Cubs

NBC Sports Chicago to carry expanded, multi-platform 2018 Cubs Convention coverage

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NBC Sports Chicago to carry expanded, multi-platform 2018 Cubs Convention coverage

5:00 PM -- Special edition of “SportsTalk Live” from Cubs Convention

Hosted by David Kaplan, featuring NBC Sports Chicago Cubs beat reporter Kelly Crull, a panel of Cubs experts, and Cubs players!

6:00 PM -- LIVE Cubs Convention “Opening Ceremonies” coverage

Hosted by Kaplan, featuring Crull and additional Cubs experts, along with live interviews with numerous Cubs players, coaches, and front office execs!

7:30 PM -- Exclusively on Facebook Live -- “Friday Night with Ryan Dempster”

Hosted by the former Cubs fan favorite and featuring numerous interviews/variety show antics with current Cubs players!

NBC Sports Chicago live stream available 24/7 on NBCSportsChicago.com/WatchLive and via the NBC Sports app

Complete Cubs Convention coverage throughout the weekend on www.NBCSportsChicago.com’s ‘CubsTalk’ section via reports from Kaplan, Crull, and Cubs digital reporters

Tony Andracki & Vinnie Duber, which will include even more player/coaches/front office interviews, along with panel discussion highlights and much more!

Social media highlights on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat to include the latest Convention news, live streaming segments, and special NBC Sports Chicago prize giveaway details! 

Chicago, IL (January 10, 2018) – NBC Sports Chicago, the multi-platform home for the most games and the most comprehensive coverage of the defending NL Central Division Champion Chicago Cubs, is ready to start up the highly-anticipated 2018 MLB season in a big way with expanded, live Opening Night coverage from the “2018 Cubs Convention,” which is being held downtown this weekend (January 12-14) at the Sheraton Grand Chicago.

On Friday, January 12 beginning at 5:00 PM CT, NBC Sports Chicago’s live coverage of the 2018 Cubs Convention begins with a special remote edition of SportsTalk Live presented by The Chevy Silverado, which will take place on the floor of the convention center.  This special edition of SportsTalk Live will feature host David Kaplan, along with NBC Sports Chicago Cubs beat reporter Kelly Crull and a panel of Cubs experts discussing the team’s run to a third-straight NLCS appearance last season, all the off-season moves and acquisitions, along with the key factors needed to bring another World Series title to the northside in 2018.  In addition, special guest interviews with Cubs players are also scheduled during the one-hour show.

Then, starting at 6:00 PM, viewers can look forward to every thrill-packed moment of the convention’s Opening Ceremonies featuring live introductions of Cubs players/coaches/front office executives, video montages, and much more.  NBC Sports Chicago’s 2018 Cubs Convention Opening Ceremonies coverage will be hosted by Cubs Pre/Post Game Live host David Kaplan, featuring beat reporter Kelly Crull, along with live interviews with Cubs players, coaches, and team VIPs.  NOTES: NBC Sports Chicago’s coverage of the Opening Ceremonies will also be made to fans via “Facebook Live” (Facebook.com/NBCSChicago).  In addition, live stream of SportsTalk Live and the Opening Ceremonies will also be available at NBCSportsChicago.com/WatchLive and via the NBC Sports app to authenticated NBC Sports Chicago subscribers. 

ALSO -- Fans are also in for a special treat at 7:30 PM as NBC Sports Chicago will provide fans with a “Facebook Live” (Facebook.com/NBCSChicago) exclusive presentation of Friday Night with Ryan Dempster, a Cubs Convention primetime special featuring the animated former Cubs fan favorite hosting his own talk/variety show showcasing Cubs players/coaches/front office execs in this fun and entertaining live event. 

Throughout the weekend, fans can look forward to even more comprehensive Cubs Convention coverage on NBCSportsChicago.com’s CubsTalk section (NBCSportsChicago.com/Cubs) featuring additional players/coaches/front office executive interviews, feature stories, fan reaction, photos, videos and much more provided via Kaplan (@thekapman), Crull (@Kelly_Crull), NBCSportsChicago.com Cubs digital baseball reporters Tony Andracki (@TonyAndracki23) & Vinnie Duber (@VinnieDuber), along with the NBC Sports Chicago team of behind-the-scenes Cubs experts (@NBCSCubs). 

From a social media standpoint, NBC Sports Chicago will also deliver a number of additional on-site Facebook Live interviews and special segments throughout the weekend, along with Convention “Sights & Sounds” highlights provided via Snapchat (‘nbcschicago’), along with additional coverage/photos/quick video offerings from ‘NBCSChicago’ through Instagram and Instagram Stories

Plus, Cubs fans can look forward to a brand new “Cubs Talk” Podcast presented by Wintrust featuring the hottest Cubs Convention topics and special guest interviews. Fans can download all of NBC Sports Chicago’s podcasts at NBCSportsChicago.com/podcasts and simply subscribe to them via Apple Podcasts, Google Play or Stitcher.  The podcasts can be played on any mobile device, laptop, or desktop computer.

Fans attending Cubs Convention this weekend can also stop by NBC Sports Chicago’s “Authentic Fan” booth, which will feature a number of special Cubs-themed giveaways including a winter hat, sunglasses, pop sockets, decals, cheer cards and much more (while supplies last).  Plus, fans are urged to utilize the social media hashtag #AuthenticFan throughout the weekend as a number of lucky fans will be “authentically surprised” with special Cubs giveaways and experiences. NBC Sports Chicago’s dedicated Cubs Twitter handle (@NBCSCubs) will also provide up-to-the-minute NBC Sports Chicago “Authentic Fan” booth activities throughout the weekend.

Cubs still searching for answers for Tyler Chatwood's puzzling control issues

Cubs still searching for answers for Tyler Chatwood's puzzling control issues

Tyler Chatwood looked to be turning the corner with his control issues, but alas, he and the Cubs aren't so lucky.

After walking only two batters in a solid start in Atlanta last week, Chatwood had taken a big step in the right direction. It was, after all, only the third time he'd walked fewer than 5 batters in an outing this season.

Those control woes reared their ugly heads once again Tuesday night at Wrigley Field in a 10-1 loss to the Indians. Chatwood walked 6 batters and managed to net only 8 outs, getting hammered for 4 runs in the third inning.

"Ugh, it was tough," Maddon said. "The stuff was so good, we just couldn't get a strike."

"It's definitely frustrating," Chatwood said, "because one at-bat, I'll feel really good and the next one, I feel like I'm fighting myself.

"Last time [out], I was able to stay in the rhythm. Tonight, I was kinda battling, rushing rather than staying back, so it's just keeping that feeling and maintaining that."

His season ERA is only 3.74, which looks good until you consider his WHIP is 1.62 and he's walked 40 batters in 45.2 innings with only 41 strikeouts in the process. He now leads baseball in walks per 9 innings.

Chatwood said earlier this month in St. Louis that he's figured out what has led to the startling lack of control and while he didn't elaborate on the mechanical issue, he was working hard at correcting the problem in bullpens.

He's also used the term "fighting myself" at least a dozen times this month alone and it's become a common refrain for his explanation of what's going on. 

"He's got a busy delivery when he throws the baseball," Maddon said. "He's kinda busy what he does with his hands. It's not like he can just change it easily because that's how his arm works, how his body works.

"Sometimes, like you see him the other day, everything's on time and how good it can be and when it's out of sorts a bit, then all of the sudden it becomes shotgun. Ah man, you can see the movement [on his pitches] from the side, how good it is. 

"We gotta harness it somehow. I spoke to him briefly on the bench; I reassured him it's gonna be fine, it's gonna be really good by the end of the year. We gotta figure it out and he knows that. But man, that's good stuff. We just gotta get it in the zone."

Chatwood also admitted part of the problem is mental in that he's trying to force pitches rather than trusting his stuff. He's also gotten into the bad habit of drifting down the mound, though he's not sure when or where he picked up that hitch in his delivery.

Chatwood and Cubs pitching coach Jim Hickey are working on slowing his delivery down to get his arm in the same spot on a more consistent basis.

When the Cubs signed Chatwood over the winter, it was easy to see why.

He just turned 28 in December, his peripherals and a move from hitter-friendly Coors Field foretold a potential leap in performance and his stuff is nasty. Plus, he signed a three-year deal at a relative bargain of $38 million.

Once the Cubs signed Yu Darvish in spring training, you could make the case that Chatwood could be among the best No. 5 starters in baseball.

Nine starts later, the honeymoon period is well over with Chatwood, as he threw only 30 of his 74 pitches for strikes Tuesday night and sent catcher Willson Contreras sailing all around home plate for pitches way out of the zone.

Still, it's clear to see there is some intriguing talent there and the season there is roughly 70 percent of the season remaining before the Cubs make what they hope is another run at the World Series.

"I have a lot of faith," Maddon said. "I know we're gonna reap the rewards, the benefits as he figures this thing out."

Baseball Night in Chicago Podcast: Marlon Byrd discusses his suspensions for PED use and Ozzie Guillen offers a solution to the PED problem

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NBC Sports Chicago

Baseball Night in Chicago Podcast: Marlon Byrd discusses his suspensions for PED use and Ozzie Guillen offers a solution to the PED problem

Ozzie Guillen explains why he thinks Manny Machado is a better fit for the Cubs than the White Sox. Plus, Guillen and Marlon Byrd react to 19-year-old Juan Soto hitting a homer in his first at-bat with the Nationals.

Later in the show the guys debate who had the better rants in front of the media: Guillen or Byrd?

Finally, Byrd opens up about his PED suspensions, relates to the guys caught using PEDs now and Guillen offers up a solution to rid baseball of PEDs entirely.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below: