Cubs

Random News: What's in a (stadium) name?

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Random News: What's in a (stadium) name?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Posted: 9:22 a.m.

By Joe Collins
CSNChicago.com

The Kansas Jayhawks beat the Illini Sunday night in Tulsa.

Think fast: what was the name of the arena where they played? Turner Turnpike Arena? No. The Garth Brooks Center? Mmm.no. What about the Koyie Hill Auditorium?? HeyKoyie was born in Tulsa, you know.

How about this: BOK Center.

(Ding!)

Im not even sure how you pronounce that: BOK. Is it like the classical composer? Ordo you say it in acronym formlike B-O-K? Turns out it could be a little of both. BOK Center is short for Bank Of Oklahoma Center. Gotta love those bank-sponsored arenas, you know? Not sure why, but I just had a flashback to the bank robbery scene in Raising Arizona. There were also second and third round NCAA games played at Quicken Loans Arena, Time Warner Cable Arena, the McKale Center, Verizon Center and Pepsi Center. If you can name two or more of those arenas by city without cheating on Google or Wikipedia, consider yourself a sports corporate savant.

Does the name of a sports arena really matter anymore? To the upper management of both the corporation and team the venue housesabsolutely. Stadium naming rights can be absolutely vital to the bottom line of a team. Money fuels the sports machine. It has for quite some time now. But do the names matter to the average fan? I doubt it. Sports junkies have been numbed by corporate-named stadiums over the last decade or so that we really dont know where teams play, aside from the city they play in. Did you know that the Sacramento Kings play at Power Balance Pavilion? Or that the Golden State Warriors play at Oracle Arena? Utahs Delta Center might have caused goose bumps for Jazz opponents a while back. Now that place is called EnergySolutions Arena. Doesnt have quite the scare-factor does it? Maybe youd shudder a little upon knowing that EnergySolutions is one of the largest nuclear waste companies in the world.

Heres more: name the following hockey teams that occupy the following arenasThe Prudential Center, Consol Energy Center, HSBC Arena, BankAtlantic Center and the RBC Center. Any idea? Heckany clue on what city those buildings are located? If you guessed the New Jersey Devils, Pittsburgh Penguins, Buffalo Sabres, Florida Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes, you might as well write your ticket to Jeopardy! Almost makes you feel nostalgic for places like Joe Louis Arena. Then again

Its kind of sad that we lost that goose bump factor with sports arenas. I can remember fearingfearingthe Bulls going into Boston to play the Celtics in the 80s. Of coursehaving your favorite team go up against Bird, McHale and Parish in their prime was frightening enough. But with the game being played at the Boston Garden, it added an intimidation factor like no other. The current TD Garden just kind of blends in. If the Boston Garden was Aerosmith in their prime, the TD Garden is Dave Matthews. In muzak form.

I saved the best for last: Jobing.com arena in Phoenix. Can you imagine saying that to your friends?

Hey, do you want to come with us to Jobing.com Arena tonight to watch the Coyotes play?

Of course not. We know better. It just sounds awkward and weird. We say instead, Hey, do you want to go to the Coyotes game tonight?

But hey, life goes on. The Orange Bowl is out. Sun Life Pro Player Park Land Shark Field Stadium (or whtever its called) is in. Its reality. Not much we can do about it, aside from going to games at places like Jobing.com Arena. The names, and dollars, benefit the teams in the long run.

We can only hope for more games at places like Soldier Field.

Hopefully this fall.

Or something like that.

Why Cubs might not lose again and other musings in strange, short season

Why Cubs might not lose again and other musings in strange, short season

As if things weren’t already going well enough for the Cubs during this strange, short season of baseball in a pandemic, now the baseball gods are dropping gifts into their laps.

The Cardinals’ lengthy shutdown because of a coronavirus outbreak has the Cubs’ arch rivals restarting their season Saturday in Chicago with a patched-up roster and eight games over the next five days, including five games against the Cubs.

And although that means the relative hardship of two doubleheaders for the Cubs in three days, all five of those games Monday through Wednesday are against a decimated Cards roster that won’t have the front end of its rotation for any of the games.

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They catch the Cardinals at their weakest point of the early season a week after catching an otherwise formidable Cleveland team at a moment of clubhouse crisis involving protocol perps Zach Plesac and Mike Clevinger.

That one resulted in a two-game sweep by a combined score of 14-3.

This one already has resulted in all 10 games against the Cardinals now being scheduled for Wrigley Field.

Combine that with the three road games against the White Sox next month, and it means that the team with baseball’s best record on the field, the perfect record in player COVID-19 testing and no significant injuries to key players so far will play 60 percent of its games within its Chicago bubble if the Cubs and MLB pull off the full 60-game season.

If the Cubs were positioned any better to make the playoffs, they’d already be there.

“You can look at it that way if you want,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “We’re just doing our thing.”

No other way to look at it from here. Have you seen the rest of the schedule?

The Cubs have 43 games left, including 29 within a National League Central Division that doesn’t include another .500 team three weeks into a nine-week season. Nine more games are against the Tigers and White Sox.

The best team on the schedule is the Twins, and all three of those games are at home and not until the second-to-last weekend of the season.

With all due respect to Ross and his fear of “bad juju,” the Cubs can’t lose.

“It’s still early on,” the manager said.

Nothing’s early in a 60-game season. And the Cubs already have matched the hot starts of their 2016 and 1908 World Series champions.

“We’ve still got a long ways to go in the season,” Ross said.

The Cubs did have to scratch Tyler Chatwood from his scheduled start Friday night because of back tightness. And Kris Bryant has missed the last two games because of a sore finger after rolling his wrist trying to make a diving catch in left field in Cleveland Wednesday.

But Alec Mills looked good in short-notice replacement duty Friday until a rough four-pitch (and three-run) sequence in the sixth. And Chatwood might be ready for one of Monday’s games — or possibly one of Wednesday’s.

“Things falling in our favor?” Ross said. “We’re playing good baseball, and that should be the focus for me and not the other stuff.”

Granted, they still have to play the games. Granted, Bryant wasn’t available off the bench with the bases loaded in the eighth Friday, and Josh Phegley struck out instead.

And, yes, they actually lost a game to the Brewers Friday night.

But if you still don’t believe the baseball gods are stirring the Cubs’ pot so far this season, you weren’t paying attention in the ninth inning when Craig Kimbrel struck out Avisail Garcia swinging at a 98-mph fastball to start the scoreless inning and Manny Piña swinging at a 96-mph fastball to end it.

What closer problem? Bring on the Cardinals, right?

These guys might not lose another game.

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Cubs' Colin Rea to start on Saturday, Tyler Chatwood possibly Monday

Cubs' Colin Rea to start on Saturday, Tyler Chatwood possibly Monday

The Cubs plan to start swingman Colin Rea on Saturday against the Brewers, manager David Ross said after Friday's game.

Alec Mills was originally slated to pitch Saturday but was bumped up to Friday because Tyler Chatwood was scratched with mid-back tightness. The Cubs will evaluate Chatwood to see if he's an option to pitch on Monday, when they're scheduled to play a doubleheader against the Cardinals.

Rea, 30, has made two appearances this season, allowing no runs and one hit while striking out three in three innings. He was named the 2019 Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Year, sporting a 3.95 ERA in 26 starts.

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Rea's last big league start was July 30, 2016 with the Marlins. He allowed one hit in 3 1/3 scoreless innings, striking out four with no walks.

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