{country_name} ↓ TRANS_MENU
Choose your location:
My coverMy coverMy cover

What's happening now?

Login Login with Facebook
Incorrect user or password!
1

Derrick Rose has no pain in Spain

He leads Team USA with seven turnovers in two games, but that can easily be corrected.Back in 2010 when Rose played for Team USA, he averaged 8.1 points and had turnover problems, as well. With Team USA short on big men this summer, Faried has played like a man possessed on the glass.James Harden . He could be a key player when Team USA faces an opponent with a strong frontcourt, but his spot could have been used on another outside shooter. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @suntimes_hoops.

September 1, 2014 7:58PM

After scoring 12 points against Finland, Derrick Rose only had two points against Turkey in group play at the FIBA World Cup. | Getty Images

Updated: September 2, 2014 2:19AM

Derrick Rose is healthy.

Two games into FIBA World Cup pool play, and the face of the Bulls franchise is without a noticeable limp.

That’s the good news. Great news, actually.

Is he the player that had spectators oohing and aahing at the start of the USA Basketball trials in Las Vegas in late July? No, but that doesn’t diminish his last five weeks.

This always has been about building a mindset for Rose, letting him know he still can dominate.

He did that in Las Vegas and even into Chicago early on before “fatigue’’ sidelined him for a few practices and an exhibition game in New York.

With the lights on in Game??1 Saturday against Finland, however, Rose scored 12 points, had a memorable crossover and explosive two-handed slam and played a team-high 22-plus minutes. So we’ll give him a mulligan for the follow-up Sunday against Turkey.

Let’s call it a bad day at the office in his first real back-to-back games since he played in Denver last Nov. 21, then in Portland. Rose tore his meniscus in that loss to the Trail Blazers and was out for the season.

If there’s one concern for Rose, it’s ball security. He leads Team USA with seven turnovers in two games, but that can easily be corrected.

Back in 2010 when Rose played for Team USA, he averaged 8.1 points and had turnover problems, as well. By the end of the 2010-11 season for the Bulls, he was named MVP.

For Rose, there are more important issues than numbers in this tournament, and that shouldn’t be forgotten.

Stars

Anthony Davis ? Chicago’s very own big man has been the breakout player of the summer for the U.S. squad. The Pelicans star is leading the team in scoring at 18 points per game and is averaging five rebounds. His ability to protect the rim has intimidated opponents, but the ultimate test awaits. Davis might have to deal with Spain’s big men, including new Bull Pau Gasol.

Kenneth Faried ? The rest of the world is seeing what the Nuggets have known for years: The “Manimal’’ is a star in the making. With Team USA short on big men this summer, Faried has played like a man possessed on the glass.

James Harden ? The Rockets shooting guard actually has switched roles a bit and has been the United States’ best playmaker, leading the team with 10 assists and seven steals. Who knew Harden and defense could ever be mentioned in the same sentence?

Stripes

Stephen Curry ? The Warriors guard was supposed to be the outside threat that made it OK to say goodbye to Kyle Korver, but he has been forcing shots and is only 3-for-11 from three-point range.

Rose ? Besides those seven turnovers, he stayed on the bench in the third quarter against Turkey and seemed lost against a matchup zone.

Andre Drummond ? The Pistons center only played in the first game. He could be a key player when Team USA faces an opponent with a strong frontcourt, but his spot could have been used on another outside shooter.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @suntimes_hoops

Chicago Sun-Times
Today
13 Points
New
1

Moms, dads get kids ready for school

CPS has cited a 20 percent decline in criminal incidents around Safe Passage schools; a 27 percent drop in incidents among students; and a 7 percent increase in attendance over the past two years in high schools that already participate.The CTA is offering free rides for students Tuesday as part of a program sponsored by Sun-Times Media for the third year in a row. She was accompanied by her son Tremaine, 20.“We started yesterday,” she said and resumed the task after she got off work Monday.

BY FRANCINE KNOWLES Staff Reporter September 1, 2014 8:40PM

Walter Turner, 37, shops for pants and shirts at FormanMills for his son Damien Crawford, a third-grader at TannerElementary School. | Francine Knowles/Sun-Times

Updated: September 2, 2014 2:13AM

With school set to start Tuesday for more than 400,000 students at Chicago Public Schools, Walter Turner found himself in a long line at the Forman Mills store on Damen Avenue on Monday.

But he wasn’t surprised.

“Just like myself, it’s last minute,” he said of other back-to-school shoppers. “I work six days a week, so this was the time I was able to” shop.

He was buying pants and shirts for his son, Damien Crawford, who is starting third grade at Tanner Elementary School.

“I want him to be prepared for his first day,” Turner said.

Aisha Conner put off preparing Labor Day dinner Monday to shop on Ashland Avenue for school clothes and supplies for her 13-year-old son, Tremon. She was accompanied by her son Tremaine, 20.

“We started yesterday,” she said and resumed the task after she got off work Monday.

“We’re trying to go home and barbecue,” but that would have to wait until they hit one more store, she said.

School officials are hoping to see strong attendance on the first day. Studies have long proven that attendance on the first day of school is essential to the academic success of students throughout the year, CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett, has emphasized. She has also said that students who attend on the first day are far more likely to keep coming to class. Attendance also affects funding for schools.

As students return to classes, the city is prepared to keep them safe through its Safe Passage program, Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said Monday.

Police will be out there “in full force,” using the same strategy,” he said as he released monthly crime statistics at police headquarters.

“The consternation last year going into the school year really revolved completely around the fact that kids had to ‘cross gang lines,’ ” McCarthy said. “Well, nothing happened. So it was pretty successful.”

The Safe Passage program, a collaboration between CPS and the police department, was launched in 2009 around high schools with safety concerns. It was doubled last year after CPS closed 50 elementary schools. CPS has cited a 20 percent decline in criminal incidents around Safe Passage schools; a 27 percent drop in incidents among students; and a 7 percent increase in attendance over the past two years in high schools that already participate.

The CTA is offering free rides for students Tuesday as part of a program sponsored by Sun-Times Media for the third year in a row. Last year, the CTA’s First Day, Free Rides program provided more than 147,000 free rides to students, according to the transit agency.

Students also are eligible to buy a discounted fare for 75 cents throughout the year to ride weekdays between 5:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m., the CTA said. Last school year, students took roughly 25 million rides using the discount.

Alyssa Rosas, 10, joined her mother, Rachel Roche, and 8-year-old sister, Angelina Rosas, in shopping for back-to-school clothes Monday on Ashland near 47th Street.

What was Angelina looking forward to on her upcoming first day back at Alexander Graham Elementary?

“Seeing my friends,” she said.

Contributing: Stefano Esposito

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @KnowlesFran

Chicago Sun-Times
Today
16 Points
New
1

‘Long way to go’ but Roseland Hospital showing signs of stability

BY MONIFA THOMAS Health Reporter September 1, 2014 3:32PM The emergency room entrance at at Roseland Community Hospital. But mismanagement under the previous administrators also added to the financial woes, Gov. | Michael Schmidt/Sun-Times Updated: September 1, 2014 5:23PMLast June, Roseland Community Hospital nearly shut its doors because of financial problems .

BY MONIFA THOMAS Health Reporter September 1, 2014 3:32PM

The emergency room entrance at at Roseland Community Hospital. | Michael Schmidt/Sun-Times

Updated: September 1, 2014 5:23PM

Last June, Roseland Community Hospital nearly shut its doors because of financial problems ? a move that could have left residents in one of Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods without a nearby hospital.

A year later, the 162-bed South Side hospital is still in the red financially, but it’s showing signs of stability and is expanding health services for residents.

Most notably, the millions in vendor debt ? which Roseland had cited as a reason it almost closed ? has been cut in half, officials said.

“It appears to me they’re doing a great job, and turning it around,” said State Rep. Robert Rita (D-Blue Island), whose district includes Roseland.

Roseland Community Hospital, at 45 W. 111th Street, has struggled for years, in part because about half of the population that seeks care from the safety-net hospital is either uninsured or on Medicaid, the state-federal health insurance program for the poor that tends to pay too low and too slow to providers.

But mismanagement under the previous administrators also added to the financial woes, Gov. Pat Quinn’s office has said, though past administrators have denied that.

Tim Egan, who has been CEO of the hospital since July 2013, declined to discuss the past mismanagement, except to say, “The legal system will determine the level of mismanagement that happened here.”

Quinn gave the hospital $350,000 in temporary assistance to keep the doors open back in June 2013, while a more comprehensive sustainability plan was being developed.

Since that time, Roseland Community Hospital has made a number of changes, including eliminating what Egan called “redundant management positions,” renegotiating contracts and hiring more nurses and doctors.

A preliminary fiscal year 2014 report Egan shared with the Chicago Sun-Times suggests that the hospital is heading in the right direction. Roseland was expected to lose almost $5.3 million in its operating income, but it actually lost far less ? $586,323 ? between April 1, 2013, and March 31, 2014.

“The debt, as it was stated in the first financial report that I saw, was $30 million,” Egan said. Of that, $16 million was debt from vendors who were not paid for their services, he said.

Roseland Community Hospital now has that debt down to $5.5 million as of Aug. 1.

“We still have a long way to go because we inherited such a tremendous amount of debt,” Egan said. But, he emphasized, “We’ve reached a level of sustainability.”

The state also confirmed that the hospital has not received any state funding since last year, except for what all safety-net hospitals get for providing a disproportionate amount of care to vulnerable populations.

But like many other safety-net hospitals, Roseland may never be comfortably stable because it tends to treat more uninsured patients who show up in the emergency room and can’t be turned away.

Even so, the hospital has started offering new health services, such as asthma vans and a dental van, and it’s looking to expand further with the help of a medical district.

Roseland Community Hospital was made a medical district in 2011 by Quinn, similar to the Near West Side’s medical district comprising Rush University Medical Center, the University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center and Stroger Hospital. But because of delays, the first meeting to discuss possible enhancement to the Roseland district will finally begin next month.

Yet, it’s not clear how much patients actually see what’s being called the “new” Roseland Community Hospital.

James Harris, 63, who lives across the street from the hospital and comes every two months or so for blood pressure treatment and checkups, hasn’t noticed much change, but, he said: “They’ve shown me they generally do care for people, and . . . I like the treatment that I’ve been getting.”

A few others said despite living within walking distance of Roseland hospital, they would rather seek care elsewhere to get what they consider better care.

Michael Valentine, 45 ? who said he had a terrible experience at the hospital in May but had a life-saving one in 2012 ? had mixed reviews.

“They have wonderful doctors here, but when you don’t have the same technology as the other upper-echelon [hospitals] you don’t stand a chance,” he said.

The Rev. Gregory Seal Livingston, founder and president of Uplift Inc. and an outspoken proponent for a first-class hospital in Roseland, said the health services in the works are “an awesome beginning.”

But he added, “We have to continue to do more, to create the vision of a healthy Roseland.”

[email protected]

Twitter: @MonifaThomas1

Chicago Sun-Times
Today
17 Points
1

Civil disobedience expected as fast-food workers push for raise

s and other fast-food restaurants are expected to be targeted with acts of civil disobedience that could lead to arrests Thursday, Sept. Over time, she said that could help “change the mindset” about fast-food jobs, which have historically been seen as difficult to unionize.“The goal is to persuade workers that it doesn’t have to be this way. 4, 2014, as labor organizers escalate their campaign to unionize the industry. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File) NEW YORK .

By CANDICE CHOI AP Food Industry Writer September 1, 2014 11:28PM

FILE - In this Thursday, May 15, 2014, file photo, Velma Cornelius protests for higher wages outside a McDonald's restaurant in Detroit. McDonald?s, Wendy?s and other fast-food restaurants are expected to be targeted with acts of civil disobedience that could lead to arrests Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014, as labor organizers escalate their campaign to unionize the industry?s workers. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

NEW YORK ? McDonald’s, Wendy’s and other fast-food restaurants are expected to be targeted with acts of civil disobedience that could lead to arrests Thursday as labor organizers escalate their campaign to unionize the industry’s workers.

Kendall Fells, an organizing director for Fast Food Forward, said workers in a couple of dozen cities were trained to peacefully engage in civil disobedience ahead of this week’s planned protests.

Fells declined to say what exactly is in store for the protests in around 150 U.S. cities. But workers involved in the movement recently cited sit-ins as an example of strategies they could use to intensify their push for higher pay and unionization. Past protests have targeted a couple of restaurants in each city for a limited time, in many cases posing little disruption to operations.

A spokesman for the Service Employees International Union, which has been spearheading the protests, said home health care aides will join the actions in some locations.

The “Fight for $15” campaign has gained national attention at a time when growing income disparities have become a hot political issue. President Barack Obama renewed his push for Congress to raise the minimum wage at a Labor Day appearance in Milwaukee.

Many fast-food workers do not make much more than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. That equates to around $15,000 a year for 40 hours a week. But workers are often subject to unpredictable schedules and don’t know how many hours they’ll be given from week to week, since restaurants are careful to avoid paying overtime.

The fast-food campaign is designed to bring attention to such hardships, which few customers think about when buying burgers and fries, said Catherine Fisk, a professor of labor law at the University of California in Irvine. Over time, she said that could help “change the mindset” about fast-food jobs, which have historically been seen as difficult to unionize.

“The goal is to persuade workers that it doesn’t have to be this way. The goal is to persuade consumers that it doesn’t have to be this way,” she said. “This is about getting attention to the issue.”

Fisk noted that mining and manufacturing jobs were also once considered low-wage jobs with dim prospects. That changed in the 1930s, however, after legal protections for unionizing and actions by fed-up workers helped transform the jobs into more middle-class professions.

The National Restaurant Association said in a statement that the fast-food protests are attempts by unions “to boost their dwindling membership.” The industry lobbying group said it hopes organizers will be respectful to customers and workers during the protests this week.

So far, the campaign and a similar effort on behalf of Wal-Mart workers have been effectively handled by BerlinRosen, a public relations firm known for its political work. Since the protests began in late 2012, organizers have kept the issue in the spotlight by switching up their tactics every few months.

They trumpeted the spread of protests around the country and then overseas, for instance, although turnout has been fairly minimal in some places. Organizers are also pushing to bring attention to the issue of “wage theft,” such as the denial of overtime pay and rest breaks.

Several lawsuits alleging wage theft by McDonald’s and its franchisees have been filed in three states on behalf of workers who were referred by labor organizers. McDonald’s Corp. has said it would investigate the claims.

In the meantime, actions by labor organizers are likely to continue, with the SEIU pouring millions of dollars into the effort.

Chicago Sun-Times
Today
10 Points
New
1

FBI probing leak of nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, others

BROWN/AFP/Getty Images) Updated: September 2, 2014 12:49AM. September 1, 2014 8:55PM Actress Jennifer Lawrence arrives on the red carpet for the Golden Globe awards on January 12, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California.

September 1, 2014 8:55PM

Actress Jennifer Lawrence arrives on the red carpet for the Golden Globe awards on January 12, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. AFP PHOTO / Frederic J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

Updated: September 2, 2014 12:49AM

Chicago Sun-Times
Today
0 Points
New
1

Civil disobedience expected as fast-food workers push for raise

s and other fast-food restaurants are expected to be targeted with acts of civil disobedience that could lead to arrests Thursday, Sept. Over time, she said that could help “change the mindset” about fast-food jobs, which have historically been seen as difficult to unionize.“The goal is to persuade workers that it doesn’t have to be this way. 4, 2014, as labor organizers escalate their campaign to unionize the industry. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File) NEW YORK .

By CANDICE CHOI AP Food Industry Writer September 1, 2014 11:28PM

FILE - In this Thursday, May 15, 2014, file photo, Velma Cornelius protests for higher wages outside a McDonald's restaurant in Detroit. McDonald?s, Wendy?s and other fast-food restaurants are expected to be targeted with acts of civil disobedience that could lead to arrests Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014, as labor organizers escalate their campaign to unionize the industry?s workers. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

NEW YORK ? McDonald’s, Wendy’s and other fast-food restaurants are expected to be targeted with acts of civil disobedience that could lead to arrests Thursday as labor organizers escalate their campaign to unionize the industry’s workers.

Kendall Fells, an organizing director for Fast Food Forward, said workers in a couple of dozen cities were trained to peacefully engage in civil disobedience ahead of this week’s planned protests.

Fells declined to say what exactly is in store for the protests in around 150 U.S. cities. But workers involved in the movement recently cited sit-ins as an example of strategies they could use to intensify their push for higher pay and unionization. Past protests have targeted a couple of restaurants in each city for a limited time, in many cases posing little disruption to operations.

A spokesman for the Service Employees International Union, which has been spearheading the protests, said home health care aides will join the actions in some locations.

The “Fight for $15” campaign has gained national attention at a time when growing income disparities have become a hot political issue. President Barack Obama renewed his push for Congress to raise the minimum wage at a Labor Day appearance in Milwaukee.

Many fast-food workers do not make much more than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. That equates to around $15,000 a year for 40 hours a week. But workers are often subject to unpredictable schedules and don’t know how many hours they’ll be given from week to week, since restaurants are careful to avoid paying overtime.

The fast-food campaign is designed to bring attention to such hardships, which few customers think about when buying burgers and fries, said Catherine Fisk, a professor of labor law at the University of California in Irvine. Over time, she said that could help “change the mindset” about fast-food jobs, which have historically been seen as difficult to unionize.

“The goal is to persuade workers that it doesn’t have to be this way. The goal is to persuade consumers that it doesn’t have to be this way,” she said. “This is about getting attention to the issue.”

Fisk noted that mining and manufacturing jobs were also once considered low-wage jobs with dim prospects. That changed in the 1930s, however, after legal protections for unionizing and actions by fed-up workers helped transform the jobs into more middle-class professions.

The National Restaurant Association said in a statement that the fast-food protests are attempts by unions “to boost their dwindling membership.” The industry lobbying group said it hopes organizers will be respectful to customers and workers during the protests this week.

So far, the campaign and a similar effort on behalf of Wal-Mart workers have been effectively handled by BerlinRosen, a public relations firm known for its political work. Since the protests began in late 2012, organizers have kept the issue in the spotlight by switching up their tactics every few months.

They trumpeted the spread of protests around the country and then overseas, for instance, although turnout has been fairly minimal in some places. Organizers are also pushing to bring attention to the issue of “wage theft,” such as the denial of overtime pay and rest breaks.

Several lawsuits alleging wage theft by McDonald’s and its franchisees have been filed in three states on behalf of workers who were referred by labor organizers. McDonald’s Corp. has said it would investigate the claims.

In the meantime, actions by labor organizers are likely to continue, with the SEIU pouring millions of dollars into the effort.

Chicago Sun-Times
Today
0 Points
New
1

Adam Dunn a somewhat valuable player

Still, other than 2011, Dunn has had value, strikeouts, weak defense and all. Still, his 20 home runs were tied for 16th in the AL through Sunday.Most of the frustration came through strikeouts, where his 222 in ’12 stand as an AL record, just one off the major-league high by the Diamondbacks’ Mark Reynolds in 2009. The excitement came from home runs, of course, where Dunn was fifth in the American League with 41 in 2012 and fourth with 34 last season.

BY JOHN GROCHOWSKI For Sun-Times Media September 1, 2014 10:34PM

Former White Sox slugger Adam Dunn celebrates in the dugout Monday after hitting a two-run home run against the Seattle Mariners in his first game with the Oakland Athletics. | Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

Updated: September 2, 2014 2:17AM

Adam Dunn sometimes excited and often frustrated White Sox fans in his nearly four years with the team before being traded to the Athletics on Sunday.

The excitement came from home runs, of course, where Dunn was fifth in the American League with 41 in 2012 and fourth with 34 last season. This season he has had less playing time, with 435 plate appearances through Sunday’s games after 649 in ’12 and 605 in ’13, and his home-run rate is down to 4.6 percent of plate appearances after 6.3 percent two years ago and 5.6 percent last season. Still, his 20 home runs were tied for 16th in the AL through Sunday.

Most of the frustration came through strikeouts, where his 222 in ’12 stand as an AL record, just one off the major-league high by the Diamondbacks’ Mark Reynolds in 2009. His defense also could be angst-inducing, with minus-13 runs saved in 2013, and it takes some doing to reach that total in only 77 games in the field. His minus-2.8 defensive WAR that season was fourth-worst in the majors, according to Baseball-Reference.com.

And Dunn’s Sox years got off to a horrific start in 2011. After six consecutive seasons of 38 home runs or more for the Reds, Diamondbacks and Nationals, with no OPS lower than .855, he had one of the weakest seasons this century. His home runs sank to 11 and his OPS to .569, and his 54 OPS-plus ? meaning he produced about 54 percent of the offense of an average major-leaguer ? is the 10th-lowest in the 2000s. Before 2011, no one would have expected to see Dunn’s name on a list led by Neifi Perez (44 in 2002), Clint Barmes (47 in 2006) and Cesar Izturis (51 in 2002 and again in 2010).

Still, other than 2011, Dunn has had value, strikeouts, weak defense and all. His bases on balls, including a league-leading 105 in ’12, led to on-base percentages of .333, .320 and .340 in 2012, ’13 and ’14, respectively, that far exceeded batting averages of .204, .219 and .220. Getting on base is a valuable skill for hitters anywhere in the lineup ? for one thing, the No. 4 hitter, which was Dunn’s role the majority of his time with the Sox, leads off more innings than anyone but the leadoff man.

By OPS, he rebounded from 2011 to .800, .762 and .773. Those don’t equal his best years, but left him with OPS-pluses of 114, 105 and 117, back above the 100 line that indicates an average hitter. By runs created, a lineup of nine Dunns could have been expected to score about 5.5, 5.5 and 5.2 runs per game in those seasons, when the AL averaged 4.5, 4.3 and 4.2.

Dunn had reached the end of his star years by the time he got to Chicago. His defensive appearances should have been rarer than they were. But at the bat, his power-plus-walks game still provided some value.

Chicago Sun-Times
Today
0 Points
New
1

White Sox’ Alexei Ramirez merits recognition for superb defense

‘‘[Ramirez] has a countryman to bond with, and the way Jose goes about his work every day has helped.’’Ramirez freely admits that has been true. It helped [Ramirez] a lot, working with Rey.’’McEwing also points to Abreu’s presence as having a positive effect on Ramirez.‘‘A lot of it has to do with Jose,’’ McEwing said. It really helped me out, and I give credit to all of them.’’McEwing knows Ramirez’s character has as much to do with his rebound season.

BY TONI GINNETTIFor Sun-Times Media September 1, 2014 10:30PM

White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez has bounced back from a difficult 2013 season. He has committed only 10 errors in 606 chances in 2014. | Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

ON DECK

WHITE SOX AT TWINS

Tuesday: Hector Noesi (8-9, 4.75 ERA) vs. Tommy Milone (6-4, 4.21), 7:10 p.m., CSN, 670-AM, 97.5-FM.

Wednesday: John Danks (9-9, 4.88) vs. Trevor May (0-4, 10.42), 7:10 p.m., Ch. 26, 670-AM, 97.5-FM.

Updated: September 2, 2014 2:17AM

Jose Abreu is a clear favorite to add the American League Rookie of the Year Award to his All-Star selection when the season ends.

But the honor that would mean as much to the White Sox is the one that has eluded the team’s other Cuban All-Star, shortstop Alexei Ramirez.

The Gold Glove is within reach for the veteran Ramirez, who leads AL shortstops with a .983 fielding average, committing only 10 errors in 606 chances.

Some believe the Gold Glove is overdue, just as his first selection to the All-Star team was this year.

‘‘If you look at his history, he’s ranked one or two in every defensive and offensive category for shortstops for a long time,’’ third-base coach and infield mentor Joe McEwing said. ‘‘But there are a lot of big-name shortstops in the American League.

‘‘It’s a disappointment he wasn’t mentioned more as one of the best shortstops in baseball. But he’s getting that recognition now.’’

Perhaps that’s because the sparkle has returned to Ramirez’s game after a 2013 season in which a family tragedy took its toll on him emotionally.

Hardships were not foreign to the Cuban-born star who made his way to the United States in 2007. But the death in early 2013 of his father-in-law, killed by an unknown gunman in the Dominican Republic, affected him throughout last season.

‘‘With everything that happened to him last year, I think it played into his mind, and focusing on baseball was tough to do,’’ McEwing said.

Ramirez committed a career-worst 22 errors, many on what seemed to be routine plays.

‘‘One of the things I did at the end of last season was I evaluated my strengths and limitations and the things I wasn’t doing well,’’ he said. ‘‘I prepared a lot and worked a lot in Miami with [former major-league shortstop] Rey Ordonez, who helped me out a lot on my defensive work.

‘‘The coaches here with the Sox obviously helped, as well. It really helped me out, and I give credit to all of them.’’

McEwing knows Ramirez’s character has as much to do with his rebound season.

‘‘He’s an individual with so much pride, and with that comes the responsibility of working hard every day,’’ he said. ‘‘I played with Rey [Ordonez], and Rey had that, too. It helped [Ramirez] a lot, working with Rey.’’

McEwing also points to Abreu’s presence as having a positive effect on Ramirez.

‘‘A lot of it has to do with Jose,’’ McEwing said. ‘‘[Ramirez] has a countryman to bond with, and the way Jose goes about his work every day has helped.’’

Ramirez freely admits that has been true.

‘‘Definitely,’’ he said. ‘‘We have fun. It feels sometimes like we’re playing back in Cuba. We do have fun together, and that’s a key. We like each other. We respect each other, and when you have that, you have the chance to win some games, too.’’

Ramirez, 32, finds himself with a new double-play partner after years of playing beside Gordon Beckham.

‘‘I played with Beckham a long time and definitely will miss him,’’ Ramirez said. ‘‘But Carlos Sanchez has been quick to make adjustments. I expect to have a good relationship with him and be able to play solid defense with him.

‘‘You can’t control [player moves].’’

Nor can he control who’ll win the Gold Glove, he said.

‘‘But if I got it, it would be a great, great honor,’’ Ramirez said. ‘‘It would be awesome.’’

Chicago Sun-Times
Today
0 Points
New
1

Cubs say thanks to Jackie Robinson West players

I hope everybody at least gives baseball a try.” MRI for Rizzo. champs from the Little League World Series.But JRW’s success and celebrity might do far more for the Cubs and the rest of baseball, the way the team played this season and the way it made baseball look cool again to a generation of kids.“I already got a few calls about kids playing baseball,” JRW manager Darold Butler said. Right-hander Blake Parker was recalled from Class AAA Iowa as rosters expanded for the final month.

BY GORDON WITTENMYER Staff Reporter September 1, 2014 10:34PM

Updated: September 2, 2014 2:18AM

The Cubs loaded up the Jackie Robinson West players with bats, personalized Cubs jerseys and other swag as they hosted the returning U.S. champs from the Little League World Series.

But JRW’s success and celebrity might do far more for the Cubs and the rest of baseball, the way the team played this season and the way it made baseball look cool again to a generation of kids.

“I already got a few calls about kids playing baseball,” JRW manager Darold Butler said. “Just outside. No parents, no coaches. Just five, six, seven, eight kids ­playing baseball on their own.”

MLB officials ranging from incoming commissioner Rob Manfred to Cubs president Theo Epstein and Chicago-born All-Star and locally active big-leaguer Curtis Granderson have spoken out in recent weeks about the need for greater interest in the game among American kids to stem a decline in the U.S. talent pipeline ? and the impact stories such as Chicago’s 12-year-old baseball heroes can make.

Butler said he saw local Little League registration spike last year after the JRW squad just missed qualifying for the LLWS.

“I’m sure registration’s going to go sky high this year,” Butler said. “This year we made it way cooler than it’s ever been. I hope everybody at least gives baseball a try.”

MRI for Rizzo?

Anthony Rizzo missed his seventh game because of back soreness Monday, and if he doesn’t improve enough to play by Tuesday, he faces a possible MRI exam.

“Still a little, and if it doesn’t clear up maybe we get an MRI just to make sure everything’s OK,” manager Rick Renteria said.

“But he’s doing fine. We’re just limiting him, making sure once he gets back on the field he doesn’t have a setback.”

Rizzo, who hit his 30th homer in the last game he played Tuesday in Cincinnati, has described what he and the club believe is a muscle issue.

Soler maintenance plan

As they did over the weekend in St. Louis, the Cubs will continue to give newly promoted prospect Jorge Soler scheduled time off as a precaution against reinjuring the hamstrings in both legs that put him on the disabled list twice.

“Physically, he’s fine,” Renteria said. “It’s just a matter of making sure we continue to graduate him in terms of his playing time. I don’t think he’s played more than four or five games in a row. So that’s the table that we’ve been using.”

Renteria said he expects such restrictions to be lifted for Soler by next season. Soler, by the way, got drilled near his right hamstring by Welington Castillo’s foul line drive in the sixth inning but said he was fine after the game.

Notes

According to Elias Sports Bureau, Jorge Soler’s double made him the third player in at least 100 years to record an extra-base hit in each of his first five games (also the Red Sox’ Will Middlebrooks in 2012 and Cardinals’ Enos Slaughter in 1938).

??Right-hander Blake Parker was recalled from Class AAA Iowa as rosters expanded for the final month. He finished the seventh inning for starter Jacob Turner, allowing a solo home run.

??Renteria said he expects about “a half-dozen” more call-ups this week with the Class AAA and AA seasons concluding Monday.

??Among the call-ups: lefty starter Eric Jokisch, a Northwestern product, who could become the ninth player to make a big-league debut for the Cubs this season.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter@GDubCub

Chicago Sun-Times
Today
0 Points
New
1

Playing kids can be double-edged sword for Cubs

Maybe it’ll ­actually be prophetic.”Maybe JRW manager Darold Butler can even offer a few pointers on what it takes to get to a World Series. “I’m just very conscious at the plate right now and trying to make the best of it.”So are the Cubs, who definitely are conscious of this lengthy, uncertain process as it begins to deliver moments worth watching, if not “addressing.”“Maybe it won’t be ironic,” Renteria said in his yellow “West” jersey and matching hat.

By GORDON WITTENMYER Sports reporter September 1, 2014 9:08PM

Updated: September 2, 2014 2:17AM

The Jackie Robinson West Little Leaguers took the field a few minutes before the Cubs’ game against the Brewers on Monday, getting a standing ovation from the Wrigley Field crowd as they settled into their positions.

The crowd wasn’t quite as ­enthusiastic when the kids left the field so the older kids in Cubs ­uniforms could take over.

Maybe someday.

For now, the Cubs bask in moments like they had in the second and sixth innings, when touted prospect Jorge Soler doubled to the right-field corner, then doubled off the right-center wall in an impressive Wrigley debut ? even as the other big-time prospect, Javy Baez, went hitless with another strikeout.

They bask in moments such as the final out of a 4-2 victory that knocked the rival Brewers out of a first-place tie in the National League Central, forgiving the mistake-filled moments and breakdowns that cost games the previous two days against the rival Cardinals, who took over the top spot.

And they answer questions about such things as the irony involved in big kids expected to lead the Cubs to a World Series wearing a version Monday morning of the uniform belonging to Little Leaguers who just came back from a successful World Series run.

“Yeah, there’s some irony to it,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. “Let me put it to you this way: If the enthusiasm of those young men that play for Jackie Robinson West can be equaled by the young men that we have in our clubhouse, we’ve got a good shot.”

Yeah, maybe if that’s there.

And if the first five games of

$30 million outfielder Soler’s career is any indication of what he can do in the next five or eight years. He’s already 10-for-19 with seven extra-base hits and a walk.

And if top-five prospect Baez keeps enough swagger and learns enough from his .181 start that already includes 50 strikeouts in 116 at-bats.

And if they can eliminate mistakes such as out-of-position rookie center fielder Arismendy Alcantara short-arming a fly ball Sunday after gliding underneath it in time to catch it, helping turn a one-run inning into a three-run inning.

And if they can improve Baez’s inconsistency in the field to his backhand side, which cost another run Sunday. Veteran pitcher Carlos Villanueva alluded to both plays as “things that need to be ­addressed.”

After lauding his young players’ talent and effort for several ­minutes unsolicited, Renteria was asked about those plays and Villanueva’s comment, saying only: “It’s probably been addressed.”

To be sure, a lot of what the Cubs are about these days is about growing up ? and growing pains.

And big-league debuts ? eight so far and counting, with more September call-ups expected Tuesday. And celebrated Wrigley debuts such as Soler’s.

“Since I signed my Cubs contract as a pro, I’ve been waiting for this moment,” Soler said before the game, with the help of coach/translator Jose Flores. “I’m ready for it.”

Soler got the strongest, warmest crowd reaction for anybody older than 13.

“It’s really not as easy as it looks,” Soler said with a smile after the game. “I’m just very conscious at the plate right now and trying to make the best of it.”

So are the Cubs, who definitely are conscious of this lengthy, uncertain process as it begins to deliver moments worth watching, if not “addressing.”

Maybe it won’t be ironic,” Renteria said in his yellow “West” jersey and matching hat. “Maybe it’ll ­actually be prophetic.”

Maybe JRW manager Darold Butler can even offer a few pointers on what it takes to get to a World Series.

“I didn’t do that,” Butler said with a laugh. “But if they ask me, I’ll let them know what I know.”

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @GDubCub

Chicago Sun-Times
Today
0 Points
New
1

Derrick Rose has no pain in Spain

He leads Team USA with seven turnovers in two games, but that can easily be corrected.Back in 2010 when Rose played for Team USA, he averaged 8.1 points and had turnover problems, as well. With Team USA short on big men this summer, Faried has played like a man possessed on the glass.James Harden . He could be a key player when Team USA faces an opponent with a strong frontcourt, but his spot could have been used on another outside shooter. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @suntimes_hoops.

September 1, 2014 7:58PM

After scoring 12 points against Finland, Derrick Rose only had two points against Turkey in group play at the FIBA World Cup. | Getty Images

Updated: September 2, 2014 2:19AM

Derrick Rose is healthy.

Two games into FIBA World Cup pool play, and the face of the Bulls franchise is without a noticeable limp.

That’s the good news. Great news, actually.

Is he the player that had spectators oohing and aahing at the start of the USA Basketball trials in Las Vegas in late July? No, but that doesn’t diminish his last five weeks.

This always has been about building a mindset for Rose, letting him know he still can dominate.

He did that in Las Vegas and even into Chicago early on before “fatigue’’ sidelined him for a few practices and an exhibition game in New York.

With the lights on in Game??1 Saturday against Finland, however, Rose scored 12 points, had a memorable crossover and explosive two-handed slam and played a team-high 22-plus minutes. So we’ll give him a mulligan for the follow-up Sunday against Turkey.

Let’s call it a bad day at the office in his first real back-to-back games since he played in Denver last Nov. 21, then in Portland. Rose tore his meniscus in that loss to the Trail Blazers and was out for the season.

If there’s one concern for Rose, it’s ball security. He leads Team USA with seven turnovers in two games, but that can easily be corrected.

Back in 2010 when Rose played for Team USA, he averaged 8.1 points and had turnover problems, as well. By the end of the 2010-11 season for the Bulls, he was named MVP.

For Rose, there are more important issues than numbers in this tournament, and that shouldn’t be forgotten.

Stars

Anthony Davis ? Chicago’s very own big man has been the breakout player of the summer for the U.S. squad. The Pelicans star is leading the team in scoring at 18 points per game and is averaging five rebounds. His ability to protect the rim has intimidated opponents, but the ultimate test awaits. Davis might have to deal with Spain’s big men, including new Bull Pau Gasol.

Kenneth Faried ? The rest of the world is seeing what the Nuggets have known for years: The “Manimal’’ is a star in the making. With Team USA short on big men this summer, Faried has played like a man possessed on the glass.

James Harden ? The Rockets shooting guard actually has switched roles a bit and has been the United States’ best playmaker, leading the team with 10 assists and seven steals. Who knew Harden and defense could ever be mentioned in the same sentence?

Stripes

Stephen Curry ? The Warriors guard was supposed to be the outside threat that made it OK to say goodbye to Kyle Korver, but he has been forcing shots and is only 3-for-11 from three-point range.

Rose ? Besides those seven turnovers, he stayed on the bench in the third quarter against Turkey and seemed lost against a matchup zone.

Andre Drummond ? The Pistons center only played in the first game. He could be a key player when Team USA faces an opponent with a strong frontcourt, but his spot could have been used on another outside shooter.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @suntimes_hoops

Chicago Sun-Times
Today
0 Points
New
1

Excused absence for Lance Briggs is a head-scratcher

Nobody on his restaurant team looked at the Bears’ schedule and saw that maybe there was a better time for it. That’s what Bears coach Marc Trestman gave linebacker Lance Briggs, who missed practice Monday to be at the opening of his new barbecue restaurant.Maybe I expect too much from the Bears. Three weeks later, it still sounds like a distraction the team doesn’t need.Now Briggs has taken advantage of an excused absence from practice to fly to California for a restaurant opening.

BY RICK MORRISSEY [email protected] | @MorrisseyCST September 1, 2014 10:32PM

Updated: September 2, 2014 2:18AM

I’ve heard of an excused ­absence for a pulled hamstring. But for pulled pork? No.

That’s what Bears coach Marc Trestman gave linebacker Lance Briggs, who missed practice Monday to be at the opening of his new barbecue restaurant.

Maybe I expect too much from the Bears. Maybe I put too high a price on things, such as the importance of NFL practice, especially the first practice of the week of the first regular-season game, particularly for a defense that looked ghastly at times in the preseason.

Trifling things like that.

Maybe Trestman was absolutely right to allow Briggs to skip practice for the opening of Double Nickel Smokehouse in Elk Grove, Calif. The horror of the good people of Briggs’ hometown being deprived of their hero’s presence obviously trumps the needs of a professional football team playing the Buffalo Bills on Sunday and coming off one of the worst defensive seasons in its history.

Sarcasm? Oozing like the sauce at Briggs’ restaurant.

Unless there’s something more to his absence than another ­athlete opening another eatery, this is just bizarre.

Three weeks ago, Showtime announced that Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall would be a regular on “Inside the NFL,’’ its weekly show. He will have to fly to New York on Tuesdays during the season for the program. Trestman said he didn’t have a problem with it, noting it was usually the team’s day off and that he trusted Marshall. Three weeks later, it still sounds like a distraction the team doesn’t need.

Now Briggs has taken advantage of an excused absence from practice to fly to California for a restaurant opening. Together, the two situations raise a simple question: What could Trestman possibly be thinking?

We’re headed into new territory here. We’re seeing where Trestman’s noble philosophy of treating players with respect and humility clashes with the reality of pro football, with all its demands and rules. There’s a reason football gets compared to the military: It’s incredibly structured, with practice drills scheduled right down to the minute. In the same way you’re not likely to see a commanding officer let a soldier out of war-games exercises to attend his niece’s birthday party, you won’t often see an NFL coach allow one of his defensive leaders to skip practice for a restaurant opening.

Trestman said the decision to allow Briggs to miss Monday’s workout wasn’t made without thought.

“I had communication with him three weeks ago about it,” the coach said. “We talked about it. And I excused him for personal reasons.

“So this is not something that happened [Sunday] or the day before. He contacted me a couple weeks ago and I said, ‘Yeah, you can go.’ That was it.”

We’re at the point at which it’s worth asking what would make Trestman question a player’s commitment to the team.

Jay Cutler joining the cast of “Deadliest Catch”?

Charles Tillman, flask in hand, tailgating before games?

Robbie Gould taking up competitive wall-kicking?

Alshon Jeffery declaring, “I have zero commitment to the team’’?

Heading into his 12th season, Briggs might not need practice. If he hasn’t seen it all on an NFL field, he has seen most of it. But this isn’t just about him. It’s about 11 starting defenders learning to play together. There could be six new defensive starters Sunday at Soldier Field. Fellow linebackers Shea McClellin and Jon Bostic are raw and can use Briggs’ help at all times.

If you saw the Bears’ first-team defense give up 31 first-half points against the Seahawks in the preseason, I share your cluster headaches. But from that experience, you know the Bears can use all the cohesion time they can get their hands on.

I don’t care what players do with their free time, as long as it doesn’t affect the team. That’s my beef brisket with Marshall, who says taking two flights on Tuesdays won’t have any effect on him or the team. But it could, potentially. Travel issues, fatigue, stress ? all of it could be a part of Marshall’s Tuesdays.

As for Briggs, there wasn’t another day to have a grand opening? Nobody on his restaurant team looked at the Bears’ schedule and saw that maybe there was a better time for it? Like on an off day for the football team?

As I said earlier, maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m too demanding with other people’s time. I always thought practice makes perfect. Now I see it’s the perfect time to start a side business.

Chicago Sun-Times
Today
0 Points
New
1

Man charged in forest preserve shooting

SUN-TIMES MEDIA WIRE September 1, 2014 11:56PM Luis Gonzalez, 33, of the 5500 block of South Kolin, was charged with one count of aggravated battery with a firearm; reckless discharge of a firearm; and vehicular invasion, according to a statement from the Cook County Sheriff’s office.

SUN-TIMES MEDIA WIRE September 1, 2014 11:56PM

Luis Gonzalez, 33, of the 5500 block of South Kolin, was charged with one count of aggravated battery with a firearm; reckless discharge of a firearm; and vehicular invasion, according to a statement from the Cook County Sheriff’s office. | Cook County Sheriff's photo

A Chicago man was charged Monday in a shooting that injured a Harvey man in southwest suburban Oak Forest.

Luis Gonzalez, 33, of the 5500 block of South Kolin, was charged with one count of aggravated battery with a firearm; reckless discharge of a firearm; and vehicular invasion, according to a statement from the Cook County Sheriff’s office.

Gonzalez was scheduled to appear in bond court Tuesday in Bridgeview.

About 5:15 p.m. Sunday, police were called after a shooting was reported at Bachelor Grove Woods forest preserve at 147th and Ridgeland during a soccer match attended by an estimated 2,000 people, police said.

A 47-year-old Harvey man was shot. He was treated at an area hospital and released, police said.

Chicago Sun-Times
Today
0 Points
New
1

Civil disobedience expected as fast-food workers push for raise

s and other fast-food restaurants are expected to be targeted with acts of civil disobedience that could lead to arrests Thursday, Sept. Over time, she said that could help “change the mindset” about fast-food jobs, which have historically been seen as difficult to unionize.“The goal is to persuade workers that it doesn’t have to be this way. 4, 2014, as labor organizers escalate their campaign to unionize the industry. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File) NEW YORK .

By CANDICE CHOI AP Food Industry Writer September 1, 2014 11:28PM

FILE - In this Thursday, May 15, 2014, file photo, Velma Cornelius protests for higher wages outside a McDonald's restaurant in Detroit. McDonald?s, Wendy?s and other fast-food restaurants are expected to be targeted with acts of civil disobedience that could lead to arrests Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014, as labor organizers escalate their campaign to unionize the industry?s workers. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

NEW YORK ? McDonald’s, Wendy’s and other fast-food restaurants are expected to be targeted with acts of civil disobedience that could lead to arrests Thursday as labor organizers escalate their campaign to unionize the industry’s workers.

Kendall Fells, an organizing director for Fast Food Forward, said workers in a couple of dozen cities were trained to peacefully engage in civil disobedience ahead of this week’s planned protests.

Fells declined to say what exactly is in store for the protests in around 150 U.S. cities. But workers involved in the movement recently cited sit-ins as an example of strategies they could use to intensify their push for higher pay and unionization. Past protests have targeted a couple of restaurants in each city for a limited time, in many cases posing little disruption to operations.

A spokesman for the Service Employees International Union, which has been spearheading the protests, said home health care aides will join the actions in some locations.

The “Fight for $15” campaign has gained national attention at a time when growing income disparities have become a hot political issue. President Barack Obama renewed his push for Congress to raise the minimum wage at a Labor Day appearance in Milwaukee.

Many fast-food workers do not make much more than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. That equates to around $15,000 a year for 40 hours a week. But workers are often subject to unpredictable schedules and don’t know how many hours they’ll be given from week to week, since restaurants are careful to avoid paying overtime.

The fast-food campaign is designed to bring attention to such hardships, which few customers think about when buying burgers and fries, said Catherine Fisk, a professor of labor law at the University of California in Irvine. Over time, she said that could help “change the mindset” about fast-food jobs, which have historically been seen as difficult to unionize.

“The goal is to persuade workers that it doesn’t have to be this way. The goal is to persuade consumers that it doesn’t have to be this way,” she said. “This is about getting attention to the issue.”

Fisk noted that mining and manufacturing jobs were also once considered low-wage jobs with dim prospects. That changed in the 1930s, however, after legal protections for unionizing and actions by fed-up workers helped transform the jobs into more middle-class professions.

The National Restaurant Association said in a statement that the fast-food protests are attempts by unions “to boost their dwindling membership.” The industry lobbying group said it hopes organizers will be respectful to customers and workers during the protests this week.

So far, the campaign and a similar effort on behalf of Wal-Mart workers have been effectively handled by BerlinRosen, a public relations firm known for its political work. Since the protests began in late 2012, organizers have kept the issue in the spotlight by switching up their tactics every few months.

They trumpeted the spread of protests around the country and then overseas, for instance, although turnout has been fairly minimal in some places. Organizers are also pushing to bring attention to the issue of “wage theft,” such as the denial of overtime pay and rest breaks.

Several lawsuits alleging wage theft by McDonald’s and its franchisees have been filed in three states on behalf of workers who were referred by labor organizers. McDonald’s Corp. has said it would investigate the claims.

In the meantime, actions by labor organizers are likely to continue, with the SEIU pouring millions of dollars into the effort.

Chicago Sun-Times
Today
0 Points
New
Ad
Ad
Ad