comcast SportsNet Sports Awards presented by Navistar to benefit the March of Dimes. Over the past two-plus decades, the Comcast SportsNet Sports Awards has raised close to 8 million for the March of Dimes. The dinner will be held on Monday, February 13th, 5 9 p.m. at a new location this year -- the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers, 301 E. North Water Street. The emcee is Chicago radio legend and local media personality Steve Dahl.

The honorees chosen are top athletes from Chicago's professional teams who have made considerable contributions to their teams, as well as the Chicago community. This year's honorees include CARLOS BOOZER (Bulls), COREY CRAWFORD (Blackhawks), KERRY WOOD (Cubs), ALEXEI RAMIREZ (White Sox), LOGAN PAUSE (Fire) and EARL BENNETT (Bears). In addition, Blackhawks legendteam AmbassadorHockey Hall of Famer TONY ESPOSITO will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award. For the pinnacle moment of the evening, this years March of Dimes Inspirational Athlete award winner is 16-year-old TYWAUN CRAIN from Chicagos southwest side. Tywaun has persevered as both an athlete and student, despite being born with cerebral palsy.

The 1000 expected attendees for the 24th Annual Comcast SportsNet Sports Awards will also be able to participate in a silent auction featuring Chicago sports packages and Dream Day tickets, vacation packages including airfare, autographed jerseys of star athletes, tickets for Chicago sports events, golf outings, spa packages, dinner packages, hotel stays and much more. Fans are urged to visit CSNChicago.com and click on the Sports Awards link for complete event details, tickettable sales and online auction bidding.

Daniel C. Ustian, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Navistar International Corporation, the parent company of Warrenville, IL based International Truck and Engine Corporation, is the honorary chair of this years Comcast SportsNet Sports Awards. William T. Barry, Senior Vice President of Draper & Kramer is the events Chairman and James J. Corno is the President of Comcast SportsNet Chicago.

In addition to Comcast SportsNet and Navistar, other event sponsors include Four Seasons Heating and Air Conditioning, Chicagoland Speedway, Draper and Kramer, Dana Corporation, Ernst & Young, KPMG, Latham & Watkins, Office Space, Inc., Oracle, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, LLC (PwC) and Skadden.

The event will begin with a reception at 5:00 PM, followed by dinner at 6:30 PM. The awards ceremony, which will be carried live on Comcast SportsNet in HD, starts at 7:30 PM with a special half-hour preview show set to air at 7:00 PM. Tickets are 350 per person and sponsorships are available. For more information or to purchase tickets to the 24th Annual Comcast SportsNet Sports Awards, please call Rebecca Grant at (312) 596-4721 or visit CSNChicago.com.

Jake Arrieta full of appreciation in return to Wrigley mound: ‘I’ll never forget this city’

Jake Arrieta full of appreciation in return to Wrigley mound: ‘I’ll never forget this city’

The last time Jake Arrieta pitched at Wrigley Field, his night ended with Cubs fans giving him a rousing standing ovation. The former Cubs right hander tossed 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball, leading the Cubs to victory in Game 4 of the 2017 NLCS—their only win against the Los Angeles Dodgers that series.

Arrieta returned to Wrigley Field as a visitor on Monday night, making his first start against the Cubs since joining the Philadelphia Phillies last season. Ironically, Arrieta’s counterpart for the night was Yu Darvish, who ultimately replaced Arrieta in the Cubs starting rotation.

Despite now donning Phillies red, Cubs fans once again showed their love for Arrieta, giving him a lengthy standing ovation ahead of his first plate appearance. Darvish even stepped off the mound in respect for the moment.

“I loved it, absolutely loved it,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said to reporters postgame. “[I’m] very happy that our fans would acknowledge him like that. Yu stepped away from the mound nicely. Jake deserved it.”

Arrieta tipped his helmet in appreciation for the crowd, taking in the moment for more than 30 seconds before stepping into the batter’s box. After the game, he told reporters that moment brought back memories of his time with the Cubs.

“That was something that really brought back great memories of getting that same sort of ovation pretty much on a nightly basis,” Arrieta said. “[I’m] very appreciative of that. I can’t say thank you enough to the city of Chicago, I really can’t.”

Arrieta took fans back to his Cubs tenure on Monday, throwing six innings of one run ball in the Phillies’ 5-4 10-inning win. Although the 33-year-old didn’t pick up the victory, he matched Darvish—who threw six innings of three-run ball—pitch by-pitch.

Phillies manager Gabe Kapler noted how well Arrieta handled his emotions throughout the night.

“I thought he handled the emotions really well. I thought he was in control of the game even when we were down,” Kapler said to reporters. “He always maintained his poise and he just got stronger as the outing went on and that’s why we were able to have him take down the sixth inning for us.”

It’s well-documented how Arrieta’s career improved for the better after the Cubs acquired him in a trade with the Baltimore Orioles in July 2013. When the Cubs acquired him, Arrieta held a career 5.46 ERA in 69 games (63 starts). He finished his Cubs career with a 2.73 ERA in 128 regular season starts. He also won five postseason games with the Cubs, including Games 2 and 6 of the 2016 World Series.

Despite moving on in free agency, Arrieta spoke highly of his time with the Cubs, their fans and the city of Chicago.

“Cubs fans all across the country, all across the world, they really respect and appreciate what guys are able to do here for them,” he said. “It means a lot, it really does.

"I’ll never forget this city, the fan base, the organization, everything that they did for me. It was 4 1/2 incredible years of my career.”

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Yu Darvish crashed Jake Arrieta's party, but Cubs bullpen falters

Yu Darvish crashed Jake Arrieta's party, but Cubs bullpen falters

Yu Darvish was one pitch away.

Holding onto a 1-0 lead with two outs in the sixth inning, Darvish threw Phillies catcher JT Realmuto a 2-2 cutter. It made sense - Darvish had been spotting that pitch well all night, and the Phillies were averaging a paltry 79.8 mph exit velocity against it.

With one strike standing between Darvish and a 6-inning shutout, Realmuto took Darvish’s cutter and sent it back up the middle for a game-tying RBI single. A 2-RBI triple from César Hernández followed. In the blink of an eye, what was shaping up to be one of Darvish’s finest moments in Chicago was instead reduced to yet another start spent searching for silver linings.

“Really good. He was outstanding tonight,” Joe Maddon said. “He pitched really well.

“He had really good stuff. He had command of his stuff, he had command of himself. I thought he was outstanding - even better than what he looked like in Cincinnati. I thought that was probably his best game for us to date.”

Darvish has continued to lean heavily on his cutter this season, more so than any year prior. After throwing it 13 percent of the time last season, he’s going to that pitch almost 25 percent of the time now. If that holds, it’d beat his previous career-high, set in 2013, by six percentage points.

All things considered, that pitch has actually been good for him this season. It’s his go-to offering when he needs to induce weak contact, and batters are hitting .125 against it so far. He gets batters to chase cutters 29.5 percent of the time, the most of any pitch he throws. While he has admitted in games past that he relies too heavily on his fastball, Maddon sees no issues with the new trend.

“I have no concerns with that whatsoever,” he said. “There’s different ways for pitchers to attack hitters, and if it's successful, I really would not change a whole lot.”

Though the night was dedicated to celebrating one of the franchises most beloved pitchers, it was one of their most maligned that continued to show signs of figuring it out. He’s put together back-to-back starts with three or less walks for the first time this season, and has allowed two or less runs in three of the last five.

The pitcher even stepped off the mound during Arrieta’s first at-bat, in order to let the standing ovation continue on.

“He’s is a legend in Chicago,” Darvish said after the game. “And I pitched against him and pitched pretty good, so it makes me confident.”

The bullpen again struggled on Monday night, as the trio of Mike Montgomery, Brad Brach, and Kyle Ryan allowed two runs on five hits, including the game-winning solo home run from Realmuto in the 10th. For a moment it looked like the Cubs had a win wrapped up when Brach got outfielder Andrew McCutchen to bite on a two-strike slider, but was (probably incorrectly) called a checked swing.  He would eventually draw a walk, leading to Jean Segura’s game-tying single.

“On the field, I thought for sure [that McCutchen swung],” Brach said. “Looking at the first base umpire, I was a little taken aback. That’s why I went off the mound - just to regather myself, because I didn’t want to let the emotion get to me there.

“It’s a 50-50 call, and unfortunately it didn’t go my way.”

 

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