For the first time in their twenty years of touring, Dave Matthews Band has announced that they will take a year off from touring in 2011. The band is known for their annual summer-long tours across the US and Europe, featuring lengthy improvisational renditions of their songs. 1991 was the last year that the band was not on tour. Needless to say, there has never been a better time to see Dave Matthews Band than before their year-long hiatus.
Dave Matthews Band has been on tour promoting their latest platinum album, Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King (2009). With only thirty dates left of their 2010 summer tour and four of the shows already sold out, the band decided to close their summer tour with a grand finale: two concerts at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Dave Matthews Band will perform back-to-back concerts on Friday September 17 and Saturday the 18 at the historical ballpark that the Chicago Cubs have called home for 95 years. Jason Mraz will perform in support of both Chicago shows.
About this summer’s tour, Matthews has said, “”I’m really excited about playing this year and not having a real plan other than trying to make the most of it and hopefully bring the best we can to the stage.” As for the decision to take 2011 off the road, Matthews said he’s pondered the idea throughout the past 20 years, but it never seemed like the right time. “Right now,” he said, “I think the band, in our relationships with each other and with the music, we’re in the best place I can remember us being. For that reason I thought I’d take a year off to sort of recharge my creative juices.” (more)
Chicago Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano will remain in the leadoff spot this season. Arriving in camp in better shape than usual, Soriano will be the anchor of virutally the same lineup as last year. The question mark forLou Piniella’s offense is who will be backing up the infield. “There are going to be times when he’s not in the lineup, so basically we have to figure out who is going to be that guy, and how you do it is play around with it in Spring Training” Piniella told MLB.com after Friday’s workout. Micah Hoffpauir could be one left-handed option off of the bench.
Carlos Zambrano will not be representing Venezuale in the World Baseball Classic this Spring. After suffering through intermittent shoulder problems in 2008, Big Z has decided against taking a chance playing earlier than usual.
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The official seating chart for the 2009 NHL Winter Classic has been released! The New Year’s Day matchup between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings at Wrigley Field is one of the most anticipated sporting events of the season.
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The Chicago Blackhawks are on their best run in 27 years. Chicago has won their last seven games, and are 8-1-1 in their last ten. If they can win their post-break game against Philadelphia, they will go for the Blackhawks franchise record against the Minnesota Wild on December 28th. Led by right wing Patrick Kane, the Blackhawks are making at run at the division lead. The New Years Day matchup against the Detroit Red Wings may have a lasting effect on who wins the Central.
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The Chicago Cubs, the “best team in the National League” find themselves on the brink of elimination in the NLDS. Despite having the home field advantage over the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Cubs have looked woeful at home in games 1 and 2. Game 2 was especially bad for the Cubs defense. Every infielder had an error and the Cubs found themselves down 5-0 because of it at the end of the 2nd inning. Four of those five runs were un-earned. According to ESPN.com, Manager Lou Piniella was anything but impressed.
“It wasn’t good baseball. In fact, the last two days, that’s probably been the two worst games we’ve played all year. It wasn’t fun to watch, I’ll tell you that.”
The Cubs now face the uphill battle that only the 2001 Yankees have overcome in Division Series play. Their focus however is only on the next game. In game 3 in L.A. they will send Rich Harden to the mound to face Hiroki Kuroda. If the Chicago Cubs are eliminated, it will put their Championship drought at 100 years.
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The Dodgers piled on the runs to defeat the Chicago Cubs in game 1 of their NLDS. Trailing 2-0 in the 5th inning, James Loney hit a grand slam to give the Dodgers the lead for good. Manny Ramirez and Russell Martin would later add solo shots to pad the Los Angeles lead. The shocked Cubs crowd was silent throughout the onslaught. The Cubs are hoping to shrug off the obvious stat that the team that wins game 1 in the division series often goes on to win the series.
The Cubs send Carlos Zambrano to the hill on Thursday night and hope to even things up in front of the home crowd at Wrigley. With the best record in baseball this year, there are high expectations for this Cubs club.
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Reed Johnson belted a grand-slam in the 8th inning of Wednesday’s 10-6 Chicago Cubs victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the home run proved to be the ultimate difference in the game. The home run was Johnson’s fourth on the season but helped propel the Cubs to only their second victory since the All-Star break.
Ted Lilly pitched six innings allowing six hits and three earned runs en route to his 10th victory on the season. Lilly also chipped in on the offensive side of things connecting on an RBI single in the fifth inning and then stealing third base which led to an RBI ground out by Ryan Theriot later in the inning.
“Obviously the big blow was the grand slam but Lilly did his part, a little base hit,” Cubs manager Lou Piniella said.
“I mean the hit, I don’t know how to explain that one,” Lilly said. “That one kind of worked out. I didn’t hit it hard or anything, caught a break there.”
The Cubs may have also caught a break with Johnson’s grand slam. The ball was driven to right-center field and appeared to just clear the fence. As it was coming down, a fan reached over trying to make the catch himself but from the perspective of many, also looked as if he grabbed the ball from in play to make it a home run. The umpiring crew came together to make an official ruling and determined that the ball had cleared the fence before the fan touched it which resulted in a grand slam.
Arizona manager Bob Melvin was not very happy about the call but replays show that it appeared to have been the correct ruling.
“Early on, for the first few innings, we had some opportunities we didn’t cash in on,” Melvin said. “But we had been swinging the bats better, we had been better in those situations. There were a couple of man-on-thirds with less than two outs that we didn’t get in and those end up costing you as the game goes on a little bit.”
Along with the win, another good sign for the Cubs was the return of Alfonso Soriano to their lineup. Soriano was activated before the game and hit in the leadoff spot for the first time since fracturing his finger on June 11th. He went 1-5 including, a double in the six run eighth inning for Chicago.
The loss leaves the Diamondbacks only one game ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers for first place in the NL West while it give the Cubs a one game advantage over the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central.
Next up for the Cubs will be the Florida Marlins, who head into Wrigley for a four game series that begins today
During January of next year the friendly confines of Wrigley Field will play host to the annual outdoor NHL game; the NHL Winter Classic. The Chicago Blackhawks will be matched up against the defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings. Last year’s Classic featured the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Buffalo Sabres, and was played at Ralph Wilson stadium. The game set the NHL attendance record at 71,217, and was one of the most-watched NHL games in history.
Blackhawks executives hope that the 2009 Classic will resonate with the fans like the previous edition. The birds-eye-view camera angles and falling snow created an atmosphere that hockey fans raved about.
Prior to a Cubs game, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced that the classic will be played on January 1st at Wrigley.
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Chicago Cubs closer Kerry wood has been having problems with a blister on his right index finger. A new type of blister treatment that Wood has been receiving from team doctors may negate the need for a DL trip. Wood has been out since July 11th, but will attempt to throw on Wednesday. If the session is successful, Wood will be available to pitch at some point during the week.
Cubs starting pitching has been notching enough innings to give the bullpen a rest in Wood’s abscence.
In the first 67 games of the Cubs’ season, they racked up a record of 43-24. In the 34 games since then that Alfonso Soriano was out with a broken wrist, they were 16-18. The Cubs leadoff man went 1-5 with an RBI in his first game back, helping the Cubs beat the Diamondbacks 10-6.
The Chicago Tribune also reported that the Cubs may call up right handed power pitcher Jeff Samardzija. The former Notre Dame wide receiver has been extremely effective, and may help in the closer role until Kerry Wood returns.