Pastime postponed: remembering the games that never happened

By Daniel Patton

 

The delay of Major League Baseball’s opening day expands a chapter of American sports that involves U.S. presidents and a future Supreme Court justice. Here’s a brief summary of seasons cut short and games that never happened.

 

Major League Baseball Strike of 1994

A strike launched by MLB players on August 12 prompted officials to suspend the remainder of the season, including the playoffs and the World Series.

The dispute was sparked by a proposal that league owners submitted roughly two months earlier, on June 15. It proposed a salary cap, a revenue sharing agreement, and a restriction on the players’ freedom to accept new jobs.

According to the owners, the changes represented the best way to create equity among the league’s 28 clubs. Specifically, it would give teams from relatively smaller markets like Cleveland the same advantage as teams from gigantic markets like New York.  

Richard Ravitch, the owners’ chief negotiator, said the system would restore economic sanity and competitive balance, according to an LA Times story by Ross Newhan. “There has to be some flexibility because the disparity is so great it can’t be bridged by revenue sharing,” he insisted.

The players didn’t buy it, and on September 14 league officials cancelled the rest of the season.

Winter arrived with no end in sight. Congress introduced bills to restore the game on January 4, the league voted in favor of using replacement players on January 13, and President Clinton ordered the opposing sides to find common ground by February 6.

But the strike continued.

Finally, on March 31, future Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor issued a preliminary injunction against the owners, and the strike ended two days later. The sides would abide by the terms of their previous agreement until a new deal could be reached, and the 1995 season was delayed by three weeks.

 

NFL Players Strike of 1987

The 24-day strike beginning on September 22 forced team owners to cancel three weeks worth of games before provoking them to move forward with replacement players, also known as scabs.

According to Deadspin writer Dom Cosentino, “the players wanted the right to free agency, in addition to better pension benefits, severance, and the elimination of artificial turf.” On the other side, owners wanted to continue business as usual and would take great pains to see it done.

After players refused to take the field on week three and forced all games to be cancelled, the owners started to replace them. They tapped into veterans from the former United States Football League, a professional football organization that had launched in 1983, folded in 1985, and included teams like the New Jersey Generals, which was owned by future US President Donald Trump.

The USFL recruits took the field with a number of “ordinary dudes from all walks of life who were delighted to jump at the opportunity to play NFL football,” according to Cosentino.

ESPN profiled several of the ones who joined the Washington Redskins during this time in Year of the Scab, a 2017 episode of its “30 for 30” series.

 

 

A number of regular players also crossed the picket line, including Mark Gastineau, Randy White, Doug Flutie, Steve Largent, Joe Montana, and Roger Craig.

Their actions weakened the leverage of the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), the organization that represented the players, and on October 14, 1987, NFLPA executive director Gene Upshaw ordered everyone back to work.

After dismissing most of the players’ demands, the NFL resumed business as usual.

 

The Olympic boycotts of 1980 and 1984

On March 21, 1980, President Jimmy Carter pulled the United States out of the Summer Olympic games that were scheduled to begin four months later in Moscow. He did it to protest the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan, which was launched by General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev in 1979.

The decision caused bitterness among athletes that, according to a 1996 New York Times article, lingered for years.

Yet Carter persisted. Enlisting Muhammad Ali to help encourage other nations to stay away from the games, he eventually convinced more than 50 countries to keep their athletes at home.

Nations joining the boycott included Argentina, Canada, Chile, China, Japan, the Philippines, and West Germany. The United Kingdom, France, and Australia let their athletes decide for themselves.

Fans of international basketball, diving, gymnastics, and all kinds of track and field events had to make do with a greatly reduced version of their once-every-four-year fix.

Although the Soviet Union lost an estimated two hundred million dollars in TV deals as a result of the boycott, they remained in Afghanistan for nearly a decade. Four years later, they launched their own boycott of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

With no Soviet Union — which included powerhouses like Russia, East Germany, Romania — the US won 174 medals, including 83 Golds.

The American success was a disaster for McDonald’s.

During the 1984 games, the fast food giant ran an Olympic promotion that awarded US customers free food whenever the country won a medal. It gave away Big Macs for every gold, fries for a silver, and a drink for a bronze.

Created a nearly decade earlier by former Chicago-based marketing agency Frankel & Company, the campaign did extremely well during the 1976 games in Montreal. But when half of the world didn’t show up to play in LA, it reportedly caused nearly 7,000 McDonald’s restaurants to “run short of Big Macs,” according to a 1984 New York Times article.

Mayor Lightfoot unveils new Chicago logo

Chicago’s iconic six-pointed star and a font called Big Shoulders are key elements in a new city logo unveiled by Mayor Lightfoot’s office on March 4.

Boasting two variations — low and wide or high and thin — the logo incorporates the traditional blue and red color scheme of the Chicago flag. It is one component of a new Chicago Design System that is intended to connect with a global audience.

The city’s Department of Assets, Information and Services (AIS) worked with Chicago marketing agency Ogilvy to develop the new look. According to Mayor Lightfoot, their efforts honor the past while looking towards the future.

“I am pleased to be taking a new step in Chicago history by launching a design system that aligns with my core values of inclusivity, accessibility and transparency for our great city,” she explained. “Launching this new chapter in our history not only means a fresh look for our City, but it also marks a milestone in ensuring everything we create aligns with our values as a City.”

 

 

Ogilvy Worldwide Associate Editor Chris Celletti includes accessibility among those values. In a post on the company’s website, he encouraged Windy City residents and corporations to take advantage of the logo’s unrestricted usage.  

“The new star is representative of Chicago’s citizens, and it will also belong to them,” he writes. “A key aspect of the Chicago Design System is that the new branding will be able to be downloaded and used by citizens and businesses around the city.”

Visitors can download both versions of the logo in a variety of formats by visiting the City of Chicago’s website here.

According to a press release from the Mayor’s office, Ogilvy “worked in lockstep” to create the final product, which is “rooted in Chicago’s rich history that connects to all residents and visitors alike.”

Mayor Lightfoot unveiled the Chicago Design System on the city’s 183rd Birthday, May 4, 2020.

Catch Wake Up, Brother Bear! at Chicago Children’s Theater before the bears go back into hibernation

by Angela Gagnon

The Chicago Children’s Theater presentation of Wake Up, Brother Bear! Is a delightful, interactive play that will take you, and your little ones, on a magical journey through the four seasons. Brother and Sister Bear go on enchanting adventures through a year of discovery.

Featuring live music, familiar songs, captivating sound effects and several heartwarming scenes, Wake Up, Brother Bear! will ignite your senses in a charming and intimate setting. You’ll observe a melting waterfall in the springtime, dance with butterflies and lightening bugs in the summer, cast a fishing line into the water on a chilly autumn day and ice skate on a frozen pond in winter. 

From amusing nature encounters to energizing, heart-pumping activity, you’ll enjoy every detail of this sensory-rich storytelling experience. Even the youngest theatergoers will delight in being part of the show, as audience participation is beautifully woven into the performance and thoughtfully encouraged. Performances are Saturdays and Sundays at 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. until March 1. The show is geared toward ages 0-6 with a run time of about 45 minutes. Chicago Children’s Theater is at 100 S. Racine Avenue in the West Loop. There is free onsite parking in the lot adjacent to the theater. For more information, visit www.chicagochildrenstheater.org or call 312-374-8835.

A modern mess hall

by Jacqueline Covey

Only hours before opening day at 8 a.m. on Nov. 21, people mindlessly pass the entrance attempting to arrive for the 6 p.m. pre-opening party at TimeOut Market Chicago, 916 W. Fulton Market.

“There’s people inside, it has to be open,” one passerby says to another.

They want to be a part of the group behind the window, receiving wristbands and cards good for a taste of food and drink at Chicago’s newest culinary destination.

The 50,000-square-foot spin-off restaurant of Time Out Chicago magazine, open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., has three levels, 18 kitchens, three bars and a wide-open eating space. Filled with long tables, the center of the market resembles a mess hall, but the “food fights” are via conversation rather than flinging food.

“It’s very full, very cutting edge,” said David Lissner, also known as The Food Dude with Dining Chicago.

Among the first to sit at the high tables, Lissner tasted signature chef John Manion’s grilled oysters. The oysters, $14,  are served with a sweet corn aioli, pimenton hot sauce and potato crumble.

“It’s delicious,” Lissner said, while wishing the restaurant “a lot of good luck.” 

Manion and other house chefs will remain at TimeOut Market for at least a year.

On the top floor, visitors can take a demo class with a visiting chef, a new one each month. 

The mission of the place is “simple” according to its website: “Bring the pages of Time Out Chicago to life with the help of our favorite chefs, the ones who wow us again and again.”

In their own, intimate kitchens the lineup includes: Abe Conlon, Arami, the Art of Pizza, Band of Bohemia, Bill Kim, Brian Fisher, Dos Urban Cantina, Decent Beef, Duck Inn Dogs, FARE, John Manion, Lost Larson, Mini Mott, Pretty Cool Ice Cream, the Purple Pig, Secret Sound, Split-Rail, Sugar Cube and Thai Dang.

Soho House and Threadless bring top artists to West Loop

by Elisa Shoenberger

The work of local and national artists regularly decorate Soho House’s Green Street exterior. Graffiti on Green, a collaborative murals program between Soho House and Threadless, started in January 2015, five months after Soho House Chicago opened.

“Soho House Chicago is a members club for creatives, so we loved the idea of allowing for that creativity to literally live on the building’s corners,” according to a Soho House statement. 

Soho House and Lance Curran, Artist Shops Account Director and Comic Book Czar at Threadless and curator of the program, decided to collaborate.

“We thought this would be a fun way to engage the community,” Curran said. Initially, Curran chose local artists but the program has attracted international interest and artists from around the world contact him to participate.

He gets inspiration from being in Chicago. Curran approached October’s artist, Saul Palos, after seeing his work on the nearby B-Line.

“I combine both up and coming artists in a variety of fields with well known and established artists,” Curran said, “I also like to mix it up and work with artists who may have never done murals.” 

Soho House features a different artist each month and nearly 60 artists have participated in the program. Curran said it takes artists a weekend to finish the murals.

While the program has livened up Green Street where Soho House is located, Graffiti on Green has also helped boost artists’ careers. 

“The combination of Soho House and Threadless promotion of the corners has been very successful in boosting the careers of many of the artists,” Curran said. “We get lots of feedback about how much work they get specifically from being featured as part of Graffiti on Green.” 

Chicago-based artist Lauren Asta painted a mural in April 2016 and participated again with Kate Lewis in summer 2018.

“It was my very first job in Chicago,” she said. “I think it had a domino effect of murals, jobs, and connections for me.”

Not only was it her first Chicago commission, it was one of her first murals at street level. “It was such a perfect little spot for communicating with the public,” Asta said.

November and December will feature Chicago artists Joey D and Caroline Liu. Curran has the artistic schedule planned a year out.

Local kids scale walls, shoot hoops as cold weather sets in

by Angela Gagnon

There are plenty of nearby options to help kids stay active as winter approaches.

Lakeshore Sports and Fitness (LSF), 211 N. Stetson Ave., is offering new children’s programming for members and nonmembers. Youth basketball classes, including group and private lessons, are available for kids aged 4 and up. Kids nine months and up can learn to swim, and older kids can hone their skills in the water with swimming lessons in the pool. LSF also has a seven-story indoor climbing wall with climbing lessons for kids aged 6 and up. 

“We want to get everyone excited about working out and being healthy,” said LSF General Manager Jarrett Brown. “We also want to build a sense of community for kids and families in the neighborhood and bring healthy habits home.” 

Besides organized classes, LSF also has a new kids playroom available to all members and their little ones during club hours. According to Brown, the play area provides a safe space for kids to run around and enjoy open play with others. Parents and caregivers are required to stay and supervise their children but it’s a good opportunity to socialize.

For more information on programming and offerings at LSF, contact Jarrett Brown at JarrettB@lakeshoresf.com or call (312) 856-1111. Information is also available at lakeshoresf.com/illinois-center/

To keep kids’ climbing skills sharp during the winter months, there are two indoor climbing wall facilities in Chicago that offer youth programs. 

First Ascent, 108 N. State St., is on the fourth floor of Block 37 and offers age-based progressive programs for kids of all abilities. Their teachings provide a structured approach to help kids become skilled and confident climbers. firstascentclimbing.com/block-37/ 

Brooklyn Boulders, 100 S. Morgan St. in the West Loop, offers kids climbing classes, private youth coaching, climbing teams and Adventure Days on select school holidays. They seek to instill a strong sense of self-confidence, teach problem-solving skills and improve concentration, movement and spatial awareness. brooklynboulders.com/chicago/ 

For those who don’t mind a little chill in the air, Maggie Daley Park’s ice skating ribbon will open mid-November. Kids can have fun exercising while skating on the unique and festive winding ice ribbon. Admission is free, and skate rental is available for a fee in the field house. 

“Parents can model healthy behavior at home,” Brown said. “Encourage kids to be active. Walk through the pedways together, dance, move around, do any type of sporting activity.” 

Or bundle up and head to Lakeshore East Park to run around in the field or enjoy the new playground equipment.

Going green with Circuit ridesharing

By Stephanie Racine

With Mayor Lightfoot’s new proposal on taxing solo rideshares, Circuit is a new viable option.

Circuit is a free and green rideshare company that made their debut in Chicago over the summer. New Eastside is a popular stop. The cars resemble shuttles, with each of the six passengers having their own door. The vehicles are fully electric and are hailed just like other rideshare companies, by using an app. Circuit has almost completed its pilot period in downtown Chicago and is winding down in November, but the company has no plans to leave.

“By no means do we want to leave Chicago. We’d love to be there full time,” said Circuit Co-Founder Alexander Esposito.

Circuit is looking for new ad partners for Chicago, but ideally they’d like to operate in Chicago by working with the city itself.

“We’re hoping to secure a longer-term service agreement with the City, local transit agencies or another local organization,” said Esposito.

In San Diego, there are 22 Circuit cars in operation with around 21,000 rides a month. Chicago’s ridesharing numbers are much larger than that, with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning reporting 286,000 rideshare rides per day. 

Esposito said they want to help with downtown congestion by making Circuit easily accessible at parking garages. They also want to help promote public transportation use.

“If more people could get a ride to the train, I think more people would use public transportation,” Esposito said.

According to Co-Founder James Mirras, there was a trend of Circuit customers using the app to get to and from the Washington/Wells CTA station.

“I was visiting family in the suburbs and used Circuit to get from the Metra to an appointment I had,” said Ana Ayrempour.

Ayrempour was surprised at how smooth the process was, especially with it being a free service.

“It was a quick pickup and the driver was nice,” said Ayrempour.

Circuit employs drivers full-time and wants to focus on having local people driving their cars. Esposito thinks this helps bring a more comfortable feel to the experience.

“I’ve seen a driver taking time to teach an older woman how to use the app,” Esposito said.

Circuit was started by Esposito and his partner, James Mirras, as a beach shuttle in the Hamptons in New York, and was originally called The Free Ride. Now, Circuit has grown in different cities—both big and small. South Florida, Texas, California, and the Jersey Shore currently have Circuit.

For more information and to download the app, visit thefreeride.com

Hotel displays pieces from AbilityLab patient artists

By Elisa Shoenberger

Hotel Chicago West Loop and Shirley Ryan AbilityLab have teamed up for an art show.

In February, Hotel Chicago West Loop, 1622 W Jackson Blvd., opened an exhibit in the Annex showcasing the work of 10 patient artists from the AbilityLab’s art therapy program. More than thirty works of art are on display on the third floor of the Hotel and are available for purchase.

Jean-Luc Laramie, General Manager at Hotel Chicago West Loop, said the Hotel has been committed to supporting the art community in the city. 

“Chicago art is something we can’t have on a back burner any more,” he said 

The Hotel developed an arts initiative called the Annex which began with the private collection of Helmut Horn. The initiative moved on to  work with muralists to develop murals inside guestrooms. This partnership with the AbilityLab is the third iteration of this project.

The hotel  showcases the work AbilityLab’s art therapy program has been doing. 

“Our patient population is dealing with brain and spinal injuries, stroke patients with disabilities that they never had before,” said Molly Rinehart, Manager, Keystone and Associate Board at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab. “Coping with that new disability is difficult. Our art therapy program [works with people on] hand grip and motion, it is used to facilitate mind body connection.” 

Rinehart said art therapy helps patients “trying to find that thing inside you that makes you who you are.” 

“Without art, I may not have survived my diagnoses, the streets, or been able to make independent living choices,” said Rami Maat, a patient artist in the hotel exhibit.

AbilityLab provides its art therapy program free of charge to its patients. They rely on their annual fundraiser, Art in Motion to cover the costs of this integral program. The partnership began last fall when the AbilityLab reached out to the Hotel for a raffle prize for Art in Motion according to Rineheart.

Laramie said during  the opening in February “it was amazing just to see five of the 10 artists here. These stories from these artists are incredible —their car accidents, myotonic dystrophy, etc.—and to see them talk about their work and their passion.”

There are plans to make the third floor gallery into a rotational one where works from future Art in Motion events will be displayed.

Secret Underground Music Performances in the West Loop and Across the City

By Elisa Shoenberger, Staff Writer

Imagine a secret underground music show at a beauty salon or someone’s rooftop apartment. That’s Sofar Sounds. Getting its name from “Songs From a Room,” Sofar aims to create intimate musical experiences for its guests. 

“We live in the age of distraction,” Stephanie Albano, Chicago Director of Sofar Sounds, explains. Sofar aims to “get back to the connection and the magic” of live music, she says. 

Sofar Sounds first began in 2009 in London when its founders had a disappointing concert experience because there were too many distractions taking place. Founder Rafe Offer decided to bring people over to his place and invited musician Dave Alexander to perform. From that, more concerts came and ten years later, Sofar Sounds is in 438 cities around the world.

Chicago began hosting shows for the past five years with one to two shows a month. Now, there can be up to 50 shows a month. To attend an event, people have to choose a location in the city without any knowledge of where the venue is. They have to apply for a ticket, which is more like making a reservation, and will receive notice if it was accepted. 

If they are accepted, they can purchase $16 tickets. The day before the show,  they will receive notification of the address, often a non-traditional venue like the top floor of the Willis Tower or the backroom of a closed restaurant. Guests won’t know the musicians until they arrive at the venue. Each event has three different musicians from diverse genres; some are local while some tour with Sofar Sounds.

“I just like the consistency of the energy of people who attend and the guarantee that people are going to listen,” The Nunnery, a Minneapolis musician who played at a recent West Loop event. 

“Since Sofar shows are held in a variety of spaces across the city, this encourages people to explore new neighborhoods and venture out of their comfort zone,” Albano explains, “Beyond rediscovering the magic of live music experiences, we’re ultimately trying to create a space in society where people can come together in one safe space.”

At a recent West Loop show, Worth Knight, who has attended 44 Sofar Sounds, explains, “I got tired of going to big venues to spend an hour going in, an hour going out. This is much more intimate. I love to support young artists and to hear the new poets tell their stories.”

Sofar Sounds hosts events almost every evening throughout the city. Check out their online schedule to find a performance near your neighborhood.

Universal Inclusivity in West Loop

by Stephanie Racine, Staff Writer

Universal Standard opened at 175 N. Ada Street on July 10th. Universal Standard is a 1:1 shopping experience, with inclusive sizing. 67% of women in the U.S. wear a size 14 and above, according to Universal Standard’s website, and most shopping experiences are not tailored to all sizes.

Opening a brick-and-mortar store in West Loop seemed like the ideal decision, according to co-founder and Chief Creative Office Alexandra Waldman. “It’s no secret that West Loop is one of Chicago’s up-and-coming neighborhoods, home to so many new and exciting business concepts,” said Waldman. Universal Standard is excited to be a part of a community of businesses who are making a difference in the city and in the world.

Universal Standard chooses to focus on style, not on size. While visiting the store, a stylist helps customers pick out options based on their personal likes and dislikes. They sell a variety of options, from casual to formal.

Beyond shopping, Universal Standard hosts events at their space that are open to the public. These include parties, panels, and dinners. They also encourage customers to just come hang out.

The shopping experience at Universal Standard is unique and tailored to the individual. “This space was conceived with our customers in mind – it’s a home away from home to stop by for midday coffee breaks, have friends over to discuss the latest book they’ve all read, get dressed with our stylists before that special event, and really feel free to build a community around the things that are important to them,” said Waldman.

Visit Universal Standard’s website for more information on events, to online shop, or to read more about their mission. Universalstandard.com. 175 N. Ada St. 1-312-265-1846.

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