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CSN and CSNChicago.com to deliver comprehensive coverage for its 2016 White Sox and Cubs opening week telecasts

CSN and CSNChicago.com to deliver comprehensive coverage for its 2016 White Sox and Cubs opening week telecasts

Expanded Coverage on tap for White Sox Season Opener on Apr. 4/Home Opener on Apr. 8, along with CSN’s first Cubs Telecast on Apr. 5 

CSNChicago.com coverage highlighted by Opening Week pre/post-game video reports, exclusive behind-the-scenes video, Plus - feature stories, “Insider” reports, in-game Twitter coverage from on-air/digital talent and much more!

Chicago, IL (March 31, 2016) – Comcast SportsNet, the television home for the most games (close to 200!) and most comprehensive coverage of the 2016 Chicago White Sox and Chicago Cubs, will deliver expanded coverage for the White Sox Season/Road Opener on Monday, April 4, its first Cubs game of the season on Tuesday, April 5, and the White Sox Home Opener on Friday, April 8! Also, Comcast SportsNet’s digital home, CSNChicago.com, will provide fans with even more extensive Opening Week coverage, including exclusive behind-the-scenes video, numerous feature stories, “Insider” reports, featured player videos, game previews/recaps and much more!

For the White Sox Season/Road Opener on Monday, April 4, Comcast SportsNet will get MLB’s opening day underway starting at 5:30 PM CT with SportsTalk Live presented by The Chevy Silverado, along with a pair of Road to Opening Day Cubs/White Sox specials, which leads right into the season premiere of White Sox Pregame Live presented by The Kowalis Family of Dealerships at 8:30 PM…and first pitch is set for 9:00 PM as the White Sox face the Oakland Athletics in their 2016 season debut. The game will be immediately followed by an expanded edition of Subaru White Sox Postgame Live.  Note the following highlights from Comcast SportsNet’s White Sox Opening Day coverage:

MONDAY, APRIL 4 on COMCAST SPORTSNET – WHITE SOX SEASON OPENER!

5:30 PM – SportsTalk Live presented by The Chevy Silverado– Special Opening Day edition pre-game discussion & analysis with host David Kaplan and special guests featuring live remote White Sox updates from Oakland and Cubs updates from Anaheim.

6:30 PM – SportsNet Central presented by Comcast Business – Even more Opening Night coverage, including White Sox & Cubs game previews, along with live remote interviews and recaps from earlier MLB’s Opening Day games.

7:30 PM – Road to Opening Day: Chicago CubsFeaturing Cubs player/coaches interviews, player profiles, along with numerous, entertaining off-the-field feature stories.

8:00 PM – Road to Opening Day: Chicago White SoxFeaturing White Sox player/coaches interviews, player profiles, along with numerous, entertaining off-the-field feature stories.

8:30 PM – White Sox Pregame Live presented by The Kowalis Family of Dealerships – Comprehensive Opening Night pre-game coverage featuring hosts Chuck Garfien & Bill Melton, along with live remote updates from Oakland via White Sox beat reporter Siera Santos and CSNChicago.com White Sox “Insider” Dan Hayes. 

9:00 PM – SEASON OPENER: WHITE SOX at OAKLAND (L) – Featuring Ken “Hawk” Harrelson & Steve Stone on the call

12:00 AM – Subaru White Sox Postgame Live (time approx.) – Hosted by Garfien and Melton featuring post-game reaction, post-game player interviews from Siera Santos, and a detailed game recap.

12:30 AM –SportsNet Central presented by CLR – LIVE, comprehensive White Sox and Cubs Opening Day local recap and national Opening Day recaps from around Major League Baseball.

1:00 AM – White Sox at Oakland (game replay)

On Tuesday, April 5 on CSN+, Comcast SportsNet will provide fans with extensive coverage for its first Chicago Cubs telecast of the 2016 season.  Coverage begins at 8:30 PM with Cubs Pregame Live presented by Fields Auto Group, featuring hosts David Kaplan and Todd Hollandsworth, along with live remote reports from Anaheim via Cubs beat reporter Kelly Crull and CSNChicago.com Cubs “Insider” Patrick Mooney.  The Cubs will face the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim with first pitch set for 9:00 PM CT with Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies providing the game call.  The game will also be immediately followed by an expanded edition of Cubs Postgame Live presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois.  NOTE: Viewers are urged to visit CSNChicago.com’s CHANNEL FINDER page for the exact CSN+ channel location in their area; plus – this game will also be joined in progress on the main Comcast SportsNet channel location immediately following “Blackhawks Postgame Live.”  Note the following highlights from this special day of Cubs coverage:

TUESDAY, APRIL 5 on COMCAST SPORTSNET PLUS (CSN+) – CUBS at LA ANGELS!

8:30 PM – Cubs Pregame Live presented by Fields Auto Group – Comprehensive pre-game coverage featuring hosts David Kaplan & Todd Hollandsworth, along with live remote updates from Anaheim via Cubs beat reporter Kelly Crull and CSNChicago.com Cubs “Insider” Patrick Mooney. 

9:00 PM – CUBS at LA ANGELS (L) – Featuring Len Kasper & Jim Deshaies on the call

12:00 AM – Cubs Postgame Live presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois(time approx.) – Hosted by Kapland and Hollandsworth featuring post-game reaction, post-game player interviews from Kelly Crull, and a detailed game recap.

NOTE: Comcast SportsNet’s first home Cubs telecast of the 2016 campaign will take place on Wednesday, April 13 on CSN+, as the Cubs host the division rival Cincinnati Reds at Wrigley Field (pre-game coverage begins with Cubs Pregame Live presented by Fields Auto Group at 6:30 PM; first pitch is set for 7:00 PM).

For the White Sox home opener on Friday, April 8, Comcast SportsNet will start up its coverage at 2:00 PM with an expanded, LIVE REMOTE Opening Day edition of White Sox Pregame Live presented by The Kowalis Family of Dealershipsfrom U.S. Cellular Field.  The one-hour Opening Day special will be hosted by Comcast SportsNet’s White Sox studio tandem of Chuck Garfien and Bill Melton, along with extensive pre-game reports from Siera Santos and CSNChicago.com’s Dan Hayes.  First pitch is set for 3:00 PM as the White Sox host the division rival Cleveland Indians featuring White Sox announcing tandem of Ken “Hawk” Harrelson and Steve Stone on the call (NOTE: new White Sox play-by-play announcer will call his first CSN home game of the 2016 campaign on Sunday, April 10 at 1:00 PM).The home opener will be immediately followed by an expanded edition of Subaru White Sox Postgame Live, also taking place live from U.S. Cellular Field.  Note the following highlights from Comcast SportsNet’s White Sox Opening Day coverage:

FRIDAY, APRIL 8 on COMCAST SPORTSNET – 2016 WHITE SOX HOME OPENER!

1:30 PM – Going Home: Jose AbreuEncore edition of the Comcast SportsNet Original Production acclaimed half-hour documentary special profiling Major League Baseball’s first goodwill trip to Cuba in over 16 years…featuring Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu’s first return visit to his beloved home country in over two years.

2:00 PM – White Sox Pregame Live presented by The Kowalis Family of Dealerships – Expanded Opening Day pre-game coverage featuring Comcast SportsNet’s Chuck Garfien, Bill Melton, Siera Santos, and CSNChicago.com’s Dan Hayes LIVE from U.S. Cellular Field.  Special Opening Day pre-game features include live interviews with White Sox front office execs & special guests, plus – a complete season preview, a look around the ballpark featuring a number of opening day festivities, and much more.   

3:00 PM – HOME OPENER: WHITE SOX vs. CLEVELAND (L) – Featuring Ken “Hawk” Harrelson & Steve Stone on the call

6:00 PM – Subaru White Sox Postgame Live (time approx.) – Hosted by Garfien and Melton featuring the LIVE post-game press conference with White Sox manager Robin Ventura (to also be streamed live on CSNChicago.com), along with player interviews and post-game reports from Siera Santos.

7:00 PM –White Sox vs. Cleveland (game replay)

10:00 PM & 10:30 PM – GMC SportsNet CentralLIVE, comprehensive White Sox Home Opener breakdown featuring interviews, highlights and analysis, along with additional Opening Day recaps from around Major League Baseball.

From a digital perspective, Comcast SportsNet’s website, CSNChicago.com, delivers comprehensive 24/7 Cubs coverage all season long, including the following highlights:

  • Live stream of Cubs manager Joe Maddon’s post-game press conferences (sponsored by Xfinity) following every home game.
  • Cubs “Insider” Patrick Mooney returns for his seventh season on the beatFollow him on Twitter @CSNMooney for the latest team/player news and inside access 24/7.  Mooney will also file daily stories/video reports and will make regular on-air appearances throughout the season on Cubs Pregame Live presented by Fields Auto Group, SportsTalk Live, SportsNet Central and in select Comcast SportsNet Cubs home games.
  • Cubs Pre/Postgame Live host David Kaplan will once again offer on-going reports and insight via his popular “The Kapman” posts, which will include exclusive video content.  Kaplan can also be followed on Twitter 24/7 @thekapman, for up-to-the-second Cubs news. 
  • “Cubs Pulse,” a one-stop social media hub that reveals the latest trending topics and player buzz from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.  Plus, “Cubs Pulse” aggregates all Cubs player tweets, along with fan tweets that utilize the hashtag #CubsTalk. Fans can also get interactive on Twitter by utilizing hashtags #CubsTalk for the latest news, rumors, trades and more by following @CSNCubs.
  • CSNChicago.com digital baseball reporters Tony Andracki (@TonyAndracki23) and JJ Stankevitz (@JJStankevitz) will also be providing game day reports, analysis and features.
  • In addition to his on-air duties, Kaplan will partner with Mooney and CSN’s Cubs beat reporter Kelly Crull (@Kelly_Crull)this season on CSNChicago.com, providing multi-platform coverage via on-going special features and more. 
  • CubsTalk, CSNChicago.com’s high-velocity, real-time, comprehensive Cubs news and opinion section featuring original commentary, reporting and aggregation. CubsTalk is under the banner of NBC SportsTalk, NBC’s successful digital franchise on NBCSports.com that includes ProFootballTalk, HardballTalk, ProBaskteballTalk, ProHockeyTalk, CollegeFootballTalk and GolfTalkCentral. SportsTalk was extended to CSNChicago.com through the creation of BlackhawksTalk, BullsTalk, CubsTalk, WhiteSoxTalk, ChiFireTalk, BearsTalk, PrepsTalk, IrishTalk and B1GTalk which contains interactive content and continually updated insights from the network’s digital and on-air talent.
  • The Honda Road Ahead,” presented by the Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana Honda Dealers, will provide fans with an expanded look at upcoming Cubs opponents and key pitching match-ups.
  • CSN Chicago’s Cubs content will also be distributed via its digital network of partnerships including NBCSports.com, NBCNews.com, Yahoo! Sports and Xfinity.com.

ALSO -- from a digital perspective, Comcast SportsNet’s website, CSNChicago.com, delivers comprehensive 24/7 White Sox coverage all season long, including the following highlights:

  • Live stream of White Sox manager Robin Ventura’s post-game press conferences (sponsored by Xfinity) following every home game.
  • White Sox “Insider” Dan Hayes returns for his fifth season on the beatFollow him on Twitter @CSNHayes for the latest team/player news and inside access 24/7.  Hayes will also file daily stories/video reports and will make regular on-air appearances throughout the season on White Sox Pregame Live presented by The Kowalis Family of Dealerships, SportsTalk Live, SportsNet Central and in select Comcast SportsNet White Sox home games.
  • White Sox Pre/Postgame Live host Chuck Garfien will once again offer on-going reports and insight via his popular “Sox Drawer” posts, which will include exclusive video content.  Garfien can also be followed on Twitter 24/7 @ChuckGarfien, for up-to-the-second White Sox news. 
  • “White Sox Pulse,” a one-stop social media hub that reveals the latest trending topics and player buzz from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.  Plus, “White Sox Pulse” aggregates all White Sox player tweets, along with fan tweets that utilize the hashtag #WhiteSoxTalk. Fans can also get interactive on Twitter by utilizing hashtags #WhiteSoxTalk for the latest news, rumors, trades and more by following @CSNWhiteSox.
  • CSNChicago.com digital baseball reporters JJ Stankevitz (@JJStankevitz) and Paul Roumeliotis (@PaulRoumel) will also be providing game day reports, analysis and features.
  • In addition to his on-air duties, Garfien will partner with Hayes and CSN’s White Sox baseball beat reporter Siera Santos (@SieraSantos)this season on CSNChicago.com, providing multi-platform coverage via on-going special features and more. 
  • WhiteSoxTalk, CSNChicago.com’s high-velocity, real-time, comprehensive White Sox news and opinion section featuring original commentary, reporting and aggregation. WhiteSoxTalk is under the banner of NBC SportsTalk, NBC’s successful digital franchise on NBCSports.com that includes ProFootballTalk, HardballTalk, ProBaskteballTalk, ProHockeyTalk, CollegeFootballTalk and GolfTalkCentral. SportsTalk was extended to CSNChicago.com through the creation of BlackhawksTalk, BullsTalk, CubsTalk, WhiteSoxTalk, ChiFireTalk, BearsTalk, PrepsTalk, IrishTalk and B1GTalk which contains interactive content and continually updated insights from the network’s digital and on-air talent.
  • The Honda Road Ahead,” presented by the Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana Honda Dealers, will provide fans with an expanded look at upcoming White Sox opponents and key pitching match-ups.
  • CSN Chicago’s White Sox content will also be distributed via its digital network of partnerships including NBCSports.com, NBCNews.com, Yahoo! Sports and Xfinity.com

Options if the Bulls trade down: Gonzaga forward Rui Hachimura

Options if the Bulls trade down: Gonzaga forward Rui Hachimura

On draft night, there is a decent possibility that the Bulls front office looks at their draft board and collectively decide that they can get a player with No. 7 pick value later in the first round. They could be inclined to feel this way more than in most years due to the 2019 draft class being such a toss up after the top three picks. If the Bulls traded down in the draft, I am assuming they would be netting a valuable future first-round pick, likely with some minimal protections. In this series, we will be looking at prospects the Bulls could take should they trade down in the 2019 NBA Draft.

Rui Hachimura per The Stepien:

71 percent at the rim

44.2 percent on short midrange

47.6 percent on long midrange

52.1 percent on NBA 3s (12/23)

Boylen talked a ton this season about “toughness” being a key tenet of the new Bulls culture moving forward. The idea of that “toughness” didn’t translate on the court heavily, though the Bulls did improve slightly in rebound rate under Boylen.

From the time for Boylen took over, the Bulls ranked 14th in defensive rebound rate and 25th in total rebound rate, up from 16th and 28th respectively under Hoiberg. Those numbers are a bit of smoke-and-mirrors with all the factors at play this past (weird) Bulls season.

But Boylen did have a much heavier focus on generating points inside first, with the team ranking third in the league in points in the paint per game during his tenure. Rui Hachimura fits in extremely well with the idea of the Bulls punishing teams inside with low-post scoring depth, resulting in open looks on the perimeter.

Hachimura stands 6-feet-8-inches tall, 230 lbs., with a 7-foot-2-inch wingspan. He is a very physical player and utilizes his wingspan incredibly well in traffic. Hachimura posted a 17.4 percent defensive rebound rate over his three-years at Gonzaga. I mentioned above how Hachimura embraces contact and his career average of 7.5 free throw attempts per 40 minutes helps showcase his ability to be a wrecking ball in the paint.

He has the potential to excel as a small-ball center with the right personnel surrounding him. The fact that he can grab a defensive board and initiate the fastbreak makes him an even more valuable prospect. But when you consider that lineups with he and Markkanen as the two bigs on the floor would have five capable ball-handlers, the idea of Rui in Chicago becomes even more enticing.

Overall, Hachimura is a great prospect with a solid skill set that should allow him to be a decent scorer from day one, it all just depends on how much of an opportunity he gets.

The Bulls--as John Paxson has reiterated many, many times now--feel comfortable with the starters they have at the two, three, four and five positions, with point guard being their main area of weakness. While the Bulls don’t necessarily need another big, they do need to add productive players who are young. With Boylen’s emphasis on having multiple ball-handlers, driving the ball and points in the paint, Hachimura would be a logical selection, though No. 7 overall could be a bit of a reach for the 21-year old big.

His defense definitely has a long way to go--as with most NBA draft prospects--but Hachimura’s situation is unique since he literally had a language barrier to overcome when he first got to Gonzaga in 2017. The belief right now is that Hachimura is in a comfortable spot right now in terms of both speaking and understanding English, as reporting from Sam Vecine of the The Athletic (LINK is behind a paywall) and others has backed up.

With that being said, the Japanese forward still makes too many mistakes on the defensive end of the floor to be a surefire top 10 pick.

He is at his core an offensive-minded player, and as a result has not exactly developed much in the way of defensive intensity over the years. Hachimura averaged 0.6 steals per game and 0.5 blocks per game for his NCAA career.

For comparison’s sake, his steal and block rates are almost identical to Marvin Bagley III during his time at Duke. Bagley had a highly productive rookie season with the Kings--landing a spot on the NBA All-Rookie First-Team--but the Kings defense was still four points worse when he was on the floor per cleaningtheglass.com ($).

Despite having similar measurements to Bagley, I don’t believe that Hachimura posses quite the level of athleticism that Bagley does, making his path to becoming an above average defender that much harder.

Ultimately, if Hachimura’s awesome shooting numbers from NBA 3-point range (41.7 percent) on a small sample size (36 attempts) aren’t smoke-and-mirrors, he will greatly outplay his draft position. Hachimura shot 52.1 percent on his NBA range 3-pointers and also has a career 74.6 percent free throw percentage. Whether he was diving to the rim on pick-and-rolls with Lauri spacing the floor, or playing in a high/low offense with another big on the bench unit, there is a clear path to Hachimura being effective in Chicago. It would just take a ton of patience from the Bulls new-look coaching staff.

White Sox prospect Nick Madrigal leads the minors in strikeout rate, but it’s not translating to hits

0306_nick_madrigal.jpg
USA TODAY

White Sox prospect Nick Madrigal leads the minors in strikeout rate, but it’s not translating to hits

When the White Sox drafted Nick Madrigal with the fourth overall pick in last June’s draft he was known as an elite contact hitter who could play good defense on the infield.

In nearly a year in the minors, that has mostly held true, but not exactly according to plan. Madrigal raced through three levels of the minors in 2018 and hit .303 in 43 games between those three stops. He only had five strikeouts.

This season has not gone as smoothly. Madrigal is hitting .261 for Single-A Winston-Salem, but he still isn’t striking out much at all. In fact, according to a write-up on Milb.com, Madrigal leads of all minor league baseball with a 3.3 percent strikeout rate.

“Madrigal has plus speed, and that should lead to more hits as his sample increases, but he'll have to hit a lot more to provide value from his specific profile,” Sam Dykstra wrote.

So what’s with Madrigal not hitting for higher average? How can a batter strikeout so rarely and not find more hits?

White Sox director of amateur scouting Nick Hostetler, one of the key decision makers in drafting Madrigal, talked about Madrigal’s progress on an episode of the White Sox Talk podcast earlier this week.

“The one thing he’s still doing is making contact,” Hostetler said. “So that is what we expected. We expected that out of him. I’m not sure he was probably expecting the streaks. I think he’s dealt with a lot of streaks in his offensive game this year. I think he had one stretch that was 0-for-16 or 17 and he came back with a couple hits. So he’s been a little streaky this year. But I think he’s starting to learn. He’s starting to develop. He’s had one home run. He’s starting to hit some doubles, but he’s starting to learn to get the ball in the air a little bit. He’s learning how teams are shifting him, how they’re playing him.”

The shifts Hostetler referred to are another interesting part of Madrigal’s unusual profile. He is actually going to opposite field more than pulling the ball down left field and opposing defenses are playing him accordingly. That could be one reason to explain why Madrigal isn’t getting more hits out of all the balls he is putting in play.

He is showing a bit more power this year as opposed to last year (11 extra base hits vs. 7 in only 10 more plate appearances). His spray charts for 2018 and 2019 show he is pulling the ball more than he used to, a sign that he is adjusting.

2018 spray chart:

2019 spray chart:

Note that Madrigal has more balls resulting in hits getting pulled down the left field side than he had last year. As defenses are shifting him to hit the ball to opposite field, as Hostetler noted, this will be a key part of his development.

He is showing progress in other areas. He is drawing more walks (14 this season vs. 7 last year) and is showing off his speed with 12 stolen bases.

Hostetler isn’t pushing the panic button on Madrigal.

“This is part of development,” Hostetler said. “Unfortunately the new wave we’re in everybody thinks ‘well, they’re a college guy and he’s drafted so high he needs to hit like this and go right away and be there in a year.’ Some guys just take a little bit.

“The one thing I’ll say is the defense has been exactly what we thought it would be. It’s Gold Glove caliber defense and he’s making contact. As long as he keeps making contact, keep fielding those balls like he is, he’ll figure out the rest.”

 

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