Thursday, February 12, 2009

Top Ten Chicago Bulls First Half Stats

Tonight's matchup against the Miami Heat is the Bulls last game before the All-Star break. Again the Bulls will not be sending a representative to the All-Star Game and we're stuck in the hell that is mediocrity.

So what do we know about this team?

Taking a look at the numbers can help you answer that question, so here are the Top Ten Chicago Bulls First Half Stats.


Counting tonight, Larry Hughes has missed the last 15 games of the season.

You had to know this is how the Hughes experiment in Chicago would end up.

Remember, we're talking about a guy who said that he'd rather be on a losing team averaging over 20 points a game than a role player for a good team.

Pax is going to have to perform a miracle to get this guy out of town.


Johnny Red Kerr was the Chicago Bulls first coach.

'Big Red' is as much a part of this team's culture as the Bull itself is.

The ceremony held in his honor this week is something every Bulls fan should see at least once.


Ben Gordon has two four-point plays this season.

Even more importantly, both came with only seconds remaining on the clock.

Gordon is one of the most frustrating players I can remember. On the one hand, he can score at will and when Gordon heats up it's lights out.

But on the other, he can't play defense and is one of the most selfish guys on the floor.

He needs a change of scenery, but ideally I think that Ben would be an unreal 6th man for team heading to the playoffs.

18.5 & 11.3

Points and rebounds Tyrus Thomas is averaging over the past four contests.

A little motivated by the trade rumors Ty-Riser?

No matter what the cause, it's nice to see Thomas produce like we had been hoping for since coming out of LSU. I'd still love to know who convinced him to become a spot up shooter, but his ability to rebound and finish at the rim is just what the Bulls need to make a second half push.


9-19 - Bulls Road Record

The Bulls will never become an elite team until they learn how to win on the road.

There were some signs of improvement on their recent road trip, but not enough to be considered a playoff contender.

52 vs. 778

Total games Vinny Del Negro has coached vs. how many Mike D'Antoni has coached.

This really doesn't have anything to do with D'Antoni. It simply serves as a method of comparison to illustrate how inexperienced My Coach Vinny really is.

It's tough to watch him struggle through tight games, but even tougher to allow him time to learn.

But what I really want to know is how the Chicago Bulls head coaching job became such a joke in the NBA. We're talking about the last dynasty in the NBA, 6 World Championships, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, etc...And we end up with a guy who's never even held a clipboard?

Total number of trades made by John Paxson.

At the start of the season, everyone knew that because the Bulls drafted Derrick Rose, Paxson would need to make a trade to clear up the backcourt.

Um, still waiting Pax.

Much has been made of his inability to pull the trigger even when the Golden Goose is in his cross hairs, so we'll leave that alone.

But if he wants to keep that job, Pax needs to make a move.



The Bulls are 2 games behind the Milwaukee Bucks for the 8th spot in the East.

You've got to love the East right?

The Milwaukee Bucks have lost Michael Redd for the season, Andrew Bogut for eight weeks, Luke Ridnour for 4 and are single-handedly keeping the Bulls playoff hopes alive.

It seems like the Bulls have perfected the art of backing into the playoffs and this year doesn't look to be any different.

16.9 - 6.3 - 2.5

Derrick Rose's season averages (points, assists, turnovers).

How would you rate Derrick Rose's first half season in the NBA?

If you consider it anything less than impressive I implore you to explain to me why. Outside of a few rough patches here and there every rookie goes through, Rose has been the most consistent player on the team. His acceleration up the court is something that needs to be seen to be believed and that mid range jumper is starting to fall more consistently.

Derrick Rose is no joke, he's the real deal and we should all take a second and think about how this team would have been if that ping pong ball didn't bounce our way.

Overall Record

The bottom line.

And in reality, this is about where I expected them to be. Rookie point guard, rookie coach, overpaid veterans, contract years, injuries included, I'm half surprised by that record.

There's a lot of work that needs to be done, but I'm not willing to tow the Bears kind of 'We're almost there' motto just yet. Pax desperately needs to clear some cap space, pull off some moves that compliment Rose and then we can get started.

Hang in there Bulls fans.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Top ten Chicago athletes who should probably take steriods

10. Juan Pierre

With steroids...

Maybe Pierre could be something other than a punchline.

9. Tyson Chandler

With steroids...

Maybe Tyson could have spared the Bulls from the Ben Wallace Era.

8. Patrick Kane

With steroids...

Maybe the added strength could make Kane one of the league's most dominant scoreers.

7. Scott Podsednik

With steroids...

Maybe Scotty Pods could have top his 2005 regular season home run total: 0.

6. Paul Edinger

With steroids....

Maybe Corkscrew wouldn't have always been so short on kickoffs.

5. Josh Fields

With steroids....

Maybe Fields could revert back to the form he showed in the second half of 2006.

4. Kyle Orton

With steroids....

Maybe Orton could complete a pass longer than 15 yards.

3. Joakim Noah

With steroids...

Maybe Joakim could be the defensive anchor in the middle the Bulls desperately need.

2. Mike Brown

With steroids...

Maybe Brown could have come back from injury quicker.

1. Mark Grace

With steroids....

Maybe Grace could have been a Hall of Famer with the added power.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Top Ten Chicago Teasers

The focus of this list is on young guys who had one really good season in Chicago, but then, for a variety of reasons, were never really heard from again.

10. Anthony Thomas The “A-Train” was a key member of the 2001 Bears who took the league by surprise in going 13-3. Thomas rushed for nearly 1200 yards that season and won the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. With the Bears’ struggles the next few years came Thomas’ own struggles. Three unproductive years later he was gone, and last season was out of football.

9. Jay Williams His individual statistics (10 points, five assists) may not have been overly impressive as a rookie, especially when you think about the numbers Derrick Rose is putting up now. Still, the majority of Bulls fans and people around the league felt like Williams was on the path to stardom. Think a less quick Chris Paul with a better jump shot. We all know what happened next. A motorcycle accident cost Williams his career, and set the Bulls franchise back a few more years.

8. Mark Anderson After coming out of nowhere to record 12 sacks as a situational pass rusher in his rookie year, Anderson’s problems began when he was named a starter over Alex Brown heading into 2007. These last two years Anderson has really struggled, recording only six sacks total. There’s even more than a good chance that Anderson, once regarded as the next Dwight Freeney, might not be in the Bears’ plans for next season.

7. Brandon McCarthy Remember when Kenny Williams said McCarthy was untouchable the offseason after the Sox won the World Series? Even though he made only 12 starts and wasn’t on the team’s playoff roster, McCarthy appeared to have future stud written all over him. An up and down next season had the organization cooling on his potential. Williams then pulled a shocker by trading McCarthy to Texas for a mediocre prospect named John Danks, a move that upset most Sox fans at the time.

6. Corey Patterson
He’s a running joke in Chicago now, but people forget that Patterson actually had two pretty decent years with the Cubs from 2003-2004. In ’03, he was hitting right around .300 before he got injured halfway though the season and the next year he hit 24 home runs from his leadoff spot. Once considered a five-tool player and can’t miss prospect, the Cubs finally gave up on Patterson’s potential and traded him after the ’05 season to Baltimore.

5. Marcus Robinson Drafted by the Bears in the fourth round of the 1997 NFL Draft, Robinson set a club record with 84 catches, 1400 yards and nine touchdowns his second year in the league. His ability to catch the deep ball that season made rookie quarterback Cade McNown look well, not totally awful. After that breakout year, Robinson was never the same, as injuries slowed him down. He officially retied from the league last June.

4. Elton Brand
Brand was the only reason to watch the Bulls in 2000, becoming just the second rookie in league history to average 20 points and 10 rebounds. After a second solid year in Chicago, it appeared the Bulls had found their franchise player. That is until, Jerry Krause got involved. For some reason I still don’t understand, Krause felt like Brand would never be able to carry a team by himself, and traded him on draft night for the rights to Tyson Chandler. I know that Brand has been injured the last two seasons, but didn’t I hear that the Bulls have been desperately looking for a low-post scorer for some time now?

3. Rich Hill
Trying to solve the mysterious case of Hill is now no longer the Cubs’ problem, as they basically gave him to the Orioles for nothing. In 2007, his second full year in the league, Hill was the Cubs’ second-best starter, going 11-8 with a 3.92 E.R.A. It’s still puzzling what happened next. After having problems finding the strike zone in his first few starts last season, he was sent back down to triple-A Iowa, and then later to Rookie ball in Mesa.

2. Charlie Weis Okay, obviously not a young Chicago athlete, but how could you leave Weis off this list? His first year at Notre Dame, Weis put the Irish back on the college football map. It took him only seven games to earn a new 10-year contract. Now, after a combined record of 10-15 these past two seasons, Weis quickly went from being a coaching genius to a guy who is very much on the coaching hot seat.

1. Mark Prior Definitely the ultimate teaser. Prior’s ridiculous 2003 season (18-6, 2.43 ERA) had Cubs fans envisioning great things from this dynamic young power pitcher. Injuries ended up ruining his career way too soon. If Prior had stayed healthy, it’s likely the Cubs would not still be waiting 101 years and counting for a World Series title.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Top ten Chicago NBA All-Star event performances

The all-star game is next week, and while I can almost guarantee you I won't be watching any of it willingly, many actually look forward to the plethora of events. While there has not been much to celebrate all-star game-wise with the Bulls for the larger part of the decade, they do have a pretty rich tradition of great performers. Below are the top ten.

10. Tyrus Thomas- 2007 Slam Dunk Competitor

He didn't win, he didn't even qualify for the next round, but one thing is certain, those shoes were off da hook!

9. Craig Hodges 1990-92 Three-Point Champion

He and Larry Legend are the only guys in the NBA to have won three three-point contests. Unfortunately, in actual games he never got quite the looks he did in these contests.

8. Michael Jordan 1987 Slam Dunk Champ

"His Air-ness" first took off in a dunk contest and took title one of two.

7. Jordan 1998 MVP
Jordan scored a modest 23 in what should have been his final ASG game in a 135-114 rout of the West.

6. Elton Brand 2000 Rookies game
Then-rookie Brand scored 16 and a game-high 21 rebounds (12 offensive) in the inaugural Rookie/Sophomore showdown.

5. Steve Kerr 1997 Three-Point Champ
This is the last time I actually watched the 3P-comp, but Kerr was simply on fire, edging Tim Legler in the title.

4. Jordan 1988 Slam Dunk Champ

Posters of his free-throw line dunk have hung on kids walls for decades after this competition. The "Jumpman" logo is around because of that epic showdown with him and Dominique.

3. Jordan 1996 MVP

There might be a little bias here, especially because he only scored 20. But the reason he is this high is mainly because of those aqua jerseys. Seriously, I would pay good money to get a replica.

2. Scottie Pippen 1994 MVP
While Pip played second-fiddle to MJ for over a decade, he took advantage of Jordan's first retirement by becoming the '94 ASG MVP. Scottie scored 29 and grabbed 11 boards in the 127-118 East win.

1. Michael Jordan 1988 MVP
MJ just did what he always did, dominate at home. He scored 40 and had eight assists to lead the East. While he won the dunk contest the season before, this surely had to be the "this guy is for real" game.

**Side Note: Listen to the names of some of the other guys on this east squad: Larry Bird, Danny Ainge, Doc Rivers, Brad Daughterty, Kevin McHale and Mo Cheeks. Notice a theme of any sort?

Friday, February 6, 2009

Top ten reasons Michael Jordan was better than Kobe and LeBron

After Kobe Bryant scored 61 versus the Knicks on Monday night, the discussion began that maybe he was a better player than Jordan. Then two nights later at Madison Square Garden, LeBron James came in and dropped 52 points to go along with 11 assists and 10 rebounds, and the talk got even louder that MJ wasn’t at the level of these current superstars. Problem is, all these talkers lack a long-term memory. Here are ten reasons that Air Jordan was better than both Kobe and the King.

(Note: This isn’t saying James (age 24) or Bryant (30) will never be better than MJ, just that right now they aren’t at that level.)

10: Jordan made every battle a personal one

One of Jordan’s best attributes was that he always found a way to tell himself he was being disrespected. Isaiah Thomas wouldn’t pass him the ball during the ’85 All-Star Game, so MJ made it his life mission to torment the Pistons guard, going as far as to forcing USA Basketball to leave Thomas off the Dream Team if they wanted MJ to play. Yet time after time Shaq has called out Kobe in public, and the Lakers star has never responded with a huge game versus O’Neal’s team. Michael never would have stood for that.

9: Jordan faced tougher defenses

During MJ’s career, teams were allowed to hand check offensive players and play the Bad Boys/ Pat Riley kinds of physical defense. Now, if LeBron is touched anywhere inside the three-point arc, he goes to the free throw line. Yet Jordan still averaged more than 30 points a game over the course of his career in the regular season and over 33 in the playoffs.

8: Jordan was in Space Jam

Are you telling me that LeBron James and four cartoon characters would be able to beat a MonStar lineup of Shawn Bradley, Patrick Ewing, Charles Barkley, Larry Johnson and Muggsy Bogues? I doubt it.

7: Jordan evolved his game

Starting off, Michael was a drive to the basket player who had solid- but not spectacular- range on his jump shot. As he matured as a player and some of his athleticism vanished, he added a pull up jumper, some post moves, and most famously, a completely un-guardable fadeaway. Both Kobe and LeBron are young enough that they can get by on their raw skills, as well as improving every season themselves. It still remains to be seen though when those two lose some of their athletic skills if they will be able to adjust like Jordan did.

6: Jordan carried a bigger burden

No offense to Scottie Pippen (one of the top five players of the 1990’s), Dennis Rodman (best rebounder ever) and Jud Buechler (the whitest player ever), but Michael was never surrounded by the greatest talent, especially in the frontcourt. On the other hand, Kobe spent the first half of his career alongside the leagues most dominant player, Shaq, and has also played with fellow All-Stars Gary Payton, Karl Malone and Pau Gasol. LeBron, you get a break on this one.

5: Jordan came first (on the court)

When Mike came into the league, there was nobody for him to model his game after. He was the first dynamic shooting guard who could dominate by attacking the basket since Elgin Baylor, who had been retired for 13 years when MJ joined the Bulls. Kobe and LeBron on the other hand had the pleasure of watching and studying Jordan, a reason MJ’s influence is alive in both players’ games today.

4: Jordan came first (off the court)

Would Kobe have his own line of Nike sneakers without Jordan coming first? Who knows. Would LeBron have jersey number 23 if MJ hadn’t done it before him? Can’t say. Would either player be wearing baggy shorts were it not for Michael making that a must in the NBA? Beats me. The point is, Jordan made as much of an impact off the court as anybody before or after him in basketball history.

3: Jordan was clutch

What was the biggest shot of Jordan’s career? The debate could last for hours, with arguments to be made for his three-pointer to win the Flu Game in ’97, ‘The Shot’ over Craig Ehlo that took out Cleveland in ’89, his baseline jumper for North Carolina in the ’82 NCAA Final or his steal, crossover and jump shot in ’98 that gave the Bulls championship number six. And that’s just the four most memorable plays. Kobe is a great end-of-game player and LeBron is getting there, but neither is on MJ’s level when the clock is ticking down.

2: Jordan played better defense

Both James and Bryant are great defenders, often times locking down their opponents’ best player. But they never got into players heads on the defensive end like Mike did. Does anybody realize that Jordan is #2 all-time in NBA history with 2,514 steals in 15 seasons? Bryant, in his 12th year in the league, has a little over half that many (1,380).

1: Jordan was a winner

Michael was the best player on six NBA championship teams. So far, Kobe has been the second best player for three titles and most recently lost by 39 points in the deciding game of the ’08 Finals. LeBron almost single-handedly got Cleveland to the ‘07 Finals, where his team was swept. Until either the Lakers or Cavaliers begin taking annual champagne showers in mid-June like Jordan did, the original #23 will still be the best.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Top Ten Sporting Events Until the NFL Season Begins

With the NFL season now officially at its end, fans are now in sports purgatory.

Sundays lose all meaning and now the projects around the house that had been put off since September are calling your name.

What to do?

To help you through these troubled times, here are the Top Ten Sporting Events Until the NFL Season Begins.

10. Wimbledon
June 22 - July 5

Granted, I chose to include Wimbledon for the sole purpose of displaying the Ana Ivanovic picture above.

But Wimbledon is the grand daddy of all tennis tournaments and the passing of the torch between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal may be complete when it's all said and done.

That is, if it hasn't already.

9. The Masters
April 10 - 13

Of the four major golf tournaments each year, the Masters truly stands alone.

Even more so in 2009 because it should be the first major Tiger Woods participates in since his infamous victory at Torrey Pines in the 2008 U.S. Open. All eyes will be on the man who single-handedly allows golf to remain one of the top sports in the world.

I wonder what dramatics he's got in store for us this time around.

8. NBA Draft
June 25

Another night of entertainment at the Garden, where Knicks fans will undoubtedly boo their team's pick until the lights go out.

Stephen A. Smith will be screaming for some Cheese Doodles and we'll hear constant references to wingspan, basketball IQ, tremendous upside potential and any other basketball cliche you could possibly imagine.

It doesn't get any better than this.

7. NFL Draft
April 25 - 26

As we speak, Mel Kiper Jr. and his freakishly helmet head of hair are poring over game film, stats, interviews and who knows what else in preparation for the 2009 NFL Draft.

Who's going number one? Who's going to be the last to leave the green room?

All I know is that 98% of fans will be disappointed with who their team selects.

6. Kentucky Derby
May 2

Buy yourself the most absurd hat you can possibly find and hit up the ATM before heading over to the Derby party you'll be attending this year. Bets will be flying and you'll probably find yourself rooting for a one eyed horse that can barely make it out of the gate.

It's amazing what money can make men do.

5. Daytona 500
February 19

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines.

While NASCAR doesn't get the love some feel it deserves around here at TTCS, it would be a mistake to not include the sport's biggest event. It's first up on our schedule here, so luckily you won't have to wait too long.

But is there any other sport (???) on the planet that starts its season with their version of the Super Bowl?

4. NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs
For those of you in Chicago, get ready to see the Blackhawks make their triumphant return to the postseason.

Playoff hockey is dynamite television and even the most casual NHL fan should tune in as often as possible.

3. NBA Finals
June 4 - 18

The way things are looking, the Lakers will probably have to square off against the Spurs to get to the Finals and the Cavs and Celtics will duel it out in the East.

Personally, I'm rooting for a Cavs - Lakers matchup pitting Kobe against 'Bron.

Kobe drops 63 out in the land of the stars and King James follows up with an unthinkable triple-double of 52 points, 19 rebounds, 13 assists in Cleveland.

Is that something you might be interested in?

2. Opening Day
April 6

The boys of summer finally start their marathon of a season and ESPN kicks into full blown East Coast bias for the next six months.

All I know is that Opening Day signifies that Summer is on its way and it's time to dust of the bags set (cornhole for you weirdos), fire up the grill, kick back with some cold ones and turn on the White Sox game.

This, my friends, is what I live for.

1. NCAA Tournament
March 17 - April 6

By far the most important event on this list.

Amateur bracketologists across the country will be wasting their company's money by obsessing over their brackets on the internet.

This year should be especially entertaining because there's been so much turnover atop the Top 25. Could this be the year that Cinderella finally takes it down?

Probably not, but as long as the Tar Heels are out well before the Final Four I'll be a happy camper.

Honorable Mentions: NBA All-Star festivities - February 15
MLB All Star festivities - July 14

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Top ten worst Chicago assistant coaches

10. Nardi Contreras

It seems weird now, but there was a time when the Sox couldn't just trade for a high velocity, poor control pitcher and figure 'Eh, Coop will straighten him out". Don Cooper got his job as the Sox pitching coach in 2002 when Contreras was axed. That's what you get for trusting Todd Ritchie, apparently.

9. Gary Crowton

Crowton came to the Bears in 1999 with the potential to be their first innovative offensive coordinator in years. Unfortunately for Chicago, "innovative" meant throwing bubble screens to Dez White on 3rd and 9. Spoiler alert: Crowton isn't the only former Bears' OC on this list.

8. Gary Matthews, Sr.

Matthews couldn't get the Cubbies to hit, but, well, there's this....

Matthews' prominent rise as a color commentator has been attributed to his stunning fedora collection.
How did the world function before Wikipedia?

7. Bill Cartwright

Long before he was a crappy head coach, Bill Cartwright was a pretty bad assistant. The man was hired to tutor Eddy Curry and Tyson Chandler on the finer aspects of being an NBA big man. That's all you need to know.

6. Bob Babich


5. Tracy Webster

The Illini's recent recruiting resurgence has been largely credited to new assistant coach Jerrance Howard. If you're wondering why all this didn't happen after, say, that little Final Four run a few years back, it's because Howard had yet to exist (figureatively speaking). Webster used to be Bruce Weber's go-to recruit man, but unfortunately all that meant was that the state's top ballers would go to (see what I did there?) other schools.

4. Jim Boylan

Shocking and pathetic. Those two words not only describe the immortal Jim "I still won't give Tyrus minutes even though we've been mathmatically eliminated for two weeks" Boylan, but also the fact that there have actually been three assistant coaches worse than him in recent years. Only in Chicago sports.

3. Terry Shea

If Al Saunders could turn Priest Holmes and the Chiefs into an unstoppable offensive juggarnaut, then maybe his top offensive positional coach could do the same thing to the Bears, right!? Right? Um, no. Although, as a rule, I think it's a tad unfair judge an offensive coordinator who had to work with Jonathan Quinn and Craig Krenzel at quarterback.

On second thought....

Shea was the driving force behind the Bears signing Quinn in the first place! Barf.

2. Wendell Kim

To steal/modify an old Bill Simmons joke...

If Wendell Kim was a school crossing guard, little kids would be getting pancaked by SUVs like Big Cat Williams in his prime.

Another reason to hate "Waivin' Wendell": he's only 5-5! Booooooooo, short people.

1. John Shoop

The meat in this turd sandwich is none other than John Shoop, our pick as the worst Chicago sports assistant coach in recent memory.

I just want to know how Shoop Dogg even got the gig in the first place. When Dick Jauron was interviewing new offensive coordinator candidates and asked "We're down by seven on the road in the fourth quarter against the Packers. It's 3rd and 8. What play do you call.", did Shoop flat out lie ("Chuck it deeeeep, brah!") or was "three yard hitch to Dustin Lyman" really the answer Jauron was looking for?

Fire Matt Millen doesn't exist without Fire John Shoop, I assure you.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Top Ten reasons why Kenny Williams is the man

The Cubs have dominated the headlines in Chicago this baseball offseason, while the Sox have quietly flown under the radar. For the first time since Kenny Williams became the White Sox general manager, he didn’t make a major move in the offseason.

On paper, the Sox look worse than last year’s overachieving 89-win team. Still, like Paul Konerko said last weekend at SoxFest, Williams’ recent track record warrants giving him the benefit of the doubt. In fact, I can’t think of more than two or three GMs I’d rather have running my team. Here are 10 reasons why Kenny Williams is the man.

10. He doesn’t give up on players
My guess would be that a lot of other GMs would have gotten impatient with the unfulfilled potential that guys like Jon Garland and Joe Crede teased Sox fans with for so long. Williams stuck with both of them when most fans were ready to give up on each. You know how the rest turned out, with Garland posting consecutive 18-win seasons, and Crede solidifying himself as one of the game’s best third basemen before his injury troubles.

9. He can be a hothead Remember in 2006 when Williams referred to Frank Thomas, in response to comments Thomas made about the organization, as an “idiot” and “selfish” and said no one in the White Sox organization would miss him? While his choice of words was maybe a little over the top, the message was sent: Williams won’t back down from anybody, even arguably the franchise’s all-time best player.

8. He’s honest with his players and the media When Jermaine Dye was rumored to be in trade talks this offseason with the Reds, Williams was up front with him about what was going on. Players respect that. Too many GMs are just the opposite. With the media, Williams isn’t afraid to call out his team to perform better or even put the onus on individual players without referring to them directly by name. We don’t see enough brutal honesty from high-up people in sports. That’s why Williams is so refreshing.

7. He “discovered” Alexei Ramirez Ramirez’s 4-year $4.75 million dollar deal makes him one of the best bargains in baseball. Williams beat out eight other teams for Ramirez’s services. The Sox now have their shortstop of the future, thanks to Williams and his scouting department.

6. He has made very few bad moves Off the top of my head, I can think of only three real bad moves Williams has made since becoming the Sox GM in 2001; trading Kip Wells and Josh Fogg for Todd Ritchie, trading Billy Koch for Keith Foulke and trading some of his top prospects for Nick Swisher. Considering that he has completed several blockbuster moves since becoming the Sox GM, that’s a very impressive track record.

5. He isn’t afraid to give unproven players a chance
The Sox will likely go into this season with big question marks at second base, third base, centerfield, and the back end of the rotation. Rather than overpay for veterans, Williams is making the right move by showing confidence in guys like Jerry Owens, Josh Fields, Chris Getz, Brent Lillbridge, Aaron Poreda and Brian Anderson. Even with that, Williams has been quick to point out the Sox aren’t rebuilding, and he’s right. They still have enough to win the AL Central and at the same time find out what their young guys can do.

4. He helped break the 88-year curse I would argue Williams played as big a role as anyone in the Sox World Series title. That offseason, he completely changed the Sox from a team that relied on power to a team built on pitching, defense, and small ball, with some power mixed in. He brought in A.J., Dye, Iguchi, Podsednik, El Duque, Hermanson, and Jenks. The previous year Williams also traded for Garcia and Contreras to build a rotation that was the best in baseball in 2005.

3. He isn’t afraid to take risks Just a month into the job, Williams set the tone for his aggressive style by pulling the Mike Sirotka for David Wells trade with Toronto. While some of his moves have had better results than others, I think it’s fair to say if not for Williams’ “no guts, no glory” approach, the Sox wouldn’t have had winning records in six of the past seven seasons.

2. He hired Ozzie Guillen Not too many general managers would have had the guts to hire Guillen, especially after it was reported Guillen and Williams got into an argument during their interview. Even though Ozzie has gone overboard a couple of times, he has given the Sox an identity in a market where the Cubs always seemed to grab all the headlines even when they were losing. If not for Williams’ risky move, we never would have been lucky enough to enjoy one of the coolest personalities in all of sports.

1. He made three absolute “steal” trades What would the Sox look like right now without Carlos Quentin, Gavin Floyd and John Danks? Well, let’s just say they would be closer to the Royals than to the top of the AL Central. At the time, people in Chicago criticized Williams for trading away Freddy Garcia, who played a big role in the Sox 2005 title, and Brandon McCarthy, the organization’s top prospect. However, Williams has had the last laugh.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Top ten things to do now that football is over

The football season finally came to a close last night as ____ topped ____ by a score of ___ to ___ (I wrote this well before the game even started and chances are I won't come back to edit).

To be honest, these past few weeks, I hardly realized there was still a game to be played, so some of these things I have been doing since the Bears got waxed by the Andre Johnson's, an event that feels like occurred eight months ago. Below are ten things we can do to pass the time until the 2009 season.

10. Start a Madden dynasty of your own
Many NFL fans have Madden; it goes hand-in-hand. So start a new dynasty and talk about it at work like it's a real team. Treat it like your baby, like Angelo treats the Bears.

9. Go to Church
No "The game is at 12" excuses anymore. Go to mass, the Man is so mad at you. Atheist football fans, just keep doin' what you're doin'.

8. Study for exams
Midterms are this week for many young college students on the quarter system, and even those that go to schools with the traditional course layout, tests are coming up sooner than you think. There will be no distractions. Or at the very least, study the Madden guide to improve the dynasty you are to be pimping.

7. Calculate your Pro-Bowl bets
The only way I am watching the Pro-Bowl is if some NFL official personally hands me money and says "Please bet on our game with this." I would surely take the "over" on such bets as "Amount of players who will back out of the game +/- 25" and the "under" on "times a defense blitzes +/- 2."

6. Come up with top ten lists of your own
With the recent departures of Zach Martin and Scott Phillips, we are possibly looking for a guy who is willing to come in from the bullpen and create with a list once every few weeks. (Like a 2005 Neal Cotts, not 2007 or even 2008 for that matter). That person could be you! Grandpa, you want in???

5. Get ready for the Rookie/Sophomore Showdown
With no Bulls in the the All-Star game for possibly the last time (Everybody shed a tear for 11-year-occurrence) why not watch King Rose lead a freshmen team that is three-times more talented than a Bulls squad he plays on now. What is truly sad is the fact that Noah didn't make the lowly sophomore squad.

4. Watch Kiper and McShay duke it out
For those of you football die-hards that can't hear enough about third-string tight ends from Oregon or back-up kickers who declared early, then this should be your #1. To me, these guys are totally pointless. And they did it to themselves, for this simple reason: They update their mock drafts more often than some people go to the bathroom. McShay dropped Crabtree three spots to Oakland recently. Why? Did Todd wake up and like Mark Sanchez a little more that morning? And then they decide to argue about it, which is ridiculous because by the time the whole thing is all said-and-done, the first ten picked were in eight different spots of Kiper's top-ten at some point in this whole time. This is making getting me upset, don't do #4.

3. Gear up for Spring Training
I cannot wait for baseball to start. So much of my life will change. Sports Center will once again become my most-viewed TV show, and this feeling of extreme boredom caused by basketball and hockey will be no more. While the Cubs are the cream of the NL crop (ask Kenny), the Sox, though typically unpredictable, I cannot say the same for.

2. Pick up fantasy earnings
Fantasy football has been over for a month at the earliest now and while I did not have a lot of success, many of you readers probably did. There is on occasion however, a problem with actually getting the money. I won a league a few years back and had to wait until early April to get my winnings because my clown of a commissioner decided to take the money with him to Vegas, where he just so happened to have blown it all away (He's actually a nice guy and has since ridded himself of the "clown" status). Colleague Ricky O'D is backing out of a baseball league he has competed in for numerous years now because he is yet to be paid for winning his fantasy football league with the same group of guys (He drafted Tom Brady with his first pick too).

1. T.O.-TV

This says it all.