Class dispatches after a long night at U.S. Cellular Field

Apologies to 1220, but our classroom this week was a bit more spacious and had a better view.

Students spent Tuesday night (and part of Wednesday morning) covering the White Sox’ 6-5 loss to the Houston Astros in 11 innings at U.S. Cellular Field. The game lasted near four hours and featured several plot twists, but Houston’s bullpen proved to a a bit better as the Sox squandered several opportunities to win the game.

We attended manager Robin Ventura’s post-game news conference, and Juan Pimiento also scored an interview with Sox left-hander Jose Quintana, a fellow native of Colombia.

Each student told the story of the game through a social media platform. The files were due 90 minutes after the game ended.

Here’s the rundown:

It was a long night, but a productive night for all. A special thanks to Bob Beghtol and the White Sox for allowing us in their house.


Top of the class: Podcast and video debuts

Students recently produced their first podcasts and video reaction posts on their blog topics. Both of these mediums are challenging and rewarding, and the only way to improve is to keep practicing, or “get reps,” as they like to say at ESPN.

Here are some of the top podcasts and videos from the class.


  • Hoops Talk podcast: Jim Alexander and Ameya Banks on the Clippers, Cavaliers and NBA
  • Young Guns podcast: Melanie Schumilas on the latest news with the ATP’s rising stars
  • Full Court Press podcast: Ben Rains and Mariah Woelfel on the state of Chicago pro basketball
  • Crosstown Podcast: Nicole Hack and Juan Pimiento on Manchester United, the Chicago Fire and the state of soccer in the U.S. and abroad


  • Ameya Banks on the Cavs’ Game 3 win over the Pistons
  • Ben Rains on how Tom Thibodeau’s hiring in Minnesota could impact Fred Hoiberg and the Bulls
  • Juan Pimiento breaking down Manchester United’s win over Everton

First takes: News reactions roundup

The students produced their first blog news reactions, weighing in on items in their coverage area. The objective was to have a strong viewpoint on what the news means going forward.

Check them out …

  • Melanie Schumilas on Tomas Berdych being wronged: “Berdych was noticeably fast to act on this disruptive news and diffuse the situation before it gained any traction. This was the right move on Berdych’s behalf, considering being implicated in the Panama Papers has led to Iceland’s Prime Minister resigning and other powerful politicians scrambling.”
  • Ameya Banks on the Cavs crushing Atlanta: “Last year’s playoff sweep and the three losses this season has to be wearing on the Hawks. If these two teams meet in the postseason the Hawks cannot rely on anything to give them confidence that they could beat the Cavs four times.”
  • Nicole Hack on Miami FC’s poor portrayal of  female fans: “Using women as a marketing tool, makes female fans have to work harder to prove their worth as a fan. This is frustrating, as we shouldn’t have to prove our dedication of sport to others.”
  • Mariah Woelfel on Elena Delle Donne and lowering the rim: “Lowered rims aren’t a step backwards, but a move towards increased game attendance, popularity and, more importantly, further embracing the natural, physical attributes of female athletes.”
  • Jim Alexander on Blake Griffin’s playoff impact: “You’re getting one of the top 10 players in the NBA back into your lineup. The best player on your team. If that’s a detriment then go watch the Clippers of 1998. It’s lunacy to think that Griffin can hurt this team in any way. Assuming he isn’t swinging his closed fist at someone.”
  • Ben Rains on how the Bulls shouldn’t blow up the team: “Chemistry issues and offensive stagnation were both apparent this season, with much of the blame put on Rose and Butler, and rightfully so. However, chemistry is not achieved by wishing it into existence. The backcourt tandem needs to play together and learn each others’ games, and they have had limited opportunities to do so over the past few seasons.”
  • Juan Pimiento on Wayne Rooney’s status for West Ham: “After playing 61 minutes today, it’s evident that, even coming in an playing 20 minutes off the bench, Rooney is in well enough shape to contribute to a United team that needs his help more than at any other point this season.”

Introducing 2016 Spring Quarter Sports Blogs

The big reveal is here. Students have selected their topics and created blogs with accompanying Twitter feeds. These will be the platforms for most of the coursework the rest of the quarter. Our topics range from the NBA to the MLS, so a nice mix of work will be featured. Bookmark all of these pages and be sure to interact with all the bloggers on their sites as well as on social media.

Without further ado …

Jim Alexander: Clipper Beat. Twitter: @ClipperBeat

Ameya Banks: Cavs News 216. Twitter: @Cavs216_Mania

Nicole Hack: CF 97 Sirens. Twitter: @nikhak

Juan Sebastian Pimiento: The ManUverse. Twitter: @ManUverseBlog

Ben Rains: Let’s Be Reason-A-Bull. Twitter: @reasonabullblog

Melanie Schumilas: ATP Young Guns. Twitter: @atpyoungguns

Mariah Woelfel: Chicago Sky Unlimited. Twitter: @chiskyunlimited

Top of the class: Media Q&As

Students recently reached out to media members who cover their blog topic and wrote Q&As/profiles. They collected excellent information about blogging and sports journalism.

Check out the work here:

Top of the class: First podcasts

Students recently paired up and produced podcast segments on each of their blog topics. The first go-round was a huge success for the class.

Listen and enjoy!

Top of the class: Commentary posts

Students recently posted commentary posts designed to move the story forward following a game or another news event.

Check them out:

Courtney Jacquin on the future of DePaul basketball: Offense doesn’t win basketball games, defense does. And that’s been the difference this season, and it will make the difference going forward. This season the Blue Demons cut their opponents’ scoring average to 73.5 points per game from 75.4 and increasing their own scoring average to 71.8 points per game from 69.4.

Matthew Paras on the embattled Brian Shaw: Sometimes in the NBA, it’s easy to scapegoat the coach when a team isn’t performing up to expectations. This season, the scapegoat was former head coach Sacramento Kings head coach Mike Malone. The Kings fired Malone at the first extended losing streak they had, opting for Ty Corbin to play a faster style. But in the case of Nuggets head coach Brian Shaw, firing Shaw wouldn’t be a scapegoat. In fact, it would be completely justified.

Josh Criswell on LSU’s lineup changes: The move to Patterson at point guard is going to benefit LSU greatly in the long run. In addition to gaining a month of experience before the SEC tournament, Patterson has an opportunity to establish himself as the team’s floor general before reuniting withformer teammate and top recruit Ben Simmons next season.

Joe Williams on the Bulls’ identity crisis: What’s frustrating about this team is that it has been so hard to diagnose what exactly this team is missing. The consensus reason for the Bulls hot/cold streaks is that the team just doesn’t bring it every night. That’s fine, but what are the real issues? What is going wrong on this team on the floor, other than mental issues?

Eric Domingo on the Bulls’ inconsistency against Orlando: Although they’ve improved their rebounding, in part to the signing of Gasol, their defense still remains inconsistent. This game had flashes of the old Bulls’ defense, but their is still much to improve on.

Lindsey Murphy on USMNT finding a formation: When taking to the pitch on Sunday, the players seemed so much more at ease and comfortable with their positioning. This then caused more passes to connect, less turnovers on the defense and more confidence from the wingbacks. The men played much more collectively and controlled with the reassurance of the four defenders on the back line, as well as the two defending midfielders right at the top of the 18′, a great look for them heading into the Gold Cup.

Geoffrey Clark on Vince Carter’s birthday shoutout: It’s important for NBA players, especially the biggest ones, to take stances on social issues.  Otherwise, they run the risk of being labeled ignorant of everything but self-improvement and the next opponent.  Considering how much animosity exists between fans and pro athletes these days, that’s one label many players might feel they can’t afford.

Alex Sieger on the Islanders’ red alert: Out of 30 NHL teams the Islanders are currently ranked at the bottom and have the worst Penalty Kill Unit in the league.  The Islanders have given up a power play goal to their opponents a whopping 27.3% of the time.  The Islanders need to fix this right away otherwise this will lead to their ultimate downfall in the playoffs.

Zach Holden on Arsenal’s loss to the rival Spurs: While winning the Champions League is unlikely, retaining the FA Cup is highly plausible considering Manchester United is the only quality opposition left in the competition. Also, finishing in the top-4 in the Premier League is attainable with a favorable fixture list including eight of the final 14 matches at home.