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The Sports Section

Chicago sports fans don’t mind a loser; that much we already know. What we can’t tolerate is a boring team, one that whether seriously awful or merely mediocre has no personality. One quarter of the way through the National Football League season, it seems the Bears are just such a team. We’re not ready to […]

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The Sports Section

Long and languid–and determinedly so–detailed, devoted, and only occasionally dramatic, Ken Burns’s new documentary, Baseball, mimics the very pace and temperament of its chosen subject. It is, at times, somewhat arch in the way its structure apes that of a baseball game: the documentary airs in nine “innings” over the course of two weeks, beginning […]

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The Sports Section

People complain about the lack of baseball–some of them do, anyway–but I don’t know what they’re talking about. Why, just this week I saw Frank Thomas hitting a long homer to right center. There was Greg Maddux sending a change-up dipping into the lower inside corner against a right-handed batter–Matt Williams, I think it was. […]

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The Sports Section

Ball Four is a landmark baseball book, at least in part because it is set in 1969, the year the players’ union first flexed its muscles. The first paragraph of Jim Bouton’s diary has an ominous ring to it now: “Reported to spring camp in Tempe, Arizona, today, six days late. I was on strike. […]

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The Sports Section

Coach Walt Hriniak urged Frank Thomas to homer on the last of a series of pitches during batting practice last Saturday. “Wherever it’s pitched,” he said, meaning to right if outside and to left if inside. The ball came in low and over the plate and Thomas pounced on it. There was not only the […]

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The Sports Section

The pennant race began unusually early this summer, which is only fitting for the craziest, juiciest, most hectic, most heroic (read homeric), and potentially most absurd baseball season in memory. Last weekend the Cleveland Indians came to Comiskey Park percentage points ahead of the White Sox in the American League Central Division. It was only […]

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The Sports Section

The statue of Christopher Columbus, at Columbus and Lake Shore Drive, seemed to be pointing the way to Soldier Field as we walked over from the CTA stop at Roosevelt Road. There was something appropriate in that. The crowd had such a distinctly international flavor that it was almost as if we were all part […]

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The Sports Section

With two on and two out in the bottom of the ninth inning a week ago Tuesday, Frank Thomas–who had been taking the night off–emerged from the dugout and stepped into the on-deck circle. The White Sox were down 5-2 to the Oakland Athletics, Dennis Eckersley was on the mound, and the game was all […]

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The Sports Section

It’s a little more difficult every year to shift from the Bulls to the Cubs. This year, which ended in defeat for the Bulls, proved once and for all that the issue is not merely that the Bulls are winning championships and the Cubs are not. There is a completely different level of competition between […]

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The Sports Section

There was a fallen John Starks tripping Scottie Pippen with a scissors kick in the first game, and Patrick Ewing hitting two big shots late to seal another comeback New York victory in the second. There was Ewing sitting in his locker before the third game, dribbling a basketball back and forth under his legs […]

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The Sports Section

Head coach Phil Jackson called Toni Kukoc and Pete Myers the “X factors” of the Bulls’ playoff run. He meant not X as in X-Men–although with his new two-tone, black-and-white goggles Horace Grant looks, more than ever, like a Marvel Comics hero. Not X as in exceptional, because Kukoc and Myers have been exasperating as […]

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The Sports Section

Following the pro basketball season is sort of like watching a spring bulb flower. After things are planted in the fall there is a long, cold, dreary time in which nothing much seems to happen. It’s important only for how it alters the chemistry of the bulb. While NBA teams, of course, try to win […]

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The Sports Section

After not mentioning the name of a certain minor-league baseball player in our last column, it’s time we admitted that the Bulls miss Michael Jordan. They miss him not merely for his 30-points-a-game average and his infectious will to win, but because the team was designed to complement his talents. It’s not that the Bulls […]

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The Sports Section

The atmosphere in the Bulls locker room was anything but ecstatic after their 111-94 victory over the Sacramento Kings last Saturday. Throughout the first half of the season, the Bulls prided themselves on being a well-coached and efficient team, but they were now so out of sync that not even a 17-point win could hide […]