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Mike Royko, the voice of Chicago journalism, was an everyman for the city. Living a life made of dirty politics and barstool social commentary, his voice was a familiar one telling the sometimes hard to hear story of the city he loved.

But at no time did Royko speak with such unbridled glee as when he was hanging out at the Billy Goat, talking his true love - softball. Real softball. The 16-inch kind.

In this 1982 gem, a rare interview with Slats Grobnik's best friend, Royko hangs out with the Sun-Times team, a perennial powerhouse, and talks effusively about the time when he was king, pitching the Strikers to a title on a last-second whim. And, of course, his desire to collapse, dead at homeplate carrying the tying run in the seventh inning to finish off a grand slam. And, his life, of course.

Aside from the bar stool or behind the keys of his typewriter, there could have been no more fitting place for Royko to meet his maker.

And for those of you not blessed enough to be from Chicago, 16-inch softball is different from what you play because A) the ball is bigger than the usual 12-inch variety and B) there are no gloves on defense. The 16-inch game is specific to the Chicago region, but grab a Clincher and you can make a change for the better.

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Milton Bradley works on his birding skills. (Photo courtesy SeattleDawg18)

Milton Bradley, maybe you vaguely remember him bringing his unique skill set to the North Side Nine last season, is playing his part to perfection once again.

Just a few weeks ago, the explosive former Cubs outfielder equated himself with the likes of Kanye West and Ron Artest as baseball's bad boy:

"If I was a musician, I'd be Kanye West. If I was in the NBA, I'd be Ron Artest. In baseball, they've got Milton Bradley. I'm that guy. You need people like me, so you can point your finger and go, 'There goes the bad guy."

OK, Milton. What finger were you talking about pointing again?

Bradley, now blessing the Seattle Mariners with his talents, didn't waste any time getting into the controversy column this season. During a game Friday night at the Texas Rangers, also a former home for the hot-headed one, Bradley was caught on camera answering fans' taunts with a bird flip. The Dallas Morning News' Rangers Blog reports on the incident, which apparently was scrubbed from the tape-delayed broadcast.

Milton was unavailable for comment after the game and Mariner's manager Don Wakamatsu could only muster what will be the first of many "no comments" this season.

So, if you're keeping track, Bradley now has one finger flipped on the season, matching his hits through Friday night. Serendipitous.

Cubs fans, you're gonna miss the big lug this season, aren't you?

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It's always nice to see Dwyane Wade make a stop in his hometown of Chicago, but this might be a little over the top. Wade and the Miami Heat were forced to make an emergency landing at O'Hare International Airport early Sunday morning when a member of the cockpit crew went into a diabetic coma.


Not what you want hear coming out of the cockpit.


Of course, the world found out via Twitter, with DWade doing the reporting honors - never mind the slip on facts - at his official page:


Hey everyone pray for our pilot. We just had a emergency landing in chicago. He went into a Coma. God bless this man and his family


Turns out is was actually a mechanic on board, not the pilot, but suffice to say it was a bit of a scramble. Miami Heat trainers administered aid as the plane landed and the man, who became ill while in the cockpit, was taken to a hospital for further treatment.


The team was returning to Miami after beating the Minnesota Timberwolves 97-84 on Saturday night.


Sadly, Wade could not stay in town to breathe life into the Bulls' playoff push while he was at it. turns out he had to jet for more important things:


Ok taking off to Miami. Gd nite tfam. I need to get some rest gotta go support my homie @andyroddick 2morrow in championship match

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President Obama poses Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher at the White House.

The First Hoops Fan was thrilled to invite the Los Angeles Lakers to the White House on Monday, even if he had to throw some Bulls props in the mix.

Obama said he was especially excited to meet Lakers' coach Phil Jackson, who has won 10 championships, though he didn't hesitate to point out that six of those victories were with Obama's hometown Bulls.

"You remember that," Obama joked with former Lakers all-star Magic Johnson, who was on the losing end of the Bulls 1991 victory.

The President also commended the Lakers players not only for their athletic achievements, but also their work off the court. The players held a fitness clinic for Washington-area school children Monday, and several players are donating money to relief efforts in Haiti.

The Lakers won their 15th title last season agains the Orlando Magic.

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Mr. Cub is doing his best Papa Bear impersonation - advising one of the kids to tell the truth.

Ernie Banks tells the Trib's Fred Mitchell that he wants to see Sammy Sosa pull a Mark McGwire: fess up, come clean and move on:

"I would say just what Mark McGwire did," Banks said. "Come clean with it. Explain it to them. ... Just say: 'This is what happened.' It is hard to do, to admit this. Just admit it and live with it and understand it. I am sure a lot of people will forgive him."

Sammy has always denied using anything heavier than Flintstones vitamins, but with the Cardinals' slugging first baseman admitting to juicing during the two stars' historic homer battle in 1998, the pressure continues to mount on Sosa to say he cheated, too.

But when you have Banks on your back, it takes the movement to a whole new level. The Hall-of-Famer is easily one of the iconic faces of the organization. If Sammy has something to tell the world, having Banks in his corner to help him through the media maelstrom is about as good a guardian angel as you can get.

"I will just explain it to him and how the people are," Banks said. "I don't think he really understood that. People are for you; they want to see you do well. They are forgiving people. We haven't won in over 100 years, so this audience here is pretty special."

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The Watch is officially on. Brett Favre is doing his now annual retirement song and dance.

Favre, who spent the NFC Championship game getting pounded into the turf courtesy of the Super Bowl-bound New Orleans Saints, tells ESPN's Ed Werder he's leaning toward ending his career. Again. For now.

In fact, the 40-year-old, who said after his valiant, but losing effort in the Louisiana Superdome Sunday night that he felt more like 49, said he's "highly unlikely" to come back. If true - and until the middle of training camp, nothing is certain - Favre will end a brilliant career on an interception at the end of regulation.

Of course, the man's probably too beat up to get into his Wranglers by himself, so this declaration may end up meaning very little, as Favre retirement announcements often do. So Vikings owner Zygi Wilf would be well-advised to keep the corporate jet available and coach Brad Childress should have his Escalade gassed up for the trip to the airport.

And all NFL fans need to come to grips with the beginning of the Favre Watch season, which runs through mid-summer. Maybe we can make a drinking game out of it or something.

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Poor Rex Grossman has suffered another loss in Chicago. The former Bears quarterback sold his his Trump Tower condo for close to a $700,000 loss.

Grossman purchased the two-bedroom unit in September 2008 for $2.681 million. The current Houston Texan backup QB has reduced the price of the 3,437-square-foot condo a couple of times, but finally had to settle for the bargain-basement price of $2 million.

The unit includes two bedrooms, four bathrooms, a den and a 17-by-12-foot "Media Room" -- a perfect spot for reviewing game film, according to Chicago Real Estate Daily, reporting on the deal when Grossman closed.

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President Obama shakes hands with Dikembe Mutombo at the 'Let Freedom Ring' concert at the Kennedy Center in Washington on Monday. (AP Photo)

It's always nice when you can point to a "pro athlete does good" story. And when the President of the United States helps to honor your humanitarian achievements, you've clearly done plenty of good.

The good guy athlete in this case is former NBA star Dikembe Mutombo, who starred in the pivot for several teams in 18 seasons on the court, but clearly knew how to use his success for the best. Mutombo was honored Monday night for the work done through the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation to improve health, literacy and lives in his native Congo.

"You never know what direction your life will take you or ... what road you will travel, but your chances of success are certainly greater with an education than without one," Mutombo said as he accepted the Coach John Thompson Jr. Legacy of a Dream Award during an annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Mutombo said he sold fruit and vegetables for about $1 a day in order to pay his school fee in Congo before coming to Georgetown university, where he briefly studied medicine before coach Thompson persuaded him to hit the hardwood. He still ended up with dual degrees in linguistics and diplomacy.

Mutombo's namesake foundation works combat childhood diseases in Congo. It also opened a hospital in Kinshasa, which has served more than 25,000 patients.

President Barack Obama praised Mutombo (real name Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo) for giving back to his nation's people and honoring King's legacy of service. Obama said the 18-year NBA veteran was attacking problems in Africa in "with the same ferocity with which he used to block shots in the NBA."

It's not the first time a president has honored the renowned shot blocker. President George W. Bush singled him out during the 2007 State of the Union address for his accomplishments and recent U.S. citizenship:

Mutombo played for six NBA teams, was the league's top defensive player four times and was selected for eight All-Star games during his career.

The blast chamber of the Internet is buzzing over a barely perceptible slip of the tongue that Mike & Mike in the Morning co-host Mike Greenberg made Monday morning.

The popular ESPN sports talk show with Mike Golic kicked off with an uncomfortable mistake coming out of a commercial break. Greenberg seems to say "Martin Luther Coon, Jr." before quickly correcting to "King, Jr." The reaction has been everything from "racist!" to "tongue-tied." And there seems to be a rising call for Greenberg to address the slip.

Is this poorly timed much ado about nothing? Does Greenberg owe an explanation, or apology even? Or do you think it was an intentional racial jibe?

UPDATE: Reaction from Greenberg

Greenberg has released the following statement, clarifying the accidental nature about his comment:

I just came home from the Knicks game and found out about the mess that was created by my garbling a sentence on our show this morning; I apologize for not addressing it sooner.

And I'm sorry that my talking too fast - and slurring my words - might have given people who don't know our show the wrong impression about us, and about me.

I feel horrible about that, because nothing could be further away from who I am and what our show is about.

I would never say anything like that, not in public, or in private, or in the silence of my own mind, and neither would anyone associated with our show, and I'm very sorry that my stumble this morning gave so many people the opposite impression.

brittny.jpgBrittny Gastineau has reached another life milestone. Reality show star. Model. Reconciled half-sister.

The abandoned daughter of former New York Sack Exchange standout Mark Gastineau finally got to meet Killian Marcus Gastineau, the until-now secret son her dad fathered when he ran off with Brigitte Nielsen in the 1980s - before she took up with Flavor Flav, of course.

People.com has a bunch of detail on the heartwarming meeting that clearly has really impacted Brittny's life for good:

"It was very weird and surreal," says Brittny, who hasn't been in touch with her father for several years. "I didn't cry. I'm too tough to cry. But we hugged, we talked about old stories. He said he watched Gastineau Girls in Italy, so he knew what I looked like.

I asked him a million questions, but he doesn't speak English. He's really cute. He's like 6',5", blonde. He looks exactly like Brigitte."

Another precious moment born of reality TV - and a philandering sports star. Sigh.

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