Party platforms for the sports masses

Party platforms for the sports masses

Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2010
2:21 PM

By Frankie O
CSNChicago.com

Finally its over! Well, sort of. While we wait for the final votes for governor to be counted, we can be thankful that we dont have to watch any more political commercials! When I think of the amount of money wasted by these ads, it boggles my mind and makes me wonder about a system gone mad. Talking politics is one of those areas that I try to avoid while behind the bar, but especially in the last ten years, it is something that is hard to avoid. The reason why you dont want to go there is that you can have an opinion that someone doesnt agree with and that makes them hot. So whats a bartender to do? Change the subject to the Bears offensive woes to calm them down? Are the conversations any less animated when the topic is Jay Cutler as opposed to Blago? The thing is, in the bar, lively debate is going to happen and the topics of the day are hard to avoid. So if people at the bar want to talk politics, I will, but as always, Ill do so with a decided slant on sports.

TERM LIMITS: Sounds to me thats about a certain elderly quarterback in Minnesota. Enough already!
DONT ASK, DONT TELL: Easy, thats Jay Cutler at any press conference. Has there ever been anyone who so openly shows his disdain for the whole process?
HEALTHCARE REFORM: The NFL has taken the very public lead in combating head injuries and while its very late to be taking that stand, everyone can agree its the right thing to do.

ABSOLUTE POWER: Nothing corrupts like absolute power and nothing corrupts a football mind like working for Daniel Snyder. Schottenheimer. Spurrier. Gibbs. All solid coaches whose reps were driven into the ground while working for Snyder. The latest is Mike Shanahan, and with his handling of Donavan McNabb at the end of the game against the Lions, it looks like its his turn to have a career melt-down.

ALONG PARTY LINES: Thats how I work every shift behind the bar. BOO-YA!

ARE YOU BETTER OFF THAN YOU WERE FOUR YEARS AGO?: Thats the question Bears fans ask every day. And Cubs fans. And Sox fans. (And Philly fans!!)
ITS THE ECONOMY STUPID: The price of taking your family to a game is out of control. I wonder at what point that we just watch every game on TV to save the 500 bucks.
WEDGE ISSUE: What Tiger Woods has after Thanksgiving dinner, during a leisurely drive.

FOUR SCORE, AND SEVEN BEERS AGO: AS all of my customers at the bar know when they hear that phrase, Frankie O is about to go on a rant!
READ MY LIPS: Sounds like Lovie or Angelos press conferences of the last couple of years. Even as the house crumbles, dont dare ask them, why? Just take their word that they know what they are doing.

THE ONLY THING WE HAVE TO FEAR: Is Jay Cutler taking another seven-step drop.
I SHALL RETURN: More Favre!!

IT DEPENDS ON WHAT THE MEANING OF THE WORD IS IS: Is that like an offense that is offensive? (Insert Bears, Cubs or Sox joke here!)

OH,THE VISION THING: Gotta love W. Is it any wonder that among his accomplishments was being an owner of a professional sports team?
I AM THE DECIDER: Isnt that Scotty Bowmans title with the Hawks?

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: That would be the Stanley Cup in Chicago. See, Im not always a smart aleck! And those of you who know me, know how hard it was to type that!

ASK NOT WHAT YOUR COUNTRY CAN DO FOR YOU: After watching what I thought was the most talented Phillies team of my lifetime gag a shot at a second World Series title in three years, I began to question whether my rooting for my teams was good for my health. The Phillies (twice!), Eagles and Flyers have all ripped my heart out in the last year. But, I still come back for more. My sports addiction is an affliction, and Ive come to terms with that. I wont quit. So when a new season begins, Ill be ready for the roller coaster to begin. Or as Ronnie said in my favorite debate quote of all-time: (Read with a Reagan voice in your head.) Well, there you go again!

Preview: White Sox, Red Sox duel Tuesday night on CSN

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Preview: White Sox, Red Sox duel Tuesday night on CSN

The White Sox take on the Red Sox on Tuesday night, and you can catch all the action on Comcast SportsNet. Coverage begins live from the South Side at 7 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on White Sox Postgame Live.

Tuesday's starting pitching matchup: Jose Quintana (3-1, 1.47 ERA) vs. Steven Wright (2-2, 1.37 ERA)

Click here for a game preview to make sure you're ready for the action.

[SHOP WHITE SOX: Get your White Sox gear right here]

— Channel finder: Make sure you know where to watch.

— Latest on the White Sox: All of the most recent news and notes.

— See what fans are talking about before, during and after the game with White Sox Pulse.

Relentless Cubs offense knocks out Gerrit Cole in win over Pirates

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Relentless Cubs offense knocks out Gerrit Cole in win over Pirates

PITTSBURGH — Relentless is the word the Cubs keep using to describe a lineup that knocked out Gerrit Cole on Monday night with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth inning and the Pittsburgh Pirates already trailing by two runs at PNC Park.

Relentless could also be a label for Theo Epstein’s front office, even after spending almost $290 million on free agents and even with an 18-6 record that’s the best in baseball following a 7-2 win over the Pirates.

Because the Cubs want nothing to do with the randomness of another one-game playoff and can’t take anything for granted with 85 percent of the schedule still remaining.

Not that Epstein needed a reminder, but the president of baseball operations flashed back to last year’s National League wild-card game when he flew into Pittsburgh, checked into the team’s downtown hotel across the Roberto Clemente Bridge and went running along the Allegheny River.

From his hotel room, Epstein could sort of see where Kyle Schwarber’s two-run homer off Cole flew out of PNC Park last October. Even with Schwarber recovering from season-ending knee surgery, the Cubs still roughed up Cole for six runs.

“We’ve played really well,” Epstein said, “but I don’t think we’ve completely locked in yet or clicked in all facets of the game. Our pitching staff’s really been carrying us. It’s been the most consistent part of our team yet. As it warms up here, I think the bats will get going and they’ll probably carry us for a while.

“But as far as needs that we might have, or ways that we can get better, we’re always assessing that. I think there’s lots of different ways we could potentially improve the club before the end of the season.”

The Cubs will watch Tim Lincecum’s upcoming showcase in Arizona because they always check in on potential impact players at that level. Lincecum — a two-time Cy Young Award winner who helped the San Francisco Giants win three World Series titles — is making a comeback after hip surgery.

While the Cubs should have big-picture concerns about their rotation and a farm system that hasn’t developed the arms yet, Jason Hammel is making his own comeback. Hammel (4-0, 1.24 ERA) gave up two runs across five innings before four relievers combined to shut down the Pirates (15-11) the rest of the night.

After beating up on the division’s have-nots and going 8-1 against the Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers, the Cubs should have a better idea of where they stand after Joe Maddon’s “Minimalist Zany” road trip to Pittsburgh and a four-game series against the Washington Nationals at Wrigley Field.

“There’s always the threat of somehow playing to the level of your competition in a negative way,” Maddon said. “I’m not denigrating any team that we’ve played to this point. That is not my point. But if you play teams with less-than (.500) records and maybe they’re not playing as well, you don’t turn that dimmer switch up to the full velocity. But when you’re playing really good teams, I think that naturally brings out the best in you.”

Jake Arrieta is the wild card in budding Cubs-Pirates rivalry

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Jake Arrieta is the wild card in budding Cubs-Pirates rivalry

PITTSBURGH — Jake Arrieta felt so locked in, so prepared for the biggest start of his life that he trolled the Pittsburgh Pirates on Twitter, telling their fans that the blackout atmosphere at PNC Park wouldn’t matter.

The Cubs will never forget that epic performance during last year’s National League wild-card game, how Arrieta walked the walk in a complete-game shutout. His young son, Cooper, even helped pour champagne into his mouth during that wild postgame celebration, creating another memorable snapshot.

If Arrieta is going to become a true villain in Pittsburgh — and the Cubs and Pirates are going to reach another boiling point and turn this into a great rivalry — then it probably won’t happen during the first week of May while the Penguins are still alive in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

But Arrieta’s starts have already become must-see TV, and the Pirates will get another up-close look on Tuesday night at this beautiful waterfront ballpark.

"Their fans are good," Arrieta said. "They’re passionate about their team and their guys, so it’s something that I enjoy. I don’t expect them to be my biggest fan — or a fan of me at all — but that’s the nature of fans and the fans that really support their team.

"That’s the whole point of social media — to interact. Sometimes it’s well received. Sometimes it’s not. But that was the intention there — to fire people up — and I think that’s exactly what I did."

Arrieta looked a little drained during the next two rounds of the playoffs, beating the St. Louis Cardinals (while seeming to lose his air of invincibility) before the New York Mets swept the Cubs out of the NLCS.

There hasn’t been any sort of hangover for Arrieta, the first NL Pitcher of the Month for three consecutive months after a dominant April that saw him go 5-0 with a no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds and only two runs allowed across 36 innings.

As manager Joe Maddon likes to say, the reigning Cy Young Award winner is embracing the target.

"When you’re at the top of your game, when you’re one of the teams to beat, it’s just something that comes with the territory," Arrieta said.

Arrieta’s meticulous routine and laser focus mean he doesn’t experience a flood of special memories as soon as he sees the bridges, the black and gold and the Pittsburgh skyline. Or at least he won’t admit that now.

"Well, when you bring it up, yeah," Arrieta said. "That was a neat experience, something that was huge for us as a team and for the organization. But it was short-lived.

"We moved on and had to play the Cardinals and the Mets and our season was cut a little bit short. But we’re in a better spot now this early in the season. We like where we are."

That would be in first place in the Central, with the best record in the league and no interest in dealing with the coin-flip nature of the wild card.

"When you play 162, and then you have to fight it out in one game to move on or go home, it’s a situation that nobody really wants to be in," Arrieta said. "The goal is obviously to win the division. And getting off to a hot start is the way you go about doing that. We’re where we intended to be at this point in the season."