Thursday, February 24, 2011
Without a doubt, the Chicago Bulls are the most surprising team in the Eastern Conference. After an off season where they decided to use the money they freed up for the likes of LeBron James and built a team with it, Gar Forman and John Paxson once again make the right moves...this time by doing nothing. The Chicago Bulls are already one of the best teams in the NBA on the defensive side of the ball. Adding another new body to a team whose best three players have only played eleven games together would totally destroy any chances of the starting five having any on the court chemistry before the playoffs arrive.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Welcome to my first post on the Chicago White Sox for the 2011 MLB season. Now I know in the past many readers/tweeters/fellow ChicagoNow bloggers and some columnists in town may believe that I have a certain slant towards the franchise that I used to call my own. As a White Sox fan for almost 30 years I was fed up with the same theory when it came to the direction of the ball club. I felt the White Sox needed a new voice in terms of the direction of the on the field decisions, meaning I was no longer a fan of "Guillen Inc."
Since I have dropped my former beloved team, "Guillen Inc." has had an extension picked up (based on what?), started his own website (which the club originally did not want), and has won some local sports honor (from stations which the White Sox own a share of). All the while the franchise he manages has gone "all in" signing players such as Adam Dunn, Jesse Crain, and Will Ohman to join the likes of what is left of the 2005 World Series Champion team in Paul Konerko, AJ Pierzynski, and Mark Buehrle. Clearly it has been a busy off season not only for the White Sox but also for GM Kenny Williams who has spent a record amount of this 2011 club in their efforts to win another championship for the city of Chicago.
Yesterday in a sit down with Comcast Sportsnet's own Chuck Garfien, Kenny Williams made some bold statements about the imbalance of payroll in Major League Baseball and specifically the situation of a team paying Albert Pujols up to $30,000,000 dollars a season. What Kenny failed to realize however is while he may be correct in some of his statements, it is hard to "cry wolf" when you are one of the top dogs in MLB.
Monday, February 21, 2011
February is an interesting month when it comes to covering sports in the Chicago market. Termed "the dead period" or "sports abyss" by some sports radio personalities in town, you can term this duration of the sports calendar as simply the "tweener" of the end of the NFL season and the NCAA tournament. There has never been the buzz of a NFL/MLB season in the time between those two events as they are the two major sports of this city.
Local television and radio outlets in town during this time period begin to dabble into areas of sports which does not necessarily relate to the general daily viewing/listening audience. One of those discussions/topics anchors/hosts attempt to get into is college basketball and why the Big Ten regular season (which by the way is ending soon) matters. Now while Chicago may not have a high profile university attached to the city limits, one of the biggest events of the sports year is the NCAA Tournament. More people than ever are watching/listening/gambling on the tournament yet fail to recognize that the madness begins early November.
What I find interesting is successful as March Madness has been, the sport of college basketball is suffering more than ever and it is time to fix it.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
One reason why I like spring so much is because it brings a renewed hope for the coming year, especially when it comes to our baseball teams in town. Baseball fans of all ages counting down the days till their favorite team breaks camp and opens the season with a feeling of a clean slate. Whatever happened the past year no matter how surprising or disappointing no longer matters because the new year begins now. With all the positive vibes coming from both camps in Chicago and the experts beginning to weigh in on their projections before the first pitch is even thrown, baseball is back and that is all that matters.
Last night I was watching HBO's wonderful sports program Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel, and all the positive vibes I felt from the Cubs camp came to a screeching halt. I was not aware of two things which the multi Emmy winning program revealed last night.
One was convicted steroids madman Victor Conte was out of prison and working with athletes again.
Two....Cubs outfielder Marlon Byrd is his top baseball client.
Like MLB I wondered to myself what in the hell is Marlon Byrd thinking teaming with the man who is most associated with baseball's black eye.....the steroid era?
Monday, February 14, 2011
There comes a time in every sport where a team need to define how they are going to approach the remainder of the regular season. The choice is very simple. You are either a "buyer" or a "seller" when it comes to deciding the path your franchise will take nearing the trading deadline. That is the decision Chicago Blackhawks General Manager Stan Bowman must make before the NHL's Feb. 28th trade deadline.
The decision is actually easier than you may think.
At 28-22-6 sitting three points out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, it seems more unlikely as the days go by that the defending Stanley Cup Champions will not have an opportunity to defend their title. With 26 games left on the schedule, the next six games will tell the tale of where Stan Bowman believes his team is headed. With one deal already done and over shipping first round pick Jack Skille to Florida, the Blackhawks have made a statement they are willing to negotiate over standing pat. Even though some other Blackhawks may be better options to be moved, the Blackhawks should start veteran goaltender Marty Turco every game till the trade deadline to see if they can find a possible "buyer".
Friday, February 11, 2011
Yesterday another veteran coach gave in to the current day situation with the torn relationship between players and those who are hired to make them better at their craft. Jerry Sloan stepped down from a position he has held with the Utah Jazz since I was six years old. The 23 year veteran head coach of the Utah Jazz finished with 1,221 career wins. There are currently 40 NBA players who were not even born when Sloan took over the head coaching position on December 9, 1988, and Derrick Rose was all but two months old that day.
Whether or not you believe in the stories of a rift between Sloan and superstar point guard Deron Williams, the point is Sloan stepped down from a job that he surely had until he did not want it anymore. In fact during his press conference yesterday, Sloan said:
"Again, I've been blessed. Today is a new day. When I get this over with, I'll feel better. My time is up and it's time to move on."
The retirement of Jerry Sloan got me to thinking. I do not necessarily want to dive into the meaning of his retirement or if Sloan stepping down shows us that no coach is safe from a player controlled league like the NBA. Sloan stepping down got me thinking if there are jobs in sports that I would never retire from.
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Failure is not something we all aim for, but only through failure we learn our greatest lessons. Life is full of failures from not getting a job, to failing in a relationship, to failing at your job. In each failure you learn a lesson about the task you failed attempting to accomplish. The one result that all of us cherish because of failure is a second chance at either accomplishing the task or you have learned to move away and try something new.
I do not understand why criminals should not have that same second chance.
The last two years have brought sports fans the debate about Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. After serving 19 months in federal prison for dogfighting charges, he was released and given a second chance at continuing in his profession of being a professional football player. Yet nearing 20 months after his release from federal prison, the nation continues to debate if Michael Vick should have been given the same right and privilege we all would want in the first place.
Why is Michael Vick still an enemy of the people?
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
The old saying goes "To Be The Best, You Need To Beat The Best." Meaning to become the absolute top of your craft, you need to find a way to be better than the top of your field. Businesses around the world use this saying as a way to motivate their employees always to go that extra mile because it is always better to be the best in your position/field. We all want it and while only some of us strive to be the best in our professions, the desire to be better is always there.
The NBA is no different. The Chicago Bulls are currently the third best team (record wise) in the Eastern Conference at a record of 34-16 only trailing the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat. Outside the San Antonio Spurs you could argue that the Chicago Bulls are the most surprising team in the league while they continue to win games missing key pieces of their starting rotation. You could also say that the reason behind the success of the Chicago Bulls is because they have the MVP of the league in Derrick Rose running the point for them.
Although I am not ready to hand over the MVP to the first overall pick of the 2008 NBA Draft, the Chicago Bulls could have a real problem come the playoffs that has nothing to do with any health issue of any player on the floor. In fact it is something so small that most fans do not even recognize it.
Friday, February 4, 2011
As the hours continue to count down to yet another entertaining final game of the NFL season, a dark cloud has continued to loom over the hype and excitement surrounding Super Bowl XLV. A cloud that does not include what Ben Roethlisberger was doing on a Tuesday evening at a piano bar or even Aaron Rodgers texting every quarterback in the league and congratulating each of them on a great season. That looming cloud is none other than the upcoming NFL/NFLPA discussions about the expiring collective bargaining agreement.
With each day passing and the end of the 2010 NFL season come Sunday, the story of the entire NFL offseason will be the ongoing discussions to find agreement on a new CBA between the owners and the players. Even this week, both the NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith and Commissioner Roger Goodell both will hold news conferences to address the state of the expiring CBA and the talks between the two camps.
While the NFL continues to gain more revenue than ever and Sunday's game between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers will surely set record television ratings, the possibility of no football in 2011 is a legit possibility. Could a nation that salivates for football more than any other sport survive without it?
Then again should football fans even care.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Can America Accept That Big Ben Is One Of The Greats..... Read more: http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/rock-report/2011/02/can-america-accept-that-big-
As we approach the end of the NFL regular season, it is time to look back on the bigger stories of the year 2010. Of course locally the surprising year of the Chicago Bears finishing at 11-5 and making it all the way to the NFC Championship Game only to fall to their division "rival" from Green Bay. Some might consider the biggest story from the 2010 NFL season the return of a much improved and polished quarterback in Michael Vick. A man who proved that when given a second chance, anyone can turn around their life for the better.
Then there is the story of Ben Roethlisberger who is one step away from winning his third Super Bowl title at the age of 28. Earlier this year "Big Ben" was accused of raping a 20 year old Georgia College and State University student inside a women's restroom at the Capital City Nightclub in Milledgeville, Georgia. Although never charged with a crime, he was suspended by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for six games without pay which was subsequently reduced to four games.
The buildup to Sunday's Super Bowl will indeed include the conversation about Ben Roethlisberger and what exactly happened on that one night in March. However if indeed the Pittsburgh Steelers go on to win Super Bowl XLV, is America ready to accept that "Big Ben" and all his baggage is the best quarterback in the game?