Reinsdorf thinking multiple titles possible

Reinsdorf thinking multiple titles possible

Wednesday, March 9, 2011
CSNChicago.com

Reinsdorf: Bulls have chance to win at least four championships

The Bulls will honor the 1990-91 championship team during halftime of Saturday's home game against the Jazz.

Its a great thing to bring these players back, Reinsdorf said. Im sure the fans will enjoy seeing them, and they will be extremely well-received.

Speaking of this year's team, Reinsdorf believes they have a bright future ahead of them.

If you dont see something special in Derrick Rose, then youreblind, Reinsdorf said. We have an outstanding coach, an outstandingbunch of players, the team is deep, and if we stay healthy, we have anawfully good chance of winning at least four championships. (Chicago Sun-Times)

Obama watching CSN tonight?

President Barack Obama has not been shy about rooting for his hometown team. In the latest event Obama is dedicating to his Chicago sports teams, the commander in chief is hosting a Bulls-Bobcats viewing party at the White House. He better not be watching the Bobcats feed!

On Friday, Obama will honor the Blackhawks for their Stanley Cup victory at the White House. After the ceremony, the team will volunteer at a children's street hockey clinic on the South Lawn. (NBCChicago.com)

Thibodeau comes highly recommended - from the highest of places

Current Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau has a heck of a list of references. In fact, he has some of the top players in Washington, D.C. singing his praises.

Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf told the Chicago Sun-Times that Thibs was first recommended to him by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (who played for Thibodeau at Harvard). When the position became available and Thibs was hired, David Axelrod thanked Reinsdorf for hiring his old assistant coach.

President Barack Obama approved of the deal as well. He told Reinsdorf, "Great hire." (Chicago Sun-Times)

No disciplinary action from NHL for Chara

Bruins captain Zdeno Chara will not be fined of suspended for Tuesday night's hit on Canadiens Max Pacioretty.

By now, you've probably seen Chara's terrifying hit on Pacioretty along the boards that saw Pacioretty slam his head into the stanchion separating the benches. After laying motionless on the ice for minutes, he was taken off the ice on a stretcher and moved to the hospital for observation.

Chara was kicked out of the game and given a five-minute major for interference for the hit. (CSN New England)

Braves minor league manager regains consciousness

After being hit in the face by a foul ball during Atlanta's 6-1 Grapefruit League loss to St. Louis, Braves minor league manager Luis Salazar regained consciousness and was breathing on his own.

Brian McCann's line drive hit Salazar while he was standing in the dugout in the first inning of the game at Champion Stadium. He was unconscious for at least 20 minutes, but came to during the helicopter ride to the hospital. (Blogs.AJC.com)

Suh says Bears' O-line needs youth

Ndamukong Suh has plenty to say about the Bears' O-line, and it's not all too flattering. In an interview on NFL Network, Suh called the offensive line on the Chicago Bears "over the hill."

Suh said that the Bears' key to getting better has to do with the O-line.

"I think they have a good offensive line, but it's a matter that they're definitely trying to get over the hill, and they're getting there," Suh said. (National Football Post)

Report: Cubs preparing to roll the dice with Brett Anderson

Report: Cubs preparing to roll the dice with Brett Anderson

The Cubs are preparing to roll the dice with Brett Anderson, hoping the talented, frequently injured pitcher can stay healthy and provide insurance for their rotation.

Anderson posted a telling message on his Twitter account on Monday night, hinting at what would be another offseason check mark for the defending World Series champs.

The physical for the agreement — first reported by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports and MLB Network — won't just be a formality as Anderson underwent back surgery last March and appeared in only four games for the Los Angeles Dodgers last season.

But Anderson fits on paper as a left-hander who will turn only 29 on Feb. 1 and won't have to carry front-of-the-rotation responsibilities or feel Opening Day urgency on a team with five projected starters.

The Cubs had been willing to gamble around $6 million on Tyson Ross, who recently signed a similarly structured one-year deal with the Texas Rangers as he recovers from surgery to address thoracic outlet syndrome.

The calculus would essentially be the same with Anderson. The Cubs have to factor in last year's grueling playoff run into early November, this season's sky-high expectations, the organization's lack of high-end, upper-level pitching prospects and the uncertainty surrounding the 2018 rotation.

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Anderson finished sixth in the 2009 American League Rookie of the Year voting with the Oakland A's, but he's reached the 30-start mark only one other time and never accounted for 200 innings in a single season.

Anderson underwent Tommy John surgery in the middle of the 2011 season, and the injuries piled up from there, dealing with a strained right oblique, a stress fracture in his right foot and a broken left index finger.

Anderson had such a fragile reputation that he accepted the one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from the Dodgers after a strong platform year in 2015 (10-9, 3.69 ERA). The Dodgers only got 11 1/3 innings out of Anderson, who didn't pitch during a playoff run that ended at Wrigley Field in the National League Championship Series.

The Cubs stayed exceptionally healthy while winning 200 games across the last two seasons and need to be prepared in case John Lackey sharply declines at the age of 38 or Mike Montgomery experiences growing pains while transitioning from the bullpen.

Whether or not Anderson is ultimately the answer, the Cubs will be looking to place a sixth starter into their plans.

"I don't know if a six-man rotation on a permanent basis is the wave of the future," team president Theo Epstein said earlier this winter. "But we certainly endorse it on a temporary basis as a nice way to pace guys for the whole season.

"We can get them some rest, whether you do it in April to preserve depth and ease guys into the season, especially after a deep October and November run. Or after the All-Star break in the summer to kind of get through the dog days and give guys a little bit of a breather as you ramp up for the stretch run.

"I think it would be tough to pull off all season long. But it's something that (could certainly work) in the right spot."

The start of preseason brings the return of hope for the Fire

The start of preseason brings the return of hope for the Fire

A year ago there was hope surrounding the Fire. Hope that general manager Nelson Rodriguez, entering his first offseason with the club, and new coach Veljko Paunovic could spark a turnaround at the club. Those new faces, coupled with an overhauled roster, meant there was hope that things could be better.

Rodriguez and Paunovic had not yet failed with the Fire so there was still that hope that they had a magic touch.

That eroded as the season unfolded and the team’s shortcomings were quickly apparent. The reworked defense seemed to be improved, but the midfield was typically overwhelmed.

Now, after the Fire finished last in Major League Soccer for the second consecutive year, that innocent hope that a new coach and general manager bring is gone. Fans have seen Rodriguez and Paunovic fail and, even though they inherited a team that was not an easy one to turn around, there will be more skepticism.

This year there is hope again, but instead of coming in the form of new management, it comes in the form of accomplished players. Juninho (a three-time MLS All-Star and three-time MLS Cup winner), Dax McCarty (an MLS Best XI selection in 2015) and Nemanja Nikolic (the leading goalscorer in the Polish Ekstraklasa in 2015-16) on paper make the Fire a better team. Can they mesh into a cohesive team that will actually perform better in matches?

“You’d like to think so,” Rodriguez said on Monday at the team’s media day at the PrivateBank Fire Pitch on the North Side. “It’s an inexact science, or at least for me it is. I know others will be more brash and saying it’s all there and all the pieces are together. Until they’re on the field, until they’re in the hotel rooms, until they’re off the field at team meals you never really know.”

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Rodriguez did say that this group is “very different” than last year’s.

“You can talk about all these clever ways to change culture, but the best way to have a winning team is to have winners as part of your team,” he said. “With those four guys (including goalkeeper Jorge Bava) at least we’ve added certified winners.”

So with two former MLS All-Stars arriving in central midfield, arguably the team’s biggest weakness last season, and a proven goalscorer, the pieces are there for the Fire to be better. Now it’s up to Paunovic to put the pieces together in a winning way.

“Obviously we have high expectations because we believe we did this job so far in offseason by the acquisitions that we had and the guys that are still to come,” Paunovic said. “It’s going to be a better team, more competitive.”

Even with the additions, the roster isn’t finished yet. Two trialists are in camp with the Fire, right backs Drew Beckie and Boyd Okwuonu. Beckie is a 26-year-old Canadian who played the 2016 season with the Carolina Railhawks in the North American Soccer League. Importantly, Beckie has a green card and would not count against the Fire’s international roster spots.

Okwuonu, 23, was drafted by Real Salt Lake in the second round of last year’s draft but was not retained. He has represented the U.S. at youth levels, including as a part of the Olympic qualifying team last year.

Right back has been an opening on the roster since Rodrigo Ramos’ loan was not renewed and no player has been added to fill that spot yet so those two could be fighting for a contract. Rodriguez said further additions to defense and midfield are still possible.

“Preseason is going to tell us where we have to improve,” Paunovic said. “Of course, theoretically we all know that there are a couple of spots still to reinforce and a couple of spots that we have to improve. For us now during all this time we are open to all the possibilities.”

The roster appears to be better, but even Rodriguez admitted he had hope last year.

“I was confident last year and the results of last year were bitterly disappointing and utterly unexpected by me," he said. "I have to believe our roster is better, whether that roster comes together the way we imagine, time will tell.”