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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Top Ten Most Useless Statistics

The title of this post literally will make a guy like Bill James want to hunt down the TTCS crew and go all Zinedine Zidane on us. But the truth is, the world has gone a little stat crazy and when you stop and think about it most of them don't really even matter. So, here we go with our Top Ten Most Useless Stats list. Our sources tell us that 60% of the time, you'll agree with us every time.

10. MLB - Interleague Play Record

Whether you disagree with the idea of interleague play or not, a team's record in such contests is irrelevant. Usually you'll find talking heads nationwide trying to discern something from games between National and American League squads. But the truth is, interleague games mean just as much as a normal, non divisional games during the regular season. It just gives Steve Phillips another reason to explain to you that because he was the Isiah Thomas of baseball as a GM, he can predict the outcome of the World Series based on games that really don't hold any added importance.

9. NBA - Blocks

I was a little skeptical of putting this on the list, however, my guy Danny Sheridan convinced me how misleading this stat can truly be.

"Blocks are overrated because people think guys who block a lot of shots are good defenders, which isn't always the case. Oftentimes, they are caught out of position, these guys also tend to give up a lot of easy baskets in the land. For example, no way Marcus Camby should ever make any First-Team All Defensive squad because he blocks three shots a game while his team gives up 110 points a game. Also, Amare Stoudamire finished fourth in blocks and Shaq was fifth. But can you really consider those guys good defenders?"

Couldn't have said it better myself.

8. MLB - Holds

"Earned when a relief pitcher enters a game in a save situation, records at least one out, and leaves the game without having given up the lead."

So basically they've created a stat that illustrates when a guy doesn't mess up? I truly believe stats like these are dreamed up by sports agents that are trying to find ways to get their guys paid. I feel like Scott Boras hired a room full of MIT graduates to sit around a conference room and come up with stats that will make guys like Eric Gagne look good.

7. NFL - Half Tackles/Half Sacks

While these stats are basically the foundation of Chicago crybaby Brian Urlacher's career, the truth is they are worthless indicators of a player's performance. I always think of the preseason games when five minutes after a play ends, fourth string rookies come flying in kamikaze style hoping to pick up credit for the tackle. And it only applies for tackles and sacks which is completely unacceptable if you're going to count it as a valid stat. Might as well start counting half interceptions for lineman that tip balls at the line of scrimmage. How sweet would it be if Ted Washington led the league in picks? Pretty sweet indeed.

6. MLB - Fielding Percentage

Actually, Bill James would back us up on this one. Fielding percentage comes up short in defining the defensive prowess of MLB players in a lot of ways, but I'm not going to bore you with a list of them. For that I recommend reading Moneyball. What I will say is that it doesn't account for a player's overall range at their position which is a big part of determining their worth.

5. MLB - Bullpen ERA

When a reliever gives up a run, it blows up their ERA faster than David Wells puts on weight after a night of Hooters wings and guzzling Miller High Life. It's misleading when they come into the game and you see their season stats and you get a confidence boost when you see the guy's got a 4.79 ERA. But when he mows down your lineup like a knife through butter it makes you realize the stat is about as useful as John Daly's fitness regimen has been in keeping him in tip top shape.

4. NFL - Extra Point Percentage

Look, if you've got a kicker on your team averaging anything less than 99.9% in this category I suggest you jump off a cliff. Seriously, it's the biggest gimme in professional sports and to have a stat that tracks a kicker's success in converting it is about as useful as having a coffee table around when Venus or Serena Williams' ass is already available.

3. MLB - Wins

"Few statistics judge the ability of a pitcher less than wins. A pitcher can get pounded and still be the beneficiary of good run support, or vice versa. Three years ago, Barry Zito won 23 games while this season he very well may challenge Mike Maroth for single season ineptitude."
------Ricky O'Donnell

Side Note: Do you think the Giants would rather be dealing with the steroids issue with Barry Lamar Bonds or Barry Zito's $126 million worth of garbage pitching?

2. Time of Possession

There is a plethora of sports out there that include this statistic for our viewing pleasure in between quarters, periods, halves and at the conclusion of contests. Yet there are far too many times when a team dominates in time of possession only to lose in a blowout because the other team just happened to score quick and often. You really can't gleam anything from studying the time of possession in any given game, just like you can't really expect to hear Woody Paige come up with a competent argument on Around the Horn.

1. NFL - Quarterback Rating

Completions+Yards+Revolutions of the Earth/the square root of Vince Young's Wunderlic score-Interceptions+blah blah blah

Truthfully, I don't understand this stat and I really don't ever plan on ever figuring out on how to calculate it. Trying to come up with a way to quantify a quarterback's performance based upon the numbers he puts up during the course of a season is the definition of absurdity. Wins and losses are what defines a quarterback, not some arbitrary number only the eggheads at NASA truly understand. Are you more likely to remember that Eli Manning won the Super Bowl last year or that he was 25th in the NFL last year in QB Rating?

I thought so.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Top Ten Chicago Baseball Surprises

Since you can't really judge baseball performances until after Memorial Day...

10. Scott Linebrink

The White Sox’s biggest problem in 2007 was their terrible bullpen. Fear not: Kenny Williams’ new additions have made the unit one of the major’s best this season. Linebrink has been nearly unhittable, sporting an ERA under 2.00.

9. Paul Konerko

Paulie will live in White Sox folklore forever. But injuries and old age have made the former slugger look like a shell of his old self in 2008. If the Sox are going to win the AL Central, Konerko has to step up.

8. Ryan Theriot

The new David Eckstein? More like the new Derrick Jeter. Theriot has been a force in at the top of the Cubs order in 2008.

7. Giovanni Soto

Most people expect Soto to be good. But the best offensive catcher in the NL? Soto may be the best prospect the Cubbies have developed since…Mark Grace?

6. Nick Swisher

We may have to reinvestigate that whole “patience never goes into a slump” stance. And isn’t this guy a home run hitter?

5. Rich Hill

After a stellar 2006, Hill was supposed to be the Cubs second best starter this season. Not so fast. After a rough April, Hill was optioned to AAA Iowa.

4. Gavin Floyd

Gavin Floyd owned one label: bust. That’s what happens when a player is chosen fourth overall in the draft and doesn’t contribute until he’s 25. But Floyd is rolling now, and you just know that no-hitter is around the corner.

3. Jose Contreras

Coming off a 19-loss season, Contreras was supposed to be the key the White Sox season. Here’s the thing: no one thought he would be this good. As a result, the White Sox are in first place.

2. Ryan Dempster

Few players gave Cubs fans more worries than Dempster did during his tenure as the team’s closer. But since moving to the starting rotation, Dempster has six wins and one of the NL’s best ERAs.

1. Carlos Quentin

While most intelligent and good looking Sox fans expected Quentin to establish himself as a starter and a quality left fielder, few thought he would lead the AL in homers after two months. Quentin was a highly regarded prospected, so his emergence shouldn’t be all that surprising, but no one thought he would be this good.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Top Ten Foreign Born Chicago Athletes (Current)

Chicago is full of foreign born studs and these are the top ten...

10. Israel Idonije


Idonije was born in Lagos, Nigeria and has been killing people ever since. Need I say more?

9. Cubs Rookies


Kosuke Fukudome and Geovany Soto have been playing lights out this year. Fuk has brought his Japanese game over to America and has filled the five-hole void nicely. Even though he doesn’t hit a ton of HR’s, he gets on-base and seems to get the clutch hit every game. Soto, a Puerto Rican, has separated himself as the best offensive catcher in the MLB. As a rookie he is just putting up stupid numbers and is playing a solid catcher as well.

8. Aramis Ramirez


This Dominican third basemen picks up the necessary base runners everyday. He is an RBI machine and has played a solid third base the last couple years.

7. Carlos Marmol


This Dominican is 100% lights out. When Marmol steps into the game, it is pretty much over. He has the ability to K anybody in the league. Oh and he has a 1.69 ERA and 46 K’s in 32 innings.

6. Patrick Sharp


Oh Canada, thanks for our future. Unfortunately for the Hawks once Rose comes to Chitown hockey will become obsolete again.

5. Alfonso Sorianohttp://media.collegepublisher.com/media/paper736/stills/v351z49o.jpg

I had no idea where to put him on this list because of his streakiness, but this Dominican can literally become the scariest offensive force in the big leagues so being in the middle seems to fit his two sided offensive attack.

4. Jonathan Toewshttp://www.fanatique.ca/images/_profils/image/90_jonathantoews3.jpg

As a rookie he led all rookies in goals…the sky is the limit with this Canadian and next year will be a big year for the Toews and the Hawks as they look to move from a young team to a consistent playoff team.

3. Luol Deng

A member of the Dinka tribe of Sudan, he was raised in Great Britain and learned basketball from Manute Bol in Egypt…interesting, right? Anyway, until this year the Bulls have put their franchise hopes on his back and it will be interesting to see if he can turn into something special.

2. Javier Vazquez

I was shocked to see the lack of players from other countries on the Sox. Sure there are players like Cabrera, but he has not played up to his capabilities so Vazquez seemed like the only viable candidate. His 3.52 ERA and 5-3 record prove the he is the man. To add to that he has strucken out 67 and only walked 15 in 71.2 innings.

1. Carlos Zambrano

7-1 with a 2.47 ERA. Pretty good, right? Now that Brandon Webb has lost his second game in a row, Zambrano might have taken the lead in the NL Cy Young voting. The Venezuelan has dropped his K numbers but he is attacking the strike zone and limiting his walks, leading to a low ERA and high win percentage. And don't forget "Big Z" also drops bombs...he's just good.

No Shame:
Check out my two part interview with Pat Listach, the Manager of the Iowa Cubs, on triple-A life and Micah Hoffpauir at Vine Line's Cubs Club Blog.

Top Ten reasons why the Bulls should draft Michael Beasley

TTCS has openly stated our feelings towards the Bulls’ pick throughout much of the week. Just for those who are unaware, we want Rose… real bad. However, Beasley is no slouch either. I am going to try to play devil’s advocate for a minute and give the blogosphere ten reasons why Chicago needs Beasley.

(Photo Courtesy of http://feetinthepaint.files.wordpress.com/2008/03/beasleyx.jpg)

10. A day-one impact player
Nobody in the draft has a chance to contend for the ‘09 MVP award but Beasley. He obliterated everybody in a very difficult Big 12 last year, including a dominating 25-point performance in a win over National Champ Kansas. He also dropped 39 on the Jayhawks in a loss in late January. If looking for day-one impact, I would even take OJ Mayo over Rose. Sun-Times legend Mike O’Brien made of the truest statements about the Bulls: “The Bulls will never be good because they have the worst- ‘best player’ in the league.” B-Easy would make Al Jefferson and Rudy Gay look like they should go back to high school And Kevin Martin back to Mexico.

9. He won the Naismith trophy
The rest of the K-State team was not bad, but just about every win was because of Mike’s efforts last year. Rose had just as good a chance of winning this award with a better supporting cast. Bill Simmons said last year’s award winner Kevin Durant was maybe the best NBA prospect of all-time, and a year went by and Beasley obliterates his numbers. I wonder what Simmons thinks about him?

8. A better shooter than Rose
Ricky O, always says you cannot argue with stats, a valid point, especially in this topic. He shot 53% from the field last year, 38% from three, and 77% from the line. All of these are better than Rose’s shooting numbers. (48% from the field, 34% from three, 71% from charity stripe) The numbers don’t lie.

7. A guy who can finally guard a premiere big guy
Ben Wallace was brought in to stop Shaq, which he did sometimes, but had a rough time with other more athletic guys like KG, Gasol (etc.) Now he’s gone (thank God) and the Bulls are left with a lanky Noah and a slow Gooden to do the trick, which is not terrible, but Beas can be a true stopper and can guard both swingmen and power forwards.

6. Hinrich is a year removed from an all-defensive team
While the captain had a terrible season this year, everybody is allowed to slump once in a while. Are we just going to throw away Kirk’s hard work the past half decade because of a sub-par season? We quickly forgot his lockdown abilities, and if Rose is taken, they will surely never be seen again in Chicago and his talent will be wasted.

5. Once in a lifetime doesn’t mean what it used to
Derrick Rose may be once-in-a-lifetime point guard, and while point guards are the most valuable person on the court, there were multiple “once-in-a-lifetime point guards” drafted in the league in the past seven years right now. (Paul, D. Williams, Parker, Devin Harris, who will be better than Jason Kidd) While Rose may be better than all of them, to say that Chicago needs to draft him because who knows when the next great PG is going to come along is a load of horse plop. I will put any amount of money that the next great guard comes out within three years.

4. He is a great rebounder
The Bulls were terrible grabbing boards next year. Drew Gooden was good for nine boards a game but he only played in 18 games. Deng’s 6.7 rpg a game is not bad for a contributor, but not with the second highest total on the team. Enter Beasley, who grabbed a nation’s best 12 rebounds a game. Expect no less than 10 a game next year.

3. The Bulls will stop drafting power forwards
First there was Tyrus. Then came Joakim. And now, the grand solution to the problem; Mr. Michael Beasley. While he will lack in the first-name department, that is where it ends. He’s not lanky, he is not goofy, he is just better than both of them. This will be the final saga in the search for the next great PF.

2. Finally, a go-to scorer
Little Ben was an ok guy to give the ball to with the game on the line, but the only time he would be touching the ball would be to in-bound it to Mike. Like I stated earlier, he may be the body of a four, but the guy can shoot too, the ultimate package with the ten seconds left in a game. He will be a better version of Shawn Marion, with a more competitive attitude.

1. He is not from Chicago.
A Derrick Rose homecoming would be awesome, do not get me wrong, but the last time this happened, it was an absolute disaster. (See Curry, Eddie) Rose loves the fact that he could play in front of his friends and family all the time, and while that may be great for him on the court, his friends are teenagers, which could lead to trouble, or at the very least, a huge distraction. Another problem that we have seen with young talents recently in sports coming from less prosperous neighborhoods is that people all of a sudden feel as if the talent owes them something. Michael Vick is in jail because of “hood loyalty” and there is strong belief that it cost Sean Taylor his life. By no means am I insinuating that this will be the outcome of Rose’s life, but the fact that he will be closer to these potential problems could be enough to steer the Bulls away from their hometown star.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Top Ten Worst Movie Managers

There are times when movies capture the spirit of sports so well you feel as if the team you're watching is more than a fictional group of characters. But then there are times when the people on the big screen seem as if they belong anywhere else besides roaming the sidelines.

So with that in mind, here are the Top Ten Worst Movie Managers of All-Time.

10. Coach Michele MacKay - Mighty Ducks 2

MacKay served as the interim coach for Gordon Bombay and embarrassed herself like few others could. Her futile attempt at screaming the order to "change it up" had fellow female hockey coaches cringing in their seats.

9. Irving "Irv" Blitzer - Cool Runnings

Come on Irv, a bobsled team from Jamaica? And don't give me that, "but we made it to the Olympics", garbage. If I remember correctly, your boys crashed and burned down the stretch.
Thanks coach!

8. Frankie Dunn - Million Dollar Baby

"Seeing Clint Eastwood cry is the worst moment in cinema history."
- Scott Phillips

7. John Kreese - The Karate Kid

Dude, you got your ass handed to you by a four foot Japanese guy and he didn't even have to lay a finger on you. Your street cred from the "sweep the leg" order has thus been revoked.

6. Danny O'Shea - Little Giants

This guy rode the Icebox's curtails all the way to the bank. Kind of like the way Doc Rivers is coaching the Celtics right now as a matter a fact.

5. Chester Lee - Ladybugs

"All I know, is I got alotta balls."
That's the kind of insight you get from a guy like Lou Pinella after he's downed a couple of fruity drinks before a spring training game.

4. George Knox - Angels in the Outfield

Knox was taking managerial advice from two orphans whose hallucinations happened to be Angels helping out the players on the field.
I have to believe Isiah Thomas watched this movie and thought he could coach the Knicks the same way.

3. Gus Cantrell - Major League III: Back to the Minors

This guy started his career with the Buzz and hopes to move his way up so that he's eventually coaching Air Bud's kids sometime in the near future.

2. Sal Martinella - Rookie of the Year

In the ninth inning of the division clinching game against the Mets, Sal didn't hesitate to leave in a 12-year-old kid throwing pitches any beer-guzzling softball hack could smash. He overused Rowengartner during the regular season and is a huge reason why the kid's career was cut so short despite so much promise.

Somewhere Dusty Baker is smiling.

1. Eddie - Eddie

Um, not sure if I really even need to say anything here. But, I will.

Despite the initial bonus of having a coach that looks like the Preadator, Eddie failed miserably in the fact that she had a Knicks team full of overpaid, washed up, injury-prone prima donnas quit on her.

Hmmm......sound familiar?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Top Ten Reasons Why the Bulls Should Draft Derrick Rose

Rose or Beasley? Beasley or Rose? Come on, like you don't know where we're going with this one...

10. He has no intentions of purchasing a motorcycle

At least we hope not. That didn’t work out too good for Jay Williams.

9. Beasley may have some character issues

While Beasley was nothing but a good solider at K-State, as a high school star, there were a lot of concerns about his maturity.

8. Kirk Hinrich is terrible

So the Bulls can now…

7. He makes other players on the team expendable

Trade him. Later Kirk! What was your favorite moment of the Hinrich Era? The missed jump shots or the times he’d get schooled by scrubs like Cuttino Mobley? The Bulls can now fill other holes by trading Hinrich and Ben Gordon.

6. One scout called Rose a “6’3 version of LeBron”

He’s just that athletic. No one can match Rose’s combination of size and speed.

5. Rose will be a lockdown defender, too

Chris Paul is great and all, but he can’t really guard anyone. Rose is big and strong enough to handle any NBA point guard.

4. Point guards are ruling the NBA

Paul and Deron Williams have led teams that don’t look all that talented on paper to a ton of wins. And Rose, well….

3. He’s a mix of Chris Paul and Deron Williams

The best of both worlds!

2. The city will love him

Rose may be the best Chicago-born athlete ever. So many kids already look up to him. If the Bulls take Rose, he’ll be a hero here.

1. Great point guards are more difficult to acquire than great scorers

Look, players like Derrick Rose don’t come around any year. It’s a lot easier to find a guy to score 24 points per game than it is to get a stud floor general.


More on Rose over at TUP.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Top Ten 2008 MLB's most interesting salaries/payrolls

The average MLB player salary has jumped over 13% in the last two years and it is interesting to see where all that money is going and not going. These are the Top Ten most interesting salaries and payrolls in MLB.

10. Carlos Beltran, NYM - $18,622,809
Never has a player made so much money off of a month and a half of solid baseball than Beltran. His potential is outrageous, but the Puerto Rican has not lived up to his monstrous contract. Beltran can either look like the best player in the league or simply over matched. Not a good attribute to have when your making over 18 mil a year.

9. Jim Thome, CHW - $15,666,666
This is only an interesting contract because how poorly Thome is playing this year. Without a doubt he has lived up to his money most years but the aging slugger has lost a bit of bat speed and is not at the same value as before. GM’s should try to front end contracts so they aren’t left with 15-20 mil dollar aging liabilities like Thome appears to have become.

8. Jason Giambi, NYY - $23,428,571
2nd on the MLB money list, the one time star has been in the middle of the steroid controversy and has seen his skill deteriorate exponentially since his vision started going bad a couple years ago. The money he makes to his production is utterly embarrassing.

7. Prince Fielder, MIL - $670,000
This is kind of sad how the Brewers are treating Fielder. The man hit 50 HR last year with 119 RBI. I know you’re the Brewers but either lock his ass up or trade him for some young MLB ready talent. The problem is that not many teams are looking for a 1B right now…good luck with that Milwaukee.

6. Carlos Quentin, CHW – 400,000
Quentin is third in the MLB in RBI with 37 and tied for sixth in the MLB with 11 HR. Not bad for an outfielder who wasn’t even supposed to make the 25 man roster. Kenny do your team a favor and pay the man as soon as he proves this isn’t a fluke.

5. Mike Hampton, ATL - $15,975,184
Is 14th on the money list and has once again not thrown a pitch all year. In his career the lefty has sucked out over 122 million dollars from various teams. Hampton hasn’t thrown a ball in a major league game since 2005, when he only pitched in 12 games.

4. Barry Zito, San Francisco - $14,500,000
The one time Cy Young Award winner is pitching like a good high school pitcher…there’s nothing really to say here that hasn’t already. Zito has just been bad.

3. Tampa Bay Rays - $43,820,598
With the 29th overall payroll in MLB the Rays have dropped the Devil and are only one game behind the 133 mil dollar payroll of the Red Sox. Every win is a new record for the Rays and they have invested wisely in their top pitcher in Scott Kazmir and best prospect in Evan Longoria. It looks likes having a top three draft pick every year does pay off…who new?

2. Florida Marlins - $21,836,500
With the 30th ranked payroll, the Marlins have some how been able to take over first place in the NL East. Talent does beat ill-placed money and the Marlins have proven that year after year. When they decide to add some expensive vets to the mix in the next couple years, look for the Marlin to once again be living in post season glory.

1. NY Yankees - $209,081,579
With the highest salary in the league, the Yankees are struggling mightily. They are the proof that overpriced, under motivated old FA’s are not the way to build a franchise. The Yanks are looking to get younger and will be losing major salaries in Giambi and Mussina, but this year is looking like a disaster.

Blatant self promotion: Check out another part of my interview with Oneri Fleita, Cubs VP of Player Personnel at the Vine Line's Cubs Club Blog. Topic of the day is Rich Hill and Kevin Hart.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Top Ten reasons the Cubs could falter

Initially I was hesitant to write a list of this nature, seeing as it is quite a touchy subject for TTCS, as well as the city of Chicago. But in a season where many could see the Cubbies return to the playoffs, myself included, I thought writing a list as to why the Cubs will make the playoffs would be lame. So below are ten factors that could come into play down the stretch that will make or break the Northsider’s near future.

10. Sweet Lou won’t handle losing streak well.
We all know that Piniella does not take losing well, and while they already went through a stretch where they lost seven of ten, it was early, and they never were out more than two-and-a-half games. A bad stretch in July or August could light a fuse under Lou that could ignite the team or more likely, deflate a team of veterans.

9. Soriano’s inconsistency
Soriano put on a hitting display all last week hitting seven home runs and raising his batting average 100 points, so it is easy to say how great he is now. But if last season showed anything, it is that he is an inconsistent hitter. Of his 33 homers last year, 25 came in the months of June and September, where he hit a combined .328. Despite a .302 May and August being x-ed out with an injury, his power numbers were inconsistent, and was not a factor what-so-ever.

8. Will Zambrano keep cool?
Carlos has been nothing less than spectacular so far this year, going 6-1 with a 2.45 ERA, but could the breaking of his bat in Saturday’s game be a sign of things to come? With an exception of his “lack of electrolytes” start on opening day, this was his poorest performance of the year,(four IP, five ER, three BB, one broken bat over his knee)? If he is getting that upset about that line, which is not bad but not great, what is going to happen the day he gets absolutely shelled? (Everybody has that outing.) Can he keep his composure, or will it be an early end of a great season for Big Z?

7. Can the rookies play a full season?
We all know that Fukudome is not really a rookie, having played in Japan for numerous years before crossing the ocean. While he does have tons of experience in that sense, the Japanese league is only 135 games, a full month’s less of games than MLB. On the same note, rookie Giovanni may not be used to the 162-game schedule, and these are two guys who are big parts of their recent success. What happens in September if the big catcher and the big import are no-shows? Henry Blanco and Matt Murton are not playoff-caliber players.

6. Will the hole in centerfield get too big?
Reed Johnson has done a great job in the filler-role for the Cubs this season and proved his way into anybodies club house with that sensational grab on the warning track, but he is going to be a hitting liability as the season progresses. (.258/.340/.328 through Sunday) Jim Edmonds would have been a great pick up two years ago, but his stock has plummeted quicker than Paul Wilson after a Kyle Farnsworth body slam, and can't see him filling the void.

5. The injury bug
We all know this group of guys is not the most healthy group of ballplayers. Soriano has continuous hamstring and groin problems, D-Lee has had some DL stints in recent years, and Aramis cannot go a week without some sort of problem. These three make up just a part of one of the most potent offenses, but if some of them are out of the lineup for nagging injuries, it takes away from the lineups’ explosiveness.

4. Will the back end of the rotation fall apart?
As said earlier, Z has been brilliant this season and Ryan Dempster has been surprisingly spectacular, but other than that, the rotation has struggled. Lilly is 4-4 and Hill has been in and out of the bullpen. Marquis has been sub-par as well. I don’t see this situation getting any better, not to mention that Dempster has not had a whole lot of recent experience as a starter, so he may get worn out before they need him to. This could be the key downfall for the team, and a deadline deal may be necessary.

3. Can they withhold the pressure of first place?
It is not often that they are in first place this early in the year and while last year they won the division, they were not in the first until August 1. This year they have lived up to the World Series hype they were given to start the year, but will they fold and forgo their first place spot in the division as St. Louis or Houston keeps winning, or when a young Brewers team start winning? While it may not seem too important to have that #1 spot in May, as the season goes on the pressure will intensify more and more with every game. Will it be too much?

2. The bullpen
Kerry Wood is absolute garbage. I do not care what people say about him, he should not be the closer and after blowing three saves by May 1, I do not know what it is going to take for a switch to be made. Personally Carlos Marmol is the second best pitcher the Cubs have. If they do not want to put him in the closer role, he should be thrown in as many relief opportunities as they can give him. He has enough endurance to throw in at least the 7th and 8th innings. Jon Lieber is bad, Hart is even worse, so there does not seem to be much talent there as of now. This is the biggest concern on the team and something needs to get fixed.

1. It has been 100 years since their last World Series win
The Cubs have not won since 1908, so why do people think this year is any different. The billy goat, Leon Durham and Steve Bartman will always remain just as big factors to the team as Sandburg, Dawson and Sosa. While a playoff appearance is not unlikely, a repeat three-game sweep in the playoffs is just as inevitable if the majority of these other things actually factor in.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Top Ten reasons to keep watching the Sox

After a surprisingly fast start the White Sox have turned, more or less, into the team we expected them to be, with a hint of even worse thrown in. After going 14-10 in April, they have hit the skids in May. But that is no reason to give up on them yet; and here’s ten reasons why. Sorry for no images but the Sox are playing so poorly right now they don't deserve them.

10. Ozzie Guillen’s future.
A bad season could be the end of the Ozzie saga on the Southside, but a good season could bring that praise Sox fans love giving him. At the very least, I would be willing to bet what Guillen has in his “fines’ savings account” that another tirade happens, one that will make or break his career in Chicago. Personally, Ozzie has a lifetime contract regardless of any finish. Oh, if I were GM.

9. Everybody has losing streaks.
Nobody ever goes a year looking strong throughout the entire season. Going back to last year’s two World Series teams, Boston had some hard times in early June and mid-July and Colorado had to win 15 of 16 just to get into the playoffs which means they clearly had hard times. Bumps will be hit, and the good teams play through it.

8. It is May.
I am no baseball expert but even I know that so much is up for grabs after the quarter-mark. According to the May 13, 2007 standings, only three of the eight teams that made the playoffs in October of 2007 would have been there if the season ended a year ago today. And of those three, one of them (Cleveland) was not even leading their division, but was in the wildcard. No teams in the National League who held playoff positions on 5/13/07 would have made the playoffs. But then again, the NL is a joke. Just to put this into better perspective, The Rays, Twins and Marlins all currently lead their division. Enough said.

7. Will Josh Fields get his shot?
It is a pity that Joe Crede is one of three guys on the team who are hitting at the moment, because Fields would almost surely be up in the Bigs. Regardless of what happens to this season, Josh Fields will be apart of it in a pretty big way, whether it means he takes over for Crede, (unlikely) moves to the outfield (more likely, but see below) or a trade happens that ships either Fields, if they are in serious contention or Joe, if out of contention. Whatever way you look at it, Fields should be playing major league ball by July.

6. The turnstile known as the outfield.
The most exciting thing going on with the Sox right now is the outfield. Nick Swisher’s slumping has opened the door for Brian Anderson to step up. And for some reason, he is actually holding his own. Carlos Quinten is currently the teams best hitter, but can’t play defense to save his life. Alexei Ramirez is still just raw talent who has not been getting the time expected because of the B-And surprise and Jermaine Dye has been alright but is showing clear signs of aging. The fact that they are already five-deep, not to mention Pablo Ozuna making his guest appearances would probably keep Ozzie from testing AAA stud Fields in the outfield. Regardless, three of those five guys will need to step up in order to make a serious run.

5. They are only three years removed from a World Series.
Three years ago gave the Sox fans a swagger that lasted about eight minutes, which is a shame because the key parts of that team are still intact. If age did not play a role what-so-ever, it would have been hard to count the Sox out at all. Of the eight field positions, five big contributors then are still there, with the potential to contribute the way they used to (Pierzynski, Konerko, Uribe, Crede, Dye.) The guys that have filled the other spots are better (for the most part) than the ’05 bunch (Cabrera over Tad, Swisher over Rowand). The pitching staff is questionable but has the potential to be just as good, and the bench is superior to the ’05 bench.

4. They have not even played the Cubs yet.
Typically, the official giving-up point happens in Chicago baseball at least mid-June, when either the Cubs or Sox are destroyed by the cross-town team. This year’s match-up could be exactly what the Sox need to boost them from pretender to serious contender of the most difficult division in baseball.

3. Gavin Floyd is bound to throw a no-hitter.
While I hate when people make judgments on an individual’s future based on one single performance, it is hard to ignore Floyd’s two no-no attempts this month. While I think these stats are pretty stupid and should not be factored into a pitchers’ line Baseball Prospectus’ Joe Sheenan said in the recent edition of Sports Illustrated that Floyd is one of the luckiest pitchers in baseball this season because of his low strikeouts to his high line-drive outs ratio. While it may not happen this season, I have faith that young Gavin can do it sometime in his career. He has made GM Kenny Williams look like a genius for acquiring him for Freddie Garcia. I just hope he can keep it going.

2. Because you are a fan.
It is your duty as a fan to support a team through thick and thin, and anybody who jumped on the bandwagon in April has to put in an additional three-month stint of watching. It is just the rules. Try and tell me you would rather be doing something like hanging out with friends, going out to bars or taking a walk on a beautiful summer day when you could be sitting inside your house watching one of the 162 games, grinding it out with the team. I see right through you.

1. They are two games out.
This title kind of speaks for itself. Let’s just hope that if they remain this close in July, Reinsdorf does not decide to dump all the stars in exchange for a plethora of minor leaguers. But he’s never done that before. Right?

Top Ten ESPN Personalities

10. John Clayton

Has a face for blogging.

9. Barry Melrose

Everything I know about hockey, I've learned from Barry Melrose.

8. Buster Olney

Has a sweet name; knows a lot about baseball.

7. Mel Kiper Jr.

We never understood why so many people hate him. Kiper knows his beat like few in the national media.

6. Jay Bilas

In between blowhards Dickie V. and Dig Phillips, Bilas, you know, actually talks about college basketball.

5. Bill Simmons

He may not be as great as he once was, but Simmons really is the founding father of sports blogs.

4. Scott Van Pelt

Probably SportsCenter's best anchor.

3. Erin Andrews

The first lady of the sports blogosphere.

2. Ron Jaworski

When he says he watches every snap, does anyone really doubt him?

1. Peter Gammons

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Top Ten Reasons to Love and Hate John Paxson

Self-promotion: Check out my interview with Oneri Fleita, Cubs VP of Player Development at the Vine Line's Cubs Club Blog.

These are the top ten reasons to love and hate John Paxson.

Top Five Reasons to Love John Paxson

5. He played for Notre Dame

Whatever...WE ARE ND!

4. The hiring Scott Skiles

For a few years Skiles seemed to be able to get the most out of a bunch of good players. They played hard for Skiles and played balls out on both sides of the ball, which is hard to find in the NBA these days.


3. He broke up the mess Jerry Krause made

Krause went from genius to complete moron. He traded an all-star team for a couple of high school centers. Nice job Jerry. However, Pax slowly and methodically traded, drafted and signed a team that was without any of Krause’s legacy and turned the Bulls into winners.


2. The way he tried to rebuild the Bulls

So it didn’t workout in the end, but Pax had a plan and his original philosophy of building a rock solid defense-first team was the right idea and hiring Scott Skiles was the right choice for that philosophy. It looked like it was working until Skiles lost control.


1. The shot he drilled in the 1993 NBA Finals to beat the Suns

Can you say clutch. After Jordan forced a double, he kicked it out to Pax who hit the biggest shot of his career, topping off the bulls first three-peat.


Top Five Reasons to Hate John Paxson

5. His middle name is MacBeth

I am assuming his parents tried to name him after the Shakespeare play, unfortunately they didn’t get it quite right. Shakespeare spelled it “Macbeth.” Honestly, it’s just a lame way to try and to make your kid sound smart.


4. He was born in Ohio

After going to school in Ohio, I completely hate everything that has anything to do with that state. We get it you like the Buckeyes. I’m sorry your “professional” teams are a joke and all of your “cities” don’t even add up to half of Chicago. Just please stop taking it out on the rest of us.


3. He signed Ben Wallace

A defensive force and leader is what Pax saw in this specialist. What he should have seen was an aging one-dimensional liability. You can’t trust anyone with a massive fro…I knew that in the third grade.


2. He didn’t sign Mike D’Antoni

Now I can’t completely blame Pax for this because he doesn’t control the money, but part of his job is to convince the brass to pony up the cash to get a proven winner and franchise changing coach.


1. He didn’t trade for KOBE BRYANT!
LONG SIGH. How can you not trade for the best player in the league for a couple of solid role players? It makes me feel O.K. about myself for loosing interest in the Bulls after Jordan. Pax, I know for a fact Bryant is your favorite player in the NBA. Why didn’t you just pull the trigger and get the deal done? Instead of looking for a new coach, you would be basking in round two of the playoffs now. This sucks.


Monday, May 12, 2008

Top Ten Places You Might Find Pacman Jones in the State of Texas

One of TTCS’s favorite athletes is undoubtedly Pacman Jones. Any man with the audacity to get in trouble at multiple clubs and strip clubs, get suspended by his employer for doing so and then going to a strip club the night before a meeting with your “boss” about said incidents and telling him about it is a man in my book.

When it was announced Pacman was going to Dallas I was as giddy as Freddy on Thursday night before the unveiling of his list. When I found out HBO is filming their Hard Knocks series on the Cowboys I became even more excited. So in honor of Hard Knocks and Mr. Jones’ new city, here are the top ten places you might find Pacman in the state of Texas. Also a big shout out to my boy Tex and his crew who helped give me recommendations during my research.

10. University of Texas Co-ed dorms

We all know Pacman loves strip clubs, so is it safe to assume he also enjoys adult videos? I say yes, and with the craze in college girls, and Pacman’s propensity to, “make it rain” then the Co-ed dorms at UT Austin are no longer safe.

9. Perfect 10

This strip club in San Antonio is a favorite of my main man Tex. I’ll let Tex sum it up. “Wild Zebra has the hottest girls, but I enjoy Perfect 10 cause they have great lunch deals on good steaks so its fun to go there in between classes and see some entertainment and get some good food.”

8. Dallas Arms Collectors Gun Show

The next (of many) big gun shows in Texas is June 14-15 at Market Hall in Dallas. No doubt Pacman and Tank Johnson are headed there. If I live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area or the surrounding three counties I am locking my doors and not going anywhere near any clubs with the name “Ice” in it.

7. The Angry Dog

This upscale bar in downtown Dallas was described to me as a place where, “lots of people fight at.” Sounds like Pacman would feel right at home.

6. Platinum Club

They have $2.50 beers until 8 PM and friendly staff! Pacman will have plenty of money to spend with such cheap beer prices.

5. Jaguars Gold Club

Jaguars has five clubs in Texas including one in Dallas and Fort Worth. They also have one in everyone’s favorite football town Odessa and they are soon building their very own club in the great city of Chicago.

4. Silver City

When you go to Silver City’s website it advertises a full liquor bar, topless girls, and the latest UFC fight which will be broadcast live there. That sounds like an ideal place to find Pacman to me.

3. Spearmint Rhino

This place is really expensive not including the VIP room, but Pacman doesn’t have to worry about that because he’ll get it poppin’ with a couple bottles of Patron. I also enjoy that this club has a Myspace page in case you want to be even creepier than most strip club fanatics and become friends with Diamond and Chastity and the club’s DJ.

2. Men’s Club

This place has been a favorite of pro athletes like Frank Thomas because they have a fantastic VIP area with reasonable prices. This was the place recommended to be me by my Texas friends, but only one place can top the Men’s Club.

1. The Lodge

The Lodge is an upscale strip club that has been endorsed by Howard Stern, Dennis Rodman, and Tommy Lee. If I am building a Mount Rushmore of strip club experts then those three begin the monument and Pacman is the Abraham Lincoln rounding out the field.

There you have it folks and if you think Freddy the Mercenary isn’t checking out these clubs websites after he finishes reading this, then you don’t know the Mercenary well enough.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Top Ten Chicago Mugshots

Ah, the mugshot. Perhaps nothing gives you a better insight into the minds of those who have crossed paths with the law at one point or another. Over the years, Chicago has witnessed quite a few of its local athletes engaging in acts that have earned them a night or two in the local slammer. So when Chicago Bears running back Cedric Benson's booking photo was splashed all over the city, the boys at TTCS thought it perfect timing for our Top Ten Chicago Mugshots list to debut.

10. Charles Oakley - Chicago Bulls

Despite a glaring resemblance to Baltimore Ravens tackle Jonathan Ogden, Big Oak looks like he has something up his sleeve here. Maybe it's because he knows Michael Jordan is on his way with a limo full of women to bail him out and head for Atlantic City.

9. Jim McMahon - Chicago Bears

The Punky QB looks a little like he's enjoying life a little too much since his playing days ended. While he may have led the Bears to a Super Bowl, he still played for the Packers, leaving him somewhere between ESPN's Rachel Nichols and Skip Bayless in my book of people I detest.

8. Albert Belle - Chicago White Sox

He deserved to be arrested after stealing all that money the Sox paid during his stay with the South Siders.

7. Tony LaRussa - White Sox Manager

Pssst....Hey Tony.
Opening your eyes as wide as humanly possible doesn't make you look any more sober. In fact, they probably thought you were on crack.

6. Dennis Rodman - Chicago Bulls

Rodman may be the only man on this planet who could possibly look normal in a mugshot.

5. Kendra Davis - Wife of Chicago Bulls former player Antonio Davis

Miss Naomi Campbell-lite here and Allen Iverson's mom probably are at the peak of female insanity. Put the two of them together and you have more spare parts upstairs than an erector set.

4. Ron Artest - Chicago Bulls

Any day now I see this guy walking onto a court with 'Redrum' shaved into the back of his head.

3. Tank Johnson - Chicago Bears

"Officer, I swear on everything there's no weed in this house. Do I look like someone that gets high?"

2. Alonzo Spellman - Chicago Bears

I've never seen someone so excited to go to jail. But don't let his charming good looks fool you. Big Zo and his multiple personalities could wipe the floor with your squad in a pickup basketball game.

1. Cedric Benson - Chicago Bears

Yup, I think that's exactly how I would look after boozing on a boat, being pepper sprayed, dragged to the ground and wrestled into the back of a squad car.

This man needs to be added to our list of guys we want to party with.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Top Ten Guys Who Could Have Placed The Infamous Blowup Doll in the Sox Locker Room

10. Juan Uribe

You know, just to take some attention off that monster .239 OPB.

9. Adam Archuleta

I hear he's got some extra time on his hands now.

8. Josh Fields

When Adam Russell gets called to majors instead of you, you have to find a way to keep yourself sane somehow.

7. Alexei Ramirez

Sure Alexi, “visa problems”.

6. Kyle Orton

Got drunk, confused.

5. Cedric Benson

He can’t seem to do anything right at this point.

4. Ozzie Guillen

Only a crazy person would do something so foolish and Ozzie, yeah, he’s kinda nutty.

3. Jim Thome


2. Brian Anderson

We never thought these were the type of ‘honeys’ BA was always talking about, but in a world where Marvin Harrison can shoot a guy, anything is possible.

1. Nick Swisher

Come on, when this first came out, everyone thought the same thing: Swiiiiiisherrrrr!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Top Ten Chicago Mascots

My editor for the Cubs wrote a little piece on the Mascots in the Cubs minor league system in our Cubs blog and it spurred my interest in Chicago sports teams mascots. Thus, this is my tribute to the greatest mascots in Chicago...enjoy!

10. Grabowski
( stations.espn.go.com/.../ story?id=mascots)

Kind of a random mascot, Grabowski does work for Iron Mike and should be well versed in ass kicking.

9. Blue Demon

He is a Blue Demon...it is weird looking but he does look like a bad ass blue Jamaican hard ass.

8. Southpaw

(homerderby.com/ archives/1003)

Not quite sure why the White Sox allowed this thing to roam their field but that is the south side for you.

7. Lou Wolf


The first Wolf on the list...but this wolf ain't got skates...no balls!

6. Sparky the Firedog

(home.att.net/ ~hattrick-dals/)

Kind of a lame mascot, but it does fit the lameness of the soccer team.

5. The Sky Guy


He looks a lot like a Beer Drinking Simpson's character. Hey whatever puts seats in the empty building.

4. Tommy Hawk
( stations.espn.go.com/.../ story?id=mascots)

He has a sick look and probably could whoop your ass. Tommy's the man.

3. Skates
(www.dailyherald.com/.../ images/skates.JPG)

He can skate in a freagin' wolf suit...that is sick!

2. Staley Da Bear


He has "Da" as a middle name. That's cool.

1. Benny the Bull( bullsbrasil.wordpress.com)

Must be number one after DUI, drug charges and breaking a man's arm. Nobody can beat that.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Top Ten Michael Jordan Games


Trying to pick just 10 of Michael Jordan’s best games takes some time. Okay a lot of time. No two lists would be the same. Well, here goes and don’t worry, no games from his days with the Wizards are included.

10. 1993 NBA Finals vs. Phoenix Suns Game 4

Fans in the old Chicago Stadium had flashbacks to the 1987 version of Jordan on this night. Determined to bounce back from a triple overtime loss the previous game, Jordan put on a show, leaving Kevin Johnson, Dan Majerle and anyone else who tried to stop him in his dust. Giving the Bulls back control of the series, Jordan went for 56 points, trailing only Elgin Baylor for highest point total in a NBA Finals game. The Bulls would need every one of them, including Jordan’s three point play with 15 seconds left and his team nursing just a one-point lead. Best bud Charles Barkley could just look on in awe. Five days later, Jordan had his third straight championship.

9. 1995 Regular Season at New York Knicks

With only four games under his belt after coming back from retirement, Jordan still put on his customary Madison Square Garden show. Even the usually vicious New York fans, Spike Lee included, could only stand up and applaud. Forget the 55 points for a second. What most people remember is the game-winning assist to none other than Bill Wennington. Drawing three defenders in the lane, Jordan found a wide open Wennington for an easy dunk with only seconds to play in a tie ballgame. That basket perhaps even started the Wennington craze (McDonalds would later serve a Beef Wennington sandwich). Going from a scuffling minor league baseball player back to the national pastime in a few short weeks, Jordan proved he still knew how to take over a game. The fact he was guarded by nemesis John Starks for much of the night only made it that much sweeter.

8. 1988 NBA All-Star Game at Chicago

Flashback to the same game three years ago, Jordan’s rookie year. Supposedly, a few older players, mainly Isiah Thomas, Larry Bird, and Julius Erving, formed a plan to snub Jordan on the offensive end. Not on this night. In a season that saw Jordan average 35 points and win his first of many more MVP’s, the home-town fans were treated to quite a show by their hero. Down the stretch, his East teammates had apparently learned their lesson, as they were content to watch his airness go for 16 fourth quarter points on his way to 40 for the night, two off the all-time record set by Wilt Chamberlain. Starting alongside Thomas, Bird, Dominique Wilkins and Moses Malone, Jordan went 17 of 23 from the floor, also adding nine rebounds and five assists. Not even his triple double in the 1998 All-Star game could match this performance.

7. 1990 Regular Season at Cleveland Cavaliers

This just shows how incredible Jordan was. His highest scoring game comes in only 7th on this list. All throughout his career, Jordan had a habit of terrorizing the Cavs, largely thanks to two men; Lenny Wilkins and Craig Ehlo. Wilkins would sit stubbornly on the bench and refuse to double team Jordan, while Ehlo had about the speed and quickness of your average high schooler. No wonder the Bulls knocked Cleveland out of the playoffs four different times in the late 80s/early 90s. The stats from this game will knock your socks off. Seemingly playing one-on-five, Jordan put in 69 points, 18 rebounds, and 7 assists. Afterwards Jordan, never one to rank his performances, said it had to be his best game ever. In his first year as head coach, Phil Jackson got just a taste of what was to come from his superstar. One year after “The Shot” (see below) Jordan managed to tear the hearts of Cleveland fans yet again.

6. 1992 NBA Finals vs. Portland Trail Blazers Game 1

Will anyone ever forget the shrug? How about the look of disbelief on Jordan’s face as he ran past Magic Johnson, who was broadcasting the game for NBC. Before this series started, people began chirping that maybe Clyde Drexler was closing the gap on Michael as the game’s most exciting player. Apparently, Michael heard the ridiculous talk, and as was his custom, played with a little something extra in his step. Just when sportswriters and commentators thought they had seen it all, MJ hit six three pointers in one 16 minute first half stretch, on his way to 35 points for the half. The famous expression came after his final trey. Running down the court with a horrified Danny Ainge lagging behind, Jordan couldn’t even believe his newfound three-point shooting. Never known as a three-point shooter, Jordan showed the only to defend him was a hope and a prayer. Oh yeah, the Bulls won by 33, setting the tone for a series they controlled throughout.

5. 1982 NCAA Championship Game vs. Georgetown

This is where the legend began. On a team with All-Americans James Worthy and Sam Perkins, Jordan was something of an afterthought as a freshman. Not one of the 60,000 people in New Orleans that night thought Jordan would take the last shot with Carolina trailing by one in the final minute. So why in the huddle did Dean Smith set up a play for Jordan to shoot from the corner? Perhaps he knew something the rest of the world would be finding out in the not-too distant future. With Patrick Ewing clogging the middle, Carolina swung it around the perimeter for a while, until Jordan finally released a 15-foot jumper from the left corner. You could argue the shot propelled his career in hitting pressure shots in big games. After a one point-win in possibly the best title game ever, Jordan went from getting cut by his varsity team three years ago to sitting on the cover of that week’s Sports Illustrated.

4. 1989 First Round at Cleveland Game 5

Remember that great commercial a while back when Jordan said “twenty six times I’ve been trusted to hit the game-winning shot and failed?” Unfortunately for Cleveland, this was not one of those times. How Jordan got free for a 15 footer off a sidelines inbounds play with only three seconds left remains a mystery. Perhaps Craig Ehlo and Lenny Wilkins thought Brad Sellers or Horace Grant would take the last shot. Make-or-break is an understatement. The teams traded leads nine times in the final three minutes. After Ehlo scored to put the Cavs up one, everyone knew where the ball was going. Michael’s hang time on his double pumped free throw line jumper became legendary, soon to be known as “The Shot.” His 44 points pushed the Bulls to the next round, where they eventually reached the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in the Jordan era. Taunted by Cavs fans for much of the night after guaranteeing his Bulls would win the series in 4, Jordan, as usual, had the last laugh. “Choke” just wasn’t in his vocabulary.

3. 1998 NBA Finals at Utah Game 6

Years later, Bryon Russell still contended Jordan got away with a huge push off. Of course, no one paid attention. It was also the perfect pose. Right after making the go-ahead shot that beautifully swished through the net, Jordan held his follow through for an extra few seconds, likely knowing this was his last game in a Bulls uniform. From the moment it left Jordan’s hands, everyone in the building knew it was good. Look at the circumstances if Jordan misses that shot. An inspired Jazz team had already won Game 5 in Chicago to get the series back to the rowdy Delta Center. If there had been a 7th game in Utah, Karl Malone and company probably win, especially considering Scottie Pippen was nowhere near 100% after injuring his back. People will never forget Jordan freezing and admiring his work, but think about what led up to that. John Stockton nailed a clutch three to put Utah ahead 86-83 with 40 seconds remaining. Jordan responded with the best 40 second stretch in NBA history. First, a driving lay-in that took about five seconds, meaning the Bulls didn’t have to foul. On the other end, just as Malone was about to make his move in the post, Jordan came in from behind and swiped the ball away, setting the stage for the fitting way Jordan ended his Bulls career. On a night where Pippen barely played, Jordan scored 45 of his team’s 87 points, practically willing the Bulls to a sixth championship.

2. 1986 First Round at Boston Celtics Game 2

Larry Bird claimed afterwards, “That was God disguised as Michael Jordan.” To score 63 points at the Garden against one of the all-time great NBA squads was unheard of. Whether it was jumpers over Bird, drives to the hole through Kevin McHale and Robert Parish, you name it, Jordan did it. A stunned Boston crowd watched Jordan, coming off a severe foot injury that had sidelined him for 64 games that season, pour in 63 points on national television. Opposing players and coaches soon realized Jordan was the future of the league. If only he didn’t have to play with guys like Dave Corzine, Orlando Woolridge, and Kyle Macy. Anyway, the overmatched Bulls lost in double overtime, but that was irrelevant.

1. 1997 NBA Finals at Utah Jazz Game 5

Oh those sneaky room service cooks. Bad pizza from the night before had Jordan throwing up all day. Lying in bed until the team bus departed, it appeared Jordan was a no-go for this pivotal game. Utah was proving to be a formidable opponent, having won the last two games, and playing at home, had a ton of confidence. Barely able to slide on the No. 23 jersey, Jordan did in fact play, despite looking like he should have been hooked up to an IV. Forget about Willis Reed. Anyone who remembers this game recalls the image of Jordan falling into Scottie Pippen’s arms near the end. He somehow summoned the energy to score 38 big points, including 16 in the second quarter after Utah had sprinted out to a huge early lead. The clinching shot was a Jordan three-pointer that gave the Bulls a three-point cushion with 20 seconds left. Most men would have been in a hospital. Jordan is not most men.

-Danny Sheridan

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Top Ten Bears Rookies as Determined By NCAA Football 08

10. In the game: Michigan State TE #80
Real name: Kellen Davis
Pick: Round 5, Pick 158
Rating: 87

9. In the game: Tulane RB #25
Real name:Matt Forte
Pick: Round 2, Pick 44
Rating: 87

8. In the game: Oregon State ROLB #42
Real name: Joey LaRocque
Pick: Round 7, Pick 243
Rating: 89

7. In the game: LSU SS #16
Real name: Craig Steltz
Pick: Round 4, Pick 120
Rating: 91

6. In the game: Ohio State RT #74
Real name: Kirk Barton
Pick: Round 7, Pick 247
Rating: 92

5. In the game: Arkansas WR #85
Real name: Marcus Monk
Pick: Round 7, Pick 248
Rating: 92

4. In the game: Vanderbilt LT #74
Real name: Chris Williams
Pick: Round 1, Pick 14
Rating: 93

3. In the game: Nebraska CB #14
Real name: Zach Bowman
Pick: Round 5, Pick 142
Rating: 93

2. In the game: Arkansas DT # 55
Real name: Marcus Harrison
Pick: Round 3, Pick 90
Rating: 94

1. In the game: Vanderbilt WR #10
Real name: Earl Bennett
Pick: Round 3, Pick 70
Rating: 95