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Money Neue Bilanzregeln bringen Europas Banken stärker unter Druck

In der Tat führe der Ansatz des IASB zu niedrigeren Rückstellungen für Kreditausfälle als jener des FASB. Aber bei der Buchung potenziell fauler Kredite habe sich die Kluft verbreitert, meinen einige Analysten.Das US-Pendant zur IASB . Während der Finanzkrise habe diese Praxis die Banken aber zu einer zu langsamen Verlustbuchung verleitet, meinen Beobachter.Der Schritt des IASB steht schon seit Jahren an. Europäische Banken müssen schon bald Kreditverluste schneller verbuchen.

Europäische Banken müssen schon bald Kreditverluste schneller verbuchen. Doch US-Banken könnte es noch härter treffen.

Europäische und andere Banken außerhalb der USA müssen bald schneller Verluste aus faulen Krediten in der Bilanz erfassen und dafür mehr Rückstellungen bilden als bisher. Diese Auflagen ergeben sich aus neuen Rechnungslegungsvorschriften, die die Internationale Rechnungslegungsagentur IASB jetzt in Kraft gesetzt hat.

Unter den neuen Standards müssen Banken mit Hauptsitz außerhalb der USA ab 2018 Kreditverluste auch dann schon in ihren Bilanzen realisieren, wenn sie diese erst in der Zukunft erwarten. Das dürfte den Ausweis von Verlusten beschleunigen und zu größeren Rückstellungen führen. Aktuell schreiben die Banken Kredite erst ab, wenn der Ausfall tatsächlich eintritt. Während der Finanzkrise habe diese Praxis die Banken aber zu einer zu langsamen Verlustbuchung verleitet, meinen Beobachter.

Der Schritt des IASB steht schon seit Jahren an. Er wird die Bankbranche in ein Dilemma bringen, wenn sich amerikanische und weltweite Vorschriftengeber nicht auf einen gemeinsamen Rechnungslegungsansatz für das Abschreiben fauler Kredite verständigen. Es könnte dadurch schwerer werden, die Ergebnisse von US-Banken mit denen von Instituten aus dem Rest der Welt zu vergleichen.

Globale und US-Regelsetzer streben seit Jahren an, die Unterschiede auf den wichtigsten Feldern der Buchhaltung zu beseitigen. Dazu zählt auch die Behandlung fauler Kredite. Doch das Vorhaben krankt an Problemen und Verzögerungen. Beide Systeme haben sich auf verschiedenen Feldern einander angenähert. Aber bei der Buchung potenziell fauler Kredite habe sich die Kluft verbreitert, meinen einige Analysten.

Das US-Pendant zur IASB ? das FASB ? setzt sich zwar auch für die Einbuchung noch vor dem tatsächlichen Kreditausfall ein. Aber beide Organisationen sind sich nicht einig in der Frage, wie schnell genau Banken die Kreditverluste realisieren sollen.

Das IASB schreibt Nicht-US-Banken vor, Verluste dann sofort zu buchen, wenn der Kreditausfall in den kommenden zwölf Monaten wahrscheinlich erscheint. Sollte sich die Kreditqualität noch weiter verschlechtern, würden die weiteren Verluste erst in der Zukunft verbucht. Der IASB-Schritt betrifft eigentlich die Finanzaktiva in den Bilanzen aller Firmen außerhalb der USA. Aber die Behandlung von Bankkrediten ist besonders wichtig, weil faule Kredite und Kreditverluste eine so große Rolle in ihrem Geschäft spielen.

Die Änderung "wird das Vertrauen der Anleger in die Bank-Bilanzen und in das Finanzsystem als Ganzes erhöhen", sagt Hans Hoogervorst, Präsident des IASB, die Bilanzregeln für die meisten Ländern jenseits der USA festlegt.

Die Londoner Vereinigung von Wirtschaftsprüfern ICAEW schätzt, dass die Regeländerungen der IASB die Rückstellungen der Banken für Kreditverluste im Schnitt um rund 50 Prozent erhöhen werden. Wahrscheinlich müssten die Finanzinstitute für die gleichen Risiken mehr Kapital vorhalten, erwartet ICAEW-Chef Iain Coke. "Dadurch werden Banken sicherer, aber es wird auch teurer, sie zu betreiben."

Der Vorschlag des amerikanischen FASB geht aber noch weiter. Er läuft darauf hinaus, dass alle über die gesamte Kreditlaufzeit erwarteten Verluste sofort verbucht werden müssen. Sollte dieser Vorschlag in die Tat umgesetzt werden, müssten die US-Banken wohl noch mehr Kredite sofort abschreiben als ihre Konkurrenten im Ausland. Zugleich dürften höhere Rückstellungen nötig werden. Das wiederum könnte die Quartalsergebnisse verhageln und die US-Institute im Vergleich zu Auslandsbanken schlechter dastehen lassen, monieren viele Bank- und Wirtschaftsprüfungsbeobachter. Das FASB hat noch nicht endgültig über ihre Änderungen entschieden, hofft dies aber noch bis zum Ende des Jahres zu tun.

Das IASB schreibt in den Dokumenten zu seinem Vorschlag, dass beide Organisationen zwar alles versucht hätten, sich auf einen Ansatz zu einigen. Letztlich seien ?diese Bemühungen aber nicht von Erfolg gekrönt worden".

Das FASB glaube an seine Vorschläge, sagt Sprecherin Christine Klimek. Sie dienten am besten den Interessen von Investoren an den US-Kapitalmärkten. Mit diesen Vorgaben würde das Kreditrisiko in den Büchern eines Instituts besser wiedergegeben. In der Tat führe der Ansatz des IASB zu niedrigeren Rückstellungen für Kreditausfälle als jener des FASB. Die Vorschläge des IASB verliefen widersprächen jedoch den Lektionen aus der gerade überstandenen Finanzkrise, als zahlreiche Geldhäuser in eine Schieflage gerieten, kritisiert Klimek.

Die neue IASB-Regel gebe den Banken bei der Einschätzung der erwarteten Verluste auch einen größeren Entscheidungsspielraum als bisher, sagt Partner Tony Clifford von Ernst & Young. Das könnte auch zu gravierenden Unterschieden zwischen einzelnen Banken führen und einen Vergleich für Investoren erschweren.

Kontakt zum Autor: [email protected]

The Wall Street Journal
Today
17 Points
1

Los Angeles man arrested in 1992 murder of Skokie teen

About two months after David was killed, his father, Allan Chereck, expressed frustration over the lack of progress in the investigation. BY STEFANO ESPOSITO And ASHLEE REZIN Staff Reporters July 24, 2014 8:18AM David Chereck was killed in 1992. A couple of weeks after the killing, Pioneer Press reporter Nick Katz sat down with David's parents, who said they hoped the murderer would be found.

BY STEFANO ESPOSITO And ASHLEE REZIN Staff Reporters July 24, 2014 8:18AM

David Chereck was killed in 1992. His body was found in a Morton Grove forest preserve. | Sun-Times File Photo

Updated: July 25, 2014 2:18AM

Esther Chereck waited 22 years for an arrest to be made in the 1992 murder of her 15-year-old son, David.

On Wednesday, she learned a Los Angeles man had been arrested in the killing.

Cook County and Los Angeles County sheriff’s officers arrested Robert Serritella, 71, at his home on Monday morning, acccording to a statement from the Cook County Sheriff’s office. Serritella waived extradition and will be held without bail, according to L.A. County District Attorney Greg Risling. A hearing is set for Aug. 25.

He was identified as the suspect in the killing of David Chereck after Cook County sheriff’s police spoke with witnesses and analyzed reports from the investigation, the sheriff’s office said.

“I don’t know how I feel right now,” Chereck, of Skokie, said Thursday after Cook County sheriff’s cold-case investigators told her about the arrest. “I can’t tell you very much. I’m just in limbo.”

She said she was “absolutely” relieved if investigators found the person who strangled her son, David, with his own winter scarf and left his body in nearby Linne Woods Forest Preserve in Morton Grove.

David, a Niles West High School sophomore, was last seen alive by a friend about 10:15 p.m. on Jan. 1, 1992, near a 7-Eleven store in Skokie.

His body was found at 7:35 a.m. the next day by a man walking his dog in the 9100 block of McVickers Avenue in Morton Grove. The boy’s shoes, jacket and about $30 in cash were missing.

An autopsy found that David had been strangled with his own scarf. There were no signs that he had been beaten or sexually attacked and no signs of a struggle. Cook County Forest Preserve Police had indicated early in the investigation that the murderer may have been a person or people the teenager knew.

The investigation revealed that Chereck left his home in the 5300 block of Crain Street after dinner on New Year’s Day. He met friends at a bowling alley in downtown Skokie.

After playing video games with his friends, he left the bowling alley at 10 p.m. He was later seen at a 7-Eleven store at Gross Point Road and Lincoln Avenue, about six blocks from his home.

His parents reported him missing at 6:20 a.m. on Jan. 2, about an hour before his body was found.

Through the years, authorities continued to investigate the case, but leads dried up. About two months after David was killed, his father, Allan Chereck, expressed frustration over the lack of progress in the investigation. Six months later, authorities reported they may have had a suspect, but it never led to an arrest.

Allan Chereck died in 2000, never knowing who had taken the life of his only son.

On Thursday, the Chereck home was dark and no one answered the door. Neighbors on Crain Street said they didn’t know about the case or had no comment on it. The Cherecks had moved to Skokie from Chicago four to five years before David’s murder to protect him from the violence and gangs of the city, his parents told the Pioneer Press in 1992.

David read and wrote Hebrew fluently. He was active in Congregation B’nai Emunah, and his mother said he was a committed Jew.

When an elderly couple moved in next door to the Chereck’s Skokie home, David mowed their lawn and shoveled snow without asking for or taking money. He had planned to attend Harvard, go into business and earn enough money to take care of his parents.

A couple of weeks after the killing, Pioneer Press reporter Nick Katz sat down with David’s parents, who said they hoped the murderer would be found. At the time, Esther Chereck said that it would be “justice” for the killer to receive the death penalty.

Contributing: Mike Isaacs

Chicago Sun-Times
Today
14 Points
1

Europe deal means cash for Murdoch's Time Warner bid

The bigger BSkyB would serve 20 million customers.BSkyB is paying 2.07 billion pounds in cash for Sky Italia and 2.9 billion pounds for a 57.4% stake in Sky Deutschland, raising about $8.4 billion. Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox entered a deal Friday to sell all of its stake in Sky Italia and a majority stake in Sky Deutschland to BSkyB, raising more than $8 billion cash to fortress its rebuffed Time Warner bid.The well-telegraphed move would give pay-TV provider BSkyB .

Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox entered a deal Friday to sell all of its stake in Sky Italia and a majority stake in Sky Deutschland to BSkyB, raising more than $8 billion cash to fortress its rebuffed Time Warner bid.

The well-telegraphed move would give pay-TV provider BSkyB ? which is 39% owned by Fox ? a dominant position in Europe, bolstering its presence beyond the U.K. and Ireland to Italy and Germany, where pay-TV is still not prevalent. The bigger BSkyB would serve 20 million customers.

BSkyB is paying 2.07 billion pounds in cash for Sky Italia and 2.9 billion pounds for a 57.4% stake in Sky Deutschland, raising about $8.4 billion. The total deal value comes to $9 billion, including the transfer of BSkyB's 21% stake in National Geographic Channel International to Fox.

BSkyB shares were down 4.4% in London.

Last week, Time Warner revealed that Murdoch's 21st Century Fox film and entertainment company had offered to buy Time Warner TWC or $84 a share, or about $80 billion, in an unsolicited deal that would combine two of the largest companies in the cable network business.

Murdoch is expected to return to Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes with a higher bid, but one that doesn't warp Fox's credit rating.

USA Today
Today
16 Points
1

Blaze rips through Bronx supermarket, leaves 3 people injured 

Previous Next Enlarge More than 200 fire fighters were battling a 5-alarm blaze in a Bronx supermarket that left three people injured and was still smoldering after more than five hours Friday morning, authorities said.The fire began in the ceiling of a Food Dynasty supermarket on Hunts Point Ave. Danny Iudici No one was in the supermarket when the fire started.Danny Iudici Firefighters fought the flames from elevated baskets and the roofs of nearby buildings.
Danny Iudici The fire started on ceiling of a Food Dynasty supermarket on Hunts Point Ave. near Seneca Ave. early Friday morning.Danny Iudici More than 200 firefighters fought the blaze, which was still burning more than five hours later. Previous Next Enlarge

More than 200 fire fighters were battling a 5-alarm blaze in a Bronx supermarket that left three people injured and was still smoldering after more than five hours Friday morning, authorities said.

The fire began in the ceiling of a Food Dynasty supermarket on Hunts Point Ave. near Seneca Ave. around 12:30 a.m., Fire Dept. sources said.

Heavy smoke billowed from the burning market, which is surrounded by apartment buildings on all sides, prompting responders to evacuate many residents.

Danny Iudici A child was treated for smoke inhalation and two firefighters have been treated for minor injuries.

A child who was in one of the surrounding apartments was treated for smoke inhalation at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center and so far two firefighters have been treated for minor injuries.

There was no one inside the store when the fire started, officials said.

Danny Iudici No one was in the supermarket when the fire started.Danny Iudici Firefighters fought the flames from elevated baskets and the roofs of nearby buildings. Previous Next Enlarge

"We were all sleeping. I woke up and there was smoke everywhere, it was hard to breathe," said Erinel Delarosa, 24, who lives in one of the apartment buildings adjacent to the store. "Firefighters were knocking on people's doors ... we all just ran outside. Every apartment was filled with smoke. I thought my building was on fire."

Firefighters have been using elevated baskets and the roofs of nearby buildings to put water on the fire to prevent it from spreading, Fire Dept. sources said.

The fire was darkening as of 5 a.m., but was reignited several times by groceries inside the store, officials said.

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Daily News
Today
15 Points
1

Money Warum der Sanktionshebel der EU gegen Russland klemmt

Es ist die typische Art der Lastenteilung in der EU.Die Schwierigkeit besteht darin, dass es schwer möglich sein wird, solche Sanktionen nur allmählich zu verschärfen. nukleare Option", sagt ein EU-Beamter.Trotz des hohen Fokus auf die Wirtschaft birgt der Streit über Sanktionen innerhalb der EU eine weitere Dimension: Es gibt einen politischen Graben in der Frage, wie mit Russland am besten umzugehen sei.

Eine Frau protestiert in Paris gegen die Lieferung französischer Kriegsschiffe an Russland: Die EU-Staaten einigen sich wegen einer Vielzahl nationaler Interessen nur zögerlich auf eine gemeinsame Linie im Ukraine-Konflikt.

Die europäischen Regierungen haben am Donnerstag beschlossen, die russische Wirtschaft wegen Moskaus Verhalten in der Ukraine-Krise noch stärker in die Zange zu nehmen. Sie diskutierten zudem darüber, ob sie weitergehende Sanktionen verhängen sollen, die Russlands Finanzströme, Energieimporte und Einfuhren von Gütern aus dem Verteidigungsbereich stören würden. Das ist ein erheblicher Kurswechsel für Europa, das sich bisher weitgehend darauf beschränkt hat, Einzelpersonen mit Sanktionen zu bestrafen.

Sollte die Europäische Union tatsächlich diese weitreichenderen Schritte beschließen, würde sie dem Vorwurf etwas mehr entgegensetzen können, dass sie bisher auf die Ereignisse in der Ukraine zu lax reagiert habe. Aber laut europäischen Beamten war es schwer genug, die politischen Verhandlungen überhaupt zum jetzigen Punkt voranzutreiben. Sie nennen eine Vielzahl von Gründen dafür ? Gründe, die den Beschluss weiterer Maßnahmen durchaus noch verzögern könnten.

Der erste Grund liegt auf der Hand: 28 Entscheidungsträger. In Washington entscheidet Präsident Barack Obama über Sanktionen. In Brüssel sind es 28 Regierungen, die jeweils eigenen einheimischen Zwängen unterworfen sind und die wirtschaftlich teils hochgradig von Russland abhängen. Dennoch müssen all diese Regierungen einen gemeinsamen Kurs finden.

Die wirtschaftlichen Beziehungen zu Russland sind für einige Länder ein großer Anreiz, nichts zu tun. Deutschland, Bulgarien und Ungarn hängen stark von russischer Energie ab und fürchten um ihre künftige Versorgung. Für Zypern, Österreich, die Niederlande, Luxemburg und Großbritannien stehen Finanzbeziehungen im Vordergrund. Und Frankreichs größte Sorge ist, dass es gezwungen werden könnte, einen Liefervertrag für zwei Kriegsschiffe an Russland im Wert von 1,2 Milliarden Euro zu stornieren.

?Es gibt eine Dreifach-Blockade in Europa: Deutschland will nichts in der Energie unternehmen, Frankreich nichts in der Verteidigung und Großbritannien nichts im Finanzsektor", sagt Mujtaba Rahman, Europadirektor in der Beratung Eurasia Group.

Diese direkten Beziehungen sind aber nur Teil des Dilemmas. So hat sich Italien nach Angaben von EU-Beamten bisher vor allem deshalb gegen schärfere Sanktionen gewehrt, weil die Regierung von Ministerpräsident Matteo Renzi einen Folgeschock für die europäische Wirtschaft befürchtet ? und einen möglichen Sanktions-Gegenschlag der Russen, der wiederum Italiens brüchige wirtschaftliche Erholung gefährden könnte.

Zudem bewegt sich die EU aufgrund rechtlicher Bedenken so vorsichtig. Im vergangenen Jahr erklärte der oberste Gerichtshof der Gemeinschaft mehrere EU-Sanktionen gegen Personen und Unternehmen in Iran und Syrien für rechtswidrig, nachdem die Sanktionsopfer geklagt hatten.

EU-Richter begründeten ihre Entscheidung damit, dass einige Sanktionen auf Basis einer zu dürftigen Beweislage verhängt wurden ? auch, weil sich Mitgliedstaaten weigerten, dem Gericht Geheimdienstwissen und andere vertrauliche Informationen zur Verfügung zu stellen. Europäische Regierungen diskutieren inzwischen darüber, ob sie die geltenden Gesetze ändern sollen, um vertrauliche Informationen künftig nur mit den Richtern selbst teilen zu müssen.

Doch selbst wenn sie das durchsetzen sollten, würde es Monate dauern, bis diese neue Rechtsregelung in Kraft träte. Bis dahin muss die EU weiterhin dafür sorgen, dass sie öffentlich nachprüfbare Informationen vorlegen kann, um Sanktionen gegen Einzelpersonen und Unternehmen zu begründen.

Für breitflächige Wirtschaftssanktionen gegen Russland, wie sie die EU gerade erwägt, werden solche rechtlichen Schranken weniger ein Problem darstellen. Während Sanktionsbeschlüsse gegen Einzelpersonen oder Unternehmen mit klaren Beweisen unterfüttert werden müssen, obliegen zum Beispiel Sanktionen gegen Russlands Energie- oder Finanzbranche der politischen Deutungshoheit der Mitgliedstaaten.

Dennoch bringen Sanktionen gegen ganze russische Wirtschaftszweige wegen der Art, wie die EU diese Art von Strafmaßnahmen auffasst, Probleme mit sich. Die europäischen Regierungen haben festgelegt, dass branchenbezogene Sanktionen eine ?Balance über die Branchen und über die Mitgliedstaaten hinweg" aufweisen müssen. So steht es in einem Papier der Europäischen Kommission, das Mittwochnacht an die Mitgliedstaaten versandt wurde. Es ist die typische Art der Lastenteilung in der EU.

Die Schwierigkeit besteht darin, dass es schwer möglich sein wird, solche Sanktionen nur allmählich zu verschärfen. Wenn man den Verkauf der französischen Kriegsschiffe stoppen würde, wäre das für Frankreich ein Riesenschlag. Und deshalb müsste es zeitgleich weitere Sanktionen geben, die andere Branchen in anderen EU-Ländern in ähnlichem Umfang treffen. Wirklich scharfe Branchensanktionen gegen Russland wären vor diesem Hintergrund zwangsläufig eine ?nukleare Option", sagt ein EU-Beamter.

Trotz des hohen Fokus auf die Wirtschaft birgt der Streit über Sanktionen innerhalb der EU eine weitere Dimension: Es gibt einen politischen Graben in der Frage, wie mit Russland am besten umzugehen sei. Dieser Grabenkampf ist sogar innerhalb der deutschen Bundesregierung erkennbar.

Seit den 1960er-Jahren versuchen die Sozialdemokraten, die Beziehungen zu Russland neu auszurichten, indem sie den Schwerpunkt darauf legen, die Felder der Zusammenarbeit mit Moskau zu stärken und mehr Zuckerbrot als Peitsche walten zu lassen. Auch der ehemalige Bundeskanzler Gerhard Schröder, der Russlands Präsident Wladimir Putin nahesteht, verfolgte diese politische Linie. Und Außenminister Frank-Walter Steinmeier tat es während seiner ersten Amtszeit zwischen 2005 und 2009 ebenfalls.

Bundesaußenminister Frank-Walter Steinmeier und Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel: Das Ausland rätselt über die deutsche Position.

Wer eine härtere Gangart gegenüber Russland vertritt, argumentiert dagegen, dass Putin gewillt sei, die Schwäche des Westens zu seinem Vorteil auszunutzen. Dieses Lager argumentiert auch, dass die Schwierigkeiten in Zukunft nur umso größer sein werden, wenn es der EU jetzt nicht gelingen sollte, zusammenzuhalten und Moskau unter Druck zu setzen.

Schweden, Polen, das Baltikum, Großbritannien und zeitweise auch Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel sind allesamt der Ansicht, dass Sanktionen grundlegend notwendig sind, um Druck auf Russland auszuüben.

Über weite Strecken der Ukraine-Krise hatten Vertreter anderer EU-Staaten nach eigenen Angaben Mühe, eine einheitliche deutsche Position in der Sanktionsfrage herauszufiltern. Ständig hätten Steinmeier und andere Beamte des Außenministeriums weichere Signale ausgesendet als Merkel und ihre Leute im Kanzleramt.

Die neueste Entwicklung vom Donnerstag zeigt, dass die Kluft zwischen den Befürwortern und Gegnern schärferer Sanktionen in den vergangenen Wochen geschrumpft ist, was auch am augenscheinlichen Abschuss des Malaysia-Airlines-Passagierflugzeugs mit mehr als 200 EU-Bürgern an Bord liegen dürfte.

Kontakt zum Autor: [email protected]

The Wall Street Journal
Today
13 Points
1

Jose Abreu has yet to hit rookie wall

Adam Dunn's smash single off Trevor Hughes' right shin KO'd the Twins starter in the fourth inning.That's the kind of blow it might take to keep Abreu out of a game. The "dog days" of August have arrived in July for Jose Abreu, who played in his 88th game in the White Sox' 5-2 victory against the Minnesota Twins on Thursday at Target Field.Abreu never played more than 94 games in Cuba, so these last two months of his first season will be a test for the major leagues' home-run leader.

BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWENStaff Reporter July 24, 2014 10:52PM

Updated: July 25, 2014 2:22AM

MINNEAPOLIS ? The “dog days” of August have arrived in July for Jose Abreu, who played in his 88th game in the White Sox’ 5-2 victory against the Minnesota Twins on Thursday at Target Field.

Abreu never played more than 94 games in Cuba, so these last two months of his first season will be a test for the major leagues’ home-run leader. The left ankle that put him on the disabled list is holding up, but like everyone else about now, various aches and pains are setting in. Manager Robin Ventura gave Abreu a day off Tuesday because his back was barking at him a little.

“His body is a little tired but he’s still getting in there, still fighting and still pushing,’’ Sox director of conditioning Allen Thomas said Thursday. “Is the experience new? Yes, he’d normally be done at this time. But he’s ­really mentally strong. He’s still getting in the weight room twice a week.’’

Sure, Abreu is beat up a little, Thomas said, but wear and tear was expected.

“He’s at freshman status but his body looks fine, his weight is where we like it,’’ Thomas said.

Abreu weighed 278 when the Sox signed him to a six-year, $68 million contract in October. He’s down to 252, and the Sox want to see him at 235.

“That’s very doable for him because he’s going to be stronger,’’ Thomas said. “Not just with diet, but with more training and cardio. it will be better for his legs and ankle strength in the end.’’

The Sox are doing all they can to protect their prized investment, who extended his hitting streak to 14 with a double off the right-center field wall. Abreu has hit safely in 32 of his last 33 games.

“In spring training he proved he could hit and hit with power,’’ Paul Konerko said, “but I didn’t know he would do both right off the bat. I thought he would do one or the other. He’s been driving balls all year but now you see the hits coming out and the average creeping up.’’

Abreu has answered doubts about how he would handle cold weather and pitchers he hadn’t faced.

“Even relievers who make you feel uncomfortable that you’ve faced 20 times, he goes up there the first time and hits a line drive up the middle and you say, ‘All right, I guess he wasn’t that uncomfortable.’ So you start seeing those barriers getting broken down early. Really, him getting hurt is the only down moment of the year and that’s not on him. Everything else has been aces.’’

For seven innings, Sox starter Hector Noesi was aces in the first game of a four-game series in Minnesota and a road trip that continues in Detroit. Before Chris Parmelee singled sharply to left and Danny Santana homered in the eighth, the only hit by the Twins was Trevor Plouffe’s soft-fly single to left that probably should have been caught by Alejandro De Aza, who got a late jump and barely missed getting his glove on the ball as he charged in and to his right.

Noesi exited after the homer. He gave up three hits and one walk while striking out three over 7?2/3 innings.

Adam Eaton had three hits, including a double and two-run single for the Sox. Adam Dunn’s smash single off Trevor Hughes’ right shin KO’d the Twins starter in the fourth inning.

That’s the kind of blow it might take to keep Abreu out of a game. When he rested Tuesday, it wasn’t a day he asked for.

“He’s a gamer, he wants to play,’’ Thomas said. “A guy of that size, you wonder if his body can hold it but I wouldn’t say he has slowed down by any means.’’

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @CST_soxvan

Chicago Sun-Times
Today
13 Points
1

Citing irreconcilable differences, Billionaire Ken Griffin, chief of Citadel, files for divorce

SUN-TIMES REPORT July 24, 2014 9:22AM Ken Griffin has filed for divorce from his wife, Anne Dias Griffin. "And then I learned what the word hospitable meant, for a few weeks later, it was announced that [a CEO's] company received tens of millions of dollars of tax incentives, and his silence was bought and paid for.".

SUN-TIMES REPORT July 24, 2014 9:22AM

Ken Griffin has filed for divorce from his wife, Anne Dias Griffin. | File photo

Updated: July 24, 2014 12:21PM

Billionaire Ken Griffin, the founder and CEO of Citadel LLC, a hedge fund and financial services firm based in Chicago, filed for divorce Wednesday from his wife, Anne Dias Griffin, a hedge-fund executive from France, citing irreconcilable differences and noting the couple had signed a prenuptial agreement, Cook County records show.

Ken Griffin’s petition notes the couple has been separated in excess of a year and any attempts at reconciliation are “impractical.”

He is asking for joint custody of their three children, ages 2, 3 and 6.

The divorce filing notes the couple married July 19, 2003, and signed a prenuptial agreement the day before that the filing says addresses issue of maintenance and the division of marital and non-marital property.

Anne Griffin’s attorney, Robert Stephan Cohen, released this statement in response to the filing:

“Ken Griffin unilaterally filed a divorce petition . . . with no notice to either me or my client, knowing full well that she had just left for summer vacation with their three young children and would therefore be unable to respond. Anne’s highest priority remains her family, especially the wellbeing of her children. She is hopeful that this personal matter can be resolved privately and in the best interests of her children. We have no further comment at this time.”

Ken Griffin’s attorneys at the Chicago firm of Berger Schatz also issued a statement:

“This is a personal matter, and the family asks for privacy as they work through this process and focus on the well-being of their children.”

Griffin was in the headlines last month because of his record-breaking $2.5 million contribution to Bruce Rauner’s gubernatorial campaign.

That was on top of $1 million Griffin already had given and in addition to letting Rauner use Griffin’s $50 million private jet to campaign around the state.

A Republican operative who has had conversations with Griffin but was not authorized to talk publicly about them told the Chicago Sun-Times last month, “This is do or die for the state of Illinois, that’s how he feels,” and insisted Griffin had no interest “other than the solvency of the state.”

Griffin has urged CEOs to get more involved in the political process and has shunned those who privately complained about Illinois’ bad business climate but kept quiet after taking taxpayer money in order to stay.

“You see, if Illinois is not hospitable to my business, we’re just going to move,” Griffin said, quoting what other CEOs had told him. He made the remarks in a 2013 speech before the Economic Club of Chicago. “And then I learned what the word hospitable meant, for a few weeks later, it was announced that [a CEO’s] company received tens of millions of dollars of tax incentives, and his silence was bought and paid for.”

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Man, 26, charged with murder in killing of Gary police officer

25.Blount's brother, Dontae Blount, told authorities during an interview Tuesday that he was on the phone with Carl Blount just before the shooting, according to the affidavit. On their way home, a friend of Guzman's began accusing Blount of having an affair with another woman, court records say.While in the car, Blount lifted his shirt and showed them he had a gun. 12 months in Lake County Jail and 12 months suspended and served on probation.

By Teresa Auch Schultz [email protected] July 24, 2014 12:02PM

Carl Blount

Gary mayor statement

“I am pleased that the suspect has been charged, and I hope this brings a certain amount of relief to the family and the men and women of the Gary Police Department,” said Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson in a press release. “However, we are still mourning the loss of one of our own and expect that Blount and anyone else involved be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

 

Updated: July 25, 2014 2:00AM

Gary Patrolman Jeffrey Westerfield’s fiancee minced no words when it came to the fate of his alleged killer: She wants him to get the death penalty.

Lake County Sheriff John Buncich and Prosecutor Bernard Carter on Thursday announced that Carl Le’Ellis Blount Jr. had been charged with murder in the Fourth of July weekend shooting death of the 19-year Gary police officer. Blount, 26, of Gary, faces one charge of murder, although police are still looking for the gun.

“Jeff is no longer here. We can’t see him or talk to him or touch him,” Denise Sheaks-Cather told the Post-Tribune. “Why should his (Blount’s) family be able to visit him and talk to him? Why are they any different?”

Westerfield was found dead in his squad car early on the morning of July 6, his 47th birthday. According to a probable cause affidavit and the sheriff, Blount waited until Westerfield’s attention was “diverted” before he shot the officer at “very close range” with a Walther .40-caliber handgun, stolen almost a year ago from a truck in Indianapolis.

“(It’s) just senseless, senseless murder of a police officer,” Buncich said during a news conference Thursday afternoon to announce the charge.

Blount was taken into custody the day Westerfield was killed but not charged until Thursday. Police were able to hold him on warrants out of Porter County, Buncich said. In the Portage warrants he listed a Portage address. In charging documents in Lake County, he lists 2659 Jackson St., Gary, as his address.

Police believe Blount killed the 19-year veteran officer at 26th Avenue and Van Buren Place in Gary.

Blount and his girlfriend, Jennifer Guzman, had been at Voodoo Club in Gary the night of Saturday, July 5. On their way home, a friend of Guzman’s began accusing Blount of having an affair with another woman, court records say.

While in the car, Blount lifted his shirt and showed them he had a gun. The couple began arguing and when they got out of the car, they started struggling over the gun, according to the probable cause affidavit. At some point, Guzman told police, she got control of the gun and “it just went off.”

Blount picked up the gun and fled on foot, the affidavit says.

Westerfield was one of the officers who arrived to the shooting, and he subsequently went looking for Blount.

At 4:26 a.m., Westerfield made his last communication with dispatch and asked for a description of Blount.

According to the narrative laid out in Wednesday’s court filing, police were able to use a cellphone picture from Blount’s phone to identify the gun and its serial number. They traced the gun back to Indianapolis and found that an Indianapolis man bought it in January 2013 and reported it stolen on Sept. 25.

Blount’s brother, Dontae Blount, told authorities during an interview Tuesday that he was on the phone with Carl Blount just before the shooting, according to the affidavit. He told police that Carl Blount told him he was ending the call because there was a Gary police officer with a spotlight on and that he would be home soon.

Moments later, Dontae Blount told police, he heard a rapid succession of gunshots. He grabbed his own gun, went outside and saw Carl Blount running at full speed toward the house.

Dontae told authorities that Carl had “an emotional outburst” and told him he had shot a police officer when his attention was diverted.

Buncich said Dontae’s statements proved crucial to the case.

“His half-brother was the one to give us enough to charge,” he said.

Dontae is also being held on other warrants. He is not charged in connection to Westerfield’s homicide, although Buncich said police are still investigating the case.

Amid tight security, Blount, 25, appeared in court Thursday morning before Lake Superior Court Magistrate Kathleen Sullivan on a petition to revoke probation for criminal recklessness. He was sentenced May 13, 2013, to 24 months ? half of the sentence was suspended and ordered served on probation. He is represented by Robert Varga of the Lake County public defender’s office.

Blount is set to appear Friday morning before Lake Superior Court Judge Samuel Cappas for an initial appearance. He also has a hearing before Cappas on Sept. 24 on the probation revocation case, which stems from him being charged in Porter County while on probation in Lake County.

Sheaks-Cather, Westerfield’s fiancee, vowed to follow Blount’s case.

“I will be at every court hearing,” she said.

Sheaks-Cather, who is close friends with other police wives, said she worries about Gary officers because their work conditions have not changed since Westerfield was killed.

“I don’t want to see another family go through this. The city says things are better, but they’re not,” she said.

Allie Westerfield, the slain officer’s 20-year-old daughter, said Thursday that knowing her dad died trying to protect the residents of Gary made her “extremely proud to be his daughter.” She thanked all the local law enforcement for working to find her father’s killer.

“We are standing as strong as we can,” she said of her family in the wake of his death. “We miss our dad.”

Allie Westerfield said the family plans on attending Gary’s Night Against Violence in early August, which will be held in Westerfield’s memory this year.

Blount, who has not confessed to the crime, faces 45 to 65 years in prison on the charge. Buncich said Thursday that the Lake County Prosecutor’s Office is still determining whether to seek the death penalty.

Allie Westerfield said she didn’t have an opinion on what sentence Blount should serve if convicted.

Blount has a 2013 conviction for criminal recklessness, a Class D felony. He was sentenced May 13, 2013, to 24 months ? 12 months in Lake County Jail and 12 months suspended and served on probation. He had 334 days in custody at his sentencing hearing.

He was held on a Porter County warrant from a domestic incident in April where he was accused of criminal confinement, strangulation and other charges in Chesterton. Earlier this month, he was charged with forgery, also in Porter County.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Department is still offering a reward of $10,000 for anyone who can provide more information to help bring a conviction, and the ATF has thrown in another $10,000, Buncich said. People with information can call (800) 750-2746.

The Major Crimes Task Force and Indiana State Police also assisted. Agents from several federal departments, including the ATF, FBI, DEA and U.S. Marshals Service also offered their help. Buncich praised the work of all the departments, saying almost every law enforcement agency in Lake County helped out in some way.

“The work that went into this was unbelievable,” he said.

Contributing: Ruth Ann Krause and Post-Tribune staff

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1 dead, 7 hurt in shootings Thursday

The boy was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in critical condition, police said.About 7:30 p.m., a 30-year-old man was shot in the lower back while driving in the 2500 block of West 38th Street in the Brighton Park neighborhood, police said. Friends drove him to the University of Chicago Medical Center, where his condition was stable, police said. He was getting out of a vehicle in the 1400 block of North Sedgwick Street when someone walked up and fired shots, striking him in the leg, police said.

SUN-TIMES MEDIA WIRE July 25, 2014 1:14AM

One man was killed and seven people were wounded in shootings across Chicago on Thursday.

Early Thursday morning, a 39-year-old man was fatally shot at a gas station in the West Pullman neighborhood on the Far South Side.

Anthony Edwards was walking in the 11600 block of South Michigan Avenue about 3:15 a.m. when a male approached on foot and fired multiple shots, according to police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office. He was shot several times in his head and body, police said.

Edwards, of the 12000 block of South Normal Avenue, was pronounced dead at the scene at 3:24 a.m., the medical examiner’s office said.

The most recent nonfatal shooting occurred Thursday night in the South Chicago neighborhood. About 11:25 p.m., officers who were responding to call of shots fired found a 35-year-old man lying on the sidewalk in the 9100 block of South South Chicago Avenue, police said. He was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn in critical condition.

About 8:25 p.m. Thursday, a 17-year-old boy was shot by two males who were riding bicycles about 8:25 p.m. at Kedvale Park, 4131 W. Hirsch St., in the Humboldt Park neighborhood. The boy was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in critical condition, police said.

About 7:30 p.m., a 30-year-old man was shot in the lower back while driving in the 2500 block of West 38th Street in the Brighton Park neighborhood, police said. Someone rode up on a bicycle, yelled gang slogans and fired at the vehicle. The man drove to 35th and Rockwell streets and notified authorities, police said. He was taken to Stroger Hospital in critical condition.

About 3:40 p.m. Thursday, a 24-year-old man was shot in his head and abdomen in the South Chicago neighborhood. The man was standing on the street in the 8000 block of South Manistee Avenue when someone emerged from an alley, fired at him and ran off, police said. The victim was taken to Christ Medical Center in serious condition.

About 1:24 p.m., a 28-year-old man was shot in the Old Town neighborhood on the North Side. He was getting out of a vehicle in the 1400 block of North Sedgwick Street when someone walked up and fired shots, striking him in the leg, police said. He was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where his condition was stable.

About noon, a 27-year-old man was taking out his garbage in the 13000 block of South Evans Avenue when someone walked up and shot him, police said. He was shot in the hip and taken to Roseland Community Hospital, where his condition was stable, police said.

About 11:20 a.m., a 17-year-old boy was shot in both thighs in the Woodlawn neighborhood on the South Side. Police think he was shot in the 6100 block of South Langley Avenue. Friends drove him to the University of Chicago Medical Center, where his condition was stable, police said. He was later transferred to Mount Sinai Hospital. Police could not provide further details because the victim was not cooperating with investigators. The shooting was thought to be gang-related.

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Cops: Gang member fired ‘without care,’ hit girl at sleepover

"Folks came forward and helped us, which really pushed us along in the investigation," McCarthy said. Garry McCarthy said Thursday at a news conference.Lee, a graduate of Crane High School, fired in retaliation for a fight between two 14-year-olds earlier in the day, police said."A couple of 14-year-olds get into a fight, somebody introduces a gun into the situation, and we now have another child murdered," McCarthy said."This is haunting," he added.

BY STEFANO ESPOSITO MITCH DUDEK AND FRANK MAIN Staff Reporters July 24, 2014 9:36AM

Tevin Lee has been charged in the shooting death of 11-year-old Shamiya Adams. | Photo from Chicago Police

Updated: July 25, 2014 2:18AM

As they prepared to bury 11-year-old Shamiya Adams ? killed last week by a stray bullet ? family members were relieved to hear Thursday that murder charges had been filed against the alleged shooter.

The senseless circumstances behind the shooting, however, offered them no solace.

Tevin Lee, an 18-year-old gang member, fired into a crowd of people Friday afternoon in the West Garfield Park neighborhood ? retaliation for an earlier fistfight between two 14-year-old boys, police said.

One of the bullets entered a home on the 3900 block of West Gladys and hit Shamiya in the head as she prepared to microwave s’mores while at a slumber party at a friend’s house.

“I’m just glad they caught the guy . . . and we can bury my grandbaby in peace,” said Nanette Dailey, Shamiya’s grandmother. Shamiya’s twin brother, Jeremiah, is trying to understand where his sister is, she said.

“We don’t really think that he understands his sister has gone to heaven, he’s just trying to be strong for his mother,” Dailey said.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Thursday said he planned to pay his third visit toShamiya’s mother, Shaneetha Goodloe, and called her after hearing about the charges.

“I didn’t do it just as mayor. I also did it as a father of three kids? whose own kids do sleepovers and have sleepovers, as a fellow parent to give her the strength, the notion that she’s not alone?. so she knows that she has the resolve to keep going,” said Emanuel after groundbreaking ceremonies at a $500 million office tower along the Chicago River.

“There are too many guns easily available and too little values? around to guide people,” he said. “A bunch of teenagers had a disagreement that, at worst, should have been a fist fight. Some individual, 19, goes and gets a gun to resolve it and there’s been a senseless, meaningless loss of life? We can do something about this. If you have a dispute, leave it words. If you can’t leave it to words, leave it alone. Put the guns down. A dispute between two? young men should not result in gun violence. We are a better city with better people and better values.”

Lee, of the 600 block of South Lawndale Avenue, was charged with murder and was expected in bond court Friday.

“After observing the rival gang members, he opened fire without care or regard to the safety of anyone else,” Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said Thursday at a news conference.

Lee, a graduate of Crane High School, fired in retaliation for a fight between two 14-year-olds earlier in the day, police said.

“A couple of 14-year-olds get into a fight, somebody introduces a gun into the situation, and we now have another child murdered,” McCarthy said.

“This is haunting,” he added. “This is a pattern that we have to break.”

He was referring to the similarity between this case and that of 14-year-old shooting victim Endia Martin, who was killed in April. Another 14-year-old girl is accused of firing the fatal shot in that crime.

Police have not recovered the gun used in Shamiya’s death.

McCarthy, though, said police had “nine good witnesses” and praised the community for stepping up.

“Folks came forward and helped us, which really pushed us along in the investigation,” McCarthy said. “We couldn’t be more confident we’ve got the right guy.”

The shooting was in retaliation for the beating of a boy who was riding his bicycle, sources said.

The boy told his older brother and later that day, Lee and other members of the Gangster Disciples went looking for rivals they believed were responsible, the sources said.

When they found the rivals, Lee allegedly fired at them.

The initial lead in the case came from a witness who contacted detectives after the murder, sources said.

Lee was arrested twice last year, once for soliciting unlawful business in August and once for battery in October. Both cases were dropped. In the battery case, the complaining witness didn’t show up in court, records show.

The girl and a group of her friends had been sitting in a circle in bedroom at her friend’s house, about to enjoy marshmallow s’mores, when gunshots rang out.

One bullet came in through a window and struck Shamiya in the head.

She was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where she underwent surgery and was placed on a breathing machine. She was pronounced dead at 7:33 a.m. Saturday, according to the medical examiner’s office.

The day Shamiya died, family, friends and neighbors gathered for a vigil outside the home where she had been shot.

A spokesman for Ald. Jason Ervin, who earlier this week announced an $8,000 reward for information leading to the shooter, said Thursday that he did not know if the money had been awarded to anyone.

Contributing: Jordan Owen, Becky Schlikerman, Brian Slodysko

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Obama takes on ‘corporate deserters,’ steps up drive to close tax loophole

corporate tax rates and say the government should keep out of the way.CONTINUE READING AT POLITICS.SUNTIMES.COM. Obama and congressional Democrats are pushing to severely limit such deals, a move resisted by Republicans who argue the entire corporate tax code needs an overhaul. Striking a populist stand ahead of the midterm elections, Obama is demanding "economic patriotism" from American corporations that seek overseas mergers to avoid U.S.

BY LYNN SWEET Washington Bureau Chief July 24, 2014 10:26PM

President Barack Obama speaks about the economy at the Los Angeles Trade-Technical College in Los Angeles, Thursday, July 24, 2014, on the final day of his three-day West Coast trip. Striking a populist stand ahead of the midterm elections, Obama is demanding "economic patriotism" from American corporations that seek overseas mergers to avoid U.S. taxes. Obama and congressional Democrats are pushing to severely limit such deals, a move resisted by Republicans who argue the entire corporate tax code needs an overhaul. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Updated: July 25, 2014 2:17AM

WASHINGTON ? President Barack Obama called companies that re-incorporate overseas to avoid taxes “corporate deserters” on Thursday, stepping up a drive to close a tax loophole that could affect deals already in the works for Walgreens and AbbVie, two giant firms headquartered in Chicago’s suburbs.

At issue are mergers between U.S. corporations and smaller foreign companies that legally allow a U.S. company headquarters to relocate ? mainly on paper ? to a nation with lower tax rates.

It is a perfectly legal tax-avoidance strategy, but one that Obama and many Democrats find indefensible. Taking on “inversion” ? the technical term for the overseas relocations ? is becoming a rallying cry of the progressive wing of the Democratic family and could prove potent in the run-up to the November elections.

Republicans counter that businesses are justified in taking logical steps to enhance profitability in the wake of high U.S. corporate tax rates and say the government should keep out of the way.

CONTINUE READING AT POLITICS.SUNTIMES.COM

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Joe Perry jazzed about new Aerosmith tour, new book ? and Paul McCartney

There's the new Aerosmith tour, a new book and a "private" project with Paul McCartney and Johnny Depp.Read more.http://voices.suntimes.com/arts-entertainment/the-daily-sizzle/aerosmith-guitarist-joe-perry-jazzed-about-new-tour-upcoming-book-and-paul-mccartney/. July 23, 2014 6:59PM LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 28: Joe Perry of Aerosmith performs on Day 1 of the Calling Festival at Clapham Common on June 28, 2014 in London, England.

July 23, 2014 6:59PM

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 28: Joe Perry of Aerosmith performs on Day 1 of the Calling Festival at Clapham Common on June 28, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images)

Updated: July 24, 2014 1:11AM

Joe Perry is a very busy guy these days. There’s the new Aerosmith tour, a new book and a “private” project with Paul McCartney and Johnny Depp.

Read more.

http://voices.suntimes.com/arts-entertainment/the-daily-sizzle/aerosmith-guitarist-joe-perry-jazzed-about-new-tour-upcoming-book-and-paul-mccartney/

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U.S. airlines announce big second-quarter profits on strong demand

reported a record second-quarter profit of $465 million and set records for full planes and passenger fare per mile. reported net income of $789 million in the second quarter, topping Wall Street expectations.Southwest Airlines Co. They used bankruptcy to squeeze costs from employees and suppliers such as the smaller carriers that operate regional flights.United Continental Holdings Inc.

Investing in airlines has long been the butt of jokes, especially when many U.S. carriers traipsed through bankruptcy court in the past decade.

Now riding a post-merger tide of higher fares and stable fuel costs, those same airlines are piling up profits ? and sharing the newfound riches with investors.

American Airlines announced Thursday that it would pay its first dividend in 34 years, and both American and United Airlines announced big plans to buy back their own stock, a strategy designed to boost the value of remaining shares.

Those announcements came as American, United and Southwest reported record-setting second-quarter results, building on Delta's solid performance a day earlier.

Airlines are prospering as mergers have reduced competition, making it easier to keep prices high and raise billions from extra fees. They used bankruptcy to squeeze costs from employees and suppliers such as the smaller carriers that operate regional flights.

United Continental Holdings Inc. reported net income of $789 million in the second quarter, topping Wall Street expectations.

Southwest Airlines Co. reported a record second-quarter profit of $465 million and set records for full planes and passenger fare per mile. Photo: Getty Images

The Denver Post
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Obsession with stats helped push Frank Thomas to great heights

The next season in Toronto, he hit .277, had 26 homers and knocked in 95 runs.That's how good Thomas was, how driven he was. That's the way he motivated himself.''In the heart of hearts of most ballplayers, what would they choose . How about the managers and teammates over the years who thought of Thomas as selfish. I forgot this, perhaps conveniently, while constructing a Chicago-centric version of Thomas' story: He was good even after he left the Sox after the 2005 season.

BY RICK MORRISSEYStaff Columnist July 24, 2014 9:01PM

At a glance

What: Baseball Hall of Fame inductions

Class of 2014: Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Tony La Russa, Joe Torre and Bobby Cox

When: 12:30 p.m. Sunday

Where: Cooperstown, N.Y.

On TV: MLB

Updated: July 25, 2014 2:28AM

There was a time there ? oh, from 1990 to 2008 ? when Frank Thomas’ obsession with personal statistics might have led people to wonder what baseball cap would appear on his Hall of Fame plaque.

A White Sox model?

Or one that simply said “Frank’’?

What most people didn’t fully grasp was that his single-mindedness drove him to work hard on his craft, made him great and, ultimately, helped his team.

Baseball is a team sport in the loosest sense. The national pastime rewards acute self-absorption. That seems almost un-American, but it’s true. Selfishness can lead to the greater good of the group. Thomas simply was more obvious about his statistical neediness than most.

He’ll be inducted into the Hall on Sunday ? as a White Sox ? and it will be interesting to see whom he’ll thank in his speech. Frank Thomas for making this all possible? No. Time has a way of hammering perspective into some reasonable facsimile of reality, and we’ve seen that from him since his retirement in 2008.

We know there will be a big place in the speech for Walt Hriniak, the former Sox hitting coach whom Thomas revered. I expect him to have nothing but good to say about Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, who spent years putting up with the brush fires that always seemed to flare up around Thomas. If time does indeed heal all wounds, then maybe Thomas will have kind words for Sox executive Ken Williams, who famously called Thomas “an idiot’’ after the Big Hurt criticized Reinsdorf in 2006. How about the managers and teammates over the years who thought of Thomas as selfish?

Is there any getting beyond all the unpleasantness? There is, and we’ll see it Sunday, when a 46-year-old man, far removed from a 19-year career heavy on perfectionism, shows his gratitude. That’s the beauty of induction day. You can make a lot of things right with a heartfelt sentence or two.

Hriniak understood Thomas’ obsessiveness better than anyone.

“I looked at it as a plus, not as a minus,’’ he told me in December. “He was constantly looking at the stats in the papers. Pete Rose was the same way. Pete Rose knew what everybody was hitting, how many hits they had, because he wanted to get more hits than anybody else and lead the league in hitting. Pete Rose was a winner. Frank was the same way. That’s the way he motivated himself.’’

In the heart of hearts of most ballplayers, what would they choose ? a World Series ring or induction into the Hall of Fame? My guess is the latter, which evokes a certain immortality and would back up the contention that baseball is an individual pursuit dressed up as a team sport.

The only way Thomas wouldn’t have turned into a great hitter is if someone permanently had tied his arms down. Many of his 521 home runs were line shots to left field. There were several reasons for that. He didn’t change the plane of his swing much and, because of his 6-5, 240-pound frame, he didn’t have to swing for the fences. He hit the ball hard naturally, and, naturally, the ball went out of the park a lot, though not at the expense of his average.

That need to be perfect, to swing at only those pitches that would give him the best chance of getting a hit, was why he led the American League in walks four times. And whom did it help? His team.

The numbers for a seven-year span, from 1991 through 1997, were just ridiculous, and they’re what propelled him into the Hall. In 1994, he led the American League in six categories. Who knows what he would have done had the season not been shortened by a strike?

I forgot this, perhaps conveniently, while constructing a Chicago-centric version of Thomas’ story: He was good even after he left the Sox after the 2005 season. In 2006 with the A’s, he hit .270, had 39 home runs and 114 runs batted in and finished fourth in the A.L. Most Valuable Player voting ? at the age of 38. The next season in Toronto, he hit .277, had 26 homers and knocked in 95 runs.

That’s how good Thomas was, how driven he was. It must have been exhausting.

The hard work is over now, with all the good and bad that went with it. Time for him to let down his guard for good and let everybody in.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @MorrisseyCST

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