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Friday, November 28, 2008

Top Ten Sports Stories That Need to Go Away

Well I'm sure all of you turned on Sportscenter or some other like-minded sports show and came across the same two headlines I did.

Allen Iverson Misses Practice
Stephon Marbury, Knicks may have agreement

After reading about this same crap millions of times before as well as some other "newsworthy events" I have compiled ten of these stories that won't die and why they need to go away.

10. Donovan McNabb, backup quarterback

Look, McNabb is really bad half the time and really good the other half and we have known this for 4 years. I don't need ESPNNEWS updates every time this crap changes in the most minuscule of ways.

9. Pacman Jones re-re-instatement

This story is old enough but now we have ESPN "bloggers" like Lil Wayne weighing in and saying Pacman shouldn't be allowed? Really Wayne, you have time to worry about this crap? Go back to making guest appearances on every song and trying to reunite the Hot Boyz.

8. The BCS

The BCS makes no real difference until the bowl games are decided because nobody knows how to calculate complicated computer numbers on their own and without ESPN analysts.

7. CC Sabathia and his (impending) contract

Everyone's favorite period-less ace was offered a record deal by the Yankees. Big deal, TTCS is (un)officially upping the ante and offering Sabathia more years and more money. Take that Hank!

6. Charlie Weis and his contract

Did you know Charlie Weis has a contract that nobody officially knows about and yet everyone keeps reporting on it like they do (cough) rival paper (cough)? Since that is the case TTCS is reporting that Weis has such a huge buyout because he reached a chicken wing eating incentive in his contract two weeks into his tenure which would force Notre Dame to tack on another $3 million on a potential buyout. You heard it here first.

5. Chad Ocho Cinco

So much time is wasted on this over-the-hill piece of garbage it's ridiculous. You think anyone cares about a washed up receiver on an awful team? No.

4. Brian Urlacher and baby diaper gate

Look it is not a story what Brian Urlacher let's his daughters do to his younger son, it's a story when Urlacher disappoints us with another four tackle Sunday.

3. Derrick Rose is really good

SSSSHHHHHH! Let's try to keep this as quiet as possible before other teams catch on and start quadruple teaming him.

2. LeBron James and 2010

The main page on SI and ESPN was dedicated to what LeBron James might be doing two years from now. This is the most absurd sports story of all-time and really needs to go away until at least next year.

1. Baby Mangino

I'm just kidding, I can't stay mad at you Baby Mangino.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Top ten Chicago sports disappointments of 2008

While the year isn't over quite yet, I think it's safe to say that 2008 was an exciting one in Chicago sports. The Bulls got Derrick Rose. A White Sox fan was elected President. The Bears suck, but are still competitive. The Cubs led the NL in wins and went to the playoffs in back-to-back years for the first time since Teddy Roosevelt was in the White House. The Blackhawks actually exist. While we didn't get any championships, 2008 was anything but boring.

Still, there are have been a few athletes and coaches who let us down. Sounds like a top ten list...

10. Lovie Smith

I disagree with The Good Captain - I'm not ready to drop the guillotine on Lovie Smith quite yet. But even the most fervent Smith supporter - if such a creature even exists - has to admit he has made some questionable coaching moves this year. For that stupid squib kick against Atlanta alone, Lovie deserves a spot on this list.

9. Tyrus Thomas

With Scott Skiles and Jim Boylan banished to Milwaukee, Bulls fans everywhere - particularly here and here - were ready for the Tyrus takeover. Though we're just 15 games into the season, Tyrus hasn't shown any signs that it's actually going to happen. With his minutes steadily declining and his production consistently inconsistent, maybe it's time to call Thomas John Paxson's first full fledged draft bust. Still, I don't want to completely write him off quite yet.

8. Tommie Harris

Harris is lucky he picked up two sacks against the woeful Rams last week, it saved him from being about six spots higher on this list. I'm sure he's relieved.

7. Derrek '6-4-3' Lee

Lee's inclusion on this list may be a tad unfair. Unlike most of the others, he didn't completely fall on his face in 2008. He still OPS'd a respectable .823, and played stellar D at first base. But Lee's power numbers dropped dramatically and he hit into a double play more often than TTCS' Scott Phillips buys a new pair of Air Force Ones. Lee is no slouch, but is he really good enough to be the three hitter on one of the best team's in baseball?

6. Nick Swisher

How bad was Nick Swisher in 2008? He went from being traded for one organizations three best prospects, to getting traded for spare change. Everyone loves the walks, but, come on man, how about a hit every once in a while?

5. Paul Konerko

Remember the guy who hit 40 homers and drove in 100 runs two years in a row? He was the same dude who hit that epic World Series grand salami just a few years ago. Well that player is gone now, and in his place is a new powerless and more injury prone version of Konerko. Anytime a player seems to be following the Richie Sexton career path, you know it's time switch captains. (Oddly, we'll probably be doing the same thing to Matt in a few years, when his production level starts to tail off. As long as Dubs doesn't grab the reigns, I'll be happy.)

4. Luol Deng

Like Thomas, Deng's season is still too young to completely write him off, but after the Bulls threw him $70 million bones this offseason, we expected a better start. What's with that shooting percentage? Two years ago Deng shot 51.7 percent from the field. This year he's shooting 38 percent.

3. Charlie Weis

It's understood that Weis is a top notch recruiter, landing the Irish atop Tom Lemming's offseason lists annually. But losing to Syracuse? Yikes. After reading Teddy Greenstein a few weeks ago in the Trib, I'm convinced it couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

2. Kosuke Fukudome

How many Japanese headbands and borderline racist t-shirts do you think we'll see in the Wrigley bleachers next year after K-Fuk stunk up the joint in the second of 2008? Of all the guys on this list, Fukudome is the one guy I'm fairly positive will never turn it around.

1. Devin Hester

Blame it on the blocking or on the fact that the Bears accidentally filled up his mental capacity trying to teach him how to play receiver. Whatever the reason, Hester has been hot garbage all season for the Bears, and has showed no signs of turning it around. Though, to be fair, we aren't sure he should quit football and go back to school and to fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming a molecular biologist just yet.
Honorable mention: Freddy Church.

/just kidding, Head of Fred rules, go read it.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Top Ten Chicago sports goodbyes – 2008

This past season has been a glorious year of firings and teams deciding to go in “other directions.” In 2008, Chicago has seen an everyman, a fiery coach, a sex icon and a complete ass all leave, lose or get fired from their respected jobs. Let us honor our fallen brethren and solute the top ten Chicago sports goodbyes in this great year of two thousand and eight. But first a serious note...

10. Kevin Foster/ Geremi Gonzalez


When I was about 10 I had a pitching instructor named Martin. Martin would always make fun of me for having a name with two first names – Zach and Martin. I disagreed, making sure he knew he was the weirdo with two last names. Martin also was a friend of Kevin Foster. He showed me a little trick that Foster taught him and I use it to this day to increase the break and spin of a breaking ball. He taught me to place the ball in-between my thumb and my middle finger, then snap. It took some practice, but it worked.

Foster always seemed to be a nice guy, posting decent numbers in five years with the Cubs. The Evanston, IL native died of renal cell carcinoma after a six-month battle with the disease. He was only 39.

Gonzalez had a different ending to his rather short life. The 33-year-old died of a lightning strike on his boat in Venezuela. The strike hit a large chain he was wearing around his neck. Gonzalez pitched two years with the Cubs, even finishing ninth in the 1997 Rookie-of-the-Year voting.

9. Muhsin Muhammad

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“Moose” was a very average player in Chicago. The Bears signed him to a large contract, especially for an aging wide receiver, and made him the man. He did ok, but was better known for dropping big passes in key situations. To add to that fire, Moose decided to open his jaws and spew some hate in the Bears direction this season prior to playing Chicago on Sept. 14:

“(Chicago) is where receivers go to die.”

As true as this may be (not sure considering how much Berrian made this offseason), Moose just needed to keep his mouth shut. The fans didn’t really hate Moose, we just thought he was old and needed to go away. I mean old people drop stuff, right? I’m looking at you grandma. Now his time in Chicago will be tarnished forever.

8. Ben Wallace


When I first heard this might happen I was an intern at 670 The Score. The program engineer on the show I worked for, Cy, was so hyped by this potential signing that it got me genuinely excited about Wallace too. Wallace was going to be a team leader, a reliable defender and rebounder and give the Bulls that extra fro-ness that brings championships to an up-and-coming franchise. Basically, he was supposed to piss wins. I thought, nay, knew Wallace was the missing ingredient in a championship pie (or at least a second round playoff birth pie). Unfortunately, the opposite happened. Wallace turned out to be a whiny distraction in the locker room, a black hole on offense and seemed to be extremely mediocre on defense. However, in the end it appears that he wasn’t all that bad considering we now have Larry “Bricks” Hughes in his stead. (If anyone dares to mention his shot last night I will NOT be happy).

7. Nick Swisher


I enjoyed Swisher’s short stay in Chicago. But then again I am a Cubs fan. Swish did things that made the Sox look kind of lame. With his guidance, the Sox had pink facial hair, a blowup doll scandal and made Paul Konerko’s batting average seem decent. I will always hold Swish in a special Money Ball-place in my heart, right next to the part that hates Woody Paige and Bill Plaschke (not the men, but their written words). Farewell brave prince of OBP, I know I will miss you.

6. Bernard Berrian


I don’t really have anything to say about Berrian. He left for more money than the Bears wanted to pay him (and rightfully so). The only part of this equation that seems to be getting screwed are the Vikings. But then again, Berrian is playing pretty well, considering his QB, so, again, I’ve got nothing.

5. Brendan Ayanbadejo


Can one man, blocking, on special teams really make that big of a difference? It kind of seems that way. Ayanbadejo was a special teams king, making the Pro Bowl last year and absolutely destroying returners on kickoffs. Without Ayanbadejo, Hester has lost his groove, even loosing his kickoff return duties this past week. I am not sure if the two correlate, but it can’t help, right?

4. Rex Grossman

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Unlike the rest of the departed on the list, Grossman is still with his team, he just lost his job. I want to, but I can’t get upset with Grossman. He’s like your lovable, pudgy-faced younger brother who always tries his best, but just cannot keep up with you and your friends… because he is retarded. That is Rex Grossman in a misshapen nutshell.

3. Scott Skiles


If you want a short, angry, Napoleonic, balding, in-your-face-type head coach, Skiles is definitely your man (especially the balding part). I liked Skiles’ message early on, but it became clear that as the Bulls aged, they would no longer tolerate his my-way-or-the-highway approach to coaching. So, like the Tim Floyd’s before him, he got tossed aside, like a roach out of Joakim Noah’s car window.

2. Kerry Wood


This is pretty sad. Sox fans have kind of been jerks about this too, but Wood has not only represented the North-side, but all of Chicago for ten years. In fact, he was the only player on either Chicago baseball team that was on either roster for all real Cubs/Sox games since 1998. Wood is an “everyman” that basically played for a blank check this past year. He wanted so bad to come back to the Cubs, that he even tried to get the Cubs to sign him for one more year. Unfortunately, the Cubs could not afford him and have moved on without him. I promise to pour one out every time I have an Old Style next season in Wood’s honor.

1. Jay Mariotti


This may be the greatest departure in Chicago literature ever. Not just sports “journalism,” but all writing-styles, in all fields, ever, in Chicago. That’s right, ever, in Chicago. I thought Skip Bayless would hold this honorary award forever, but I am proven wrong, once again. Mariotti’s forced contrarianism troubled many athletes, coaches, readers and fellow sports journalists alike. This was further aggravated by Mariotti’s refusal to enter locker rooms (out of fear), often insinuating things that only writers privy to locker room banter would fully comprehend.

His antics led to some memorable and, quite frankly (with SAS) funny moments. The first came when he came running from the Bulls locker room screaming, “keep them away from me,” another when he asked for personal security guards at a Cubs game to keep him safe from fellow writers, another when he misquoted Rex Grossman, bashing him relentlessly based on said quote, yet another was when he claimed AJ was a clubhouse cancer, without ever stepping foot in it and finally, his constant and bizarre battle with Ozzie.

In a very real way, Mariotti was one of the first American bloggers – a true pioneer. But not the good kind of pioneer we all learned about in grade school, but the bad kind of pioneer – the kind of pioneer that slaughtered Native Americans – that we learned about in high school, ruining Thanksgiving and our childhoods forever.

Honorable Mention – Mike North (but he’s back), Denis Savard (but he has a fake position)

If I have forgotten somebody worth mentioning, please let me know in the comment section.

Top Ten Potential Cubs Pickups

With Ryan Dempster signed for the next four years, there are not a whole lot more questions that need to be asked regarding the current lineup. Unlike most teams, the Cubs are in great shape. The majority problem might be the fact that of stars are putting another season on their odometer. There are a few gaps that could be mended however and according to MLB Trade Rumors, they are planning on increasing their payroll another $10-20 million. So below are ten guys to fill the few holes the Cubs have.

10. Brad Wilkerson
The Cubs are in the need for an outfielder that could potentially lead off. While looking at Wilkerson's batting average over the past few seasons I would not recommend Lou put him there, but he does have a very good on-base percentage. He can play all three outfield positions and is a switch hitter.

9. Mark Mulder
Mulder has had anything but success since 2005. Injuries have taken away this two-time allstar's most promising years age-wise. But if the Cubs do find a way to get rid of Marquis, something they are trying desperately to do, this could be a cheap solution with a lot of potential upside.

8. Dennys Reyes
Are the Cubs really counting on Neal Cotts to be their late lefty reliever? The 31-year-old journeyman could be had for probably about $1 million. He posted a 2.33 ERA last season in 75 appearances for Minnesota.

7. Rocco Baldelli
Rocco might have revitalized his career last season hitting .263 in the last 30 games and hitting a key home run in the post season for the Rays. This might be a questionable acquisition, but he could be a solid outfielder that could platoon with Fukudome.

6. Joe Beimel
While the the right-handed relievers might one of the better trios in baseball (Marmol, Gregg, Samardzija). As stated earlier, they need a lefty middle reliever. Beimel had an era of 2.02 in 49 innings last season for the Dodgers. While he will probably be a better reliever than Reyes, it will probably cost a couple million more.

5. Jake Peavy
Yes, Jake Peavy might be one of the top five pitchers in baseball. While these trade rumors might sound great, the price it would cost does not seem worth it. They already have an ace in Zambrano, two 17-game winners in Dempster and Lilly, and Rich Harden, who was 5-1 with an era of 1.77 in less than half a season. My point is they do not need him. In fact if there was any team in baseball that needed Peavy the least, the Cubs would probably be my top pick. This excludes other multiple factors. Payroll would soar, and the Cubs would have to give up a lot including Samardzija and probably prized minor-leaguer Josh Vitters, the #3 pick in the 2007 draft. I can go on about this for pages as to why they shouldn't do it but the fact is there is an interest here and the Cubs are on Peavy's shortlist.

4. Jon Garland
With all I just said about Peavy, Jon Garland might even be more than they need out of a number five. Once again, in order for either of these two to come to the North Side, Marquis needs to be moved. Garland could be a steal though. He didn't have the greatest of seasons last year, but at the age of 29, is still in his prime and could unsurprisingly win 15 games next year. A possible $8 million price tag should scare the Cubs, but probably not.

3. Mark Teahan
This is a relatively new deal that has been brought to the public, but Mark Teahan could be the ideal pickup for the Cubbies. He slumped last season after hitting .285 in 2007. But the Cubs are looking for a lefty leadoff man who can play right field. Ding! Ding! Ding! Teahan was originally a corner infielder and the oft-injured combo of Lee and Aramis could have a few more days off with Teahan in the lineup. In order to aquire him it looks like they will have to give up something along the lines of Sean Marshall and either Ronny Cedeno or Felix Pie.

2. Adam Dunn
Dunn hit 40 homers for the sixth straight season in 2008. While his batting average is never high, his slugging percentage is one of the bests in baseball. The go-big-or-go-home outfielder might look lost in the outfield at times, but a heart of the order that looks like Soriano, Lee, Dunn and Ramirez is surely one no pitcher would want to face. Another good thing about him is that he is not being as talked about as he should be so if they move quickly on him they might be able to do so at a reasonable price.

1. Bobby Abreu
They have already dubbed Fukudome a failure (a little prematurely if you ask me, especially with the yen they dished out for him). Regardless, what they wanted out of him was what they are going to get out of the 34-year-old free agent; a great defensive right fielder with great plate discipline and drives in runs. Despite being on the downside of his career, he hit .296/.371/.471 with 100 RBI, 100 runs, and 20 homers. The cost might be high, and the bidding war might raise it even more, but it it would surely be worth it to fill a big hole.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Top Ten reasons why the BCS works (yes, works)

By: Danny Sheridan
I know, this is supposed to be a site devoted primarily to Chicago sports, but come on, look around: The Bears have 8-8 written all over them, the Bulls will be lucky to win 40 games, the Hawks are still a year or two away, and there’s nothing to get excited about in the local college ranks (sorry Pat Fitzgerald). So, I gave this post a shot, since I make up about the .01% of the population that is in favor of the BCS. Here are 10 reasons why the BCS works, for the most part.
10. Ratings More people are watching college football now than ever. “Saturday Night Football” on ABC is 33 percent ahead of last year’s ratings. Division I football also set an attendance record last year with a per-game average of almost 47,000 people. And the previous record was set just one year earlier in 2006. Apparently, even the millions of people who complain about not having a playoff system are still watching the games on television or going to them in person.

9. Past history

Go look at the list of national champions since the system was implemented in 1998. Try and pick out one team from that group that doesn’t belong. You can’t. Now look at the 11 teams that played for the championship and lost. How many didn’t really belong? I’ll grant you Nebraska making it over Oregon in 2001, and Oklahoma instead of Auburn in 2004, but that’s it.

8. Debates are fun For six months, arguments pop up everywhere in college football. Should Alabama really be ranked number one over Texas Tech? If Oklahoma beats Texas Tech, do they deserve to jump Texas in the standings, even though the Longhorns beat the Sooners head-to-head? Are Florida and USC maybe the nation’s two best teams at this point? All these are questions getting tossed around, and no one really knows the answer to any of them. My guess is as good as yours.

7. Other bowls would lose significance
Are there too many bowl games? Yeah, probably. We could do without the PapaJohns.com Bowl, Meineke Car Care Bowl, and Armed Forces Bowl. But if we did go to an eight-team playoff, what would happen to premier bowl games like the Rose, Sugar, Orange, and Fiesta? They would be choosing from a bunch of leftovers. You think the Rose Bowl would be happy about missing out on possibly Penn State and USC, and having to settle for a Michigan State/Oregon State matchup? The revenue those four major bowl games generates right now would take a huge hit if there were a playoff.

6. Teddy Greenstein is in favor of the BCS
Hands down, Greenstein is the best college football writer around, at least in my humble opinion. Here’s a quote from a column he wrote a while back on why the BCS system is better than a playoff; “The BCS isn't perfect, but it delivers what no other sport can—a compelling and often kooky drama that stirs the senses each week.”

5. Every game matters
If you took away the BCS and had an eight-team playoff, this week’s Oklahoma/Texas Tech game would be totally meaningless. No matter who won, both teams would likely still finish in the top eight of the BCS at the end of the year. Same goes for the SEC Championship between Florida and Alabama in two weeks. Instead, these will serve as elimination games, because the two winners will likely play for the national championship.

4. The college basketball regular season stinks
There’s a reason people don’t start getting excited about college basketball until right before tournament time. A team can lose five or six games in the regular season and still get a number one-seed in the tournament. In college football, the regular season has actual meaning.

3. No perfect system
ESPN’s Pat Forde, one of the better college football writers around, proposed a couple weeks ago that we take the six major conference winners and two at-large schools to form an eight-team playoff. In that scenario, current conference leaders Maryland and Cincinnati would join Alabama, Texas Tech, Texas, Penn State, Florida, and USC in the eight-team playoff. Oklahoma and undefeated Utah would end up getting left out. So Cincinnati, No. 19 in the BCS, and Maryland, No. 25, would end up making it, while No. 5 Oklahoma and No. 7 Utah wouldn’t.

2. Screw the “little guys” I’m so sick of hearing about how it was so unfair to a team like Boise State two years ago when they finished as the nation’s lone undefeated team, yet only ended up ranked fifth in the final polls. Teams from the WAC, Mountain West, or similar conferences don’t deserve to play for a national championship, no matter what. I’m not just basing that off of what happened to Hawaii against Georgia in the Sugar Bowl last year. If these teams want to make serious arguments that they’re really among the country’s best, schedule non-conference games against the USC’s and Florida’s of the world. This year, it’s possible Utah, Boise State, and Ball State will all finish unbeaten. Of those three, only Utah has beaten a ranked team this season. Also, those three teams opponents combined record is 28 games under .500.

1. College football regular season has “sizzle” What we have now is great. The playoff proponents love winner-take-all. What’s more winner-take-all than a loss in early October possibly eliminating you from the national title picture? That’s the beauty of college football. Every game is more or less a playoff. As a result, college football is unique, and in a class by itself.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Top Ten Reasons Why the Bears Should Fire Lovie Smith

We're going to change things up here today.

The Bears are coming off their worst loss of the season against the Packers and now, more than ever, it's clear something needs to change with the Chicago Bears.

Lovie Smith won't be fired because the Bears still owe him a ridiculous amount of money and aren't the type to just pay off a coach or player to get rid of them.

But for the day that they ultimately decide to give him the pink slip, here are the Top Ten Reasons Why the Bears Should Fire Lovie Smith.

Players Have Given Up

Whether Lovie cares to admit it, this defense has stopped believing in the system and every week players are finding new ways to blame Lovie and defensive coordinator Bob Babich for their overall failures without actually saying it.

Their frustration shows in the locker room and have to physically stop themselves from continuing an interview in fear of saying something they’d regret.

Just say it . We already know.

Clueless at Halftime

Under Lovie, the Bears have become embarrassingly inept at making adjustments at the half that would help counter what opposing teams are having success with against us.

The most glaringly obvious changes that need attention go unnoticed by Lovie and his band of misfits each and every week.

Lovie is more than content to just sit back and watch his gimpy QB become the league’s most popular tackling dummy, while his defense is picked apart by an opposing offensive coordinator who realized that the middle of the field is, and always will be, wide open.

No Accountability

On more than a few occasions this season, there's been a need for Lovie Smith to call out his players for their lack of production on Sundays. From Charles Tillman's unnecessary personal foul call against the Bucs, to the most embarassing game in years against the Packers just this past week.

Yet in just about every postgame interview, Lovie refuses to acknowledge these failures individually and gives us the same old tired speech every week: "Sometimes there are games like this, give the other team credit and move on".

I'm not saying that he should be throwing his players under the bus every chance he gets. But by putting the fear of being cut because of inexcusable lapses in judgment and performance, Smith could make these players realize that accountability on this team is paramount and not an afterthought.

No Imagination

In a league where imaginative plays have started to truly pay dividends for teams who are bold enough to try them, Smith resists to follow suit and instead prides himself on being the head coach of the most predictable offense in football.

But that also extends to the defensive side of the game.

We're coming up on Week 12 and yet the Bears are still bringing Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs up the line before the snap in an effort to confuse opposing quarterbacks. By now teams have figured out this little wrinkle in the Bears game plan and know exactly how to read what's coming before the Bears even do.

We don't blitz nearly enough and for a team that can't get to the quarterback unless it's handed to them on a silver platter, you'd figure Smith would be doing anything humanly possible to get pressure. Instead, Smith is content to allow even the most mediocre of quarterbacks all the time in the world as they post career numbers nearly every week.

No Fire

One of the most disturbing qualities Smith possesses as a head coach is the lack of emotion he displays on the sidelines and in front of the media. Granted, this is one of those damned if you do, damned if you don't type of things.

Too much fire and brimstone and the players tune you out.

Not enough and you're taken for a weak mind who players can take advantage of.

What Smith needs to do is find a happy medium in which he is calm enough to deal with adversity and fiery enough to get his players ready to go on Sundays.

But we know what he is and this team needs more of what he's not.

Player Development

How many players can you say have truly taken their game to a new level under the tutelage of Lovie Smith and his crew?

More have actually regressed since his tenure began in Chicago and we're left wondering what happened to players with such promising talent. Mark Anderson sets the league on fire in his rookie season and has since disappeared.

Mark Bradley can't even get on the field with the Bears and after being released, signs with the Kansas City Chiefs and quickly becomes their number two receiver.

Devin Hester is converted to a wide receiver and promptly loses his ability to return punts and kicks anywhere near the level we've become accustomed to seeing.

A large part of this certainly can be attributed to the players themselves and Smith cannot be held solely responsible. But there's been nothing to show that Smith is capable of taking raw talent and molding it what's needed to excel in the NFL.

Terrible Game Management

Last week the Bears walked into the locker room at half time without using a single timeout.

On the surface that may seem insignificant compared to the gang of mistakes made against the Packers last week.

But it underlines a deeper issue with Lovie's capabilities as a game manager. Very simply put, he's terrible at it.

The most glaring example that comes to mind is the squib kick he called for against the Falcons in Week 6 that allowed rookie quarterback to drive down the field for the winning touchdown.

Decisions like these are impossible to ignore and it's cost the Bears dearly in the most crucial of situations.

Media Mismanagement

There are a handful of players in the Bears locker room who are, to put it nicely, extremely standoff-ish towards the media in Chicago.

Many of them have their reasons and that frosty relationship is seemingly understandable.

But that attitude towards the media has festered within the locker room and Smith has done absolutely nothing to stop it. The media is the gateway for fans into the inner workings of the team and by refusing to fully cooperate, the fans are paying dearly for it.

They want to know why the fans boo on Sundays and call talk radio shows to bash them?

It's because they don't give us answers anymore and respond to questions in as few words as possible.

The average Joe down the street may not pay your entire salary, but the millions of people who reside in this city do and it's Smith's responsibility to ensure they understand that.

Too Stubborn

There's nothing wrong with a man having convictions. But there is something wrong with those who cannot acknowledge said convictions are incorrect and need changing.

Lovie Smith may be the most stubborn man in Chicago.

There are so many things broken on this team that could be fixed or at least slightly improved if Lovie would choose to make some changes.

The defense is a sieve and the offense is that of a D-II college team.

Yet, no changes are being made and Smith stubbornly insists that the scheme is not the problem.

Lovie, we'd like to politely disagree with you on that stance and to back up our claim we'd like to offer your 19th ranked defense and 22nd ranked offense as evidence.

Refusing to Accept Reality

The Bears may be in first place, but it's truly more by default than anything.

But that's Lovie's mantra: Why spend time looking at what needs to be done to fix this team when we can hang our hats on being 5-5 and in a three-way tie for first place in the only division in the NFL without a winning record?

The reality, Lovie, is that your team is hanging precariously by a thread and with games against the Vikings, Jaguars, Saints and Packers in the weeks ahead it very well may snap.

Get ready for the free fall.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Top Ten Chicago stories of the week

Here are the best stories from the past seven days, with a twist, of course. I stole this idea from here and already did it once here. Enjoy. Oh, and here's a picture of a NFL cheerleader. Yay!!!

Cubs to play at new Yankee Stadium; MLB "feels bad" for Cubs, throws them “a bone”

MLB just announced that the Cubs will play two exhibition games against the Yankees on April 3 and 4, the first games of any kind there. As crappy as I heard the old stadium was, this one is supposed to be luxurious, but ridiculously expensive. I don’t know if this is that big a deal for the Cubs, but it will provide the opportunity for some rich dudes to throw hundreds, and in some cases thousands, of dollars to enjoy a game that won’t even count.

9. Sox target Viciendo; Cuban Day Parade relocated to Chicago

I am not clear on the readiness of the “19-year-old”, but he is already being called the Babe Ruth of Cuba. Scouts are saying there is no reason why he won’t hit 30-40 HR in the major leagues. The Sox already have like 800 Cuban players on their team (ok two), which should be a big draw for Viciendo. If this works out Kenny Williams will of course be praised, even though he left his team without a plan or a third basemen before Viciendo defected. He is what I consider a “lucky GM."

8. Kerry Wood not coming back; White Sox fans oddly giddy

I grew up watching Wood and he has been the one stable force on the Cubs. When the Blauser’s and Alfonseca’s of the world came to and left Chicago, Wood stayed. He pretty much defined the heartbroken franchise – great promise and hope, only to rot in a pile of torn labrums, rotator cuffs and UCLs. It is sad to see him go and I hope he finds championship somewhere else.

7. Mark Cuban in trouble with SEC; Cubs fans' dreams shattered… again

6. Cubs trade for Gregg; tell Wood to “get the eff off my porch”

Gregg is cheap and keeps the Cubs bullpen decent, at least. He has closing experience and would be a simple fill in if Marmol struggles in the role. He is more of a Bob Howry-type (before Bob Howry sucked) than a Wood, who could be dominant at times. This is definitely a downgrade at the position, but it still keeps them above average. Lets hope Hart or Guzman come to form.

5. Northwestern beats Michigan, at football; hell freezes over, I presume

4. White Sox trade Swisher; razor blade sales skyrocket in 10451 ZIP code

Can this be anything other than a salary dump? The Yanks gave up nada (that's Spanish for nothing). Can Swish really have another season like he did this year? I would have to think not. I am a bit confused by this move, but hey, somehow it's going to work because Kenny Williams craps gold.

3. Dempster re-signs; Red Beard no longer living “pirate’s life”

So apparently I called it. Dempster signed a four-year 52MM deal with the Cubs. Prior to signing this contract, Dempster was seeking a 5-year, 75MM deal, which was insane. The Cubs moved onto Peavy and Dempster changed his tune. This is officially now a good sign and something that I can support. Also, I was right about the Cubs going after Furcal.

2. Bulls to go on ‘circus trip’; new stunt in works called “the Rose”

This means bad things for the Bulls. Since Jordan departed, the Bulls are a combined 6-53 after last nights loss to Lakers. The best run they had on the trip was 3-3. The circus needs to stop coming to Chicago. I mean, who really goes to those things anyway? Nobody I know and that's all that really matters. And if you have been to the circus in Chicago, you are supporting terribly played basketball, enslavement of animals and dead baby jokes.

1. Bears lose bad; Green Bay does its best “Pack-face”

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Top ten Chicago sports figures who could be James Bond villains


With the newest James Bond movie, “Quantum of Solace”, released last Friday, I, like many other 007 fans, am excited to see all the new gadgets, stunts and of course, girls. But one of the best parts about Bond movies are the villains. Characters like Oddjob and Jaws have become film icons for their evilness, and seeing how the movie’s writers have them attempt to take over the world is always fun. But which Chicago sports figures would have a good chance of attempting world domination and while trying to kill England’s most famous secret agent?

(Ed note: Bond movies? Meh. But Golden Eye for N64? Siiiiiick.)

10- Rashaan Salaam

How he’d take over the world: The former Bears running back would be in charge of transporting some important medicine from one group of doctors to another. But just before he got to the laboratory, Salaam would drop and break the jar, causing widespread disease that for some reason only the ’94 Heisman winner would survive.

9- Jay Williams

How he’d take over the world: After convincing several world leaders to have a meeting based on his amazing performance in college, Williams would crash their limos into a street light, then take control of every country on Earth. He would then continually promise to give back the power, but he never would actually do it.

8- Albert Belle and Sammy Sosa

How they’d take over the world: After teaming up to form the Corked Crew, the two former Chicago outfielders will go around smashing people in the head with their illegal bats. Some advice for Bond: turn of Sammy’s boom box and he won’t be able to function for weeks.

7- Terry Shea

How he’d take over the world: The former Bears offensive coordinator would hypnotize Americans by calling nothing but wide receiver screens and running back draws for 16 consecutive games. Then while we all are asleep, Shea would take control of the country along with his assistant, Mr. Jonathan Quinn.

6- Ken ‘Hawk’ Harrelson

How he’d take over the world: As a result of Harrelson’s constant yelling and nonsensical comments, everybody who tunes into a Sox game will go deaf and lose about 50 IQ points. Our suddenly stupid and hard of hearing city then will be taken over by the announcer, who will randomly chose citizens to kill, known as his Picks to Click. And after the murder is done, Hawk will yell, “HE GONE!”

5- Antonio Alfonseca

How he’d take over the world: After creating a military of six-fingered, 400-pound mutants, Alfonseca’s Army would break into the Pentagon and force our government to start attacking other nation’s with the force of an Alfonseca chest bump.

4- Dennis Rodman

How he’d take over the world: I’m not exactly sure how The Worm would gain world, domination but the end-of-the-movie fight with he and Bond would be ten times better than “Double Team”. 007 would be trying to take down the former Bulls forward, while Rodman would be kicking Bond’s precious testicles and head-butting him all while figuring out what color to dye his hair next week.

3- Charlie Weis

How he’d take over the world: By eating too much himself while starving others, the Notre Dame coach would gain control of the countries biggest food companies and decide to only feed people who promise not to make fun of Jimmy Clausen’s haircut. (Or Weis’ record in big games)

2- AJ Pierzynski

How he’d take over the world: Known for getting under the skin of opponents, the White Sox catcher would actually create a formula to achieve that saying. He then would use his power to get into the body of world leaders and make them all as big of a douche-bag as AJ is.

1-Moises Alou

How he’d take over the world: After shaking Alou’s hand, the head of the World Bank will get sick and cause everybody but the former Cubs left-fielder to go broke. Or should I say, we’d all be piss-poor.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Top Ten All-Time Chicago Fire Players

I, on behalf of TTCS, am going to take attempt number 3 on a soccer post on this site. In the past, people have not thought too highly of our soccer coverage, (unprofessional foul loved our last soccer post so much, they took the time to critique my points and give their own views. They did not have the kindest words, but needless to say, I still go to their site on occasion.)
Moving on, the Fire have been around since 1998 where they won the MLS Cup in their inaugural season. Since then many talented MLS players have come through Chicago, and below are ten of the best.

10. Justin Mapp
Mapp has been a member of the Fire since 2003 and with an exception of 2007, had played in over 20 games in all six of those season. The lanky outside midfielder ranks fourth on the all-time assists board with 32 helpers.

9. Hristo Stoitchkov
While the Bulgarian international was well past his prime that included a 1994 European Player of the Year award, Stoitchkov still brought quite a bit of flare to the team. From 2000-02 Hristo scored 22 goals in rather limited action. In 2000 he was a member of the MLS "Best 11".

8. Josh Wolff
Wolff might best be remembered for setting up Landon Donovan's second goal in the 2002 World Cup game against Mexico, but 32 goals as a member of the Fire is nothing to shrug at. In 1998 he set a rookie record for goals in a season with eight (since been broken by Damani Ralph). If not for carrying the injury prone tag, Wolff might be one of the most reliable strikers in the MLS.

7. Zach Thornton
Thornton made being a goalie cool. Anything, and I mean anything in the six-yard box was his if he wanted it. The 1998 Goalkeeper of the Year winner would do anything short of kill somebody for the ball.

6. Carlos Bocanegra
Bocanegra might be the most decorated Fire player of all-time. In 2000 Bocanegra won the Rookie of the Year award. In both 2002 and 2003 he was given the MLS Defensive Player of the Year award. Not to mention being on the "Best 11" in '02 and '03.

5. Ante Razov
Despite Razov's inability to use his right foot, (at all, really it was bad) a franchise-leading 76 goals will take some time to be broken. The forward scored 10 goals or more five times in his seven years in the Windy City. Surprisingly, Razov also ranks third all-time in assists with 38.

4. Cuauhtémoc Blanco
While he has only been in Chicago for two seasons, no one has influenced soccer in Chicago, or the league even, than Blanco. He is a god to Latin fans and the once hated Mexican National Team star might have even dropped a few notches on some Americans hit lists. He has brought in a veteran presence with more experience than many will have in soccer.

3. Chris Armas
Armas will always be known as the unsung hero. On multiple occasions teammates have said that he does things that go unnoticed to many on TV, but on the field makes all the difference. Armas is the only member of the Fire to be on the "Best 11" four times and ranks second on the Fire all-time assists list.

2. DeMarcus Beasley
If I am going to complain about Razov's right foot, there is no way Beasley's right can go unmentioned. But for some time, Beasley was the MLS's equivalent to Christiano Ronaldo. By no means would I typically put the two in the same phrase, but his elusiveness and lightning-quick abilities could draw comparisons. Not to mention he was flat-out the most exciting player in the MLS to watch.

1. Peter Nowak
Nowak was the captain of the Fire from 1998-2002. During those seasons he led the team to an MLS Cup and two US Open wins in 1998, 2000. The three-time "Best 11" player brought more than just success to the team on the field. A large amount of the Fire following are Polish, and this is largely true because of Nowak's presence to the team. He is now the coach of the US under-23 squad.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Top ten active NBA-ers from Chicago

Chicago has always had a rich history of basketball talent. Below are ten players, all of which active in the NBA right now.

10. Bobby Simmons
Simmons, a Simeon grad and former DePaul swingman helped the Blue Demons an NCAA tournament in the late 90's. In 2004-05 Simmons won the NBA's Most-Improved Player award. However, many best know Simmons for signing that huge deal in Milwaukee only to come back to earth the next season.

9. Anthony Parker
He might be the only guy on this list who is not the best basketball player in his family. (Sister Candace might take that honor). Regardless, this guy can play. The European journeyman was drafted in 1997, but spent a good portion of his career in Israel, where he won five domestic championships. He returned to the US in the 2006-07 season and has become one of the games better shooters.

8. Juwan Howard
Probably best known as a part of the “Fab Five” at Michigan, Howard went on to a solid NBA career, most notably with the Washington Bullets/Wizards. Howard, the number five overall pick in the 1994 draft, averaged career bests of 22 points and eight rebounds with Washington his second year in the league, when he made his only All-Star appearance. A graduate of Vocational High School, Howard has played on six different teams, and off the court, is well respected for being involved in a number of charities. After getting released by Denver last week, it’s possible he has played his last game in the NBA.

7. Antoine Walker
Walker played with Donovan McNabb at Mt. Carmel , before going on to star at Kentucky. Picked sixth overall by the Celtics in the 1996 draft, Walker has career averages of 17.5 points and almost eight rebounds. At one point early in his career, Walker was on the verge of becoming a superstar, but he couldn’t quite make that next jump. He did win a championship in a reserve role with Miami in 2005-06.

6. Michael Finley
The word that best desrcibes this former Proviso East guard is consistency. For the first 11 seasons Finley never averaged less than 13 ppg. and peaked in the 1999-00 season, where he averaged 22.6. The career 44% shooter has always been a reliable option with the game on the line.

5. Quentin Richardson
Last season's Whitney Young basketball team tried to dedicate their season to looking like Q's Dolphin squad in 1998. Richardson spent the better half of a decade being followed by Chicago. After Young, Q spent two years at DePaul, where in his sophomore year he lead the Blue Demons into the NCAA tourney. His NBA career has been consistent also. The former NBA three-point contest winner has averaged over 11 ppg. while spending the majority of his career on poor Clipper and Knicks teams.

4. Derrick Rose
Derrick Rose has won everywhere he has gone. The leagues newest up and coming point guard lead Simeon to back-to-back state titles in 2005-06 and 2006-07 before heading to Memphis. There he lead the Tigers to a two-loss season and was a hands'length away from winning a National title. While we might be a few seasons away from viewing his full potential, he has shown glimpses of being a superstar ten games into his rookie year.

3. Corey Maggette
The former Fenwick star has always been a reliable scorer and always a solid #2 option in any offense. In his ten year career Maggette has averaged just over 16 points and five rebounds a game. Spending the majority of his career with the Clippers, Corey he also has not been given many opportunities to win any titles, but that all may change as joined a young Golden State squad that looks like it might cause some damage in the West this season.

2. Kevin Garnett
Many can argue that Garnett should not be on the list because he spent one season in the city. But KG was one half of maybe the most dynamic duo Chicago has ever seen playing alongside Ronny Fields at Farragut in the 1994-95 season. Since then, Garnett has been nothing short of dominating in his 14 NBA seasons which includes a championship last season. It was also Garnett that made the push for high schoolers to skip college and head straight to pros.

1. Dwyane Wade
Wade is one of the games top ten players. He lead his Heat squad to an NBA title in 2006 and arguably no one is more valuable to his team than D-Wade. The former Richards guard was overlooked throughout high school and virtually until his junior year at Marquette, where he led the Golden Eagles to a final four. Even during the 2003 draft many, many felt he went too high being selected #5 overall. Wade has proven doubters wrong.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Top Ten NBA Players from DePaul

It has come to my attention that DePaul has been absent from the Top Ten arena for far too long and that cannot be allowed to happen.

The Blue Demons are ingrained in the fabric of NCAA basketball history and make up the backbone of its existence. Legendary figures like Ray Meyer have only added to the legend, despite the lean years Blue Demons faithful have had to endure in recent memory.

So to brighten spirits and hopefully make class a little less boring (you know who you are out there, sorry teach), here are the Top Ten NBA Players From DePaul.

10. Andre Brown

The man with the distinction of being named MVP of Batavia's Ken Peddy Thanksgiving Tournament three times certainly made his mark at both Leo High School and DePaul.

He left DePaul as Conference USA's fourth-leading rebounder of all time and with his name etched in the Blue Demon record books.

Despite not being drafted, Brown has bounced the world since leaving DePaul in 2003 and eventually found his way into the NBA. After playing for the Seattle Supersonics and the Memphis Grizzlies, Brown landed with the Charlotte Bobcats and is currently fighting to stay on the active roster.

9. Steven Hunter

People had some very high hopes for Hunter after he entered the 2001 NBA Draft with only two years of college ball under his belt.

They say the one thing you can't teach is height and Hunter had plenty of it standing at 7-foot. However, knee injuries have plagued his career and his talents on the court never materialized the way many had envisioned on draft day.

He appeared in only 19 games last season and will miss this season after undergoing yet another knee surgery. There's speculation that his career is over.

8. Kevin Edwards

In the 1988 NBA Draft, Kevin Edwards became the first ever draft pick for the then newly minted franchise Miami Heat.

That first year was rough as the Heat only picked up their first win after losing the first 17 games of their existence. His best years came while playing for the New Jersey Nets, averaging 14 ppg in 1993.

He's currently trying to make it in the movie business as a producer.
7. Wilson Chandler

Chandler is another one of the lucky individuals booed by the New York Knicks faithful when his name was called on draft day.

Chandler struggled to find his way early on, but seems to have impressed new head coach Mike D'Antoni enough to become the starting forward for the Knicks. He's averaging a smidge over 12 points on the young 2008 campaign and is starting to show flashes of the talent he displayed during his days as a Demon.
6. Bobby Simmons

Bobby is probably known more for the ridiculous, five year, $47 million contract he signed with the Milwaukee Bucks after winning the NBA Most Improved Player award in 2005.

During his junior year at DePaul, Simmons excelled and finished with averages of 13.6 ppg and 7.5 rpg. He entered the NBA Draft in 2001 and was selected by the Seattle Supersonics in the second round. He was promptly traded to the Washington Wizards, where he played an average of 33 games during his two year stint in the nation's capital.

The aforementioned contract has since become regarded as one of the worst in NBA history because of Simmons' inability to stay healthy. He's now a member of the New Jersey Nets.
5. Quentin Richardson

This poor man is currently stuck in the albatross that is known as the New York Knicks, with fellow former Blue Devil and member of this list, Wilson Chandler.

'Q' exploded onto the Chicago basketball season during his years at Whitney Young High School where he became a McDonald's High School All American and in 1998 was named USA Today's High School Player of the Year.

His time at DePaul was no different and 'Q' continued to wrap up the accolades (Conference USA Player of the Year, Freshman of the Year) as quickly as he became the first Blue Demon to ever record a season with more than 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 100 three-pointers.

Richardson's early years in the NBA were highly entertaining due to his pairing with East St. Louis product Darius Miles on the Los Angeles Clippers.

4. Rod Strickland

Strickland always seemed to be just on the verge of becoming regarded as one of the NBA's best point guards during his playing days. However, Strickland always managed to get in his own way and never ascended to the lofty heights he seemed to be destined for. But even with contract disputes, injuries and irrational behavior, Strickland still managed to finish with over 14,000 points and just under 8,000 assists.

But he will always be remembered for his days as a Blue Demon in the late eighties.

The Demons reached the NCAA Tournament four years in a row and managed a pair of Sweet 16 appearances while Strickland was there. As a junior, he was named a First Team All American while averaging 20 ppg and 7.8 assists.

3. Terry Cummings

Selected by the San Diego Clippers in 1982 NBA Draft, Cummings made a huge splash in the league by winning the Rookie of the Year award at season's end. He finished his NBA career with 19,460 points, just shy of the illustrious 20,000 point mark shared by some of the greatest players the league has ever known.

A two-time All Star, Cummings' career was never the same after his knee gave out during a pickup game. His numbers started to rapidly decline and Cummings bounced around the league before finishing with the Golden State Warriors in 2000.

2. Mark Aguirre

The first overall pick in the 1981 NBA Draft, Mark Aguirre was a force to be reckoned with throughout his playing days in the Association.

His 29.5 ppg average in the 1983-1984 season was seconly only to NBA legend Adrian Dantley and throughout his career Aguirre averaged 20 ppg.

Aguirre won a pair of NBA Championships as a member of the Detroit Pistons, playing along side future Hall of Famers Joe Dumars and Isiah Thomas.

He led DePaul to the NCAA Final Four as a freshman in the 1978-79 season and was named The Sporting News Player of the Year in 1981.

Aguirre will always be remembered as one of DePaul's brightest stars, second only to one man.

1. George Mikan

The NBA's first legitimate big man, Mikan changed all the rules when his imposing frame stepped onto the court. However, Mikan has always been and will forever be known as a gentle giant and is credited for doing more for the game of basketball than most could have ever dreamed of.

A member of the NBA Hall of Fame, Mikan was named one of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players in 1996 and for the first time, a new generation was aware of his impact on the game that included the introduction of the shot clock and goaltending.

He passed away in 2005.

Top Ten Chicago Fights We Want to See Rematches of

By Danny Sheridan
I’ve wanted to do this list for quite some time, and what better time than right now, coming off what Zach Martin termed “one of the lamest Chicago sports weekends in recent memory.” So, with apologies to Derrek Lee/Chris Young and Robin Ventura/Nolan Ryan, here are ten memorable Chicago fights that I’d pay good money to see a rematch of.

10. Tigers vs. White Sox (2000) A day when Jim Parque became the most popular guy on the South Side. What player took the worst of it? Definitely Keith Foulke, who left so bloody you would have thought he just went a few rounds with Anderson Silva.
Rematch winner: Detroit. Look at some of the bad dudes they had; Juan Gonzalez, Tony Clark, Dean Palmer (the guy who charged Parque), Bobby Higginson, Jeff Weaver and the immortal Robert Fick. The Sox could have countered with Frank Thomas, Carlos Lee, and Jose Valentin, but that’s about it.

9. Olin Kreutz vs. Fred Miller (2005) Was anyone really surprised that a liquored-up Kreutz broke Miller’s jaw? I mean, talk about a mismatch. Despite Miller having five inches and about 25 pounds on Kreutz, if they fought 100 more times, Kreutz would win 100 times. Maybe Kreutz even had an ulterior motive; try to knock Miller out for a while so the Bears could start a real offensive tackle.
Rematch winner: Kreutz, only the next time he might leave Miller in a coma.

8. Jo Jo English vs. Derek Harper (1994) I can just imagine the conversation minutes before English and Harper’s fight spilled into the stands right in front of David Stern. Phil Jackson: “Okay Jo Jo, Harper’s their starting point guard, and you average only one point a game. Jo Jo: “So coach, you want me to try and get us both ejected and maybe then suspended for the next couple playoff games?” Jackson: “Yes, that sounds good, thanks for taking one for the team.” Jo Jo: “No problem, at least after my 50 games in the NBA, I’ll be remembered for something kind of cool.” Scottie Pippen: “Wait, while we’re at it, why don’t we do the same thing and sacrifice Will Perdue for Patrick Ewing?”
Rematch winner: Honestly, who cares?

7. Dodgers vs. Cubs fans (2000) Eight years later, I’ve come to this conclusion: The Cubs fan who started this whole thing by hitting Dodgers bullpen catcher Chad Kreuter and then stealing his hat was one of these four guys; Steve Bartman, Ronnie “Woo Woo”, Bill Murray dressed in a disguise, or the same guy who tried to attack Randy Myers with a knife years earlier.
Rematch winner: Dodgers, although don’t underestimate a bunch of drunk, angry Cubs fans.

6. Brad Miller vs. Shaq (2002) Hey Shaq, how about picking on someone your own size? Oh wait. Well at least he could have squared off with then Bulls rookie Eddy Curry, which would have been pretty cool. By the way, if the Diesel had connected on his first swing, John Feinstein could have written a sequel to “The Punch.” and called it “The Night When Shaq Got Charged with Manslaughter.”
Rematch winner: Uhh Shaq. No questions asked.

5. Ozzie vs. Jay Mariotti/Mike North (2006 and 2007) Okay, not physical encounters, but think about the possibilities. Ozzie’s the one with the last laugh though. Out of the three, he’s the only one that still has a job (shouting on “Around the Horn” for a few minutes each day doesn’t count).
Rematch winner: Ozzie would absolutely destroy both of them. I mean, destroy.

4. Michael Barrett vs. A.J. (2006) It’s pretty amazing how any opposing player could ever get mad at A.J. over anything. There might not be a kinder, more easy going, and charming professional athlete than Pierzynski. So why did Barrett overreact big time? Easy. He wanted to get suspended 10 games so he could take a break from catching for Rich Hill, Glendon Rusch, Sean Marshall, and Angel Guzman.
Rematch winner: The toughest call of any of these. Give Barrett a slight edge, but only because A.J. is getting a little pudgy in the mid-section.

3. Michael Jordan vs. Steve Kerr (1996) In preseason camp that year, Michael, still frustrated with losing to Orlando in the playoffs the previous year, turned into the bully who steals the little kid’s lunch money. Here’s a piece of an old Sports Illustrated article written by Michael Silver: “Kerr, who hadn't been in a fight since elementary school, took a hard shove from His Airness and suddenly started swinging. "I knew I had two choices," Kerr says. "Either let it go and be obedient to Michael forever, or fight and probably get my ass kicked. I picked a real winner for my adult fighting debut." The result? Kerr wound up with a black eye, but also MJ’s respect.
Rematch winner: Michael, even if Randy Brown and Dickey Simpkins joined Kerr to make it three on one.

2. Kyle Farnsworth vs. Paul Wilson (2003) Yeah, Paul, not a good idea. Farnsworth may have had a smaller IQ than Ricky Williams and partied harder than Chris Duhon, but man, he had a mean right hook. Besides, Wilson should have known better, pitchers don’t charge the mound. Ever.
Rematch winner: Wilson. I’m kidding of course.

1. Michael Barrett vs. Carlos Zambrano (2007) This might all have been part of Lou Piniella’s brilliant plan. With the Cubs struggling, Piniella maybe told Barrett and Big Z to start going at it in the dugout in order to take attention away from the team’s bad play on the field. And who knows, maybe there was no round two in the clubhouse. Barrett very easily could have gotten that busted lip lots of other ways.
Rematch winner: I gave Barrett the benefit of the doubt against A.J., but no way he stands a chance against Z.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Top Ten terrible Chicago sports things from the weekend

By Zach
This was an awful weekend in Chicago sports. Besides the Hawks, who seem to be irrelevant to most of Chicago, all pertinent teams (not you Chicago Fire) lost in poor fashion. Here are the ten worst things from one of the lamest weekends in recent memory.

10. Orton still hurt


This wasn't really news to anyone, but with the Sex Cannon at the helm, only BAD things could happen, right? I think it’s fair to put all of Chicago’s sports woes from this past weekend on Grossman, don’t you? I mean, he is Rex Grossman. It has to be his fault.

9. Captain Kirk gets clipped


At first you might be like, “this isn’t really that bad. With Kirk out, only good things can happen, right?” But then it hits you. With Hinrich out that means more playing time for Larry “Bricks” Hughes when he gets healthy. That can only lead to very bad things, like Keanu Reeves in, well, anything.

8. Northwestern loses

I’m not sure this really surprised anyone besides Ronnie “Woo Woo” (the man’s crazy), but it confirmed how big the gap is between OSU and maybe Penn State and the rest of the Big Ten. NU is having its best season in a decade and yet they still can’t compete with the big boys.

7. Jimmy Clausen

Either Jimmy couldn't read safety help or just said, “eff it” and threw the ball into double coverage for four interceptions. Instead of being the reason for the Irish success, he single handedly lost the game for the once proud program. If I was Woody Paige I would say something like, “those locks don’t look so golden anymore.” But I’m not horrible at my job, so I wont.

6. This picture of Ron Zook

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5. Domers downed

The Irish did not look as bad as the 0-17 score would suggest, but Clausen’s turnovers were too much to overcome. ND was looking for a statement win, but were embarrassed yet again. The worst part of all this will be the hackneyed headlines like “Weiss Watch” or “Domers Downed”.

4. Bears passing defense

Yeah, yeah, yeah. The Titans are good, but come on. How can any defense, let alone the “feared” Bears defense, allow Kerry “EFFing” Collins to throw for 289 yards, 2 TD and allow a 108.7 passer rating? You know how many TD Collins had before Sunday? THREE! Something needs to change, anything. May I suggest firing the person with the name that rhymes with Bob Babich.

3. The Illini lose to a MAC school

Three weeks ago I said that Illinois' season could only be a viewed as a disappointment. Now I think we can officially change that status to EPIC FAIL. What happened to the offense? They looked Texas Tech-ian. Where’s the Zook-iness? Maybe Western Michigan is just that good. No, you’re right, it’s definitely not that.

2. LeBron Jordan’s Bulls


So the Bulls were beating the Cavs going into the fourth quarter. Then LeBron James did his best Michael Jordan, putting up 41 and leading the Cavs to a 106-97 victory. Meh. LBJ is basically unstoppable going to the rim, a la Jordan when he was young or like the fade away when he got older. The Bulls are just not talented enough to stop him or any good team and it showed Saturday.

1. Bears lose to Kerry Collins

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I think that pretty much sums it up.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Top ten best Bears nicknames

Due to some extenuating circumstances, there is no original content today. Here is a list that originally ran in January.

10. Anthony ‘the A-Train’ Thomas

While Thomas earned this nickname at Michigan long before he reached Chicago as a second round draft pick, he fulfilled it admirably early in his career by winning Rookie of the Year in 2001. I feel as if a nickname as great as ‘the A-Train’ cannot stop with just one man and should be passed down from generation to generation. Current Chicago athlete most deserving of ‘the A-Train’ moniker: Aramis Ramirez.

9. Gale ‘the Kansas Comet’ Sayers

Coming to the Bears from Kansas University in the same draft as Dick Butkus, Sayers was the most exciting in the proud tradition of Bears running backs. Injuries cut short his remarkable career too soon, but Sayers was honored as the youngest person ever inducted into the Hall of Fame.

8. Jim ‘the Punky QB’ McMahon

On an 85’ Bears team filled with nicknames, perhaps none was as accurate as McMahon’s. From writing Rozelle on his headband to mooning a helicopter at the Super Bowl, McMahon may have been the baddest of the Monsters of the Midway.

7. Charles ‘Peanut’ Tillman

Tillman claims the nickname was given to him in elementary school because of his oblong shaped skull. Those who ever doubt Tillman certainly don’t any more after the Bears top cornerback shaved his trademark dreadlocks near the end of the '07 season.

6. James ‘Big Cat’ Williams

Turnstile right tackle, field goal blocking extrordinaire and all-around large dude, few nicknames fit a person as well as Big Cat fits James Williams. Simply put, James Williams is, indeed, a big cat.

5. ‘Iron’ Mike Ditka

Forged on the grassy fields of his native Pennsylvania, Ditka has embraced the ‘Iron Mike’ moniker and turned it into something of a brand. Sadly, now when I think of ‘Iron Mike’, I only imagine Ditka under the influence of Cialis, something that could jar any little Grabowski.

4. George ‘Papa Bear’ Halas

This nickname almost seems to do Halas no justice because without him, not only would the Bears not exist but possibly the entire NFL.

3. Walter ‘Sweetness’ Payton

Few nicknames truly capture a player and a person like Sweetness did for Payton. He may have never scored a Super Bowl touchdown, but Payton gave Chicago fans almost everything else during his 13-year career. While Dick Butkus (not featured on this list because when your name is ‘Dick Butkus’, who really needs a nickname) may be many Chicagoans favorite Bear, it is Payton that is the most revered. That won’t change anytime soon.

2. Rex ‘the Sex Cannon’ Grossman

When not zipping out frozen throw-gasms for interceptions, our heroic quarterback can be found partaking in some “debauchery”. What this all means, I'm not very sure. But Kissing Suzy Kolber’s nickname (image also via KSK) for the embattled Bears QB made him that much more fun to root for. Every time he gets set to unload a patented deep ball (off his back foot, naturally), you know that he's saying ‘F it, I’m going downfield’ to himself.

1. William ‘the Refrigerator’ Perry

‘They call me The Fridge, and I’m the rookie. I may be large, but I’m no dumb cookie.’ Do I even need to add anything else? Didn’t think so.

Honorable mention: 'Iron Head' Craig Heyward, 'Galloping Ghost' Red Grange, ‘Samurai’ Mike Singletary, Steve ‘Mongo’ McMichael, Nathan ‘the Interceptor’ Vasher, Devin ‘Anytime’ Hester, Kevin ‘Butthead’ Butler, Raymont ‘the Ultraback’ Harris

Friday, November 7, 2008

Top Ten Chicago Sports Stories of the Week

It’s Friday!!! This is my first Friday post here at TTCS and I will use it to have my own type of Sexy Friday (minus the sweet pics of cheerleaders). Instead, I will use this time to play a game that I learned from Food Court Lunch. However, I am going to change the name of it to "Fun with Headlines Friday" to not seem like a plagiarist or something. So loosen those belts, grab a your cup of "coffee" (hopefully spiked with some sort of spirit to start the weekend off right) and lets enjoy the top stories in Chicago sports this past week (slightly altered, of course).

What’s that? You want a picture of a cheerleader? Okay, but just one. Who am I to deny you that right?

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10. Notre Dame still can’t beat decent teams; world rejoices, again

The Fighting Irish’s 36-33 loss to Pitt was very telling. They seem to be able to play with-and even control-teams that are in the 20-40 rank range, but can’t seem to put them away. They are definitely on the right track with their recruiting and seem to be a year away from a ranking in the top 20. However, this year they haven’t accomplished what most Irish fans had hoped. The Irish have had a fairly easy schedule in 2008 and have been attempting to make a statement game, but rather, stumbled against UNC and Pitt. The Irish will look to make that statement Saturday against Boston College.

9. Bulls look terrible; where's the change Obama?

I watched my first Bulls game from start to finish on Wednesday and I can say with confidence that with the current rotation and offensive sets the Bulls will be AT BEST the eighth seed in the East. To help me deal with wasting like 3 hours on his team Wednesday, let me take this opportunity to say a word to my boy, VDN:

Hey, VDN, start Gordon. I know, he’s a whiny sissy, but outside of Rose, who is hands down the best player on your team, you don’t have a player on the team that can score consistently. Deng is officially a bust in the he’s-a-go-to-player way Pax thought he would be. However, he still has the opportunity to become a player a la Kukoc. Stop starting Sefa-alphabet and play some effing scorers so we are not down by like 15 at the half. Oh, and start running, your half court sets are terrible.

8. Illini beat Hawkeyes; Mohegan Sun opens in Urbana

After blowing a fourth quarter lead, Illinois was able to put it away with a field goal, taking them that much closer to a bowl game. I don't know how this season cannot be seen as a disappointment for Illinois. They should get bowl eligible this weekend with a win over Western Michigan. After that who knows as they face OSU then a surprising Northwestern team.

7. Peavy a real possibility; Dempster to play Scrooge McDuck in remake

So my prediction was wrong on what Dempster wanted. He is looking for 5/75MM, but Hendry only wants to give him four years (which I thought). Thus, Hendry is looking at an ulterior route and that is Jake Peavy. The Padres will want a SS and/or CF and a young P in return. The Cubs have all of that (Cedeno, Pie, Samardzija/Marshall), but Peavy may also want to restructure his contract. If this does work out the Cubs will upgrade at arguably their best position.

6. Northwestern beats Minnesota; and the game mattered!!!

5. Hawks look good; Chicago looks other way

Hey, the Blackhawks are on a three game winning streak. What? You hadn't heard? Yeah they are kind of good now. Their young talent is coming together - Sharp and Kane lead the team in points with 16 and 15 respectively - and the goaltenders are finally playing well. Things are looking up.

4. Bears barely beat bad Lions team; alliteration is awesome

This was a sad game to watch. The Bears looked terrible, but once again managed to pull it out in the end. Rex Grossman played because...

3. Kyle Orton hurt;
Sex Cannon takes over; city on suicide watch

So now we have to deal with the Cannon as our QB. This can't end well. I mean, just when things are looking good at the one position that has haunted us for decades, the Neck Beard goes down in a heap - against the worst team in the NFC, no less. Wait what...?

2. Orton may play!!!; YAYYYY!!!!

1. Obama wins; Chicago set for massive traffic jam circa 2016

So this guy Barack Obama(?) is now our president. Ironically, this was by far the least I have been active in politics. I blame my favorite political science professor in college and this insightful bite:

"You know they are all full of [poop]."

Well, thanks teach! Anyway, by Obama becoming President, not only will the White Sox have a super awesome first pitch thrower, Chicago now looks that more appealing to the Olympic committee (Congrats Mayor Daley). So in about eight years this place will be like rush hour all the time with a sweet heightened sense of fear. Yayyy!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Top Ten Questions About the Bears

By Danny Sheridan
Halfway through the season, the Bears are “NOT who we thought they were.” Offensively, they’ve been a big surprise, while defensively they’ve been a disappointment. It has made for an exciting first eight games though. Here are 10 questions that will go a long way in determining whether the Bears will win the NFC North for the third time in the last four years.

10. Will injuries end up ruining the Bears season? Obviously the big concern is Kyle Orton, but losing Mike Brown for any length of time would be a serious blow as well, especially when you consider the candidates to replace him are Danieal Manning and Craig Steltz. Brandon Lloyd, Tommie Harris, Nathan Vasher and Hunter Hillenmeyer are all either out or playing at significantly less than 100%. Every team has to deal with injuries at some point, but when you’re talking about a Pro-Bowl corner, an All-Pro defensive tackle, your best receiver, the leader of your defense, and your starting quarterback, that’s a lot to overcome.
Verdict: No. Orton, Lloyd and Brown should all be back soon, and Harris and Vasher are still pretty good players, even at 70%.

9. Who is the Bears most underrated player? Where would the Bears be right now without John St. Clair and John Tait? The entire offensive line has been great, but it was the tackle positions that had people most worried at the beginning of the year. St. Clair was a journeyman who only got a chance because of Chris Williams’ injury, while Tait was coming off a down year in 2007 and getting up there in age. Both have helped turn the O-line from a perceived weakness before the season into quite possibly the team’s greatest strength. In all but one game, the Bears have allowed two sacks or less.
Verdict: Tie between Tait and St. Clair. Charles Tillman a close third.

8. Does Jerry Angelo regret not signing another QB this off-season? How good would someone like Kurt Warner, Byron Leftwich, Daunte Culpepper, or Chris Simms look in a Bears uniform right now? Well, a lot better than Rex Grossman, that’s for sure. Even resigning Brian Griese would have been a lot wiser move than bringing Grossman back to compete for a starting job that he had no chance of winning. To think that Rex could be the one who determines the direction this season will take is just downright scary.
Verdict: Uuh yes, but at least it appears Orton will be back sooner than expected.

7. Will Devin Hester turn back into Devin Hester? This might be the first time ever that two newspaper columnists in the same city (Greg Couch and Rick Morrissey) each wrote a column the same week about the struggles of a kick returner. What’s really amazing is that the Bears are averaging 28 points a game with Hester averaging just 21 yards on kick returns and only six on punt returns.
Verdict: No. Hester looks like he still hasn’t recovered from the rib injury he suffered in week two, and learning how to play receiver has taken away a lot of his focus. Also, his teammates on special teams have forgotten how to block for him.

6. Who is the favorite in the NFC North? Don’t let the 4-4 record fool you. Green Bay could very easily be 7-1 (gee that sounds familiar), and Aaron Rodgers seems to be getting better each week. Donald Driver and Greg Jennings are the second best 1-2 receiver combination in the league, and the defense will get better with Al Harris returning after missing six weeks.
Verdict: Green Bay.

5. Will the pass rush improve… and soon? The search party has been out for a while for Tommie Harris, Adewale Ogunleye, and Mark Anderson. Combined, they have only three sacks on the season, which is crazy when you think about this: after the first five weeks of the 2006 season, Harris and Anderson had 12 sacks between them. You can have Champ Bailey and Asante Samuel as your corners, but if you don’t get a consistent pass rush, you’re not going to be a top ten defense, which the Bears clearly aren’t right now.
Verdict: No. The Bears coaches are too stubborn to start blitzing more, and the front four isn’t good enough to get pressure by themselves.

4. How will the Bears respond to Rex? Desmond Clark, one of the team leaders, said this after it was learned that Orton would miss 3-4 weeks: “I don’t want to be prepared for that. Nothing against Rex, but Kyle was playing at an elite level.” It makes you wonder how the rest of the team will respond with Rex now calling the shots. Based on last year, we shouldn’t be optimistic. You need your quarterback to have confidence and show leadership, two things Orton had done.
Verdict: Not well. If you think the team lacks confidence in Rex now, just imagine what their response will be if he plays poorly and throws a few picks against the Titans.

3. What has been the best and worst moment of the season so far? A lot of options to choose from on both sides. Certainly the goal-line stand against the Eagles was memorable, as was the 48 points the Bears put on Minnesota. On the opposite end, the Bears have suffered probably the two toughest losses of any team in the league. Deciding to squib kick against the Falcons and making Griese look like Tom Brady will not be forgotten either, but for the wrong reasons.
Verdict: Best- Goal-line stand against the Eagles. Worst- Last 11 seconds of the Falcons game.

2. What’s the most important thing going forward? Even when Orton gets back, the Bears need to emphasize running the football. Matt Forte can’t have games where he gets less than 20 carries. Another thing to watch: Brian Urlacher needs to play better. Simple as that. Right now, he’s very average.
Verdict: Memo to Ron Turner: Establish the run first and good things will happen.

1. Should Kyle Orton play this week if he says he is ready? Orton provided a shock around Halas Hall when he said yesterday he was hopeful he could play this week. It’s great news to hear Orton is making a very speedy recovery, but unless he’s completely 100%, which is highly doubtful, don’t play him. It’s not worth it. Even a healthy Orton would be in for a long day against the Titans superior defense.
Verdict: No. As much as I dislike Rex, start him against the Titans this week and the Rams next week. Then, Orton should be fully ready to go in critical back to back road games against the Packers and Vikings.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Top ten first half Fantasy Football pleasant surprises

In the event that fantasy football is your type of party, please read The Fantasy Factor, a rad fantasy sports blog written by The Good Captain and I, every day at the Sun-Times. Thanks.

10. Steve Slaton

And here all of us thought that Andre Johnson was the only Texan with fantasy value.

9. Santana Moss

Jim Zorn has made Washington's offense one of the league's most efficient.

8. Kyle Orton

Orton has thrown as many touchdown passes as Donavon McNabb and Ben Roethlisberger.

7. Michael Turner

Thanks to a huge Week 1, Turner is among the leaders in all rushing stats.

6. Matt Forte

The Bears rookie runner is even more fun to watch if he's on your fantasy team.

5. Kurt Warner

The more touchdowns he throws, the more you forget his wife looks like the guy from Sum-41.

4. Aaron Rodgers

I think it's safe to say the Packers made a good move in letting Favre go.

3. Phillips Rivers

Thanks in large part to a nagging foot injury to LaDainian Tomlinson, Rivers has posted some huge first half numbers.

2. Chris Johnson

The first time TTCS's Phil Barnes has ever been correct on a sports prediction in, like, his entire life.

1. Clinton Portis

Second in rushing touchdowns, first in yards. Portis is just five yards away from 1,000 already.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Top Ten Politicians Who Were Athletes

With today being election day it is time to take a look back at some of the greatest athletes turned politicians. While TTCS does not support a particular candidate (except Kevin Johnson for Mayor of Sacramento!) we do encourage everyone to vote and have a safe and happy election day.

The list was comprised of (mostly) United States politicians who served semi-recently. Also we limited the athletes to Professional or Olympic (or professional wrestling) in lieu of collegiate athletes like J.C. Watts.

Bob Mathias was included because of his unbelievable Olympic performances.

10. Ben Nighthorse Campbell

A former U.S. Olympian and Gold Medalist at the 1963 Pan-Am games in Judo, Campbell served as a Senator from Colorado from 1993-2005 after serving in the House from 1987-1993. Campbell holds the distinction of being only the third Native American member of the Senate.

9. Tom McMillan

NBA player, Rhodes Scholar, U.S. Congressman; Tom McMillan has done it all. After a 12 year NBA career, McMillan opted to go the political route and represented the fourth congressional district of Maryland from 1987-1993. McMillan is believed to be the tallest member of the United States Congress at 6-11.

8. Jim Ryun

After securing silver in the 1968 Olympics in the 1,500 meters, Ryun traded in his spikes for a run at Congress. Ryun held office from 1996-2007 as a House member from Kansas' second district.

7. Jesse Ventura

Although not a congressman, Ventura captured the national spotlight after becoming Governor of Minnesota in 1999. The former professional wrestler known as "The Body" served one term in office before opting not to run for re-election in 2003. Ventura currently endorses candidates and steroids (just kidding) in his spare time.

6. Heath Shuler

After an awful run in the NFL (and that is being kind) Shuler recently secured the House bid from the 11th district of North Carolina in 2007. Shuler won the election with 54% of the vote, which oddly enough was the same number as his career 54.3 quarterback rating.

5. Bob Mathias

A two-time gold medalist in the Decathlon (1948 and 1952) Mathias served in the House from 1967-1975 representing the 18th congressional district of California. He unfortunately passed away in 2006 from cancer.

4. Steve Largent

The pro football hall-of-famer from the Seahawks served eight years in the House (1994-2002) from the first district of Oklahoma. The seven-time Pro Bowler is currently President & CEO of CTIA-The Wireless Association.

3. Jim Bunning

A current Senator from Kentucky since 1999, Bunning is best known in the sporting world for being a baseball hall-of-famer and proud owner of a no-hitter AND perfect game. Bunning was elected to Cooperstown in 1996 after going 224-184 in his career.

2. Jack Kemp

The former Buffalo Bills quarterback and Bob Dole running mate, Kemp served the House from 1971-1989 before unsuccessfully running for President in 1988. Kemp then served on George H.W. Bush's cabinet before losing out to Bill Clinton and Al Gore in 1996.

1. Bill Bradley

Bradley had a storied collegiate career, ten year NBA career and served on the Senate from 1979-1997. After a failed bid at the Presidency during the 2000 Democratic primaries, Bradley has mostly stayed out of the spotlight.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Top Ten Potential Sox Pickups

Free agency signing doesn't start up for another 10 days or so, but with the Mike Jacobs deal occuring last week, I got nervous and decided to post this a week early. Even with the gaps the team has, I still picture the White Sox as an 80-win team right now. The core is there; they have a solid three guys in the rotation, a decent bullpen, and one of the better 3-4-5's in the batting order in baseball in Quentin, Dye and Thome.
But there is definite room for improvement. Below are ten free agents and trade block players that could not only fill voids, but make them repeat division champs.

10. Felipe Lopez
The former Silver Slugger winner and allstar has always been a pretty consistant player. He can play anywhere in the infield and even played left a little left last season. Lopez has always had a decent glove. While his average has been suspect at times, he has a lifetime OBP 70 points higher than batting. He would be a reliable number-two hitter for the Sox.

9. Freddy Garcia
I know this might sound dumb, but he would be a cheap and easy #5 starter. He and Ozzie are very close and Kenny Williams likes him so a deal for Garcia might not be as far away as we think.

8. Brad Penny
He is technically not a free agent yet, the Dodgers have threes days left to pick up option ($8.75 million or a $2 million buyout). This could be a sticky situation even if Los Angeles lets him go because he is a free agent though. He is a Scott Boras agent and the Sox are not necessarily in the need for a top-end starter, but Boras will surely make sure Penny gets top-end money; whether he is worth it or not.

7. Willy Taveras
There is a need for an everyday center fielder as well as a guy who can leadoff. Colorado is interested in dealing Willy in exchange for young pitching, and the Sox do have a decent amount of prospects. Taveras, though he does steal loads of bases, did not have a great '08 at the plate (.251/.308). That will not work for the Sox, a team dying for a leadoff hitter. But if he returns to his 2007 season, where he was on base .367, a deal for him might prove worthy.

6. Jon Garland
I think this would be an interesting move to bring Garland back to the South Side. Last year he won 14 games but posted an ERA of 4.90. This would be an great time to get him back, as they would be buying low on a guy Kenny Williams felt at one time could be the ace of his staff. He would not need to be anything better than a #4 starter, and at the age of 29, there is still plenty of time to improve. He would be cheaper than a lot of other starters available.

5. Brian Roberts
Roberts has been in a lot of talks with both the Sox and the Cubs the past seven months. He would fill in not only at second, but also would be the leadoff hitter they are greatly desiring. He is going to be more difficult to obtain than the others because he is not a free agent until the end of the 2009 season. Orioles GM Andy MacPhail wants to get an extension done soon and will not make any extensions once spring training signing. Maybe a deal for Javy Vazquez?

4. Coco Crisp
Boston looked to deal him throughout the 2008 season and it looks as if they are going to go with Jacoby Ellsbury as the everyday center fielder. They are also looking to obtain CC Sabathia and/or Mark Teixeira, so they will need to free up some space financially. Crisp hit .283 with an OBP of .344 and plays center really well. He would lead off and fit what the Sox need almost perfectly. This would make the plethora of platoon outfielders expendable.

3. Chone Figgins
The only way Figgins will be wearing a Sox uniform will be if the result of a domino effect of moves that happen around the league. As stated earlier, Boston and the Yankees have a lot of interest in Teixeira. If he heads east there is a hole at first for the Angels. Anaheim has always been interested in Paul Konerko and both Sun-Times writer Chris DeLuca and Tribune writer Mark Gonzales feel a deal like Figgins for Paulie could be in the works. While this would be a great fit, if not the best possible, I do not see this deal going through. Why Anaheim would pick up the last two years for a first basemen on a clear decline of his career in exchange for a do-it-all leadoff man who costs 1/3 the price is beyond me. Figgins had a poor year last season, but since he can play either second or third (two holes in the defense), as well as hit number-one in the order.

2. Garrett Atkins
This is relatively new news on the trade front. Like Taveras, Colorado is looking to move the 29-year-old (by opening day). Joe Crede is almost surely out because of injuries and the Boras factor. But enter Atkins, whose numbers have declined a bit the past two years, but we would be able to expect 20 homers, 100 RBI and a .280 average. The most important part is that Atkins has missed only 17 games the past three seasons. We have not seen that from a third baseman in a while. Maybe a deal exchanging Clayton Richard for Atkins might be worth it.

1. Orlando Hudson
This might be a surprise to people, but Hudson would be the biggest x-factor to the Sox season. The only setback to the O-Dog is that he seems to always be nicked up. But he is a fielder. There is no reason that it should weigh in on people's thoughts. Ankle injuries are going to hurt you yes. But after they are healed they are not going to factor in on your ability to play baseball. Hudson hit .307 had an OBP of .367 in the 2/3 he played this season and will fill in the leadoff spot well. He will also help in the field, being a three-time Gold Glover.

If the Sox can obtain two or three of the guys on this list, I honestly believe they will not only be a 90-win team, but one of the best teams in the AL.

Completely unrelated, check out Ricky's post on the Top Ten reasons why Madden is more fun than homework. Thanks for reading.