OFF BEAT

OFFBEAT: Chicago Cubs Valpo name Jeff Samardzija has media buzzing

2014-04-29T00:00:00Z OFFBEAT: Chicago Cubs Valpo name Jeff Samardzija has media buzzingBy Philip Potempa philip.potempa@nwi.com, (219) 852-4327 nwitimes.com

Valparaiso's Jeff Samardzija, a 2003 graduate of VHS who played football and baseball as a Viking and did the same at Notre Dame, has many speculating this week about future moves.

The pitcher with The Chicago Cubs, who is 29, is in the waning phase of his contract.

And over the weekend, some tongue wagging from his former teammate Matt Garza, who left for the Texas Rangers, to assembled sports reporters has only added fuel to rumors and speculation.

(Garza, 30, was traded last season after nearly three years with the Cubs).

As for Samardzija, he hasn't been able to nail a long-term deal with the Cubs, but netted a one-year $5.345 million deal.

Here's the tone of what the Associated Press Wire Service has to say: "Samardzija is winless in five starts this season despite pitching to a 1.53 ERA for the Cubs, who entered play Sunday with a 7-16 record -- the second-worst mark in the majors."

His father Sam Samardzija, who still lives in Valparaiso, was a semi-pro hockey player, and older brother Sam Samardzija Jr. was an All State football and baseball player who attended Indiana University and now works as a sports agent in Major League Baseball.

Remember, Samardzija's storied start with the Cubs includes that fateful day on July 25, 2008, when he was called up to join the bullpen to replace Kerry Wood, who was placed on the disabled list. (While former Cub Sammy Sosa, 45, lamented to the media last week that he wasn't invited to the 100th Birthday Celebration of Wrigley Field, Wood, 36, was also strangely absent from Wednesday's festivities).

Samardzija, who is proud of his Serbian and Native American heritage, is close to his family.

However, last month, Chicago freelance writer Bob Goldsborough reported via Chicago Tribune Media outlets that: "Jeff Samardzija has listed his three-bedroom, 2,500-square-foot condominium in the Southport corridor of Lakeview for nearly $700,000" and that he "bought the condo in 2008 for $710,000."

While Goldsborough said listing agent Kieran Conlon of Conlon: A Real Estate Co. "declined to comment," he described the condo as constructed in 1996, with "an open floor plan, cathedral ceilings, a wood-burning fireplace and a whole-home audiovisual system."

Greeley's great space

While on the subject of Goldsborough's real estate rumblings, he also reported the two-bedroom, 2,200-square-foot corner-unit condo of the late Rev. Andrew Greeley on the 47th floor in Chicago's skyline focal point John Hancock Building, has been sold for $515,000. While at Rev. Greeley's funeral visitation last May, following his death at age 85, his niece Laura Durkin told me he had resided at his condo with around-the-clock care until his passing. She said he had purchased it in the 1980s and it was in this space where he wrote many of his noted tomes.

I found it interesting that writer Goldsborough, in his written piece, described Greeley's nest as created "from combined two units, included south and west views and two baths" and that it "needed updating."

He quoted listing agent Kevin Cibula of Conlon: A Real Estate Co. as saying:"It had a nice open floor plan but needed to be reconfigured to today's living standards."

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at philip.potempa@nwi.com or (219) 852-4327.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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