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Ex-Rays manager Joe Maddon, Cubs said to have mutual interest

eliminating the defending-champion Red Sox in the process.Maddon is said to be seeking a five-year deal worth more than $20 million . putting the Cubs, with all their fast-rising young talent, at the top of the list of ideal fits and desired destinations for Maddon.“I know he wants it bad,” one former player who has a relationship with Maddon said of a possible hiring by the Cubs.The Dodgers and New York Mets . We’re excited for the opportunity.”Email: [email protected] Twitter: @GDubCub.

BY GORDON WITTENMYER October 24, 2014 10:35PM

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 19: Manager Joe Maddon #70 of the Tampa Bay Rays looks on from the dugout during the first inning of a game against the Chicago White Sox on September 19, 2014 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

GIANTS vs. ROYALS

Royals lead series 2-1

All games on Fox-32, 1000-AM

at 7:07 p.m., x-if necessary

Game 1: Giants 7, at Royals 1

Game 2: at Royals 7, Giants 2

Friday: Royals 3, at Giants 2

Saturday: Royals (Vargas 11-10)

at Giants (Vogelsong 8-13)

Sunday : Royals at Giants

x-Tuesday: Giants at Royals

x-Wednesday: Giants at Royals

Updated: October 25, 2014 12:45AM

SAN FRANCISCO ? How close are the Cubs to a World Series?

On Friday, they were a big part of the buzz at AT&T Park that overshadowed the pivotal Game 3 between the San Francisco Giants and Kansas City Royals ? with all indications pointing to Joe Maddon heading to Chicago after his sudden resignation as the Tampa Bay Rays manager early in the day.

Multiple sources close to Maddon and the Cubs suggest the Cubs are the front-runners for the services a guy who became the top free agent manager ? by far ? when he exercised an opt-out clause in his contract in the wake of general manager Andrew Friedman’s departure to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

One industry source with first-hand knowledge of the Dodgers and Maddon said a speculated reunion of Maddon and Friedman was unlikely at this time ? putting the Cubs, with all their fast-rising young talent, at the top of the list of ideal fits and desired destinations for Maddon.

“I know he wants it bad,” one former player who has a relationship with Maddon said of a possible hiring by the Cubs.

The Dodgers and New York Mets ? both of which also were early speculated destinations for the two-time American League manager of the year ? both issued statements Friday sticking by their current managers.

Meanwhile, Cubs executives remained conspicuously silent throughout the day, despite numerous attempts to reach them, including Theo Epstein, who nearly hired Maddon to manage the Red Sox 11 years ago before hiring Terry Francona.

Maddon, a longtime coach on the Angels’ staff, was hired by the Rays a year later and has had five 90-win seasons since.

A source from inside the organization said an opportunity to hire Maddon would be welcomed ? even if it would mean a fifth manager for the Cubs in six years and a likely reassignment of first-year manager Rick Renteria, who has two years left on his contract.

The Rays seem to believe enough in the Cubs’ interest ? a year after their high-stakes, back-channel courting of the Yankees’ Joe Girardi ? that ESPN’s Buster Olney reported the Rays intend to pursue a tampering investigation.

Not that such an allegation would stop the Cubs from hiring Maddon, even in the rare case of some kind of evidence turned up.

Joe Torre, the former Yankees manager who oversees MLB discipline issues, said Friday it’s not uncommon for such allegations to be made and internal investigations done with any penalties, in rarer cases, also handled internally.

A source close to Maddon said the Cubs would be among the top three or four desired destinations for the 60-year-old manager, because of the “challenge” it would present as well as the fit for a team starting to get a lot of it’s touted young talent to the big leagues.

“He has a way of relating to players and a way of relating to young players,” said Royals ace James Shields, who spent the first seven years of his career playing for Maddon in Tampa Bay, a run that included a victorious World Series start for Shields in 2008.

“Anywhere he goes he’s going to be a good fit, the type of manager he is,” added Shields, a pending free agent, who’s expected to be targeted by the Cubs. “He’s really easy to play for, really laid back, and he’s very, very intelligent. I enjoyed playing for him. Whether you have good years or not, he’s always had your back. The one thing I really love about him is he believes in his players.”

The timing could fit the Cubs’ rebuilding process almost perfectly with top prospects such as Jorge Soler and Javy Baez already are in the big leagues, and Kris Bryant, Addison Russell and Albert Almore projected to be coming right behind them.

Maddon guided a worst-to-first finish and World Series appearance for a young, talented and unproven Rays team in 2008 ? eliminating the defending-champion Red Sox in the process.

Maddon is said to be seeking a five-year deal worth more than $20 million ? still short of what the Cubs were believed to be willing to pay Girardi a year ago, but well north of what the low-budget Rays historically are able to do.

It would mean a harsh and swift exit from the manager’s seat for Renteria, who drew questions and criticism from both inside and outside the organization in his first year as a big-league manager for in-game decisions and handling of the roster.

Cubs president Theo Epstein said earlier this month he expects the Cubs to be talented enough next season to start to compete as the Cubs shift from a nearly full-time prospect-acquisition phase of the rebuilding process into a stage of building the big-league roster.

Maddon’s hiring could accelerate the process in terms of his leadership as an innovative thinker and communicator as well as stature when it comes to attracting free agents.

Like Shields?

“Honestly, I haven’t really thought about it,” Shields said of his impending free agency. “But I feel like when the time comes and I have to make a decision this offseason, I think the fit will be right.”

Certainly, Maddon would make the Cubs a more natural fit.

One thing’s for sure: The Cubs won’t be the only team going after Maddon.

“My phone has been ringing off the hook,” said Maddon’s Chicago-based agent, Alan Nero, who would not talk about potential destinations. “This is a chance for Joe to really see what possibilities are out there. We’re excited for the opportunity.”

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @GDubCub

Chicago Sun-Times
Today
19 Points
1

Preseason ends with loss, but Tom Thibodeau is just getting started

Butler reiterated how he wanted the negotiations to end.‘‘I think we’re going to figure it out,’’ Butler said. BY JOE COWLEYStaff Reporter October 24, 2014 11:02PM Updated: October 24, 2014 11:36PMST. It would have been nice if coach Tom Thibodeau could have wrapped up the Bulls’ preseason with a nice little bow.

BY JOE COWLEYStaff Reporter October 24, 2014 11:02PM

Updated: October 24, 2014 11:36PM

ST. LOUIS ? It would have been nice if coach Tom Thibodeau could have wrapped up the Bulls’ preseason with a nice little

bow.

Not a chance. Not with so many questions coming out of the Bulls’ 113-112 loss Friday to the Minnesota Timberwolves in their preseason finale. The Bulls completed exhibition play 4-4 after blowing a 13-point lead at the Scottrade Center.

‘‘Right now, you’re gathering information to make decisions about everything,’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘About how we’re going to play, who is going to play and all that. What works best for us? You can only base it on the information you have at that particular time. [On Sunday], I’ll go back through and look at

everything again and come up with a plan.’’

Because the plan right now remains murky.

Center Joakim Noah (left knee) and point guard Derrick Rose (knees) will be on unknown minutes restrictions to start the regular season, and shooting guard Jimmy Butler has a sprained left thumb and remained a question mark to be ready for the start of the season Wednesday in New York.

‘‘I really don’t know, to tell you the truth,’’ Butler said when he was asked about a timetable for his return. ‘‘It’s all about how it heals. I don’t want to not play, I’ll say that. But if I can’t play, then I just can’t.

‘‘I wish I could tell you yes or no, but I don’t want to lie. If I can, I definitely will, that’s for sure.’’

When he suffered the

injury last week, Butler said he thought surgery would be in his immediate future because of how quickly the thumb swelled.

‘‘I was hoping that I didn’t [need surgery],’’ Butler said. ‘‘But looking at it, it swelled up so fast. So, yeah, I guess I was a little scared.’’

The swelling has gone down, and Butler continued to perform some basic basketball activities before the game to make sure his con-

ditioning stays where it needs to.

Even beyond Butler, Rose and Noah, Thibodeau must make some tough decisions. Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic continued to play like the rookies they are against the Timberwolves, and the idea of giving them heavy minutes with the second unit right off the bat is a concern.

Then there’s the defense, which again was very un-Thibodeau-like, allowing 35 points in the first quarter and 64 in the first half.

‘‘We have to play with an edge,’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘We have to play defense; there’s no getting around that. You have to be in great shape; there’s no getting around that. You have to play with a lot more toughness. I know that.’’

Rose, meanwhile, played a preseason-high 31 minutes and scored 27 points on

12-for-23 shooting. His confidence remained sky-high.

‘‘I feel like I’m in a good place,’’ Rose said. ‘‘Just missing two years, coming back, being able to play again against all these great players and really go up against them. I don’t know if they would be able to do the same if they were in my shoes, but the situation happened with me, and all I can do is try and be motivated by it and just try and move in the right

direction every day and stay positive.’’

NOTE: Jimmy Butler and the Bulls continued to try to close the gap on a contract extension, but there was still a healthy gap to close, a source said. Butler reiterated how he wanted the

negotiations to end.

‘‘I think we’re going to figure it out,’’ Butler said. ‘‘This is definitely the city and team I want to be on. At the end of the day, at the

beginning of the day, I want to be a Chicago Bull as long as possible.’’

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @suntimes_hoops

Chicago Sun-Times
Today
15 Points
1

Jay Cutler says he was just following what coaches outlined vs. Dolphins

and the aftermath of Marshall’s screaming in the locker room.“[Marshall] didn’t come near me,” Cutler said. This is why we want to check the play,’ and that’s what happens.”Cutler said the Dolphins’ front . just the one that reporters heard.“Whenever he gets frustrated, he’s going to get emotional most of the time,” Cutler said. about Brandon Marshall and leadership, comments from ex-teammates and his own radio silence .

BY PATRICK FINLEY Staff Reporter October 23, 2014 10:50PM

Updated: October 24, 2014 6:24PM

Jay Cutler defended his checks, then answered a checklist of questions ? about Brandon Marshall and leadership, comments from ex-teammates and his own radio silence ? midway through the most tumultuous week of the Bears’ season.

Cutler said he made the right decisions when changing plays from runs to passes in the 27-14 loss Sunday to the Dolphins, even though he handed the ball off only two times in the first half.

He changed two runs to passes and decided to throw on two more run/pass options. One, a deep ­incompletion to Alshon Jeffery on third-and-one, stalled the Bears’ first drive and seemed to mire them in a funk that lasted the first half.

Cutler, though, said he simply did what he was coached to do all week by Marc Trestman and coordinator Aaron Kromer.

“It’s not like we’re up there freelancing just because we feel like we want to pass or we want to run,” Cutler said Thursday at Halas Hall. “If we’ve got a check, we’re checking because, in meetings, coach Trestman or ‘Krome’ said, ‘Hey, this is what we want to check to. This is why we want to check the play,’ and that’s what happens.”

Cutler said the Dolphins’ front ? eight men at times ? and coverage dictated what the Bears were able to do. The Bears can run against eight-man fronts, he said, but decisions are “a lot on the play-caller.”

The Bears removed many of the checks at halftime, though Trestman said it wasn’t to handcuff Cutler. On the first drive of the second half ? the Bears’ most successful ? Cutler handed the ball off to Matt Forte seven times, and Forte scored on a 10-yard pass play.

That “goes back to Kromer and ‘Tress’ and kind of where they want to dictate the offense to go,” Cutler said.

“In that third quarter, we got helped with some of the play-calling a little bit,” he said. “And we were able to just run the ball and get a little bit of momentum going.”

Whether that means more of Forte this Sunday depends on what the Patriots do, Cutler said. He said the Bears must run if the Patriots drop into zone coverage, a common tactic used this year to stymie Cutler’s offense.

“We’ve just got to make sure that whatever they’re doing defensively, whatever they’re giving us, we take,” he said.

Cutler spoke of getting over a “Monday/Tuesday slump” that, this week, was exacerbated by his no-show for his own radio program ? he said his son had a doctor’s appointment ? and the aftermath of Marshall’s screaming in the locker room.

“[Marshall] didn’t come near me,” Cutler said. “He didn’t say my name. I don’t think he attacked anyone personally with what he was saying.”

He said Marshall wasn’t the only one yelling ? just the one that reporters heard.

“Whenever he gets frustrated, he’s going to get emotional most of the time,” Cutler said. “He’s going to speak from the heart, and he’s going to make sure that everyone else around him hears him.

“So it wasn’t anything that caught us off-guard or was off-putting.”

Cutler claimed, too, that he wasn’t bothered by former teammate Brian Urlacher saying he was an elite quarterback in price tag only and rebuffed any notion that Bears coaches were hesitant to criticize him in public.

Asked whether he felt he has improved this year, Cutler demurred.

“Anytime you lose a bunch of games, you’re going to be under scrutiny,” he said. “It’s going to be tough. It’s not going to look like how you wanted it to look going into the season.

“So coaches and quarterbacks are judged on their records, on wins and losses. And right now, we’re behind the eight ball in that category.”

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @patrickfinley

Chicago Sun-Times
Today
18 Points
1

Divvy service center sets bikes back on right path: Steinberg

By NEIL STEINBERG October 23, 2014 5:22PM A Divvy bike was discovered in 10 feet of water in the South Lagoon, near the Fullerton Bridge. He said that during the summer, about 350 of Divvy’s 3,000 light blue DaVinci Bixi bikes were out for repair at any given time. I was met by Eric Erkel, station manager, and Elliot Greenberger, whom regular readers may remember as the patient Divvy spokesman.

By NEIL STEINBERG October 23, 2014 5:22PM

A Divvy bike was discovered in 10 feet of water in the South Lagoon, near the Fullerton Bridge. | Neil Steinberg/Sun-Times

Updated: October 24, 2014 4:15PM

OK, I confess. I did consider taking a taxi to the Divvy repair center. It’s way the heck over at Hubbard and Hoyne, and the forecast mentioned rain.

But the sun was shining when I left the office Thursday morning, so I rolled a Divvy out of the Mart station, but not before counting 11 of the 23 bikes there ? 47 percent ? had cracked seats, from inch-long slashes to saddles cut up and coming apart.

It’s the plastic, in the 120-degree Chicago temperature swings ? from 105 above to 15 below ? that take a toll on Divvys, as do graffiti artists, malicious persons, potholes, and regular wear and tear of having Chicago’s collective hot dog-larded backside repeatedly plopped down upon the bikes, riding them in all kinds of weather with all levels of care and skill, averaging 2,000 miles per bicycle.

I Divvyed to Damen and Grand and left the bike at the dock (of 10 bikes, five with cracked seats, for an even 50 percent).

Divvy’s service center has no sign ? if you don’t know it’s here, you don’t belong. I was met by Eric Erkel, station manager, and Elliot Greenberger, whom regular readers may remember as the patient Divvy spokesman. He said that during the summer, about 350 of Divvy’s 3,000 light blue DaVinci Bixi bikes were out for repair at any given time. Before us, hundreds of bikes waited for service ? the wait can take two months ? or were fixed and ready to go out.

The most common problems are with tires. “Lot of normal wear and tear,” Erkel said. “Flats. Bent wheels that stem from riders not paying attention or potholes.”

Divvy has 70 employees, with nine devoted to repair. In the field they check bikes, the brakes, shifters, bells, fix what they can without bringing them in. Flats are fixed using “ribbon tubes” that allow the flat tubes to be cut out and the new tubes snaked in without removing the wheel, “which saves massive amounts of time,” Erkel said.

“Some repairs are harder than others,” repairman Mack Franciskovitch said. “Rebuilding the rear hubs is a challenge. The annual tune-ups are a challenge.”

Once a year all Divvy bikes are pulled in and overhauled, a 90-minute process.

When hurt bikes arrive, in blue Divvy vans, they are triaged, like patients at a battlefront hospital. Simple problems are rated 1, tougher cases that might take an hour to fix are 2, and complete overhauls, needed for the Divvys that occasionally show up in one of the many bodies of water that make Chicago the gem it is, are 3.

“Those require completely tearing the bike apart and replacing almost everything,” Erkel said.

Some bikes are beyond repair, such as the four Divvys demolished by a hit-and-run driver at Milwaukee and Rockwell about two weeks ago. So if you woke up earlier this month and found your Infiniti with mysterious blue paint on the bumper, Chicago police have your hood ornament, and you can go collect it from them.

Perhaps the most spectacularly damaged Divvy of all is mounted on the wall of the repair shop ? what’s left of a frame that was cut up by an angle grinder. Some 20 bikes have completely disappeared, though they might be tarrying on their way home; it is not unknown for a bike to vanish for six months, then return, courtesy of the police.

“They often come back,” Erkel said. And sometimes there are tantalizing glimpses of missing bikes, such as the black phantom, a Divvy spray painted black that shows up on Instagram from time to time.

“This is a mess,” said Robert Grossman, looking at a Divvy that arrived Aug. 26, was rated a 3 and has wobbly wheels, though he doesn’t yet know why.

He said Divvy bikes have design advantages and flaws, sometimes both at the same time. Being made of aluminum helps lighten their bulky frames. But aluminum also is more fragile than steel. Private bikes have brake and shifter cables on the outside, and Divvy’s cables are inside the frame, which protects them but makes them harder to get at to fix. Rebuildling the hubs, which also include a generator for lights, is a challenge.

Still, all told, the repair news is good.“We’re impressed with how well people take care of them,” Greenberger said.Riding back I took Hubbard instead of Grand ? a much better route, far less traffic. Eleven of 20 bikes back at the Mart station had cracked seats ? 55 percent. But after touching base briefly at the office, I went back out and biked to Michigan Avenue, to lunch at the Cliff Dwellers Club. Of the 28 bikes parked at Millennium Park, 11 had cracked seats, or 39 percent. That’s improvement, of a sort. Email: [email protected]

“We’re impressed with how well people take care of them,” Greenberger said.

Riding back I took Hubbard instead of Grand ? a much better route, far less traffic. Eleven of 20 bikes back at the Mart station had cracked seats ? 55 percent. But after touching base briefly at the office, I went back out and biked to Michigan Avenue, to lunch at the Cliff Dwellers Club. Of the 28 bikes parked at Millennium Park, 11 had cracked seats, or 39 percent. That’s improvement, of a sort.

Twitter: @NeilSteinberg

Chicago Sun-Times
Today
15 Points
1

Week 8 question marks include Brandon Marshall, Darrelle Revis and Lance Briggs

Why did the Bears’ Martellus Bennett call the Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski ‘‘the ‘Terminator’ of tight ends’’. The Bears did it in 2011, but a penalty negated the touchdown.Special-teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis joked he told Rams counterpart John Fassel he had to name the play after then-Bears coordinator Dave Toub.‘‘You’ve got to give credit where the credit is due,’’ he said. Let’s put it this way: The Patriots have lost two games this season and won another by two points.

BY PATRICK FINLEY Staff Reporter October 24, 2014 8:50PM

Updated: October 25, 2014 12:23AM

Three days after discussing his outburst in the wake of the Bears’ loss to the

Miami Dolphins on Showtime, receiver Brandon Marshall blasted the media for asking him about it.

He even used the words ‘‘rant’’ and ‘‘tirade,’’ joking it would be the only sound bite used Friday.

‘‘That’s sexy. It sells papers. It boosts ratings,’’ he said. ‘‘But that’s b.s. And you guys know that.’’

Then what is it?

‘‘Whatever you wanted to call it,’’ he said to reporters. ‘‘You control the masses.’’

While we ponder what verbiage Marshall would prefer, here are 10 question marks for the Bears’ game Sunday against the New England Patriots:

1.Is ‘‘Revis Island’’ actually a good thing?

Star cornerback Darrelle Revis allows the Patriots to play man-to-man defense, which might not hurt the Bears as much as it does other teams. Jay Cutler has struggled against zones that make him dink and dunk.

2. Do the Bears need to run the ball or what?

Let’s put it this way: The Patriots have lost two games this season and won another by two points. In those three games, they’ve allowed 570 rushing yards. In the four others, they’ve allowed 314.

3. Whither linebacker Lance Briggs?

Playing on the Bears’ ‘‘show team’’ while he recovers from an injury to his ribs. He is doubtful for Sunday. Christian Jones and Kha-

seem Greene, likely in that order, will replace him.

‘‘I expect him to be back after the [bye next week],’’ linebackers coach Reggie Herring said.

4. Why did the Bears’ Martellus Bennett call the Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski ‘‘the ‘Terminator’ of tight ends’’?

‘‘You look at Arnold Schwarzenegger and the way he moved, all the ‘Terminators,’ it’s similar to ‘Gronk,’?’’ Bennett said.

With 31 catches for 409 yards, Gronkowski trails Bennett by 10 receptions and 13 yards.

5. Is Jimmy Garoppolo the next Tom Brady?

The Rolling Meadows High and Eastern Illinois alum still has a long way to go, Patriots coach Bill Beli-

chick said, but he’s seeing improvement in the rookie backup.

‘‘Jimmy’s worked hard,’’ Belichick said. ‘‘He’s a smart kid. When he’s had an

opportunity to play in the preseason and one regular-season game, I thought that he played with poise and was competitive. Got a long way to go. He’s got a lot of good football in front of him.’’

6. Whom did Belichick call ‘‘a factor on everything’’?

Defensive end Willie Young, at the end of a gushing endorsement.

‘‘[He] plays strong in the running game, sets the edge, can knock the line of scrimmage back,’’ he said. ‘‘He’s been a very disruptive pass rusher, blocked field goals, blocked kicks.’’

7. Do the Bears get a hockey assist for the best playof the season to date?

The Rams faked a punt return for a 90-yard touchdown last week against the Seattle Seahawks, having one player mime a catch ? and others block for him ? while the ball landed in the arms of a player on the other side of the field. The Bears did it in 2011, but a penalty negated the touchdown.

Special-teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis joked he told Rams counterpart John Fassel he had to name the play after then-Bears coordinator Dave Toub.

‘‘You’ve got to give credit where the credit is due,’’ he said.

8. Who’s the most impor-

tant under-the-radar player Sunday? Michael Ola, who likely will play right tackle for Jordan Mills and start at his third offensive line spot this season.

9. Is the Vereen Bowl off?

Probably not, though

Patriots running back Shane Vereen missed practice Friday and is listed as questionable. Brother Brock will be the Bears’ third safety.

10. Will defensive end Jared Allen play more than he did last week, when he missed 25 snaps?

Undoubtedly. Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker told him so this week.

‘‘Going forward, obviously, we want him in the game,’’ Tucker said.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @patrickfinley

Chicago Sun-Times
Today
12 Points
1

Enthusiastic student Stan Kij, 25, dies of stomach cancer

So they arranged for the graduation.“I could probably be working on my masters,” Mr. “I just followed my interests.”The surprise graduation ceremony was held at Christ hospital. Kij’s sister said.Despite the advanced cancer diagnosis, Mr. Kij often asked them how their day was going.And when guests attended a surprise hospital graduation ceremony to witness Mr. Kij “really hoped and believed that he would get better,” Neylon said.The last thing Mr.

BY BECKY SCHLIKERMAN Staff Reporter October 24, 2014 6:18PM

Stan Kij received his Moraine Valley diploma in August. | Gary Middendorf/for Sun-Times Media

Updated: October 24, 2014 6:41PM

Despite his own battle with advanced cancer, Stanislaw “Stan” Kij made it a point to wish other patients well.

While nurses treated him, Mr. Kij often asked them how their day was going.

And when guests attended a surprise hospital graduation ceremony to witness Mr. Kij receive his diploma, the seriously ill 25-year-old graciously thanked everyone for coming.

“Even at his worst moments he always had kind words to say,” said Gerri Neylon, a radiation and oncology nurse at Advocate Christ Medical Center and the founder of the charity Christmas Without Cancer, which helped organize Mr. Kij’s surprise graduation ceremony. “He was just one of those persons, when he comes into your life you know he’s special.”

Mr. Kij, who was featured in the Chicago Sun-Times when he received his Moraine Valley Community College associate’s degree diploma at Christ Hospital in August, died Thursday, Oct. 23, at RML Specialty Hospital in Hinsdale after a battle with advanced stomach cancer, said his sister, Halina Kij, 24.

“He was the kindest ? most funny ? the most awesome man ever,” she said.

Mr. Kij, his parents and younger sister came from Poland 11 years ago in search of the American dream.

Mr. Kij learned English and Spanish, and when he graduated from Reavis High School in 2007, he started taking classes at Moraine Valley. He also spent many hours at the gym, lifting weights and socializing with other gym rats, and he worked the midnight shift at a Food 4 Less, restocking shelves.

But last winter, with symptoms that felt like food poisoning or the flu, Mr. Kij was diagnosed with stomach cancer.

Though a student needs only 62 credits to graduate from Moraine Valley, Kij had amassed 147, but he never took the bureaucratic steps necessary to graduate and preferred to continue taking classes.

That worried Kij’s medical team, who wanted him to focus on his treatment. So they arranged for the graduation.

“I could probably be working on my masters,” Mr. Kij joked in August. “I just followed my interests.”

The surprise graduation ceremony was held at Christ hospital. Mr. Kij wore a green graduation gown and “Pomp and Circumstance” played on a mini boombox.

“He was touched by how much people cared about him and how far they would go to make it special it for him,” Mr. Kij’s sister said.

Despite the advanced cancer diagnosis, Mr. Kij “really hoped and believed that he would get better,” Neylon said.

The last thing Mr. Kij asked of Neylon, whose group gave him a computer for his 25th birthday in July, was a visit from a young, Polish priest, she said.

“He needed to find some peace within himself to be able to go,” Neylon said.

Along with his sister, Mr. Kij’s survivors are his parents, Helena and Jan Kij.

A funeral Mass will be held 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 25, at St. Albert the Great Catholic Church, 5555 W. State in Burbank.

Contributing: Stefano Esposito

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @schlikerman

Chicago Sun-Times
Today
18 Points
1

Preseason ends with loss, but Tom Thibodeau is just getting started

Butler reiterated how he wanted the negotiations to end.‘‘I think we’re going to figure it out,’’ Butler said. BY JOE COWLEYStaff Reporter October 24, 2014 11:02PM Updated: October 24, 2014 11:36PMST. It would have been nice if coach Tom Thibodeau could have wrapped up the Bulls’ preseason with a nice little bow.

BY JOE COWLEYStaff Reporter October 24, 2014 11:02PM

Updated: October 24, 2014 11:36PM

ST. LOUIS ? It would have been nice if coach Tom Thibodeau could have wrapped up the Bulls’ preseason with a nice little

bow.

Not a chance. Not with so many questions coming out of the Bulls’ 113-112 loss Friday to the Minnesota Timberwolves in their preseason finale. The Bulls completed exhibition play 4-4 after blowing a 13-point lead at the Scottrade Center.

‘‘Right now, you’re gathering information to make decisions about everything,’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘About how we’re going to play, who is going to play and all that. What works best for us? You can only base it on the information you have at that particular time. [On Sunday], I’ll go back through and look at

everything again and come up with a plan.’’

Because the plan right now remains murky.

Center Joakim Noah (left knee) and point guard Derrick Rose (knees) will be on unknown minutes restrictions to start the regular season, and shooting guard Jimmy Butler has a sprained left thumb and remained a question mark to be ready for the start of the season Wednesday in New York.

‘‘I really don’t know, to tell you the truth,’’ Butler said when he was asked about a timetable for his return. ‘‘It’s all about how it heals. I don’t want to not play, I’ll say that. But if I can’t play, then I just can’t.

‘‘I wish I could tell you yes or no, but I don’t want to lie. If I can, I definitely will, that’s for sure.’’

When he suffered the

injury last week, Butler said he thought surgery would be in his immediate future because of how quickly the thumb swelled.

‘‘I was hoping that I didn’t [need surgery],’’ Butler said. ‘‘But looking at it, it swelled up so fast. So, yeah, I guess I was a little scared.’’

The swelling has gone down, and Butler continued to perform some basic basketball activities before the game to make sure his con-

ditioning stays where it needs to.

Even beyond Butler, Rose and Noah, Thibodeau must make some tough decisions. Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic continued to play like the rookies they are against the Timberwolves, and the idea of giving them heavy minutes with the second unit right off the bat is a concern.

Then there’s the defense, which again was very un-Thibodeau-like, allowing 35 points in the first quarter and 64 in the first half.

‘‘We have to play with an edge,’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘We have to play defense; there’s no getting around that. You have to be in great shape; there’s no getting around that. You have to play with a lot more toughness. I know that.’’

Rose, meanwhile, played a preseason-high 31 minutes and scored 27 points on

12-for-23 shooting. His confidence remained sky-high.

‘‘I feel like I’m in a good place,’’ Rose said. ‘‘Just missing two years, coming back, being able to play again against all these great players and really go up against them. I don’t know if they would be able to do the same if they were in my shoes, but the situation happened with me, and all I can do is try and be motivated by it and just try and move in the right

direction every day and stay positive.’’

NOTE: Jimmy Butler and the Bulls continued to try to close the gap on a contract extension, but there was still a healthy gap to close, a source said. Butler reiterated how he wanted the

negotiations to end.

‘‘I think we’re going to figure it out,’’ Butler said. ‘‘This is definitely the city and team I want to be on. At the end of the day, at the

beginning of the day, I want to be a Chicago Bull as long as possible.’’

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @suntimes_hoops

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World Series Game 3: Royals 3, Giants 2

Yost said he had no intention of pinch-hitting for Herrera at that point.“I would have still had Kelvin [bat],” he said. I’m getting really good at protecting a one-run lead because a lot of times that’s exactly what we have to deal with,” Yost said. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg) Updated: October 24, 2014 11:34PMSAN FRANCISCO . “I don’t know if there’s a better bullpen.”Email: [email protected]: @GDubCub.

BY GORDON WITTENMYER Staff Reporter October 24, 2014 10:35PM

Kansas City Royals' Alcides Escobar is congratulated by teammate Mike Moustakas after scoring during the sixth inning of Game 3 of baseball's World Series against the San Francisco Giants Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Updated: October 24, 2014 11:34PM

SAN FRANCISCO ? Ned Yost is no Joe Maddon.

But whatever relationship to baseball genius either manager appears to have, there was Yost, the oft-maligned manager of the Kansas City Royals, just two victories away from a World Series championship Friday night.

Yost’s proximity to his first ring as a manager came by virtue of a 3-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants at the end of a day most in baseball spent wondering and speculating how quickly baseball’s suddenly available genius manager, Maddon, would be hired by the Cubs.

And the Game 3 victory didn’t come without another of what’s become the daily second guess of Yost’s decision making.

“This is the way our games have gone all year. I’m getting really good at protecting a one-run lead because a lot of times that’s exactly what we have to deal with,” Yost said. “But I have the necessary tools to do that.”

That would be a three-headed monster at the end of his bullpen that Giants manager Bruce Bochy suggested was the best in baseball.

Of course, Yost was only dealing with a one-run lead because of a sixth-inning sequence that erased most of a 3-0 lead and led to him allowing relief pitcher Kelvin Herrera to bat in the seventh with one out and speedy Jarrod Dyson at first.

After KC starter Jeremy Guthrie retired 10 straight to take a 3-0 lead into the sixth, he quickly gave up a run on a Brandon Crawford single and Michael Morse’s pinch double.

Enter Herrera, who walked Gregor Blanco, before getting three ground ball outs, with another run scoring along the way.

Yost had rookie left-hander Brandon Finnegan ready to pitch the seventh with lefties due up. But after a between-innings conversation that convinced him Herrera’s early command problems in the sixth were fixed, the decision was made to send him back out for the seventh, Yost said.

And when Dyson singled with two outs in the top of the seventh, that meant Herrera was batting in a one-run game.

Yost said that even anticipating the possibility of that when he made the Guthrie/Herrera change, he saw no place in the heart of his order he was willing to double switch at that point in the game.

And even after Dyson reached ? with Yost’s blessing to steal second ? Yost said he had no intention of pinch-hitting for Herrera at that point.

“I would have still had Kelvin [bat],” he said. “That was one of those decisions that’s tearing you apart. And I really wanted Dyson to go. I really did.

“But I felt that sending Kelvin out there for the seventh inning was going to be more important than trying to add a tack-on run with our bullpen.”

Herrera struck out.

Then he walked Hunter Pence leading off the bottom of the seventh.

But then he struck out Brandon Belt.

And with lefty hitters Travis Ishikawa and Brandon Crawford due up, he went to lefty Finnegan.

Herrera, Finnegan, Wade Davis and Greg Holland retired the final nine Giants batters of the game.

“It’s a pretty good bullpen. It’s the reason they’re here,” Bochy said. “I don’t know if there’s a better bullpen.”

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @GDubCub

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Ex-Rays manager Joe Maddon, Cubs said to have mutual interest

eliminating the defending-champion Red Sox in the process.Maddon is said to be seeking a five-year deal worth more than $20 million . putting the Cubs, with all their fast-rising young talent, at the top of the list of ideal fits and desired destinations for Maddon.“I know he wants it bad,” one former player who has a relationship with Maddon said of a possible hiring by the Cubs.The Dodgers and New York Mets . We’re excited for the opportunity.”Email: [email protected] Twitter: @GDubCub.

BY GORDON WITTENMYER October 24, 2014 10:35PM

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 19: Manager Joe Maddon #70 of the Tampa Bay Rays looks on from the dugout during the first inning of a game against the Chicago White Sox on September 19, 2014 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

GIANTS vs. ROYALS

Royals lead series 2-1

All games on Fox-32, 1000-AM

at 7:07 p.m., x-if necessary

Game 1: Giants 7, at Royals 1

Game 2: at Royals 7, Giants 2

Friday: Royals 3, at Giants 2

Saturday: Royals (Vargas 11-10)

at Giants (Vogelsong 8-13)

Sunday : Royals at Giants

x-Tuesday: Giants at Royals

x-Wednesday: Giants at Royals

Updated: October 25, 2014 12:45AM

SAN FRANCISCO ? How close are the Cubs to a World Series?

On Friday, they were a big part of the buzz at AT&T Park that overshadowed the pivotal Game 3 between the San Francisco Giants and Kansas City Royals ? with all indications pointing to Joe Maddon heading to Chicago after his sudden resignation as the Tampa Bay Rays manager early in the day.

Multiple sources close to Maddon and the Cubs suggest the Cubs are the front-runners for the services a guy who became the top free agent manager ? by far ? when he exercised an opt-out clause in his contract in the wake of general manager Andrew Friedman’s departure to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

One industry source with first-hand knowledge of the Dodgers and Maddon said a speculated reunion of Maddon and Friedman was unlikely at this time ? putting the Cubs, with all their fast-rising young talent, at the top of the list of ideal fits and desired destinations for Maddon.

“I know he wants it bad,” one former player who has a relationship with Maddon said of a possible hiring by the Cubs.

The Dodgers and New York Mets ? both of which also were early speculated destinations for the two-time American League manager of the year ? both issued statements Friday sticking by their current managers.

Meanwhile, Cubs executives remained conspicuously silent throughout the day, despite numerous attempts to reach them, including Theo Epstein, who nearly hired Maddon to manage the Red Sox 11 years ago before hiring Terry Francona.

Maddon, a longtime coach on the Angels’ staff, was hired by the Rays a year later and has had five 90-win seasons since.

A source from inside the organization said an opportunity to hire Maddon would be welcomed ? even if it would mean a fifth manager for the Cubs in six years and a likely reassignment of first-year manager Rick Renteria, who has two years left on his contract.

The Rays seem to believe enough in the Cubs’ interest ? a year after their high-stakes, back-channel courting of the Yankees’ Joe Girardi ? that ESPN’s Buster Olney reported the Rays intend to pursue a tampering investigation.

Not that such an allegation would stop the Cubs from hiring Maddon, even in the rare case of some kind of evidence turned up.

Joe Torre, the former Yankees manager who oversees MLB discipline issues, said Friday it’s not uncommon for such allegations to be made and internal investigations done with any penalties, in rarer cases, also handled internally.

A source close to Maddon said the Cubs would be among the top three or four desired destinations for the 60-year-old manager, because of the “challenge” it would present as well as the fit for a team starting to get a lot of it’s touted young talent to the big leagues.

“He has a way of relating to players and a way of relating to young players,” said Royals ace James Shields, who spent the first seven years of his career playing for Maddon in Tampa Bay, a run that included a victorious World Series start for Shields in 2008.

“Anywhere he goes he’s going to be a good fit, the type of manager he is,” added Shields, a pending free agent, who’s expected to be targeted by the Cubs. “He’s really easy to play for, really laid back, and he’s very, very intelligent. I enjoyed playing for him. Whether you have good years or not, he’s always had your back. The one thing I really love about him is he believes in his players.”

The timing could fit the Cubs’ rebuilding process almost perfectly with top prospects such as Jorge Soler and Javy Baez already are in the big leagues, and Kris Bryant, Addison Russell and Albert Almore projected to be coming right behind them.

Maddon guided a worst-to-first finish and World Series appearance for a young, talented and unproven Rays team in 2008 ? eliminating the defending-champion Red Sox in the process.

Maddon is said to be seeking a five-year deal worth more than $20 million ? still short of what the Cubs were believed to be willing to pay Girardi a year ago, but well north of what the low-budget Rays historically are able to do.

It would mean a harsh and swift exit from the manager’s seat for Renteria, who drew questions and criticism from both inside and outside the organization in his first year as a big-league manager for in-game decisions and handling of the roster.

Cubs president Theo Epstein said earlier this month he expects the Cubs to be talented enough next season to start to compete as the Cubs shift from a nearly full-time prospect-acquisition phase of the rebuilding process into a stage of building the big-league roster.

Maddon’s hiring could accelerate the process in terms of his leadership as an innovative thinker and communicator as well as stature when it comes to attracting free agents.

Like Shields?

“Honestly, I haven’t really thought about it,” Shields said of his impending free agency. “But I feel like when the time comes and I have to make a decision this offseason, I think the fit will be right.”

Certainly, Maddon would make the Cubs a more natural fit.

One thing’s for sure: The Cubs won’t be the only team going after Maddon.

“My phone has been ringing off the hook,” said Maddon’s Chicago-based agent, Alan Nero, who would not talk about potential destinations. “This is a chance for Joe to really see what possibilities are out there. We’re excited for the opportunity.”

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @GDubCub

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Week 8 question marks include Brandon Marshall, Darrelle Revis and Lance Briggs

Why did the Bears’ Martellus Bennett call the Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski ‘‘the ‘Terminator’ of tight ends’’. The Bears did it in 2011, but a penalty negated the touchdown.Special-teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis joked he told Rams counterpart John Fassel he had to name the play after then-Bears coordinator Dave Toub.‘‘You’ve got to give credit where the credit is due,’’ he said. Let’s put it this way: The Patriots have lost two games this season and won another by two points.

BY PATRICK FINLEY Staff Reporter October 24, 2014 8:50PM

Updated: October 25, 2014 12:23AM

Three days after discussing his outburst in the wake of the Bears’ loss to the

Miami Dolphins on Showtime, receiver Brandon Marshall blasted the media for asking him about it.

He even used the words ‘‘rant’’ and ‘‘tirade,’’ joking it would be the only sound bite used Friday.

‘‘That’s sexy. It sells papers. It boosts ratings,’’ he said. ‘‘But that’s b.s. And you guys know that.’’

Then what is it?

‘‘Whatever you wanted to call it,’’ he said to reporters. ‘‘You control the masses.’’

While we ponder what verbiage Marshall would prefer, here are 10 question marks for the Bears’ game Sunday against the New England Patriots:

1.Is ‘‘Revis Island’’ actually a good thing?

Star cornerback Darrelle Revis allows the Patriots to play man-to-man defense, which might not hurt the Bears as much as it does other teams. Jay Cutler has struggled against zones that make him dink and dunk.

2. Do the Bears need to run the ball or what?

Let’s put it this way: The Patriots have lost two games this season and won another by two points. In those three games, they’ve allowed 570 rushing yards. In the four others, they’ve allowed 314.

3. Whither linebacker Lance Briggs?

Playing on the Bears’ ‘‘show team’’ while he recovers from an injury to his ribs. He is doubtful for Sunday. Christian Jones and Kha-

seem Greene, likely in that order, will replace him.

‘‘I expect him to be back after the [bye next week],’’ linebackers coach Reggie Herring said.

4. Why did the Bears’ Martellus Bennett call the Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski ‘‘the ‘Terminator’ of tight ends’’?

‘‘You look at Arnold Schwarzenegger and the way he moved, all the ‘Terminators,’ it’s similar to ‘Gronk,’?’’ Bennett said.

With 31 catches for 409 yards, Gronkowski trails Bennett by 10 receptions and 13 yards.

5. Is Jimmy Garoppolo the next Tom Brady?

The Rolling Meadows High and Eastern Illinois alum still has a long way to go, Patriots coach Bill Beli-

chick said, but he’s seeing improvement in the rookie backup.

‘‘Jimmy’s worked hard,’’ Belichick said. ‘‘He’s a smart kid. When he’s had an

opportunity to play in the preseason and one regular-season game, I thought that he played with poise and was competitive. Got a long way to go. He’s got a lot of good football in front of him.’’

6. Whom did Belichick call ‘‘a factor on everything’’?

Defensive end Willie Young, at the end of a gushing endorsement.

‘‘[He] plays strong in the running game, sets the edge, can knock the line of scrimmage back,’’ he said. ‘‘He’s been a very disruptive pass rusher, blocked field goals, blocked kicks.’’

7. Do the Bears get a hockey assist for the best playof the season to date?

The Rams faked a punt return for a 90-yard touchdown last week against the Seattle Seahawks, having one player mime a catch ? and others block for him ? while the ball landed in the arms of a player on the other side of the field. The Bears did it in 2011, but a penalty negated the touchdown.

Special-teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis joked he told Rams counterpart John Fassel he had to name the play after then-Bears coordinator Dave Toub.

‘‘You’ve got to give credit where the credit is due,’’ he said.

8. Who’s the most impor-

tant under-the-radar player Sunday? Michael Ola, who likely will play right tackle for Jordan Mills and start at his third offensive line spot this season.

9. Is the Vereen Bowl off?

Probably not, though

Patriots running back Shane Vereen missed practice Friday and is listed as questionable. Brother Brock will be the Bears’ third safety.

10. Will defensive end Jared Allen play more than he did last week, when he missed 25 snaps?

Undoubtedly. Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker told him so this week.

‘‘Going forward, obviously, we want him in the game,’’ Tucker said.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @patrickfinley

Chicago Sun-Times
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2 Points
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Judge rejects Pistorius comparison, gives 17-year sentence in murder-for-hire plot

BY FRANK MAIN Staff Reporter October 25, 2014 2:10AM Zenon Grzegorczyk The attorney for a man who tried to have six people burned alive begged a federal judge for leniency Friday, saying South African athlete Oscar Pistorius got only five years in prison for killing his girlfriend.“We’re not in South Africa,” responded U.S.

BY FRANK MAIN Staff Reporter October 25, 2014 2:10AM

Zenon Grzegorczyk

The attorney for a man who tried to have six people burned alive begged a federal judge for leniency Friday, saying South African athlete Oscar Pistorius got only five years in prison for killing his girlfriend.

“We’re not in South Africa,” responded U.S. District Judge Elaine Bucklo before sentencing Zenon Grzegorczyk to 17 years in prison.

READ MORE AT:

Chicago Sun-Times
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Enthusiastic student Stan Kij, 25, dies of stomach cancer

So they arranged for the graduation.“I could probably be working on my masters,” Mr. “I just followed my interests.”The surprise graduation ceremony was held at Christ hospital. Kij’s sister said.Despite the advanced cancer diagnosis, Mr. Kij often asked them how their day was going.And when guests attended a surprise hospital graduation ceremony to witness Mr. Kij “really hoped and believed that he would get better,” Neylon said.The last thing Mr.

BY BECKY SCHLIKERMAN Staff Reporter October 24, 2014 6:18PM

Stan Kij received his Moraine Valley diploma in August. | Gary Middendorf/for Sun-Times Media

Updated: October 24, 2014 10:59PM

Despite his own battle with advanced cancer, Stanislaw “Stan” Kij made it a point to wish other patients well.

While nurses treated him, Mr. Kij often asked them how their day was going.

And when guests attended a surprise hospital graduation ceremony to witness Mr. Kij receive his diploma, the seriously ill 25-year-old graciously thanked everyone for coming.

“Even at his worst moments he always had kind words to say,” said Gerri Neylon, a radiation and oncology nurse at Advocate Christ Medical Center and the founder of the charity Christmas Without Cancer, which helped organize Mr. Kij’s surprise graduation ceremony. “He was just one of those persons, when he comes into your life you know he’s special.”

Mr. Kij, who was featured in the Chicago Sun-Times when he received his Moraine Valley Community College associate’s degree diploma at Christ Hospital in August, died Thursday, Oct. 23, at RML Specialty Hospital in Hinsdale after a battle with advanced stomach cancer, said his sister, Halina Kij, 24.

“He was the kindest ? most funny ? the most awesome man ever,” she said.

Mr. Kij, his parents and younger sister came from Poland 11 years ago in search of the American dream.

Mr. Kij learned English and Spanish, and when he graduated from Reavis High School in 2007, he started taking classes at Moraine Valley. He also spent many hours at the gym, lifting weights and socializing with other gym rats, and he worked the midnight shift at a Food 4 Less, restocking shelves.

But last winter, with symptoms that felt like food poisoning or the flu, Mr. Kij was diagnosed with stomach cancer.

Though a student needs only 62 credits to graduate from Moraine Valley, Kij had amassed 147, but he never took the bureaucratic steps necessary to graduate and preferred to continue taking classes.

That worried Kij’s medical team, who wanted him to focus on his treatment. So they arranged for the graduation.

“I could probably be working on my masters,” Mr. Kij joked in August. “I just followed my interests.”

The surprise graduation ceremony was held at Christ hospital. Mr. Kij wore a green graduation gown and “Pomp and Circumstance” played on a mini boombox.

“He was touched by how much people cared about him and how far they would go to make it special it for him,” Mr. Kij’s sister said.

Despite the advanced cancer diagnosis, Mr. Kij “really hoped and believed that he would get better,” Neylon said.

The last thing Mr. Kij asked of Neylon, whose group gave him a computer for his 25th birthday in July, was a visit from a young, Polish priest, she said.

“He needed to find some peace within himself to be able to go,” Neylon said.

Along with his sister, Mr. Kij’s survivors are his parents, Helena and Jan Kij.

A funeral Mass will be held 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 25, at St. Albert the Great Catholic Church, 5555 W. State in Burbank.

Contributing: Stefano Esposito

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @schlikerman

Chicago Sun-Times
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2 Points
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Sunday stew: Hey, Cubs, it’s time to zoom in on Joe Maddon

Theo Epstein, then the Red Sox GM, now the Cubs president.To hire Maddon, who is god with young players and vets alike, the Cubs would have to buy out the two years remaining on manager Rick Renteria’s contract. Then his Rays beat the White Sox in the AL Division Series and the Red Sox in the AL Championship Series, in a 4-games-to-3 thriller.Who was watching closely. 24, 2014, that Maddon has exercised an opt-out in his contract, which was due to expire after next season.

BY RICK TELANDERStaff Columnist October 25, 2014 12:10AM

FILE - In this May 31, 2006, file photo, Tampa Bay Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon argues with home plate umpire James Hoye after Hoye called Tampa Bay's Travis Lee out for running outside the baseline in the third inning of a baseball game in Baltimore. The Rays announced Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, that Maddon has exercised an opt-out in his contract, which was due to expire after next season. (AP Photo/Gail Burton, File) ORG XMIT: NY171

Updated: October 25, 2014 12:13AM

So how would a pair of huge-framed Joe Maddon eyeglasses fit in historically with the massive goggles worn by Cubs legend Harry Caray?

Just about perfectly. Particularly if the recently opted-out manager of the Tampa Bay Rays comes to the Cubs and leads them to something like respectability.

A pair of Maddon’s signature glasses, thick black things once worn en masse by the Angels to pay tribute to Maddon’s 31 years there, could take their rightful place atop the Hancock Building or the Waveland Avenue rooftops if the man could actually lead the Cubs to the World Series.

Heck, he did it with the Rays. And they’re a small-market team with no money, hardly any fans, and they play in a charmless ­indoor stadium that resembles a hat box with its lid partly off.

OK, maybe we’re way jumping the gun here. Maddon, 60, hasn’t said he’ll come to the Cubs. He hasn’t said anything yet, except he’s not returning to the Rays, for whom he managed nine years and won two American League ­Manager of the Year awards. His buddy, GM Andrew Friedman, recently left the Rays for the Dodgers, and that might have been a factor in Maddon’s testing new waters.

Friedman’s replacement, Matt Silverman, said he tried and tried to keep Maddon, but “it became clear from his responses that it was not going to lead to an ­outcome.’’

Well, of course it led to an outcome. Just not one the Rays wanted.

Maddon did some magical things with that ballclub, the sweetest being winning the club’s first AL East crown in 2008, beating out both the big-spending Yankees and Red Sox. Then his Rays beat the White Sox in the AL Division Series and the Red Sox in the AL Championship Series, in a 4-games-to-3 thriller.

Who was watching closely? Theo Epstein, then the Red Sox GM, now the Cubs president.

To hire Maddon, who is god with young players and vets alike, the Cubs would have to buy out the two years remaining on manager Rick Renteria’s contract. A couple million, no problem. Maybe Renteria gets kicked upstairs. Maybe the Cubs get nailed for tampering.

Whatever, there is only one vacant managerial spot in baseball, the Twins. Old pal Friedman is with the Dodgers, but he has stated that Don Mattingly will be his manager next season “and hopefully for a long time to come.’’

Smart money says it looks like the Cubs or nothing for Maddon and his glasses. He could help start the new era of winning! Or he could slink out of town a few years from now, a broken man ala Lou Piniella, crushed by Cubness.

Tell us, Joe, what do you see?

??LOS ANGELES LAKERS point guard Steve Nash is out for the season with a chronic back injury.

The slick ball-handler and floor general will turn 41 in February, and as an elite NBA player, he is toast. The two-time league MVP and most accurate free-throw shooter in NBA history (90.4 percent) should have called it quits before last season, when his back ailment forced him to miss 17 games, and he often lay on the floor to ease his nerve pain during breaks in the games he did play.

But star players never go out on top. I mean, if Michael Jordan didn’t do it, who will?

It’s almost as if we should erase the last year or so from any Hall of Famer’s career ? Willie Mays, Muhammad Ali, Joe Namath, even Derek Jeter (except for the game-winning single in his last at-bat), et al ? and pretend the footage doesn’t exist. Even Brian Urlacher couldn’t get it done very often in his last season with the Bears.

But so it goes.

Everybody’s going to die ­sometime. Might as well stay alive at the one thing you did, for a while at least, better than anyone on the planet, until the god of sports shows you your burial plot. And hands you the shovel.

??THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA finally has admitted, after an independent investigation, that about a thousand of its football and basketball players for the last 20 years have been feeding high on the hog by getting dummy A’s and B’s in courses they didn’t attend or did little to no work in.

The part I like, though, is that the NCAA did an investigation three years ago and found no real problem at UNC. Whistle-blowers, of course, were ostracized. The coaches knew nothing. The president knew nothing. The usual.

There’s this punishment called “the death penalty’’ for really bad deeds done in big-time sports departments. It should be dropped on UNC by the trembling, know-nothing NCAA.

Need help, fellows?

I’ll pull the lever.

Chicago Sun-Times
Today
2 Points
1

I belong to no candidate. Never have

But when Sun-Times Springfield bureau chief Dave McKinney resigned in protest this week after 19 distinguished years at the paper, he knew there wasn’t much choice.Dave and I and producer Don Moseley shared a byline on a joint NBC5/Sun-Times report that was the genesis of his resignation. Ultimately, they agreed to take out my image but still used my voice.There were no legal grounds by which NBC5 could stop them. assumed I was campaigning for Quinn.Dave McKinney and I don’t belong to candidates.

By CAROL MARIN October 24, 2014 7:10PM

Updated: October 24, 2014 10:35PM

Reporters are taught to cover the story, not be the story.

But when Sun-Times Springfield bureau chief Dave McKinney resigned in protest this week after 19 distinguished years at the paper, he knew there wasn’t much choice.

Dave and I and producer Don Moseley shared a byline on a joint NBC5/Sun-Times report that was the genesis of his resignation. A story about a fired female CEO and her lawsuit against the former private equity firm of Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner. In a sworn deposition, she said Rauner threatened to “bury” her and make her “radioactive” if she sued.

There are a couple of things I want to say about what’s happened here.

First, we are proud of the report we did. It was fair, accurate and fully vetted across four weeks by editors and lawyers for both news organizations.

Though the Rauner campaign claimed the court found Christine Kirk’s lawsuit frivolous and unfounded, that’s simply not true. The judge dismissed the case on technical legal grounds and never weighed in ? pro or con ? on the truthfulness of the threat allegations.

However, in a ferociously close election, a “scorched earth” philosophy is not unusual inside a campaign.

And so the Rauner team went over our heads to our bosses at NBC5 and the Sun-Times and, in a last-ditch effort to kill the story, claimed that Dave’s wife, Democratic political strategist Ann Liston, was actively engaged in anti-Rauner efforts.

It wasn’t true. Sun-Times management knew it. And so did NBC5. And together they published our joint report on television and in print.

But scorched earth being what it is, that didn’t turn out to be the end of the story.

For Dave.

Or for me.

Over at the Sun-Times a day later, Dave was suddenly, inexplicably, pulled off the political beat. Though management argued it did so out of an abundance of caution after the Rauner campaign continued to ask questions about Dave’s reporting.

Over at NBC5, I had a different problem. Not with my bosses. But with Gov. Pat Quinn’s campaign, which launched a television attack ad using my audio and video, excerpting parts of our report about the female executive’s allegations against Rauner.

I called the governor’s cellphone, his campaign manager and press spokeswoman’s phones to protest being used in one of their commercials. Ultimately, they agreed to take out my image but still used my voice.

There were no legal grounds by which NBC5 could stop them. And they knew it. The technical term that applies here is “fair use.”

The public doesn’t necessarily know that. Lots of people ? smart people ? assumed I was campaigning for Quinn.

Dave McKinney and I don’t belong to candidates. And never have.

Our job has been to check facts, challenge assumptions, ask questions and report the news wherever it takes us. And when there is a problem inside our newsrooms, our job is to do the same there.

Newspaper owners, I know, are within their rights to express their opinion on the editorial page.

Political campaigns of either party can act with a scorched earth disdain for facts or fairness.

Newsrooms can do neither.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @CarolMarin

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