Thursday, May 29, 2008

Welcome back Collins.

Remember this guy?

He's baaaaaaack!!!!

After a disappointing season filled with uninspiring play, the Chicago Bulls turn to familiar face in Doug Collins to right the ship. This is Collins second stint with the Bulls. Collins denied any interest in coaching again, but soon changed his mind after meeting with the Bulls brass.

This is an interesting hire for the Bulls, but not totally suprising considering their penchant for hiring former players/coaches to positions with the team. That seems to be a Reinsdorf staple as he takes similar tactics with the White Sox. Collins will inherit a lot of young talent and with the coach now in place the Bulls can put all their focus on the draft.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!!!

These days are long gone...

...and a new era is here!

With a 1.7% chance of winning the NBA Draft Lottery, the Chicago Bulls had the numbers come up in their favor and walked away with the number 1 pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. The top 2 names on everyone's draft board are Memphis' Derrick Rose and K-State's Michael Beasley, but The Bulls are giving no indication which way they will go at this time.
It is well known that the Bulls need a low post scoring threat on their team, something they haven't had since Jerry Krause traded away Elton Brand (Stewie voice: Damn you Fatman!), and Beasley would fill that role. However, the Bulls are a young team with no established leader, and Rose could become that leader that they need to help get them back into the playoffs.
Talentwise you can't lose with either player, however The Bulls also need to consider character, and that is where Rose passes up Beasley. In some circles Beasley has the reputation of being a selfish player; and that is the last thing this young team needs.
Whatever The Bulls decide to do could have an impact on the rest of the draft, as Miami holds the number two pick are considering trading the pick if they don't get Rose. Don't look for Pax to tip his hand anytime soon. The next month is crucial for the Bulls as they continue to evaluate players, interview head coaching candidates, and explore possible deals that will help them return to the post season after a disappointing 2007-2008 campaign.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Sox-Cubs 1st Place Ball Clubs

Chicago Sports World is officially back! Sweet post by Mike on the NFL road trip and thanks to CNNSI for raising that street cred! We haven't been posting consistently, but now that baseball is in full swing and the NFL draft being right around the corner, this is going to change.

For baseball fans in Chicago, things couldn't be better right now as both the sox and cubs are sitting atop of their respective divisions! Could this be a prelude to a Windy City Classic in October?

OK, lets not get carried away, its a long year. With that said, here are just a few quick hits from what I have seen thus far from both ball clubs.

Lets start off with the Sox:

  • A few of the bats that were extremely quiet in 2007 seem to have new life in 2008 much to the joy of all White Sox fans. Dye, Pierzynski, and Crede are sporting .344, .339, and .286 batting averages respectively, all with an OPS over .900.
  • Nick Swisher is already looking to be a positive addition to this White Sox team. Although he is only batting .246, his OBP currently sits at .421 which puts him in the top 10 in the AL in OBP and makes him a comfortable option for the lead-off spot in that lineup.

  • Jim Thome needs to bolster his performance in the middle of that lineup. I know I am saying this the day after a 4 hit game, but when you consider he had 4 hits and his average was raised from .172-.222, he hasn't exactly been killing the ball. Let's hope yesterday was a sign of things to come as he is currently on pace to bat in the low .200's with close to 170 strikeouts.

  • Gavin Floyd... wow! Chicago has got to be excited about the start this kid has had. The 25 year old is currently boasting a 2-0 record in 3 games started with an ERA of 1.4 with a WHIP of 0.88. Opposing batters are hitting .140 against him. It will be interesting to see if he is able to sustain this success.

  • Mark Buehrle has not quite looked himself thus far in 2008. Most feel as though Buehrle falls under the 'its early' category, but he certainly has not impressed in 2008 with an ERA of 5.96 and opposing batters hitting over .380 against him. I beleive Buehrle needs to pick things up and truly be the ace of this staff in order for the Sox to win the AL Central

And How bout those Cubbies?

  • The offense has been nothing short of phenomenal to start the season. The Cubs currently sit right near the top of the league in runs scored, run differential, and about 6 players of their typical everyday lineup are batting over .300. Through 19 games, they have scored 119 runs.
  • Carlos Zambrano is off to a great start as opposed to the abysmal April/May he had last season. Big Z has 4 quality starts in 5 outings with a 2.67 ERA. He has given up a few more hits than is typical but has only walked 5 while striking out 27 with a WHIP of 1.10. Cub fans would certainly like to see this Zambrano for the entire year.
  • Ted Lilly and Rich Hill need to be solid pitchers for the Cubs to go deep in the playoffs. I thought Lilly was the Cubs most consistent pitcher last year, not with devastating stuff, but he always kept you in ball games. He needs to figure things out thus far as in 4 starts, he has an ERA over 9 and has only thrown 18 innings. If the Cubs truly want to make that big run this year, their rotation needs to be deep.
  • Soriano needs to be taken out of the leadoff spot upon returning from injury. I have seen reports saying that the Cubs are better off without him, which I truly do not believe. He is a very talented player, but he needs to come to grips with the fact that he is not a lead-off hitter. If the Cubs lineup continues to produce how it has, it will be interesting to see how Lou handles the lineup card upon Soriano's return.
  • How can you not like Kosuke Fukudome?!?! Fukudome is currently boasting a .328 BA with a .444 OBP and an OPS over .900. Another interesting statistic I heard regarding Fukudome is that he currently leads the majors in pitches per at bat. If he continues to produce and come through in big situations like he has already done this year, you will be hearing plenty of those "FU-KU-DO-ME!" chants at Wrigley!

Those were just some quick takes on what I have noticed from both the Sox/Cubs this year. Lets hope the first month of the season is just a mere preview of things to come with both teams currently in first place in their respective divisions. Although it is early, if you compare the start of the '08 season to the one from '07, Chicago Baseball fans should certainly be encouraged by what they have seen. There will be plenty more to come as the season unfolds and we are certainly looking forward to it.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Every team and every stadium in one season?

Yesterday on the Charlie Pallilo radio show a listener called in and wondered if it was logistically possible to see every team and every stadium in one NFL season. I caught the tail end of the conversation, but I thought it was an interesting topic and I decided to figure it out. I can't speak for all NFL season, but I can tell you that it is possible for the upcoming 2008 season.
Now keep in mind this is a rough draft, so if you see any errors let me know and I'll figure it out. Also, this does not include any games or stadiums out of the US, which makes it a little more of a challenge because that is a few less home games in which to deal with.

Here is the breakdown.

Week 1
Thursday, September 4, 2008 Washington Redskins at NY Giants.
Opening day of the NFL season, that knocks out the New York Giants, the Washington Redskins, and Giants Stadium.

Sunday, September 7, 2009.
We skip the first set of games here and make our way out to San Francisco for the Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers matchup at 4:15 EST at Monster Field. After the game drive across the bay for the Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders game at 10:15 PM EST at McAffee Coliseum…maybe even stop for a beer.

Week 2
Sunday, September 14, 2008
The early game of the Tennessee Titans at the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. From there we catch Continental flight 8693 from Cincinnati to Cleveland for the Sunday night game of Pittsburgh Steelers vs the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

Monday, September 15, 2008
On Monday morning we fly to Dallas to see the Monday night matchup of the Philadelphia Eagles at the Dallas Cowboys at Texas Stadium.

Week 3
Sunday, September 21, 2008
The Atlanta Falcons host the Kansas City Chiefs at the Georgia Dome for the noon game.

Monday, September 22, 2008
The Monday nighter takes us to QualComm Stadium for the New York Jets at San Diego Chargers matchup.

Week 4
Sunday, September 28, 2008
We will be in Charlotte NC for the start of week 4 for the Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers matchup at Bank of America Stadium.
From there we will catch US Airways non-stop flight 3131 to Chicago for the Sunday night game of Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears at Soldier Field.

Monday, September 29, 2008
Heinz Field and the Pittsburgh Steelers host the Baltimore Ravens in a divisional matchup.

Week 5
Sunday, October 5, 2008
The only game we'd be at this weekend on Sunday is the noon game where the Houston Texans host the Indianapolis Colts at Reliant Stadium.

Monday, October 6, 2008
The New Orleans Saints host the Minnesota Vikings at the Louisiana Superdome for the Monday nighter.

Week 6
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Heading out East for the Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers game at Raymond James Stadium

Monday, October 13, 2008
NYG at Cleveland Browns - been there, done that. We have the night off to rest our livers.

Week 7
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Traveling North to Buffalo for the noon matchup of the San Diego Chargers at the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Monday, October 20, 2008
The New England Patriots host the Denver Broncos at Gillette Stadium.

Week 8
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Noon game of the Washington Redskins at Detroit Lions at Ford Field.

Monday, October 27, 2008
Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans. We have seen both teams, but not LP Field…so why the hell not?

Week 9
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Noon game of Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.

Monday, November 3, 2008
Pittsburgh Steelers at Washington Redskins at FedEx Field. Hello FedEx Field.

Week 10
There is a Thursday game this week, but it is between two teams that we have seen at a stadium we have been to.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
We will start off with the noon matchup of the Green Packers at the Minnesota Vikings at the Metrodome.

Monday, November 10, 2008
San Francisco 49ers at the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium for the Monday nighter.

Week 11
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Sunday, November 16 the Seattle Seahawks host the Arizona Cardinals at Qwest Field for the 4 o'clock game.

Week 12
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Noon game of the New England Patriots at the Miami Dolphins at Dolphins Stadium.

Week 13
Thursday, November 27, 2008 the Philadelphia Eagles host the Arizona Cardinals at Lincoln Financial Field.

Sunday, November 30, 2008 the Green Bay Packers host the Carolina Panthers at Lambeau Field.

Week 14
Sunday, December 7, 2008 for the noon game the Washington Redskins visit the Baltimore Ravens at M & T Bank Stadium.

Week 15
Sunday, December 14, 2008
The noon game is the Seattle Seahawks at the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome.

Week 16
Thursday, December 18, 2008 the Jacksonville Jaguars host the Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Municiple Stadium.

Sunday, December 21, 2008 the Denver Broncos host the Buffalo Bills at Invesco Field for the noon game.

Week 17
Sunday, December 28, 2008 the Indianapolis Colts host the Tennessee Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Integrity in Sports

Now, more than ever, sports leagues need to find a way to restore a sense of integrity and respect in their sport. The last few years have given each major sport enough negative publicity to last them awhile. Obviously baseball has the ongoing steroids controversy, the NBA has the referee scandal, and the NFL has had a series of off the field dicipline problems in addition to what has become known as Spygate.

Where has the integrity gone in sports? How do we know who to trust anymore? In these sports, is anyone who can really make a difference going to step up and make a statement, or take some ownership in what is going on?
MLB has had an ongoing drug problem for years with steroids and HGH. This is no secret, and I won't talk about the players here because their role is obvious. They made the ultimate decision to do it. However, the coaches, owners, MLB, and the players association are just as guilty for the steroid/HGH problem in their sport, yet they sit back and watch all the players take the heat while they categorically deny everything through their lawyers and act like they are were oblivious.

Now its time for people in this sport, and sports in general, to step up and condemn this kind of thing. Take a stand and let people know you think its wrong. Sadly, that hasn't happened yet. Clemens is still allowed to come to the Astros spring training facility to be a distraction, and teams are still thinking about signing Bonds. Tony Larussa, who was arrested for a DUI during the 2007 spring training campaign, just released Scott Spezio because of his DUI arrest because "it was the right message to send for the organization". Tony LaRussa is the same guy who told his owner he would like to sign Barry Bonds. What kind of message does that send?
Astros owner Drayton McLane has taken a "No Comment" stance on the whole Roger Clemens saga. Only now, since Clemens will be a subject of a federal investigation for perjury, does McLane say they might reconsider Clemens' personal services contract pending the outcome of the investigation. This is the same McLane who authorized the trade for Miguel Tejada the day before the Mitchell Report came out. Now I don't believe the players who were on steroids should be banned for life, but I thought the timing of the Tejada trade was both interesting and intentional.
In the middle of all of this, Bud Selig gets a three year extension as commissioner. The steroids problem has been the biggest issue in baseball in a long time, and he has mismanaged or ignored it for a long time. How does he get rewarded with a three year extension? Unbelievable!
The sad thing is there are very few surpises in sports anymore. If the player you grew up watching either admitted to or got caught taking steroids, its not a surprise. You have certain players that are your favorite, and you hope they played the game the natural way, but its not shocking if they didn't. Even more sad is things will get worse unless players unions, owners, sports management, and the players speak up and take a stand whether or not its with steroids.
Who will bring back integrity into sports?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Cubs Sign Fukudome

The Chicago Cubs have reportedly agreed to a four year deal with Japanese outfielder Kosuke Fukudome ("ko-SUE-kay foo-koo-DOUGH-may") worth somewhere between 48 and 50 million dollars.

If Fukudome plays as advertised, he will provide the Cubs with some much needed stability in the outfield, and the left-handed bat they have been searching for. Scouts have described him as a cross between Ichiro and Matsui, a guy who can hit for power and average. He is considered an above average fielder with a good arm and will most likely find himself in right field whent the season begins.

Twelve million per season for a guy that has never even had an at-bat in the majors may seem like a lot of money, and a big risk. After all, nobody really knows how his game will translate to MLB. However, his numbers in the Japenese league are quite impressive, boasting a .305 average, .397 OBP, and a .543 slugging percentage for his career. If Fukudome can replicate these numbers in MLB, he will be well worth the money and could be a key piece of the puzzle for the Cubs in 2008.

Adding Fukudome certainly solidifies the corner outfield positions for the Cubs, with center field still up in the air. Cubs management continues to be optimistic about Felix Pie who has done little in his few short stints in the majors. However, at only 22 years young, the jury is still out on Pie and he has time to develop into the player the Cubs hope he will be. As spring training approaches we will post previews of both the Cubs and White Sox, so stay tuned!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Bye Bye Playoffs

In a game which showcased anything and everything that has gone wrong with the Bears this season, Chicago took another defeat at the hands of the Washington Redskins on Thursday night, dropping to 5-8 and virtually shredding any last playoff aspirations. Injuries, penalties, inconsistent QB/RB play, mediocre blocking, giving up 3rd and Long conversions on defense etc; It wasnt pretty!

Grossman was the first to go down after being sacked from his blind side and landing awkwardly. MRI came back to reveal just a sprain, but it is unlikely he will play again this season. That opens the door to the biggest question of the upcoming off season: who will start at QB for the Bears next season? It's blatantly obvious that Griese is a back-up quarterback and should return in that same role. I believe the Bears should definiltey give Kyloe Orton some playing time over their last 3 games. Although they aren't yet mathematically eliminated from playoff contention yet, it is highly unlikely they will find a way to get in. With Grossman out and Griese's status as a back-up pretty certain, it's time to see what Orton can do.

The Bears have a lot of question marks when looking forward to 2008 at several key positions. David Haugh, the bears beat writer for the trib, reviewed many of the obstacles facing the bears for '08. Once the season comes to an official close, we here at Chicago Sports World will break down the entire Bears team by looking forward to '08. For the time being, lets see if they can finish the season on a postivie note and get back to .500!! Hard to beleive at this time last year, we were getting ready to celebrate a division title and first round playoff BYE on our way to the superbowl...