The Bears Looking for a "Sod-mother"...

The controversy surrounding the slippery sod at Soldier Field isn't on solid footing behind the scenes. As Bears' and Chicago Park District bigwigs bicker about how best to maintain the field, my football feelers are telling me that for more than a year, the Bears have been quietly courting Oprah Winfrey and her mega-bucks bank account to spring for a new, high-tech FieldTurf surface for the stadium. Bears owner Virginia McCaskey ? a long-time Oprah fan ? called the talk show queen personally and asked for the "dirty" donation. McCaskey thought it would be a "nice gift" to the city from Oprah, as she left Chicago after shutting down her daily chatfest. I'm told Oprah was considering the deal, but with one demand ? rather than the Chicago Bears' "C" logo painted on the field at the 50-yard line, Oprah wanted her trademark "O" insignia there instead. I "over-Snerd" the Bears were open to the idea, but NFL officials nixed it, so it looks like the Bears will remain stuck in the mud at Soldier. "O" well? "Captain" Burke Plays Pirate No, your eyes weren't playing tricks on you at Navy Pier last week when the majestic "Tall Ships" docked and sailed around our beautiful lakefront. The vintage ships weren't the only sight to behold. I've "over-Snerd" Alderman Edward Burke was seen "captaining" one of the tall ships, dressed in complete pirate garb. Looking like a dapper Captain Jack Sparrow from "Pirates Of The Caribbean," the natty lawmaker, known for his pricey suits, stylish hats, starched shirts, and flashy ties, boasted a black pirate hat (complete with a skull and cross bones on the front), black boots, classic swashbuckler pants and shirt, and yep, even a patch over one eye (while still wearing his glasses). A smiling Burke told someone who recognized him on board, "I've always wanted to be a pirate, they ruled the seas!" Funny, many think the powerful Burke has been "pirating" the city for years. Just wondering, Did Captain Hook ever have bodyguards? "Rhapsody In Rap" for United? Chicago-based airline heavyweight, United Airlines, is undertaking an extensive new branding strategy. The company may be considering dropping using the George Gershwin soaring anthem, "Rhapsody In Blue," as its official theme, which has been used for almost 20 years in TV commercials and is played throughout the United airport terminals. Many in the company are pushing to inject a hipper, more youthful image into the "new" airline, and my airline sources tell me a few United marketing people have approached rapping royalty, Jay-Z and Kanye West, to write a new theme for the airline. Coming off the success of their latest joint venture, "Watch The Throne," the two have composed a beat-heavy rap theme for United titled, "Get Your Ass On Da Plane." No word if United is ready to take a such a drastic image change ? especially when more conservative leaders in the company are leaning to having Donny & Marie Osmond singing a version of "Leaving On A Jet Plane." Moo & Oink Heading To North Side? With the news that the legendary Chicago grocery chain, Moo & Oink, a staple on the South and West sides, might possibly be going out of business, I'm hearing the store's popular mascots -- a cool cow and a perky pink pig ? may already be in great demand. I've "over-Snerd" that the Chicago Cubs are secretly considering bringing Moo & Oink to Wrigley Field as the team's official mascots in an effort to heighten its appeal to African-American fans and help fill the empty seats that have been more evident at Wrigley Field this season. Said a source close to the Cubs, "The Cubs don't have any official mascots, and team honchos feel Moo & Oink might be the perfect bridge to convince more African-Americans to check out Wrigley. It also would be a little jab at their cross-town rivals, the White Sox, by bringing in these two iconic South Side characters and have them cheer for the Cubbies." Team president Tom Ricketts is reportedly excited by the hope of seeing Moo & Oink wearing Cubbie blue sometime soon. When contacted by Snerd, neither Moo nor Oink would comment for the record, but Moo has been spotted partying recently at The Cubby Bear on Clark and Addison?
Tiger Charting A New Course? Tiger Woods and his disastrous comeback from both health and headline-making personal problems peaked with his missing the cut at the recent PGA Championship. My golf groupies are giddy with the gossip that one of Tiger's best friends on and off the course, basketball great Michael Jordan, is giving this toothless Tiger some sage advice. It seems Michael has suggested that Tiger take a year off from golf and give up his putter and driver for ? wait for it ? a baseball bat and glove! Yep, Michael believes that Tiger needs to refuel his engine and re-focus just like "His Airness" did back in 1993 when he briefly "retired" and played minor league baseball with the Chicago White Sox. I've "over-Snerd" that Michael has already approached White Sox owner, Jerry Reinsdorf, with the idea, and the team may be willing to give Tiger a try-out to see if he can hit a ball that is thrown at 90 miles an hour rather than sitting on a tee. According to White Sox sources, "We'd certainly be interested in seeing Tiger in a White Sox uniform if he's interested. He's a world-class athlete, and after all, both golf and baseball is basically hitting a ball with a stick, so we'd love to get him in the batting cage and see what he can do." I'm also hearting that Nike is already designing a special "Tiger Woods/White Sox cap," and the Louisville Slugger people are preparing for the Tiger Woods autographed bat. Who cares if he can hit?can he sell merch?
Zambrano Zips For A Burger When the Cubs' hotheaded hurler Carlos Zambrano abruptly cleared out his locker, left the stadium, and "retired" during last Friday's game in Atlanta after getting pounded for five home runs by the Braves, team officials had no idea where the crazed Cubbie went. But my Georgia peaches had their eyes open and are reporting that the dejected Zambrano was seen drowning his sorrows later that night at the Atlanta hot spot, The Buckhead Diner. Carlos downed three of the ultra-hip eatery's signature hamburgers and two orders of their famous Warm Maytag Blue Cheese potato chips. Hey, even a hot tempered, out of control baseball player's gotta eat?.
Snerdlings...
Not celebrating a birthday anymore: Actor who appeared in "Platoon" and various TV appearances, Francesco Quinn, son of Hollywood legend Anthony Quinn, 48; breathless. Until next time, keep venting!