Thursday, March 29, 2007

My New Gig.

So I will be covering the Bears for Sweet Home Sports. Check it out.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Lance Briggs Is Losing The Hearts And Minds.

In sports, contract negotiations are always about the money. When it isn't about the money, it's about 'respect.' 'Respect' is easily quantified through dollar amounts, so 'respect' is also, always about the money. On the rare occasion 'respect' isn't totally about money paid, it's about being 'The Man.'

The amount of money it takes for an athlete to feel respected is difficult enough for your average fan to understand, let alone empathize with when they threaten a hold out.

And when an athlete says this, it is REALLY hard to believe all they care about is winning, which, as a fan, is really all I care about.

"I've talked to Brian about it," said Briggs. "I'm a competitor and I want the same thing he has. I've learned a lot from Brian as a player and a leader and I eventually want to be 'the man' somewhere. I want to be like him and have everything put on me too. Obviously I'll never be able to do that there.

"Still, had the Bears made me a long-term offer that I found acceptable, I probably would have sacrificed this desire and stayed. I don't want to be somewhere I'm not wanted long-term."

What does that mean exactly? Being a starting linebacker on a Superbowl team isn't cool enough for you? You don't get enough commercials? You want to play defense all by yourself? One on eleven? That'll show 'em who's 'The Man.'

Again, the money I can understand, a player has to max out the money he can make. It's a short life playing football. I even like the attitude, the high performance he thinks he is capable of.

That's not what this is though, at least not all of it. This is Briggs sounding spoiled, arrogant, jealous and ungrateful towards teammates that had a lot to do with his success.

More thoughts on Lance by superior writers:
Foul Balls
Sweet Home Sports
Kissing Suzy Kolber (Third rumor down.)

Sunday, March 11, 2007

How good are the Mavericks?

There's been a lot of talk lately about the Dallas Maverick's and their tear through the regular season.

Eric Neel has an article at Page 2 about the Mavericks crazy, good regular season.

He compares their record to those of the great NBA teams, laying the claim, "they're going to belong at the table with the 1996 Bulls, the 1986 Celtics, the 1983 Sixers and the 1972 Lakers as architects of a truly dominant 82-game run."

He then laments the Mavs uninspiring qualities, answering his own question of why they seem to get to little love for their gaudy win total.

Cuban overshadows the, largely, uncharismatic players. When put up against the great Bulls, Celts, Sixers, or Lakers teams that had similar runs, they do fall short at the "IT" factor. Seen next to Nash's fun Sun's, or Detroit rage fueled us-against-the-world mindset, your eye does not follow the Mavs.

Henry Abbott at TrueHoop loves Nowitzki's game, but sees him as "not made for TV."

All of this is true. They have no dynamic personalities, they aren't overly flashy in their play. But I think the biggest problem is that they lost in the Finals last year. The teams they are being compared to all had serious, championship pedigree, and Dallas doesn't have that. Yet. If they were the defending champions, winning the way they have been this season, ESPN would be all over them. In a stocked Western Conference, despite their great play, I'm not sure if they will even make it to the Finals.

Plus, it's March Madness.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Ranking The Great Centers

ESPN's Daily Dime has listed the greatest centers one through ten.
  1. Abdul-Jabbar
  2. Chamberlain
  3. Russel
  4. O'Neal
  5. Olajuwon
  6. Malone
  7. Walton
  8. Robinson
  9. Mikan
  10. Ewing.
I don't have a big problem with this list, despite the notable absence of Dave Corzine.

The Sports Guy disputes the merits of a list like this. I tend to agree with his argument that it is a vague question, with no answer. Does it mean career? How do you adjust for the era a center played in? Is it, which center are you taking to win one game? At the same time, that stance isn't much fun.

Pacifist Viking supports the choice of Kareem at #1, but calls attention to some serious rebounding stats Chamberlain had.

For my money, I'm taking "The Dream."

I'm not a stat freak, but some (not really "real" stats anyway) I will highlight are: Aside from Jordan, Olajuwon is the only player to win Defensive Player of the Year and MVP, in the same season. He also won Finals MVP, the only player to ever win all three in one season. He is the only center on this list, (I think, please correct me if I'm wrong) to beat three other centers (O'Neal, Robinson, and Ewing) on this list, in meaningful championship match-ups.

After Jordan's first retirement, Olajuwon filled the gap and became THE must watch player. For the seasons of 93-94 & 94-95, he was as unstoppable as any player I ever watched. His abusive treatment of Robinson, in the 94-95 Finals, is one the great moments in sports when one player separates themselves from their contemporaries.

Olajuwon was a master artist creating a masterpiece. Second place wasn't that close.

Usually people take for granted, that if Jordan had not retired, the Bulls would have won eight titles. This Bulls fan was never so certain.

(Additionally, True Hoop has a pretty good debate going in his comment's, and with The Sport's Guy on this subject. Thanks for the linkage, Pacifist Viking!))

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

You traded who for what now?

Thomas Jones traded to Jets!

No, not that Thomas Jones.

No, not that one either.

Who the fuck is that?
Private Thomas Jones.
No. Thomas Jones of the Chicago Bears.

That's Tom Dore, play-by-play announcer for the Chicago Bulls.

You did him already.

Is that a platypus?

That's him!
Kinda small image... We'll go with it.

As I'm sure all have heard by now, Thomas Jones, and our 2nd rounder, has been traded to the Jets for their 2nd round pick.

This feels like when I'm playing Madden and I go to trade a guy I think has value, at least a 'B', but the computer gives him a 'D' and no one will take him. I guess he wasn't worth what I thought he was.

I'm not gonna get worked up about this. He's been a solid back for three seasons, but I think Cedric Benson, spelled by Adrian Peterson, can do the same thing. It also depends heavily on who we pick. We need to get younger on our offensive line, and resigning Lance Briggs (a big 'IF'), isn't gonna be cheap. This might be a step towards that end.

Monday, March 5, 2007

A Letter to My Beloved G.M.:

Dear Ken,

Let me just start out by saying, thanks again for 2005. Really enjoyed it. Exponentially.

And while I’m still giving you the, “25 year consolation period until I start really getting pissed about not perennially making the playoffs” I’ve got a couple of questions I’d like to lob at you.
Trading Brandon McCarthy? Really? What did he do? We had him under his original contract for the next 5 seasons. He still had 2 options left for minor league assignment. He was actually putting on weight, taking the gangly off and adding some mass. Did he bugger Olney Guillen in the showers? Was he waving off Man Soo Lee in the bullpen? What was it? Because as far as I can see, we got 2 “could-be high ceiling guys” from the Rangers for a major league ready starting pitcher. Coupled with the trade of Freddie Garcia (which I totally understand) couldn’t we have at least raised the leagues perception of Brandon and thus raising his trade value by having him as our #5 this season? Now we’re stuck with a crap shoot of possibilities to fill in a HUGE void at the 5th spot.

Not to mention that Jose “Satchel Paige” Contreras is a stiff wind away from blowing out candles on his 50th birthday cake and Javier “3rd time around the batting order and it’s tee-ball” Vasquez are hanging on by teeny tiny threads, I’d like to ask, WHAT ARE YOU DOING???

I understand that you’re trying to get ahead of the curve of exorbitantly ridiculous free agent pitching contracts. And maybe, just maybe, you’re going to roll out the Brinks Truck for Mark “I’ve got an Ozzie Smith jersey on under my Sox gear” Buehrle. I comprehend that you’re looking at the next 3 to 5 years and not just this season. BUT COME ON, KENNY!!!!

I’m not totally upset about losing Brandon McCarthy. I’m just upset about what it represents. Did you completely forget about the 2004 season? We had incredible bats; Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Lee, Paulie K, Joe Crede. And our #5 starters were a combined 3-30something. Scott Schoneweiss, Esteban Loaiza, Felix Diaz, Arnie Munoz, Neal Cotts. It was a revolving door of mediocrity. Not even The Magic Man Don F’n Cooper could get these guys pitching. And what happened? We were .500. No playoffs. Golfing in October.

You see, Kenny, it’s your fault. You brought me a World Series Trophy, and now I’m greedy. We won 90 games last year, and didn’t make the playoffs. 90 games. We finished behind the Twins and the Tigers, in our own division. Now we’re giving the Tribe another year to regroup, and you don’t think that they won’t be breathing down our necks as well? Let me answer that for you, they will be.

(On a positive note, Darin Erstad was a fantastic pick-up for utility outfielder and all around hustler. I dig that move. I get it. Grinders. Yeah, yeah, yeah.)

The pitching, Kenny. The pitching. Why have you forsaken me?

I know you have a plan. I understand your plan. I want to like your plan. But if winning ballgames equates to attendance*, and attendance dictates payroll, then my question simply is, WTF?

OK, I got that all off my chest. Again I’d like to say, thanks for 2005. I watch the Championship DVD’s religiously at least once a month. And I still tear up as Geoff Blum is hitting his extra inning HR in Houston.

Spoil me again, Ken. I won’t mind. And neither will your massing legion of Sox fans.
Just do me a favor…don’t ship Jon Garland off for a bag of magic beans. Please.

Thanks for listening,

Ivan Calderon

* denotes the phenomenon of a perennial sub .500 team on the north side of Chicago that packs em in daily for sub par games

Friday, March 2, 2007

Like Brian, If I Could Be Like Brian...

It's good to be Brian Urlacher.

Thanks to Deadspin for this pic. I have nothing funny to add, maybe something about Urlacher having soft hands for a linebacker. Nah, that sucks.

The comments at Deadspin are hilarious, my favorite being,
Lance Uppercut says:

"Beware of the one on the right, some people don't know what it is like to bite off someone's penis, she is not one of those people."

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Yeah...The Ron Rivera thing.

About the Ron Rivera release, I was never all that upset over it. Other than, "Well, that sucks. Another former Chicago player, having trouble sticking with a Chicago team, in a different role besides player."

I wanted Bill Cartwright to succeed, and it chaps my ass every time I think of Mike Singletary coaching a San Fransisco team.

Steve Stone, years of solid color work after playing for the Cubs, gets bounced for pissing off a crappy manager, in way over his head, and some players who's names I can't remember. Leslie Frazier. Joe Girardi. Jim Harbaugh. John Paxson's success is nice to see, but...

I doubt, Michael Jordan will ever be a part of the Bulls organization again.

The list is long, and this trend isn't unique to Chicago. Larry Bird couldn't work for the Celtics. Magic Johnson maintains some ownership of the Laker's, but he failed as a coach and never tried to G.M. That was Jerry West's job, that guy lived and died with his Laker's, until he lost a power struggle to Phil Jackson, and now he slowly fades away in Memphis.

In this case, we were keeping Lovie, so Ron was gonna go. He wasn't running his defense, he was running Lovie's Cover 2. After having played for a blitzing Bears team, and coming up as a coach for Philly, with Jim Johnson's blitzing scheme, the fit never seemed right.

It's to bad, cause I root for Rivera, he's a Chicago Bear, but he obviously wasn't seeing eye-to-eye with Lovie. If we know one thing about Lovie, he'll get rid of someone that isn't working out. Just ask, Terry O'Shea. Or Chad Hutchinson, or Wade Wilson, or, well, Rivera.

So I say, good luck to Ron. And who knows, he might be our next head coach.