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Hawks moving radio to WGN
By Barry Rozner | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 4/29/2008 11:27 PM

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It wasn't long ago that the Blackhawks were buying time and begging local radio stations to take their broadcasts.

Now, according to sources, they've made a deal with WGN Radio that figures to give them more airtime than they could have possibly imagined.

A production that has new Hawks president John McDonough written all over it, the Hawks move from the Score to WGN, where the they will get a ton of free publicity and a built-in driver of tickets and merchandise.

It's one more reason to believe the return of Pat Foley is right around the corner, as that will also create quite a stir if the Hawks can announce that this summer -- perhaps even at their convention.

WGN Radio will hold a news conference and make the Hawks announcement on the air today at 7 a.m.

Combined with games being aired on WGN-TV, McDonough is recreating the Cubs formula for a far less critical atmosphere in which all things Hawks will be sweet and happy.

That formula sold a lot of tickets at Wrigley Field, whether the Cubs were good or bad.

Things are definitely looking up on the West Side, especially from a marketing standpoint, which is the reason McDonough got the job in the first place.

Seeing red

There are already whispers in Cincinnati that Junior Griffey is tired of losing, and may not mind a deal in the final year of his contract.

Any team that picks him up this year will be on the hook for the balance of his $9 million salary (there's more deferred), plus a $4 million buyout of a club option. Even on July 31, that's $7 million for two months' rental, unless the Reds agree to pay some.

Keep in mind, he's 38, has put on weight, has a tendency to get hurt, and isn't what he used to be, but he's still Junior Griffey, hit 30 homers last year, and you stick him in the middle of the lineup on either side of Chicago and he's going to be a postseason presence.

At the moment, Carlos Quentin is doing a very nice job, but it's early and the Sox have explored this option in the past.

As for the Cubs, they're going to need another outfielder at some point this season as they try to figure out how to win a playoff series for the second time in 100 years, let alone their first World Series in a century.

Food for thought.

Cover story

We don't believe in goats or curses, but fully admit to having seen the power of the SI cover jinx, which has felled many a superstar, and usually within days or weeks of appearing on the magazine cover.

In this week's issue, Kosuke Fukudome says he had no idea this season marks 100 years since the last World Series title.

That education is just beginning. For his sake, and the sanity of all Cubs fans, let's hope he isn't schooled in the legendary ways of the evil cover spell.

Just to be safe, he might want to stay out of the well and away from the bricks for a couple days.

Ivan Boldirev-ing

If you're not hip to the Fabian Brunnstrom experiment, he's a 23-year-old, late-blooming, free-agent forward from the Swedish Elite League, and is the hot commodity out there today, prior to the draft and free agency.

At 6-feet-1, 210 pounds, and reportedly possessing explosive speed and top-notch skill similar to that of Marian Hossa, he'll sign only with a team that promises him a top-six role.

Detroit, Dallas and Anaheim, among several other teams, are apparently in the race, and you have to think the Blackhawks have at least explored this possibility, as it's only an entry-level deal, and the Hawks have a need for top-six skill.

Lining up

E-mailer Gurnee Dave says Lou Piniella knows Alfonso Soriano shouldn't lead off, so, "Don't go Dusty (Baker) on us. We've traveled down that road with (Sammy) Sosa. Please try this lineup: Johnson (CF), Fukudome (RF), Lee (1B), Ramirez (3B), Soriano (LF), DeRosa (2B), Soto (C) and Theriot (SS).''

Best idea

E-mailer Mark W. from Lakeview: "What about Alfonso Soriano straight up for Barry Zito? Two of the worst contracts in baseball, the Giants need power, while the Cubs are better without Soriano. At the rate Ted Lily and Rich Hill are going, not to mention Jason Marquis' second-half history, Zito might not seem so bad after a change of scenery.''

Just asking

Is there a player in baseball more important to his club than the Tribe's Grady Sizemore, and can the Indians afford to have him at less than 100 percent on a bad ankle for very long?

Best time

The first round of the NFL draft took 3:30 this year, compared to 6:20 a year ago.

Best question

SI.com's Peter King: "What is it about the undying love of Rex Grossman that makes Chicago unable or unwilling to turn the page?''

Best line

ESPN's Cris Carter: "C'mon, nobody believes in Rex Grossman but his family.''

Best headline

Sportspickle.com: "Ottawa Senators refusing to panic despite trailing four-games-to-none.''

And finally ...

Dan Daly of the Washington Times: "A show of hands, please. When the construction crew dug up that David Ortiz jersey that was secretly buried under the new Yankee Stadium, how many of you were expecting Jimmy Hoffa to be wearing it?"