All or Nothing

All or Nothing

Friday, May 14, 2010
1:29 AM

Game 7. Thats what it gets down to. Everything determined by the seeming flip of a coin. Its the thing that baseball, basketball and hockey have over football. Not much else, but they have that. The entire hopes of a season come down to being able to get it done one more time or its time to go home. The cumulative scores of the previous six games dont matter, a win is a win and a loss is a loss, but, often, the cumulative affect of those games does. Each game a chapter in a story that always becomes more compelling as it goes along. The pressure on the athletes is staggering. As one who only gets to watch these games being played, I often marvel at that. Do they know? You often hear players after such games say that the key was to treat it like any other game, to stay within themselves. That they must have the ability to block out all of the extraneous thoughts and play the game the way they have for their entire lives. WHATEVER! Game 7s drive me crazy! I often wonder if theyre worth watching. (Kidding of course!)

Something else Ive also heard athletes say is that it was harder on everyone else around them in their lives than on them. I can relate to that. It comes down to control: I have none! Im just along for the ride. Hey! Rooting for my teams is like being with my wife and kids! (Ill be here all week!) The thing about Game 7 is that the finality is staring you right in the face. The key phrase in any season is: Theres still time. Weve heard it a million times, and thats just from both of the baseball teams here this season! (Try the veal!) Patience is always preached, during the season and in the playoffs. One game does not a season make, until this one that is. My patience is gone!
What I have right now is a mix of trepidation and that dangerous thing known as hope. You follow your team for an entire season, watching games, checking box scores and getting any information on them from any source you can, its all part of the journey. Then as the playoffs start, if your team is good enough to get in, you realize there are only two ways for the journey to end. The elusive ultimate triumph, or having your heart ripped out, AGAIN! Sorry, Im conditioned to react that way. The key then, for a fan, is to have realistic expectations. No need setting myself up for heartbreak, I mean, what are the odds that one of my teams would win?

For me this year, in hockey, its a tale of two teams. In my adopted hometown of Chicago, Ive gotten caught up in the Blackhawk fever thats sweeping the city. Not that Im a newcomer to following this team, since Rocky took over Ive watched about every game, but my expectation finally mirrors what is going on around me. I realize how hard it is for a team to win the Cup, so to this point Ive tempered my enthusiasm, but this team is truly built to win THIS year. Developmentally and contractually, this might be their best shot. Im still concerned with the good Blackhawkbad Blackhawk thing that theyve been displaying pretty much since the Olympic break, but their good games lately have been the best hockey Ive seen them play. Definitely they have championship talent, but I think its going to be everything else that determines whether they can win eight more games.

Then comes the thing that I cant get off my mind. The beginning of the Flyers season was loaded with hype. No less than Mr. Hockey Hair himself picked them to reach the Stanley Cup Finals, against the Blackhawks no less. Then as the season progressed, the Flyers play was a source of constant grief for Melrose from his TV mates. Oh, well. When the Flyers lucked into the playoffs on the last day of the season, after a shoot-out, needless to say I was not expecting much. Knocking the Rangers out of the playoffs on that final day was going to have to be my source of enjoyment of a season gone wrong.

Well, its going to be more than that now. In spite of a rash of injuries, (Theyve lost their leading scorer, their hottest goalie and their top penalty killer: has that happened to anyone else? No! ) the Flyers find themselves one win from HOSTING Game 1 of the Eastern Finals. They have this chance after rallying from being down 3-0. Each of the three wins to get back in it have been excruciating, to WATCH! At any time the season could have been over. And even if they had a lead, which they did most of the time, it seemed like the clock was moving backwards! Now all of that will be for naught if they dont seal the deal. Close is never enough! Do I like and respect this team more than I thought I would? Absolutely! But to win this game, to come back, against Boston would be, short of winning the Cup and beating the Russians, one of my all-time hockey moments, not to mention a great way to stop the chowder-heads in their tracks when they start to babble at the bar.

It will only take one game, one game for them to be immortalized. I dont know if I can watch. And for Frankie O irony,(is there any other kind?) I wont get to watch it live. It seems game-time coincides with dinner and a movie with the Boss for her birthday. (Chick flick or Game 7? Now thats funny!) I think its a sign. Just in case, thank goodness for TiVo and an occasional restroom break with my Crackberry! Any way it will give me more time to dream: What if? That, and time to thank God Im not from Cleveland!

Derrick Rose pens farewell to Chicago: 'It’s time for a new chapter'

Derrick Rose pens farewell to Chicago: 'It’s time for a new chapter'

Derrick Rose was officially introduced as a member of the New York Knicks on Friday afternoon.

After thanking the Bulls organization for trading him, Rose penned his farewell to the city of Chicago via TheCycle.com.

While looking forward to playing alongside Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis with the Knicks, Rose reflected on his time with the Bulls.

Chicago made me who I am. It’s tatted on my wrist. I was raised in my grandmother’s house on South Paulina Street in Englewood. Being drafted by the Bulls, becoming an All-Star and an MVP on the Bulls, helping the them make the playoffs — all of that was a dream come true. I’ll never forget it. I’ve carried Chicago with me everywhere I’ve gone, from around the country to all over the world. I always will.

I understand that this is a business and the Bulls have their plans, their own ideas with what direction they want to go with the team, but I’m gonna use this as motivation. I was with them for eight years and they let me go. There’s no hard feelings, no grudges. They’re trying to do what’s best for the team. I totally understand that. But I don’t think I would be wrong for using this as motivation.

Check out the full article here.

Chris Coghlan understands his role with Cubs is different this time around

Chris Coghlan understands his role with Cubs is different this time around

At one point in the middle of last season, the Cubs were on a 12-game winning streak with Chris Coghlan hitting third in the lineup...while playing second base.

It's hard to see that scenario playing out again in 2016 for a lot of reasons.

After getting traded back to Chicago earlier this month, the 31-year-old outfielder came to a different Cubs team than the one he played a major contributing role with in 2015.

Coghlan was penciled in at fifth in Friday's Cubs lineup and has generally been playing against right-handed pitchers since he was acquired, akin to his role last season.

But what about when Jorge Soler returns? And when Dexter Fowler gets off the disabled list, the Cubs will still want to find time for Albert Almora Jr. and Matt Szczur and have $184 million man Jason Heyward patrolling right field.

Plus, Kris Bryant has played a lot of corner outfield already this season and his presence out there allows Javier Baez and Tommy La Stella (who is also currently on the DL) to man third base.

Simply put: Coghlan will be hard-pressed to reach 500 plate appearances again this season.

"I think my role is different. I've accepted that," Coghlan said. "Last year, I felt like if it was a righty, I'd start every day and do the platoon thing. Here, there's just so much talent and different roles that I don't think mine's maybe as definitive as last year's was. 

"I would probably say I'm even more accepting of that. 'Cause I feel to go from where I went and then to come here and get another opportunity. When you're on a team that plans on winning the World Series vs. a team that hopes you go to the playoffs, it's two totally different things.

"To get back on that and be around it, you're like, 'Man, I have a chance legitimately to win a World Series. I'll do whatever I can to win a World Series.' And that's kinda the attitude that I have. 

"I think it's different for people if you're not trying to win a World Series and you're not one of those teams, then you probably want a bigger role. But when you have a legitimate shot, there's a reason why there's only 25 that are allowed and there are only certain roles. I'm excited for this opportunity, however big or small it may be."

Coghlan only got 12 plate appearances in the postseason with the Cubs last year, collecting a lone single in the process.

It's understandable the former National League Rookie of the Year (2009) would want to play more after overcoming a lot of adversity in his career with injuries and posting a .793 OPS with 25 homers in 273 games with the Cubs from 2014-15.

But he also got his first taste of the playoffs last year and just moved from a last-place Oakland A's team to a squad that has a World Series or bust mentality.

Coghlan sees a different Cubs team than the one that got hot in the final two months of 2015 and wound up winning 97 games and two playoff series.

"When I came over here, I just realized, man, you've seen guys have more time," Coghlan said. "You see some growth and you see so much depth that you just feel like it's a matter of — this isn't an arrogant comment — playing within ourselves. 

"When you're on that level of talent and then you have everybody as close as they are, you feel like you're only competing for one thing and that's to win the World Series.

"...To watch it and to be a part of it, you're just like, 'Man, if we stay within ourselves and execute and stay healthy, we're gonna be fine.' And I think that's kinda more the attitude vs. maybe last year, it wasn't until the end where we kinda found our identity and our belief.

"Early on [last season], it was like, 'Man, we're fighting mano y mano and we need to have something break through.' Now, I think it's just about us executing. We execute and we got a shot to beat anybody in baseball."

NBA Free Agency: Where will Joakim Noah end up playing in 2016?

NBA Free Agency: Where will Joakim Noah end up playing in 2016?

Despite appearing in just 29 games and registering the worst statistical season of his eight-year NBA career in 2015-16, Bulls center Joakim Noah will be in high free agent demand this summer.

According to Mitch Lawrence of the Sporting News, the Washington Wizards are prepared to offer Noah a maximum contract, which would start at $28 million and reach an estimated $120 million across four seasons.

Noah, who is expected to move on from the Bulls, is also being pursued by the New York Knicks, Minnesota Timberwolves and Milwaukee Bucks.

The Knicks interest in the two-time All-Star and 2014 Defensive Player of the Year is a no-brainer with Derrick Rose now in New York and Noah having spent his teenage years in the Big Apple, starring for Brooklyn's Poly Prep. 

Noah, the ninth overall pick of the Bulls in 2007, is coming off shoulder surgery that cut his season short last January.

The 31-year-old Noah has averaged 9.3 points, 9.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 572 games across eight seasons with the Bulls.