South Bend Cubs Attendance

By Erin McAuliffe

The South Bend Cubs were known as the South Bend Silver Hawks until 2014. The rebranding efforts to align the team with the Chicago Cubs, its major league affiliate, were initiated by Andrew Berlin, who bought the team in 2011.

Berlin has spent $8 million since 2011 to renovate Four Winds Field. He upgraded seating and added a new team store, along with family-friendly stadium additions like a playground, waterpark and Kid’s Fun Zone.

The efforts have paid off — stadium attendance has more than tripled since 2011. The ticket sales in 2015, seen in the chart, set franchise records for the best single-season attendance. Also, a record amount of Indiana state sales tax was collected via the concessions and merchandise sold in the stadium in 2015, money that was retained to benefit the City of South Bend. The team was even named Ballpark Digest’s Team of the Year in 2015.

Team President Joe Hart, who joined the Cubs in 2012, spoke about the award with the Ballpark Digest: “South Bend is a great baseball community and the last four years have been very rewarding as we have worked hard to rebuild the franchise. We have a great owner that has a passion for baseball and deep commitment to city of South Bend and the region. This would not be possible without an experienced front office staff that believes in customer service and providing a first-class experience for our fans each and every night.”

You can view an interactive version of the SB Cubs attendance chart here.




Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines: the recency effect on future effects



Keystone vs. Dakota Access Pipeline

In November 2014, Senate Democrats stopped legislation that would have allowed 1,200 miles of final construction on the Keystone XL pipeline. The pipeline became a contentious topic in 2011 after environmentalists groups and the oil industry saw it as a battle between climate change complacency and employment opportunities. Obama vetoed the bill in Feb. 2015, however, this month’s inauguration has the Keystone XL pipeline back in the news.

On Tuesday, Jan. 24 President Trump signed executive orders to revive the Keystone XL Pipeline alongside the Dakota Access Pipeline, another environmentally contentious pipeline that Obama took steps toward defeating.

Google searches related to the two pipelines show a larger spike in Keystone Pipeline searches after the executive orders. The reason for the discrepancy accounts for the recency effect of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests and headlining support for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe from celebrities like Shailene Woodley and Pharrell Williams. The pipeline’s current route is set a half-mile from the Sioux reservation’s water supply, raising contamination concerns.

The largest spike in Dakota Access Pipeline searches came between Dec. 4 and Dec. 10, Obama and the Department of the Army refused the final $3.7 billion for the project on Dec. 4. Instead they announced an Environmental Impact Statement to explore alternative routes and consider consequences of the pipeline.

It remains to be seen how the Army will conduct the EIS in light of President Trump’s executive orders.

Keystone XL vs. Dakota Access Pipeline

Do bands profit from members’ solo work? A look at Speedy Ortiz & Sadie Dupuis



Speedy Ortiz, Sadie Dupuis, Sad13

You’d assume the popularity of a band and its lead singer to be positively correlated — interest in the band leads to interest in the lead singer. However, a look into Google searches for punk-rock band Speedy Ortiz and lead-singer Sadie Dupuis show that when interest in one spikes, interest in the other drops.

Sadie Dupuis has fronted Speedy Ortiz since 2011, but she recently released her first solo album. A look into searches for the band and the solo artist show a steady increase in Dupuis’s searches until she surges past the band on Aug. 23 — the day she announced her upcoming solo album and released her single “Get A Yes.” This is also the peak of search results for her name, which makes sense as she announced that she’d release her album under the moniker Sad13, splitting search results after that date.

Search results for Dupuis also surged around her Sep. 22 “<2” music video release and other pre-album track release “Hype” on Oct. 25.

“Slugger” was released on Nov. 11, by this point fans were familiar with and searching her Sad13 moniker more frequently than her full name. Sad13 was trending at 2x the rate of Sadie Dupuis or Speedy Ortiz in Google searches on Nov. 14 and beyond.

Although Dupuis’s solo work peaked intrigue into Speedy Ortiz tangentially, the band had higher search results on days Sadie Dupuis returned lower — pointing to fans consuming the two discographies separately rather than together. Dupuis told Fader that her label advised Speedy Ortiz not to release music this year and risk possible fan fatigue. The theory will be tested upon Speedy Ortiz’s next release — did Sad13 attract new fans to the breadth of Sadie Dupuis’s work or will her band become obsolete?

Sadie Dupuis vs. Speedy Ortiz vs. Sad13

Practice post


Gov. Quinn photo

Gov. Pat Quinn talks about MAP grants at DePaul University. (Photo by Josclynn Brandon)

Editor’s note: This story was originally posted on Dec. 12, 2012 and is housed at

 By Bob Smith

Gov. Pat Quinn visited DePaul University’s Loop campus on Wednesday to discuss how pension reform is harming the Monetary Award Program (MAP) college scholarships and access to higher education in Illinois.

“This is so important to our state, not only in the past, but certainly now and in the future,” Quinn said.

“We want everyone to have the opportunity to go to college that has the ability to go to college.”

MAP grants are need-based college scholarships that allow merit students who are in need across the state and do not need to be repaid by the student. Quinn said that due to cutbacks and having to pay more money in the pension amount, almost 18,000 students lost their MAP grant scholarships this year.

“We do not want anyone denied that opportunity because of finances,” Quinn said. “We can’t afford to lose all the talent that exists, all the ability that exists for higher education to help our economy and to help all of us, because there are financial challenges that deny someone the opportunity to go to community college or a four-year university — public and private — in our state.”

Quinn was joined by several Illinois college students, including DePaul Student Government Association Vice President Casey Clemmons.

“Every year over 5,000 DePaul students receive MAP grants, and just like the students who have already spoken here today, all of these DePaul students rely on this funding in order to continue their college careers,” Clemmons said.

“Because the number of Illinois students eligible to receive MAP is currently increasing, existing funding does not allow the state to assist all the eligible students. As a result, without action by the Illinois state leadership, more DePaul students than ever will see their MAP funding disappear this year and more

DePaul students than ever will be forced to give up their education due to finances.”

More than 150,000 students nationally receive MAP grants each year.

Clemmons told the audience that on Tuesday, DePaul’s SGA unanimously passed a resolution calling on the Illinois general assembly and the governor to ensure the longevity of the MAP program.  He read the resolution aloud and presented a copy to Quinn. 

Ken Thomas, a University of Illinois Board of Trustees student member, MAP recipient and University of Illinois Chicago student, told how he wouldn’t be where he is today if it wasn’t for the MAP grant.

“My mom, when I was in high school, had to work two jobs just to keep food on the table,” Thomas said, “and if we didn’t have [the] MAP program like we do today, I know that I wouldn’t be where I am today; graduating with a degree, hoping to be a productive member of society.” 

Having a productive and functioning society and economy is what Quinn says it’s all about.

“Jobs follow brainpower,” he said. “We want to make sure we have smart people in Illinois. Well skilled, well-educated students coming out of college with graduate degrees and diplomas so they can create jobs, create new businesses,” he said. “Our goal in Illinois is to have at least 60 percent of the adults in our state with a college degree or college associate degree or career certificate by the year 2025. In order to achieve we have to make sure we have a good scholarship program.”

Clemmons said that in order for that to happen, state legislatures need to reflect upon the question, “What must be done?” and do what’s required.