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Telander: Capturing the rich history and passion of Chicago sports


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Five decades into documenting all things sports at The Chicago Sun-Times, legendary Windy City columnist Rick Telander visits Nestor to discuss the current woes of the Cubs and White Sox – and the bigger picture of a life spent in gyms and stadiums chasing the greatest athletes on earth in a sports-crazed city with competitive journalists.


years, chicago, sports, people, rick, baseball, orioles, team, money, athlete, michael jordan, ncaa, good, remember, life, called, thrown, baltimore, white sox, era


Nestor J. Aparicio, Rick Telander

Nestor J. Aparicio  00:01


Welcome home we are wn St. am 1570, Towson, Baltimore and Baltimore positive we’re positively taking the Maryland crabcake door back out on the road the Orioles the Yankees All Star break gun randerson, Natalie rutschman all this good stuff going on our friends at the Maryland lottery putting it out on the road, the Gold Rush sevens doublers. We’ll have these probably for the remainder of the summer. I’ll have some more dates later in the summer for families and some other cool guests and stuff we’re doing including the oyster tour coming up and our 26th anniversary 25 years and the documentary was released earlier this year, which included some pathways in life. And some places that I went that were colder than here. Chicago certainly was that in the wintertime back when I was syndicated. 25 years ago. I’ve reached the Chicago people with the Cubs coming to town and sort of being like lonely again, all over again. It’s almost like the Lilia era. This guy is everything Chicago sports. He um, I did a little research. I did not know what a decorated athlete, Rick telander was, I think of him as the Sports Illustrated guy who was the Chicago Sun Times guy when I came in and always treated me like one of them one of him and an old school, a writers writer, as they say but an athlete prior to that. We welcome Rick telander, one of our defending champs and author of eight books, awards, journalism, all of this stuff that you love sports now under Europe. You’re a sports lifer, right.

Rick Telander  01:43

Sorry, I miss it.

Nestor J. Aparicio  01:44

I said you’re a sports lifer. Right. I got a terrible Wi Fi with you, Rick. Rick, I have terrible Wi Fi with you.

Rick Telander  02:00

Yeah, you worry. I can do it on another, like Google, or Chrome or something like that. I suppose the AOL.


Nestor J. Aparicio  02:09

I’m not sure what slowing you down. It’s because the video looks good. It shouldn’t be this delayed.

Rick Telander  02:15

I don’t know. It’s probably a better now.

Nestor J. Aparicio  02:18

We’re better now. We’re into it now. So it’s better now. Okay, I’ll reintroduce it. I’ll cut the tape. And then I’ll just throw to you. And here we go in three, two, and we welcome our defending champion back onto the program from Chicago, Illinois. Rick calendar joins us here from Chicago Sun Times. How were you? How was life in this environment where your teams think right now, Rick? Okay.

Rick Telander  02:41


First of all, the s in Illinois is silent. I know you’re from Baltimore. You said you’ve been talking about crab cakes and oysters and all that stuff. You gotta be hungry. Anyway. The cubs suck. The White Sox suck right now. And you get the Cubs I guess coming there. So you know, have fun with them. Yeah,

Nestor J. Aparicio  02:59

and I think my theme and all of this is I’ve reached with Chet Copic. No longer being in Chicago. My former producer we lost Lonnie was I you know, I reached Chicago at this point. I’m like, it feels like a minute ago, the cubs were on top of the world irrelevant. And for the Orioles for all the suffering is awful ownership we’ve added here and everything that happened after Cal Ripken really terrible, new owner cool. We’re open minded all of that. But more than that, they have a baseball guy who’s rebuilt this thing. And it took that in Chicago. But it happens very, very quickly, that you got that window that three four years and the Orioles are in the year number two right now for these guys start to cost a lot of money, that it happens quickly that you can go into the tubes. Yeah,

Rick Telander  03:45

it’s true. You have to, as I say, Make hay while the sun shines because you do get that moment and then the door closes. Then you go back down to the bottom because all of your superstars want more money, which is money makes the world go round no matter what anybody says. And then you so you lose them. And the door slams shut and you have to try to pry it open again. I remember talking to Jerry Reinsdorf one time about the bulls back when they had, you know, when Michael Jordan had just gotten their dinner, maybe a couple of years. And he said, you don’t want to get to almost the top too fast. Because you’re going to go down you when you start your way up, you want to get there because it’s going to happen. And when you can’t sustain it, you can go back to the Chicago Bears the 85 Super Bowl team, you know, they were gonna sustain forever, and they didn’t they never made it back again. And all kinds of guys in the Hall of Fame off that team. So that was a good lesson. And if that is true, I see that with Baltimore right now with the Orioles. I mean, I hope you guys get somewhere fast. Well, the

Nestor J. Aparicio  04:47

potential of the bowls back in the day was realized because of Michael Jordan and because of Scottie Pippen it kind of different kind of era where you can hang around at that point. But you know, the White Sox and you know, I’m a Southside guy with the Aparicio route Send all that once and done right carbs for all the bluster the carbs, they match what the White Sox have done, and the Blackhawks had their thing before their scandal. Chicago setting very nice sort of lifetime for Rick telander to be a columnist there to write about the good, the bad, and in certain cases, the ugly but but there’s been a lot of joy in Chicago sports for all these teams. Bears probably the longest, I’ll hear you on that. And they probably still rule the roost there. But this is as low as it gets for Chicago. Usually one of them’s decent, right? Yeah,


Rick Telander  05:34

this is really bad. I did have the, you know, I guess the good fortune to be here for a Super Bowl Championship, three Stanley Cups, you know, pretty quickly with Patrick Kane, Johnson Taves era, the White Sox won the World Series, and then the Cubs finally came along. So that’s, that’s pretty much you know, the main teams have crystal balls. How could I forget the six championships with Michael Jordan, Scottie, Pippen and all the rest? So you see that but then you also see how did they get there and you start to analyze it, the luck that’s needed the luck of the draw drafting. Michael Jordan has, for instance, the third player taken in the draft and maybe the best player there’s ever been. There are reasons that he didn’t that he wasn’t taken first, that Sam Bowie went ahead of him that Hakeem Olajuwon went ahead of those teams. You know, they had Clyde Drexler was out there in the you know, the West Coast. So they didn’t they thought they didn’t need a Michael Jordan but so that’s luck, you get him. Third things come along, maybe you have rookies that develop in your farm system, and they just happen to be great. You know, and they all come together. They’re there when you need them. You don’t need five Hall of Fame centers on your basketball team. You don’t need five great centerfield is on your baseball team, you need people to fit in the spots. And that’s why there’s so much regard for general managers these days, a lot of times they they’re guessing to they’re hoping we saw that with the White Sox. Rick Hahn, we thought was a great general manager, you know, a guy who’s getting this team together, and it just collapsed largely because of injuries. And if you can’t keep your guys healthy, what good are they the greatest player in the world who’s not playing is a is no better than having the worst player in the world. So those are the things had happened. I look at hockey to look at the way in Chicago that Patrick Kane, you know, everybody knew he was going to be good did know how good turns out to be stupendous. Connor Bedard, now the Blackhawks locked into him, this guy is a Hall of Famer, there’s no question. Now will he be able to stay with the Blackhawks? Will they be able to surround him with what he needs to take advantage of that? That’s that’s the big question. Back

Nestor J. Aparicio  07:43

when I knew you at the turn of the century, it was worse not putting the games on TV. Literally. Right. And it was the trip stirs and the Cubs who weren’t going to spend money, right? I mean, you go through these errors, and even the bowls for all the winning, you know, Reinsdorf associated with baseball and a strike and all of that at that period of time as well. But what a sports town and I guess one of the reasons I call them red cherry Eisenberg on the show a couple weeks ago, and I called him the world’s greatest living sports writer, because of association with Olli, and then I think about your era, and I just had a 25th anniversary documentary. It was made about six months ago, my background was a newspaper I worked with John Steadman at the news American. I worked at the sun with Ken Rosenthal, just down the list of great baseball, Tim Kurkjian at the sun, all of that, and that era, and when John Eisenberg comes on with me, and John was a mentor to me here at the sun, he’s writing books and releasing these oral tapes that he had from 30 years ago, speaking to all the legendary Orioles about oral history and the oral way, Eisenberg calls it the golden era, the golden age of sports writing that you were a part of where there was competition. There was no thought to be intimidating sports writers and saying you can’t come in the locker room even if your name was Mary Adi at various points, because if any of you got thrown out all of you got thrown out to some degree and the intimidation part of that. And you took on much like Boswell did around here, steroids at a time when like you had rocks thrown at you on that issue. And you had to be tough as nails and part of being a hard ass and part of being a real journalist and a guy was an athlete like you was that whatever you wrote about somebody had to show up the next day and come down with a notebook and cover and come back to school. I don’t know what this is. Rick, I’m trying to figure out in a world of barstools and in a world of bloggers and in the world of Team websites and we have a thing called the lounge here. That and having real journalists thrown out and castigated it is we’re in a different place of what they could have been doing the journalists 35 Four Two years ago who were reporting really uncomfortable truths about some really dark stuff in sports. It’s

Rick Telander  10:06

a completely different era. And it’s all because of the internet. It’s electronics is its technology. What we used to call newspapers, paper, now called hardcopy, pretty much disappearing as you know, there’s a few that around, but the the function of cutting down a tree making paper, putting ink and print on there, and then rolling them up and distributing them is incredibly, so much more expensive than simply sitting down at the keyboard, typing something out, hitting send, and it can go out theoretically to the entire world. This is something that I never anticipated. It’s 100% technology, there’s more coming, I don’t know what it will be, it’ll be something to do with AI, of course, artificial intelligence and machine learning, all that kind of stuff. And the thing you mentioned, sports journalism is this golden era, it was when, in a sense, you had to have some format, to be able to get your words out to the to the world, you had to have a publisher, you had to have their newspaper, a magazine, a book, something that had to be printed, the data was a

Nestor J. Aparicio  11:14


barrier to entry that implied professionalism and integrity.

Rick Telander  11:18

It was the barrier and the barrier was you can’t do this. It’s like building a house. I can’t go out and build a house, I need to get people to do it, get would get shingles, glass doors, and all that stuff. Now, everybody is a journalist, just as everybody is whatever they want to be. They can be a screenwriter, they can be a, you know, we

Nestor J. Aparicio  11:37

have fact checkers at the paper though, Rick, come on. Now we had editors, you know, they

Rick Telander  11:41

don’t have them anymore. I mean, we still do, our editors are and the guys at the desk are just fabulous. And they catch me you know, thank God, they get mistakes that I make all the time. But the citizen journalist who is writing things, there is no official editor to make sure that you know what you’re getting and that leads to misinformation and disinformation. So what you have to do is you have to look at the the imprint, what what are you getting? Who do you trust? Why do you trust this information? That’s really key now. So you know, newspapers, the few magazines left and certain, you know, podcasts, TV shows, announcers, people like that, and networks still have the credence that came from years and years of building up their integrity because you knew you were getting facts, or at least you thought you were getting facts. Now it’s very hard to tell very hard to tell. Rick


Nestor J. Aparicio  12:33

telander is one of the great columnist over my lifetime, last 40 years, still writing a column once a week here and you know, when I see the wide swath of Saudi Arabian golf, NASCAR in Chicago, Ryan Sandberg the Chicago Sky, that’s the WNBA team, Caitlin Clark seen her play the bears and Caleb Williams Bill Waltons death, the NCAA paying athletes and the Bears Stadium plans. Those are your most recent columns, just that’s a wide swath of things. I have asked this question because my My name is NES NES and it’s a great suffix and I didn’t realize this even as a writer till I was about 45. Otherwise, I would have called the Preakness. Preakness right? So when it came time for me to write a column A couple years ago when we birth Baltimore positive after all these years of radio and doing all the radio crap, I came up with column Ness column Ness like column this right so so when I came up with column this, I had his met and I haven’t gotten Mitch album on yet, that would be no offense to you or anybody else. But one day, maybe Mitch will come on. What makes a great columnist and what cut your teeth? And what did your first prick executive editor pull you up and say do don’t, never don’t. Because I grew up with Jack Gibbons, who was the exact opposite, he was the first guy to hire me, Marty Kaiser, these legendary people at the Baltimore Sun who came from legendary places, telling me how to do it and how it was expected to be done. That is the genesis of everything I’m trying to learn and relearn is a 55 year old column this what makes a great columnist?

Rick Telander  14:19

I think a couple things. One, I don’t think you can be a great columnist too early in life, I really don’t think you have to live a while I don’t think anybody should be a columnist per se, like age 25. You just don’t have it just can’t make those decisions based on life experiences unless you’ve lived well. I think. Another thing you really need is somebody can be a mentor, somebody who helps you out. Somebody you read, my basic way of becoming a writer was I was an English literature major, not a journalism major went to Northwestern. I didn’t know how to type and that’s when you had to type. If you didn’t type, you’re in trouble. And I wrote my first Stories for Sports Illustrated in longhand. And then somebody would type them up. I actually wrote my first book, having a playground in longhand. 600 pages of yellow legal pad with a pencil because typing once the what’s the laptop missing

Nestor J. Aparicio  15:15

a finger Rick and Mike got thrown out of smart wrestling. I signed up for for type writing typing class in 1982 at Dundalk High School. And I went to class and it was with a white you know, you had to you had to white out it was a pain in the ass every flying caps. Oh my god. So I’m missing a pointer finger on my right hand. And Mr. Poulos came in and he took the piece of paper and he taped it over top. And I had to put my hands under it. I literally I swear to you, Rick in 10th grade, I went and I said I need out of this class. And I went to the I went I welled up in a water culture, I welled up in a water culture, because I got thrown out of typing class. And I type 80 words a minute and 90. I mean, like, but it’s, but it’s about making the mistakes and not being able to do it. Right. Like you guys. People don’t know they don’t understand these kids today.

Rick Telander  16:16


No, you got to put your hands under paper, so you couldn’t see the keys. Right.

Nestor J. Aparicio  16:21

And that was the end of me. That was the end. I’m like I quit. There’s still guys

Rick Telander  16:25

in the press box or their word before COVID. Couple of us just like one finger on each hand and Columbus method that was very go with some guys. I remember one guy would lean over to the side. And type with one finger on one hand type everything in the press box. That shows you how you don’t have to memorize anything. You can do it. The keyboard the electronic keyboard opened me up to journalism. I’m honestly it was one reason why I didn’t think I could do it because I couldn’t type in kids nowadays to say What are you talking about? But it’s damn, you

Nestor J. Aparicio  16:59

had I know you had this? Because I probably saw you in the capital center covering the bulls. You had a trash ad? And you had those couplers That’s right, is that what you had? Come on?


Rick Telander  17:13

Oh, good nightmares about I actually had what was called a portal bubble. And you had stick the whole phone in there and you had to Wilson to screen? And sometimes it works. Sometimes it wouldn’t. I know. There’s a story about some guy with a press box. Open Air baseball stadium, everybody’s gone. And you got so you’d see guys melt down with their laptops and get RadioShack thing right out the window on down like, you know, 50 feet into the stance after the game. Nobody they’re disgusted and left. That used to happen. guys used to get so mad at the electronics. But the typing part, you go back to the original question, how do you become a, you know a decent columnist? I think you have to live long you have to have a mentor, you have something that you read that you parse, I read Sports Illustrated when I was writing them. I read all of the other writers How did he do it? How did you know? How did Austin Murphy do this? How did Steve Russian do this? How did going back to the you know, way back? How did Frank to Ford do it? How did Dan Jenkins do what did they leave out? I think that was almost as important as what they put in. It’s more important, what you don’t say? What are the interspaces? In between? What are the what are the links between this sentence and that one? How short is that paragraph? What does it look like? I think about that when I read a newspaper column? What is this going to look like on a piece of paper, I need a couple of short sentences here short paragraphs, all those things are learning abilities using the English language, which is what I compared to being an artist and that’s your palette. I think there’s something like 200,000 words in English may be more. We have a huge palette, you know it goes red to yellow to blue and all of the colors in between which word do you choose? Do you choose the word run? Do you choose the word shuffled? Do you choose the word jog? Do you say sprint, all these things. You have to it has to come to you. So it’s really an art. It’s a craft. It can be if you want to learn it, you can. Some people are just naturally really gifted at it. The rest of us all had to work at it. Rick

Nestor J. Aparicio  19:24

telander was very gifted at it a bunch of books and a bunch of awards at Chicago. As the Cubs passed through here. I’m trying to pass on some wisdom and some wise conversations with people like Rick who’s still out there doing this. Let’s go back to access and hard questions. And I always look to a columnist to interpret and peel back the onion beyond quite frankly, the bullshit. What the lies the polishing the front of what they said happened, what really happened, and why it happened that way. And that relationship, that relationship between you and your audience, whether it’s a reader or listener review, or whatever it is, and that integrity and trust of what you’re getting more information than what they gave you on the broadcast last night, there’s another level of information here that’s going to make you smarter. And in many cases, when I came on the radio, it was about knowing more for gamblers, wanting to know and injuries and like all that, that would have been the first thing that would have had your press pass taken away, would have been the first thing that I would have been thrown out of the industry, if we were dealing with touts. It’s now baked into the cake, Rick, I mean, so it’s it, I don’t know where expertise even lies, when the people that are calling the games reporting on the games, in allowed in the locker rooms are all under the if something bad happens, you didn’t see that you can’t report that. And that’s a way different place we’re in, especially in a small town like Baltimore, than maybe in Chicago, where there’s more competition amongst media, but more sort of baked in credibility of not having the media getting pushed around.

Rick Telander  21:18

Yeah, well, gambling has changed everything, the way it’s been not just legalized, but championed and ads everywhere started in Illinois and other states when you had the lottery, which is nothing more than pure gambling, gambling on numbers, when that became legal, and not only legal, but endorsed and broadcast and advertised and you’re gonna bring in all this money. So you realize that ethics and morality is all arbitrary. We I have two blocks from my house, I’ve got a marijuana store, I can go down there every day and buy as much pot as I want. I mean, I don’t know what the limit is. They have a weird rule in Illinois. They can’t show it. It has the marijuana has to be in another room. You just look at things. I’m not a dope smoker. I don’t but it’s completely legal here. And to me, I don’t know what it was two years ago, you could have gone to

Nestor J. Aparicio  22:07


you’re not old enough to remember prohibition, but you’ve read about, I read

Rick Telander  22:11

about it. But you know, one day, what will send you way to prison for years. The next day, it’s legal, that’s fine, go do it. So the same thing with gambling one day, you know, you can be just as pariah. If you are a gambler, you’re involved in gambling and you can be thrown out the base. Well, they still get guys, so arbitrary in baseball, you can’t gamble on your sport, and yet you’re surrounded by gambling. We saw what happened with Otani in his interpreter, you know, it was just a huge scandal. So it’s really

Nestor J. Aparicio  22:41

a story of Pete Rose’s life. Right. And, and for anybody who ever had a ballot, like you, right, I mean, and you got embroiled in a ballot controversy about steroids. The Pete Rose thing was the original Garden of Eden, right?

Rick Telander  22:54

Yeah, yeah. Well, you know, it’s, if Peter did apologize early on, instead of saying, No, I didn’t do it. I think he’d be in the Hall of Fame. I’m sure he would be. He was just arrogant about it. And I remember talking to him one time, and he said, it was in Cooperstown. He’s signing balls, you know, there was no, I was the only guy there and I went up we just shooting the breeze pizza, the nicest guy in the world who talked about baseball anytime you want. And he said, You think in Howard been 120 years, a bass Major League Baseball. I’m the only guy to gamble on a game. And he was he was serious about it. Well, you know, I didn’t I don’t know how he responded. But the answer is, of course you weren’t. But you got caught. And it became obvious. And so that’s a rule someday maybe that rule will disappear. And Pete Rose they’ll say, can’t believe they got him for gambling. Everybody bets on their own games. You know, crazy thing


Nestor J. Aparicio  23:46

in my mind with Pete Rose and I said this I’ve been on the radio 33 years and I remember peeps here had his bar down in Boca and he had his radio show and hit King and like, he made so much more money being banned than he ever would have made again, he made you take Mike Schmidt’s money and his money or take any of the contemporaries Brooks you know even signing autographs and getting money wherever they did it it shows Mickey Mantle pick anybody a one Pete made way more money than any of them I’m convinced that

Rick Telander  24:17

he made I think want to say he’s made $50 off me because I bought two baseballs any size in different years just for the hell of it. You know,

Nestor J. Aparicio  24:27

I kind of I didn’t really What do you want? 91k king, Pete

Rick Telander  24:31


Rose 4002 50 or whatever it is. God too many kids he has the P is just a character. You know, it’s fascinating though. I’m talking about the arbitrariness of ethics and morality, which we see in sports. what’s right and what’s wrong do should a player stay with his team forever and ever. Are we going to see those players that only played for you know one team like Ryan Sandra you’ve been seeing him they had Ryan Sandberg day at Wrigley Field. I went to that and at cuz he I don’t know if he played he might have played for somebody else but

Nestor J. Aparicio  25:02

basically he was a cop play for the Phillies for five minutes I

Rick Telander  25:05

think at the end okay well they drafted him actually right right okay I remember he can’t officially route Okay, that’s right sorry about that that was a steal anyway in

Nestor J. Aparicio  25:16

the beginning okay very okay


Rick Telander  25:18

guys play with the go wherever we have

Nestor J. Aparicio  25:21

Ripken and Brooks here and like on and on and on right Johnny you went to San Diego at the end ran ran and gold pants. I mean, even in that era, it was like it was original my father hated the Colts because they got rid of Johnny you and even though it couldn’t

Rick Telander  25:34

happen to the Colts Nestor Well,

Nestor J. Aparicio  25:37


yeah, I got my Baltimore Colts. Look, man. Yeah, sometimes I get Kravitz on and we go, and it’s not his fault. I’ve made peace in some way.

Rick Telander  25:45

I think this is Bob’s fault. Well, I

Nestor J. Aparicio  25:48

mean, he was from Skokie. You don’t have time to tell you about about Bob or say Rick telander has written a lot of books on sports Cago sports and you’re an athlete who turns your way in this direction? What what what do you make of modern sports from an enjoyment standpoint, from where you are, I have gone through waves where just honestly, I grew up with all of it. I worked at the paper I loved it all wanted to be a part of all of it covered it all. Everything I wanted to cover I’ve I’ve done checked off my life went to the French Open that, you know, I’ve done all these things in my life, World Cups, all of that. But I find that college sports has really drifted on me in a way that in Baltimore was never really big college sports kind of town that like the Midwest or, you know, Chicago, it’s got all that borrows all of the the big Midwestern teams, but the NFL is made that move away. I have found that the NBA has moved away from me as as hockey in a town where I don’t have it. And baseball has drifted back because the teams become irrelevant here again, but it is as you get older, you can’t watch every Northwestern game, every DePaul game, every note, like there’s a level of fatigue. For me as I get older that I couldn’t I can’t process sports to watch. You know what I mean? But it comes at you in an incredible way in the modern era where everything’s available, right?

Rick Telander  27:15

Yes, that it’s very difficult. We’re just inundated with information. Every game you can watch every game in any sport anywhere, if you want to. I as a columnist can’t keep up with the fans, if you’re a deep seated fan of Notre Dame football, you know more about it than I do. You know, it could be Illinois can beat Nebraska, it can be Penn State, Ohio State, it could be any of the teams, any professional team, if you really want to focus on that, and get all of the podcasts and all of the websites that are dedicated just to your team and watch everything. Every game live well, you know, way more than I do, because there’s not enough time in the day in the universe to watch all this stuff. So it’s all fractured. But you brought up NIS has changed college sports in a way that has never been changed before. But I tell you this, it was all utterly predictable. I knew it was going to happen. I wrote a book called the 100 yard why the crushing of college football and what we can do to change it in 1989. And I just described all this the NCAA, you can’t turn it into a billion dollar industry and not pay your workers. If you want it to be amateur and say hey, you get a scholarship, that’s your pay, well then give the scholarship to the coach to make him a volunteer coach, the head coach don’t pay him 10 $15 million a year don’t have billions of dollars invested in bowl games. And when I was playing college football, we played 10 games and in the big 10 Only one team went to a bowl game after that. Now they play 14 games, and you might end up playing 16 And everybody goes to a bowl game. So they don’t have to do that you could make it amateur and just say Tickets are free. You know, we have smaller stadiums, it’s not on TV, or you could do all that. But when you do the business side of it, on the one side, the NCAA, all these presidents, all these athletic directors, all the coaches, making so much money strength coaches making over a million dollars, you can’t then say that the players are just you’re just students, and you should be happy with your scholarship. You don’t have time to go to class, but that’s what you should get. So finally, it took the Supreme Court and other courts just say this is restraint of trade. It’s is bullshit. I mean, it’s just plain obvious. Bullshit. And the NCAA claimed or clung, whatever the word is to it forever for over 100 years. And you can go back to Walter Byers, who was like the dictator the NCAA years ago. And he finally wrote in his autobiography, that it was all alive that it was all the plantation mentality. And he came up with the with the term athlete, a student athlete with a little hyphen in there. Which what else would the athlete at a college be except a student, but he did that solely so they didn’t have to pay workman’s compensation to make cannot employees. It’s been a conspiracy, conspiracy and open evolvement and desire of the NCAA to suppress this. And what happened was they had no rules, no regulations, and the Wild West hit. And guys can go out there. I mean, you make millions of dollars, man, if I run college now playing college football, I’d be all over the denials. I’d be making as much money as I possibly could. I would be out there doing endorsements. I’d be hoping boosters would give me millions I could be set up maybe for life by the time I got out of college, which will be fabulous. And the NCAA is like, Oh, what do we do? Oh, my God, we don’t know what to do. Well, sorry, guys. You didn’t want to do anything all the time you had and now they’re clueless. So that’s where college sports stands. But by the same token, all the people that complain about it, there are more watches last year college football than ever before. And it’s only going up. And believe me, Michigan didn’t care at all about they had all their guys tore him. Whatever the running back, he made. He wouldn’t say exactly. V and JJ McCarthy, they were making a million dollars or more, they spread it around other teammates. But it didn’t seem to stop fandom at Michigan, I mean, a sold out the big bowl or whatever they call that place. 110,000 people every game that was they traveled everywhere. They were so excited about the national championship. So it didn’t change anything in regard to fandom. It really didn’t although people grumble but it’s weird. It is. Jimmy


Nestor J. Aparicio  31:33

took the money and ran out to LA anyway, you know, leave leave behind the place in in fumes, right?

Rick Telander  31:41

Yeah. Hey, America, we chose capitalism, imperialism, democracy and, and basically, I would say Christianity as our four principles. So go get whatever you can. And he those four arenas. I mean, if you want to take it back, I always think about this with all these protests. Poor American Indians, they own this place. We just took it from, you know, guys explorers came from said, hey, well, there’s nobody here. So I’m planting my flag for Spain or England or the Netherlands. And meanwhile, American Indians, aunties. We’ve been here for a few 1000 years. That’s kind of interesting. But that’s what we did it. So that is something that we all benefit from just taking things the powerful take. And capitalism means make whatever you can. And you know, the other things. I mean, it’s just that’s America. That is America.

Nestor J. Aparicio  32:36

Rick telander is here he is in the center part of America. He’s in Chicago, Illinois, is I see Illinois sometimes because of Guys and Dolls. I think it’s a Guys and Dolls reference for me. They’re nicely nicely. He has a nicely written a bunch of books, he still had some You can check them out there for you the last thing on the Chicago thing because whenever I land in Chicago, and I have to pull my idea out, I go, they see Aparicio and they’re like, are you It’s the one place I go, we’re like that that cache happens. Love you.

Rick Telander  33:10


They show the love.

Nestor J. Aparicio  33:11

Especially on the south side, especially that not so much. Not so much you know, hair but always a midway. Louis or grandpa Louis was my cousin. Actually, he is now the olding oldest living Hall of Famer after we lost Willie Mays. Yes, this is true. I saw Bob Ryan tweeted that out like the minute it happened. Um, you know, I would say this for Chicago, and the gogo SOX and 59. And all that. Your life or what, what’s what’s the one for you having experienced all of them? That you would say is, if you would only write one column about one, there’ll be your last column? What What was the defining moment for all that you covered there?

Rick Telander  33:51

Sports and we just sports in Chicago? Sport? You know, actually, I think the most magical one or two is the Super Bowl bears with all those characters from Jim McMahon to Steve McMichael, who’s going in to the Hall of Fame, and he’s been immobile for years. But the Michael Jordan era in basketball is what really was an exposure to celebrity. Dom, if you will, of an athlete who plays a sport who transcends the sport people flocked to him in an almost worst attempt as if it were something you know, other worldly. And that to me, I guess there have been other athletes kind of like that, but I’ve never seen anything like the way Michael Jordan changed everything through it from the 80s into the late 90s. And you know, before

Nestor J. Aparicio  34:45

you play baseball, of course you did, right.


Rick Telander  34:48

I never went down to Birmingham. I did not I saw a video that I did not go to any minor league games. I’ve watched a lot of video of it and stuff. And fact is he was not a bad ballplayer. I mean, because he’s such a great actor. again played in, I don’t know, 15 years, something like that 20 years, whatever it was. And, you know, some baseball scouts say if he’d stuck with it, maybe a couple more years, he would have been a year or two he would have been a major leaguer. You know, he hit, he hit over a little over 200 I think and he had, I don’t know how 50 RBIs whatever. I mean, it wasn’t like a guy who was out there who’s, you know, some truck driver walks in said, hey, I want to play baseball. But I always thought I would have taken him if he wanted to try a different sport, I would could have made him the greatest beach volleyball player ever, I think, or I would have this is a key one with size of his hands, a link to his arms, his jumping ability, his strength. Overall, I would have made him the 50 meter freestyle champ of the world. Well,

Nestor J. Aparicio  35:46

I think he could okay on it in his own way. But, you know, for Chicago to have these sort of larger than life figures, whether it’s Ernie Banks or Ryan Sandberg, you bring him up, you know, all these years later, you know, in Baltimore’s case of the old call to Lenny Moore and Johnny Unitas, but Brooks to Cal and Palmer to even Ray Lewis here, you know, in his saga and his story, I mean, just incredibly rich stories that follow, and tragedies in lots of cases, right? I mean, Jordan’s dad, all of that, you know, he’s as compelling a figure as we’ve had the side of ollie or Tiger Woods in our culture over the last 50 years.

Rick Telander  36:30

Yeah, you know, you mentioned the, it was interesting to hear you say, what, what my topics were for the last like 5678 columns. I mean, basically, I covered the world, all those different things, you know, the deaths of being honored, corruption, all these things that they all come filtered through the world of sport, and personalities do that’s one thing that I think is key, having seen having covered sports for now. 50 years, little over 50 years, I’m going oh, boy, the athletes are still roughly the same. All the trappings around them are confusing to them, and sometimes seemed like their false dreams, they may want to do this, or they may, you know, be involved in that. Or there may be guys who are bad guys, good guys. But the athletes, the star athletes, the ones who have made it, from hockey, to baseball, to even to basketball, to kind of hold the same person inside, you get to meet him and you realize this is just a guy, or, you know, now we’re covering the sky. These are just women. The women I think are different because they are coming out of a world where they didn’t have sports for many years, different different ideas. So it takes different different kind of women to be a pro athlete. Men are just guys who went to high school with who happen to be better than you more dedicated than you and grew to a certain size or had some freakish ability, jumping ability. The ability to shoot like Steph Curry, being able to throw 100 mile an hour pitch, but other than that they’re guiding could be to your neighbor. Now the women who are in this, they’ve been kind of like outcasts for so long to be a woman like Caitlyn Clark, and to shoot baskets and play basketball for two hours a day. That’s weird. It’s getting more normal but for a guy to do it, we all know 1000s of guys ain’t got half the guys I know

Nestor J. Aparicio  38:22


women could never get rich doing it. Tennis golf may be right there were a couple of niche where they could make money soccer maybe 30 years ago but not really any money. I mean, nobody’s getting rich doing that. I mean, Rick I’m in Baltimore I always always saying here that the one of the biggest barriers for the Orioles to ever be great again or be that thing here again. All we did was play baseball kids who play lacrosse now, this is a lacrosse community. Baltimore, Maryland isn’t

Rick Telander  38:49

sure and all that. Oh, yeah. And girls

Nestor J. Aparicio  38:53

played lacrosse here. But lacrosse was always the thing where yeah, you might get a scholarship and you’ll meet the right people in the blue blood community. You’ll get a job as a banker, financier. Or, you know, whatever that vocation would be. Because it was all white all rich all all prep school, prep school, all of that right. So but but you were never gonna like if you could play baseball, you could go make a lot of money playing baseball. There was always that and and they you know, I guess for kids now they’re all specialized. They pick one sport, that’s all they do. I’m sure you’re a great athlete, but I’m sure football was not all you did

Rick Telander  39:28

know and playing everything is so helpful. I went from, you know, football to track ran track played basketball. In the summer. You know, I swam, I was on YMCA, swimming teams. I mean, I would play any sport anytime. And we didn’t have to specialize because we didn’t have all these AAU teams. And I feel sorry for parents because they’ll see their child has talent. Say it’s in tennis. We know about tennis. That’s all you do. Drove people crazy. Like, you know, Agassi. He just made him nuts. So any of the tennis guys are just focused on the


Nestor J. Aparicio  40:02

same thing we hear about the gymnastics and the awfulness of just all of it. But the machinery that makes you a champion, whatever champion is,

Rick Telander  40:11

it’s hard and the parents want their kid to be the best. And they realize, they think, Well, I gotta get on this travel team. Now, maybe we should go to this state and play in this tournament, maybe we need a private coach, all these things. You don’t want to shortchange your child, but in a way you are by not letting them become a fully fledged person. But uh, you know, if you don’t focus completely on basketball, at some point, you probably won’t ever have a chance to play division one basketball, or God forbid, make it to the NBA. So you have to make a decision. I’ve often said that great sports town is a curse to be really talented as well. That’s that’s not a great thing, because you know, what your life has to be. And if you don’t make it, you’re seen as a failure and you feel like a failure. I remember playing college football and guys who quit maybe they’re, you know, they’re on scholarship, but they just couldn’t take it anymore. Something about they just didn’t want to play, they’re getting injured, and they’d go home. And it was horrible to go back to their hometown. Tell everybody No, I don’t play college football anymore. Just heartbreak

Nestor J. Aparicio  41:17

seen that a lot in hockey and alcoholism. There’s a real huge trend you know, you know of that. And even what you mentioned about being special one of the first things I noticed being around Cal Ripken when I was young, and he was a star was, it’s heavy. It’s you know, it’s, it’s just a lot going on there. And you give a lot of weight with your family, your wife and all of that. And the Michael Jackson part of it, you know what I mean? Sort of the really weird part of how freakish Tiger Woods is real life is really played out with all the money, all the fame, I get off air and alpha aircraft in Asia. And there’s Tiger Woods. I mean, we’re talking famous, famous, famous, and thinking, I don’t know, I may have had a happier life than him, you when all of a sudden,

Rick Telander  42:02


it’s not a professional athlete, it’s not a pleasant life, they have to be narcissists, they have to think about themselves. God helped their families, because first of all, you might have to move or your husband is gone for half a year or more traded to Detroit created you got spring ball, you get a winter ball, you’ve got everything. And they have to always be thinking about their game and about themselves. How do I feel how’s my elbow feel, you know, am I is my are my lungs as good as they should be? Maybe I should take 50 More slap shots. You know, if I’m a wide receiver, can I get that JUGS Machine I’m just going to catch more and more punts and passes. One more, little more exercise. And it’s not a fun life, we only see the player out in the you know, center field of the green grass, and it just looks wonderful playing catch and all that, that that guy is one game away from being sent down to the minors and maybe being done with his sport forever. And that’s an incredible pressure. And meanwhile, a lot of kids would all they do is dream of being that person. And I’m not sure they know what it really takes to be that person and like you said, not necessarily happy life. Right

Nestor J. Aparicio  43:13

calendar has been a friend and confidant of mine for going on three decades. He is a real columnist, and remains as such five decades later, at the Chicago Sun Times the Cubs coming to town have given me great ideas. I couldn’t call Chet Copic some old friends of mine have left us and

Rick Telander  43:33

God rest in peace. Yep. Chad

Nestor J. Aparicio  43:35

was a legend and I had a chance to work with him when I was at at Sporting News and so many people out there were good to me and, and I really appreciate anytime the young old timers like you make a little time to come on here and teach these young kids some wisdom. We appreciate


Rick Telander  43:49

what I did. Young kids are ruining everything. Get off

Nestor J. Aparicio  43:53

my lawn for crying out loud. Get a life kids, what keeps you busy and what keeps you happy these days in real life.

Rick Telander  43:59

I’m still writing and as you can see, I’ve got I read books I read constantly. Kind of other things, but my band is still playing. We got a gig coming up. We got to have him practice tonight. Because we got to remember all these old songs that we played COVID really did a number on us you know like for everything shut down. We’re like, you know party wedding bar band, but it’s just fun. Do that. You know, I love riding around we’ve got to ride my bike around. We My family has a cabin up on the Upper Peninsula Michigan on Lake Superior which is like the middle of you know, forest that has nothing

Nestor J. Aparicio  44:36


no mosquitoes there at all

Rick Telander  44:38

though right? Oh, no, no, no. It’s an obvious given mosquitoes have ticks on them that there was blood. out in August. Yeah.

Nestor J. Aparicio  44:46

pilex places up at like International Falls in northern Minnesota. He swears that they’re mosquitoes my size. He said that.

Rick Telander  44:54

They’re closely a couple of them could carry your weight so escaped bird of Michigan.


Nestor J. Aparicio  45:00

Rick take care of yourself. Stay you know enjoy all the one or two weeks of summer that you get there in Chicago. I know global warming may give you a month now all I remember about Chicago in the four years I was out there freezing my ass off and sitting in traffic a bad cellphone service. That’s all I remember.

Rick Telander  45:15

Okay. Yeah, it’s not weather forecast says it’s not supposed to snow today. So I think I’ll be okay. Well, it

Nestor J. Aparicio  45:21

is July. Well, love you appreciate you Rick telander Chicago Sun Times. Joining us here. It’s summertime. We’re extending our conversation to have it’s fun around here talking about columns and columnist and Orioles and the redemption of the birds here in Birdland and all star. I am Nestor. We are wn St. Am 1570 towns to Baltimore. And we never stop talking Baltimore positive

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