Hitting the wall

Hitting the wall

Friday, June 18, 2010
3:20 PM

By Frankie O
CSNChicago.com

I cant help but feel a void now that the NHL playoffs are over. Honestly, how could I feel any other way? Two months of every other day action featuring the two teams that I root for the most. For an emotionally vested fan, thats a lot. It takes over and wears on you. The payoff is if your team wins, and we both know that wasnt the case for me. Everyones asking how Im doing and I tell them that other than living every Flyers fans worst nightmare, Im great! Nothing like serving up beers to the celebrating masses during both the clincher and the parade, how lucky can one guy get? (I swear I didnt charge any one extra! Well, okay, maybe one or two!) It was definitely the strangest time Ive had behind the bar. At least I have a little time to regroup before they hoist the banner to the rafters at the United Center. Ill only have to look at that every time I go to a game there for the rest of my life. And every Hawks radio or TV broadcast will start with Your 2009-10 Stanley Cup Champions! Thats all right. Im not a hater. They earned it and every one of their fans should enjoy it, even if they joined the party a little late. In the big-picture view, an Original Six power is good for hockey and for me, its good for business. With the core together for the foreseeable future, Im guessing this wont be the only title that they win. This team is going to be good for a while and being a hockey fan in this town is going to be exciting.

But, for now, I need to decompress. Sports-wise, I guess watching a Game 7 in an NBA Finals is supposed to be exciting, but Im just not feeling it. I know I have to watch, but as a Philly guy, there is no way Im rooting for Boston, and L.A. isnt too far behind on that list. Of course now that L.A. has won, its time for the Kobe is the best love fest. I just want to say, Stop the Kobe is as good as Michael talk! No way! Stop smoking whatever it is that youre smoking. Kobe can win more than Michael, but he isnt Michael. Jordan is the best ever, end of story! And Mark Jackson? Kobe is a better Laker than Magic? Really? One other thing: I seem to remember when Pau Gasol was available two years ago, the local media saying for the Bulls not to go after him, that he was too soft. That dude is anything but soft. He also has two rings now.

And this is a perfect time for the U.S. Open, especially at Pebble Beach. I love watching golf, always have. The best thing is that there are any number of guys who can win and Ill be happy. Theres no emotional baggage with golf. Well all right, Watson losing in the British last year was like a kick in the groin, but how often does that happen? Golf always has a story, no matter who wins and thats part of what I like. Having the Open on scenic Pebble only makes it better. Im guessing Woods-Mickelson will be too much to ask for, but I always enjoy watching the final round on Fathers Day.

But the rest of my summer will focus on one thing: Baseball, or, more importantly, my roto baseball team. Not that I havent been following, (how are the Cubs and Sox doing by the way? LOL!) but now that the distractions are out of the way, its time to get focused. Ive missed out on a few waiver wire wonders because of my hockey preoccupation and that makes me a little hot! My boy Jonny Gomes though, is tearing it up! If Chase Utley ever hits again I could be dangerous. Will he hit? Should I trade him? These are the types of question that will be taking over my brain for the next three months. And unlike rooting for my hockey team, I wont get sucked in. I dont expect to do well in fantasy sports because of the luck involved. Just as easy to lose as it is to win. You can recite every lineup and stat, but when your 1 pick Utley is hitting .250, theres little you can do.

Baseball will be the soundtrack of my summer, along with the occasional NFL training camp update, and the LeBron saga. Im a box-score geek and love to read them every morning. And since I have the baseball package on DirecTv at work and home, the sweet sound of Vin Scully calling a Dodger game will be a highlight whenever I get a chance. Other than that, its a down-time in the sporting calendar, at least for those of us with rooting disorders. One comforting thought though, at least I wont have to worry about the Cubs or Sox playing the Phillies in the playoffs, it couldnt happen to me again could it?

34 Days to Kickoff: Lake Zurich

34 Days to Kickoff: Lake Zurich

CSNChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting Aug. 1, we’ll unveil the @CSNPreps Top 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 26. You can view Edgy Tim's other football previews here.

School: Bremen

Head coach: Dan Stell

Assistant Coaches: Pete Luby, Matt Verble, Amir Ross, Derek Hitt, Rey Lang, Kevin Donegan, Mike Cline, Kevin O'Sullivan, Joe DeLarme, Andy French, Brad Johnson, Jeremy Cline

How they fared in 2015: 1-8 (0-6) South Suburban Blue Conference. Bremen failed to qualify for the 2015 IHSA state football playoffs.

Biggest storyline in 2016: Can the Braves get back to it's winning ways in the always rugged South Suburban Blue?

Names to watch this season: OL Chris Clark, DL Shane London

Biggest holes to fill: The Braves welcome back 18 starters for this season, yet overall depth is always needed in the South Suburban Blue.

EDGY's Early Take: It's been a rough few years for the Braves and head coach Dan Stell (2-7 in 2014 and 1-8 last season) after winning the conference title in 2013. The good news is that Bremen welcomes back a ton of experience including a very good junior class this fall. I expect Bremen to compete hard for a state playoff spot this season.

After wild seventh, Carson Fulmer wants another big-time opportunity for White Sox

After wild seventh, Carson Fulmer wants another big-time opportunity for White Sox

The White Sox called up Carson Fulmer from Double-A Birmingham a week ago with the expectation he could add a strong, powerful arm to the back end of a bullpen that’s been taxed quite a bit this season. 

After he struggled in his first high-leverage appearance in the majors, though, the White Sox remain confident their 2015 first-round pick will be an important part of the team’s bullpen down the stretch this summer. 

Fulmer only threw 12 of 30 pitches for strikes and allowed three game-deciding runs in seventh inning of the White Sox 7-5 loss to the Detroit Tigers in front of 22,611 at U.S. Cellular Field Friday night. The leverage indexes of Fulmer’s first two appearances on the West Coast — which spanned 2 2/3 scoreless innings — were .01 and .05 (a leverage index of 1 is average), with those coming in a 8-1 loss and a 6-1 win. On Friday, Fulmer’s leverage index was 2.98. 

Fulmer said nerves weren’t behind his erratic outing, in which plenty of those 18 balls weren’t close to the strike zone. 

“I want to be in those situations,” the 22-year-old Fulmer said. “When you go out there and don’t do your job, it’s obviously frustrating. But you have to have a quick memory and throw it over your shoulder and prepare yourself for tomorrow.”

Fulmer’s electric mid-90’s fastball and wipeout curveball were rendered ineffective by his inability to command them in his two-thirds of an inning. He walked Justin Upton, gave up a single to Tyler Collins and walked Jarrod Saltalamacchia to load the bases with nobody out, and after a pair of groundouts brought a run in, he walked Cameron Maybin to re-load the bases.

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After that walk, Fulmer was pulled in favor of Nate Jones, who surrendered a go-ahead, ultimately game-winning two-run single to Tigers All-Star first baseman Miguel Cabrera. 

At some point, the White Sox were going to have to test Fulmer. With starter Jacob Turner only lasting 3 1/3 innings, and Fulmer looking comfortable in his first two appearances in the majors, manager Robin Ventura calculated that the seventh inning Friday was a prime opportunity. 

“He’s going to have to have it sooner or later,” Ventura said. “From the way the first (two) went, we felt comfortable he was going to come in there and be able to do that. But tonight, that doesn’t happen. But you have the confidence he can come back from this and be very effective in that spot.”

Morneau, who’s provided offense for bullpens over 14 major league seasons, agreed with his manager’s confidence in Fulmer. 

“We see a lot of good things in him,” Morneau said. “It’s obviously not up to me, but hopefully we get him back out there quick and let him settle back down and get comfortable, because he can really help this team.” 

White Sox relievers entered Friday with the fifth-highest leverage index in baseball, a product of the high volume of one-, two- and three-run games this team has found itself in this season. All those stressful innings — as well as Jake Petricka’s season-ending injury and Zach Putnam’s elbow issue from which he isn’t likely to return anytime soon — have put a considerable strain on Jones, Dan Jennings, Matt Albers, Zach Duke and David Robertson.

Fulmer, by virtue of being in the White Sox bullpen, will get another opportunity at a high-leverage inning. And while his first foray into a pressure-packed relief appearance didn’t go well, he hopes to quickly get a chance to put Friday in the rearview mirror. 

“I can’t ever use the excuse of it being my first big-time experience, especially for me being put in that situation,” Fulmer said. “Hopefully I get the opportunity to do it again. I’ll continue to stay prepared, just like I was tonight, and hopefully the odds turn in my favor. That’s all I can control.” 

Sky see winning streak snapped in loss to Connecticut Sun

chisksy.png
Associated Press

Sky see winning streak snapped in loss to Connecticut Sun

ROSEMONT, ILL. 

Jonquel Jones had her first-career double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds — both career highs — and Alex Bentley scored 21 points to help the Connecticut Sun beat the Chicago Sky 94-89 on Friday night.

Alyssa Thomas and Jasmine Thomas added 16 points apiece and Chiney Ogwumike had 10 for the Sun (8-16).

Jones scored five consecutive points to cap a 13-4 run that gave Connecticut a 78-74 lead with 4 minutes left and the Sun led the rest of the way. Connecticut hit all eight of its free-throw attempts in the final 42 seconds to seal it.

Elena Delle Donne led Chicago (11-13) with 20 points. Cappie Pondexter added 16 points, and Tamera Young had 14.

The Sun, ranked 11th in the AP WNBA power poll, made 26 of 32 free-throw attempts — both season highs and committed a season-low seven turnovers.

The fifth-ranked Sky shot 52.3 percent (34 of 65) from the field.