Will 2012 be the year for the “Lovable Losers” or the “South Side Sluggers”?

Chicago Cubs

I am sorry to break it to you, but the Cubs will not win a World Series this year or any time in the near future. They are in a rebuilding mode, attempting to turn their awful farm system into a big league squad that can somewhat compete in a very weak Central Division. But let’s not get away from the big picture here. Theo Epstein’s vision of turning the Cubs into a team that can sustain success for multiple decades and revamping the farm system from the bottom up is all in the best interest of the team; I guess a few more years of losing can’t hurt.

Over the past few years, I have really gotten a sense at what the Cubs organization is all about. When the Ricketts family was forced to bring in the all-star crew of Epstein and Jed Hoyer, I knew it was really bad. Something must be terribly wrong if the top headlines surrounding the organization revolve around all-star front office personnel and not all-star talent on the field. Its only a matter of time now before the dominoes start to fall and each level of the Cubs organization begins to takes shape.

What to look forward to- I really like what the Cubs are doing on the player development side. Up until this year, they had one of the worst player development systems in the league, destroying young talent by sending them up to the big leagues to early. But now under the management of Epstein, the system is starting to take shape. Ultimately structure was lacking, and I give the Ricketts family a lot of credit for bringing in the best guy to fix the problem. This year is really an experimentation of players and seeing which can withhold the duration of an entire season. One player that I am really looking forward to seeing come up from AAA-Iowa is Anthony Rizzo. The cubs acquired Rizzo in a trade with San Diego, with the goal of making him their first baseman of the future. He has the potential to be a big force in the big leagues, but hasn’t shown it quite yet. Although his big spring did help his cause, hitting .364 including five hits in 10 at-bats against lefties, he has to prove that he can do this on a consistent basis. If Bryan LaHair should struggle in the big leagues, Rizzo will absolutely get the call later in the year.

White Sox

I really thought the Sox had a playoff run in them last season, but I guess that didn’t pan out. With Mark Buehrle and Manager Ozzie Guillen leaving, I can’t see them even coming close to last season. There are just so many questions surrounding this team and being in a division as tough as the American League Central, I can almost guarantee you that the postseason is not in their future.

What to look forward to- I am really curious to see how the bullpen will do this year. Going into this season, the Sox really didn’t have a true closer to come in the ninth inning and shut down batters. They had a bunch of candidates but not a true guy. Also, I am dieing to see if Adam Dunn will rebound from his worst statistical season of his career. We all know that he has the potential to be great, but if he can’t become mentally ready, you can kiss the Soxs playoff chances goodbye.

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It Ain’t the Year…Again

by Brad Shulkin (ChicagoSportsWeekly)

God, there is so much to make of the Cubs this season. Will they be contenders in a Central Division that lacks a lot of power, especially with two of the best hitters in baseball, Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, leaving their respective teams to get more money? It’s very hard to say at this point in time, but I would’t bet on it. The Cubs are young, but not rebuilding, with guys like Alfonso Soriano and Marlon Byrd filling holes in the outfield until the younger guys can make the move up to the big leagues. Actually, on second thought, they are the holes, especially Soriano and his glove, which I am convinced has a giant hole right in the middle of it. But Cubs fans, don’t worry, he has shown great promise this Spring. Didn’t that happen last year as well?

Let me take some time to point out something that needs to be pointed out. For the first time since I was born, a little over 18 years ago, the line “THIS IS THE YEAR” has yet to be used. Maybe it’s Epstein’s aura in Chicago, or maybe Cubs fans finally realize that any team with Alfonso Soriano just can’t win. Or maybe it’s Carlos Zambrano, whose move to Miami sparked huge expectations for a championship this year. God, I always knew Carlos was special. Being a fan for all my life, I still can’t fully understand the makeup of a Cubs fan, sitting at Wrigley day in and day out, rooting for their team that no matter what, will still continue to lose.

Over the past few years, I have really seen first hand at what the Cubs organization is all about. But when the Ricketts family was forced to bring in the all-star crew of Epstein and Jed Hoyer, I knew that it was bad. It says a lot about an organization when the top headlines for the year surround all-star front office men, and not all-star talent on the field. I absolutely won’t be betting on the Cubs to even make the playoffs, even with the new rule, which sends two wildcard teams to the post season.

Now lets get serious.  I really like what the Cubs are doing on the player development side. I have said this for years, but until the Cubs revamp their minor league system and start from scratch, they will never win a World Series. Up until this year, they had one of the worst player development systems in the league, destroying young talent by sending them up to the big leagues to early in their careers. But now under the management of Theo, the system is starting to take shape. Ultimately structure was lacking, and I give the Ricketts family a lot of credit for bringing in the best guy to fix the problem.

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First Baseman Anthony Rizzo

In terms of the Cubs ability to compete on the field this year, I would say not a chance. A lot of this year will be dedicated towards experimentation to see which players are at the level to play in the big leagues. Although Theo and Jed have said that they are not in a rebuilding mode numerous times, I still can’t buy it 100 percent. I think that to create a proven winner that will contend for numerous years to come, they need to experiment with the players they have and see which ones are big league ready.

One guy I would watch out for this year is Anthony Rizzo. The Cubs recently just sent him down to the minor leagues, but we all know at some point in the season, he will be back up. The cubs acquired Rizzo in a trade with San Diego, with the goal of making him their first baseman of the future. He has the potential to be a big force in the big leagues, but hasn’t shown it quite yet. Although his big spring did help his cause, hitting .364 including five hits in 10 at-bats against lefties, he has to prove that he can do this on a consistent basis. If Bryan LaHair should struggle in the big leagues, Rizzo will absolutely get the call later in the year.

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Jets Introduce Tebow To New York

Speaking at news conference in the Jets’ field house, because the media crush so great the session couldn’t be held in the team’s normal press room, the headline-grabbing New York backup QB went out of his way to play down any conflict between himself and starter Mark Sanchez.

CBS Chicago

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Tim Tebow got his first New York close-up Monday.

And he handled it all with the same cool approach — smiling, polite, composed — that has won over so many football fans around the country.

Speaking at news conference in the Jets’ field house, because the media crush so great the session couldn’t be held in the team’s normal press room, the headline-grabbing New York backup QB went out of his way to play down any conflict between himself and starter Mark Sanchez.

“Me and Mark have a great relationship,” Tebow said. “We’ve been friends the past three years and have already texted back and forth. We are going to have a great working relationship and I think we’ll have a lot of fun together.”

Acquired last Wednesday from Denver, the exciting but flawed quarterback is coming off a season of incredible comebacks with the…

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“To illustrate what kind of circus Tebow brings with him, the Jets are having a press conference to introduce a back up QB.”

Ball So Hard

The three-ring circus that is Tebow-mania is packing up and headed to New York.  I find this to be a very odd move, especially in light of the fractured locker room that the New York Jets had this past season.  Much of that dysfunction centered around Santonio Holmes’ dissatisfaction with the play of starting QB Mark Sanchez.  As awful as Sanchez was at times, he was never as bad as Tim Tebow.  Sanchez only completed 56% of his passes in 2011 but that was still better than the 46% that Tebow put up for the Denver Broncos.  Does the Jets front office really think that Holmes would be happy with Tebow skipping passes in the turf?

I find it even stranger that the Jets would invest so much money in Sanchez to ensure that he is their starter for at least the next 2-3 seasons and then invite the circus…

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Penn State warned about Jerry Sandusky’s behaviour in 1998 : report

National Post | Sports

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — A psychologist who looked into a 1998 allegation against former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky told police at the time that his behavior fit the profile of a likely pedophile, NBC News reported Saturday.

Yet Sandusky was not criminally charged, nor placed on a state registry of suspected child abusers, and prosecutors say he continued assaulting boys for more than a decade until his arrest in November.

NBC obtained a copy of the campus police department’s investigatory report on an encounter in which Sandusky was accused of having inappropriate contact with an 11-year-old boy with whom he had showered naked on the Penn State campus.

[np-related]

The police file includes the report of State College psychologist Alycia Chambers, who interviewed and provided counseling to the boy.

“My consultants agree that the incidents meet all of our definitions, based on experience and education, of a…

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Loyalty Over Rings

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By Brad Shulkin (ChicagoSportsWeekly)

The 2012 NBA trade deadline came and went. The Dwight Howard season-long saga ended in the not so dramatic fashion that most of us could have expected. His decision to not opt out of his current contract and instead remain with the Orlando Magic through next season showed loyalty to the organization that drafted him almost eight years ago, something LeBron James failed to recognize during his Decision.

Howard’s decision probably saved the Magic organization from years of losing, as he is the reason the team continues to win. Aside from him, a supporting cast of Ryan Anderson and Hedo Turkoglu doesn’t form a team that could take down the Bulls or Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. Although the Magic have beaten the Heat twice in three possible games this season, I don’t see them pulling the upset in a seven game series. Just look at the Bulls last year when they swept the Heat in the regular season and lost in the playoffs to them in five games.

Although we can all say that the Magic are better after this year’s trade deadline, since having Superman is better than not, they are still not in the position to win, as they failed to add another star that could assist Howard down the stretch.

Out of all the teams in the NBA, the New Jersey Nets had the largest effect on Howard’s decision, and that’s not a good thing. If you remember last season, the Nets sent the Utah Jazz young talent in Derrick Favors, Devin Harris and two first-round draft picks for all-star point guard Deron Williams. It looks like a whole lot to give up, but it was all in the best interest of the organization, as their plan was to lure Dwight Howard in the summer of 2012 into playing with Williams in Brooklyn, where the team will be moving next season.

Well, that plan is out the door, and so is Williams. Williams is a free agent after this season, and all indications point to him heading back home to play for the Dallas Mavericks, the team he grew up watching. The Nets will head into their new arena next season with no superstar to headline their team, the worse possible scenario anyone could have drawn up. The Nets lost a lot of young talent and years of rebuilding with nothing to show for it. Dwight Howard might have made his hometown Magic very happy, but he probably just hurt the Nets franchise for a very long time.

Even when the time comes again for Dwight to make the decision between loyalty and winning, it is going to be very hard for the Nets to recruit him, as their team will probably be worse than the Magic come this time next season. I guess the saying “money gets you everything you want in life” is not always true. Sorry, Mikhail Prokhorov.

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March 23, 2012 · 6:00 pm

Jeremy Lin- Superior Lintellect

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March 10, 2012 · 5:52 pm