The [Wednesday] Papers
"Little League International stripped Chicago's Jackie Robinson West baseball team of its national title following a boundary remap that Little League International now says allowed the team to bring in star players from outside its boundaries," Mark Konkol reports for DNAinfo Chicago.
"Officials from the Williamsport, Pa.-based league awarded the title to the Nevada team Jackie Robinson beat in the championship game, suspended manager Darold Butler from Little League activity, and removed Michael Kelley, the top administrator from Illinois District 4, which oversees several leagues on Chicago's South Side."
Thanks to Anthony Spano for reminding me of this tweet from last August:
I haven't caught up with the coverage yet, but our very own Jim "Coach" Coffman, who is deeply involved in youth sports including the Positive Coaching Alliance, sent in his initial thoughts:
"One thing we can take away from the Jackie Robinson West fiasco is that it is way, way past time to stop over-hyping the Little League World Series. Just because ESPN devotes an insane amount of prime-time coverage to the event every year doesn't mean it is more important than thousands of other big youth sports events held in the USA every year.
"It will also be fascinating to watch how this story plays out. i believe it was obvious back in August that District 4 had cheated but when it was only neighboring suburban Little Leagues raising a ruckus, Little League believed they could call it sour grapes and just ride it out.
"Also, Jackie Robinson sure wasn't shy about running up the score against those neighboring Little League teams (they beat Evergreen Park 43-2) so maybe there's a little karma there (although holding down scores is tricky in baseball - you can't tell kids to strike out on purpose)."
Now, on to the coverage . . .
"Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday coolly defended his record on crime, unemployment, education and contracting issues pivotal to black voters who put him in office but abandoned him in droves after he closed a record 50 public schools," Fran Spielman reports for the Sun-Times.
Once again I must wonder: Is she watching the same debates I am?
I've been awarding Rahm debate victories - despite my vehement disagreement with the content of what he's been saying - so don't get me wrong. I believe I'm observing objectively here.
What I saw last night was Rahm stumbling badly for the first time in the campaign, even losing his cool enough to equate the three reporters doing the questioning to his three teenagers at home.
Also weird: how Spielman reports on some of last night's direct attacks on Rahm.
"You've amassed a $30 million campaign war chest to rewrite history. Every ad that you've shown has been repudiated by the very groups you claim to help. What do you say to the people that your ads brag about and they say to you that you've screwed them?" Fioretti asked as live audience let loose a chorus of oohs and aahs.
If you'll notice, Rahm didn't answer the attack. I don't know why he should get credit for that. And Spielman doesn't fact-check and clarify the attack - which is true in that groups like those who got the city's coal plants shut down are angry that the mayor is taking credit - or Rahm's response. She just prints his claims without vetting. Why not just hire stenographers instead of reporters, then? Might save some money.
"A lot of elected officials, including the one whose endorsement I just gladly received as well as the sitting U.S. Secretary of Education in the administration I once served, were complicit . . . and I also said nothing while supporting those gentlemen," Rahm added in an alternate universe in which he tells the truth.
And then this:
Four years ago Mr. Mayor, you promised to make Chicago a safer city. Four years later, there have been 10,000 shootings in Chicago, 1,800 homicides. Do you feel any personal responsibility at knowing that all of these things happened on your watch and you failed to keep your promise to hire 1,000 additional police officers?" Garcia asked.
Rahm may have stuck to the script, but he looked anything but cool when he did so - and the restless live audience wasn't having any of it. Then again, Rahm's audience wasn't the South Shore denizens at the debate site but those watching at home.
And oh, he didn't answer the question again. That's supposed to be a demerit in our business, but Spielman has apparently never gotten the memo.
The Emanuel campaign is confident the mayor managed to get through five debates - all of them crunched into a tight, two-week window - without allowing his opponents to draw blood or prove themselves to be a viable alternative at a time when Chicago faces enormous financial challenges.
Did the adviser ask to remain anonymous because they were so embarrassed they were allowed to get away with saying something like that to a major metropolitan newspaper while remaining anonymous?
Or was the adviser really Spielman? Because it might as well have been.
The Tribune's account is weird in its own way, giving away the top of its story to a lame mayoral campaign attack on Chuy Garcia that came in a press release - and isn't new.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel is lodging pay-to-play allegations against a challenger over a $1,500 campaign contribution even as the mayor has faced sharp criticism for raising millions of dollars from a pool of elite donors who have received some form of benefit from City Hall.
Given the Tribune's massive investigation of the nexus of Rahm's donors and City Hall actions, this attack is a laugh. Also, $1,500?
And the Trib does note:
Emanuel's hammering of Garcia's $1,500 contribution comes after a Tribune investigation found that about 60 percent of the mayor's roughly 100 top donors who have contributed $14 million to his campaign have received some form of benefit from City Hall. The benefits have ranged from city contracts and city approvals for massive developments to pension and legal work and help with federal regulators.
But it's hard to see how the paper allowed Team Rahm to not only put the Garcia attack - which Garcia has repeatedly defended pretty persuasively - not only into the bloodstream of its coverage as if it's valid or has some equivalency to the paper's findings about the mayor's administration, but as the lead to its debate story when Rahm tried everything he could to avoid raising the charge himself. He couldn't even look Garcia in the eye when he finally did, forced by moderators to ask a question of another candidate instead of looking at the camera and addressing the viewers at home.
That's when Bob Fioretti had the line of the night, and really, the campaign; Team Fioretti quickly memorialized it on Twitter due to the response:
That line does not appear in the Tribune article.
"We made sure we changed the culture in city government," said Emanuel, who left the forum without taking questions from reporters afterward as the other four candidates did.
Rahm may have actually bled ordinary patronage hiring from city government, but he sure amped up the kind of secrecy we've seen for decades.
Emanuel did speak to an issue raised in the Tribune investigation that showed how the mayor has used his influence in Washington, D.C., to boost his campaign fundraising. In that story, the Tribune detailed that Emanuel flew on a private jet with trading firm executives who have donated nearly $370,000 to his campaign to meet with federal regulators and lobby against regulations that would have cost the firms millions of dollars.
Right. Rahm missed - purposely so - the point.
Also, he's blasted Fioretti - rightly though ironically so, in my book - on supporting TIF funds for the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Fioretti's response: They were going to leave.
Barbara Byrd-Bennett Caught In Another Big Fat Lie
Meet Chicago's Worst Deadheads
The Beachwood Tip Line: Operators standing by.
Posted on February 11, 2015
© 2006 - 2017, The Beachwood Media Company