Posts Tagged ‘Bears’

Weekend Roundup

Posted: January 28, 2013 by Mauricio Rubio Jr. in Sports
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The Blackhawks are off to the best start in franchise history Nick Leddy scored an OT goal to push the Blackhawks to 6-0-0 with the 10-0-0 Maple Leafs firmly in sight. 

Bulls lose to the Wizards – The Bulls front court got eaten up in an ugly loss to the Wizards, who are suddenly hot after an atrocious start. They were of course Wall-less for the first half of the season, but the Wiz have managed to beat the Heat, the Bulls, and the Thunder. 

Oh, and everyone is still waiting for Derrick Rose.

Paul Konerko shaved his goatee – Please note that all beards are to be flown at half mast until the start of the season in remembrance of PK’s tremendous goatee. He looks so wrong without one.

Image

I just can’t.

Dave Sappelt made some unfortunate comments on twitter – They’ve been deleted, but here’s the recap.

The Pro Bowl was on? – Some stuff happened and here’s a happy fun time article about it.

Go forth and attack the day:

Urlacher could miss the rest of the season – A hamstring injury could cut Urlacher’s season short and there’s the very real possibility that he has played his last game as a Chicago Bear. There is no clear replacement on the current team either. Awful news. – via Suntimes.com

Derrick Rose is running and stuffz  PLEASE DON’T GET MORE HURT – via CBS Sports

Kevin Youkilis has several offers – Given the weakness of the 3B market this shouldn’t be too surprising. Yanks are kinda in, Phils, White Sox, and Indians are more serious contenders. – via Hardballtalk

In related news, the White Sox are looking at Keppinger – As one of their backup options should Youk sign elsewhere. – via MLBTR

Brewers, Demp, at a standstill – Dempster is looking for a third year in any contract and the Brewers are balking at it. – via MLBTR

 

 

by: Tony Leva
email: tonytrucker1969@gmail.com

Loaded for Bear – The Offense

Going into the 2012 season, there are grand expectations for Bears fans.  Grand, yet reachable.  The reasons for optimism are totally valid in this case.  For years, the team has been plagued by poor quarterbacking and substandard depth and quality at the WR corps.  This season, our franchise QB was given a legit group of weapons to play with. Marshall, Jeffery, Hester, Bennett and Token White Guy have a chance to do some damage.  Adding quality RB Michael Bush was a nice touch to compliment Forte.  It all going to come down to health and the play of the offensive line.  They don’t need to play at a Pro Bowl level, but they need to be competent.  Let’s break down the offense and see what’s what.

QB – Recent Bears history has been full of shitawful QBing. The backup spot never mattered more than this past season when Jay Cutler broke his thumb. A team that had legit Super Bowl hopes was suddenly as impotent as Jerry Sandusky’s wang in a Hooters with Caleb Hanie at the controls.  The very same Caleb Hanie who was championed by the idiot section of the fanbase after the 2011 NFC title game.  Remember those clueless jerkoffs?  Anyway, it was proven that Hanie was shit and he’s been replaced by a legitimate NFL QB in Jason Campbell.  In a similar situation, we’d have someone who could actually play the position now.  That’s a nice feeling.

Going with only two rostered QBs, the Bears are hoping for great health in this spot.  I’d love to see us get some breaks this year and give Cutler a shot at a healthy season.  This season could be special.  GRADE – A

RB – Let’s recap some recent history….Forte wants to get paid, turns down an offer that carried a $14M guarantee, comes to camp and gives away his leverage by showing up, plays at a Pro Bowl-level, gets hurt, wants even more money than he wanted before, looks like a whiny pud, watches the team sign Bush, feels like he may have fucked himself, ends up taking a solid deal to stay here.  Did I miss anything?

Forte and Bush should be about as solid a duo as there is in the league.  Both are solid vets who should compliment each other well.  Armando Allen should provide a nice scatback element to the offense.  Should be a fun group to watch.  GRADE – B+

O-Line – Ummmm, nothing to worry about, right?  I mean, once Gabe Carimi turns into an All-Pro, things will fall into place.  J’Marcus Webb will play like a young Orlando Pace, I’m sure!!  Things will be great!!

Yeah, let’s dial it back a notch.  For this unit to give the offense a chance to thrive, they’ll need one thing above all else….health.  If the starting five guys can stay together and jell a bit, they have a shot at being competent enough to give Jay 4 or 5 seconds on a consistent basis.  We need them to be mentally into it, not letting their minds wander and take penalty after bad penalty.  Competence would be acceptable at the moment.  I’ll believe it when I see it.  GRADE – D

Let’s Wreck Some Shit – The Defense

[youtube http://youtu.be/vGwUpM9QryU]

D-Line – This is, in my opinion, the very key to the defense this season.  In any defense, the pass rush makes or breaks it.  The team addressed this area with their first draft pick, DE Shea McClellin.  Many of us wanted an offensive lineman, but they went this way.  I’m willing to trust someone not named Jerry Angelo in his first draft making this pick.  If he realizes his role, he could give Pro Bowler Julius Peppers someone to take some of the pressure off.  The unit is depending on it’s depth to keep fresh players rotating in and eventually winning the late battles by doing so.  Phil Emery won’t get a pass if his hunch doesn’t pay off.  GRADE – B

Linebackers –  Brian Urlacher’s knee.  Do I need to say more?  I tend to think Urlacher will be healthy enough to start the season and make contributions to a unit that isn’t very deep.  As long as Lance Briggs is the best LB on the team, we’ll still be dangerous.  Urlacher’s knee won’t make or break the season, but a healthy knee will obviously be a tremendous piece of luck.  GRADE – B+

Defensive Backs – No other unit on the team is as dependent on another unit as the d-backs are dependent on the d-line to generate a consistent pass rush and limit the time these guys have to cover opposing WRs, some of which are goddamned monsters….Calvin Johnson, that crew from GB, etc.  Peanut Tillman has been a solid player but it seems he may be slipping a bit.  A hopefully resurgent Kelvin Hayden will provide some depth and experience to a unit that had issues last season.  DJ Moore and Tim Jennings seem to provide a spark at times.  I’d love to see this unit step it up and surprise the skeptics, myself included.  GRADE – C

Special Teams –  With the Greatest Kick Returner of all Time (G.K.R.o.a.T. from now on) back to playing at a Pro Bowl level, the team added former Pro Bowl special teams player Eric Weems and another ST ace in Blake Costanzo to an already unit.  There are few things one can count on in life and the Chicago Bears special teams units playing their asses off and making plays is among them.  Already the NFL record holder for career TD returns, the G.K.R.o.a.T. is as deadly a weapon in the open field as the game has ever seen.  He’s just a joy to watch.

[youtube http://youtu.be/HuCMb9FYyDA]

PK Robbie Gould is the 5th most accurate, by percentage, field goal kicker in NFL history.  He’s always a solid bet and seems to work hard on his game each season.  Having a kicker you don’t have to worry about it a pleasure.

As for the punting, Adam Podlesh and Ryan Quigley will be battling for the spot and doing a credible job of it.  I’m not worried about the punting as it is.  GRADE – A+

Coaching – Lovie is not always a great in-game coach.  I think he does a great job from Monday to Saturday, but he gets dumb somehow for 3 or 4 hours on game day, blowing time outs and challenges like they were free with every purchase at your local 7-11.  Lovie is almost in the same predicament as the o-line….he doesn’t need to be great, just don’t fuck up the easy, basic stuff and let your team win it for you.  I think the rest of the staff will do a good enough job to keep the ship on a straight course.  The schedule this season is filled with winnable games.  Lovie and Co. should be able to guide the squad to at least 9-10 wins, if not more with a good dose of luck and health.  GRADE – B

Outlook – Without a perfect team in the league, the Bears seem to have as good a shot as anyone to get hot near the end of the season, a la the 2010 Packers and the 2011 Giants, and make a serious run at the Super Bowl.  They were hitting their stride last season and have added to that bunch in hopes of sustaining that feeling and success.  The schedule coupled with health and luck could make for some really fun times this season for Bears fans.    Add in the fact that the NFC North is one of the best divisions in football with the dirty rat bastard Packers and the Lions both expected to make a run at the SB and there could be some dramatic football played down the stretch.  I’m going with an 11-5 record and a playoff berth for the team, with a legit shot at glory in attendance.  They’re going for it and should be rewarded.

[youtube http://youtu.be/67BR5zcPAFM]

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  • 00:05 – HORALE MANG!
  • 00:44 – Sad Girl
  • 01:15 – Propers
  • 02:50 – Weekend Round-Up
  • 04:35 – Tittlebrooks
  • 06:15 – Facebook Questions
  • 08:27 – Luke Gregorson knowledge
  • 21:04 – “It Begs The Question, What Kind Of Drugs Is AJ On?”
  • 22:00 – Sam Hurd, via Jared S. Hopkins
  • 24:24 – Chewing Tobacco Is The Devil
  • 27:10 – Breakage
  • 27:43 – Anybody Got A Wet-Nap?
  • 28:10 – Bears
  • 31:00 – Well That’s Professional/Texts From Mom
  • 36:46 – White Sox
  • 42:35 – Raul Goes All In
  • 45:40 – Cubs
  • 51:36 – “We Need To Sell This Shit.”
  • 53:22 – The Absolutely Worst Swear Word In The History Of The World
  • 57:10 – Canadian Can’t Go To Canada
  • 59:00 – Exit
  • 1:01:21 – Bye Bye

www.99sportsproblems.com @sportsproblems

by: Tony Leva
email: tonytrucker1969@gmail.com

White Sox fans…paging all Sox fans…..your team is wondering where the fuck you are…

78,127.  That’s how many people turned out for this week’s first-place White Sox series against the mighty, and also first-place, New York Yankees, a series the Sox ended up sweeping.  Read that number again, this time paired with the capacity….

78,127/121,845.   One more time, in bold.  And italics.

78,127/121,845.

That’s 64% of capacity for a series between two first place teams in late August (capacity at the Cellblock is 40,615).  Where the fuck where you people?  How could there have been no fan momentum in this series?  I can see the low turnout for the opener a bit.  The Sox had just gotten swept by Kansas City and the axe looked to be falling.  Many could be forgiven for deciding to come disguised as empty seats for the opener that drew 27,561 fans (67.9% full)  .  After the Sox pounded 4 homers in an exciting 9-6 win in the opener, surely there would be excitement for game two, right?  They’d draw 30,000, no problem, right?  It’s a cinch, surely.

Nope.

They drew a paltry 24,247 fans (59.7% full).  Less than 60% of that park was occupied on a beautiful summer night the night after a slugfest.  Okay, maybe Sox fans thought there was bound to be a letdown and decided to do meth or bang crack-whores or whatever it is that Sox fans do when they aren’t going to the park.   Fine.  But after game 2’s 7-3 Sox obliteration of the Yanks and the Sox going for the sweep with the A.L.’s best pitcher, Chris Sale, on the hill, you’d figure the place would be packed for game 3, right?  Well, maybe not packed, but maybe a great  turnout in the neighborhood of 35,000?  Well, okay, maybe 35K is a stretch.  Certainly they could expect to break the coveted 30K plateau?  Come on…..30,000 fans are going to come out, right?  Certainly it was to be true, right?

Nope.

A seriously laughable 26,319  souls turned out to witness Sale earn his 15th win and lead the team to a 2-1 win and series sweep.  Where the fuck was everyone?  I mean, this is the same group of “fans” that rip Cubs fans for going out to games even when we suck.  It’s all “NO WONDER YOUSE GUYS AINT NEVER WON NUTTIN!!  (takes huge hit off the glass dick, passes it to his dad)  DAT TEAM SUCKS AN DAT PARK IS A TOILET AN YOU’RE ALL GAY BECAUSE BOYSTOWN IS DOWN THE STREET!!!  (exhales a hit that would kill a horse)  WE ONLY GO WHEN WE WIN BECAUSE WE’RE SMART!!”

That’s what we get from them on a constant basis.  Then they fail to cash that check they wrote with their stretch-marked mouths.  What excuses could they possibly have for not walking the walk after talking the talk?   Where was Joe Fakesoxfan all week?  I thought this was the type of series that would be perfect to generate some sort of buzz, especially the way it unfolded….a slugfest in game 1 leading into a Sox domination in game 2 that prefaced the Sale start for the sweep.  What the fuck were these mouth-breathing clowns waiting for?  Seriously?

From now I don’t want to hear shit from these cocklunches.  If they couldn’t even get 28,000 against the Yankees to that VERY nice ballpark (I can admit it.  They did a tremendous job with the renovations) with both teams in first place, they have no right to ever throw that argument at me ever again.  The next one that does it gets a visit from Mr. Backhand.

The Most Interesting Knee in Chicago

or

As The Knee Turns

I can’t decide which of these headers I like better, so I’m going with both of them.

Flashback to last season’s finale against Minnesota.  Bears MLB Brian Urlacher, a future HOFer, sprained his MCL late in the game.  No additional damage was found and surgery was avoided.  Camp began and the knee swelled up, which eventually led to arthroscopic surgery, sidelining #54 for the rest of camp and possibly into the season.  All early signs show Urlacher should be ready sooner rather than later, an encouraging sign.  Aiding his recovery is the fact he went to Europe this summer and underwent a blood-spinning procedure.  Here’s a link to what it is… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood-spinning  That’s cutting-edge stuff right there.

So how does Urlacher’s absence in the short-term affect us?  Not very much.  The Bears open against a bad Indianapolis team, who they should be able to beat even without Urlacher.  They have a quick turn-around Thursday night against Green Bay, which is kind of stupid to schedule early in the season.  But Green Bay isn’t indomitable by any means, nor are the Rams the week after that.  Those are 3 very winnable games in a schedule full of winnable games.  That’s short-term.

Long-term, it’s never good to lose a player like Urlacher, but this wouldn’t be the 27 year old version we’d be losing.  It’s the 34 year old version…the version with 11+ seasons of rough play under his belt.  He’s not the best player on the defense anymore.  That would be Julius Peppers.  He’s not even the best LB on the defense anymore.  That would be Lance Briggs.  Hell, he’s not even the best white guy on the team anymore.  That would be Jay Cutler.  Speaking of Cutler, isn’t it funny how nobody said shit when Urlacher suffered the EXACT same injury Cutler did and came out of the game against Minny?  Cutler played with his, without pain relief, for over a quarter and had to be removed from the game but he’s viewed as soft.  Urlacher came right out and is forever labeled a warrior.  I love hypocritical douchebaggery, but I digress.

The bottom line is that this injury is hardly season-wrecking from a team standpoint.  There are few indispensable players on the Bears and Urlacher is no longer first and foremost among them.  A healthy Urlacher is still a plus of course, but he’s not a deal-breaker anymore.  Few 34 year olds can claim that distinction as it is.

 

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www.99sportsproblems.com @sportsproblems

  • 00:03 – “Hey it’s me it’s Andy it’s mah birfday”
  • 00:24 – Propers
  • 03:00 – Andy listens to stupid shit at a baseball game
  • 06:56 – Current pitchers that could survive in a 4-man rotation
  • 12:39 – Baseball video game talk
  • 14:40 – Mike Lovendahl and the Bears
  • 15:40 – “We almost had a professional segue”
  • 19:30 – Breakage
  • 20:30 – Bears talk
  • 26:00 – Where is Bill Cartwright now?
  • 30:10 – Dusty Ventura
  • 34:10 – The Year of Kenny
  • 40:10 – South Side Face
  • 42:48 – “Why do I know this much about Dan Johnson?”
  • 44:15 – Breakage
  • 45:00 – Cubs callups
  • 50:40 – Talking about the Cubs rebuild
  • 1:01:00 – Top Ten Rec League Douche Moments
  • 1:07:57 – “What are you talking about Randy? He’s…6…”
  • 1:12:25 – “Basically Randy is a raging fucking cunt”
  • 1:15:50 – The douchiest story ever told
  • 1:19:20 – Bye Bye

www.99sportsproblems.com @sportsproblems

by: Tony Leva
email: tonytrucker1969@gmail.com

Dempster stops acting like a wank, goes away.

After receiving plenty of negative feedback from numerous Cubs fans following his decision to veto the Atlanta trade I talked about last week. Dempster, who somehow became The People’s Champion (said with dripping sarcasm), allowed himself to be dealt to the Rangers literally five minutes before the deadline expired at 3 pm Tuesday. While the return from Texas (third baseman Christian Villanueva and right-handed pitcher Kyle Hendricks, both from high-Class A Myrtle Beach) isn’t immediately viewed to be as strong as Randall Delgado, it was still more than the Cubs might have expected to get. Both players show some promising traits and will be tossed onto the massing pile of depth being built in the Cubs’s minor leagues. Maybe neither of these guys make it, but it shows the deep commitment TheoCo has the plan. Even The People’s Champion (TPC henceforth) isn’t immune from the TradeHammer. If you build enough depth and collect enough talent, eventually enough will blossom and bear fruit.

So endeth the era of TPC, a Tommy John reclamation project who became an All-Star for the Cubs, did the single worst Harry Caray impression anyone has ever seen, choked like a dog against the Dodgers in 2008, taking the air out of the team and setting that ugly sweep in motion, endeared himself to many with his charitable works, did his little glove-flippy thing and ended up looking like a hypocritical turd. I respect his charity stuff, but he’s never been off my shit list since the aforementioned choking in 2008. Good riddance to him and bring on the new era of Cubs baseball.

BEARS IN CAMP!!

It’s still early in camp, but we’ve seen a few interesting things happen so far. The battle at left tackle seems to be tilting in JaMarcus Webb’s favor, which isn’t a surprise. Rookie Shea McClellin has been struggling a bit in his first camp. Brandon Marshall hasn’t punched a bitch yet. Lovie almost raised his voice above that monotone he never strays from. Urlacher has yet to whine about his contract, which I was a bit worried about.

There are a few other position battles going on, but the team is set at the glamour spots…QB, RB, WR, LB. Until we see some game action, it’s tough for me to take anything that happens in camp seriously. A few years ago, 2007 if I recall, the reporters were raving about the offense they were seeing in camp. Over and over, it was MAN, THESE GUYS ARE CLICKING OUT THERE!!! and the like.

Then, the season started and they sucked ass and missed the playoffs. So until they crack heads with Denver next week, I’ll holster my Cutlerection and all it’s attendant glory. I’ll have ample opportunity to whip it around during the season, I’m sure. Looking at the Bears’ schedule, I’m seeing lots of bad teams and lots of bad defenses. If this new offense can click, it’s going to be a 9-11 win season, especially if the D/ST have great seasons. As long as special teams coordinators keep kicking to Hester, anything is possible. If there’s one rock-solid fact in the NFL right now, it’s that Hester is one bad motherfucker. He’s like Jules’s wallet in Pulp Fiction.

The Olympics started? When?

No, I know they’ve begun. After the snoozefest of an opening ceremonies, we’ve seen a badminton scandal (I knew the Olympic badminton scene was as crooked as a snake’s dick), Michael Phelps become the most decorated Olympian ever, the US women gymnastic team win Gold, Gabrielle Douglas win individual Gold in a rout and the US men’s hoops team win a game by 83 before they sweep to their own Gold medals in a week or so. That’s about all I’ve been following so far, and that’s being generous.

I think the oncoming Bears season combined with the excitement of the arrival of The Riz, with a bunch of baseball trade deadline stuff mixed in have kind of blunted the allure of the Games. I’m not the biggest Summer Games guy anyway, but I usually get into it somewhat. I have no issue with getting psyched for the Winter Games obviously, but there was just no obvious for me draw this time around. Odd.

The 10th Annual Wrigleyfest

It’s coming, and it’s going to be spectacular.

by: Mauricio Rubio Jr.
email: mr@99sportsproblems.com
twitter: @MRubio52

Major League Baseball is well over 100 years old, in fact, she’s well into her 130’s right now. There are differing accounts on when baseball was born. Some point to the foundation of the first “pro” team in 1869 as the official birth-date of MLB. Others look at April 22, 1876 as the date the league drew it’s first breath as the Chicago White Stockings (now the Chicago Cubs) played the Boston Red Stockings (now the Atlanta Braves) in a game that resembles 12″ softball more than the modern game of baseball.

Whatever date you decide to use, understand that the written history of early baseball is as hard to decipher as prehistoric cave paintings, or the Egyptian Hieroglyphics without the Rosetta Stone. There are numbers lost to history thanks to shoddy bookkeeping and the early errors of the men and women keeping score. There are several examples of lost stats throughout early baseball. We’ll never know just how great Ty Cobb was at stealing bases thanks to them not tracking Caught Stealings for the first half of his career.

What we have kept track of since the early stages of the game are the basic, rudimentary stats that Henry Chadwick bestowed upon us. Chadwick was a blessing and a curse, if you ask some in the SABR community, he is more the latter than the former. Since Chadwick laid out the first box score, we’ve tracked batting average and home runs pretty well throughout history.

We aren’t here to discuss Chadwick’s follies however, we’re here because Adam Dunn is about to join a club that has 9 members. To put that into context, there have been 20 pitchers who have thrown a perfect game in baseball history, doubling up this perhaps infamous club (As an aside, more people have orbited the moon than pitched a perfect game).

So what is this club that Adam Dunn is in? Well, if he plays the rest of the year at this pace he will be the 10th player in baseball history to have 30 HR’s and an average under .230. As a matter of fact, he is one big slump away from having the lowest batting average of any player with over 30 HR’s.

Dunn, as of writing, is sitting on 25 HR’s and a .215 avg. This has happened 10 times in baseball history. The Hawk did it in 1969 for the Boston Red Sox and the Cleveland Indians. This is odd because Harrelson actually hit for a pretty good average with power in ’68, but lost the average in ’69 after the mound was lowered, giving hitters the advantage again.

Kingman, Dunn’s spiritual baseball fore bearer, did it twice. First in ’82 with the Mets, then again in his final year in the bigs with Oakland in ’86. Dunn is a better player than Kingman ever was, but there is a lot of Kong in the Donkey. Kingman, like Dunn, was a low average slugger who struck out a ton. He didn’t draw a lot of walks which distinguishes the two in their approach.

Kong bookends a series of this statistical occurrence, which happened every year from 82 to 86. Tony Armas hit .218 with 36 HR’s in 1983. Armas is odd in that he was a power hitter who’s homer to walk ratio was dangerously close to being inverted, meaning that he almost hit more HR’s than he drew walks in his career. Even Alfonso Soriano has the dignity to keep that chasm a bit wider.

Ron Kittle capitalized on a ROY season by hitting .215 with 32 HR’s in 1984. There are 3 distinct White Sox connections on this list with the possibility of a fourth. I find that funny.

Gorman Thomas is another statistical fore father of Dunn’s, in ’85 he also hit .215 with 32 HR’s, but he added 84 BB’s to the mix. He is one of the original TTO guys. Gorman Thomas had (and still has) a legendary mustache. I mean, the damn thing screamed 70’s. It truly was a hall of fame caliber facial hair styling, he and Al Hrabowsky need their own wing in the facial hair hall of fame. I could go on about this…but I won’t.

We covered Kingman’s 86 season. As the steroid era began, averages jumped. The ball was juiced, the players were juiced, everything was juiced. All the gaudy stats of that era are inflated in some manner. You get some guys that get close to this cut-off, but no player pulls off the feat until 2004.

Jose Valentin brought it back retro style as he sported a .216 AVG with exactly 30 HR’s. That was his last year of relevance in baseball. Now, there are two things you can credit for Valentin’s power surge in Chicago: 1. Comiskuellar 2. Roids. Lots and lots of roids. He was a small shortstop that turned into a mini hulk that hit HR’s.

I’m not sayin’, I’m just sayin’ (and for the record, I don’t care if he did).

There is a new wave of player that is bringing this back into style. Carlos Pena kind of started it in 2009. Oddly enough, that’s the best player season on the list. We’ve reached a crossroads of baseball understanding. There are a few ways to treat the new statistical revolution that has “taken over” baseball. You can go overboard with it, you can go overboard against it, or you can use it to augment your own baseball knowledge. We’ve crossed a point where we care less and less about strikeouts, and people are flipping their shit over it.

It’s a fad. Baseball goes through phases where certain things are valued more than others. All throughout the 50’s nobody stole bases, so catchers with good arms were no longer a priority. Catchers that could hit became important. Yogi Berra was a great hitter, but not the best defensive catcher. He would have been a 3B/LF in the 80’s. Anyway, back to the 50’s, you have a league full of noodle arms because no one needs to throw runners out anymore, and all it takes is one jackass to show up a decade later and steal 100 bases before the league goes back to looking for catchers that can throw, and then we get Johnny Bench in the very next decade. Baseball is going through a phase, at some point the K will be a stigma again.

Speaking of which, Mark Reynolds was doing his very best to test the limits of the K theory in both 2010 and 2011. Reynolds has the lowest BA on this list, but in that year he still managed to draw 83 walks, to illustrate just how much the game has changed. Reynolds is an extreme, he is almost the exact inverse of a player like Tony Campana. He can only swing one way, and it’s betrayed him thus far in 2012. If anything, his failure, and the struggles of Drew Stubbs should indicate that a change is coming. Pitchers are groomed to chase the strikeout now, it’s the measuring tool for prospects these days. For 2 decades players were chasing home runs at the expense of consistent contact. In the 90’s, K rates soared, but the ERA’s rose too. In the advent of the steroid era, however, we are quickly seeing the results of a lost gain. Pitchers are in control now as offense is down across the board, but I digress.

In summation, 5 HR’s is what separates Dunn from this list. There’s no way he climbs over .230. He’s looked lost at the plate over the past few weeks, but perhaps that’s just what it looks like when he slumps. Dunn does three things, he walks (leads the league), he strikes out (ditto), and he hits some monster HR’s (currently 3rd in that department). This is the player the White Sox paid for, nothing more, nothing less.

Mythbusters, Chicago Sports Style

I’ve noticed a rather alarming trend with Chicago sports fans. Even though the information is readily available to disprove certain Chicago myths all Snopes style, people still cling to these notions. I don’t know why that is. I guess it is easy to simply say the Cubs are being cheap instead of digging a bit deeper and finding out the truth of what their plan is. Here are some I’ve run into over the past month. Most of them multiple times.

  • Ricketts is cheap! He coulda had Prince and Pujols here if he wanted to! The Chicago Cubs told you from the start that they won’t be buying free agents until it’s time to compete. This has been reexplained ad naseum and is becoming a bit of a Quixotic quest to try to lay out for people.
  • Building troo da draft is stupid, they all bust out. The draft is great for a talent injection into a farm system. Considering the low impact players the Cubs have on the farm currently, it’s not the worst idea to build via the draft. You can look at what the Rays did as a blueprint. At one point, the Rays had 200+ SP Starts all from guys they drafted. Think about that one.
  • Dis Jerry Riensdorf is cheap and he treats his players badly, just ask Jordanman! He paid Jordan 30 Mil. He paid Jordan to experiment with baseball. He paid Jay Williams even though he would never play again. There are countless stories like this. Stop listening to a crazy asshole like Jordan.
  • Da White Sox have da smarter fans because dey only show up when da team is good. Faulty logic aside, I’m waiting for you guys to show up. It’s pretty damn late in the year.
  • Da Cubs have da best fans because dere’s more Cub fans and we sell out da Wrigley! No. No we don’t anymore. Besides, having more does not equate to better.
  • Football is better because more people watch dan any udder sport! You must love soccer then. Justin Bieber sells more records than anyone, is he the best musician in history? Exactly. Kiss my ass.
  • Line stunts solves everting! Die in a fire.
  • Bear weather! Patriots disproved that one real quick. Ditto those pussy ass San Franciscans back in 88.
  • Da White Sox woulda won da 1994 World Series! You know they were only a game up on Cleveland right?
  • Bartman fucked it all up for us! You spelled “Dusty Gonzalez” wrong.

That’s all for now.

[audio http://awmr01.podbean.com/mf/web/tm8rv/Episode_016.mp3]

iTunes Linkage

  • 00:35 – Andy fucks up
  • 02:30 – First place White Sox
  • 09:00 – Giving Seattle fans some Chicago love
  • 10:30 – Young Guns
  • 15:40 – Lucky Dog
  • 16:50 – Concussion talk
  • 23:20 – Bears Talk
  • 27:37 – Raul’s summer beer advice
  • 31:48 – NBA Jam and BJ Armstrong, Where are They Now
  • 37:26 – The Cubs are indeed, awful
  • 39:00 – Because I’m Mexican
  • 43:50 – “I fucking hate softball”
  • 46:40 – Top Ten Individual Seasons
  • 01:04:07 – Origins of Mudbone

by: Tony Leva
email: tonytrucker1969@gmail.com

Bear Down, bitches!!

This week, the Bears are ensconced in their first Organized Team Activity (just a fancy term for practice) with plenty of new personnel and coaches. Mike Tice has taken over for the tyrant known as Mike Martz as offensive coordinator and Jeremy Bates has been installed as the passing game coordinator. Bates is a good friend of Bears QB Jay Cutler and has always worked well with him. That’s a far cry from the adversarial relationship Cutler has with Martz. Listen closely at the 0:24 mark. This says it all about their relationship…

Martz’s system was never a good fit for Cutler’s strengths, which include being mobile and being smart enough to read a defense and change the play at the line. Martz’s offense did not include audibles and frowned upon the QB moving out of the pocket. Tice and Bates have said they will allow Cutler to have plenty of input into the playcalling, which is a great thing. When your QB hates the system and the coach who stubbornly insists on running it, even when the franchise QB is getting mauled while running it, replacing the coach is a no-brainer. Cutler took more sacks and hits than any QB in the NFL the past two seasons. Check my math, but that sucks.

As for the new personnel, we haven’t added the offensive linemen we needed, but if Gabe Carimi comes back healthy, the line will improve by his addition. But the big additions are to one of the worst WR corps we’ve seen in forever, which is saying a bunch considering the Bears have never had much of a top-flight corps to begin with. All-Pro WR and legit asswipe Brandon Marshall has a great history with Cutler from their Denver days and have already expressed their joy at being reunited. 2nd round draft pick Alshon Jeffery is another big-bodied WR who should pair nicely with Marshall. This bumps Devin Hester down to play in the slot and Earl Bennett, Cutler’s recent favorite target, to play as the 4th WR. An actual, legit NFL WR corps. I may wet myself.

The defense was bolstered in the draft and the core guys, Urlacher, Briggs, Tillman and Peppers, should have enough left to give us a chance to have a top-10 defensive unit. Well, with good health we have a shot. The window is closing on the effectiveness of these guys so we need to take advantage.

Football season can’t get here fast enough, since the Cubs blow ass right now.

Perfecting the Art of Suck

As things went from piss-ass shitty to fucking unbearably craptastic for the Cubs, the buzz has been about bringing The Riz up to fix the offense, cure cancer and convince Kate Upton to do a sex tape and upload it for free. Or something along those lines. As much as I can’t wait for The Riz era to start, he won’t do any of the aforementioned stuff all by himself. He’ll help when he gets here, but the service time issue is the greater concern. They’re going to wait until June sometime to bring him up and delay his free agency eligibility. Fine with me.

There is so much wrong with this team that I don’t know where to begin, so let’s focus on a few positives for now.

Starting Pitching

The starting pitching has been really good for the most part. Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster and Jeff Samardzija have all been about as good as could be expected, with Samardzija exceeding any expectations anyone could have had for a converted reliever who has been as inconsistent as a depression case using homemade Prozac. Paul Malholm has been pretty good as well and Travis Wood has contributed as well. It’s nice that the Sean Marshall screamers have been silenced for now with Wood pitching well. Those clueless fools never fail to give me a chuckle.

Starlin Castro

The lone Cubs All-Star last year, Castro has picked up where he left off after becoming the youngest player in NL history to lead the league in hits. He’s still a work-in-progress in many areas, but he’s brimming with talent. As evinced here…

Gotta love this type of stupidly good talent.

Dale Sveum and the coaches

The Cubs have been playing aggressive baseball. From baserunning to defensive positioning to going right after hitters, the coaches have put their stamp on this team in the way they want them to go about their business. Even with the recent stuff about Garza and Marmol not throwing the pitches the staff wants, this has been a positive so far. I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do with some more legitimate ML talent.

The Show that Won’t Fucking Die.

Over 13 million votes for the final vote on Wednesday. (No, I don’t watch this show. My wife and girls do and I caught the last 5 minutes the other night when the winner was crowned.) Apparently, some guy named Phillip Phillips won, beating some 16-year-old girl. I haven’t heard him sing yet, but I’m sure he’ll be coming to a low-rent dinner theatre near me sometime soon. There have been some very talented winners, of course, but chances are they would have been discovered anyway. Jennifer Hudson and Carrie Underwood come to mind. Some of the shit that has won…Taylor Hicks, David Cook, Fantasia….really are pushing it as to being considered stars.

While the world certainly would manage to not explode if this show went off the air, the thirst the American public exhibits for this show never fails to amaze me. The early shows are pretty funny, when the truly talentless come in and get their metaphorical nuts squashed, but when they whittle the “talent” pool down to whatever they take to Hollywood, it gets silly. Shoving some of these clowns down America’s throats…anyone remember that hack Sanjaya they tried to hype as an uber-talent?….is just crap. I’m no great judge of vocal talent, but I know what I hear and some of those people have no business doing nothing more than singing in church choirs or in the shower. Don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s Elvis pissing on my leg.

Unfortunately, this show is a phenomenon and isn’t going away any time soon. I’ll stick to Laverne and Shirley reruns, thanks.