A night at the circus with the WGN softball team
CHICAGO — WGN-TV hasn’t broadcast a baseball game since 2019, and the beloved Bozo Show has been off the air for more than two decades.
But the legacies of both live on at Channel 9, sort of.
WGN-TV fields a 16-inch softball team, nicknamed “The Bozos” in the Chicago Media League.
“I think the fact that we’re called the Bozos, is the perfect name for us,” said Katharin Czink, a WGN News producer.
The team is composed of all WGN employees, according to team manager Scott Bennett, who is a television promotions writer and producer. “I have to beg borrow and steal to get people here,” Bennett said.
The co-ed league features competition in classic Chicago-style 16-inch softball, a sport where no mitts are allowed.
“You get a little competitive even though you know it’s an intramural game, it’s supposed to be fun,” said Ted Parra, a WGN News photographer. “But then the competitive juices start coming out.”
On a recent night, the team competed in the first round of the playoffs, a 7-inning battle between the Onion, the popular satirical newspaper, at Mozart Park in Logan Square.
“This is the playoffs: one and done,” said Robert Owens, an Onion team member. “You win or go home, and we’re not trying to go home.”
It was a see-saw game, with the score tied at 7-7 in the 6th inning, but the Bozos managed to add three runs and held the Onion scoreless the rest of the way, for a 10-7 victory.
“’What’s the Onion headline, ‘Distinguished journalists lose to a bunch of clowns?’,” asked Mike Lowe, a WGN reporter.
“That pretty much nails it,” said Lauren Moser, a senior editor for the Onion.
It wasn’t the Grand Prize Game, but it was a chance to keep the season alive for one more week. “I’m not sure who we face, but it’s definitely going to be a better team than us. So, it’s an uphill battle,” said Bennett.
“We are a bunch of bozos,” Parra added. “I mean what do you want?”
The Bozos next game is against WGN Radio, on Monday Sept. 12.
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