Author: Sports

IHSA State Playoff Pick ‘Em

Jacob Rainwater

The first round matchups for the IHSA playoff just around the corner, it’s time for my picks for the state champions in classes 1A-8A from Memorial Stadium in Champaign. Classes 1A-4A will play on Friday, November 25, and classes 5A-8A will tangle on Saturday, November 26.

1A – Sidell (Jamaica) (Salt Fork Co-op)

2A – #1 Sterling (Newman Central Catholic)

3A – #1 Aurora (A. Christian)

4A – #5 Rock Island (Alleman)

5A – #1 Maple Park (Kaneland)

6A – #2 Chicago (Hyde Park)

7A- #2 Rockford (Boylan Catholic)

8A – #2 Park Ridge (Maine South)


Enjoy the football, everyone!

Time to Move On From Bartman

By Jacob Rainwater

I am sitting here waiting for ESPN’s new documentary “Catching Hell” to begin, aimed at the controversy of Steve Bartman and his infamous incident in left field that supposedly cost the Chicago Cubs Game 6 of the National League Championship Series, and I come across a replay of the full game. Cubs vs.FloridaMarlins, Game 6 on October 14, 2003.  I stop to reflect back as I’ve got a few minutes to kill.

Wrigley Field looks immaculate. The ivy seems at its greenest on this cold October night, as fans all around Wrigley Field stand on their feet and Sheffield and Waveland Avenue begin to flood with people hoping to witness history. And I can feel it coming – eight years later, as a devoted fan of the Northsiders, I still get that feeling. It’s coming.

Oh wait, you were expecting me to say when Steve Bartman, a 26 year old computer consultant and youth baseball coach, reached at a foul ball in the midst of three others to rob Moises Alou of a fair chance at the catch?

With his Marlins trailing 3-0 and facing elimination, Luis Castillo fouls a 1-1 pitch down the left field line when Alou locks his eyes on the ball to try to make the grab. Alou is centered on making the out, traveling a great distance but never losing focus of the wobbly flight of the ball. Finally, he positions his glove under it, but the ball never makes contact. Alou is livid in left field. In his mind, Bartman has just robbed him of recording the second out of the eighth inning.

FOX commentator Thom Brennaman points out, “That’s a Cubs fan who tried to make that catch.” “WHY?” his partner Steve Lyons screams. Why? Because when a baseball is 200 feet in the air and taking a right-to-left trajectory, I’m sure it seemed as if it were heading straight for Bartman’s head.

According to baseball analysts, the odds of catching a foul ball at a game are nearly one in 620, so when Bartman got a sudden chance to do just that, he also sprang on the opportunity to collect a souvenir. The action he took that night was one of human impulse that every fan in the stadium would have taken.

So no….this time around I am focused on a little more than just the infamous “Bartman incident.” What I can feel coming is the ensuing trainwreck, all led by a botched double play ball by shortstop Alex Gonzalez that would have gotten Chicago out of the inning.

Mark Prior and relievers Kyle Farnsworth and Mike Remlinger combine to give up five hits – three of which were for extra bases – and three walks in the inning.  And with Alou enraged in left field, Prior becoming frustrated, and 40,000 fans constantly booing, Dusty Baker does not conduct a mound visit to regain control of his club and freshen the atmosphere until the Marlins score three runs to tie the game.

The Cubs had plenty of chances to win this game. To blame the fan occupying Section 4, Row 8, Seat 113 for the falter is unfair and is an embarrassing dark cloud fans should work to erase.

Oh, and the Cubs could have just won Game 7.