Friday, December 3, 2010

Remembering Ron Santo

This morning I heard the sad news of Ron Santo’s passing. Honestly, it hit me pretty hard, because even though I know that he has been in poor health for a long time, he was still expecting to analyze Cubs baseball on the radio again this season. I am grieving as a fan for him more than I grieved for Harry Carrey, which surprises me. I think it was because Harry had retired before he passed away. So I had time to process his loss as a broadcaster before I had to grieve his loss as a person. With Ronnie I have to grieve both his loss as a broadcaster and his loss as a person at the same time.

I think the reason that I and so many other Cubs fans related so strongly to Ron was because he expressed exactly what we were feeling on the air. When the Cubs won there was no one more ecstatic than Ron Santo. When the Cubs lost there was no one more despondent. During the ups and downs of every game, Ron bellowed in agony or cheered relentlessly with the rest of us. He was that fun, strange baseball uncle who most of the time made little sense but made up for it with mirth, personality, and passion. He taught us about the game, and showed us that it was ok to let our guard down and authentically live and enjoy the emotions of the game, good and bad.
Ron was never there to be an intellectual like Steve Stone, he was there to be the biggest Cubs fan of us all and to lead the fans in cheerleading our favorite team. Should he occasionally teach us something, that was a plus, but he was there to make what many consider to be a slow and monotonous game an accessible if not engaging experience.

We feel like we know Ron because his love and our love was so real that even though most of have never met him in person we feel that we have an intimate connection to the man that supersedes the paltry things like a two-way relationship and face to face contact.

I grew up listening to Ron Santo. I loved how he related the game. In 1998 when Brant Brown dropped a fly ball my best friend and I were watching the game on TV with the television broadcast’s sound turned off and the radio broadcast on. The cry of horror that escaped from Ron’s lips matched our own and that memory alone cements Ron’s legacy in my mind.

As a person he always seemed pleasant but also intensely passionate. Other players and media types have called him a jerk and ignorant and maybe he was these things as well. But one of the great professional tragedies of Ron’s life is that because of his personality he was denied an honor that should be his, induction into the baseball Hall of Fame. It makes me sick that he did not live to experience this honor, but I do believe that with his death the veteran’s committee will finally relent, having exacted their revenge for his alleged misdeeds, and induct him.
The other great professional tragedy is that, like so many other Cubs fans, he did not live to see a Cubs World Series Championship. It was my hope that I would get to hear his joy of finally experiencing a championship. It makes me sad to think that if I am ever lucky enough to see the Cubs win it all, I will not be able share that with Ron.

My condolences go out to all Cubs fans, but more to Ron’s friends and family. We will all miss him. Be sad for your loss today, but tomorrow be hopeful just like Ron always was. Be happy, donate to the fight against Juvenile Diabetes, and cheer for the Cubs just a little bit harder, because without Ron we all need to step up to fill the silence he left behind.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

OK so this is a bit ambitious

Obviously I am not able to keep up with a daily blog right now. So I am going to try to scale it back to once a week. I should have a new post soon, but for right now I am really excited that that the Rangers are doing so well against the Yankees.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Sorry it has taken me so long to get back to this blog. After the internet outage we had, my wife and I got a puppy and this has been taking up all of my time.

On to the post.

Welcome to one of the best sports weekends of the year!

Look at what you have to watch this weekend. Hockey is back in full swing. The final four of major league baseball will be playing 5 games this weekend. College football on Saturday, NFL on Sunday. There is even a Nascar race Saturday night if that is your thing.

As I write this the Rangers are beating the Yankees 3-0 in game one of the ALCS.

So who I am cheering for this weekend?

Rangers and Phillies. Which kind of hurts me because the baseball fan in me wants to see the Yankees and the Phillies for the benefit of the game. The sports fan in me wants to see the Giants vs the Yankees based on the history. The underdog in me is rooting for Giants/Rangers.

However I think Rangers/Phillies would have the best baseball. Could Cliff Lee single handedly win the world series for the Rangers so that he could get paid the largest contract in MLB history from the Yankees next year. The Phillies are the best team in baseball and of all of the teams still playing I think are the most deserving to hold up that trophy.

Enjoy this weekend, there are not many this great left.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Can 3-0 Not Mean Much?

Sorry for the long layoff guys. Between internet issues and traveling to a wedding I have had no time to do a post.

There are 3 undefeated teams left in the NFL, but what does that mean. Well the NFL says that a team that starts 3 - 0 has a 78% chance to make the playoffs, but at least one team who started 3-0 in each of the last 3 seasons has not made the playoffs.

So this year who is in, who is out, and what does 3-0 mean this year?

The three undefeated teams are the Chicago Bears, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Kansas City Chiefs. There is only one team on this list that 3-0 means something: the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are missing their first, second, and third string Quarterbacks, but still are undefeated. Furthermore this team has played good teams. This team will make the playoffs, and I think is a serious contender to play in the Super Bowl.

The Bears and the Chiefs can may make the playoffs but neither team is ready to make a move towards being a serious contender. The Chiefs will play some real competition this week and I predict a huge loss.

The Bears are another thing all together. It is possible that they will go 7-0 before they play a team who can really compete with them. This does not mean they are good, it means that this is a down season in the NFL, and a team that can start 7-0 based on schedule could also go 7-9 when they get to playing the big boys in the second half.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Internet Outage

I currently am without internet. Once I get my internet access back I will continue to post a daily post on sports.

Friday, September 17, 2010

NFL Week 2 picks

Miami @ Minnesota -5.5 +/- 39.5
Minnesota to win and cover. Take the over.

Arizona @ Atlanta -6.5 +/- 43.5
Atlanta to win but not cover. Take the under.

Baltimore -2.5 @ Cincinnati +/- 39.5
Baltimore to win and cover on the road. Take the under.

Kansas City @ Cleveland -1.5 +/- 38.5
Kansas City wins the upset. Take the over.

Chicago @ Dallas - 7.5 +/-40.5
Dallas will win and cover, and take the over.

Philadelphia -6.5 @ Detroit +/- 41.5
Philadelphia to win but not cover on the road. Take the under.

Buffalo @ Green Bay -13.5 +/-43.5
Green Bay covers, and while they could score 42 points by themselves I still take the under.

Pittsburg @ Tennessee -5.5 +/- 37.5
Tennessee wins and covers, but I still like the under.

Tampa Bay @ Carolina -3.5 +/- 39.5
Tampa Bay pulls the upset on the road. Take the over.

Seattle @ Denver -3.5 +/- 40.5
Seattle wins big, take the over.

St. Louis @ Oakland -3.5 +/- 37.5
Oakland wins but does not cover, take the under.

New England -2.5 @ NY Jets +/- 38.5
New England wins and covers on the road. Take the over.

Jacksonville @ San Diego -7.5 +/- 45.5
San Diego covers, take the under.

Houston -2.5 @ Washington +/- 43.5
Houston wins and covers, take the under.

NY Giants @ Indianapolis -5.5 +/-48.5
Indianapolis covers and take the over.

New Orleans -5.5 @ San Francisco +/-43.5
New Orleans wins but does not cover, take the under.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Derek Jeter Hit By Pitch, Fair or Foul?

The events of last night have the sports world in an uproar.

Derek Jeter took an inside pitch that seemed to hit him near the hand or wrist. In a big show of pain he hopped around and was awarded first base. The problem? The ball never hit him, it hit the end of his bat. Technically this was a foul ball and a strike and Jeter should have continued his at bat, but instead he was on first base when the next batter hit a home run giving the Yankee's a lead.

This situation raised two questions: Should baseball expand instant replay and did Derek Jeter cheat?

Baseball is a game of statistics and history. This is why there is so much resistance to adding and expanding instant replay. The historical side says mistakes have always been part of the game and technology removed the charm of the human element. They say it will slow down the game. They say that it will be overused. They say it will take away from the umpire's authority.

The replay supporters say that the fans want to see the correct calls. The players deserve to have the came called accurately. They say it would take less time than manager arguments. They say that technology is to the point where it would be noninvasive.

I would not mind seeing more replay, provided it was done correctly. No replay on balls and strikes, and stop making the umps go watch a video. Have an ump in a booth watching the game and on close plays where the on field ump gets it wrong he radio's down the correct call.

Easy right?

Now what about is Derek Jeter a cheater. The answer is I don't know. But I have no problem with what he did. I think that is the difference between gamesmanship and cheating. In my opinion cheating is using something outside of the game to get an advantage in the game. Examples include HGH, steroids, corked bats, foreign substances on the ball, using video cameras to steal signals, etc. Gamesmanship is using the rules or situations of a game to an advantage in the game. Faking getting hit by the ball is not cheating, it is just smart play.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Check out my interview on my friend Abby's blog!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Reggie Bush Gives Up His Heisman

It true, Reggie Bush has volunteered to give up his Heisman Trophy. What is not clear is if he was told that it was going to stripped away from him tonight by the Heisman trust tonight anyway. However, I do think it is the right move to get in front of this and give up the honor to remove the distraction from your team.

Again I must appologize for the brevity of my post today but I am under the weather, but I will be back tomorrow better than ever.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Breaking Fantasy Football Advice

My entry today will be short and sweet due to massive time constraints. If you play fantasy football start Legedu Naanee today. That is all.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Football Is Back

I have worshiped at the alter of sport. I have drunk deep of the life giving flood of football. I have watched with awe and wonder as modern day gladiators have done battle before the cheering masses in the tradition of ancient Romans before them.

I love football. There is something so beautiful about the game. The graceful moves, the pure power, the tension, the heartbreak, sweet sweet victory.

Football is such a release for me.

Got to go, the game's on.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Break Down of the NFL labor issues

There is a chance that this is there will not be football next season. This is because the collective bargaining agreement expires in April. They player's union and the NFL have been negotiating for several months, but currently they seem to be very far apart. The average sports fan does not want to worry about this, but I think it is important to understand where both sides are coming from. The worst part of this is that both sides are right, which is what is making this agreement hard to arrange.

Keep in mind that the work stoppage would be a lockout and not a strike. This means that as a whole the players union is happy enough with the way things are that they would continue to play. It is the owners who opted out of the CBA. It is the owners who would stop football from being played.

However, since the CBA is being renegotiated the players do have things that they would be willing to change.

The Owners (AKA the NFL):

18 Game Schedule - The owners are taking a loss in the preseason because season ticket holders have to pay the same price for preseason games that they do for regular season games. And in order to keep season tickets you have to buy the preseason. Also much fewer people watch the preseason so TV revenue goes down. By moving to 18 games, everyone makes more money. This is going to happen whether the players want it or not.

Rookie Wage Scale - Rookie pay has skyrocketed in the last 10 years. Sam Bradford, this year's first overall pick in the draft got more guaranteed money in his rookie contract than Joey Harrington (the third overall pick in 2002) got in his whole contract. The NFL has proposed a rookie wage scale similiar to that in the NBA, with consession that the first $100 million saved under the wage scale would go to the player's retirement plan and to help retired veteran players.

Player's Percentage - Under the current CBA the players get 60% of the NFL's shared revenue (which is a misleading figured due to the fact that the owners get a BILLION dollar cut of the revenue before the players 60% is taken out.) The owners want to change that cut to 50% (while still keeping the billion dollar cut)

Debt Relief - Over half of the league has had new stadiums build within the last twenty years. Someone has to pay for those stadium, you know besides the the tax payers I mean.

Retirement Plan Protection- The NFL does not want to have to pay for the medical bills and retirment plans of retired players. They argue that taking care of retired players is the players union's job.

Recovery of Guaranteed Money- The owners want to be able to take money back from players who are unable to meet the terms of their contract due to stupidity, irresponsibility, or criminal behavior. (AKA the Michael Vick rule)

Drug, Steroid, and HGH testing

The Players Union (AKA the Players):

Fewer Games - Keep the season at 16 games and eliminate two games from the preseason. More games mean more injuries. The owners can avoid taking a loss and the players can be healthier and put a better product on the field.

Player's Percentage - At least stays at 60% after the billion dollar cut, or becomes a true 60% cut.

Retirement - The players want the league to pay for retirement and disability, not just the player's union.

Shorter rookie contracts/incentive pay - The players want shorter rookie contracts (max 3 years) with accelerators included in them to pay players more if they play better.

There are many other issues included in this discussion. However these seem to be the main sticking points. Where do you agree with each side?

Friday, September 10, 2010

NFL Opening and MLB managers Part 1

Oh to have the problems that the NFL has!

The most popular game in America came back with a vengeance last night. The Vikings-Saints game carried 28% of the America TV viewer last night.

This is why the NFL has a guaranteed $4.4 billion coming to the league from TV networks next season even if there is not a single game played.

But that is not to say the NFL does not have problems. Last night the players sent a message to the owners that if there is a lockout the players will stand together. In case you missed it, after the national anthem players from both teams, lead by Drew Brees, walked onto the field and faced each other with their index fingers lifted to ceiling in a show of solidarity against the owners.

The message was clear, this is not 1987, and players will not be crossing the lines to play football.

While the gesture was well received at the game, it seems that fans generally are split on their feelings about it.

This is part of the problem, fans love the players, but fans are loyal to the teams. And in what is perceived as an argument between millionaires and billionaires, the fans who are paying a premium for the product and are still siding with the billionaires who are taking their money.

Then there is the problem of the opening game. Tradition dictates that the Super Bowl champs open the season. And what's better than a rematch between the NFL championship contenders from last year? The only problem? It was a rematch between two offensive powerhouses, and in the first two weeks of the season NFL offenses tend to underperform. (with the notable exception of Brees' huge game to start the season last year) So while you have what looks like a great matchup with marquee teams and players, (Do you really think the game would have gotten an 18 rating if Tavares Jackson was starting for the Vikings?) turned out to be a bit of a snooze.

The silver lining of course was the rating.

Like I said, if only I could have the problems that then NFL has.

I told you yesterday that I was going to do a review the managers coming on the market after this season and today I am going to feature Ryan Sandberg and Joe Torre.

Ryan Sandberg is currently the favorite to be the next Cubs manager, but how good can he really be? He has made the playoffs at each minor league level that he has coached, and he knows the Cubs talent throughout the organization. But is he considered a big league type manager by other teams besides the Cubs? The answer is a firm maybe. Some see him as having a managerial potential on par with someone like Mike Scioscia, but others see him as a career coach. What is the answer? We will not know until someone gives him a shot. As a Cubs fan myself I am torn. Ryno was my favorite player growing up so I never want to be in a position in which I will want him to be fire, but I think that he could be the type of manager that the Cubs need to maybe finally win that elusive world series.

Joe Torre is kind of the anti-Sandberg. He has been managing baseball forever and you know exactly what you are going to get if you bring him in. But the question is at 72 years of age, how much more baseball does he have in him? It is conventional wisdom the Torre is gone from LA at the end of the year, but where will he end up. To be successful he needs to go to a talented veteran team that is ready to win, or else you risk having a Lou Pinella situation.

Come back tomorrow for a breakdown of the labor issue in the NFL

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I'm Back!

I know it does not have the same impact as when Michael Jordan said it, but after a 13 month hiatus I have decided to come back and write a daily sports blog. What you can expect is 500 words a day and a fresh take on the day’s news.

Quick Bits:

The Chicago Bulls are considering a trading Loul Deng and Joakim Noah to the Nuggets for Carmelo Anthony. It seems like Deng's contract is holding up this deal, but if Melo rejects the Nugget's contract extension, then take might force the Nuggets into this deal.

Tom Brady was in a car accident this morning, but was unhurt. In related news I left out a huge sigh of relief because my fantasy team needs him.

The Chicago White Sox have lost 4 of the last 5 games after a 7 game winning streak. This means that barring a sweep of the Twins next week their season is over. They are currently 6 games out of the division and 7.5 out of the wild card.

The San Diego Padres extended their division lead last night, but the NL west is still wide open. I am still hoping the Rockies can get hot and make a run from 4.5 games back to take it, but I think they only have about 12 wins left on their schedule which might be enough is the Padres did not play the Cubs the last 4 games of the season. But if I had to put money down right now as to who will come out of the NL West I would put it on the Giants.

It looks like Albert Pujols's cold streak will cost him any chance at a Triple Crown this season. It is a shame, because two weeks ago he lead the National League in home runs and RBIs and was only one point behind Joey Votto in batting average. Now Pujols is not even in the top 5 in the NL in batting average and is 3rd in RBIs.

Starlin Castro and Tyler Colvin have been the two bright spots for the Cubs this season. Castro looks to be the type of player who may win a couple batting titles in the next couple of years while Colvin seems like he will develop into an exciting everyday player. Now if only they could trade Zambrano and Soriano they might have the beginnings of a good young team.

The USA basketball team won its game against Russia today 89-79 and after the huge flap this week about the 72 Olympics I must report that it did not take 3 endings to finish the game. Now if only anyone cared about this basketball tournament…

It feels so good to be back writing about sports. Make sure you check back tomorrow as I examine what managers are going to be available at the end of this baseball season, and a recap of the first NFL game of the season.

Comments are always welcome