Monday, February 28, 2011

"Pocket Aces"- Current Cubs roster capable of 95 wins with help of pitching stars

"As I See It, anyone can be an Ace: Attitude + Commitment = Excellence"
- Curtis Shaw Flagg

  In the case of the Chicago Cubs, it's paid in spades for this upcoming season. Plagued with poor run production, the starting pitching rotation last year for the Cubs did not manifest. Despite the tutelage of pitching coach Larry Rothschild. Since removed from the team and coaching with the New York Yankees ( go figure, he's a good coach,) Larry once honed the skill and talent of pitchers Carlos Zambrano, Randy Wells, Ryan Dempster, and most notably Carlos Marmol and his control issues. He unfortunately didn't get the opportunity to get a real angle of continuity with recently acquired starter Carlos Silva, who did as notably start the season 8-0 before losing a 1-2 pitchers duel to the White Sox.

Marmol had 38 saves and .255 ERA in 2010
  Flash forward to present day. Larry Rothschild is out as the Cubs pitching coach, after initially agreeing to the option into 2011, to head to New York with the Yankees. Enter Mark Riggins, a questionable candidate as far as comparable terms to that of Rothschild. Riggins had a good college and minor league career, playing and coaching in the minors, he had a parallel history working his way up from the bottom as that of new manager Mike Quade. Sensing that the similarities for 110% hard work and effort will rub off on a pitching staff with just as much talent as any starting 5 in the majors.

  That pitching staff is the reason for this entry. To be technical, there are 4 Aces: Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, Carlos Silva, and recently acquired ALCS MVP Matt Garza from the Tampa Bay Rays. All four of these pitchers could headline a major league team. Carlos Zambrano for the past few years has been the Cubs No.1 pitcher until only a few weeks ago, when Mike Quade made a bold decision to start Ryan Dempster winning 52 decisions in the past 7 seasons. Carlos Zambrano won over 90 decisions in his previous seven seasons, but has been struggling with anger issues and disruptions internally within the organization and was flat out getting hammered in tight stretches.

  If the starting rotation were based solely from last years statistics, then the order would be as follows: Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza, Carlos Zambrano, Carlos Silva, Randy Wells. With James Russell and Sean Marshall the only two left handed pitchers with serious consideration on the outside looking in. They will essentially battle for mop-up time, and be on call in case one of the 5 starters goes through a slump, or to balance out the rotation with both right and left handed pitchers.

  As I See It, the starting rotation should go as follows taking into consideration both right and left handed pitchers:

  1. Carlos Zambrano
  2. Matt Garza
  3. Ryan Dempster
  4. Sean Marshall
  5. Carlos Silva
  Consideration for the rotation are as follows:
  • Carlos Zambrano will undoubtedly go down as one of the greatest Cubs pitchers before he hangs up his jersey. He will also go down as one of the most notorious. But whether he is jousting with Derek Lee in the dugout, giving the "Green Street Hooligan" to the water cooler in the dugout, or screaming with himself in the dugout, he always competes at his highest level no matter the circumstance and demands the same from his team. In his 10 years of service with the Cubs, Carlos has only had 2 losing seasons, pitched a no-hitter against the Milwaukee Brewers and has been a staple ace yearly for the Cubs ballclub. Hands down No. 1 pitcher in Chicago.
  • It gets a little more tricky from here, Carlos Silva has the track record for success playing in the National League posting a 18-7 record while playing for teams in the NL. Matt Garza however, has been more productive in his respective league as of recent. Matt is 34-31 in his past 3 years in Tampa, including that 2008 ALCS MVP Award. Matt Garza is bringing proven post-season success to a team that is in desperate need of good successful leadership. The No. 2 spot should suffice for the right hander going into his first campaign on the Cubs mound. How the cards fall after that is up to him and Zambrano's play. 
Look out for Kerry Wood to have a big-time reunion in the Cubs bullpen
  • Ryan Dempster has to be the Rodney Dangerfield of the Chicago Cubs. Beyond his behind the scenes prankster antics and propensity to goof around the ballclub. Ryan's consistent production seems to almost go unnoticed to the masses, since his transitions from the relief role into a full time pitcher. Since becoming the Cubs starter RD has posted a 43-27 record with a 3.49 ERA. And still he slips to the 3 spot, and to that degree he gets more grandeur for the fact that he fully accepts whatever position is given to him. What makes him intangible is his ability to perform no matter where he starts. I look for Dempster to 16-6 in the 3 spot this season. That would be statistically his best record to date.
  • Sean Marshall is the affirmative action candidate for the left handed minority of pitchers for the Cubs. Building off a decent end to last season, which included his last start, where he shut out the San Diego Padres 1-0. The next viable candidate would be James Russel, a second year Cub and promising left handed pitcher. My eye tells me that he has some weight issues to overcome, and in turn will help with his power and health. As I See It, the best possible strategy with the lefties is for Riggins and Quade to use Marshall initially for his experience and to get early legs. From that point sporadically mix in Russell, given the matchup to let him get loose for the second half. Depending on performance, if James is giving the team the better chance of advantage against right handed hitters, he finishes the job( See: Net Gain: Antti Niemi. )
  • Carlos Silva is the dark horse in this race, losing the fourth spot to Sean Marshall on strategic technicality. Silva started out the season 8-0, looking more like the 2004 version of himself. Plagued with critical health ailments and minor injuries throughout his career, he is unfortunately too risky to rely on as a No. 1 - 3 starter. Barring any significant injuries, Silva could possibly be the best pitcher in the Cubs rotation. 

 Last season the San Francisco Giants proved that pitching truly can win championships. Tim Lincecum & Co. stopped a hot offensive team in the Texas Rangers with  shutouts of 4-0, 3-0. To put it in lamen, Game 5 of the World Series--three batters get a hit--one batter gets a run. Can't name many times that a team with echelon of pitching that would lose in those situations. Carlos Zambrano is not only capable of throwing a shutout, he can make you hitless, throwing a no-no in Miller Park. Matt Garza pitched his no-no in July of '06 against a frequent Cubs' opponent in the Arizona Diamondbacks.

  Only time will tell what we will see from Andrew Cashner and James Russel. The remaining touted talent on the defensive side of the field. With enough talent to rival the Yankees and Giants. With chemistry and a the right amount of pressure to win from skipper Quade, the Cubs are capable of skipping a rebuilding tenure and jump right back into winning. The current Cubs roster is capable of 95 wins. It is up to them to play like Chicago deserves for them to.

But only with run support...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

"As I See It" X-Factor Series Premier: Brian Scalabrine


Part of Speech:   n
Definition:   a hard-to-describe influence or quality; an important element with unknown consequences

  In the game of basketball, there are 12 players to a team. There are 5 main positions: Point Guard, Shooting Guard, Small Forward, Power Forward, and Center. Each position is just as critical as the next to the overall success of the team.

  Derrick Rose is the Chicago Bulls greatest strength in furthering themselves deeper into the playoffs. Potentially contending for the Eastern Conference Championship and NBA Championship, but that is for a later conversation. The current Bulls roster consists of 3 Utah Jazz displacements, team veterans Derrick Rose, Luol Deng, Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah. Kurt Thomas and rookie Omer Asik round out the signings by front office.

  Then there is Brian Scalabrine, spending the last 5 seasons in Boston with the Celtics alongside coaches Doc Rivers and Thibideau. Scalabrine brings to the team a comfort level for Thibs' system that is binding to the teams chemistry in the most important part of their make-up. Practice. Just ask coach Thibs, practice is just as important in the game and the biggest guidance the players can get is from their peers.

  Scalabrine essentially is an extension of Thibs system. He helps the team to advance their familiarity with the defensive emphasis that Thibedeau demands from his players. Scalabrine is more than just another player filling the roster, he is the true definition of a player coach. With players like Omer Asik he provides a convenient example to follow for someone who has trouble adjusting to the speed and detail of NBA basketball.

  It is rare to find players that are willing to assume roles that are not glorified. The lunch pail and hard hat style. That is the style that Brian embodies. In games played this year he is shooting .571, and eight rebounds, not MVP numbers, but definitely not an impediment to the team.

  As I See It, while the rest of the season unfolds, the key to keeping the team in sync with the vision of Tom Thibideau is Brian Scalabrine. He adds another coach to the staff, another mentor for some of the younger nucleus of players.

  I would like to thank everyone who has read the "As I See It" season one series of blogs. Check in when "As I See It" season 2 starts up with more X-Factor series and the 1st Annual Chicago's Finest Awards ( The Windy's! )

  Can't wait for the next half of Bulls/Blackhawks and the beginning of Spring Training for the Cubs/White Sox. See you then!!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

As I See It: "Burying The Hatchet," Making Peace With The White Sox.....

1919 "Black Sox" logo

  My hatred for the White Sox runs deep, dating back to the late 80's where I wasn't allowed into a game at Comiskey Park. I then went to Wrigley Field and watched an exciting matchup between the Chicago Cubs and the San Francisco Giants. The Cubs did not win that game. I am also saddened to inform you that I have never witnessed a Cubs win at Wrigley in 25 years of living on this planet. I feel as though I am a jinx, but I guess there have been many more before me.. Which brings me to my crossroads..

  As I mature into a fully blossomed adult, I ponder the things I once impassioned as a adolescent. My hatred for the White Sox topping the list next to dentist visits, and vegetables. The Green Bay Packers also made an appearance on a list or two, but with the White Sox, living in Illinois you had to choose sides. You couldn't be on the fence, because then you were just being a wuss and trying to please everyone, or you just didn't know or follow baseball. So choose a side and be willing to bleed for it. Last time I cut myself, it was red and science says my blood is blue until oxygen hits it. The theory is simple, and factual.

  I am a Cubby, a Northsider. I have cried the tears of disappointment, and jubilant in the cheers of victory. Unfortunately, I have not experienced the joy of a World Series victory. When I think about what I love about the Chicago Cubs, I think of loyalty and Ron Santo, I think of the desire of team play and Ryen Sandberg, I think of Ernie Banks and I also think of Old Style and Harry Carey.


  Recently, the alcmosphere of Wrigley Field brings the breed of beer guzzling time wasters that look at a game at Wrigley as an expensive frat party, that has a baseball game playing in the background instead of Jack Johnson....Sorry to let that one slip, but the reality is that before the Dusty Baker years, the Cubs' were not expected to win. They were actually marketed to lose. You remember, the 'loveable losers'. Made me want to vomit. I blamed Bartman for a about 6 hours on Oct. 14th, then I realized that the play wasn't the game winning home run, or even the game scoring play period. Instead, the Cubs go to pieces. Rather than closing the game out they produce a comedy of errors and slide to an 8-3 defeat with six of the runs being unearned. They eventually go on to lose the series and not reach the World Series.. I play that scene out with every mediocre season and early playoff exit. So to say the least I am a Chicago Cubs fan

  For almost 25 years the Chicago White Sox have never interested me. Believe me when I tell you that the sight of the logo to the pinstriped jerseys destested me. Micheal Jordan even lost cool points when he bore the jersey of my most hated team, but recently something has started to change. Maybe it is my love for Chicago. All things Chicago. For so many years I have went out of my way to neglect a team that has brought the city just as much glory and pride and actually not as much shame ( Well let's not forget the Black Sox. Also I never got why they had to call it "Black Sox" anyway...)  only a few hiccups. We have alot in common, the Sox, and Cubs. We have had our share of curses, our share of embarassing moments, and our pride of Chicago.

"WTF"-List Inductee
  They won the 2005 World Series, contend for their division, and make offseason splashes annually and bring big named free agents to Chicago. The Cubs' Teflon really was cracked in '93 with Bo Jackson, "Black Jack" McDowell, and Tim Raines. Bo Jackson was among all other things, my favorite athlete growing up. Starting the "wtf" list, later to be joined by Micheal Jordan, Ron Santo, Barack Obama, and Sammy Sosa. As much as I disliked the "White Sox" image, I was secretly in love with the teams. They were in fact not the 'good guys', but the bad boys from the southside. They were the all black wearing, cigarette smoking, neighborhood you don't want to get lost in team in Chicago. The opposite of the Cubs.

  So today I say that I respect the White Sox, I do not like the White Sox. I will not root for the White Sox. I smiled a smile of pride when they won in 2005, that was for Chicago. This is what; as a fan, keeps sports alive. The rivalry, the bitter dislike, the competition, the savors of victory and the privilege of bragging rights. We as Bears' fans lost them to Green Bay this past month. I feel a bit of the air out of the city. That is completely natural in sports, it is also neccesary. So for me to bury the hatchet is a bit of a leap, I guess I needed it to suck you in to my column! Let's say I'm digging the ditch...

As I See It: "Can't Wait!"

I can't wait for the playoffs....

I can't wait for Jo' to get back, hopefully before the All-Star break...

I can't wait for the Chicago Bulls to look like the contender that we all know that they are...

Bart Scott said it best.....

"Can't Wait" for Jo' to get back...

  • When Joakim Noah went out against the Toronto Raptors, the Bulls were 18-12. Carlos Boozer was just getting back after missing the first three months, and the team was finding its niche. Defense is the Chicago Bulls identity, youthful vigor is the fuel that makes them go. Without Joakim Noah, the Bulls lack that intensity in roves. It is without a doubt what intangibles Joakim Noah brings to the team. His stats speak for themselves, averaging a double/double daily in both points and gaudy rebounding numbers. It is his intensity on the defensive end, his energy on the court despite suffering through any kind of pain or adversity, being booed or otherwise. It is those things rather, that motivate him to play at an even higher level. Game 6 vs the Boston Celtics in the 2009 NBA Playoffs was Noah's coming out party. Displaying the heart and relentless effort and hustle that have now become the staple that identifies who Joakim Noah is as an athlete, teammate and representative of the Chicago Bulls.
  • After Carlos Boozer came back after injury on Dec. 1, the Bulls were 7-2 leading up to Noah's injury. All wins were consecutive wins, including a 88-84 win against the L.A. Lakers. The Bulls have gone 16-7 in Jo's absence. The biggest flaw in the time spent without Joakim Noah isn't that he is desperately needed back, but rather the need to find some competency at the 2-guard spot. The offense has stalled without any significant production from the position. In recent games it seems as if defense has had to take a backseat to compensate for the lack of any offensive consistentcy. Derrick Rose has had to pick up a significant amount of offensive slack and has suffered substantially on the defensive side of the ball. Keith Bogans is scoring 3 points per game, but only shooting the ball about three times per games. With Noah's return, and his newfound conviction to the offensive end, that should take alot of the slack off of the shooting guard position in the half court game. Working the ball from inside out with two legitimate offensive front court players will make it easy for Derrick and Keith and even Deng. The Bulls pick & roll game could be the most dangerous in the league if Noah and Boozer can continue to learn to play with each other and Derrick becomes more comfortable distributing and not having to take over the game offensively. Derrick Rose's ppg has increased significantly in the both Boozer and Noah's absence. Look for it to drop with them both back healthy, hopefully that does not affect his MVP chances, as long as his assists improves and he continues to be the leader of the team. Improvements statistcally on the defensive end couldn't hurt either..
"Can't Wait" for the playoffs...

  • I think it is safe to say that we will not see neither the Miami Heat nor the Boston Celtics in the first round of the NBA playoffs this year. That is great considering the fact that the last two seasons we have lost to both the LeBron James Caveliers ( James' now with the Miami Heat ), and the Boston Celtics in that epic first round battle ( Boston has reloaded in the front court adding Jermaine and Shaquille O'Neal ) that has them tagged playoff rivals. So the emotion can be saved for later on the playoffs, we might just get the opportunity to see the Bulls best an unworthy lower seed ( Charlotte, Orlando, Philly, Indiana ) and move into the second round of the playoff. That should be all the motivation that the young Bulls roster needs to propel them into a deep playoff run. There is an ample amount of Bulls playoff experience; Coach Thib's won a NBA Championship in Boston with Brian Scalabrine, and every other Chicago Bulls player outside of rookie Omer Asik, has saw minutes in the playoffs. The most significant x-factor being 15yr veteran Kurt Thomas, playing in over  89 games and starting 44 playoff games averaging 5 pts and 5 rebounds, he provides the exact experience and leadership in the front court that the likes of Boozer, Noah, Gibson, and Asik will need on their journey to the Eastern Conference and NBA Finals.
"Can't Wait" for the Bulls to look like the playoff contenders we all know that they are...

  • The starting rotation of Derrick Rose, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah, and Keith Bogans doesn't exactly sound like a 30 Rock style cast to take into the playoffs, comparing to the likes of the Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, and L.A. Lakers. But one things that all the above teams can tell you about the Chicago Bulls is that they are dangerous. Not Atlanta Hawks 3,4 seed upset dangerous, no they are play up to or down to anyone's skill level dangerous. For better or worse. But the one constant that sticks more than any is the staple that this can easily be one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference, given that they improve in the shooting guard position. Regardless if they trade of sign anyone at the 2-spot, with a healthy Noah back into the lineup, the Bulls are a threat to challenge any team in the NBA. They have already beat the defending champ Lakers, the Miami Heat, and bitter rival Boston Celtics, all without completely healthy parts. The resume is still being written, but thus far it is safe to say that the playoffs can't come soon enough. Can't wait.... But first things first, Joakim Noah gets healthy and rejoins and hungry Bulls team looking to prove " Why can't we be NBA Champions?"... 
"Can't Wait".....


Friday, February 4, 2011

As I See It: Net Gain

  The Chicago Blackhawks had a secret X-factor last season. It wasn't perennial All-Stars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. It wasn't F Dustin Byflgien and his tenacious clutch performances. It was none of the above, but rather the flexibility at goalie and the option to chose between to two given the competitive latitude.

  Cristobal Huet and Antti Neimi were both given ample spells at the position last season with the Blackhawks. Annti Neimi was a free agent acquisition from 2008, with little to show for that season, it was trial by fire in the 2009-10 Stanley Cup campaign for the rookie. He responded astoundingly with .912 save percentage and maybe even more beneficial, gained the unfettered trust of the coach Joel Quinneville. So much that Coach Q called on him to tune up the last eighth of the regular season and made a statement with starting Neimi for the playoffs.

  Although Huet contained the veteran experience and track record of excellent goaltending ( averaging just over .910 save percentage with both the Capitals and Canadiens before signing with Chicago ), Neimi seemed to provide the team with that youthful trepidation that seemed to identify them all through the season.

  The ability to utilize the two goalies throughout the duration of both the regular season and playoffs proved to be of precedence to the Hawks. The strategy may not have been clear in the beginning of the season. Huet was playing admirable hockey through the first half, saving about .875 with two shutouts.

Neimi with Blackhawks

  Unfortunately, his goals allowed were increasing even though his save percentage was increasing as well. Near the end of the regular season it was clear that Neimi was playing better hockey than Huet, but he lacked the experience to be completely trusted with a playoff contender caliber team. So coach Joe placed Neimi in with about an eighth left in the regular season, to weather his bearing for playoff hockey.

  To all of Chicago's advantage, it payed off in spades... Cristobal gave Blackhawks' fans just what they expected in Game 1 of the 2009-2010 NHL Playoffs with a  20 minute shutout of the Vancouver Canucks to stop the bleeding in a 5-1 rout. The rest of the way Neimi provided enough stability to help the offense, averaging just under 2.5 goals against per game. The Blackhawks of course, went on to win the 2010 Stanley Cup.

  Fast forward to 2010-11 season. Cristobal Huet...gone. Anti Neimi...gone. Insert Corey Crawford ( 17-13 lifetime with Chicago ), and Marty Turco ( 2.8 goals against playoff avg ). To Stan Bowmans credit, thus far getting rid of Huet and Neimi seemed like a boy band factory replacement with Crawford and Turco. Even though the Blackhawks are in 9th place in the Western Conference and only six games back to the Canucks, things are looking about as good as it can get for Chicago.

  Patrick Kane has missed significant time and Marty Turco had an injury spell as well, giving Crawford the time to acclimate himself as the Blackhawks defender in preparation of the playoffs. If we were doing a comparison to the team of old. We are in trouble on paper with a 27-20 record to date and third in the Central Division. Last years Blackhawk's squad was 37-20 through the break. So I am definitely optimistic about the future, I'm just not drinking the Kool-Aid yet..

  With Marty Turco coming back off injury, the Blackhawks look to be in great shape to challenge Vancouver in the Central and position themselves for a repeat at the Cup. If Coach Q looks to keep tradition, look for Turco to wrap up the last half of the season and Crawford to spell occasionally. Don't be suprised though, if Crawford gets the call in the playoffs, regardless of how efficient Turco defends, just as long as his goals against doesnt significantly increase.

  So play your Fratellis album as loud as you can, while cheersing Amstel Light's and let the good times roll. Its starting to look at like Hawkey-Town again!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

As I See It: Case For A New Wrigley Field

Wrigley Field 1945

October 6, 1945 - The Beginning of Da' Curse of the Billy Goat. 

  William "Billy Goat" Sianis and his pet goat Murphy were allowed into Wrigley Field for the fourth game of the 1945 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and Detroit Tigers.  Sianis and the goat made it onto the playing field before ushers intervened and led them to the grandstand aisle.  Billy Goat Sianis maintained that he had two $7.20 box seat tickets and that there was no disclaimer preventing him for using a ticket for his goat.  After a short argument, Sianis and the goat were allowed to occupy the seats for which he had tickets.  Nevertheless, they were later ejected at the command of Cubs' owner Philip Knight Wrigley due to the animal's objectionable odor.  Sianis was furious over the ejection and placed a curse on the Cubs that they would never win a National League pennant or play in a World Series game at Wrigley Field.  The Cubs lost game four and eventually the World Series.  Sianis sent Wrigley a telegram that read, "Who Smells Now!"

October 14, 2003 - Cubs collapse five outs away from the World Series. 

  Five outs from winning their first National League pennant since 1945 and going to the World Series, the Cubs blew a 3-0 lead in the eighth inning when the Florida Marlins scored eight runs.  The collapse began after a Cubs fan (Steve Bartman) unintentionally hit the foul ball with his hand as Moises Alou was attempting to catch it.  The Cubs lost the game that night, and the series the following night.

Short on Wrigley Field:

  Known as ‘The Friendly Confines,’ the stadium was built in just six weeks in 1914 for $250,000. It was first the home of ‘Lucky Charlie’ Weeghman’s Chicago Whales of the Federal League and, had a capacity of either 14,000 or 20,000. I could not find a definitive answer on the maximum capacity.

  After the Federal League folded, a group that included Weegham and chewing gum company owner William Wrigley Jr. bought the Chicago Cubs of the National League and moved the club to the park. When Wrigley gained the controlling interest of the Cubs in 1918 the stadium was re-christened Wrigley Field.

The most prominent feature of Wrigley Field is its ivy-draped outfield walls.

  The iconic ivy vines were first planted in 1937 by Bill Veeck, whose father was the president of the Cubs at the time and who later created such promotions as 10-cent beer night and Disco Demolition Night. As the baseball season opens in late spring, the ivy on the wall has yet to bloom and is a mere maze of vines. But as the season progresses the ivy grows thick and green to, among other things, protect outfielders from Wrigley’s inconspicuous brick outfield wall. Batted balls get lost in the ivy on occasions and the result is a ground-rule double.

  In addition to the Cubs, Wrigley Field also was the long-time home of the Chicago Bears. The NFL team played its home games at Wrigley from 1921 to 1970 before relocating to Soldier Field.

My Case:

  The history is there, the memories for better or worse are as well. So you ask "Why the Case For A New Wrigley Field?"

  The answer is simple. It is time. The second oldest ballpark has more flaws than competitive advantage. For a city that expects success from its teams, it does nothing to help with their competitive advantage. The wall is dangerous, the conditions for fans are deplorable. The neighborhood makes the field, the field no longer makes the neighborhood.

  People like Wrigley Field, because nowhere in the United States can you find a Major League ballpark entrenched in a living, working, everyday neighborhood. Plus, you can walk outside, throw a tennis ball and hit at least 4 bars in any direction.

  The name doesn't have to change, even the ivy can stay the same. Everything else must go. New field, new accommodations, new architecture, new placement for sponsors ( so fans wont have to spend more to come to a new ballpark ). Even Chicago Stadium changed to the United Center, and the Chicago Bulls were actually winning NBA Championships ( that's a tradition to hold on to.)

  Although the Chicago Bears used to play at Wrigley, the field has been altered since the 70's.

  To accommodate more seating, the Cubs reduced the overall dimensions of the field, making it impossible to play anything other than baseball. Northwestern University elected to use Wrigley to play the University of Illinois in what was meant to be a catalyst to many more football games played in the 'friendly confines'. Unfortunately, due to the lack of space in the endzone, only one end of the field was used to its entirety and losers had to walk. It's old school, but doesn't encourage much hope that the way the field is currently will inspire many more college football games. Don't even think about the Bears coming back to play.

  In conclusion, I guess I am not asking for a billion dollar Jerry Jones style ballpark. I want my baseball team to not have to worry about concussions from a brick wall in the outfield. I would like for the Cubs to expand revenue by being able to hold multiple sporting events at it's venue. Bringing more attention and recognition both supportive and fiscally to the city of Chicago. Also, being a Cubs fan there is nothing sweeter than diverting all attention away from the Southside.. Enough said.

  No matter what you do to Wrigley Field, Wrigleyville will always be there. But on the bright side, no matter how the new field is constructed, if it ever happens. The bleacher seats can always stay the same!

P.S. When you build a new field, get rid of the yuppies with the old seats... Don't shoot the messenger, I only speak for city. Also As I See It, the only way to rid the curse of the goat is to destroy the field on which they stood. Im sure you agree with that. (See: U.S. Cellular Field)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

As I See It: Bold Statements I, II

adj. bold·erbold·est

1. Fearless and daring; courageous.
2. Requiring or exhibiting courage and bravery.
3. Unduly forward and brazen; impudent
4. Clear and distinct to the eye; conspicuous

This blog will be a combination of all 4 definitions. The imagination can run wild sometimes, but combined with research and evaluation you get Bold Statements. 

  1. The Chicago Bulls will win the 2010-2011 NBA Championship, beating Atlanta, Orlando, Boston, and eventually the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. Derrick Rose will of course, be the Finals MVP averaging over 30 points per game, 10 assists and a hair under 6 rebounds. Carlos Boozer will struggle to find his way through first couple rounds and Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson and Kurt Thomas, with his veteran leadership pick up the slack on both ends of the floor. Ronnie Brewer replaces Keith Bogans as starter for the first round of the playoffs and starts from thereafter. The Miami Heat take the Orlando Magic to seven games but fall. No front court presence...
     The Chicago Bulls will coast past the Atlanta Hawks and rest up, while the Orlando Magic are physically and emotionally drained. The Bulls beat the Magic in six. Boston beats New York easily in 5 games. With both teams at full strength, its business as usual between the greatest rivals match in NBA history. 

       Rajon Rondo and Derrick Rose battle wills exchanging great play after great play, at times they appear to jaw and fight amongst each other. Rajon Rondo finally gets under Derrick Rose's skin and Rose gets a rare technical foul in the playoffs. That only fuels Rose's fire as he tears into the Boston Celtics defense leading all scorers in scoring in every game of the NBA Finals. Rondo also establishes himself as one of the leagues elite point guards, as he matches Rose with remarkable numbers averaging a double/double in both points and assists. 

       Joakim Noah and Kevin Garnett both get technical fouls; due to a shoving match in game 5 that threatens suspension, when they each get ejected after getting into another shoving match shortly after during the same game. Paul Pierce tries to play in Game 6 but cannot go the full length due to knee problems. People start asking 'Cutler'-like questions about his sincerity when it is obvious that the Bulls team defense proves to be too overwhelming for the older, more experienced Celtic team. 

       The Bulls hold Boston to its lowest scoring game in Game 5 going up 3-2, inspiring a memorable Game 6 in the United Center as the Chicago Bulls advance to the NBA Finals and beat the Los Angeles Lakers in six games to win the NBA Championship... Bold indeed. Possible...quite!

    2.     The Chicago Cubs will play the Chicago White Sox in the World Series ( Also see, "Break In Case of Cubs World Series .) Both teams made significant moves in the off-season to shore up in positions that showed need for improvement. This could potentially be the catalyst to another great spotlight for the city to shine. Chicago can't lose either way in this one!

      The Chicago Cubs/White Sox are both hoping that the acquisitions this off-season will help push them into the playoffs. The White Sox successfully kept ahold of Paul Konerko, while adding legitimate power with 1B Adam Dunn. Kenny Williams also pushed the button on extending Alexei Ramirez in recent weeks. The pitching rotation is still in identity crisis mode, with no significant additions and the departure of Freddy Garcia (12-6, 4.64 ERA). 

     Jake Peavy needs to be the ace that the front office expected him to be when they signed him last season. Barring that injuries wouldn't keep him from another 19-6. 2.54 ERA season that he compiled with the San Diego Padres before signing with the Sox. A healthy Peavy will undoubtedly give the White Sox the rotation necessary to compete with Minnesota and Detroit next season in the reloaded AL Central. Comparatively, the White Sox have a better total roster top to bottom than their crosstown counterparts. But stacked teams do not always equal championships ( See: San Francisco Giants, 2004 L.A. Lakers ).
     The Cubs however, have a better nucleus of elite talent. Alphonso Soriano, Matt Garza, and Carlos Pena all bring significant playoff experience to the team, but that does not scratch the surface of All-Star caliber talent. Playing to expected potential has been the crux of the Cubs woes during recent seasons. Remarkable seasons followed by blockbuster signings were consistent practice. 
     Unfortunately, those signing were immediately followed by lackluster performance and underachievement. Alphonso Soriano, Aramis Ramirez, Marlon Byrd, Kosuke Fukudome, and Rookie of the Year Geovanny Soto all have been touted as an undoubted World Series group. Both teams scrap through tough divisions to come out victorious and meet in a classic battle for Chicago!
     This will go down in the history books as the best World Series in recent years. The Chicago Cubs win their first World Series in over a century and the city of Chicago turns inside out. Safely...  This my friends, is the season all this manifests. Just know you heard it here first!!!

More Bold Statements to come as the year goes on.....