Jamie Moyer made his major league debut with the Chicago Cubs when Ronald Reagan was President, and after a close to career ending elbow injury, became oldest pitcher in MLB history to win a game at the age of 49 four years ago. During this segment on Focus, Moyer tells Jeff Bossert about why he returned to the game. He also tells Bossert about his relationship with his late mentor and friend Harvey Dorfman.
Over the course of the last few decades, Major League Baseball salaries have increased substantially, and sought after players have much more bargaining power today than they did a generation ago. During this hour on Focus, host Jeff Bossert talks with Daniel Gilbert about his new book Expanding the Strike Zone: Baseball in the Age of Free Agency. We’ll examine baseball’s growing global influence and how the labor struggles within professional resonate throughout our society.
Gilbert is an Assistant Professor of Labor and Employment Relations at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is also a Red Sox fan. Don’t hold that against him.
Almost 25 years ago, Eastern Illinois Head Football Coach Dino Babers got his start coaching as a running backs coach at EIU. More than two decades later, he’s back as head coach and looks like he’s on track to lead the Panthers to their second run at the FCS Bowl playoffs in two years. For the first half of this hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Babers about his approach to coaching, the pressure placed on student athletes and his strategy as the team approaches the back half of their schedule for this season.
Then, in the second half of this hour on Focus, Meadows talks with Sheldon Turner. Turner grew up on the East side of St. Louis and says if he wouldn’t have had the mentors he did, he wouldn’t be where he is today. We’ll hear from Turner about Champaign School Districts “Operation Hope” program and about why Turner thinks athletics are so important to character building. Turner was recently named "man of the year" by Central Illinois Busniess.
Tatyana McFadden and IntelliWheels Marissa Siebel and Josh George on engineering a better wheelchair
Sunday, Tatyana McFadden won the Chicago Marathon breaking a course record and becoming the first wheelchair athlete to win three major marathons in a year. In less than three weeks, McFadden will compete for a fourth title at the ING New York City Marathon. During this hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Tatyana about why she’s fond of marathons, how she’s preparing for her upcoming race in New York and where she keeps her race medals. McFadden was born in Russia and spent the first 6 years of her life walking on her hands in an orphanage. During this interview, we also hear from her about how that has contributed to the upper-body strength vital to her racing success.
Then in the second half of the program, Meadows talks with IntelliWheels’ Marissa Siebel and Josh George about mobility and innovation. Currently, the company makes geared wheelchair wheels that make it easier for people with less upper body strength to get around, but recently they have been working on prototypes for more active users. George, who took third place this past weekend in the men’s wheelchair division of the Chicago Marathon, is an athlete in residence for IntelliWheels and will test them when they’re ready.
The long term effects of multiple concussions in NFL football players has been increasingly reported by the media, especially after a $765 million settlement between the NFL and its former players this summer. But concussions have serious risks at all level of play.
Doug Glanville, former major league baseball player, was the first Ivy League educated player to play in the MLB, and authored the book “Inside Baseball: The Game From Where I Stand” to shed light on some of challenges unique to playing professional baseball. This hour on Focus, we’ll listen back to a conversation Jeff Bossert had with him in 2011.
Early in the 20th century, acrobats, specifically trapeze artists, would winter in Bloomington-Normal to practice in empty mills and empty buildings with high ceilings. This hour on Focus, Lindsey Moon talks with Marcus Alouan, director of the Gamma Phi Circus at Illinois State University, about how those performers sparked a circus movement in Bloomington-Normal. We’ll learn more about Gamma Phi Circus, one of the oldest and one of the only collegiate circuses in the country and will hear about the circus camps the university sponsors to keep the circus tradition alive.
Then during the second part of the hour, we’ll listen back to a conversation Lindsey had with Duncan Wall. With no prior circus, dance or tumbling experience, Wall spent a year studying circus in Paris, France on a Fullbright scholarship and wrote a book about the experience and circus history called “The Ordinary Acrobat: A Journey Into the Wondrous World of the Circus Past and Present.”
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign grad, PADI divemaster and US Paralympian Ryan Chalmers has pushed himself nearly 3,000 miles over the course of the last few months in his racing wheelchair, journeying the length of three to four full length marathons every day. In a campaign he called “Push Across America,” Ryan traveled from Los Angeles, California to Central Park in New York City to raise awareness and money for programs to benefit people with disabilities. To start this hour of Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Chalmers about the trek now that he has finished his journey. Then, we’ll listen back to Jim’s interview with Ryan when he came through Champaign-Urbana in the middle of his push in late May.
(Pictured right: Ryan and his team push into Champaign May 22. Photo credit: Parker Feierbach)
“It’s a home run,” has become an expression many Americans use every day to describe success, even outside the world of baseball. But, have you ever wondered why? This hour on Focus, Jeff Bossert talks with Eldon Ham about America’s obsession with the home run and what sparked the development of the long ball in baseball. Ham tells us about how the home run became a fixture in the MLB by accident, and we’ll remember Babe Ruth’s historic sixty-homer season in 1927.
With several big hitters in the MLB being accused recently of more steroid use, we’ll also talk with Ham about how the homerun is connected to an era of professional doping.
Are you a baseball fan? Do you have a story about an epic home run? We want to hear from you this hour on Focus!
Jane Brody is known for her writing on health, wellness and end of life preparation and care. Her Personal Health column in the New York Times is syndicated across the country and new every Tuesday. For the first half of this hour on Focus, Jim Meadows talks with Brody about her writing and career. She’ll be speaking at the UIUC Monday, April 29.
During the second half of this hour, Jim talks with Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to register for and run the Boston Marathon with a bib number. She’ll be in Champaign-Urbana for the Illinois Marathon. We’ll talk with her about her relationship with marathoning, the recent tragedy in Boston, and the famous photo of the 1967 Boston Marathon Race Commissioner trying to drag her from the race course.