Cubs

Dan Hayes joins CSN as White Sox insider

Dan Hayes joins CSN as White Sox insider

DAN HAYES JOINS COMCAST SPORTSNET AS WHITE SOX INSIDERVeteran San Diego Padres beat reporter to provide White Sox coverage across the networks multiple platformsCSNChicago.com also announces significant year-to-year web traffic increases

Chicago, IL (June 22, 2012) Comcast SportsNet, the television home for the most games and most comprehensive coverage of the Chicago Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs and White Sox, has named veteran baseball beat reporter Dan Hayes as its White Sox Insider effective immediately. In this position, Hayes will lead the Comcast SportsNets coverage of the White Sox across the networks growing list of multiplatforms, highlighted by CSNChicago.coms WhiteSoxTalk franchise, and will serve as an on-air White Sox contributor on White Sox Pre-Game Live, SportsNet Central and Chicago Tribune Live and on digital shows including Sports Fix and Look Ahead. Hayes can be followed on Twitter @DanHayesCSN.

Dan comes to us with a wealth of knowledge and experience covering Major League Baseball over the years and his passion for the game will most certainly be felt by our television viewers, web and mobile visitors and social media audience immediately, said T.K. Gore, Sr. Director of Digital Media for Comcast SportsNet Chicago. Dans hiring is another perfect example of our commitment in providing fans with the most in-depth, local coverage of their favorite teams and confirms Comcast SportsNet as the regions leading source for comprehensive multiplatform coverage.

Hayes, a native of Northern California, comes to Comcast SportsNet after spending six seasons as the San Diego Padres beat reporter for the North County Times in San Diego, CA. Along with earning an Associate Press Sports Editors (APSE) award for his coverage of the Padres, Hayes also spent the past three seasons as the publications beat writer for the top-ranked San Diego State mens basketball team. In addition, he was a general assignment reporter covering NASCAR, UFC, high school sports and the Little League World Series.

A graduate of San Diego State, Hayes joined the North County Times in 2004 from the Vallejo (CA) Times-Herald, where he covered preps sports for two years.

Hayes joins a talented team that provides multiplatform coverage of the White Sox for Comcast SportsNet, which includes Chuck Garfien, Bill Melton, Frank Thomas and WhiteSoxTalk blogger J.J. Stankevitz. Garfien, an Emmy Award-winning reporter who has covered the White Sox for the past eight seasons for the network, also serves as a daily digital contributor via his Sox Drawer blog, news, features and player interviews for CSNChicago.com.

WhiteSoxTalk is under the banner of NBC SportsTalk, NBCs successful digital franchise on NBCSports.com that includes ProFootballTalk, HardballTalk, ProBasketballTalk, ProHockeyTalk, CollegeFootballTalk, GolfTalkCentral and ProSoccerTalk. SportsTalk was recently extended to CSNChicago.com through the creation of WhiteSoxTalk, CubsTalk, BlackhawksTalk, BullsTalk and BearsTalk, which contain interactive content and continually updated insights from the networks team of digital producers and on-air talent.

WEBSITE TRAFFIC INCREASES

Comcast SportsNet Chicago is experiencing significant audience growth with the networks commitment to enhanced digital content, as well as ongoing investments and innovations such as: hiring team-specific Insider correspondents; the launch of a mobile app; and developing exclusive local online shows and other content. In addition to the recently launched CSN Chicago Sports app on the iPhone and CSN Local Sports app available on iPad and Android, CSNChicago.com launched a new mobile website featuring real-time video, breaking news, Insider reports and Chicago SportsTalk blogs. With these and other initiatives, CSNChicago.com has delivered substantial year-to-year traffic increases, including visits (up 114), page views (up 72), unique visitors (up 82) and video views (up 47).

Hayes is the latest addition to a rapidly growing digital media department that operates CSNChicago.com, and a portfolio of successful mobile and social media platforms. These platforms feature exclusive written, video and interactive content from several multiplatform sportswriters, including Cubs Insider Patrick Mooney, Bulls Insider Aggrey Sam, Blackhawks Insider Tracey Myers and Bears Insider John Moon Mullin, as well as a stable of digital media and television reporters and producers.

Albert Almora Jr. gave another example of his all-around game

Albert Almora Jr. gave another example of his all-around game

Albert Almora Jr. might be in the middle of a breakout season. The 24-year-old outfielder continues to show his impressive range in center field and is having his best year at the plate.

In Sunday's 8-3 win against the Giants, Almora had three hits and showed off his wheels in center to rob Evan Longoria of extra bases. The catch is visible in the video above.

"Defensively, right now he's playing as well as he possibly can," Maddon said.

On top of the defense he has become known for, he is hitting .326. That's good for fifth in the National League in batting.

"He's playing absolutely great," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "He's working good at-bats. His at-bats have gotten better vs. righties.

"The thing about it, is there's power there. The home runs are gonna start showing up, too."

There's also this stat, which implies Almora is having a growing significance on the Cubs as a whole:

There may be some correlation, but not causality in that. However, with Almora's center field play and growing accolades at the plate, the argument is becoming easier and easier that he is one of the most important players on the Cubs. That also goes for Almora's regular spot in the lineup, which has been up in the air with Maddon continuing to juggle the lineup.

Bears still see Dion Sims as a valuable piece to their offensive puzzle

5-27dionsims.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Bears still see Dion Sims as a valuable piece to their offensive puzzle

Dion Sims is still here, which is the outcome he expected but perhaps wasn’t a slam dunk — at least to those outside the walls at Halas Hall. 

The Bears could’ve cut ties with Sims prior to March 16 and saved $5.666 million against the cap, quite a figure for a guy coming off a disappointing 2017 season (15 catches, 180 yards, one touchdown). But the Bears are sticking with Sims, even after splashing eight figures to land Trey Burton in free agency earlier this year. 

“In my mind, I thought I was coming back,” Sims said. “I signed to be here three years and that’s what I expect. But I understand how things go and my job is come out here and work hard every day and play with a chip on my shoulder to prove myself and just be a team guy.”

The Bears signed Sims to that three-year, $18 million contract 14 months ago viewing him as a rock-solid blocking tight end with some receiving upside. The receiving upside never materialized, and his blocking was uneven at times as the Bears’ offense slogged through a bleak 11-loss season. 

“The situation we were in, we weren’t — we could’ve done a better job of being successful,” Sims said. “Things didn’t go how we thought it would. We just had to pretty much try to figure out how to come together and build momentum into coming into this year. I just think there were a lot of things we could have done, but because of the circumstances we were limited a little bit. 

“… It was a lot of things going on. Guys hurt, situations — it was tough for us. We couldn’t figure it out, along with losing, that was a big part of it too.”

Sims will be given a fresh start in 2018, even as Adam Shaheen will be expected to compete to cut into Sims’ playing time at the “Y” tight end position this year. The other side of that thought: Shaheen won’t necessarily slide into being the Bears’ primary in-line tight end this year. 

Sims averaged 23 receptions, 222 yards and two touchdowns from 2014-2016; that might be a good starting point for his 2018 numbers, even if it would represent an improvement from 2017. More important, perhaps, is what Sims does as a run blocker — and that was the first thing Nagy mentioned when talking about how Sims fits into his offense. 

“The nice thing with Dion is that he’s a guy that’s proven to be a solid blocker,” Nagy said. “He can be in there and be your Y-tight end, but yet he still has really good hands. He can make plays on intermediate routes. He’s not going to be anybody that’s a downfield threat — I think he knows that, we all know that — but he’s a valuable piece of this puzzle.”