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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Top Ten Chicago Accessories

Over the years Chicago has been home to some of the most unique and memorable athletes that will always be lodged into our memory banks. Often times there are certain accessories outside of the usual athletic garb that grab our attention and receive as much adoration as the player.

10. Brian Cox - Up-and-Down Neckroll

The neckroll isn't used as much as it once was by NFL players. But when Cox came to the Bears before the start of the 1996 campaign, fans always knew where he was on the field thanks in large part to the enormous backboard behind his head. Unfortunately Cox made for a better quote than a linebacker.

9. Eddie Belfour - Goalie Helmet

Hawks goalie Eddie Belfour was one of the first to use his helmet as a canvas and brought personality to a position worshiped among Chicago hockey nuts. Many followed suit and now it's gotten to the point where a plain helmet is considered the anomaly.

8. Mark Grace - A Pack of Marlboros

Some guys run to the john in between innings. Some take a couple swings in the cage. But Grace could usually be found sucking down a cancer stick in the bowels of Wrigley Field. But, it didn't affect his play and to this day is regarded as one of the Cubs greatest first baseman of all time.

7. Walter Payton - Headband

"Sweetness" was rarely found roaming the sidelines of Soldier Field without his trademark headband. Next to his Kangaroo shoes, Payton's headband was something every kid growing up watching him had to have on come Sunday.

6. Moises Alou - Urine

(I know I should have used a Moises Alou photo, but this was one just too good)

When word leaked out - no pun intended - that Alou urinated on his hands before stepping up to the plate instead of throwing on a pair of batting gloves, Cubs fans and every other person in Chicago responded with collective disgust. But that feeling subsided as Alou was a key member of the Cubbies' 2003 postseason run.

I think we all remember how that ended right.
(see above picture)

5. Horace Grant - Goggles

A member of the Bulls' first three championship teams, Ho-Grant put "Rec-Specs" on the map in Chicago. Fans flooded to their local optometrist to get themselves hooked up with a set that could be customized to the color of your choice.
Alright, maybe that really didn't happen, but I guarantee it's one of the first things you say when someone asks you what you remember about Ho-Grant.

4. Jim McMahon - Sunglasses

The Punky QB was known for his 'bad boy' persona and the black shades definitely added to that mystique. His antics were treated with adoration by Bears fans and only ended after he left the team and some time later signed with the Green Bay Packers. But McMahon and his ultra cool sunglasses tied back with that ridiculously awesome sunglasses strap made him worthy of this photo with Anthony Michael Hall.

3. George 'Papa Bear' Halas - Black Fedora

Halas was the original icon in pro football that wore the fedora and spawned many impostors along the way. Not too many football players would probably even use the term fedora, but Halas is a legend among men and would still be worshiped today if he instead chose pink ballerina slippers. Every NFL fan in the world owes a debt of gratitude to the man who gave you the NFL and subsequently, fantasy football.

2. Michael Jordan - Air Jordan I

I know what you're thinking.
Shoes can't be an accessory if everyone wears them.

In that regard you are absolutely correct. But M. Jeff changed the rules with the Nike Air Jordan I. This single shoe revolutionized the sports world and the Air Jordan line has taken on a legendary persona of its own. For one's man sneaker to become a global icon is a feat - again with the puns - worthy of an exemption and a necessary inclusion in this list.

1. Harry Caray - Glasses

Over the years it seemed like ol' Harry's glasses kept getting bigger and bigger. I think they even represented how old he was kind of like the rings on a tree.
The lovable Cubbie broadcaster is a legend in this city and this year marked the tenth anniversary of his death. Wherever he is, I can guarantee you he is literally looking down on everyone and wants you to know that you have some mustard on your face.
Damn those glasses are strong....

Honorable Mention: Nomar Garciaparra's batting gloves, Jacque Vaughn's Red Bat, Sammy Sosa's huge knob at the end of his bat, Dan Hampton's neckroll.

By: Matthew Olsen

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Top Ten Things Chicago Sports Needs

Chicago is the greatest city in the world, and one that makes me proud to be a fan of teams from here. We have a lot of great things about this city as a sports fan, but here's a few things that need to be seen.

10. The Honey Bears
Now before this list goes all Freddy the Mercenary on you with pictures of women everywhere, there’s some real reasoning here. Wanna know the real reason the Bears haven’t won since 85? We got rid of the Honey Bears! Remember, George Halas said, "as long as I'm alive, we will have dancing girls on the sidelines,” and once he died in 1983, and once the Honey Bears disbanded after the 1985 season the cold streak began. Coincidence? Besides I would be all for a Top 10 Honey Bear list anytime.

9. The L to Soldier Field
My biggest problem with Bears games is getting to them in timely fashion. There’s no easy way to drive there, and the bus system is slow, so why not try to build the L going to it? I know it’ll probably never happen, but think of how much easier things would be. And to top it off we could even pass it off with the artsy folk who want to visit the museum district down there. King Tut and the Bears both get their viewers. It’s a win-win!

8. Relevant Blackhawks
The Hawks have some fantastic history, and some even greater fans. It’s been a shame how things have gone the last decade, but there is no greater tradition in sports than the cheering of the National Anthem in a packed house. The Hawks need to be important again, there are still tons of great hockey fans in this town, and we’re an Original 6 team.

7. The Olympics
I’m all for the International spotlight (not to mention a Freddy the Mercenary column on 10 athletes he got with in the Olympic Village, but I digress), and the Olympics in 2016 would be phenomenal. Imagine watching a future Dream Team destroy all comers. Or the next steroid freaks of track and field run freakish times for another meaningless World Record. Or heckling the living hell out of an aging Bob Costas. It could ALL HAPPEN HERE!

6. A Dome
I’m all for cold weather games and what not, but we really missed the boat by not having a retractable roof on Solider Field. Then we could host Final Fours, and College Bowl Games, have marquee events there every year that would be awesome to go to.

5. A State of the Art Stadium
We can call this the honorary Jerry Reinsdorf award for having the brilliant idea to build the new Comiskey, and the United Center just a year before cooler and trendier complexes came out and destroyed the look of our new stadiums. Yeah those stadiums are nice, but I’ve been to arenas, and ballparks across the country and our “new ones” suck. We’ve got the historical Wrigley Field and Solider Field but we need a sweet, over-the-top stadium to write about.

4. New Cubs ownership
I’m a White Sox fan, but I enjoy watching a game at Wrigley Field as much as any Cubs fan. I hate that they’ve added signs and video screens (Under Armour in the gap, WTF Tribune Company??) but it’s still a great place to watch a game, especially in October when the Ivy is turning red. That being said, Sam Zell is an idiot who needs to hand the Cubs over to someone who knows what they are doing right away. Cubs fans are sad enough as it is; don’t kill it all for them.

3. College Football
Every Saturday I have to walk through Lincoln Park as a litany of Big Ten alumni trounce my streets rooting for their teams. You’re not at Camp Randall, or the Big House buddy, so let’s keep it down a notch. I grew up in Chicago with parents who attended non-football schools, so I have nobody to relate to in the College Football world. I am not going to lower myself to rooting for Notre Dame like other in the Chicagoans because I am not a fair weather fan, nor will I ever root for a team that resides in Hoosierville. If you have University affiliations (and I’m talking like your parents went there, not “I know someone who went there in 1978”) then I’m all for you rooting for Notre Dame or another school, but Chicago needs its own team. (Scott Phillips note: Northwestern is not, nor will it EVER be a Chicago school. Any school where the majority of the students are from the East Coast and play Lacrosse can stay away.)

2. Television network
We have Comcast Sports Net, which does a good enough job with their highlight shows, but when that’s over we’re subjected to Rob Dibble and the Best Damn Sports Show period on a nightly basis. Besides their list shows (can’t be hypocritical here) that show is garbage. Chicago needs its own shows about Chicago teams 24 hours a day like New York has. And some better HD.

1. A Superstar
This town is DYING for a superstar. The closest thing we have is Urlacher, but he is not exactly a household name across the country. What we need is that guy who puts us in the spotlight on Sportscenter. The guy who gives us prime time, nationally televised games every night. We’ve been missing that guy for quite some time, and it’s time we get him back.

Honorable mention:

A second football team
Better Mascots
Relevant College Basketball

Monday, February 25, 2008

Top Ten Chicago athletes who should have been soccer players

I know a lot of our viewers are not soccer fans, nor our many of our writers, but the partial reasoning behind all this is because we have so many sports to watch in America, that all the top athleticism is divided into 4-6 main sports. That's completely different overseas, where Football (over there) is the only real game. And while the UEFA Cup goes on I got to thinking who would be good at the "beautiful game." Below is a list of 11 Chicago guys who should at least contemplate swimming the Atlantic and giving it a whirl. (There are 11 because there are 11 players on the field, I am not trying to rip you guys off.)

11. Dustin Byfuglien

Desired Position- Outside Defender
Player Comparison: Rafael Marquez- Barcelona/ Mexico

I would take this guy because of his ability to score from the defensive position. Its always important to have at least one defender with the ability to occasionally drift forward and pound one into the goal. Dustin’s 12 tallies are currently tied for fourth amongst all NHL defensemen, and would be a huge help to any soccer team.

10. Shani Davis

Desired Position- Outside Midfielder
Player Comparison: Kaka- AC Milan/ Brazil

Alright, I realize this guy doesn’t play on a Chicago team, he is from Chicago and this gold medalist speed skater would fly past people like they were on ice. (No pun intended.) Plus since he has been skating for so long you know he is not going to wear out, something that is vital for those outside guys.

9. Ben Gordon

Desired Position- Forward
Player Comparison: Dieter Drogba- Chelsea/ Ivory Coast

We think of Ben Gordon typically as undersized and a guy who likes to shoot. Well 6’3” soccer player is a pretty big dude and a forward’s main job is to shoot, so it almost fits perfectly. Since he is pretty jacked also, it won’t be hard to body guys up and push past them with ease en-route to a goal.

8. Lance Briggs

Desired Position- Defender
Player Comparison: Rio Ferdinand- Manchester United/ England

This guy will simply knock you off your block. We see him do a great job covering tight ends on Sundays, so what would be the difference between that and a streaking forward coming into his area? I wouldn’t want to be that striker.

7. Tyrus Thomas

Desired Position- Goalkeeper
Player Comparison: Gianluigi Buffon- Juventus/ Italy

Tyrus would be a maniac, plain and simple. He could get to any ball that was kicked, and the ability to jump over people does not hurt. Good luck finding goalie gloves that will fit his hands.

6. Kirk Hinrich

Desired Position- Midfielder
Player Comparison: Riquelme- Boca Juniors/ Argentina

Every team needs a field general, and Captain Kirk would be just that. It would be up to him to slow the pace down or speed it up. While he may need to score once in a while, his main role is to distribute. Earlier this year we were wondering if Hinrich should honestly think about a profession change.

5. Jonathan Toews

Desired Position- Forward
Player Comparison: Francisco Torres- Liverpool/ Spain

Managers around the world love to see a guy gain possession, turn and just floor it to the goal, moving around defenders like his feet are magnets to the goal while eluding defenders and leaving them in his wake. Toews does exactly that in hockey, and it would be an instant success overseas.

4. Devin Hester

Desired Position- Wing Midfielder
Player Comparison: Christiano Ronaldo- Manchester United/ Portugal

As it has become evident now, we really like Devin Hester, but being on this list honestly works. He has bursts of speed that are comparable to no one. An outside mid’s job is to run up and down the entire field, which is something that “The Windy City Flyer” has proven he can do on a continuous basis. Also, we have also noticed that Devin’s favorite route is the fly pattern, or a straight line. This is also a requirement that would fit his new soccer position to a tee.

3. Derrek Lee

Desired Position- Forward
Player Comparison: Emmanuel Adebayor- Arsenal/ Togo

When I thought that I needed a forward, Derrek Lee is the first guy that I thought of. He is athletic, (Dean Smith offered him basketball scholarship to UNC) quick, (15-20 stolen bases four times in his career) the ideal corner kick target with his 6’6” frame ready to head in anything, and the body to run through any smaller defender. He would also fit the stereotype that soccer players don't know how to throw a punch.

2. Patrick Kane

Desired Position- Inside Midfielder
Player Comparison: Ronaldinho- Barcelona/ Brazil

While hockey strongly resembles the game of soccer, Pat would make it in the other sport. Hockey analysts say the game slows down for this young gun, and in soccer that could improve him to the next level also.

1. Brian Urlacher

Desired Position- Sweeper/ Center Back
Player Comparison: Fabio Cannavaro- Real Madrid/ Italy

Playing middle linebacker and sweeper in soccer have very similar roles. Once a man beats his defender it is the sweeper who is the last line of defense, and Brian has the ability to smother out an attack better than anybody. Being chased into a corner would be a forwards worst nightmare, and who on Earth would go up for a 50/50 header with a 270-pound bulldog.

By: Phil Barnes

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Top Ten Things This Trade Means to the Bulls

The Bulls agreed in principle to a three-way trade that sent Ben Wallace and Joe Smith to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for Drew Gooden, Larry Hughes, Shannon Brown and Cedric Simmons. Veteran Adrian Griffin and the Bulls' second-round pick in 2009 were sent to the Seattle Supersonics as a part of the same deal.
We're going to take you through the top ten effects this trade will have on the Bulls for the rest of the season and beyond.

No. 10 The Trade Deadline is Officially Over

This should take the weight off the shoulders of the remaining Bulls players. Almost every person on this team was mentioned in some version of a reported trade rumor, so it's not a stretch to say it played a part in their struggles on the court. Now that the deadline has passed, the players can relax and not have to worry about whether or not their address was going to change unexpectedly. However, if the poor play continues, this can no longer be an excuse for this year's shortcomings.

9. The Exodus of the Fro

I'll be the first one to admit that I applauded the Bulls for snatching Ben Wallace from the Detroit Pistons in 2006. Unfortunately the move didn't work out the way the Bulls had hoped and Wallace rarely looked like the player he was during the Pistons' championship season in 2004. He never really stepped up as a leader and the Bulls lucked out in finding a team that would take on his bloated contract.
Big Ben won't be gone for long though. The Bulls and Cavs square off three times before season's end, the first meeting coming Mar. 6 at the United Center.
Think he'll have something to prove?

8. D-Wade to the Bulls?

Before you say anything just hear me out. Wade has a player option in 2010 that would allow him to opt out of his contract and enter free agency. This just also happens to be the year Hughes' deal expires (two years, about $26.5 million remaining) and his salary is off the books. Only Kirk Hinrich has a deal that runs through 2010, meaning the Bulls will have to sign some of their younger players to contracts soon to soften the blow to their salary cap.
Depending on what the Bulls do with Ben Gordon and Luol Deng (more on them later) in the off-season, this team could be setting itself up to be major players in the race to sign one of the NBA's elite players. Being a Chicago native only adds to the list of reasons why Wade coming to the Bulls makes sense.
It could happen...right?

7. Maybe Home Cookin' is the Answer for Shannon Brown

The top picture of Shannon Brown is what he looked like the last time he played for a Chicago team. After starring alongside former University of Illinois star Dee Brown at Proviso East High School, Brown went to Michigan State University and shortly thereafter the Cavs drafted him with the 25th overall pick in 2006. Brown was averaging seven points, one rebound and one assist in about 14 minutes per contest.
It's unclear what Brown is going to add to the Bulls, but I think he's definitely an upgrade over veteran Adrian Griffin. Ol' Girff was the steady presence a playoff team needs down the stretch, but that's not what the Bulls need right now.
Early on Brown may have trouble cracking the Bulls lineup, but coach Jim Boylan will eventually give him a chance and it's up to him whether or not he takes advantage of it.

6. Time to Step Up
The void that Ben Wallace leaves behind at center means big minutes for Tyrus Thomas, Joakim Noah and Aaron Gray immediately. Depending on the opponent, Noah could see the biggest boost in playing time due to his size (6'11") and experience at the position. Thomas' athleticism is undeniable, but his size is better suited to back up newly acquired Drew Gooden at power forward or start next to Noah. Add rookie center Aaron Gray into the mix and the Bulls front court suddenly becomes more intriguing.

The Bulls can run with teams like the pre-Diesel Suns and slow it down to a half-court contest with teams like the Pistons.
No matter what, the play of these three will be crucial in the team's performance down the stretch and could help Pax determine what he's got in his young core of big-men.

5. Larry Hughes Could Be Good for This Team

I'll give you a chance to stop laughing before you read this..........done?

Hughes has the potential to be a very interesting piece of the puzzle for the Bulls. Just like Wallace with the Bulls, Hughes never lived up to the contract he signed with the Cavs in 2005 coming off a season with the Washington Wizards where he averaged 22 points, six rebounds and four assists. If he can regain that form with the Bulls, it could give Paxson something to think about when it comes to deciding whether or not to resign Luol Deng or Ben Gordon.
He is a slasher that has a propensity to rely on his jump-shot too often and settles for ill advised three-point attempts while sometimes taking plays off on the defensive end. I doubt Pax would have made this move if Skiles still was running the show, but with the responsibility of having to find a new coach in the off season, all bets are off.

4. Fear the.....Ducktail?

Unfortunately, the Ducktail no longer resides on the back of Drew Gooden's head. Instead, he's currently engaged in a contest with DeShawn Stevenson of the Washington Wizards to see who could go the longest without shaving their beard.
But in terms of what Gooden can do for this team, I'm surprisingly optimistic. I'll admit to not being Gooden's biggest fan when he was playing alongside Bulls point guard Kirk Hinrich at the University of Kansas.
But the 2002 fourth-overall pick has surprised me by being a solid contributor and on occasion a legitimate double-double threat. Nobody is saying he's going to replace the 14 boards a game the Bulls thought they were getting when they signed Wallace, but he does bring 11.3 points and 8.3 rebounds to a team screaming for some form of consistency.
(In case you were wondering, Wallace was averaging 8.8 rebounds before the trade)

3. Paxson Pulls the Trigger...FINALLY!

It seemed like every week Bulls GM John Paxson was being criticized for not shaking up this roster sooner. Things got even worse for the embattled GM after the Western Conference decided to collectively go for broke and turn this year's trading deadline into an arms race.
Shaq to the Suns, Gasol to the L.A. Lakers and Kidd to the Dallas Mavericks were trades with enormous implications in the race for this year's NBA Championship. Meanwhile, Pax stood pat and watched his team limp into the All-Star break with a putrid 21-31 record.
The Bulls needed to get an All-Star caliber player if the playoffs were to become a reality this season. This move helps to do away with the idea of Pax as a gun-shy GM, but my only concern is he made this deal for the sake of making a deal.

Something needed to be done, but the question is, could something better have been done sooner?

2. One, or both?

Before the season started, Ben Gordon and Luol Deng turned down contract extensions and have been hearing about that decision ever since. Neither have played up to the level that was expected by fans and media alike and have been the symbols of all that has gone wrong with this team from the word 'go'.
Deng doesn't look like the player Pax declared off-limits when discussing a deal with the L.A. Lakers that would have sent Kobe Bryant to the Bulls. And Gordon continues to be the streaker shooter that makes the most basic mistakes at the worst possible times. Unfortunately, he's the only realistic go-to-guy the Bulls have and they live and die by his ability to create a shot for himself. A feat that doesn't happen very often because everyone in the building knows it's going to Gordon and you know he's not taking it to the hole.
Bottom line, if Larry Hughes and Shannon Brown come in and make an immediate impact alongside promising guard Thabo Selfolosha, the Bulls won't be as tempted to match offers from other teams this off-season.

1. They Actually Might Win a Few Games

Look, I'm not jaded to the point where I think this trade is going to put the Bulls back on track just in time for a playoff run. But then again, the East, well, it just isn't very good. The Celtics have looked beatable lately and so too have the Pistons; arguably the two best team in the conference. Unlike the West, you don't need over 50 wins to get into the postseason and as crazy as it sounds, the Bulls actually have a shot.
More than likely, the team will show improvement towards the end of the year, but miss the playoffs for the first time since 2004. There's a long list of things that need to be done to make the Bulls legitimate contenders again and as much as it pains me to say it, this season is over.

It's just too late.

By: Matthew Olsen

Top Ten Chicago Speedsters

I was the slowest guy on my track team in high school and so I feel especially qualified to write this.

10. Curtis Conway
WR, Bears

Though the Bears selected the former USC receiver in the first round ahead of Jerome Bettis, it is hard to accurately judge Conway's career. Conway stayed in the NFL for a long time, and his prime was wasted with the likes of Erik Kramer, Steve Walsh, and Rick Mirer throwing him the ball.

9. Juan Pierre
CF, Cubs

Pierre has been one of baseball’s premier base stealers for a long time, and proved to be just that during his lone season as a Cub, swiping 58 bases. If only Pierre had better plate disciple, he may just be one of baseball's best leadoff men.

8. Dee Brown
PG, Illinois

Arguably the most beloved Illini player in recent memory, Brown came to Champaign as a highly regarded recruit and lived up to the hype. While he doesn’t have much of a pro career, Brown will always be remembered as the heart and sole of the Illinois team that went in the Final Four in 2005.

7. Jerry Azumah CB/KR, Bears

Before there was Hester, another #23 who could return kicks pretty well too. While a neck injury cut short his football career, it certainly hasn't diminished Zoom's ability to spot the best dressed Bears player after every game.

6. Tony Amonte
F, Blackhawks

One of the few stars the Blackhawks had during 90’s, Amonte was known as one of the NHL’s fastest skaters. If only he had more help, maybe Amonte would have revered in Chicago.

5. Tim Raines
LF, White Sox

Few players could swipe bases and drive in runs like Raines, who was a key cog on the 94’ White Sox, a team that some believe could have won the World Series if not for the strike. While Rock experienced his best years in Montreal, he made the most of his five seasons as the Sox leadoff man.

4. Danieal Manning
FS, Bears

He may spell his name like a girl and have the football intuition of a box of rocks, but Manning sure can run. It’s the reason the Bears made him their top overall pick in the 2006 draft. One would think Manning could be quite the kick returner, but the Bears kind of have that position covered.

3. Willie Gault
WR, Bears

His world class speed may be only slightly more famous than his insistence on always running out of bounds to avoid a hit, but Gault was a pivotal playmaker on the 85’ Bears.

2. Scott Podsednik
LF, White Sox

It may not make sense to sabermatricians, but this speedy, slap-hitting left fielder was one of the biggest reasons the White Sox were world champions in 2005. After not hitting a home run in the entire regular season, Scotty Pods belted two dingers in the playoffs, including a walk-off shot to end game two of the World Series.

1. Devin Hester KR, Bears

Honestly, who else could we put in this spot? Hester has impacted every game he’s played in with the Bears, from taking back a punt against the Packers in his NFL debut to returning the opening kickoff of the Super Bowl. Now if they could only teach him how to successfully run a fly pattern.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Top Ten Chicago Athletes in Need of a Nickname

10. Patrick Mannelly - Bears Longsnapper

Quick, how many longsnappers can you name that have played for the Bears since 1998? Shouldn’t take you too long considering Mannelly has been handling the longsnapping duties for that 10 year span primarily and owns a team record for games played (125) and consecutive starts (57). He’s a big part of the team’s success but practically goes unnoticed unless you’re a fan of longsnappers in general. To gain a little more notoriety among Bears faithful, it’s time Mannelly receives a nickname.

TTCS Suggestion: Patrick "The Ass-Cannon" Mannelly - All right, I know it's crude on the surface but I truly think 'Ass-Cannon' sums up his duties with the Bears perfectly.

9. Thabo Sefolosha - Bulls Shooting Guard

The first person from Switzerland to don a NBA uniform, Sefolosha is giving commentators all over the country fits when trying to pronounce his last name. His game is unmistakable, with a huge wingspan that allows him to play solid defense and provide quality rebounding by a shooting guard. A highly attractive ability for any NBA franchise, the Bulls are just now starting to take advantage of what Sefolosha has to offer after injuries to Luol Deng, Ben Gordon and Kirk Hinrich.

TTCS Suggestion: "Snuffleupagus" - How money is that?

8. Jonathan Towes - Blackhawks

One of the cornerstones of the Blackhawks' current youth movement, Toews (TAY-VES) is known for his highlight reel goals and natural leadership ability. Coach Savard is already leaning towards making him a captain in the near future and the Hawk nation will need a nickname for their burgeoning star.

TTCS Suggestion: Jonathan "Don't Toews Me Bro" - Watch the YouTube clip and you'll understand, and afterwards, say the nickname in your best Chris Berman style voice.

7. Bobby Jenks - White Sox Closer

Jenks is one of the most dominating closers in MLB and has earned the love and respect of his teammates and fans with his intimidating pitching style when he takes the bump. A blazing fastball and a curveball that literally looks un-hittable and Sox fans worship him because of it. We all remember Ozzie calling for the big boy in the playoffs with his 'high and wide' hand gestures, but a nickname would make things a lot easier for the big fella.

TTCS Suggestion: Bobby 'Big and Pasty' Jenks
Bobby 'Scorched Girth' Jenks
Bobby 'The Body' Jenks
Not much to say here, we welcome all other suggestions.

6. Aaron Gray - Bulls Center

Gray will never be confused with a player with explosive leaping ability or insane handles. But he's a solid interior presence that has a decent back to the basket game and can pass out of double teams with ease. He probably won't be starting anytime soon and I'm sure you probably aren't rushing out to the stores desperately searching for his jersey. But, the guy needs a nickname and TTCS is happy to oblige.

TTCS Suggestion: Aaron 'Affirmative Action' Gray - While we stayed away from the obvious choice of Aaron 'Gay', we thought it would be nice to show some creativity. Oh, wait..

5. Kosuke Fukudome - Cubs OF

The Cubs $48 million man is coming to the Chi without a U.S. coined nickname. I'm sure we'll hear something to do with some terrible monster that terrorized the streets of Japan, but for now we'll do our own thing and give the man a moniker he can be proud of.

TTCS Suggestion: K-Fuk - Our boy Philly Barnes came up with this one and we think it fits. There's already K-Rod and A-Rod, now it's time for the Cubbie brethren to welcome K-FUK to Wrigley.

4. Patrick Kane - Blackhawks

The 18-year-old phenom has already shown flashes of the talent scouts were drooling over before the start of his rookie season. He's the little guy that could, juking defenders and anyone else in his path on the way to the net in a way that makes it look easy. He's the other piece of the Hawks' young foundation and figures to be apart of the squad for years to come.

TTCS Suggestions: Patrick 'Size Doesn't Matter' Kane
Patrick 'Baby Face' Kane -
too obvious.
I have no idea.....maybe this is why he doesn't have one yet.

3. Tyrus Thomas - Bulls

Drafted in 2006, Thomas has quickly ascended to being a very popular player with the Chicago Bulls with his combination of raw talent and explosive leaping ability. There's a good chance nobody in the Association has a quicker second jump than Thomas and fans in Chicago eagerly anticipate his next high-flying act. For this reason alone, fans need to have something to scream loudly in a room full of crowded people next time Tyrus swats a shot or throws down one of his viscous tip dunks.

TTCS Suggestion: "Ty-Riser" - We really can't take credit for this one. The man behind the basketball blog over at ESPN, TrueHoop, originally came up with this nickname and the boys over at TTCS think it's perfect.

2. Carlos Marmol - Cubs Closer

Unquestionably the Cubs' bullpen ace, Marmol has made the leap from unknown to unmatched. With a flair for the dramatic and a devastating array of pitches, Marmol is the next big thing to throw on the Cubbie blue. You're going to hear alot about this kid in the years to come so it's time to give him an appropriate nickname.

TTCS Suggestion: Carlos 'Dead Arm' Marmol - if Sweet Lou has his way
Carlos 'The Dominant Dominican' Marmol
I'm sure you all have better ones, so come on....let's hear 'em.

1. Devin Hester - Bears Kick Returner and Wide Receiver

For a guy that has turned the league upside down with his electrifying kick-off and punt returns, Hester is somehow lacking an appropriate nickname to describe his greatness. Most casual fans probably have their own unique epithet for their favorite special teams ace, but nothing has really stuck. Sure he's ridiculous on the field, but for the endorsement money to roll in and for Hester to explode to even greater heights of popularity nationwide, a nickname is greatly needed.

TTCS Suggestion: "The Windy City Flyer" - I've seen this a couple places and I think it's a pretty sweet moniker that implies his blazing speed and also the city he represents.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Top Ten Most Awesome Bulls Foreign-born Players

An underrated aspect of the Bulls 90's dynasty is how they had the best player from almost every basketball playing country around the world. Jordan was the best American, Longley the best Australian, Kukoc was the best European, Wennington the best Canadian. And there was Steve Kerr, who I’ll just assume is the best basketball player ever born in Lebanon. As such, here are the ten most awesome Bulls players born abroad.

Johnny Red Kerr, born on the super-continent Pangaea, is not featured.

10. Luol Deng

While Deng is one of the best players the Bulls have had since Jordan retired, he may forever be known as the guy the Bulls wouldn’t include in a trade for Kobe.

9. Martynas Andriuskevicius

One the few people I liked exponentially more after getting their ass kicked. When the 7’3 Andriuskevicius got socked in the eye by 6’5 local guy Awvee Storey, I immediately imagined something out of Mike Tyson’s Punchout. Andriuskevicius also holds the distinction of being the least cool person ever nicknamed Big Marty.

8. Dragan Tarlac

Take a look at the 00-01 Bulls. Seriously, that may be the funniest team of all time. You wonder why Ron Artest is so crazy now? It’s probably because he spent his NBA formative years hanging out on practice courts and in planes with the likes of Tarlac, Khalid El-Amin, and the immortal Jake Voskul, who I distinctly remember had great hair. Something tells me Bryce Drew probably hung out a lot with Fred Hoiberg an Brad Miller during those days.

7. Thabo Sefolosha

Owns the best website for an athlete this side of Pat Mannelly.

6. Viktor Khryapa

One of the great Russian deceptionists of our time, Khryapa somehow found a way to stay in the NBA for four seasons despite never being given the chance to actually play. All that ended this season, however, when Bulls coach Jim Boylan, in search of the ever elusive eight man rotation, played Veektor over a three game stretch from January 29 to February 2. Khryapa struggled mightily with his first real glimpse of NBA action- even though two of the games were against the Timberwolves, a team that currently employs both Antoine Walker and Sebastian Telfair. Days later, Khryapa was cut. His uncanny impression of Stacy King will sorely be missed.

5. Bill Wennington

Will also be featured on our list of “top sandwiches named after Canadians” for the aptly named ‘Beef Wennington.’

4. Andres Nocioni

3. Dalibor Bagaric

I was having trouble coming up with something for this space…until I came upon Bagaric’s NBA.com page. Bask in the glory:

- Enjoys eating pasta.

- Lists his favorite video game as “Medal of Honor”.

- Wedding had 390 guests and was attended by teammates Marcus Fizer and Tyson Chandler.

2. Luc Longley

Longley was famously the target of many Jordan tirades when he came to the Bulls, but persevered to become arguably the top surfer in Bulls history. Head to Australia and you can still see Luc catching some waves.

1. Toni Kukoc

While The Croatian Sensation was one of the most talented and versatile players the Bulls have ever had, he may ultimately be remembered as a footnote. Everyone remembers when Scottie Pippen refused to take the court with 1.8 seconds left in a tied playoff game against the Knicks, but it as Kukoc who admirably stepped up and knocked down the game-winning shot. The 6’11 Kukoc probably would have started for any other team in the NBA during his prime, but gladly took a backseat to win titles with the Bulls.

Honorable Mention:
Steve Kerr
Darius Songaila
Ben Gordon

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Monday, February 11, 2008

Top Ten talents Bruce Weber let get away

I watched a good portion of the Illinois/Indiana game late last week and watched Eric Gordon take over and realize; this game could have been a blowout had Bruce Weber been able to have a guy with the talent of Gordon. Then myself and the group at TTCS got to thinking that this has become a reoccuring theme going on in Champaign. Below is our list of potential difference-makers Weber could have landed but didn't.

10. Mike Dunigan- Farragut ’08 Committed to Oregon and Iman Shumpert- Oak Park '08 Committed to Georgia Tech

While "I-MAN" and Dunigan are yet to prove anything at the college level, these guys are arguably the top-two recruits in the state this year. Weber was “goo-goo eyed” over these guys while these two did not even bat an eye at Champaign.

9. Charlie Villanueva- Blair Academy (NJ) '03- UConn

Originally the centerpiece of Bill Self's '03 class, Charlie jumped ship about as quickly as Self did that off-season, despite signing his letter of intent. After leaving the Illini and deeming himself eligible for the draft, Chuck decided to take his name out of the running and go to UConn, where he averaged 13 points and more than eight rebounds a game before becoming the seventh pick of the 2005 NBA draft. Imagine the difference CV could have made during the 2005 title game when Sean May decided to go off, while Illini’s only supposed answer James Augustine sat the majority of the game on the bench in foul trouble.

8. Shaun Livingston- Peoria Central '04- Committed to Duke

Before the NBA came a-callin’, the nation's #1 guard chose perennial power Duke over the likes of UNC, Arizona, and Illinois. While Weber cannot be blamed for Livingston's desires to go pro, he must take full responsibility for letting a 5-star of this caliber get free. Peoria is an Illini hotbed, signing the likes of Bill Cole, Jamar Smith, Rich McBride, and Brian Randle, just during Weber’s tenure alone.

7. Jeremy Pargo- Robeson '05- Gonzaga

A knowledgeable Illinois basketball source once told me "Jeremy was a great talent on a really shitty team.“ Well maybe this diamond in the rough was ripe for the picking and could have been a surprise for the whole Big 10. But instead he took the only offer he was given and headed to Gonzaga, where he had an instant impact. A member of last year's WAC all-conference team, Pargo is good for 12 and six assists a night.

6. Sherron Collins- Crane ’06- Kansas

The speedster was another city kid that Weber let get away. A top-3 national point guard, Collins even made an official visit to U of I a week after seeing Kansas for his official. Too bad he couldn’t land this stud, as he is arguably the top sixth man in the nation and will be making Dick Vitale go nuts in a matter of time. Oh and Ron Zook could have even used this former all-city linebacker two seasons ago.

5. Derrick Rose- Simeon ’07- Memphis

Derrick could have been a difference maker for any team in the nation, and Illinois was no exception. While some dispute that foul play may have been involved in the recruiting process, it played no role in his lack of desire to go to Illinois, as they weren’t even in his top-5 list. What’s even more interesting about this is that Simeon has a rich history of sending talent down to Champaign. Former Magic guard Nick Anderson wore navy and orange in the late 80's, and his high school teammate, Ben Wilson was planning on attending before being gunned down before his senior season. Current Illini forward Calvin Brock is from Simeon and newly signed bigman Stan Simpson is finishing out his senior season with Wolverines.

4. Jerel McNeal- Hillcrest '05- Marquette

A guy Brucey decided not to pursue real hard. McNeal wanted to go to U of I, and Bruce settled with Illinois’ favorite designated driver Jamar Smith. The coach could have used the 2007 Big East Defensive Player of the Year to contain Eric Gordon, Drew Neitzel or any other guard/small forward to come to Assembly Hall. He is now part of a three-headed monster hoping to take the Golden Eagles to the promise-land, while Jamar is taking the year off after his little run-in with a tree.

3. Julian Wright- Homewood-Flossmoor ’05- Kansas

Illinois’ Mr. Basketball during his senior season, Wright was deciding long and hard between Champaign and the University of Arizona. Then Kansas’ Bill Self showed up on Wright’s doorstep and had him commit on the spot. Julian was a human-highlight reel during his two years at Lawrence and was the 13th pick of the ’07 draft. A complete heartbreaker for Chief Illini but further confirmation that Bruce Weber cannot recruit Chicago’s top prospect if his life depended on it.

2. Eric Gordon- North Central (Ind.) ’07- Indiana

The man who gave us the idea for the list, there was no individual with more controversy going into the season than Gordon. He verbally committed to Illinois after his junior year in high school. Then Kelvin Sampson was hired as head coach at IU, and made some questionable moves to his coaching staff which may or may not have spurred Gordon to jump ship and play in Bloomington. Regardless, Gordon turned Indiana from a mid-grade conference team into a serious national title contender, while U of I sits near the bottom of the Big Ten standings. Eric will surely be gone within the first seven picks of next year’s draft.

1. Jon Scheyer- Glenbrook North ’06- Duke

In what could go down as one of the most embarrassing tales in NCAA recruiting history, Jon chose Duke blue over Illini navy. The embarrassing point about this; The sharpshooter’s high school coach was none other than Bruce’s kid-brother Dave. What more had to happen in order to get this kid? I realize he chose DUKE, but its not like B-Web coaches at Augustana. This was THE University of Illinois, the regions #1 basketball school at time. And its not like Scheyer was worried about not being surrounded by talent; Eric Gordon was still set to play in Champaign when Jon made his decision.

Honorable Mention:
Patrick Beverley- Marshall '05- Arkansas
Joevan Catron- Thornton '05- Oregon
Bobby Frasor- Brother Rice '05- North Carolina
DeAndre Liggins- Findlay Prep '08- Committed to Kentucky
Evan Turner- St. Joseph '07- Ohio State

By: Phil Barnes and the TTCS group

Friday, February 8, 2008

Top Ten Guys Who Did The Dirty Work

These are the guys that emulate the blue-collar mentality Chicagoans are famous for.

10. Bob McMillen - Chicago Rush (2003-2007)

As the AFL's all-time leading rusher, McMillen doesn't seem like a good fit for this list. However, the AFL is not built on a strong running game and relies heavily on an entertaining aerial attack. In 2004 McMillen led the AFL with 79 rushing attempts; a number surpassed by some NFL backs in only three weeks.

9. Keith Magnuson - Chicago Blackhawks (1976-1979)

Magnuson played his entire career with the Hawks and lit the lamp a grand total of 14 times in three years. 'Maggy' would drop the gloves anytime and played solid defense for the Hawks while amassing the most penalty minutes (1,442) in team history.

8. Lucas Johnson - University of Illinois (1998-2002)

On a team filled with players that would one day end up in the NBA, Johnson was the garbage man on some very good Illini teams. He led the team in floor burns and didn't hesitate to mix it up with the opposition's best players.

7. Mark DeRosa - Chicago Cubs

DeRosa was a crucial part of the Cubs playoff run last season. He played six different positions and hit everywhere in the lineup except for lead-off. Rumors continue to swirl about the Cubs going after the Baltimore Oriole's second baseman Brian Roberts, but doing so will limit DeRosa's playing time even more. But don't worry, Sweet Lou will plug him in somewhere during the year.

6. Andres Nocioni - Chicago Bulls

Nocioni has earned himself quite the reputation around the NBA. He's known for style of defense that can drive guys like Tayshaun Prince of the Detroit Pistons and Udonis Haslem of the Miami Heat out of their minds. But he plays with the reckless abandon and passion fans of the Bulls have come to expect from the franchise.

5. Matt Suhey - Chicago Bears (1980-89)

The man who paved the way for Walter Payton to break the all-time rushing record, Suhey has endeared himself to the city of Chicago. In his ten years as a Bear, Suhey never complained about not getting the ball and was essential to the 1985 Super Bowl team.

4. Olin Kreutz - Chicago Bears

Kreutz is the unquestioned leader of the Chicgo Bears and has been since stepping onto the scene in 1998. The Hawaiian native has made a name for himself working deep in the trenches of the NFL alongside some of the worst Bears teams in recent memory. While he may drop a snap or two, Bears fans everywhere couldn't imagine this team playing without him.

3. Tadahito Iguchi - Chicago White Sox (2005-2007)

No longer with the South Side, Iguchi still holds a special place in the hearts of Sox fans despite such a short tenure with the club. During the legendary 2005 World Series Championship season, Iguchi did everything Ozzie could ask of him. Bunting runners over, sacrifice fly balls, hit and runs...you name it and Iguchi was always willing to comply.

2. Dennis Rodman - Chicago Bulls (1995-98)

Known more for his antics off of the field, Rodman was all business when he stepped out onto the court. A lunch pail and hard hat player to the fullest degree, Rodman sucked up rebounds like a hoover and always took great pride in getting in the heads of opposing players like Karl Malone. To this day, I think Malone would fish hook Rodman if he had the opportunity.


While he may not have the body of an Adonis, Tom Waddle was the representation of every single blue collar value that exists in Chicago today. Never afraid to go across the middle and get his block knocked off, Waddle epitomized the kind of work ethic
parents try to instill within their children. Waddle was an undrafted free agent out of Boston College and never gave up until he was catching bombs from legends like P.T. Willis as a member of the Chicago Bears.

By Matthew Olsen

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Top Ten Chicago Athletes We Can Beat Up

(Note: We most likely can not beat up any of these people)

Approximate size of TTCS crew: Olsen 6’0, 190 - Phillips 6’1, 200 - O’Donnell 5’7, 140 - Barnes 6’1, 165 - Martin 5’8, 150 – Church size unknown.

10. Paul Edinger
Listed at 5’8, 175 lbs

One of the oddest looking humans I’ve ever seen.

9. Garrett Wolfe
Listed at 5’7, 185 lbs

Once got tackled by Adam Archuleta in practice.

8. Greg Maddux
Listed at 6’0, 180 lbs

Shouldn’t he just throw a knuckleball at this point?

7. Joey Cora
Listed at 5’8, 150 lbs

Too small to play shortstop (get it ‘short’stop? Anyways…)

6. Steve Kerr
Listed at 6’1, 175 lbs

Stood no less then 24 feet away from the hoop at all times.

5. Augie Ojeda
Listed at 5’8, 170 lbs

His name is Augie.

4. Mike Fontenot
Listed at 5’7, 160 lbs

Bench presses less then Kevin Durant.

3. Patrick Kane
Listed at 5’9, 170 lbs

Has a very punchable face.

2. Ron Santo
Not listed

Has no legs.

1. Virginia McCaskey
Not listed

May have died four years ago.