First off, let’s just admit that the Hawks are just toying with their prey at this point. They lose their star goalie, insert a rookie and just double down on defense to help him along. All while running up scores that some football teams would envy. It’s just not fair to the NHL. Which is exactly why I approve and you should too.
Let’s also admit that the Bulls are toast. I’ve spoken to a few sportswriters about them and no one can point to a team so oftly and severely injured. The usual response, when asked, tends to be “Well, there was .... no, that was just two guys” and so on. And this has been a trend for he last few years, not just the last few weeks. Is it something in the way they practice? Are their trainers licensed in the U.S.? Seriously, someone tell me because this is nuts.
The Bears have the odd problem of having two quarterbacks who can win games. The Cutler supporters, who also appear to be McCown bashers, point out that Josh has only faced the worst defenses in the NFL while taking over a functioning offense and that Cutler was still learning it at the beginning of the year and he hasn’t really had a chance to play with this new toy. The McCown supporters, also known as the Cutler bashers, simply say “Don’t make me hurt you you slimy emo slut.”
I see the value in both points of view.
Yes, that pic is both silly and hot.
Also, before I forget, congratulations to the voice of the Rangers, Eric Nadel, for winning the Frick award and being inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame. I have had the pleasure of hearing him call a few games in my life and he was always upbeat and informative. There were a couple of bars in Dallas that would turn off the sound if he wasn’t on.
Okay, moving on, two days ago, and it seems like an eternity, Team Theo promised that the Cubs were going to be major players at the winter meetings and would be driving the big money trades. Click the link if you don’t believe me.
The Cubs seemed to have their eyes on Tyler Skaggs, Mark Trumbo and Adam Eaton as necessary pieces for any trade involving Jeff Samardzija.
Gordon Wittenmyer says that Team Theo never even got a return call.
Two days into the winter meetings, and the Cubs pulled off an improbable feat.
They are actually in worse shape than when they started.
They also got upstaged again by the White Sox on the day the owner arrived for his first winter meetings appearance.
Chairman Tom Ricketts, who was in town for the annual minor-league affiliates dinner, joked Tuesday with reporters who wondered aloud whether he planned some butt-kicking to jump-start his quiet baseball department.
“Yeah, I want to see something right now!” he said with a laugh, adding, “Who knows? You know those guys. They’re always moving.”
Ricketts, who returns home Wednesday as the full city council votes on stadium-related measures, turned serious when asked if he still has confidence in team president Theo Epstein two years and two managerial hires into a painful-looking rebuilding process.
“Absolutely,” Ricketts said of the bottom-up overhaul that has resulted in the worst two-year stretch in franchise history. “We’re doing the right stuff. Absolutely.”
It didn’t look so right when the efforts to trade Jeff Samardzija for a strong package of young players took a broadside hit from the three-team deal that netted the Sox young outfielder Adam Eaton and sent the Diamondbacks’ top pitching prospect, Tyler Skaggs, to the Angels for outfielder Mark Trumbo.
Skaggs was considered to be part of any package that would be attractive enough for the Cubs to trade their 2013 Opening Day starter. Arizona has actively pursued Samardzija since July.
The potential market for Samardzija already had softened when the Nationals filled their rotation need by trading for the Tigers’ Doug Fister last week. Other suitors remain in play, but given what sources say is a high asking price for the right-hander, the Cubs appear more likely to open the season with him and revisit the trade market next summer.
“I know people look at the ticker and refresh [mlbtrade-rumors.com] all the time,” general manager Jed Hoyer said. “Obviously, when you start talking to an agent or start talking to a team you hope it comes to fruition quickly, too. I think it’ll be productive. I’m not sure whether it’ll lead to a move before we leave or not.”
That’s a far cry from the vision Epstein expressed last week when he said the Cubs will be “dictating all those big moves” instead of watching and waiting for prospects to hit.
“I don’t think it’s about [dictating moves],” Ricketts said. “It’s about just making the team better. We’ll have to decide where and when he wants to do that.”
A new local TV deal being negotiated now will have a lot to say about that. Ricketts declined to give an update.
And revenue-enhancing stadium changes will have an impact too, though the start of construction is already years behind and Ricketts said he can’t predict when it will begin as the dispute with rooftops owners is resolved.
“I’m not sure what timelines exactly anyone’s referring to,” he said. “[The renovation] is an important part of our future. But it’s a long process and we’re just going to play through and do what we have to do.”
Talks between the Cubs and Nationals about relievers Drew Storen and James Russell are dead, sources say.
◆ The Cubs still hope to land at least one starting pitcher this week, and they’re in on free agent Jason Hammel, who wants the kind of one-year deal the Cubs like as a potential flip chip at the trade deadline.
◆ The Cubs haven’t made an offer to right-hander Scott Baker, who rehabbed his elbow on the Cubs’ $5.5 million dime last year, but they have met with his agent, who expects to field several offers this week.
I’m not a big fan of Schadenfreude, unless it involves Mariotti, but I’ve given up on this team. I’m going all retro White Sox fan and using every cheap joke I can find.
“Will the Brownie leader who lost her 9 little scouts please report to the main gate. They’re beating the Cubs 9-1 in the 5th.”
Yeah, that’s where I’m going.
This team is an insult to Cubs fans. I mean the real ones and not the Apple Vacation variety. They are slashing costs, offering no relief at the ticket window and refusing to sign any legitimate big league players and are the laughing joke of the Tanaka derby. He, like Samardzija, wants to play on a winning team. A guy who went 21-0 with an ERA that looks like a typo does not sign on for three years of rebuilding. Also, with the new MLB cap on Japanese bids he may not even be made available in the first place.
I wanted to support the Cubs, and those friends of mine who are true fans, but this has passed the egregious into the comical. This is like the worst days of Trib ownership when they would dangle the possibility of maybe, kind of sort of, signing so an so and then go out and grab some dude who was walking down the street late one afternoon with nothing better to do.
In fact, this is worse. Fans knew the Trib were soulless whores and only put product on the field to raise the value for sale. But Tom and, later, Theo said the phrase World Series numerous times. Now they are saying they couldn’t even afford tickets to the series, forget about sending a team there in your lifetime, or the lifetime of your sperm, or your sperm’s sperm.
Lastly, and this should concern real fans, this blog has been as in the loop on what the Cubs are claiming they want to do as any of the regular media you enjoy. That means they aren’t just leaking misinformation, they’re purposely broadcasting it.
Okay, moving on.
As noted above the Cubs had their eyes on some specific players. Also as noted above they were never in the same room with the people who could make those deals. Rick Hahn was. Darryl Van Schouwen says the Sox are thrilled to death to have signed this dirtbag.
Who likes to be called Spanky.
No further comment is needed. He doesn’t seem like a Little Rascals fan.
The White Sox envision having 25-year-old Adam Eaton, a max-effort ‘‘dirtbag” — as described by his new boss — as their center fielder and leadoff man for years to come.
Acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks in a three-way trade that sent left-hander Hector Santiago to the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday, the 5-8 Eaton, a left-handed hitter and the Pacific Coast League MVP in 2012, has been a minor-league star.
The Angels also get a player to be named (reportedly Class AA outfielder Brandon Jacobs) or cash considerations from the Sox.
The Sox were thrilled to get Eaton.
“Adam provides us with a smart, high-energy baseball player for the top of the lineup,” general manager Rick Hahn said. “He knows the strike zone, is disruptive on the bases and provides solid defense in center field.”
Eaton’s energetic and grinding style — which Hahn compared to Lenny Dykstra — can’t hurt a team that lacked talent, good baseball sense and an identity during its 99-loss season.
“He fights through every at-bat,’’ Hahn said. “He leaves everything on the field. He’s got aggressive personality traits that we like and are going to help add to the clubhouse and improve our mix there.’’
In four minor-league seasons, Eaton is a career .348 hitter with 88 doubles, 26 home runs, 165 RBI, 281 runs, 106 stolen bases and a .450 on-base percentage in 345 games. In parts of two seasons with the D-backs, disrupted by a sprained left ulnar collateral ligament suffered during spring training in 2012, Eaton batted .254 in 335 at-bats.
Eaton’s arm is his best defensive trait.
“There’s been times where his routes, he’s had a problem on a couple of jumps,’’ Hahn said. “At the same time he’s got the speed to make up for it. He’s a young player. He’s missed some time at the big-league level due to the elbow injury, so he’s not a finished product entirely.’’
Hahn called Eaton a “disruptive force at the top of the order” and embraced his “dirtbag” mentality.
“Ultimately it’s about getting the right baseball player and the right fit,’’ Hahn said. “His intangibles help round him out and make him even more appealing.’’
With 22-year-old Avisail Garcia entrenched in right field, the trade moves left-handed leadoff man Alejandro De Aza, who batted .264 with 17 homers and 62 RBI but was supbar in center, into a platoon with right-handed Dayan Viciedo or on the trade block. Or Viciedo could be moved.
“To get the most out of his production right now, picking certain matchups might help him and get him back on track to being the player we think he’s capable of being,’’ Hahn said of Viciedo.
In Santiago, the Sox traded from depth but lose a versatile lefty who went 4-9 with a 3.56 ERA over 149 innings and 23 starts. The Sox signed right-hander Felipe Paulino to a one-year contract with an option year. Paulino and Erik Johnson are good bets to open the season as the two right-handers in the rotation.
The biggest name in the trade was slugger Mark Trumbo, who went from the Angels to Arizona.
Beyond the Box Score has a nice summary of this trade.
From a White Sox perspective, though, turning Santiago into Eaton has to be seen as a major plus for Chicago.
In conclusion, this deal looks very nice if you’re a White Sox fan, and it’s pretty cool if you’re an Angels fan. If you’re a Diamondbacks fan well—it’s just another strange offseason. At least they haven’t signed Jason Kubel this year.
Trumbo, the guy the Angels dumped and the D-Backs signed, is the low rent version of Adam Dunn. Kevin Towers, the AZ GM, wanted Chris Sale but, oddly enough, didn’t even get a whiff of him. But if he plays his cards right I bet he can get Dunn to supplement Trumbo.
Now, however, even if he still wants Samardzija , he hasn’t really got anything to trade.
As to the White Sox, there’s still work to be done but I’m starting to like the way things are shaping up. The 3 first basemen thing still is odd and, most likely, unworkable. But Avisail Garcia is a keeper in right, Eaton fits into center nicely and Jose Abreu is going to make a lot of fans happy. It seems that Hahn is trying to assemble a team that has power on the edges and defense up the middle. That could work a lot better than fans might think right now, especially when you factor in their pitching.
Before we begin today I’d like to take a moment to extend the condolences of all of us here to Elliott Harris and his family. While we were watching football Elliott’s brother, Robert, lost his battle with leukemia. Elliott’s tribute is powerful and moving and worth reading if you have the time.
But we were watching football and moving and powerful is not what you come here for. I’m not really convinced that literacy is required at all up here.
Anyway, speaking of the joys of illiteracy, this is a quick reminder for everyone to get their recipes and anecdotes and/or ads in for this year’s holiday cookbook. It’s shaping up to be a fun one. There’s a link to your left for last year’s version in case your holidays have blurred together.
Okay, on to the game.
The Bears defense impressed no one and it didn’t matter. I thought the two worst defenses in the NFL would put the over/under at 100. And, early on it looked like I was right. But then Dallas became Dallas. Think of them as the Houston Astros of football. Whatever populist cache they had is long dead and gone. Much like their defense. Nate Scott over at USA Today took a quick look at Dallas’ postseason chances.
Put Tom Brady back there. Or Peyton Manning. Aaron Rodgers. Build a time machine if you can figure out the whole technology thing and bring back an in-his-prime Joe Montana to the future.
It wouldn’t matter. You could put any quarterback in NFL history on the Dallas Cowboys right now and they wouldn’t win a Super Bowl this year.
That much became clear when the Bears thrashed the Cowboys 45-28on Monday Night Football last night in a game that more people will remember for the Mike Ditka celebration at halftime than for anything that happened on the field.
The Cowboys got crushed, and yet the narrative that Tony Romo isn’t “clutch” (whatever that means) survives. Still!
Tony Romo isn’t the problem. Tony Romo is completing 65% of his passes this season. He’s got 27 touchdowns to just 7 interceptions. As our own Chris Chase pointed out, Romo actually has the highest QB rating in the fourth quarter of any quarterback ever.
Again: Tony Romo isn’t the problem.
You know what is a problem? You know what isn’t clutch? A defense that lets Josh McCown embarrass them on Monday Night Football. A Cowboys secondary that seemed disinterested in tackling anyone, like when Matt Forte ran for 22 yards up the sideline after being surrounded by Cowboys defenders. Or that same defense that didn’t seem to be bothered in covering anyone all night, as McCown found receivers open in the end zone time and time again.
Want more non-Tony Romo problems? How about a Cowboys coaching staff that inexplicably stopped calling running plays even though the Cowboys were carving the Bears defense up on the ground in the first quarter.
Or, if we really want to get to the root of it: Why do we continue to blame Tony Romo for the Cowboys’ problems when their GM is also their 71-year-old owner, someone who hasn’t shown he’s been able to put together a successful NFL team in over 15 years?
Enough with the Romo bashing. He doesn’t deserve it, and he really doesn’t deserve to be stuck in the situation he’s in.
As you can tell, he’s not impressed. Neither was I.
Nor was Patrick Finley at the Sun Times.
Adam Podlesh didn’t stay warm Monday night by punting.
But he did run on the field every time the Bears kicked a field goal or extra point — which, in a 45-28 walkover against the Cowboys, was enough to chase away the bitterness of a -9-degree wind chill at kickoff.
“It was a nice day for holding,” said the Bears punter, who wasn’t asked to kick once.
It was a great night for the Bears to reclaim their share of first place, too, as the Bears and Lions are now tied at 7-6 with three games to play.
On their most dramatic night of the season — when the team retired Mike Ditka’s No. 89 at halftime — the Bears had a game without any.
“We had a lot of close ones, lost a lot of close ones,” said cornerback Tim Jennings, who held Dez Bryant to two catches for 12 yards. “This one was huge. Monday night. Prime time.”
Josh McCown looked like John Elway, completing 27-of-36 passes for 348 yards, four passing touchdowns and one helicoptering dive into the end zone for a 7-yard touchdown run.
“He’s amazing, man,” wide receiver Brandon Marshall said.
In what might be his final start — coach Marc Trestman said Jay Cutler will get the nod when healthy — McCown helped Alshon Jeffery continue one of the great receiving seasons in team history.
The two combined forces on one of the most amazing catches anyone’s seen on the banks of Lake Michigan — a 25-yard jump-ball touchdown with 10 seconds left in the first half.
Jeffery, double-covered at the back-right pylon, leapt, landed with his feet in bounds and gave the Bears a 24-14 lead at halftime in front of 56,644 frigid faithful.
The Cowboys jumped ahead 7-0 on a 2-yard Bryant touchdown reception before the Bears scored 42 of the game’s next 49 points.
It started with a 4-yard Earl Bennett catch, and then, after Jason Witten’s 10-yard catch of a bootleg pass, McCown’s scoring scamper. Robbie Gould’s 27-yard field goal took the lead, and Jeffery’s impossible catch bumped it to 10.
After posting a team-high 249 receiving yards last week in Minneapolis, Jeffery had five catches for 84 yards.
Receiving to start the second half, the Bears set up a 34-yard Gould field goal.
A 4-yard Matt Forte scoring catch and Marshall’s two-point conversion reception made it 35-14, and Michael Bush’s 17-yard scoring screen made it a laugher.
“We know what we have offensively,” guard Kyle Long said. “We know the weapons — the problems that can cause a defense.”
Marshall led the team with six catches for 100 yards, but was one of four players to catch five or more passes.
Forte ran the ball with little pushback from the Cowboys, gaining 102 yards on 20 carries.
His counterpart, DeMarco Murray, had 18 carries for 145 yards.
Marshall said the Lions’ loss Sunday “gave us a little more energy,” and it showed.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re here one day or 10 years,” he said, “that orange-and-blue Bear blood, it’s contagious.
“This is what it’s about. This is Bear football.”
I was trying to remember the last game without a team punting. The first time, and last as far as I can tell, was September 13, 1992 in a tilt between the 49ers and the Bills.
And since there can never be a negative number of punts, despite Dallas’ best efforts, my guess is that record will stick.
Also, when the Bears retired Ditka’s number they also retired the number for a dozen other players, all of whom wore #89 when they played for the Bears.
Matt Spaeth, TE, 2011-12
Dustin Lyman, TE, 2000-04
Ryan Wetnight, TE, 1993-99
Kelly Blackwell, TE, 1992
James Coley, TE, 1990
Brent Novoselsky, TE, 1988
Keith Ortego, TE, 1985-87
Mitch Krenk, TE, 1984
James Scott, WR, 1976-83
Mel Tom, DE, 1973-75
Bob Wallace, WR/TE, 1968-72
Terry Stoepel, TE, 1967
Yeah, the Terry Stoepel era brings a tear to my eye too. He actually played in 14 games as a Houston Oiler in 1970 and managed not to put up a single stat. It’s just a line of zeroes. He was out of the league in 1968 and 69.
Yeah, that was the guy who was brought in to replace Ditka.
Let’s move on.
So, do I think the Bears are going to make the post season? As of right now I’d say no. But not very emphatically since they do keep popping back up.
The Bulls beat the Heat last night. They do this often in the regular season as has been noted here before. But at the end of the day it’s the rings that count and, as of right now, this Bulls team has none. Nor are they within sniffing distance of getting any. Rose’s pre-game press conference, in which he left the door open to playing this season, was a complete waste of time. The Bulls aren’t going to let him even wear a uniform to a costume party this year.
So color them done.
Jay Cutler proudly announced that he was going to play in Monday night’s upcoming tilt against the Cowboys and then the team informed him that he was wrong, So he’ll sit on the bench, watch the Jumbotron and eat popcorn or something. Phil Emery also took time out of his busy week to declare the Bears can’t afford to tag Cutler so he’ll either get a long term deal or none at all. That information being less useful than the what was doled out at the Rose press conference.
Anyway, with four games left and the team needing to win the division to even think about the playoffs, you can color them done as well.
I say that knowing full well that the Lions will implode. It doesn’t matter.
So we move on.
The Cubs, after announcing that they were going to open an outdoor bar year round found out that they need silly things like licenses and neighborhood approval. I’m not even sure what to say there other than the Cubs do truly live in dysfunction junction.
Toni Ginnetti, over at the Sun Times, says the Cubs also introduced their new manager, Rick Renteria, yesterday and he admitted that the only job he’s ever wanted was the one he just got.
Rick Renteria met the Chicago media for the first time Thursday as the new Cubs manager, but he had a special connection to the team and to Wrigley Field decades before.
As a rookie with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1986, he played his first game at Wrigley on Sept. 14 and got a hit in his only at-bat.
‘‘He had his picture taken in front of the park,’’ his wife Ilene remembered. ‘‘It was the only place he ever had his picture taken.
‘‘I’m not just saying this—this was the job he always wanted. He was absolutely thrilled.’’
Ilene Renteria said the stars aligned perfectly in his ideal job coming at a time when their three sons are grown and their daughter is in her first year of college.
Rick Renteria, who turns 52 on Christmas, believes the same can happen for the Cubs after three of the franchise’s worst seasons.
‘‘I don’t think in terms of the past except for where the organization has been,’’ he said. ‘‘My attitude is to move forward.
‘‘I compare it to a batter who thinks he had a bad call on the first pitch of an at-bat. You still have to grind through that at-bat and you can’t keep thinking about that first pitch. You have to keep grinding and move forward.’’
Renteria, who was the bench coach for Bud Black with the San Diego Padres for the last three seasons, said he will have a measure of familiarity with the team, having worked under general manager Jed Hoyer when Hoyer was with the Padres.
‘‘It will be nice to be in a familiar setting with people I’ll be working along side,’’ he said. ‘‘I expressed to them this was the place I wanted to be.’’
Renteria spent the majority of November reaching out to players, starting with shortstop Starlin Castro.
‘‘People ask me about Starlin. He was one of the first I spoke to and we spoke at length. I watched him from the other side and thought ‘what a tremendously gifted athlete.’ He’s willing to do whatever we ask him to do.
‘‘The reality is you have to have dialogue. You have to put forward as best a plan on how [each player] can move forward.’’
Renteria said he assembled a staff designed to teach his style and approach to the game.
‘‘They’ll bring the idea that we want to teach,’’ he said. ‘‘We have to present a consistent message. I want this to be a club that gives tremendous effort. We want to be a club that is aggressive on the bases and is smart. I’m very excited about the guys we have now and the talent in the organization.
‘‘You don’t go into a season anticipating failure. No player wants to go out and fail. The game is about peaks and valleys and about the players and I understand that. We have to help them in those times when things aren’t going well. We’re looking forward to an exciting season.’’
When people talk about Renteria they mention his upbeat attitude (to the point of being annoyingly perky), his ability to speak Spanish (Bienvenido a Chicago!), and his ability to help young players develop. In other words, he has all the skills you’d want in a 3A coach. Of course, since it’ll be a few years before he has to coach a major league team, I guess he’ll be all right.
On the South Side, Rhett Bollinger writes that the Sox are welcoming back Paul Konerko for one last season.
White Sox captain Paul Konerko will return to play next season.
The six-time All-Star will remain with Chicago on a one-year, $2.5 million contract, with $1 million of it deferred until 2021. Under terms of his previous contract, signed in December 2010, Konerko is to receive $1 million annually from 2014-20.
Konerko met with White Sox brass in November but didn’t inform the team of his decision to return until Tuesday, with the signing becoming official on Wednesday.
“It really wasn’t a difficult process on our end,” White Sox senior vice president/general manager Rick Hahn said in a conference call. “It was giving Paulie the information and time and space on his decision and his new role. It was incumbent on us to be honest about how the fit would work out with the club moving forward.”
Konerko is expected to be used in a part-time role in 2014, seeing time as a designated hitter against left-handed hitters and working with Jose Abreu’s transition into the role of the club’s primary first baseman. Abreu is a 26-year-old Cuban defector who signed a six-year contract with the White Sox in October.
Konerko, who turns 38 on March 5, said he’s comfortable with his new role, and didn’t want to retire with a sour taste in his mouth after both he and the White Sox struggled last season.
“For me, I pretty much knew from being around the game and the natural evolution of a player, I knew back in August, September, that if I was going to play next year, it was going to be like this,” Konerko said. “Accepting the role, I’m probably way ahead of everybody else on this one because I knew where this was going to head.”
White Sox manager Robin Ventura, who was also on the conference call, said he’ll find ways to get Konerko in the lineup despite having Adam Dunn and Abreu on the roster.
“I think matchups will have something to do with it,” Ventura said. “There will be some mixing and matching. But with how professional these guys are, I don’t have to bang my head over it. I’m not limiting him to just DH. We’ll see in Spring Training how it evolves and how it goes. I’m just happy having these guys and what they bring to the team.”
But the White Sox are bringing back Konerko for more than just his playing ability, as they value his leadership in the clubhouse as the face of the franchise for the last 15 years.
“A large part of the role is his presence in the clubhouse,” Hahn said. “Having him around as a role model has a lot of value to us as we build this roster.”
Konerko, who has spent 15 of his 17 Major League seasons with Chicago, hit .244 with 12 homers and 54 RBIs in 126 games this past season. His 434 career home runs rank fifth among active players and are tied with Juan Gonzalez and Andruw Jones for 42nd place in Major League history. His 1,390 RBIs are sixth among active players and 75th all-time.
He ranks second in White Sox history in home runs (427), RBIs (1,361), total bases (3,944) and games played (2,187) and third in hits (2,249) and doubles (398). He needs five total bases and 21 homers to tie the franchise records held by Frank Thomas. Konerko’s 13 seasons of 20 or more homers are a franchise record, and his 10 grand slams are tied with Ventura for the club mark.
“Paul Konerko has been the constant face of the White Sox organization and the heart of our clubhouse over the past 15 seasons,” said chairman Jerry Reinsdorf. “He certainly earned the right to make this decision on his own, and we are very pleased that he has decided to return for another season. While the accomplishments speak for themselves—six All-Star Games, a World Series title, 427 home runs with the White Sox—anyone who is in our clubhouse day in and day out knows the value Paul brings to our franchise as a leader, as a teammate, as a mentor and as our captain.”
In summation, the Sox are saying that Dunn will face right handed pitching, Konerko will face left handed pitching and Abreu will face all comers.
Here’s what I say; Dunn is done, PK will platoon DH with whoever Ventura picks on any given day and Abreu will knock the snot out of the ball when he connects with it. And, as a side note, while Abreu may never compete for a Gold Glove, he’s not a defensive liability either. Get the ball near him and he’ll catch it.
So how are teams chances looking next year?
If the Cubs get Tanaka, something they claim they are trying to do and something I doubt they can even spell, then they will have embarked on a serious press to add high quality free agents to their developing team. If you read that sentence slowly you’ll realize that it’s not going to happen. They’ll be flipping vets for prospects just after the All Star break. In other words, color them gone.
The Sox, as currently constituted, should compete, aggressively, for last place. But, given the depth they have in pitching, a couple of trades and they could be right in the thick of things. I’ll hold off judgement on them for now.
You can color them beige.
A lot of people are saying that Marc Trestman made an ass of himself Sunday. Thus our pic today. Well, come on, would you really have preferred a pic of Trestman’s ass? I didn’t think so. Anyway, people are mad at him.
The Twitter and the Facebook are ablaze with the fury. The Trestman MUST be sent back to the Canadia they wail. He must be the flogged and the tarred and the feathered they howl. Who cares if the offense is fixed, they keen, if there’s an idiot calling plays and the defense sucks? Like John the Baptist before him, this Trestman must go.
Yes, a segment of the population is seriously irked.
There are two things that bother me with Trstman’s call. First, he just said out loud that he doesn’t trust his team to run a play without fucking up. That should set off alarms on every level of Halas Hall. If the coach doesn’t trust his players what the hell is he doing on the sidelines?
The second issue, as Rick Morrissey points out, is that now that he has a real job he’s developed the habit of saying “I’m always right so fuck you.”
It was Robert Half who said, “Not admitting a mistake is a bigger mistake.’’ I have loved, embraced and lived by that quote ever since Monday, when I Googled “quotes about people who won’t admit mistakes.’’
I was wholly unaware of who Half was until I Googled his name and learned he was the founder of a national employment agency for accountants. It seemed too good to be true because Bears coach Marc Trestman, our subject today, is dealing with accountability issues, math difficulties, stubbornness over mistakes and, perhaps, long-term employment questions.
Trestman had a very bad day Sunday, when he sent in Robbie Gould for a 47-yard field-goal attempt on second-and-seven in overtime instead of using a down or two to get more yards against a bad Minnesota defense. Gould’s kick was wide right by inches, meaning the exact same kick probably would have been good from, say, 44 yards. The Vikings went on to win 23-20.
After the game, Trestman said he had been worried his offense might fumble or draw a penalty on second down. The next day at Halas Hall, nothing had changed in terms of this thinking.
“We were in the middle of the field, well within Robbie’s distance, and the decision is not anything that I regret,’’ he said.
Not even passive-voice, “mistakes were made’’ PR spin.
If the refusal to own up to a mistake were an isolated incident with Trestman, it might be easier to dismiss. But Trestman has shown an intractability when it comes to admitting errors.
We saw it when he refused to budge after his decision to play a limping, ineffective Jay Cutler in most of a Nov. 10 loss to the Lions, rather than insert a healthy, frisky Josh McCown.
“No regrets here,’’ Trestman had said afterward.
We saw it again when he told reporters he liked his play-calling on second- and third-and-one late in the fourth quarter against the Vikings. The two running plays went for no gain, and the Bears punted.
If they win those winnable Lions and Vikings games, they’re 8-4 today instead of 6-6.
You can’t learn from your mistakes if you don’t think they’re mistakes.
Trestman said Monday that he often questions his decisions.
“You do look back and ask yourself, ‘What other options did I have and would they have worked under the circumstances?’ ’’ he said.
And? Wouldn’t that kind of self-evaluation bring him to a different conclusion the day after the kick? No, he said.
He had watched a crazy game lurch about and didn’t want to further antagonize the football gods. A penalty already had wiped out a Vikings field goal in overtime. An interception had done in a Vikings drive at the Bears’ 1-yard line in the fourth quarter.
What any of that had to do with the Bears’ offense, I don’t know.
The message Trestman sent to his offense on Gould’s overtime attempt was not a pleasant one. It all but said, “You are not to be trusted.’’
It’s hard to find any solid rationale for what Trestman chose to do in overtime. He said 47 yards is in Gould’s range. Yeah? So is 50 yards. And 55 yards, for that matter. But Gould’s chances of making a field goal increase as the distance decreases. And, don’t forget, running back Matt Forte had averaged 5.2 yards per carry leading up to the kick and hadn’t fumbled.
I like Trestman. I like his attention to detail on and off the field. I like that he treats people with decency and fairness. He seems to genuinely care about his players. And he has played a huge role in turning the previously unremarkable McCown into a good quarterback.
But he seems to be under the impression that making a decision means justifying it to the bitter end. That’s a weakness in a coach, and it doesn’t play well with many Chicagoans, some of whom have quaint ideas about genuine accountability. If Trestman doubts that, he might want to check out the Twitter world from the last 36 hours or so.
It was a brutal loss for the Bears, who entered the game with playoff hopes and left with a .500 record. Trestman can rightly point to three or four moments when the Bears could have put away the game. But the decision to kick on second down reduced those moments to footnotes. That’s the way it works. Some decisions are bigger than others. Some are dumber than others.
Yes, it is a weakness. And an unforeseen one at that. Hopefully it’s a glitch that he’ll grow beyond. New city, new media and all that. I can see it being a little whelming and him needing to assert his manhood, as it were.
In other words, I’m cutting his some slack.
Yesterday some friends of a friend came down from their farm and brought some fresh kill sausages. Saturday it had been a cow, Sunday it was on a grill. It doesn’t get much fresher than that. They do this once in a while, without announcement, and share with anyone who happens to be around. The only pattern I’ve noticed is that they only come to town when the Bears are on TV. Well, that, and the meats are in-freaking-credible. You want to know why grandma and grandpa could eat this stuff all the time and live to ripe old ages? Just try some fresh kill meats and you’ll get it. 100% fresh ingredients, all natural spices and not an ounce of commercial processing.
When I was a kid I would spend summers on farms with relatives. I still remember my uncle telling me to pick a chicken for dinner. I can still taste it. So fresh and rich in texture. Not at all like the bland crap you get in a store.
I hope you understand why I want to hold those happy thoughts instead of remembering the game.
Sadly, you don’t come here to read food porn.
You may have noticed the image to the right. It simply didn’t seem right to laud our gridiron warriors with a sexy fan after their performance yesterday. But I wanted something nice there and, you have to admit, she’s easy on the eyes.
Even if she’s a Vikings’ fan.
Late in the 3rd quarter the Bears trotted out their “prevent defense.” This is a holdover from the Lovie Smith era that had, heretofore, been kept under wraps. The reason is that the “bend but don’t break” philosophy behind it has been proven a sham time and time and time and time ..... again.
Yesterday was no different.
As Patrick Finley, over at the Sun Times, notes, it’s hard to win games when your defense gives up over 200 yards on the ground to one guy.
Fireworks popped from two wires traversing above the goal posts Sunday.
The Bears had lost, and then they hadn’t, but the smoke lingered, a reminder of how the Vikings’ overtime field goal was wiped out by a penalty.
It took two more misses — one by the Vikings’ Blair Walsh and a season-defining 47-yard push by the Bears’ Robbie Gould — before the fireworks returned again.
Walsh’s 34-yarder sealed the Bears’ 23-20 overtime loss, and likely their playoff fate.
Amid the explosions, there was an implosion.
“We keep shooting ourselves in the foot, basically,” running back Matt Forte said.
On second down, Gould’s right foot pushed a potential game-winner right with 4:12 left in overtime.
“It’s on my shoulders,” Gould said.
Coach Marc Trestman said, “Robbie didn’t lose the game. There’s a lot of different ways to lose.’’
The Vikings thought they won earlier, but Walsh’s 39-yarder was offset by Rhett Ellison’s 15-yard facemask penalty. He missed a 57-yarder two plays later, giving the Bears life.
“We’re thinking the game’s over,” Bears linebacker James Anderson said. “Wait a minute? A flag?”
Adrian Peterson ran 35 times for 211 yards to knock the 6-6 Bears one game behind the Lions, who own the tiebreaker with four to play.
“Now we need a lot more help,” left tackle Jermon Bushrod said.
The Bears led 20-10 after two third-quarter touchdown receptions by Alshon Jeffery — an 80-yarder on the second play of the half and a leaping 46-yard grab near the left pylon.
Jeffery finished with 12 catches for a franchise-record 249 yards, breaking the mark he set in October after it had stood untouched for 59 years.
Trailing by 10 in the fourth quarter, the Vikings converted one fourth down and three third downs — including Greg Jennings’ eight-yard touchdown catch — to cap an 89-yard drive.
The Bears fumbled on their next possession — guard Kyle Long caught a deflection and lost the ball — before Khaseem Greene intercepted a bobbled pass at the goal line.
The Bears couldn’t convert second-and-one and third-and-one and punted.
“Any run play, if you give up penetration,” Forte said, “it’s tough to gain those yards back.”
Down three with 1:55 left in regulation, the Vikings went for it on fourth-and-11 from their 8. Quarterback Matt Cassel — who replaced concussed starter Christian Ponder for the second half — found Jerome Simpson for 20 yards.
After a pass for a loss, Cassel threw three consecutive times for 62 yards. Three incompletions from the 12 forced a field goal.
With the game tied with 20 seconds left, Devin Hester returned the kickoff to midfield, but Gould missed a 66-yarder to force overtime.
“It was tough,” Bushrod said. “A lot of weird calls. A lot of penalties, flags, blah-blah-blah.
“There were a lot of swings in the game, a lot of ups and downs.’’
First off, Jeffrey’s a keeper. That TD catch of his in the 3rd showed levels of smart we haven’t seen in this city for a long time.
Now, for those who claim the refs cost the Bears the game, you’re wrong. Those penalties get called all the time and weren’t pulled out of some dusty notebook just to piss you off.
For those of you who blame Trestman, uhhhhh, maybe. He made some questionable calls, that’s true. But if his defense wasn’t on its back more often than a hooker at a bachelor party maybe he wouldn’t have to risk things like he did.
The Bears defense, for lack of a better term, sucks.
Long the backbone of this team, they have no depth and were old to begin with. Something tells me that Phil Emory is going to have a huge phone bill this off-season.
Something also tells me that there will be some shiny new people wearing Bears uniforms in 2014.