White Sox

Over 6 million Chicago market TV households tuned in for 44 live pro games in April on Comcast SportsNet

Over 6 million Chicago market TV households tuned in for 44 live pro games in April on Comcast SportsNet

#1 Highest-Rated “Cable” Network in Primetime in April for Households & Every Demo Category

#1 “Overall” Highest-Rated Television Station in Primetime for Every Male Demo & Adults 18-49

One of the biggest month’s in network history also includes over 3.1 million homes tuning in for “Pre/Post Game Live”

Plus - Over 2.2 million homes tuning in to “SportsNet Central,” SportsTalk Live,” “Kap & Haugh,” and “Believe: The Story of the 2005 Chicago White Sox”

First season of Bulls Live Streaming highlighted by record numbers for NBA Playoffs coverage

Chicago, IL (May 5, 2015) – Fueled by two thrilling Bulls and Blackhawks first round playoff series, along with the always-anticipated start of another exciting baseball season for the Cubs and White Sox, Comcast SportsNet Chicago’s #WhatAnApril proved to be one of the network’s busiest and best-performing months to date.

During primetime (7:00-10:00 PM CT) in the month of April, Comcast SportsNet was the #1-highest rated “cable” television network in the Chicago market for every major TV ratings category including Households and the key advertising demo of Adults 25-54.  In addition, Comcast SportsNet was #1 “overall” in primetime (which includes all broadcast TV stations) in the demo categories of Men 18-34, Men 18-49, Men 25-54, Adults 18-34 & Adults 18-49 (Comcast SportsNet was #2 overall in Adults 25-54).

Comcast SportsNet televised 44 live professional game telecasts in April (Blackhawks: four regular season/four playoffs; Bulls: five regular season/six playoffs; Cubs: one pre-season/ten regular season; White Sox: one pre-season/13 regular season) amassing a total viewing audience of OVER SIX MILLION Chicago market TV households(6,078,668).  In addition, Comcast SportsNet also attracted over 3.1 million Chicago market TV homestuning in for all editions of Pregame Live and Postgame Live, plus – over 2.2 million more Chicago market TV homes also tuned in to the network’s locally-produced, live sports news, talk, and Original Content programming (SportsNet Central, SportsTalk Live, Kap & Haugh, and Believe: The Story of the 2005 Chicago White Sox).  Source for all ratings information is provided by Nielsen Media Research.

“This past month has demonstrated the incredible passion of Chicago sports fans, along with the depth of our local sports coverage,” said Phil Bedella, Vice President/General Manager for Comcast SportsNet Chicago.  “We understand how much Chicago sports fans love their teams and that’s why we’ll continue to go beyond just game coverage with expert insight, analysis and the very latest local sports news and detailed information that’s important to our fan base.  None of this would be possible without the enormous success and popularity of our pro team partners and I credit their staffs, along with our distributors, our advertisers and everyone here at Comcast SportsNet, for making the most of one of the most exciting time periods in Chicago sports history.”

From a digital standpoint, Comcast SportsNet’s live streaming of its Bulls game telecasts in April (including the team’s six-game first round NBA Playoffs series against the Milwaukee Bucks) experienced significant traffic numbers as over 3.5 million total minutes were consumed by Bulls fans choosing to access the games on CSNChicago.com and via NBC Sports’ Live Extra app.  For Game 3 of the Bulls-Bucks series on April 23, the network enjoyed its highest digital traffic numbers to date as it was the most streamed game overall in minutes watched (over 716K), along with being the most streamed game in visits (14.9K) and live starts (25.8K).  For Comcast SportsNet Chicago’s entire 2014-15 Bulls/NBA season, over 8.4 MILLION total minutes were consumed by fans in the network’s inaugural season of live streaming coverage. Source for all digital traffic information is provided by Adobe Reports & Analytics.

Saturday's White Sox-Tigers game postponed due to rain; makeup scheduled for August

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USA TODAY

Saturday's White Sox-Tigers game postponed due to rain; makeup scheduled for August

The White Sox and Tigers were likely to start Saturday's game (12:10 p.m. CT) in a rain delay. Instead, the game has been pushed back altogether.

With rain expected all afternoon in Detroit, Saturday's game has been postponed. A makeup is scheduled for Aug. 6 at 12:10 p.m. as part of a split doubleheader. The originally scheduled game will start at 6:10 p.m. CT.

According to a press release, all paid tickets from Saturday's game will be valid for the first game of the doubleheader.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.

A slump in the road - the Cubs' 2019 World Series dreams hinge on the bat of Kris Bryant

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USA TODAY

A slump in the road - the Cubs' 2019 World Series dreams hinge on the bat of Kris Bryant

Does a 2-for-4 mean you are on track?

The answer is, it depends.

Kris Bryant is an MVP, Rookie of the Year, World Champion and a super talent. Not just because he displays the outward abilities like power or hitting for average, but because he has the less visible skills, like good baserunning, plate discipline, intangible instincts.

Kris Bryant has been having a tough time by Bryant standards. It is easy to rattle off numbers to underscore the distance between today and his MVP season. Early 2019 shows the .368 slugging, the hitting under .200 vs. lefties, the near .100 with two strikes and the .154 batting average when he pulls the ball.

Yet despite knowing these numbers are only after 68 at-bats, there is a deeper concern because of expectation.

The Cubs need Bryant. Last season, he was still a solid player, but the Cubs were banking on an All-Star to create a few more wins, and as we know, a few more wins and the Cubs win the NL Central outright.

Injuries have crept in; doubt always follows, even after you have a clean bill of health. Bryant also got hit in the face, which gets lost in some of the noise. These injuries and setbacks stay with a player, creeping up after a twinge in the weight room, the break-up with your girlfriend, the sleeping funny on your pillow the night before, the three game series in the stadium where you don’t pick up the ball out of the batter’s eye.

Outside of the standard numbers, his baserunning was down last season. He had been masterful of going first to third, first to home and second to home. He created runs by having great reads and even better instincts. But he was not quite as effective last year, and not getting quite the same reads, at least so the numbers say. In Bill James' annual handbook for 2018, Bryant's baserunning was calculated as a -5 net loss, which accounts for advancing extra bases, baserunning outs, double plays and a stolen bases.

But slumps are part of any players career, and they are not always just an offensive thing. In fact, they are as normal as being on fire, and there are times when the lines blur between being in one and getting out of one. It matters which direction you are heading in.

A player like Bryant has the ability to reduce the damage of a slump. He can walk and he can get on base with his eyes, all while he is fixing he stroke. He is dangerous enough of a power hitter to induce walks just because of the threat. Pitchers may know he is struggling, but they also know, one bad pitch and the ball is on Waveland Ave., no matter what he did the last seven days.

I had my share of slumps in my career and I define it as a place of relativity. We are comparing to what we think should be, both based on past and future. But it is deceiving to base expectation only on the comfort of hard data, not data that in reality is fluid and constantly changing with time and environment. Bryant's MVP season also had ups and downs, but he kept the downs short.

It is still early and Bryant still has a good space between his batting average and his on-base percentage (.235 average and a respectable .342 OBP), but he is expected to be dominant from tape to tape by this point in his career, with all the lofty traditional numbers to go with it—OBP, AVG, HR, RBIs. And for the Cubs to not just win, but win it all, Bryant's ability to be that day in and day out threat is pivotal.

Keep in mind, everyone is making major adjustments to Bryant, and it is not just his opponents on the field, but the opponent in the cloud. The data and the speed of these data-driven adjustments are lightning quick, especially against a player that can beat you single-handedly.

I remember when I was struggling mid-career, and we were heading to Toronto for a series. I was in the batting cage with Phillies hitting coach Hal McRae and expressing my frustration. I was fouling out to first, to the catcher, rolling over on balls down the middle. Then Hal said to me that it was a “credit to your talent that you are hitting close to .270 when your heart and mind are clearly with your father.”

My father was in and out of the hospital that year and eventually would pass away the last game of the season a couple of years later. There was no stat for anxiety or stress, no multiplier to explain the degree by which you are off your game. Maybe that stress is a motivator, provides an edge in some players, in others, not so much. But slumps are part mechanical as they are part mental, emotional, psychological. And they can come out of nowhere; we often don’t know what a player is going through even if it is just a bad swing and bad pitching matchups for him.

It is not the slump, but how quickly you can get out of a slump. Three weeks instead of three days makes a world of difference. Those who do not have the opportunity to play through a slump, will not make it.

When I was a veteran in the game, besides the skill decline and the health decline, there was the opportunity decline. I no longer would be granted the bandwidth to struggle through it. I needed to produce every time I got the chance to play, even if I had two weeks between starts. When a team will not stick with you, you lose the pathway to get out of the hole you dug. And often the hole gets bigger. Bryant does not have this problem.

That is because Bryant has time and has earned the time on a good team that has other assets to keep them competitive. Yet being granted time does not mean the team has time. The manager, the coaches, the closer, are on clocks too.

Working hard can do a lot, but only so much. The doubt has to go, the second guessing of self or that in-between trapped feeling when you don’t know what is coming out of the pitcher’s hand, has to go.        

The Cubs know they are built from many talented assets, many players that can do the job. At different times in the season, a different player will carry the team. If the rotation keeps rolling, while key players like Baez and Contreras are producing, and the wins are rolling in, Bryant can work through it, just another reason why being on a team that picks each other up matters so much.

The slump is highly dependent on time and opportunity. This needs to be the Cubs' year, so the time is now, and they have to keep betting that the former league MVP will find a big way out, then he will carry this team for a while, maybe right back to the World Series. Then all will certainly forget what Bryant’s stat sheet showed before April 19, 2019.  

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