By Sarah Langs
NHL analyst Eddie Olczyk will be doing double duty this spring. In addition to his work throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Olczyk will be part of NBC Sports Group's full 2015 Kentucky Derby broadcast team. Olczyk will be a handicapper for NBC’s Triple Crown coverage this year.
He’ll participate in the entirety of the event, which includes additional access on April 30 and the Kentucky Derby Oaks on May 1.
Prior to those three events, Olczyk will have worked at least six Stanley Cup Playoffs games, including four Blackhawks games.
“There's nothing like hockey and horses at this time of year,” said Olczyk in a press release. “After working on NBC Sports Group's horse racing coverage last summer through Breeders’ Cup, I'm thrilled to join the team for the Triple Crown season.”
Last week on Kap & Haugh, Olczyk spoke about how horse racing helped him get into the announcing business during an NHL lockout.
Had this been the scripted outcome, it would've sounded a little too cheesy.
But in reality, it was a moment that got White Sox fandom as excited as the dude rounding the bases.
Eloy Jimenez, playing in his first game at Wrigley Field nearly two years after the Cubs traded him to the White Sox, smacked a game-winning homer off Pedro Strop in the ninth inning, breaking a 1-all tie and giving the South Siders a 3-1 victory in the first Crosstown game of the 2019 season.
Jimenez had been asked countless times about what it would be like to play in the park he long assumed would be the one where he played his big league games. And he expressed excitement, though committed to saying it would be like any other game.
Jimenez had a disappointing outcome in his first at-bat of the evening, ending a bases-loaded, one-out situation in the first inning with a double play. He singled and walked in later plate appearances, but nothing was anywhere near as dramatic as his trip to the plate in the ninth. He hit Strop's pitch so hard it sounded like he broke his bat. The ball still ended up in the left-field bleachers.
One ninth-inning blast in June 2019 won't rip the rebuilding White Sox contention window open immediately, but what an image of rebuilding progress it was, with Jimenez, the middle-of-the-order centerpiece for the next decade, blasting a game-winner against the Crosstown-rival Cubs.
Jimenez's permanent smile was indeed present as he rounded the bases, made even bigger by his Tuesday night heroics. The White Sox are hoping they were the first of many.
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Ozzie Guillén and David DeJesus join Leila Rahimi on a special Crosstown edition of Baseball Night in Chicago.
Listen to the full episode here or via the embedded player below: