Friday, December 31, 2010

Will You Remember The UCONN Women's Record? Probably Not....


How impressive is a feat that no one will remember? Now that the University of Connecticut women's basketball team has lost their first game since April 6, 2008 after winning 90 straight games shattering the old record held by the same University when the Huskies won 70 in a row from Nov 9, 2001 - March 11, 2003. The loss to the #8 ranked Stanford Cardinal not only was the game that shattered college basketball's longest streak but also reminded us about how much we really do not pay attention to the sport in general. In fact when the UCONN Huskies broke the former mark of 88 wins in a row held by John Wooden's UCLA Bruins, head coach Geno Auriemma spoke the truth about the significance of the record:

"I just know there wouldn't be this many people in the room if we were chasing a women's record. The reason everybody is having a heart attack the last four or five days is a bunch of women are threatening to break a men's record, and everybody is all up in arms about it."

While I agree that the only reason why ESPN cared about the UCONN streak is because it served their own interests and it was chasing a men's record, the fact of the matter is no matter how many games the UCONN women one considers this streak beating the UCLA mark. It is a very simple fact that the UCLA record held by "The Wizard of Westwood"'s crew cannot be broken by a women's basketball team. So impressive is a feat that no one will remember?


Thursday, December 30, 2010

No Playoffs For Blackhawks Not Exactly A Bad Thing....


Just the other day I saw a promotion for the Chicago Blackhawks latest attempt at cashing in on the 2010 Stanley Cup Championship. A 224 page hardcover book with a DVD included entitled "One Goal Achieve: The Inside Story of The 2010 Stanley Cup Champions" for the low low price of only $39.95. Of course as I was reading the text on the screen, Blackhawks color commentator Eddie Olczyk said the product is temporarily SOLD OUT and get your orders in now so you can receive the product as soon as it becomes available again. I thought to myself two things when I heard what "Eddie O" was telling the viewing audience:

#1 - WOW...sold out. People continue to buy anything associated with Blackhawks.

#2 - What would the inside story of this years' Chicago Blackhawks team be?

Right now the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks would make the postseason but only as the 8th seed. Now in the NHL (for those of you that do not know) it is not about where you are seeded but just getting into the playoffs. For instance, since the last NHL lockout there have been three teams that ended up as eighth seeds and advanced at least one round including the 2006 Edmonton Oilers who made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals only to lose to the Carolina Hurricanes. Being an eighth seed is not necessarily a bad thing in the NHL playoffs, but missing out the NHL playoffs is even worse when over half the teams in the league make the postseason.

As magical as the Chicago Blackhawks of 2010 was, it is not a bad thing if the 2011 version does not get a chance to defend Lord Stanley's Cup.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tom Ricketts Delaying The Inevitable For The Chicago Cubs......


Sometimes we just cannot stop the inevitable. It is human nature that everything cannot last forever and sometimes you just have to let go and accept change. For instance people who never wanted a cell phone or a pager insisting that their privacy is of the most importance now own the fanciest IPhone available. Those who hold onto a car they have had for decades because it still runs realize that the day is coming where they must upgrade to a fancier ride with that Sync technology that confuses them. I have never been able to grasp the concept some have in this city for a certain baseball stadium on the north side of town called Wrigley Field.

Now before you say:

"Well Rock, you used to be a White Sox fan so your view is a little biased."

Hear me out.

With the recent proposals by the Ricketts family where they want your tax revenue (Cubs fans) to pay for renovations to their purchased property (Wrigley Field), why cannot we all just admit to ourselves that repairing Wrigley Field is only delaying the inevitable?


Monday, December 27, 2010

Time For Chicago To Embrace These Chicago Bears....


Read it, write it, believe it no matter how much you and I cannot do it.

The Chicago Bears are 11-4 going into the final week of the NFL regular season with a chance at locking up a bye week in the postseason.

When you think about it, look how far the Chicago Bears have come in one NFL year. At this time last year you had Jerry Angelo speaking on the contract status of Lovie Smith saying:

"I don't look at money in those times," Angelo said. "It's not about money. It's about doing what we need to do to be a good football team."

There were rumors of upper management seeking out the cost of bringing in Bill Cowher out of retirement to replace Lovie Smith. The term "bust" was being placed on quarterback Jay Cutler who the spring before was traded for two first round and a third round pick along with Kyle Orton. People were questioning the direction of this franchise from the top down and most (if not all) projections had this team finishing third or at worst last in the NFC North. Clearly, it was not looking good to be a Chicago Bears fan with a new season on the cusp and most rooting for a losing season to see change.

Come honest with yourself.

Call it luck, call it good coaching, call it taking advantage of what is given to you every single week.....the Chicago Bears have proven all of us wrong.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Why Does Brett Favre's Streak Mean Less Than Cal Ripken's?


History was made in Detroit yesterday and it had nothing to do with any of the teams that call that city home. For the first time since September 20, 1992 Brett Favre did not start a NFL game for a NFL team. 6,659 days and 297 regular season games (321 counting the 24 games he played in the postseason) in between Brett Favre replacing Don Majkowski leading the Green Bay Packers to a comeback win over the Cincinnati Bengals to yesterday as Favre watched his Minnesota Vikings officially become eliminated from the playoffs. 238 other quarterbacks have started a NFL game since Favre's streak started and three different Presidents have been elected (Clinton and Bush twice each). To put it in proper perspective, Favre's streak started when I was a 11 year old kid picking my nose in fifth grade and ends with me as a 29 year old father/husband still picking my nose.

When you throw out the numbers about the length of Favre's streak, it is simply amazing that one man lasted so long in such a violent sport. Sure Favre was not a running back or a linebacker, and the game has changed where the quarterback seems to be more protected by the league each year. Still the grind of what a football player goes through, to tell a story of one man playing a game through injury for 18 years and have the success he had is legendary. There is no doubt that Brett Favre will be in the Pro Football Hall Of Fame, and he could be considered the greatest quarterback ever to play the game of football.

So how come we do not celebrate this historic moment in our country's most popular game as much as we did for another "Iron Man"?


Monday, December 13, 2010

Chicago Bears Giving Bears Fans Exactly What They Demanded....


A couple of things came to mind while watching yesterday's Bears' 36-7 defeat at the hands of the New England Patriots. I was thankful that I was not one of the 60,000+ out in the 20 degree weather and sub-zero wind chills with snow blowing in my face from all angles. I was excited at the thought of a low scoring entertaining game because there is just something about watching grown men in tights slip and slide all over a snow covered plain. I also hoped the Chicago Bears for the first time all season would beat a good AFC team (no offense to Buffalo or Miami) because this year the NFC is the weaker conference (AFC won 30 of 55 head-to-head match ups this season).

The combination of the extreme elements, playoff positioning on the line, and Tom Brady is town........this is must see television.

However the first 30 minutes of the game left me with an empty feeling inside. The Chicago Bears were down a Scottie Pippen at halftime and the attraction of the game faded away quicker than the red yard markers on the Soldier Field turf. While a loss to the best team in football may seem like a reality check or as some players put it "a butt kicking", this game showed me some things about this Chicago Bears team that I think most fans are overlooking on this Monday.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Why Paul Konerko's New Contract Is Not Money Well Spent....

"O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weathered every rack, the prize we sought is won"
(Walt Whitman - 1865)

The captain of the south side is back. Breaking news this morning that Paul Konerko signs a three year deal worth 37.5 million dollars. According to the White Sox press release on the new deal, "Paulie" will receive $12 million in 2011 and 2012 and $13.5 million in 2013. Of the $13.5 million due in the final year of the contract, he will receive $6.5 million in 2013 and $1 million annually from 2014-2020. The talk of the deal of the last couple of days has been up and down from its a for sure deal to be had to what seemed like the White Sox last chance at signing the 34 year old first baseman. However in what seemed like the final day of possible talks between Konerko and the White Sox, Konerko decides that his home for the last twelve seasons is where he would like to be.

Coming off what could be considered the best season of his career, Konerko was rumored to make anywhere from 13-15 million dollars a year with multiple teams rumored in the mix. However the captain decided to stick with his mates on the south side of Chicago at what seems like a hometown discount with the way this contract is structured. Currently at an estimated payroll of around 107 million dollars and Kenny Williams using the term "all in" as far as how the team will approach the final payroll figure for the 2011 season, White Sox fans should be excited that their team is bringing in high dollar talent to compete with the big boys of the American League.

However with all the spending the White Sox are doing by bringing in sluggers like Adam Dunn and now with the addition of Paul Konerko, is Kenny Williams going about this the right way?


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Is Lovie Smith The NFL Coach Of The Year???


The Chicago Bears are 9-3. Make no mistake about it, the Chicago Bears so far in 2010 has proved all the doubters wrong. What nine wins does in this town is switch the conversation from are they legit to how far can they go. When people spoke of the Chicago Bears this time last year it was all about change, who needs to go, and if Bill Cowher would consider coming back to coach in the NFL.

What a difference one year makes.

Now there are still some doubters out in the realm of Chicago sports waiting for the next loss to rehash discussions of old, but the facts are the facts. The Chicago Bears at 9-3 with four tough games left on the schedule are sitting pretty for a very good playoff spot in the NFC. While at times I have doubted the legitimacy of this team myself, they have proven to me that with that defense and outstanding special teams play with consistent balance and no risk taking on offense.....they could make some noise in the NFC playoffs.

The question that has to be asked is who to give credit to this dramatic turnaround of events? Of course you could look at the new additions on the coaching staff as well as players like Julius Peppers. However like last year, the Bears' failures fell on the shoulders of public enemy number one in Chicago in Lovie Smith. While he may get no credit from some skeptics, is Lovie Smith the coach of the year in the NFL?


Friday, December 3, 2010

Ron Santo's Passing Should Not Change Hall Of Fame Status....


Chicago lost a hometown legend today. With the news breaking early this morning that the greatest man ever to man the hot corner at Wrigley Field Ron Santo passed away due to complications from bladder cancer. Santo passes this morning at the age of 70 and will be remembered not only as a great icon in Chicago sports but a great human being. No man did more for diabetes research in this city than one Ron Santo and in the few times meeting Santo as a broadcaster/producer in this town, he was indeed as true of a gentleman as he was spoken of by all you will hear from today.

However in passing I have heard throughout this morning that Ron Santo missed two things in his lifetime, a Cubs World Series and the Hall of Fame. I understand that some people's perception of Santo may change with his passing, but by no means should Ron Santo be inducted into Baseball's Hall Of Fame posthumously.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Julius Peppers Not Worthy Of NFL Defensive MVP Honor In 2010.....


I am truly blessed to have the honor of working with two of the city's great sport minds in Mike Mulligan and Brian Hanley producing The Mully And Hanley Morning Show on WSCR 670AM The Score. Both are long time sports writers for the Chicago Suntimes covering each of the five pro teams in town and some of the college programs in our area. This is by no means a "fluff" piece about the show I work on or the radio station I work for, but on occasion Mully pens a piece that gets me thinking, and today is a day that I need to disagree with my colleague.

In today's Chicago Suntimes Mully writes that Julius Peppers deserves the NFL Defensive Player Of The Year Award which is handed out after the conclusion of the Super Bowl. The award which is voted on by a collection of 50 sports writers and broadcasters at the end of the regular season going to the one man who is considered the league's most outstanding defensive player. Winners in the past have included the names of Taylor, Lewis, Singletary and last year Charles Woodson taking home the award.

Although Mully states that Peppers deserves the award, common sense says a different thing.