Cubs

NBC Sports Chicago launches Outside the Ivy, interactive Cubs show by fans

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NBC Sports Chicago

NBC Sports Chicago launches Outside the Ivy, interactive Cubs show by fans

Chicago, IL (May 20, 2019) – Following the launch of its first fan-hosted/fan-interactive postgame program, “Bulls Outsiders,” NBC Sports Chicago – THE Home of the #AuthenticFan – has announced it will debut Outside the Ivy presented by Supercuts, a brand new, half-hour, live, multi-platform, viewer-interactive Cubs postgame show that will provide viewers with the hottest takes and spirited commentary from the fans' perspective. 

Hosted by three, die-hard Cubs enthusiasts – Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami), Danny Rockett (@SonRanto), and Luis Medina (@lcm1986), Outside the Ivy will make its network debut following NBC Sports Chicago’s telecast of the Cubs vs. Philadelphia Phillies game on Wednesday, May 22 (approx. 10:30 PM CT).  The show will air immediately following Cubs Postgame Live presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois on NBC Sports Chicago, via live stream to authenticated NBC Sports Chicago subscribers at NBCSportsChicago.com/WatchLive, through social media on Facebook Live (Facebook.com/NBCSChicago), and via the new “MyTeams by NBC Sports” app (Fans located anywhere in the U.S. can download MyTeams for free on iOS and Android devices in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store). 

Throughout the season, NBC Sports Chicago’s cross-platform presentation of Outside the Ivy will air immediately following Cubs Postgame Live on nights the network carries a 7:00 PM start time Cubs telecast (approx. 10:30 PM), along with a few select 6:00 PM game time starts, plus – fans can also look forward to additional special editions of Outside the Ivy for the Cubs-White Sox “Crosstown” series, All-Star break, MLB trade deadline, and a season-end recap among others.  

In addition to the lively post-game discussion with the show’s hosts, Outside the Ivy will also emphasize heavy viewer interaction via fan engagement on a number of the network’s social media platforms including Twitter (@NBCSCubs; fans urged to utilize the Twitter hashtag #OutsidetheIvy in their posts) and Facebook Live (Facebook.com/NBCSChicago), which will enable Cubs fans to directly interact with the show’s hosts (and each other) with comments and questions pertaining to that particular evening’s game, the key topics of the night, or anything else they want to discuss from a league-wide MLB perspective. 

In preparation for the hiring of the program’s three primary hosts, NBC Sports Chicago reached out to numerous notable local (and vocal) die-hard Cubs fans who stood out among the vast Cubs social media community. Candidates who responded back with interest were simply asked to shoot a 90-second video on their phone and offer up their take on a recent Cubs topic of interest.  From there, over 30 top candidates were narrowed down to nine, who were then all brought in for in-studio auditions. Following the lengthy on-camera process, Director of Studio Content John Schippman and Multi-Platform Director Michael Allardyce finalized their decision and welcomed Cerami, Rockett, and Medina to the NBC Sports Chicago family.  

Please note the following Outside the Ivy host bios:

Michael Cerami Chicago Cubs blogger for “Bleacher Nation”

Age: 27
Hometown: Schaumburg, IL
Favorite Cubs player of all time: Starlin Castro
Favorite current Cub: Anthony Rizzo 
Favorite Cubs moment: “When Javier Báez stole home in the 2016 NLCS!”

Danny RockettHost of the Son Ranto Podcast, Front man for ‘The Bleacher Bum Band,’ and blogger for SB Nation’s ‘Bleed Cubbie Blue’

Age: 44
Hometown: Arlington Heights, IL                            
Favorite Cubs player of all-time: Andre Dawson
Favorite current Cub: “Javy Báez, but Willson Contreras is a real close second. I love catchers.”
Favorite Cubs moment: “It has to be World Series Game 7, right? I went to that game in Cleveland, just an amazing night on so many levels.”

Luis MedinaCubs blogger for “Bleacher Nation”

Age: 31
Hometown: Chicago, IL                            
Favorite Cubs player of all-time: Sammy Sosa
Favorite current Cub: Javy Báez
Favorite Cubs moment: “World Series Game 5. I was at the game and got to see the Cubs win a World Series game at Wrigley Field.”

PROGRAMING NOTE:  NBC Sports Chicago’s next Cubs telecast takes place TONIGHT as the northsiders host Bryce Harper and the Philadelphia Phillies, featuring the highly-anticipated starting pitching showdown between the Cubs YU DARVISH against former Cubs standout/2015 NL Cy Young award winner JAKE ARRIETA.  Live coverage gets underway with Baseball Night in Chicago at 6:30 PM with game coverage starting at 7:00 PM.  This game will also stream live on NBCSportsChicago.com and on the “MyTeams by NBC Sports” app. 

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Cubs Talk Podcast: Is Kris Bryant the new Curt Flood?

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Is Kris Bryant the new Curt Flood?

This has been the offseason of Kris Bryant rumors and with his grievance still unresolved Cubs fans can only speculate what will happen to the MVP. Is Kris Bryant trying to change the system like Curt Flood did? Host David Kaplan is joined by ESPN Chicago's Jesse Rogers to discuss Bryant's future as a Cub, and the lackluster offseason the Cubs have had.

(1:50) - Why the Cubs have not made any moves so far

(3:32) - Is Kris Bryant the new Curt Flood?

(6:26) - Cubs need upgrades, specifically in the bullpen

(9:10) - Will the Cubs make a big move before the season starts?

(11:30) - Does Javy Baez get the big extension?

(14:45) - Will the Cubs get to 86 wins this year?

Listen to the full episode in the embedded player below:

Cubs Talk Podcast

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Cubs close to deal with free agent outfielder Steven Souza, per report

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USA TODAY

Cubs close to deal with free agent outfielder Steven Souza, per report

The Cubs have made a roster move.

According to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, the Cubs are reportedly close to a deal with free agent outfielder Steven Souza.

Souza, 30, missed the 2019 season after suffering a torn left ACL and LCL at the end of spring training. He also missed a chunk of 2018, playing 72 games while hitting the injured list on multiple occasions.

Souza had a career year with the Rays in 2017, slashing .239/.351/.459 with 30 home runs, 78 RBIs and a 121 wRC+. Those figures were career bests for Souza, minus his batting average. He sported a walk rate (13.6 percent) above league average (8.5) that season, though his strikeout rate (29 percent) was worse than the MLB average (23).

The signing of Souza likely rules out a return of fan favorite outfielder Nicholas Castellanos. The Cubs have been linked to Castellanos throughout the offseason, but since they're looking to stay under MLB’s luxury tax threshold, re-signing Castellanos would require some financial maneuvering.

Souza has spent most of his career in right field (3,608 career innings) but has minimal experience playing center (33 1/3) and left (20). He’s above average in right (career 6 Defensive Runs Saved) and posted a career best 7 DRS in 2017.

The Cubs have a five-time Gold Glove right fielder in Jason Heyward, so Souza will see time at all three outfield spots. Heyward moved to center full-time last season after the Cubs acquired Castellanos and has played center at times throughout his career.

Assuming he stays healthy, Souza is a low-risk, high-reward move for the Cubs. He’ll add power to the middle of the order and add a proven bat to an outfield with some question marks. Albert Almora Jr. and Ian Happ have each struggled offensively at times since 2018. Souza offers another bat in case those two slump again.