Soxman’s Chicago White Sox Opening Day Diary

WGN 04-01-13

The White Sox just concluded their first home stand of the year with a winning record. Aside from pitching and homeruns defining the team thus far; another thing we know for sure is that the South Side Dark Knight Super Fan Soxman returned for his 8th White Sox opening day to pump up the fans and ring in the new year with local media. What secrets of the day does he have to share?

Read on to find out.

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670 The Score Bears Overcoverage: unlistenable self-promotion


How much Chicago Bears coverage is enough? Everyone in the media, including myself, is guilty of ridiculous over-coverage of the team. But 670 The Score is by far the worst offender. And a major reason they do it is to promote their sister station, WBBM, which broadcasts the team’s games on the radio.

Obviously, this is a Bears town first. Whether the team is winning or losing. The Cubs are 1b. to their 1a. when they’re in the playoffs. And Michael Jordan borrowed the city for a decade, making the Bulls come first during the ’90s. (It even helped me remember the difference between bear market and bull market, who was up in the ’90s and who was down?) The Bulls come third, and then there’s a drop off to the White Sox and Blackhawks.

So I understand how much the Bears move the needle, and the media must follow suit.

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Young Thoroughbred

By: Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson
A tattoo etched in a gothic cursive writing on Michael Ray Garvin’s back reads: “Thoroughbred.”
The phrase written on his back, which starts at one shoulder blade and ends at the other shoulder blade, is not just something that is a fashion statement. It is something that represents this recent graduate of Florida State’s journey to the 2009 NFL Draft on April 29th.

According to Webster’s, a thoroughbred is defined as the best blood through a long line of pure-blooded stock of horses. They have characteristics of courage or an elegant form.

The year is 1991; Michael Ray Garvin is outside of his church in Brooklyn, NY. Neighborhood kids are competing in small race competitions. It is there that young Michael Ray becomes interested in running. He was invited to participate but didn’t really understand what was going on. From the way Michael Ray recalls the story, someone shot a starters pistol and everyone started running.

All except Michael Ray, that is.

“The race started and I just stood there,” said Garvin adamantly. “So I had to play catch up. I was about five years old then,” he exclaimed. “I ended up winning the whole thing,” Garvin added.

Athletics and competition are things that Michael Ray Garvin enjoys the most. He gets the competitive drive from his father, who he notes as his biggest motivator. “He put a football in my hand,” he said.
Michael Ray discovered a lot about himself at an early age while observing his father, who was a football player, in football practice.

“My dad was playing semi pro football for a New York team at the time and there was a track on the side of the field where he practiced and I just started running,” he said.

“I remember running my first mile at four years old,” he added. Garvin and his family moved to New Jersey when he was about seven. As soon as he moved, Michael Ray was playing pee wee football for the Teaneck Highway Men in addition to running track by the age of nine.

“Playing sports has always been fun for me. It made me want to work my hardest,” said Garvin.
That hard work at an early age, in addition to the 6 AM workout sessions implemented by his dad, prepared him for the rigors of summers spent at the All Bergen County Football Camp. There he caught the eye of Greg Toal and Dean Presto. Both would later become Michael Ray’s football coaches at his high school, Don Bosco Prep.

“I have been coaching Mikey Ray since he was in 3rd or 4th grade and he was always the fastest and hardest working kid,” said Presto.

Let’s fast forward to August 2001. Michael Ray Garvin is a high school freshman at the prestigious Don Bosco Prep, an all male catholic high school in Ramsey, NJ. “I didn’t want to go because it was an all-boys school,” said Garvin.

It was at Don Bosco Prep where Garvin’s potential began to soar. “He had been on a different level, since his freshman year,” said Presto.

Mike Quick, the host of MSG Network’s “High School Weekly,” which profiles high school sports in the tri-state area, agrees. “He’s definitely explosive, he has unparalleled speed,” Quick said.
“When he was at Bosco, he was better than the competition and he knew it,” Quick added.

Because of Garvin’s individual success at multiple positions, he was getting letters from major universities. There were more than twenty schools pursuing him.

“I got letters from Florida State, Rutgers, Georgia, Colorado, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas State, Wisconsin, Louisville, Virginia Tech, Penn State, Florida, and USC,” said Garvin.

This made him work even harder. “Mikey had noticed the beginning of dominance at Don Bosco with (current Green Bay Packers starting tailback) Ryan Grant, Steve Levy, Mike Teel, Marquise Liverpool and Brian Toal. Then the torch was passed to him. He out-worked everyone and was a 24/7 football guy, that handled his grades first,” said Presto.
After winning New Jersey state championships and All-American accolades as a two sport athlete at Don Bosco Prep in 2005, Michael Ray Garvin made the decision to enroll as a student-athlete at Florida State University.

“It’s a fast school. I transitioned to a prestigious school like Florida State where there were top notch athletes. I played with a lot of first round draft picks and lot of guys who were going to make it to the NFL. It was tough getting acclimated to the system. It took hard work,” said Garvin.

Hard work is exactly what Garvin did. Garvin earned his first career touchdown off a 94-yard kickoff return against the University of Colorado—a school that recruited him. That 94-yard kickoff return for a touchdown is tied for the 10th longest in Florida State history.

“I think when you are an athlete; you have to learn to deal with adversity and prosperity. Mike has probably learned both being an all American in football and track,” said Don Bosco Prep Athletic Director Nunzio Campanile. “Things may not have gone his way for him. That may actually help him in the long run because when you get in an NFL camp, you are going to be competing day in and day out every day,” he added.

Garvin’s results have been uncanny. He had an impressive Pro Day for the NFL Draft on March 18th, turning in times of 4.24 and 4.28 seconds in the 40-yard dash. Both times were the fastest of the any recorded at the NFL combine this year.

Steve Levy, a former University of California Berkeley and Don Bosco quarterback had nothing but optimism regarding his former teammate. “Mikey has the kind of talent that little kids pray for at night,” he said. “He was always trying to be the best and out work everyone around him, it’s starting to pay off,” Levy added.

“His ability to be a game changer at Florida State will help him transition into a constant special team stand out at the next level,” Levy said.

Levy, now a college football analyst for ABC-KGO San Francisco, believes that Garvin will likely be drafted anywhere from the third to fifth round.  “He’s a work horse and it does not surprise me at all that he recorded the fastest time at the combine,” he added.

One thing’s for certain, on April 29th, a thoroughbred is leaving the stable.

Better hope he forgets his blinders!

The Week in Review Late March


By Paul M. Banks

-Wow! Last week, I missed compiling a Week in Review for the first time in the site’s year history; obviously I was crazy busy (this phrase translates into “wicked busy” in New England English) for that to happen. I’ll recap a lot of what kept me so occupied, and remember it was my Christmas Eve and Christmas Day- otherwise known as the first two days of the NCAA tournament. In honor of March Madness, I’m going to end each item with a catchphrase of our favorite b-ball announcer Bill Raftery.

-On the first day of March Madness I gave a presentation entitled “Sports Media in the Post-newspaper Landscape” at Roosevelt University on Michigan Avenue. It was part of the Scholastic Press Association’s Annual Conference. I was up against some heavy hitters (As Kanye says “really heavy hitters, 87 go-getters, two hoes like John Ritter”) from Fox, CBS, the Trib etc. in my time slot, so I was I really proud to have a full house in my room. And thank you Lisa for making that awesome power-point presentation that dazzled everyone………“ELEVATED!…..with the KISS of the glass”

-I also took part in my first ever parade on the 14th, marching with Da Bus Chicago Bears Football Club. I’ll let Da Bus founder Tim Shanley describe the experience.

“WHAT A DAY!!! A sun-splashed, blue sky day that had temps close to 50 degrees brought out a large festive crowd of over 400,000 people to celebrate the 54th downtown St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday March 14th 2009. Da Bus and it’s crew are celebrating 20 years of tailgating in ’09, and this was the perfect way to kick-off the year long festivities. From the time that Da Bus lined up as float number 36, practically front row, you knew it was going to be a special day. Da Bus, and its crew, marching down Columbus Drive in front of 400,000 people, is a surreal experience in itself. The crowd was loud and enthusiastic and it was hard to hear someone from just a few feet away.

As we strolled past the ABC7 Chicago television camera perched about 20 feet above Columbus Drive, the camera scanned our entire crew, and it also zoomed in and stayed focused on Da Bus. The easiest way to find this video is to google abc7chicago and click on the video link. Scroll down and click on the St.Patrick’s Day Parade, Part 2. Scroll back to the top of the video page. Put your pointer on the video screen to be able to see the time-line.The video is 19.24 minutes long, and Da Bus and its crew come on at the 18.15 minute mark. That is a great download for those of you who were there to celebrate with us, and to get seen on television right in the middle of a huge event taking place in the heart of Chicago.”

-Look for the detailed story behind Da Bus and my interview with founder Tim Shanley as we get closer to the NFL Draft……………….”ONIONS!!!”

-On Saturday my “Tom H to tha Izzo interview/Michigan St. preview was featured on Ball Hype (still not too late to “hype it up” by clicking on the link Tonight the Jayhawks will “see hoop dreams deflate like the true feen’s weight”

-It’s no secret that the “Bracket of Bad” from 670 The Score’s Boers and Bernstein show helped inspire TSB’s “Douchebracket.” In their bracket, “People who use Blue tooth while not driving” was the champion, beating out such noteworthy competitors as Sarah Palin, David Spade’s TV shows, and books by coaches. My pick though would have been Chicago potholes.

-Seriously, every time I drive anywhere in this city it’s like playing a game of Frogger to avoid the giant craters that are EVERYWHERE! Even in the rich, white neighborhoods. I’ve lost two tires in the past nine months due to how shitty the streets are and how undeniably broke this city is. And we want to host the Olympics? HA HA HA!…………”Earl CLARK BARRRR!”

Are you kidding me? I know our 2016 bid was a joke even before a crazy winter created swiss cheese streets to complement the do nothing public transit system, but now I expect us to finish 4th out of the 4 bid cities!…….”

-I have another new and emotional heckler for my work on NBC. Thank you “Jimmy” You helped my Hawks-Sharks preview become the most viewed and 2nd most commented story of the day on NBC’s sports page. Why don’t you come over here and start criticizing the posts. Peter Christian would love to see you in the comment threads.

-Yes, we all got sick of ESPN reminding us that President Barack Obama filled out a bracket- and then we got sick of how bad his bracket is doing. But Coach K. had to voice his complaint about Obama filling one out. I’m sure the Duke leader’s issues/concerns have nothing at all to do with the fact that Coach K. uses state-money to hold Republican fundraisers where he espouses his ultra-right demagoguery. Or with the way he used Team USA basketball as a tool to promote American military hegemony…Nice job in the Nova game too!………“SCOTTIE on the MONEY!!!”

-How come everyone they showed on TV representing VCU during their first round loss to UCLA was…how can I put this delicately? Disgusting white trash? Even their cheerleaders looked nasty with too much spray tanning action and big hair like they just tried out to be in a Bon Jovi video.

-On the flip side, the cameras sure loved those hotties by the Utah state bench! Good lord I was sort of half-hoping the Aggies could eliminate Marquette so we could see more overtly gratuitous shots of those gorgeous blonde mormons as the tournament progressed. SHORRRT-Y! (that’s not a Raffteryism by the way)

-I know both of these Big Ten ballers have seen their teams eliminated from the postseason (Ohio State and Penn State) but it’s still not too late to recap the “text message of the week” from Paul Schmidt

“Take it to the hole, big man” starring Dallas Lauderdale and Tailor Battle. True, it will have more penetration than any movie in history…….”And Schmidt comes out- in the MANTMAN!”

-By the way, did I mention there’s no way in hell our city’s getting the Olympics in 2016?

-Remember in 2006 when Ozzie guillen called A-Rod a hypocrite? Well in Oz’s words “now I look like genius.” As if we needed any more reason to doubt A-Roid’s integrity, he was caught with his pants down with Eliot Spitzer’s madam.

-Yahoo! the web’s fourth highest page in traffic has a news section that is a PATHETIC JOKE! Actually, it makes pathetic jokes look like Walter Cronkite. Here are some of the month’s featured news stories it deemed most important by placing in the prime location on their homepage: Katie Holmes gets a new haircut, Danica Patrick’s tattoo airbrushed out of a picture, Rachael Ray not apologizing for FHM spread she did 6 years ago. I’m considering dropping Yahoo mail, so I can bypass this worthless excuse of a “news” page altogether. You’re dead to me!

-Last week everyone was talking about Comedy Central’s The Daily Show: specifically the episode where Jim Cramer of CNBC’s Mad Money received a harsh dressing down from host Jon Stewart. Despite how the interview was marketed, this was not a “feud,” this was a coming-to-Jesus moment for Cramer and an Edward R. Murrow confronting Joseph McCarthy type moment for Stewart. The interview reminded me of a line in “Goodfellas.” The main character, played by Ray Liotta, laments after his guy gets whacked at a time they thought he was getting made: “there’s nothing we could do. He was a made guy, we had to just take it.” Cramer did as well.

Read more about these last two topics at the Washington Times here…….“CARROTS!”

-It’s no surprise that the Chicago Luvabulls got bounced (and lost very badly at that) in the first round of the Dance team bracket. Looking at that group I can obviously tell that they were assembled by someone who is definitely not attracted to women…..”the ball was humming my friends”

-This march madness really brought out the country music lyrics in all of us. Watching Illinois I thought to myself “Pour me something strong and tall make it hurricane before I go insane,” A couple days later Marquette and their promising season were dismissed so at least I knew that “I got friends in low places where the whiskey drowns and the beer chases my out blues away- and I’ll be ok”……..”ATTACKING the TIN!”

-I know I’ve moved this segment around a lot, and I’ve been told by some that it’s their favorite bit. I think it’s found a new home on late Thu/early Friday. If you enjoyed this segment then…..“Send it on Jerome!”

Douchebracket Ghost Regional

Welcome to the d-bag bracket, a tournament deciding the most insufferable douchebags in all of sports. Please feel free to comment as much as possible, because your feedback will help determine who advances to the Final Four.

This is the bracket compiled by “The Ghost in the Machine”

1. Ron Santo- Not sure what’s more annoying, his failure to realize what’s occuring at any given moment during a Cubs game or his pathetic wait by the phone every 2 years to see if the HOF will let him in.

2. Ronnie Woo Woo Wickers- This guy shows up at Sox games. Would Soxman go to Cubs games?

3. Hockey spectators who don’t wait for the whistle.-
I missed Havlat’s  GWG last week vs Anaheim b/c the clown in front of me decided he needed to leave while play was still in progress.

4. Mike Murphy- 670 the Score midday host makes me feel like I’m listening while wearing earmuffs. Not sure he’s ever had an original thought that made sense either.

5. Adult Autograph seekers-
Let’s hang out in front of a hotel or stand in line at a fan convention for hours so that maybe my baseball card will get signed and I can put it on Ebay and make $5.

6. People Who listen to games on the radio via headphones while they’re at the game.

If you need the play by play, stay at home. If you don’t know what’s happening you shouldn’t call yourself a fan of the sport you’re attending anyway.

7. Sports Talk Radio callers with ficitious trade proposals which will never happen.

Uhhhhhh, what if the Bears traded  (insert young stud player not on team here) for (insert mid round draft pick here) and (insert bad, aging, overpaid veteran here). (Heavy breathing)

8. Baseball Fans who cheer for their team after a runner beats out the throw to 1st thwarting a possible double play.

If you’re cheering for the hustle, great, but they should be hustling all the time. This play is no better than a pop-out to the infield.

9. Players who trash talk late in games when their team has no chance of winning.

Congrats Mr. WR for getting a first down. Thanks for making the over-the-top first down gesture so everyone can see you. Oh, wait! Your team is down 21 points with 2 minutes left? Get your a$$ back in the huddle.

10. ESPN/USA Today Men’s College Basketball Poll

You’re telling me that these coaches actually sit down and fill this thing out?

11. Steve Downie-This 1st round draft pick has been eligible to play in approximately 162 pro games in the past 2 seasons. He’s been suspended for 40 of them comprised of a 20 gamer for blindsiding a player from behind and another recent 20 gamer for slashing a linesman. I like the goons in hockey, but this crosses the line.

12. Bear Weather- One of the biggest fallacies in Chicago Sports. MORE TO COME
13. Fans who run onto the field during sporting events

I’m drunk! My friends will give me $100 to run on the field! OK! I now have 5 200+lb security guards on top of me. Maybe this wasn’t a good idea. BARF

14. NFL Rule Committee for not allowing the ball to be used as a prop.

Come on! This is fun; it doesn’t hurt anyone’s feelings. Creativity should be encouraged!

15. Storming the court when your team has a reasonable chance to win the game in the first place.

This unfortunate trend should be reserved for when your school has no business beating the team it just did. Not when, for instance, the 24th ranked team beats a top 10 team. PLEASE!

16. Bill Wirtz

I hope you’re watching what’s going on at the UC. If you weren’t dead, you’d be top 5 on this list, because most likely, the Hawks would still be in the tank.