Going, going, gone: Most local sports teams disappear from free TV

You can’t watch most local teams without cable.

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Harry Caray and Jack Brickhouse were among the sportscasters when WGN-TV aired the Cubs games.

Sun-Times Library

Iremember watching the Bulls with my grandmother on Stafford Street in Dubuque, Iowa,on WGN-TV in 1976.

It was a Bulls team that still had Jerry Sloan, Norm Van Lier and Tom Boerwinkle, joined by Scott May, Mickey Johnson, Artis Gilmore and Cliff Pondexter. For some reason, I remember their point guard, Wilbur Holland.

You would have watched them on WGN-TV.

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My grandmother viewed the game from a hospital bed since she had suffered from multiple sclerosis from a young age. The disease had worsened and took her from a wheelchair to a bed.

Beingconstantly confined led her to a love of card games, cigarettes and sports.

My grandfather had played organized football in Iowa before it became pro football, and the Chicago Bears were the favorite football team in that section of Iowa. My grandmother would listen on the radioto what she thought was the greatest rivalry in sports, when Iowa played Wisconsin in college football, so there’s no way anyself-respecting Iowan would be a Packers fan.

I remember watching the Blackhawks on WGN when I was a child. And the Cubs, heck, you couldn’t keep from being a Cubs fan with the games on WGN, broadcast by Jack Brickhouse from 1948 to 1981. There are Cubs fans all over the nation because of WGN.Eventually WGN brought us North Siders that strange baseball team from the South Side.

Now all that is gone. Although WGN in recent years didn’t broadcast every Bulls or Cubs or Blackhawks or White Sox game, it aired enough games for a viewer to become familiar with hometown teams. Now you can’t watch any of these teams without cable. Families that can’t afford $60 to $100 a month for cable TV will be shut out. The sports you watched as a kid have become elitist. You can’t afford to go to the games and you can’t afford to watch them on TV.

My grandmother would have been stuck with Judge Judy and the “Price is Right.”

A trip to the ballpark with a spouse and two kids can cost $200. At that price how many times a year can you go to the ballpark?

And now TV’s been pulled out from under us.

Mike Ulreich, Bridgeport

Voter suppression

The GOP mantra has been in place for decades, but “low-information” citizens don’t realize this is the only way the GOP can win.Voter suppression, in the form of voter ID and voter purges and gerrymandering, has given the GOP victories as a minority party.The difficulty the Democratic Party faces is getting the majority of our citizens out to vote in order to nullify these shady efforts.

But many of us have become engaged by Indivisible and other movements to get out the vote.We can only hope this will be enough to counter the suppression effort that is expected to be massive in the 2020 election.

Lee Knohl,Evanston

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