J.A. Adande on Jordan’s baseball career, effects of sports shutdown
Former ESPN journalist and current Director of Sports Journalism at Northwestern University, J.A. Adande joined Bruce Levine and host Cole Wright on Cubs 360 Daily to reflect about when Adande covered Michael Jordan in his baseball career as well as his thoughts on the effects of sports being shutdown.
Back in the 1990s, Adande worked at the Chicago Sun-Times from 1993-1994. He explained how he found out the news that Jordan had retired and went to pursue a career in baseball.
“I was watching the (White) Sox game on mute when he throws out the first pitch,” Adande recalled. “Then they keep showing him in the owner’s box and I’m thinking ‘Why are they showing Michael Jordan? He threw out the first pitch. We get it. Michael Jordan is at the game.’ The next day I wake up and I open up my door and the newspaper says ‘Say it ain’t so. Michael Jordan to announce retirement today.'”
Adande went on to recount when he went on assignment while working at the Washington Post to cover Jordan with the White Sox Double-A affiliate Birmingham Barons.
“Just to be in a minor league baseball stadium in Hoover, Ala., outside of Birmingham, and see Michael Jordan; the greatest basketball player ever in the outfield for the Birmingham Barons (in) Double-A was just surreal,” Adande said.
With ESPN’s 10-part documentary The Last Dance over on Sunday, society seems to miss live sporting events during this COVID-19 pandemic. Adande believed that we’re seeing the economic value of sports.
“You think about all the people that work at the stadiums, the restaurants and bars that surround the stadiums, Wrigleyville in particular as much if not more than any other stadium locale in the country,” Adande said. “The micro-economy is so driven by those 81 Cubs home games. I feel like it’s been a minor economic value of sports that it is the entertainment value of sports.”
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