Fantasy, Favre, F-bombs and the first day of school

Fantasy, Favre, F-bombs and the first day of school

Friday, Aug. 19, 2010
2:35 AM

By Frankie O
CSNChicago.com

Thats a pretty incongruous grouping in the title, but in the life of a bartender, I could be talking about those four subjects, in a matter of minutes, at any time during my night. Im nothing if not versatile! Who would have guessed that the dog days of summer would provide so many interesting topics to discuss? For the guy-in-a-red-bow-tie it all starts with my rotisserie baseball team. Its the blessing and curse of being in the mix. This is week 20 of the 26 week everyday grind that is fantasy baseball. It does not leave your brain. EVERYDAY! So, unlike the also-rans in the league, I cant take any time off to focus on fantasy football stats in preparation of my upcoming football, draft. Well, not a lot of time anyway. I have a fever, and the cure is more fantasy stats. (Or is that cow bell?)

Its at a time like this that separates a winning season from merely cashing. And thats the point. Since the reason for fantasy sports is to win a title in a make believe numerical sporting contest to prove your mental prowess and all-around manliness! Not winning is for losers! But unlike fantasy football, which is almost all luck for someone who remotely knows football, in baseball the luck is still involved, but with due diligence, you can make up for some misfortune. The problem is which move is the one you should make? Its in this way I share something in common with Brett Favre. No, not the diva part, although, since I won my fantasy football league last year and have turned my participation in my work leagues in to my own personal ATM machine(I love saying that!), Im partially entitled. Its the fact that I wrap myself into a pretzel before I can make a decision. Back and forth, back and forth, will I, or wont i? Its mental torture! Poor Brett, his constant indecision(S!) must be wearing him out. NOT! Im just kidding. I dont think Favre and I are alike at all. I think Favre takes his time in waffling on decisions because he likes the attention and is a drama queen. While I on the other hand feel that any decision I make will meet with impending doom and regulate me to also-ran status. Can you feel my pain? My psychosis?

Something besides fantasy drafts that all NFL fans look forward to as a sign that the season is here, is the show Hard Knocks on HBO. (Could you imagine, in this day and age, anyone who doesnt get HBO? Honestly! ) Ive watched them all, and besides mostly wanting to vomit during the one featuring the Cowboys ,Eagles fan and all, I have enjoyed them thoroughly. Who could forget during the Chiefs edition, Brodie Croyles wifes declaration, in her Alabama twang, that this will be Brodies year! Or last year, featuring the Bengals, the organizational angst over the hold-out of 1st round pick Andre Smith? Included in this was the viewing of his work-out video that was, unfortunately, for all of us watching, released for public consumption. Lets just say it wasnt the best marketing tool an agent has ever used to make his client more enticing.

The re-enactment of that work-out clip during the rookie talent show was absolutely hilarious. Then, this year, there is Rex Ryan. I dont know about you, but I found him to be a f-ing scene stealer and f-ing larger than life. Its his use of a certain four letter word, and its derivatives, that has made him the object of national attention. Its gained that attention largely to the negative reaction of his mother, which most found humorous and sweet, and the negative reaction of Tony Dungy, which was not. Swearing and bad language unfortunately, are a fact of life. Obviously, there is a time and place, but its something adults do. In fact, while watching a Cubs game at a certain un-named bar, you hear it a lot! (One of the reasons, besides Illinois law, that the youngsters should be kept away from the bar proper.) While I have a ton of respect for Tony Dungy as a person and a coach, I think its time to lighten up Francis! Coaches curse. Bosses curse. Its an attention getter. As long as its not part of a personal verbal assault, I dont see the harm in it in a locker room or professional playing field, where non-participants are not permitted. Again, this is a behind-the-scenes glimpse. For me personally, because I have young children and a live microphone in front of me each Friday and maybe have gotten a little older, I try to use profanity as little as possible, but sometimes, with the guys, might let it fly. Boys will be boys. Working at a bar, I understand it will happen and I cant fight every battle to stop it. But there are times when I need to step in to stop it for the sake of everyone else in the restaurant, when it is loud and belligerent, like I said, time and a place.

But by making this public stand, Im trying to figure out, what does Dungy have to gain, and what is he trying to prove? The public olive branch to Mike Vick I understand. But this? It reminds me of the Eddie Murphy routine where he talks about Bill Cosbys disdain of the use of foul language in his and Richard Pryors comedy acts. That objection didnt make an f-ing difference then, and from our knowledge of the Ryan family, this probably wont make an f-ing difference now. Like everyone else I talk to at the bar, I cant wait to watch the rest of the series. And finally, no possible segue here, so Ill jump right in, its here, a day that has become a parents holiday in my house, my kids are back in school! Its time to get my life back, or at least some of it. Entertaining the kids all summer, while being something I live for and revel in, can wear an old man out. (Not that its just me, the Boss helps out once in a while!) Luckily, theyre all at an age where they still love to go to school, so I dont feel entirely guilty in my glee. Well still have plenty of time together.

Its called me, doing, I mean, helping them with their homework every night! But because they get up so early and home from school late, two things happen: Theres less time for them to nuke the house, which means less clean-up time. And, for a late to bed, late to rise bartender, there is a little extra free time after lights out for the kids during his evenings off. What to do with that time? Did I mention that my fantasy football draft is in two weeks? Its time to study. Im going to own that f-ing league, again!!

Fire trade for midfielder Dax McCarty

mccarty-116.jpg
USA TODAY

Fire trade for midfielder Dax McCarty

Midfield has been an area of focus this offseason for Chicago Fire general manager Nelson Rodriguez and another new addition to that group was added on Monday.

The Fire have traded $400,000 in general allocation money in return for midfielder Dax McCarty from the New York Red Bulls. Paul Tenorio of Four Four Two first reported the trade.

McCarty was an All-Star in 2015 and part of the league's Best XI that season when he had eight assists to go with a goal. Last season he made 26 starts for the Red Bulls and totaled three goals and had five assists.

"Since the middle of 2016, we made acquiring Dax our No. 1 priority," Rodríguez said in the club's press release. "We believe adding his character and leadership in the locker room, as well as his exceptional soccer abilities on the field, dramatically improves our team."

The last time McCarty played at Toyota Park was a 2-2 draw on July 31 when a Khaly Thiam tackle caused a fractured tibia, which forced McCarty to sit out a month.

McCarty got married on Saturday, which delayed his arrival to the current U.S. national team camp. McCarty's participation in national team camp means he will join the Fire's preseason already in progress. The final match of the camp is on Feb. 3 while the Fire are set to start preseason on January 23.

McCarty, 29, has spent the past five and a half seasons with the Red Bulls. He began his career by playing five seasons for FC Dallas and was with D.C. United for part of the 2011 campaign before being traded to the Red Bulls. As an 11-year league veteran and the Red Bulls' captain, McCarty adds leadership and experience which Rodriguez has prioritized this offseason.

The Fire already added a former MLS All-Star in midfield this offseason in Juninho. The pair could line up next to each other in the preferred 4-2-3-1 coach Veljko Paunovic used for most of last season. This also could potentially put Matt Polster's role with the team in question. As the roster stands now, the third-year midfielder would be competing for two veteran All-Star caliber midfielders who were brought in at a high price.

Not to suggest a position move is in the works for Polster, but he did split time between midfield and right back with the Fire in 2015 under coach Frank Yallop and played there for the U-23 national team in Olympic qualifying. Right back remains a position of need by Rodriguez's own admission.

The trade also adds further context to the Fire trading the No. 3 pick in the draft on Friday. The Fire swapped the pick for $250,000 in general allocation money from New York City FC and Tenorio is reporting the Fire will send $400,000 to the Red Bulls for McCarty. To add those two moves together, the Fire dealt the No. 3 overall pick and $150,000 of allocation money for McCarty.

Does Cubs president Theo Epstein have a future in politics?

Does Cubs president Theo Epstein have a future in politics?

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama has a job for Theo Epstein whenever the Cubs executive gets bored or starts to feel restless and wants to think about life beyond baseball.  

After building up the Boston Red Sox and turning around the Cubs, how about Epstein using his leadership skills, analytical personality, sense of conviction and Ivy League education to save the Democratic Party?    

"His job is to quench droughts – 86 years in Boston, 108 in Chicago," Obama said during Monday's White House ceremony honoring the World Series champs. "He takes the reins of an organization that's wandering in the wilderness and delivers them to the promised land. I talked to him about being DNC chair."

Epstein stood behind the president doing a cut-it gesture and that became one of many laugh lines during an entertaining Obama speech that lasted more than 20 minutes and took place against the backdrop of Donald Trump's looming administration. Epstein – who headlined a Lincoln Park fundraiser during the 2012 reelection campaign and attended the president's farewell address last week at McCormick Place – doesn't see his future in politics.

At least "not as a candidate or an elected official," Epstein said during a media scrum afterward. "But I think there are a lot of ways that we can all impact our communities without necessarily running for office."

Epstein – a private person who would never want to subject his young family to that kind of scrutiny – looked like official Washington in a navy blue suit and a striped silver-and-blue tie. He delivered his own speech in the East Room, beginning it by saying "what a tough act to follow."

"We know you may have certain allegiances to another team on the other side of town," Epstein said to the world's most famous White Sox fan. "But we know you're a very proud Chicagoan. And we know your better, wiser half – the first lady – has been a lifelong and very loyal Cub fan, which we appreciate very much.

"Of course, we have great faith in your intelligence, your common sense, your pragmatism, your ability to recognize a good thing when you see one.

"So Mr. President, with only a few days remaining in your tremendous presidency, we have taken the liberty here today of offering you a midnight pardon.

"And so we welcome you with open arms."

This formal ceremony sounded personal for Epstein, who led the presentation giving Obama white and gray No. 44 jerseys, a 44 Wrigley Field scoreboard panel, a lifetime pass to the iconic stadium and an autographed W flag to someday fly at his presidential library on the South Side.  

"Everyone – no matter where you fall politically – can appreciate the dignity with which he served the country," Epstein said. "He did an unbelievable job handling the office and raising his family while here. I think, across the board, folks would agree that he's very dignified and brought a lot of integrity to the office. It was our pleasure to thank him for that today."

[RELATED: 'Among Sox fans, I'm the Cubs' No. 1 fan']

The DNC – or whatever Epstein does for his next act – will have to wait. Before that epic playoff run began, the Cubs locked up Epstein with a five-year deal believed to be worth in the neighborhood of $50 million, putting the future Hall of Fame executive in position to make another trip to the White House with a championship team.          

"Good thing I signed a contract with (chairman) Tom Ricketts," Epstein said. "He was kicking me, saying I can’t leave. It was a kind offer, though."