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Monday, March 31, 2008

Top Ten most awkward Chicago baseball batting stances

Over the past 25 years there have been some Cubs or White Sox hitters who have stepped up to the plate looking more uncomfortable than, well they should. Below is a list of 10 swingers who may or may not have had success with how they stood in the box. I am probably missing a few so feel free to post comments.

10. Gary Gietti

Words cannot describe what was wrong with this swing, but it was just kind of goofy. Gietti, the stereotypical early '90s baseball player was a boss’ pick, but a good one.

9. Jim Thome

Thome's got the stance of a slugger, but this wide-legged, open stance is difficult to replicate when standing in your local batting cage. He stands so open it should come as no surprise that other managers put a shift to the right so much that the second baseman sits in the 7th row down the first base line. I do love the traditional pants-grab he does.

8. Alfonso Soriano

"The Fonz" has a unique approach at the plate because of the enormous step he takes into the ball. He does not go for the traditional "A-Frame" look that instructors teach and has that front foot stepping as the pitch is coming. I also do not know of anybody other than Pablo Ozuna who look like they have a bigger bat in their hands.

7. Albert Belle

Belle's stance was not truly the odd part in the whole hitting situation though he did have his feet relatively close together. Albert would start with the bat to his shoulder, and as the pitch was coming, he would bring it back and go forward again. While it worked for him, I am pretty sure it is not the way Tom Emanski showed him.

6. Carl Everett

Carl did things sort of similar to Belle, except it didn't look like he was ever ready until the pitch was released. He had a poor-man's impression of Gary Sheffield with his bat constantly in motion too. I bet in little league pitchers got confused and actually stopped their motion when they saw Everett's look of disinterest to the game.

5. Aaron Rowand

Good ole' Aaron's stance just made me laugh. He honestly looked like there was an invisible chair behind him. And what is more funny is that it took him a few seconds to crouch to that position, making him look like an old man.

4. Moises Alou

Just try to stand like that for two seconds; it's impossible. While it is probably easier to urinate on your hands that way, I would honestly like to know how he came up with buckling your knees that way. He steps in like Darryl Kyle already threw his curve.

3. Nomar Garciaparra

They had to make a rule because of this guy. Because he took so long to get into the box after doing his batting glove, batting glove, wristband, batting glove ritual, they gave a time limitation to hitters. Oh and he was not even in the box yet. Once he was in there he was trying to get a part on "Dancing with the Stars" the way he did a tap dance routine. Needless to say, I thought it was so sweet.

2. Luis Gonzalez

While it may not have been that bad when he was in Chicago, nobody had a more open stance that Luis. His back foot would be on the inside of the batters' box, and the front foot would be on the outside, with the majority of his body facing the pitcher. What was surprising was that he actually got to balls on the outside part of the plate and was able to hit the ball to the opposite field.

1. Julio Franco

The man who created odd batting stances. He still holds the bat over his head like he's calling his shot to right center field; then in one helicopter-esque motion, he nearly decapitates the Cather with every pitch. This alone shows his brute strength, as he nears 85, because he has yet to change this long ordeal many baseball players like to call a swing.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Top Ten Quotes from Major League

In honor of Opening Day coming up so very soon, we decided to take a look at the ten best quotes from the movie 'Major League'. Normally I'd write some lengthy introduction here to set up the list, but for a movie that ranks among the best ever made in terms of the sports genre, I'm confident I can just shut the hell up and get on with it.


Jake Taylor: I'm hung over, my knees are killin' me and if you're going to pull this shit at least you could've said you were from the Yankees.

Ed. Note: Jake took this call in some motel in Mexico wearing a sombrero on his head and some random woman in his bed. If I had a dollar for every time that's happened to me, I'd be broke.


Harry Doyle: The Duke led the American League this year in saves, ERA and hit batsmen. This guy once threw at his own kid in a father son game.

Ed. Note: While they probably aren't very proud to admit it, there's definitely one or two fathers out there that have thrown a little chin music in their kid's direction.


Lou Brown: Nice catch Hayes. Don't ever fuckin' do it again.

Ed. Note: Willie Mays Hayes, played by Wesley Snipes, had just made a basket catch out in center field and seemed thrilled with himself until ol' Lou Brown had something to say about it.


Heywood: Going somewhere meat?

Willie Mays Hayes: About 90 feet.

Ed. Note: Probably one of the greatest comebacks in the history of baseball movies. And just in case you're confused, Willie Mays Hayes never got arrested. Wesley Snipes did.


Charlie Donovan: How would you like to manage the Indians this year?

Lou Brown: Gee, I don't know...

Charlie Donovan: What do you mean, you don't know? This is your chance to manage in the big leagues.

Lou Brown: Let me get back to you, will ya Charlie? I got a guy on the other line asking about some white walls.

Ed. Note: I'm not sure if they could have picked a better person than James Gammon to play the part of Lou Brown. The classic, easy going, I don't give a shit what you think attitude was played to perfection.


Rick Vaughn: What's that shit on your chest?

Eddie Harris: Crisco

Eddie Harris: Bardol

Eddie Harris: Vagisil. Any one of 'em will give you another two to three inches drop on your curveball. Of course if the umps are watching me real close I'll rub a little jalapeno up my nose, get it runnin', and if I need to load the ball up I just rub my nose.

Rick Vaughn: You put snot on the ball?

Eddie Harris: I haven't got an arm like you kid. I have to put anything on it I can find. Someday you will too.

Ed. Note: Has anyone else ever truly defined the term 'crafty vet' as much as Eddie Harris? (As a little league pitcher, the first time I saw this movie I asked my Mom to take me to the store to buy some Vagisil. I think you have a pretty good idea how that turned out.)


Harry Doyle: One hit? That's all we got, one god-damned hit?!

Monte: You can't say god-damned on the radio!

Harry Doyle: Don't worry, nobody's listening anyway.

Ed. Note: In my head, this is what I imagine radio broadcasts of the Tampa Bay Rays or the Florida Marlins sound like.


Wille Mays Hayes: Willie Mays Hayes. I hit like Mays, and run like Hayes.

Lou Brown: You may run like Mays, but you hit like shit.

Ed. Note: I think my high school baseball coach told me the exact same thing, except he told me I run like John Kruk after he got a free dinner at Ol' Country Buffet.


Harry Doyle: Juussst a bit outside. Tried the corner and missed.

Ed. Note: Just classic in every sense of the word.


Pedro Cerrano: Bats, they are sick. I cannot hit curveball. Straightball I hit very much. Curveball, bats are afraid. I ask Jobu to come, take fear from bats. I offer him cigar, rum. He will come.

Eddie Harris: You know you might think about taking Jesus Christ as your savior instead of fooling around with all this stuff.

Roger Dorn: Shit Harris.

Pedro Cerrano: Jesus, I like him very much, but he no help with curveball.

Eddie Harris: You tryin to say Jesus Christ can't hit a curveball?

Ed. Note: I still haven't made up my mind about this one. I've tried to picture the big guy upstairs in his robes and what not, standing at the plate and watching as his knees buckle while a Barry Zito 12-6 curveball goes past.

Honorable Mention:

"This guy here is dead!"
"Forget the curveball Ricky, give 'em the heater"
"Bartender, Jobu needs a refill"
"Who gives a shit, it's gone"

Top Ten Respectable Jerseys

All the time I see tons of idiots walking around Chicago with jerseys that suck. Every time I go to Wrigley there's a million Nomar Garciaparra jerseys because of his brief stint with the Cubs. People seem to be buying lame jerseys in bulk since they became so popular to own in the early 1990's. I myself owned a ton of jerseys, but when I started seeing kids at school wearing Steve Kerr jerseys I thought the line had been crossed. I mean Kerr's a nice guy and probably the best NBA player ever born in Lebanon, but he's a specialist! He doesn't deserve your money! What's next, people wearing Kelly Wunsch jerseys? Or Israel Idonije jerseys? I mean those guys are sweet, but spend your hard earned scrilla on these underrated jerseys. Guys like Walter Payton, Scottie Pippen, Dan Hampton, etc. have been not included due to the high volume of jerseys that are worn.

Note* I'm giving you a link to buy these jerseys instead of photos so you can stop looking like a tool.

10. Michael Jordan
Everyone and their Mom owns a Jordan jersey (especially the red road jersey.) Time to switch it up a bit. Go with this old school cursive writing Bulls jersey that really screams, “I can dunk on everybody!” The only other respectable Jordan jersey is the Olympic Dream Team one or his uniform from Space Jam.

9. Bill Buckner
Now is the part where I baffle the Cubs fans. “Bill Buckner played for the Cubs?” Yeah and he’s one of the most underrated baseball players in Major League history. Of course Buckner will forever be remembered for the error that “cost” the Red Sox the World Series in 86. Little known fact, Buckner wore a Cubs batting glove underneath his glove during the error. If you wear this jersey, you're tough and love to brawl. You know some idiot at Barleycorn is going to give you crap for wearing it, so knock his teeth in with some purpose and let him know that Bill had 2,700 career hits.

8. Bob Love
I’m really surprised this jersey hasn’t caught on with Omarion or whatever other R & B weirdos are coming out these days. Seriously, Bob Love could hold it down. He was a sick athlete, but more importantly he overcame a horrible speech impediment after his playing career to become a motivational speaker and community relations director for the Bulls. After he dominated the NBA, he held a job as a dishwasher making less than $5 an hour because his stuttering was so bad. But he overcame that and dominated the world again. Kudos to Bob Love, and if you own this jersey, you're just sweet. Also, the Bulls don't sell any Bob Love merchandise, but I can purchase Green St. Patty's Day Kirk Hinrich jerseys if I want. Step your game up Bulls marketing, and fix this problem!

7. Lee Smith
Lee Smith might be the funniest guy (and worst golfer) I have ever been around. I had the lucky chance to be around him for a couple days during a golf outing and he has many many side splitting stories and ways of making you laugh. Anyone that calls their girlfriend “woman” and means it is cool in my book. Lee was also a dominant closer who maintained an awesome haircut during his Cubbie playing days. He sure beats the hell out of Randy Myers or Ryan Dempster.

6. Gale Sayers
I’m a proud owner of a Gale Sayers jersey, and I still firmly believe he is one of the five best running backs to ever play the game. This was Devin Hester before Devin Hester. This is what Reggie Bush strives to be. Gale also had an uncanny way of being polite while talking down to his inferior competition. He always claimed he never worried about the first defender tackling him because it was impossible, so he always looked up field for the second or third guys. If you own this jersey you’re probably extremely arrogant and better than everyone else, or at least you think you are ( or your name is Scott Phillips and that description fits like a glove).

5. Artis Gilmore
First of all Artis wore the number 53. Who wears 53? I enjoy it when guys pick numbers nobody else wears. And I’m not talking about guys like Ron Artest or Dennis Rodman who are “crazy” and wear numbers in the 90’s to personify their character. Gilmore could rebound like no other, and averaged 20 and 20 in the ABA and 17 and 10 in the NBA. He also is Jacksonville’s only important graduate (that’s an assumption, not a fact).

As with the Bob Love jersey the Bulls have nothing on Artis Gilmore, and the only jerseys of his available on ebay are from the Spurs years. Once again, Bulls, I can buy a stupid Andres Nocioni jersey which will mean absolutely NOTHING in five years, or I can honor one of the best big men of a generation. Good call.

4. Billy Williams
Everyone always talks up “Mr. Cub” and Ron Santo lately because of how it’s such a travesty he’s not a Hall of Famer, but Billy Williams was a great ballplayer and a jersey I rarely see in the bad jersey mecca known as Wrigleyville.

3. Stan Mikita
Hawks jerseys are the best in sports, so if you don’t own one by now then you are not a true Chicago fan. If you choose to put a player on there (blank jerseys are respectable too because players change teams so much) then go with Stan Mikita. He’s the greatest Blackhawk of all-time, and also a badass (he was in the penalty box a LOT in his early days) that deserves your appreciation in the form of a jersey.

(Side Note: Is there anything more underrated on sports jerseys than the "A" or the "C" that comes with being a captain in hockey? I think this should be adopted in everyday forms of life. I'm going to start putting "A's" on all my suit coats as I defer being captain to one Matt Olsen.)

2. Shoeless Joe Jackson
There is nothing better than sticking it to the MLB. Shoeless Joe may be banned for life, but support him anyways and show how much you loved Field of Dreams (and hate Bud Selig). Also note that you will probably have to get this jersey custom made because he is banned from baseball. But would you rather drop some dough on the dough filled Jermaine Dye, or have a piece of baseball history on your back?

1. Brian Piccolo
There is no jersey on a Chicago fan I respect more than the Brian Piccolo jersey. Brian was a true gamer, working his way from undrafted free agent, to practice squad, to special teams, to backup tailback and finally starting fullback. His legacy however remains in his tragic death from cancer when he was just 26 years old. From this came Brian’s Song, one of the better sports movies ever made, as well as a very good biography about him. He is the epitome of the blue collar athlete and a player that will always be respected.

So there you have it folks, some true underrated Chicago jerseys that will get fans across the city respecting your ability to identify with true Chicago icons. This list was inspired after seeing my first Fukudome jersey of the year and realizing that Wrigley Field will be littered with morons wearing that jersey and chanting "F***-you-Do-ME" and laughing about it as if it's funny. As a public service announcement, unless you are Asian, a child under 12 years old, or a respectful, knowledgeable baseball fan, please do not buy this jersey. If you do chant "F***-you-Do-Me" I WILL spend $7 to pelt you with a beer.

Important Note* Top Ten Chicago Sports does not support these specific ebay lisitings. These were merely added in order for you to expand your horizons and move on from your Rex Grossman jersey. If you get had, or get a wrong jersey it is the fault of the ebay seller and you and not Top Ten Chicago Sports.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Top Ten Future Stars of Professional Sports

10. G Lance Stephenson

One of the top high school juniors in the country, Stephenson looks to be the next great prep basketball star out of New York. Duke, Georgetown, North Carolina, Indiana, and Kansas are after his services.

9. DE DaQuan Bowers

In most years, Bowers would be the unanimous top prep football player in the country. He’ll start at Clemson from day one and should terrorize ACC offenses just as quickly.

8. G Demar DeRozen

OJ Mayo will likely leave now that USC has been knocked out of the tournament, but DeRozen will replace him nicely. A gifted shooting guard blessed with explosive athleticism, look for DeRozen to be one of next year’s top freshmen.

7. RB Joe McKnight

It’s hard to remember a college program ever having the type of positional glut that USC had last season at running back, but McKnight should now begin to get the bulk of he carries. The New Orleans native has drawn comparisons to former Trojan Reggie Bush.

6. OF/SS Justin Upton

Though he got too many at-bats last season to be considered a rookie for 2008, Upton is one of baseball’s brightest young players. It took a few years for his brother BJ to break out in Tampa Bay, but Justin’s learning curve is expected to be much quicker with the Diamondbacks.

5. PG Ricky Rubio

Though the Spanish point guard likely won’t enter the NBA Draft until 2009, he already has scouts drooling over him. Rubio has drawn comparisons to Pete Maravich.

4. QB Jimmy Clausen

It’s hard to fault Clausen for the Fighting Irish’s miserable 2007. If the offensive line can keep him upright, Notre Dame may have found their next great quarterback.

3. OF Jay Bruce

Only in the deranged mind of Dusty Baker would a player as productive as Bruce not be allowed to start 2008 in the major leagues. Bruce, 20, was named Baseball America’s top prospect last season and projects as a corner outfielder with power.

2. QB Terrelle Pryor

Few prep stars have received more attention from the national media than Pryor, a two sport star out of Pennsylvania. He’s been called one of the best quarterback prospects ever and he recently lead his basketball team to a state title. Pryor will play football for Ohio State next fall.

1. P Yu Darvish

Whenever the 21-year old Japanese pitcher decides to come to the United States, he’ll likely go for a posting fee around $75 million. Darvish has already dominated the Japanese leagues, winning their equivalent of the Cy Young last season, and has a fastball that registers at 97 MPH. By most measures, he is further along in his progress than Daisuke Matsuzaka was at the same age.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Top Ten Occurrences, Surprises and “Things” of the first two rounds

At this point in my life I should become less shocked to see teams lose in the NCAA tournament who are not supposed to lose. It should come standard to a sports fan that there is going to be anywhere between five and ten games early on that just make you shake your head and say “Well my bracket is screwed.” So as Ty Rogers from Western Kentucky decided to drain a 35-footer for the win on Friday, and in doing so ruining my life-long pursuit at a perfect bracket, I got to thinking; What else could happen? But that was just the start of the madness. Below are ten more points that have made this year’s tournament live up to the hype.

10. The Boss Button

While I do not need to worry about my boss catching me watching the games online, there are millions of employees around the world who are not as fortunate. But those people have some genius at cbssportline.com to thank Once the "The Boss Button," which is under every gamecast is clicked, the game is immediately taken off the screen and is replaced with a very professional looking graph, sure to fool any CEO. Honestly, I laughed for a good five minutes when I saw this.

9. Lack of first round upsets

While the Western Kentucky-Drake game was explained in the intro, there were not as many surprises in first-round action, especially Thursday. Kansas State topped USC pretty convincingly, and Texas A&M defeated BYU in the meaningless 9-8 game. And that was it for day one. Friday saw both four seeds and both five seeds hit the pavement and #10 Davidson defeat #7 Gonzaga, which actually was an upset only on paper because according to Vegas scoring lines, Davidson was the favorite. If the two buzzer-beaters on Friday rim out, there is not much to talk about upset wise. Much more on the topic to come.

8. The Whiskey War

The Louisville-Tennessee Sweet 16 affair is the one that I am looking forward to the most, and may also be the consensus “game-to-watch” next round. Louisville has played very solid down the stretch, and they may be peaking at the correct time. Tennessee on the other hand, has played well all year, but a conference tournament loss to Arkansas and a narrow overtime victory over Butler may have brought out the flaws in Bruce Pearl’s style. Tennessee will have the narrow edge on the perimeter but the battles down low between the Vol’s Tyler Smith and Wayne Chism and the Louisville's David Pagett, Terrance Williams and Juan Palacios could make this game one for the ages.

7. 2-seed scares

All four number-2’s played in dogfights this weekend, two of them were bumped early. (More on Duke and Georgetown later.) But Texas elected not to score in the second half, which allowed Miami to creep closer and closer to an upset of their own. It was not until Rick Barnes decided to push his own boss button, which told him that he may want to get his players scoring, which they decided to do with four minutes to go and push past the Hurricanes. As stated earlier, it took an overtime for Tennessee to finish up Butler. I realize that both Miami and Butler are not bad teams, and Davidson and West Virginia were the better teams this weekend, but these 2seeds wondered why they were not given a #1. There should be some sort of penalty, or something, for higher seeds who get knocked out early.

6. 1-seed scares

As if it was not embarrassing enough with the #2’s, two #1 seeds had trouble this weekend. Memphis’ free throw shooting, their Achilles heel all season long, was evident as they escaped Mississippi State. John Calipari has openly stated that he will never look at a recruits free throw percentage, but it’s something he may want to put into consideration next time because the Tigers went 6/12 the last minute, allowing Miss. State the opportunity the chance to force OT. I do not even know what happened to UCLA, who was trailing Texas A&M the entire game, until the last ten seconds. A wise man named Gordon Bombay once said, “The only word that comes to my mind when I think about this... pathetic. You guys are running around like a bunch of chickens with your heads cut off.” I could not have said it better myself.

5. 12’s and 13’s

Alright, enough with the negativity for now. Congrats to Western Kentucky, San Diego, Siena and Villanova. These four defeated solid teams, and did so in interesting fashion. I spoke about the 30-footer for the win during the W/K game. San Diego buzzer-beated their way past UConn when De’Jon Jackson hit a mid-range jumper as the horn blew. Siena destroyed the best team not in the round-of-32, Vanderbilt, and people were questioning Villanova’s really deserving of a dance invitation. These wins will also keep me from winning my pool.

4. ‘Nova was the last team in?

People were very skeptical of the Wildcats’ getting into the tournament, and many experts considered them “The last team in.” While I am not so sure people are still believing that as Villanova took down a good Clemson squad in the first round, then followed it up by a win against Siena, who was riding high coming into it. While I am not calling an upset here, Bill Self and Kansas do have a tendency to choke down the stretch, do not be surprised if this turns out to be a barn burner.

3. “David”-son slingshots Goliath known as Georgetown

Georgetown became the first real title contender to fall this weekend as Stephen Curry dropped 30 on the Hoyas. According to brackets, this was a huge upset, however according to polls, Davidson is ranked in the AP and is by no means a pushover. But with that said, Georgetown’s depth at most positions, plus a dominant center in Roy Hibbert should have been able to take down this inexperienced squad. Curry’s offensive explosiveness combined with Wisconsin’s stifling defense could make for a unique Sweet 16 match up.

2. Duke’s awful tournament

I am no Cameron-Hater, but the Blue Devil’s performance in this tournament was simply horrid. They almost let Belmont, BELMONT take them down in round one. And followed that up by West Virginia, a team that was no guarantee to even make the tourney. Coach K is lucky he is a legend, because if it was nearly anybody else, he would be jobless.

1. Only one ACC team remains

I realize that the ACC had a down year, only having four teams enter the tournament, and it does not look like anybody is going to stop UNC anytime soon, but in what way can ESPN spin this and make the ACC the most difficult conference in basketball, while the PAC-10 and Big East still have three teams left. Not to mention the Big 12’s and Big Ten’s two representatives in the Sweet 16. What are Bilas and Vitale going to do if Hansboro gets D-ed up by a Washington State big man, and Lawson goes cold. Dickie V might have to change his diaper…dandee.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Top ten teams lower than a number one seed that have a chance to make the Final Four

10. Notre Dame

If Kyle McAlarney gets hot, Notre Dame can hang with North Carolina in the Sweet 16. A matchup between Luke Harengody and Tyler Hansbourgh could be one of the tournament’s best.

9. Stanford

Few teams can match Stanford’s size inside. A big tournament could make Brook Lopez a top five pick in the NBA Draft.

8. Vanderbilt

Shan Foster and AJ Ogilvy are among the best inside-outside combinations in the country.

7. UConn

The Huskies four best players- AJ Price, Jeff Adrian, Stanley Robinson, Hasheem Thabeet- are as good as any in the country. If they can get past UCLA in the Sweet 16, UConn could make a long run.

6. Pitt

Few players have improved as much as Sam Young. If Pitt’s guards can hot, watch out for the Panthers.

5. Texas

Without Kevin Durant, sophomore point guard DJ Augustin has taken over as the Longhorns best player. A big tournament could make him a lottery pick in the next NBA Draft.

4. Wisconsin

It may not be an exciting brand of basketball, but Bo Ryan always has the Badgers ready to compete. Even without Alando Tucker and Kammron Taylor, Wisconsin is still a top 10 team.

3. Tennessee

The addition of Tyler Smith gives the Vols an added dimension they missed last season. A trip to the Final Four would be the perfect ending for senior Chris Lofton.

2. Duke

Though they are only 5-6 in their last 11 games, Duke has the shooters to take out any team in the field.

1. Georgetown

Roy Hibbert led the Hoyas to the Final Four last year but this time he won't run into Greg Oden.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Top Ten Chicago Sports Logos

10. The Chicago Steel
A strong and bold logo is perfect for this hockey club.

9. The Chicago Bandits
It might be chick softball but it is a sick logo.

8. The Chicago White Sox
It's an average logo but the South Siders are a staple of Chicago.

7. The Chicago Fire
I know it's soccer but it does rep the Chicago FD.

6. The Chicago Wolves
Don't piss off this wild beast.

5. The Chicago Bulls
You mess with the bull you get the horn.

4. The Chicago Shamrox
Even though it is lacrosse, this logo rocks hard.

3. The Chicago Cubs
Simple and powerful.

2. The Chicago Bears
The combination of the colors and the bear is simply badass.

1. The Chicago Blackhawks
It is the greatest logo in sports.

Top Ten NCAA Tournament Mascots We'd Take in a Fight

With the NCAA Tournament coming up, brackets are being filled out by the millions and everyone is looking for that little extra competitive edge that may give you the office pool title. Strategies are a personal thing and the very idea of sharing your own bracketology with anyone else is absurd.

But, if you find yourself faced with a difficult match up, some people use the mascots as a way to determine the winner. Basically, in a fight between the team's mascots, who would win is who you should choose as the winner of the game. So with that in mind, here are the top ten mascots who we'd take in a fight.

10. Tuffy the Titan
Cal State Fullerton

Tuffy is considered a rouge elephant in these parts which means he is considered violently aggressive and capable of flattening entire suburbs while killing anything in his path.
Be afraid. Be very afraid.

9. The Leprechaun
Notre Dame

If you've ever seen the movie 'Gangs of New York', you know how members of the Dead Rabbits roll. This guy will knock your face in with a spiked club and fish-hook your girlfriend faster than you can say 'aye.

8. D'Artagnan

This swash-buckling mascot is smooth with the ladies and quick with a sword. He may not brush his teeth or shower very often, but when it comes down to going toe-to-toe with a mascot like the Oregon Duck we like the smelly Frenchman.

7. Blue Devil

While Duke itself is kind of like the Yankees of college basketball, we have to admit the idea of staring down a fight with the devil, albeit a blue one, does not sound very enticing.

6. Ribby the Razorback
That my friends is Hogzilla.
Exhibit A for why you don't want to f@#* with Mr. Razorback.

5. Joe Bruin

Joe Bruin has a nasty reputation for ripping people's faces off and can only be defeated with a shotgun blast to his rear. You may see him often roaming the woods of California with his bald head held high in a show of power.

4. The Mountaineer
West Virgina

I think we all remember how Davey Crockett busted some skulls down at the Alamo. Appearances can be deceiving, and if you give this mountain man a couple of minutes to reload, and stood close enough, he would end you.

3. Tommy Trojan

While the Trojans may not have been very bright - see Trojan horse incident - they were regarded as the premier force back in ancient times.

2. Hurricanes

Simply put, you have no chance against this beast. It can take out cities and wash away your entire existence.

1. Sparty
Michigan State

You all know the score.
300 Spartans against a Persian army 20,000 strong.
They may have lost, but the fact remains the Spartans would flex on any mascot or natural disaster like you could never imagine.

Olsen's Final Four Picks: Memphis, Duke, Georgetown and Tennessee

Monday, March 17, 2008

Top ten NCAA first round games

With the NCAA brackets coming out yesterday, I thought it would be interesting to point out 10 big games in the first round that might be worth watching.

10. (7) Miami vs. (10) St. Mary’s

St. Mary’s probably could have had a higher seed had they not skidded down the stretch, losing three of their last five games including a first round conference tournament loss to San Diego. Miami won 12 straight games to open the season before getting in a funk in January and early Feb., when they lost six of seven. They also did not get the postseason push they hoped for, getting wiped out by Virginia Tech. St. Mary’s Diamon Simpson has averaged 13 points and 9.5 rebounds, so look for him to be backing down around the paint. St. Mary’s will always have a rough spot in my heart as they cost me a six-game parlay when they defeated Oregon on my birthday.
Barnes’ Pick: St. Mary’s

9. (5) Drake vs. (12) Western Kentucky

With the thought that Drake has such inexperience in the tournament, and the Hilltoppers have only lost two games in 2008, this could be the 12/5 upset people are looking for. Courtney Lee averages 20 points for W. Kent. and has been a big reason for their success. But Drake, a squad that lost four starters from last year was completely depleted and just looking to survive in the MVC, has proven to be the top squad of the conference and a team that could make a run, especially after defeating Butler on the road in a punch-in-the-jaw performance a month ago.
Barnes’ Pick: Drake

8. (8) Oregon vs. (9) Mississippi St.

While some of us Chicagoans are looking forward to seeing what the Ducks can do next year, recruiting half of the talent in Illinois, they have a pretty difficult showdown with Jamont Gordon and Carl Rhodes and Miss. St. This terrible twosome each averaged 17 points a game for a Bulldog team that is on the rise. Oregon started the year pretty well but losing four straight in January and then three straight in February made it hard for the Ducks to recover. Oregon’s Maarty Lauren (not to be confused with Maarty Farmer) averaged 13 points and almost 10 boards a game. While you can’t count out on Tyler Hansboro’s little brother Ben, the Ducks will likely be putting on their 55th different color combination and just be too deep for the Dogs.
Barnes’ Pick: Oregon

7. (6) Purdue vs. (11) Baylor

Good for Baylor for recovering relatively quickly from the tragedy that occurred to the team a few years ago. Purdue had a little tragedy of their own then they decided to flat-line against Illinois in a game that did not need to be close. E’Twaun Moore is a solid scorer for the Boilermakers while Curtis Jerrells and Kevin Rogers can get it done for the Bears. Purdue has beaten Wisconsin twice and Michigan State once while Baylor has laid an egg anytime somebody with talent found their way on the schedule.
Barnes’ Pick: Purdue

6. (7) West Virginia vs. (10) Arizona

I am not going to lie, the only thing I have heard about ‘Zona all year is that Lute Olsen’s wife divorced him. Just like they have for the past few years now, the Wildcats have been given a top-25 preseason rank and struggled to hold onto it, even with sensational recruiting class after another. West Virginia on the other hand has played well pretty much all year. But when they have lost, oh man have they lost. They scored 39 points against a Cincinnati squad that won 13 games this year, and got beat by 17 to end their Big East Tournament run. But this game should be fun to watch with a lot of fast pace, high-flying action as both teams have a lot of athletes.
Barnes’ Pick: West Virginia

5. (7) Gonzaga vs. (10) Davidson

In an odd match-up where the lower seed was actually the higher ranking in the polls, this makes for a pretty evenly matched game. Davidson is led by sophomore sensation Stephen Curry, who averages 25 points. Gonzaga has four double digit scorers including Chicago’s own Jeremy Pargo. While the Bulldogs have a history of making deep runs with lower rankings, Davidson has not lost since 2007, and I think that streak will continue at least one more game.
Barnes’ Pick: Davidson

4. (6) Marquette vs. (11) Kentucky

For the past three years I have felt compelled to take Marquette and just automatically slot them in the Sweet 16, and all three years I have not been able to because of poor seeds (they have faltered down the stretch all three years) and worse match-ups. Kentucky has been playing pretty well of late and Billy Gillispie knows a thing or two about taking teams deep into the tourney. The trio in the backcourt for the Eagles will survive at least through round one however.
Barnes’ Pick: Marquette

3. (5) Notre Dame vs. (12) George Mason

George Mason is back, and this time with a higher seed than what they had in the magical run of 2006. They have guys like Will Thomas and Folarin Campbell with something that majority of the field does not have; Final Four experience. With that said however, they have not won a significant game this year and lost to Villanova, their only major-conference game this season. The Irish’s Luke Harangody is the Big East P.O.Y and his 20 points and 10 rebounds will be a difficult for anyone in the dance to handle.
Barnes’ Pick: Notre Dame

2. (8) Indiana vs. (9) Arkansas

No two team’s stocks have plummeted more than these two squads. A month ago Indiana was going to wrap up the Big Ten title and possibly snag a 2-seed while Arkansas would fall into the four-to-six-seed category. But both coaches have been sent packing and we will actually see the fumes coming from the back of the teams as they roll into Denver on Thursday. D.J. White and Eric Gordon will hopefully be too much (for Indiana’s sake) but Arkansas is coming off of an SEC championship game despite losing five of their last eight going onto the conference tourney. Either way, I think UNC would have been happier with the 2-seed in this regional knowing that they will have to play one of these teams.
Barnes’ Pick: Indiana

1. (6) USC vs. (11) Kansas State

In a game that pits the top freshmen going into the 2007-08 season, (USC’s O.J. Mayo) with the top freshmen exiting the year (Kansas State’s Michael Beasley), this one is sure to go down to the wire. Both teams like to play an up-tempo, high scoring offense, with Kansas State once in a while slowing it up for Beasley to back down a defender. While State may have the better individual, USC has the better team with a plethora of talent to match-up against the Wildcats. Trojan’s bigman Taj Gibson has elite eight experience so look for him to try to body up on Beasley, who will almost surely take 35-40 shots. Mike had better be on, or K-State will have no shot.
Barnes’ Pick: USC

With zero of Illinois' 11 eligible schools making the tournament, one cannot help but feel utterly embarrassed. Chicago is the basketball hotbed of the country, and the state in general have produced some great talents over time. But how can anybody outside of the state feel like Illinois basketball is any better than any other state when none of the state's schools make the big dance. What I do find funny is that three of the four #1 seeds and five schools of the eight that hold #1's or #2's have a kid from Illinois. While Josh Tabb only sees about 10 minutes a game at Tennessee and Bobby Frasor has sat out this season at UNC with a torn ACL, Sherron Collins has been a great boost off the bench for Kansas, Jon Scheyer has lived up to his sharpshooting ways as a Blue Devil, and Memphis' Derrick Rose just makes the game look easy.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Top Ten Original Nintendo Sports Games

I think I spent half of my childhood blowing into the end of my Nintendo video games trying to get them to work. If you played, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Everyone had their own preferred method; holding it sideways and blowing, holding down the reset button before turning the system back on, cleaning the inside with Q-Tips, etc...But the original offerings of sports games Nintendo introduced made it worth the effort.

10. Pro Wrestling

Before the days when you could suit up as the Ultimate Warrior and have an epic battle with Earthquake in a steel cage match, Pro Wrestling was about as close as it got to real wrestling with characters like Fighter Hayabusa and Kin Corn Karn.

9. Kung Fu

Would you make fun of me if I said I played this game with my official Daniel Russo - a.ka. the Karate Kid - headband on?

I thought so.

8. Slalom

Slalom's Mt. Nasty was a place "where the beer flows like wine. Where beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano. I'm talking about a little place called Mt. Nasty!"

7. Tennis

Basically a glorified version of Pong, Tennis had the innate ability to make you play for three hours without actually accomplishing anything. Simplicity at its best.

6. 10-Yard Fight

You couldn't choose what play to run in Nintendo's first football game. Basically, after the snap you could try to run for it, or throw a pass to a receiver the game randomly chose. Personally, I think Bears offensive coordinator Ron Turner has based his entire playbook on this game.

5. Ice Hockey

You had the skinny guys, the average guys and the fat guys to choose from when building your Ice Hockey squad. I always went with a gang of fat slobs because they dominated on the boards.

That's how I roll.

4. Golf

You want to know how ridiculously uncool I am?

When I realized that the Wii golf course was the exact same course as the original Nintendo Golf course I nearly broke down in tears.

Did I really just write that?

3. Baseball

I swear to you that I once hit a 750-foot shot in this game, made even more impressive by the blazing speed in which my guys circled the bases. I would own you in this game. Know that.

2. Duck Hunt

Don't try to lie to me because I already know.

You were the guy who always put the gun right up against the screen when you played. I hate people like you.


Raise your hand if you spent hours building your dream Excitebike course, only to have the Nintendo freeze up right when you were about to go through the mind-boggling 36 consecutive jumps you set up for your rider?

That course was the stuff of legends.

(I know you were probably expecting to see games like Tecmo Bowl, Blades of Steel, Double Dribble and RBI baseball on this list, but that's not what this list was about.)

By: Matthew Olsen

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Top Ten Chicago Sports Blogs

Tremendous Upside Potential would certainly make this list- because it is awesome- but seeing as that is my site, I was told by our five other writers (or, if you want to get fancy, editors) that ranking myself number one would be totally unacceptable. Whatever. Here’s a list of some the best Chicago sports blogs on the internets.

10. Chip Shots

It’s a struggle putting up a new post every day (we should know), but Chip Ramsey pulls it off without a problem. The links around the web are always enjoyable, but the White Sox and Bears coverage makes this site one of our favorites. Taking subtle shots at the Packers and Brewers doesn’t hurt either.

9. Thank You Isiah

Though they keep the posts short, TYI’s message is always clear: Hey Jim Boylan, you are a moron. Bonus points for backing Tyrus and Noah and bashing Aaron Gray.

8. Bleed Cubbie Blue

The first of three SB Nation blogs to appear, BCB is known for having some of the most passionate commenters around.

7. Luol’s Dong

Even if we might occasionally disagree with an opinion (how could you not want Rand-o Moss on the Bears?), the banner at the bottom is earns them a spot on this lists single-handedly.

6. South Side Sox

The White Sox SB Nation blog always keeps things in perspective. We tend to agree with these guys on Kenny Williams, Jerry Owens, and Joe Crede amongst others. Whether the Sox are good or bad in 2008, SSS will always be an enjoyable read.

5. Da Bears Blog

The Bears may be Chicago’s most beloved team, but the internet is light on blogs dedicated to them. Da Bears Blog is the best, bringing news from the papers and internet for the Bears and other teams around the NFL.

4. Sox Machine

Jim covers the White Sox better then anyone else. His videos and pictures from spring training and minor league games set the site apart.

3. Foul Balls

Unlike every other site on this list, Foul Balls is updated multiple times every day (usually 3-5) by AOL Fanhouse’s Tom Fornelli. You know a blog is established when Mariotti starts stealing from it.

2. Blog-a-Bull

TrueHoop’s praise in the upper right hand corner seems fitting: Blog-a-Bull is run the way a team oriented blog is meant to. Matt maintains the site and offers analysis, but the commenters make it one of the best NBA sites on the internet.

1. Rosenblog

Why doesn’t the Trib let Steve Rosenbloom have a column every day in the paper? The best example of a blog from the mainstream Chicago media, Rosenbloom updates almost every day and isn’t afraid to take shots at Chicago sports biggest stars.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Top Ten best Chicago baseball draftees who didn’t sign

While looking through draft classes I could not help but realize that there are quite a few eye-popping names that the White Sox or Cubs have drafted in the last 25 years that I never saw in a Sox of Cubs uni. But after doing some research I found out that these guys were drafted and did not sign, a common occurrence in baseball. This is a list of 10 notable players who wouldn’t have made either team instant World Series champs, but could have pivotal role in team improvement.

10. Antwaan Randle El- Cubs 1997 14th Round

It really wasn't any doubt this now-Redskin wide receiver was going to be playing football over baseball. My boss explained to me how poor his Thornton team was in high school and said he was pretty much the only outfielder when he took the field because he covered so much ground.

9. Adam Everett- Cubs 1995 4th Round

Though Everett has fallen off the table, he did have a few good years early in his career. During the 2005 World Series however, my favorite quote from the Buck/McCarver duo was McCarver explaining to viewers how Everett is a good ballplayer but he simply "has forgotten how to swing properly."

8. Placido Polanco- Sox 1993 49th Round

This All-Star second baseman has put together a pretty nice career, and has continually gotten better. Last year, in a career season, he hit .341 with 200 hits and 105 runs, good enough for a Silver Slugger award.

7. Nate Robertson- Sox 1995 35th Round/ 1998 15th Round

This is another guy of promise who has not had a sensational career. But the reason he is mainly on the list is because the Sox tried to get this guy twice. Maybe it's for the best though as this injury plagued starter has never won more than 13 games.

6. Ray Lankford- Cubs 1986 3rd Round

Lankford was a solid 5-tool player that did it all. He stole 25 bases four times in his career. He owns a .394 on-base-percentage that peaked in '97 when it was .411. But the 1998 season explained his career best; .293 average 31 homers, 105 RBI, 94 runs, 26 stolen bases. A weak .983 fielding percentage for an OF may put a damper on these numbers though.

5. Tim Lincecum- Cubs 2003 48th Round

He has not proven a whole lot, yet his upside is tremendous. He won seven games last year and had almost the entire league making offers to the Giants. What is odd about Lincecum is that he was drafted in the 48th round of '03, then in the 42nd round in '05, but in '06 was the tenth overall pick of the draft.

4. Jeff Weaver- Sox 1997 2nd Round

This comes as no surprise to me as his little brother was financially annoying to teams which caused him to go late in the first round despite being arguably the top pitcher in the draft. Weaver has had five double-diget-win seasons, but has only had one winning season in his career. This is mainly because his career started in Detroit in the early 2000's, and we all know what happened then.

3. Khalil Greene- Cubs 2001 14th Round

Ok, So him being here might be a little biased, but Greene has made some spectacular plays at short, which put him this high. Last season he hit 27 homers, 97 RBI's and 44 doubles. He has also been staple to the community since he arrived in San Diego.

2. JJ Putz- Sox 1995 3rd Round

Lights out is the only way to describe this guy. The 2007 All-Star closed out 40 games last year, and 36 the year before that. Last year he had a WHIP of under 0.70 and an ERA of 1.38. What is funny about Putz is that he signed a deal with the Mariners in 1999 as a 6th-round pick.

1. Eric Gagne- Sox 1994 30th Round

So steroids have tarnished his numbers that have been nothing but stellar before shoulder surgery a few years ago. But in 2003 he was named the NL Cy Young winner and has been a three-time All-Star. He also is in the record books for most consecutive converted saves. That could have been a nice addition had he stayed.

Alright as you can see, this list does not live up to all the hype I am sure you were hoping for. And while this was not an easy article to write because of that, it does mean is that both the Sox and the Cubs have done a pretty good job signing their draft picks, something that is not easy to do.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Top Ten Games We've Been To

Living in Chicago has afforded us the opportunity to partake in some of the most memorable sports moments the city's franchises have had to offer. Everyone has their own story of a particular moment when you knew that instead of being just a spectator, more importantly, you were apart of history. So before I bore you to tears with the theatrics, here's the Top Ten Games Zach Martin and I have been to that involve Chicago sports.

In other words, it's a "My Dad can beat up your Dad" kind of thing, only this time, Martin's Dad actually might have a shot.

Z. Martin's Top 5

5. Super Bowl XLI
Bears vs. Colts

Rocking a real mustache and homemade Ditka costume, I went to Miami prepared to witness the greatest victory since the '85 Bears were doing the Super Bowl Shuffle. For the first 15 minutes, it appeared the prophecy would prove to be true. Devin Hester returned the opening kick for a 92-yard touchdown and before you knew it, the Bears had a 14-6 lead after the first quarter.
We were well on our way to becoming Super Bowl champs until the forces of nature and a total defensive collapse ruined everything.

Even though the Bears lost, it was still an amazing event to attend and I will never forget watching as Hester screamed down the sidelines and into NFL history.

4. Cubs vs. Sox
May 19, 2007
Derek Lee's Grand Slam

This glorious event foreshadowed the disaster Ozzie Guillen and the White Sox have become. In the eighth inning, Guillen went to his bullpen and brought former Cub reliever David Aardsma to hold down a 6-5 lead. Aardsma quickly gave up five hits, a walk and retired only a single Cubs hitter.

It seemed to me like Ozzie had given up on the game because he only had lefty Boone Logan warming up in the pen despite the plethora of right-handed hitters that could step in for left handed hitter Jacque Jones.

Sure enough, the second Logan entered the ballgame, Jones grabbed some bench and injured Cubs first baseman Derek Lee immediately took his place. Like Kirk Gibson and other baseball legends, Lee walked wounded and battered to the plate with hopes of saving the day.

Logan did what all good relievers do; he fell behind 3-0 to guy that was leading the league with a .390 batting average. With a 3-1 count, Lee smashed a fastball over the right field fence and out of Wrigley for a grand-slam , destroying all hopes of a South Side victory.

I have never in my life heard Wrigley that loud, nor have I ever seen the Cub faithful go that crazy. That day will live forever as one of the most exciting games I have ever seen.

3. Bears vs. 49ers
October 28, 2001

The Bears trailed 31-16 with 7:47 left in the fourth quarter against the San Francisco 49ers that Sunday. Somehow, the impregnable Shane Matthews led the Bears on two scoring drives that both ended with a David Terrel (I know WTF) touchdown catch.

After Terrel's second TD, the Bears were still down two with only 26 seconds on the clock and had yet to kick the extra point. Coach Dick Jauron made a BALLSY move and called on Anthony 'A-Train' Thomas to run straight up the gut for the two-point conversion.Thomas appeared to be just short, but after a review, officials said Thomas crossed the goal-line, tying the score 31-31.

As he used to do so lovingly (prior to getting injured every third play), Mike Brown intercepted a pass off the hands of Terrell Owens and returned it for the game-winning touchdown only 16 seconds into overtime.

2. Final Blackhawks Game at Chicago Stadium
Hawks vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
April 28, 1994

There was nothing comparable to seeing a Hawks game at the old Chicago Stadium.

Known as the "Madhouse on Madison, fans took cheering to another level at the "Madhouse".The ice itself was smaller than regulation size, making contests here even more violent and brutal. Verbal (and sometimes physical) altercations with opposing fans, pounding on the glass and screaming during the National Anthem were the norm.

Even though the Hawks lost a well fought battle 1-0, watching the final game will always be burned into my skull as a remorseful, but special day where old Chicago Stadium was being honored.

I will always remember Jeremy Roenick being the last player on the ice, skating around saying good-bye to the screaming fans. He left the ice by throwing one last souvenir of the stadium into the stands; his stick. JR left the fans with a personal touch that could only be felt at the minuscule "Madhouse".

1. Cubs vs. Giants
One Game Playoff
September 28, 1998

I loved Neifi Perez (until he became a Cub at least). Perez lifted the Cubs into a tie with the Giants for the Wild Card in 1998. With a home-run against Rob Nen in the bottom of the ninth, Perez gave his Colorado Rockies a 9-8 win, sending the Cubs and Giants into a one game playoff.

In this game held at Wrigley Field, the Cubs jumped out to an early 2-0 lead behind the strong pitching of Steve Trachsel, who actually carried a no-no in to the seventh (another WTF).

The most memorable play occurred when Gary Gaetti extended the Cubs lead with a huge two-run homer to left. The fans demanded a curtain call and Gary delivered, taking off his helmet revealing a very large bald spot. His homer almost put the game away until the bullpen got involved.

The pen systematically gave up three runs in the ninth until the winning run was at the plate in the form of the notoriously clutch hitter, Joe Carter. Thankfully, Rod Beck used his FAT magic and got Carter to pop out to Mark Grace at first.

I will always remember the intensity of Wrigley, the methodical taunting of Barry Bonds and the two guys sitting behind me chanting 'Hail Marys' between every inning. It was a game that tops every game I have ever been to and probably will ever see.

M. Olsen's Top Five

5. Bears vs. 49ers
November 13, 2005

On perhaps the windiest day in the history of the Windy City, I got a chance to see Nathan Vasher return a missed field goal 108 yards for touchdown.

It was at the end of the first half and considering how the wind was blowing, I figured Joe Nedney's 52-yard field goal attempt was a joke and I could get a head start on the bathroom line. But as I turned to walk up the steps, the crowd in the South end zone starting going nuts and out of nowhere I see Vasher and a gang of Bears blockers flying down the sideline leading him to the promised land.

4. White Sox vs. Twins
June 3, 1990

That's the actual ticket from a White Sox game in 1990 that really didn't have any special importance. The Sox won 90 games that year, good enough for second place in the division.

But - not to get all misty-eyed on ya - this is the first game I remember my old man taking me to and the first game I actually remember attending. Carlton 'Pudge" Fisk, Lance Johnson, Robin Ventura, Ivan Calderon, Ron Kittle and Ozzie Guillen were in the starting lineup that day. 'Blackjack' McDowell was the starting pitcher and Bobby Thigpen came in for the save.

Those guys were legends to me and I'm proud to say I got a chance to see Kirby Puckett take the field at ol' Comiskey, one of the greatest ballparks the world has ever seen.

(And please, look at how much a ticket was in 1990.....almost what you pay for a beer nowadays)

3. Bears vs. Seahawks
October 1, 2006

The Bears were 3-0 heading into this NFC tilt with the defending NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks in 2006. A win against a team like the 'Hawks would legitimize the Bears hopes of making a playoff run that eventually ended with a loss in the Super Bowl.

Seattle went up 3-0 early in the first quarter, but from then on it was all Bears. They scored 20 unanswered points and dominated in every facet of the game. Hasselbeck was sacked five times, threw two interceptions and eventually was knocked out of the game to be replaced by Seneca Wallace.

It was a good ol' fashioned ass-whoopin and a sign of things to come in '06.

2. Bulls vs. Kings
February 28, 1997

There's not much to be said about the Bulls dynasty that hasn't been said already so I'll keep this one short and sweet. I feel blessed to be able to say I saw Michael Jordan on more than one occasion during his career with the Bulls and will never forget the goose-bumps I got during the introductions. "ANNNNNNNNNDDDDD NOWWWWWW!!!!!!!"

M. Jeff lit it up against the Kings that night like we always expected him to. He finished with 35 points, nine rebounds, six assists and teammate Scottie Pippen did some damage with 29 points of his own.

Watching the Bulls of today makes me miss those times more than ever.

1. Bears vs. Packers
September 29, 2003
1st Game at Remodeled Soldier Field

Let's see.
Sunday night game?
Bears vs. Packers?
First game ever in the newly remodeled Soldier Field?

This will always go down in my mind as the most ridiculous event I have ever been to. The atmosphere inside Soldier Field before kickoff was something I'll never forget and the pomp and circumstance that went along with it made the game that much sweeter.

I was at the game this year when the Vikings' Adrian Peterson shredded the Bears for over 200 yards. I've seen Devin Hester return a kick for a touchdown and witnessed his version of the 'SupaMan' dance. I've seen comebacks and heartbreaks.

But nothing will ever compare to the night I was locked into a historical moment with the franchise that has meant so much to me over the years and the thousands of like minded individuals that surrounded me.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Top Ten Guys We Hate, But Respect

Here at TTCS, we recognize the many great rivalries in Chicago sports. With those rivalries have come some players who we can’t stand. Some of those players we hate because not only they kill us; and they’re jerks. There are others we hate, but have to respect.

10. Sterling Sharpe – The five time Pro-Bowler just wrecked the Bears and the entire NFL before suffering a career-ending neck injury in 1994. Once his career ended, you had to feel for the guy because he really loved to play football. He turned into a decent analyst (and I say decent because he isn’t yelling ridiculous remarks like his brother over at CBS) but he wasn’t able to capture a title before going out.

9. Patrick Ewing – Personally Patrick Ewing annoys the hell out of me. He killed the Bulls, but never really defeated us. When he finally DID get his revenge on the Bulls in 94, Hakeem Olajuwon and the Rockets beat them in the Finals anyways. A career loser, and habitual whiner, Ewing only gets respect in my book for going down in history for taking part in the infamous Gold Club trial in Atlanta. That must have been the sweatiest encounter in history.

8. Barry Sanders – Like Ewing, Barry never won anything, and he is probably the most overrated running back ever, but he killed the Bears. Barry was respectable however for his quiet demeanor, and his willingness to stick it to Wayne Fontes and the Lions ownership for not giving him any talent on the defensive side of the ball. Barry also looks a lot like Cyrus from the Warriors. CAN YOU DIG IT!

7. Cris Carter / Randy Moss – The Viking duo absolutely torched the Bears, but they were so good at doing it, it was hard not to enjoy the show. The years in which Randall Cunningham was at the helm in Moss’ first couple years were especially dominant. Besides, Moss mooned Packer fans and pissed off Joe Buck.

6. John Stockton – Stockton was a warrior during his playing days, but when I did some research on him and his current life, I stumbled upon him having six kids and living next door to his parents. For some reason I want a reality show about this. Does he still wear those short shorts when he cuts his grass?

5. Joe Dumars – Those “Bad Boys” Pistons teams will probably go down in Chicago history as being the guys who tried to kill Jordan. They also stood us up on handshakes from time-to-time, but Joey D was a stone cold killer. Jordan has reportedly called him the best defender he ever played against (a VERY high compliment) and Dumars also has the NBA’s sportsmanship award named after him.

4. Steve Yzerman – Stevie Y was always among the greats, and he killed the Hawks but he wasn’t a complete player until Scotty Bowman took the Red Wings helm in 93. After that, he forced Yzerman to focus on both offense and defense and Yzerman truly became on of the game’s best players. I also respect him for not being a dirty communist like Sergei Federov.

3. Albert Pujols – One of my favorite moments at a sporting event came in a Cubs-Cardinals game a couple years back. It was a Sunday night game, and Pujols came to bat with a rawkus “Pujols Sucks!” chant going in the background during the at-bat. Albert worked the count a bit, found his pitch, and smoked the ball onto Waveland Avenue. I’ll always remember that look Pujols gave as he was rounding the bases; it was just like any other home run to him, and he was above the crowd. Unbelievable moment.

2. Johan Santana – The only reason Johan makes it above champions like Pujols, and Yzerman is because his unbelievable knack for killing the White Sox. I mean the guy was just unbeatable on the Twins. When he was moved to the Mets this summer every Sox fan collectively gave a sigh of relief. My friend Chris summed it up best when he texted me right after the trade saying, “well now we can win 5 more games this year.”

1. Brett Favre – Brett Favre ruined my childhood. That pretty much sums up my feeling for him as a professional football player. That being said, as a football fan, with his propensity to make big plays (good or bad) it was always exciting to watch Brett Favre play. You could tell Favre was miserable in the Bears game at Solider Field this year and how cold he was in that game against the Giants in the playoffs. It doesn’t surprise me he is gone, but it will probably be weird (and sweet for the Bears) when Aaron Rodgers is under center. P.S. (Brett, you still suck)

Honorable Mention:

Sean May
Nikolas Lindstrom
Brett Hull
Mark Price
(Insert Milwaukee Bucks Player here; they’ve had nobody good since the Big O)

Monday, March 3, 2008

Top Ten NFL wide receivers we'd take over Bernard Berrian who now make less money then him

The loss of Bernard Berrian to the Minnesota Vikings will be a damaging blow to an already poor Bears offense. While losing their best offensive player to a division rival is reason to be concerned, the Bears can take solace in the fact that Minnesota certainly overpaid for Berrian’s services. Berrian, a nice player but not a star, now becomes the NFL’s fourth highest paid receiver. Here are ten receivers we’d rather have then Berrian who now make less money then he does. (Numbers taken from 2007 USA Today salary database)

10. Plaxico Burress
New York Giants
A favorite of TTCS’s own Matt Olsen, Burress’ teammates backed up his prediction that they would win the Super Bowl. Just for the record, Olsen doesn’t practice either.

9. TJ Houshmandzadeh
Cincinnati Bengals

8. Calvin Johnson
Detroit Lions
Arguably the NFL’s top all-around athlete, Johnson figures to one of the league’s top receivers as soon as Jon Kitna decides to stop playing football.

7. Larry Fitzgerald
Arizona Cardinals

Being a ball boy for the Minnesota Vikings growing up, Fitzgerald learned from the best in Chris Carter and Randy Moss. Of the millions and millions of horrible things he could have taken away from his time with Moss, Cardinals fans are lucky he chose catching touchdowns.

6. Andre Johnson
Houston Texans
If Johnson could ever just stay healthy, he would be one of the five best receivers in the NFL. So says my fantasy team.

5. Roy Williams
Detroit Lions

What do Roy Williams and Mr. Pink from Reservoir Dogs have in common? Neither believes in tipping.

4. Braylon Edwards
Cleveland Browns
Who knew what a real quarterback could do for a wide receiver? Edwards’ 16 touchdowns made him one of the breakout players of last season.

3. Reggie Wayne
Indianapolis Colts

Wayne is not only the best second option at receiver in the NFL, but he’s probably one of the only members of the 2000 Miami Hurricanes that isn’t currently incarcerated.

2. Steve Smith
Carolina Panthers

It’s a shame the Panthers can’t clone the little fireball and put him at every position. Despite his small stature, I would take Smith over any other pass catcher on this list in a fight.

1. Chad Johnson
Cincinnati Bengals

While the incredibly handsome Rickhouse from Tremendous Upside Potential lobbied for the Bears to trade for the disgruntled receiver about a month ago, it appears the Bengals will be keeping him around. It’s a shame, Ocho Cinco and the Sex Cannon could have been a match made in heaven.

Top ten Fortune-500 corporations Sam Zell would sell Wrigley's naming rights to

With Sam Zell probably selling the rights to Wrigley Field, we at TTCS felt we should have some say as to which corporation should purchase the naming rights. With that said, here's the list.

(Sorry for lacking images, I do not know what could capture viewer's eyes with this post though.)

10. Cardinal Health
Zell, being the baseball expert he is, has no idea what division the Cubs are in, so we can't expect him to know who the team rivals are. But when St. Louis comes to town in late September, who will really have home-field advantage at the new "Cardinal Stadium?"

9. Hilton Hotels
While it would probably get old seeing the Hilton girls running around the stadium like 12-year-olds all the time, this could actually be a really cool idea. The company would probably throw down double the cost as long as they could knock down all the apartments on Sheffield and Waveland to make an awesome hotel, changing the name of the area from "Wrigleyville" to "Hiltonville." (Credit to Fred Church)

8. Blockbuster
The naming rights will be the only blockbusters that Cub's fans will see as long as penny-saving-Sam is in charge. That is unless any particular deal will bring the pay-roll down.

7. John Deere
Sam, a man's man who loves power would love to sell to this company. I can picture the sales pitch now; Zell is talking to a JD associate in one of the sky-boxes at Wrigley while a group of three or four guys with power tools are showing the companies efficiency by cutting down the ivy in eight minutes flat.

6. El Paso
Could this be foretelling? Texas has always been dying for a third baseball franchise, and I have this funny feeling that with Zell's age, a move to the sunny South would be ideal. Plus, the Sox have dominated the cities fan-base anyway, so Chicagoians wouldn't miss the Cubbies in the slightest. Uh-huh.

5. CostCo-Wholesale
I love CostCo, and Zell has to also. (Who doesn't) But for the Northsider's sake, I hope selling the rights to this company is the only wholesaling going on. Unfortunately, the only thing I see happening after this business transaction is a baseball transaction that includes big contracts of Soriano, Zambrano, and Lee for a few prospects and a one-year-free club membership.

4. Conseco
The last time he probably watched a baseball game was in the late 1980's when a duo from Oakland was smashing dinger after dinger. Zell assumes that one of them has since gone down as one of the most influential hitters of all-time, and decided to sell the rights to Conseco, because after all, that was one of the guy's names, right?

3. Toll Brothers
I don't know what this corporation from Pennsylvania is, and neither does Chicago's new Slammin' Sammy, but the name of the corporation alone would be the reason to jack up prices on everything he owns... just the way he likes it.

2. Ebay
The only person holding him back from using Ebay as a tool to sell off all his assets, players included, is Bud Selig, MLB Commish. If there is anything this company knows how to do well, it's to shop victoriously, something it would do if it were in the running.

1. Chicago Tribune
While this would make absolutely no sense from a financial aspect, Zell selfishly purchases the rights to the stadium he already owns, and renames the field for no reason. "The Zell" has a unique ring to it.

While I would be upset if the rights were sold, (even as a Sox fan) can you really blame Zell for wanting to get an extra $100 mil? Think about it, he cares zero about sports, much less baseball, so how is that any different than me owning historical place of gathering like, say, the Grand Ole Opry? I don't really care that much about music, much less country. People around the U.S. would be extremely upset if I sold those rights, but I would probably do it for the cost of a fantasy baseball team, because I simply don't care. Sorry Garth and Dunn.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Top Ten Guys the Bears need to go after

With free agent season being the hot topic in sports of late, what better way to bring about the NFL season than free agents, and with the money the Bears have, McCaskey should be able to throw down on some big names. *List excludes free agents that were on the Bears in the 2007 season.*

10. Mike Doss- Safety

Draft analysts believe that there is no safety worthy of taking in the first round and overall it is a pretty weak free agent area. But with Mike Brown's unreliability and Archuleta's tendency to hit like a sissy, it may be a spot worth looking at.

9. Derrick Ward- Running Back

Ward proved he can play a huge role in an offense. Starting in only five games, he rushed for 608 yards and caught 26 balls for 180 more. More running backs to come later.

8. Dan Morgan- Linebacker

With Briggs likely to be let go because of financial reasons, (I hope not but it's not looking so bright) this savvy vet could fill the void. The former pro- bowler could show signs of his old self. The flaw here is he has played only four games in two years.

7. Todd Steussie- Offensive Tackle

This 14-year vet could possibly retire, but if they could sign him to a 1-year deal, he could bridge the gap between for the year and show the new O-lineman the Bears will their first round pick on (God I hope) how to keep a guy from getting to the QB.

6. Bryant Johnson- Wide Receiver

This former 1st round pick might be overlooked in the market. He simply never got a chance to prove anything sitting behind guys like Larry "giving d-backs fitz" Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. Give him a shot, this could potentially be the biggest surprise player in the entire f/a group.

5. Roosevelt Colvin- Outside Linebacker

Bring him back. The former Bear made a name for himself alongside Brian Urlacher in the early 2000's and proved in New England that he didn't need an all-pro of Urlacher's status to be a formidable force himself. The only problem may be his uncanny ability to get hurt for long periods of time.

4. Shane Olivea- Offensive Guard

The OG has been blocking for three years for the best tailback in the game, and with a poor offensive line free agent group, the Bears should pickup this guy, who may become a steal.

3. Marion Barber- Running Back

Barber has become a rich mans version of Cedric Benson. While he probably out of reach for the Bears because the front office will never cave in to the fact that they may have made a mistake with Benson. But as a co-worker of mine said, "Barber runs like it is the last carry of his career."

2. Javon Walker- Wide Receiver

The former Packer and Bronco is a solid overall receiver. Assuming that Randy Moss is too pricey, Walker becomes the number one wide receiver free agent. The only problem with Walker is he is a Rosenhaus man and could be difficult to deal with financially.

1. Michael Turner- Running Back

The North Chicago native was possibly the best backup running back in the game and could arguably start on the majority of teams. His explosiveness and Benson's thunder could pose a dynamic threat.