Random News: New Year's (Sports) Resolutions

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Random News: New Year's (Sports) Resolutions

Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2010
9:14 AM

By Joe Collins
CSNChicago.com

"The worst lies are the lies we tell ourselves. We live in denial of what we do, even what we think. We do this because we're afraid." Author Richard Bach

New Year's resolutions are like repetitive Facebook status updates. Usually, it's the same old narcissistic thoughts time and time again. They all just blend together after a while and they're usually megaphoned out to the world by people who you can barely tolerate in the first place:

"I'm going to lose weight next year!"

"That's it. I'm quitting smoking in 2011. Take THAT Philip Morris!"

"I am going to get more involved in the community!

"Thanks to my self-help book, I'm going to actually talk to that girl at the bus stop next year!"

It all becomes background noise after a while: more regifted bags of lies that we insist on telling ourselves (and others) year in and year out. In fact, various studies put the success rate of New Year's resolutions around 15-20. Quite frankly, I'm shocked the percentage is that high. Our national attention span is next to nil, folks. Why do we kid ourselves into thinking that major life changes can be held for a year? Heck, or a month? I mean, new-fangled exercise plans can be shot thanks to a really long day at work. Or by caving in to a gallon of Butterfinger ice cream. Or by getting that summons to appear on Maury Povich.

Anyway...

But it's always fun to play the resolution game this time of year. You can watch the weaklings fail and see how far the stronger ones go until they cave under the pressure (or laziness). I am resolving to become less selfish. And what better way to start than by making a list of resolutions...for other people! Talk about taking time to think about others, right? Here are some New Year's resolutions I would like to see in place for 2011:

The Chicago Bears: To make sure every venom-filled 2010 critic gets their gift card to Eat At Crow's.

The Chicago Cubs: To play inspiring, winning baseball-- and be lurking just off the radar at the same time. (See: 2010 model of success for Bears, Chicago)

The White Sox: 95-67, 10 games ahead of the Twins. And then hit the gas from there.

The Bulls: To finish with a three-seed (at minimum), including a major upset a few weeks later.

The Blackhawks: To give the phrase "A Happy and a Healthy" some meaning. Especially if it culminates in another scenic drive up La Salle Street in June.

Frank Caliendo (Fox): To scrap impressions of John Madden, Donald Trump, Jay Leno or David Letterman on Sunday's NFL pregame show. Stale only works with certain types of cheese.

Northwestern Football: To win a bowl game. Any bowl game.

Brett Favre: To let someone else win the "Annoying Dinner Guest Who Just Won't Leave" trophy in 2011.

Major League Baseball: To give the playoff expansion talk a rest. C'mon, MLB. Leave "Everybody Gets A Trophy" day to college football.

Speaking of which...

College Football: To make the Alaska Bowl a reality. They already have a 500,000 Boise State-esque field for Barrow's high school (The Whalers). The rest should be easy! I say, you take the two schools with the worst records and send 'em north. You wouldn't watch this? Come on. Nothing says ratings like a Gatorade shower at 40 below!

MLB Umpire Jim Joyce: To find Dr. Emmett Brown, get his DeLorean, and go back to the 9th inning of the TigersIndians game on June 2nd, 2010.

LeBron James: To find a better advisory group. And an enhanced set of earplugs.

Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission of Minnesota: To find a Home Depot gift card big enough to accommodate the purchase of a Commando Teflon Staple Gun 20,000.

Wheaton Warrenville South football: To line up a scrimmage with a mediocre college and walk away with a 35-3 victory.

Buffalo Bills WR Steve Johnson: To find gloves made by the Elmers company.

So go ahead. Make a resolution for somebody else. Its the easier, more mail-it-inny way to ring in 2011. Stock up on the Oreos and Haagen Dazs while you're at it. You deserve a breakfrom lying to yourself year in and year out.

Or something like that.

Reports: Joakim Noah likely to join Derrick Rose, sign with Knicks

Reports: Joakim Noah likely to join Derrick Rose, sign with Knicks

Multiple reports indicated that former Bulls center Joakim Noah will join Derrick Rose and sign with the New York Knicks.

Both the Washington Post and ESPN report that Noah is very likely to sign in New York, his hometown. ESPN's Marc Stein went so far as to say that other teams have already accepted that Noah is all but a done deal to sign with the Knicks.

And according to Tim Bontemps from the Washington Post, Noah's deal with the Knicks will have "a starting salary somewhere in the $18 million per year range," a large but not insane number considering the league's salary cap explosion this summer.

The Vertical's Shams Charania added that Noah will meet with Phil Jackson and the Knicks when free agency begins Friday night.

Noah would fill a void at center left by the Knicks' trade for Rose, which shipped center Robin Lopez back to Chicago. Noah averaged 4.3 points and 8.8 rebounds in 29 games last season before season-ending shoulder surgery in January. Noah spent the first nine seasons of his NBA career with the Bulls and was named Defensive Player of the Year just three short years ago.

But he fell out of grace with Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg, who opted to bring Noah off the bench for the first time in his career. It was largely assumed that both Noah and Pau Gasol would not return to a Bulls team that missed the playoffs for the first time in eight seasons.

Teams can start negotiating with free agents on July 1, and can sign free agents beginning July 6.

James Shields earns first victory as White Sox top Twins

James Shields earns first victory as White Sox top Twins

James Shields received his first standing ovation of the season at U.S. Cellular Field as he headed to the dugout on Wednesday night.

The White Sox starter settled in after another shaky start and his offense kicked it into high gear in a 9-6 victory over the Minnesota Twins in front of 18,571. Shields limited the Twins to a leadoff solo homer in the first inning and pitched into the seventh to earn his first win for the White Sox.

Brett Lawrie, Tyler Saladino and Todd Frazier all homered for the White Sox, who had to pitch themselves out of trouble in a wild ninth to win for the sixth time in nine games. Nate Jones earned a one-out save after Matt Purke and Dan Jennings combined to allow five runs. Purke was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte after the game. A corresponding move will be announced on Thursday morning.

“(Shields) got back into a rhythm,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “I think this is the best that he looked as far as just feeling comfortable. He was getting ahead. He started really using his fastball and he located it. I think after that, there was some offspeed stuff and he got guys swinging through it. This was a nice little thing to see. I'm sure it's a breath of fresh air for him.”

For a second it looked as if another stinker was in the cards.

Two pitches into the contest, Shields trailed by a run when Eduardo Nunez ripped an 0-1 changeup for a solo homer.

Shields, who had a 21.81 ERA in his first three starts with the White Sox, two of which resulted in him being booed off the mound at home, found even more trouble. He recorded a pair of outs, but walked Brian Dozier and Trevor Plouffe singled him to third. But similar to his last start in Boston, Shields took another big step forward and got out of trouble.

Two innings later, Shields made his biggest pitch of the night when he induced a double play off Joe Mauer’s bat after allowing consecutive singles to start the third. Dozier’s bunt attempt resulted in a comebacker and Shields escaped unharmed.

Adam Eaton assisted Shields in a big way in the fifth inning when he easily threw out Kurt Suzuki at home. Suzuki, who started the play on first, was forced home as Nunez nearly caught him speeding into third after hitting a liner off the right-field fence.

But Shields stranded Nunez in scoring position as well as another runner in the sixth. He recorded two more outs before giving way after a Byron Buxton double.

“We know what type of pitcher he is and he went out and did what he’s supposed to do,” Eaton said. “I think the proof is in the pudding. He goes out and throws well. We hit and we are going to be pretty good.”

As he exited, Shields was showered with applause from the appreciative crowd.

He allowed a run and eight hits in 6 2/3 innings, striking out five and walking one. Shields threw strikes on 61 of 93 pitches to earn his first victory since May 12th.

“It feels good,” Shields said. “It’s something to build off of.

“It was a tough stretch. It’s nice to get off the schneid there and get a win, but I don’t really focus on that kind of stuff. I’ve been around this game for a long time. My main focus is to win games for this team right now.”

One night after they couldn’t provide for Jose Quintana, the White Sox offense went overboard for Shields. Lawrie’s opposite-field solo homer with two outs in the second inning off Ricky Nolasco tied the game at 1. J.B. Shuck then singled, stole second and scored on an RBI single by Avisail Garcia.

The White Sox never looked back as Saladino’s solo shot in the fifth made it a 3-1 game.

Frazier started a five-run sixth inning with a solo homer -- the team’s 13th consecutive solo homer. Saladino singled in a run with two outs to chase Nolasco and make it 5-1. Tim Anderson’s two-run single made it a blowout and Eaton singled him in to make it 8-1. Shuck added a sac fly in the seventh for the White Sox, who went 5-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

“It was nice,” Frazier said. “It was a little different. (Shields) got out there not worrying about anything. Gave up the homer in the first batter. Nothing really fazed him after that. He has to understand, he’s going to give up runs here and there, and just relax from whatever happens from there. He pitched an exceptional game today.”

Denzel Valentine: Bulls' versatility will 'make us so dangerous'

Denzel Valentine: Bulls' versatility will 'make us so dangerous'

The Bulls are undergoing a "retooling" in their backcourt after dealing Derrick Rose to the Knicks, drafting Denzel Valentine and attempting to re-sign E'Twaun Moore in free agency.

That, combined with Jimmy Butler, the addition of Jerian Grant and an already versatile frontcourt will give Fred Hoiberg plenty of options that Valentine believes will make the Bulls "dangerous" in 2016-17.

"I think that's going to make us so dangerous this year, is we are versatile with our guards," He said on Wednesday night's White Sox broadcast. "And in those three positions I feel like we're going to be able to guard and do a lot of things offensively and throw a lot at you when we're coming down on offense. And the defensive end, too.

"I think we're going to have a really good team this year with all that we have, and I'm glad to be part of the building year, or whatever you want to call it."

On paper the Bulls will have more versatility than a year ago. Valentine is capable of playing either wing position and can handle the ball, though he doesn't project as a point guard. Butler can play and defend four positions, and Grant is capable of playing either guard spot. Bringing back E'Twaun Moore would benefit that versatility greatly, as he's capable of playing on or off the ball.

In the frontcourt, the Bulls will need to replace Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah, neither of whom provided much versatility. Robin Lopez is entrenched at center, which will give the Bulls' stretch forwards Nikola Mirotic and Bobby Portis more room to roam the perimeter.

Wherever Valentine plays, and however Hoiberg uses him in Year 1, the Michigan State rookie said he's ready to do what's asked of him from a franchise known for winning.

"My job is to just come in, do what I can do best and just work on my game and try to lead as best as I can," he said on SportsTalk Live (in the video above). "I'm not coming in to step on anybody's toes but I'm going to do what I can to lead and be a good teammate and try to win some games."