Look Ahead

I happened to come across this video today as I perused about facebook.

Don’t get me wrong, this is very well put together. But, it’s also everything wrong with this city; stop living in past sports-related success. Jordan and Payton are gone, Sammy cheated, the ’05 Sox aren’t coming back, and nobody cares about the old Hawks.
All that stuff was great. Was. It means next to nothing now. Start getting excited about the young Cubs, Chris Sale, Captain Serious, Jay Cutler, and Derrick coming back. What’s done is done, and too many sports fans try to compare old to new. Highlights are great, but they belong in the history section.

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Royal Comeback

Don’t look now, but the Kansas City Royals are making their postseason push. On June 1st, the Royals were 26-30, and sitting in last place in the American League’s Central Division. Since then, however, they are 37-23 and just a half game out of first, behind the Detroit Tigers. So why the sudden change? For one, winning streaks of ten and seven games will always help. And not to mention, playing in the incredibly inept Central Division is always good for 30+ wins. But there has to be something more, right? A big trade, perhaps? Maybe an overachieving summer call-up? Why are the Kansas City Royals still playing good baseball late in the season? Don’t they know the playoffs are approaching?

Look, please don’t take the above questions as being rhetorical or facetious. I genuinely am curious as to what is making this constantly underachieving ball club click. Continue reading

Patience is a Virtue

After highly lauded prospect Javier Baez was called up from Triple-A Iowa on Monday, Baez Mania was put into full force on the North Side of Chicago.

It was another nice reward for those who have been patient in their fandom. When Theo Epstein, current President of Baseball Operations, was introduced in October of 2011, he knew there was much work to be done. He had this to say during that press conference:

“We’re going to build the best baseball operation we can. We’re going to change the culture. Our players are going to change the culture along with us in the major league clubhouse. We’re going to make building a foundation for sustained success a priority. That will lead to playing October baseball more often than not. Once you get in in October there’s a legitimate chance to win the World Series.”

For almost three complete seasons, Epstein and the Cubs have followed their self-made plans. Get rid of the absurd contracts, obtain top prospects (whether by draft or by trade), build the minor league system to be above all in the Major Leagues, and eventually bring up those prospects to the Big Club. Many Cubs fans are aware and understanding when it comes to this process. Others, however, are unapologetically impatient. Sure, I bet it gets annoying to know that the team you have stood behind your entire life is going to be unimportant year after year. At some point, though, there has to be a reward. Continue reading

Team USA Faces First Hurdle

Last Friday night, USA Basketball put on a scrimmage in Las Vegas. The twenty players on the current Team USA roster were split into two squads, and matched up against each other. It was similar to an all-star game atmosphere. In a game where there as much fun to be had, and basketball to be learned, the only outcome turned to be a negative one. Indiana Pacers star small forward, Paul George, suffered a gruesome leg injury when he landed awkwardly on the base of the basket, after chasing down the opposing James Harden. At first, it did not seem as though he was greatly injured. Replays showed, however, that his leg wrenched just above the ankle, causing a ghastly image and complete fracture. Director of USA Basketball Jerry Colangelo, at the time, had stated, “Everyone saw what we saw, but that’s for the medical team to decide, determine, and then make the announcement about what it is and what’s going to take place.” Ultimately, it has been determined that George will miss the entire 2014-2015 NBA season, causing some distress in the minds of owners, coaches, teammates, and fans alike. Continue reading

Remember why we play? For fun

Earlier this week, I was at the final baseball tournament for my brother. It’s been a great summer but I saw firsthand the evidence for the mounting injuries and poor sportsmanship that are taking place in youth sports.

To provide some brief context, my brother’s team entered this final game of pool play 2-0 and had advanced to the semifinals the next day. Meanwhile, our opponent was 0-2 and had been eliminated from the tournament as a result of the victory of my brother’s team. Anyway in our 15-16 U age bracket the matchups were pretty much set and due to a rainstorm that had cancelled this game, it was taking place at 9:40 PM.

According to a presentation by George A. Paletta where he discusses the rise of elbow injuries in young pitchers, he mentions the following: “A young athlete should never throw through pain or continue to pitch when he or she is obviously fatigued,” says Dr. Paletta. “Additionally, parents should familiarize themselves with the recommended single game, weekly and season total pitch counts, suggested recovery times, and recommended ages for learning various pitches.”

Now you may ask why am I bringing this up? In a meaningless game for the opposition, the pitcher of the opposing team threw 138 pitches in a complete game 13-2 loss. He gave up 14 hits, 13 runs (3 of which were earned) and faced 42 batters. Again this poor kid threw 138 pitches in a 7 inning game that was completely meaningless for his team!

The game was a 4-2 game in our favor entering the top of the sixth; this poor kid threw half of his pitches in the final two innings. In the seventh inning it just became sad as his team kicked the ball around the infield. On three consecutive plays with two outs, simple errors extended the kid’s night. It got so bad that our kids were trying to get into rundowns and find a way out of the inning. Continue reading