Word on the Street: Stop blaming Bartman

Word on the Street: Stop blaming Bartman

Friday, Jan. 14, 2011
CSNChicago.com

Cubs partied before 2003 Game 7 loss?

Could a late-night party have contributed to the Chicago Cubs playoff loss of 2003? According to Radaronline, a woman revealed she spent the night drinking and partying with three unnamed Cubs players until 4 a.m. the night before Game 7.

She revealed this information during a casting interview for the tentatively titled reality show "Cleat Chasers," which profiles baseball groupies. (RadarOnline.com)
Maine South football program placed on probation

The IHSA placed 2010 8A State Champion Maine South on probation following the organization's probe into violations that included the use of counterfeit sideline passes at the state final game and failure to follow the rules on the number of coaches allowed on the field and in the press box.

Head coach Dave Inserra and assistant Rick Magsamen have been suspended for the 2011 season opener. The IHSA also said that Maine South will not be able to host IHSA postseason events "until demonstrating compliance with IHSA playoff policies." (YourSeason.com)

New York Post features 'Return of the Jet-I' cover

The New York Post went for a Star Wars theme to honor the New York Jets playoff stand. On the cover of their 16-page special playoff section, the Jets are portrayed as members of the Rebel Alliance, while the Patriots are cast as the evil Empire. Bill Belichick is cast as Darth Vader, Rex Ryan as Han Solo, and Mark Sanchez as Luke Skywalker. (New York Post)

Young players added to All-American list after 'oversight'

Five Young basketball players were left off of the McDonald's All-American announcement on Thursday. Executive director of the program Robert Geoghan called the absence of the five Division I-bound players from the list "an oversight."

The players will be added to the list on Monday. Geoghan said he has encountered similar situations many times before and mentioned that Young's players were not the only ones left out because they could not be verified. (Chicago Tribune)

Former Bears DE Corey Wootton announces retirement

Former Bears DE Corey Wootton announces retirement

Former Bears defensive end Corey Wootton announced his retirement on Tuesday after a six-year NFL career.

The 28-year-old released this statement on his Twitter page:

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

Wootton spent his first four seasons in Chicago before going to the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions for one-year stints in 2014 and 2015.

Wootton had the best years of his career in 2012 and 2013, his final two seasons with the Bears. He played in all 16 games both seasons and combined for 10 sacks, 48 tackles and three forced fumbles.

Wootton was selected by the Bears in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft.

David Rundblad, Blackhawks mutually part ways

David Rundblad, Blackhawks mutually part ways

The Blackhawks and David Rundblad have mutually agreed to terminate the defenseman’s contract, as generalfanager.com reported on Monday night.

With the contract terminated, the Blackhawks will not carry any type of Rundblad-related cap hit. If the Blackhawks had bought out Rundblad, they would have carried a $133,333 cap hit this season and a $183,333 the next season.

Per generalfanager.com, the Blackhawks now have approximately $2.3 million in cap space.

Rundblad was placed on waivers on July 1. The defenseman spent part of the 2015-16 season playing in Switzerland. He returned to the Blackhawks last spring and played in three of the team’s seven playoff games against the St. Louis Blues.

But Rundblad could never find a consistent place in the Blackhawks’ lineup. General manager Stan Bowman talked in July of Rundblad wanting a fresh start.

“He’s still a young guy, wants to get back to playing a lot of hockey and that’s why he wanted to go to Europe mid-season. We were willing to honor that request. We’ll let him find a spot where he knows he’ll be a regular player every day,” Bowman said in July. “He has a bright future. We wish him well. But it’s hard as a guy trying to establish yourself in the NHL if you don’t play a lot of minutes. But I think we’ll see David back in the NHL in a few years. I think he wants to find a better fit where he’ll play a lot.”

White Sox bullpen taking pride in slogging through heavy, high-stress workload

White Sox bullpen taking pride in slogging through heavy, high-stress workload

It might be figuratively held together with chicken wire and duct tape at this point, and it hasn’t been entirely effective recently. But the White Sox bullpen can’t be criticized for a lack of effort. 

Over the last four days, White Sox relievers have had to throw 19 1/3 innings. To recap: Starter Jacob Turner only lasted 3 1/3 innings Friday against the Detroit Tigers, then Chris Sale was scratched from his start Saturday after blowing up over the team’s uniforms and earning a five-game suspension. The White Sox bullpen shouldered Johnny Wholestaff duties and threw eight innings on Saturday — right-hander Matt Albers started and pitched two of those innings despite throwing an inning in the team’s last two games — in lieu of the team’s All-Star ace. 

David Robertson, who pitched a third of an inning in relief Saturday, pitched twice on Sunday (he allowed three solo home runs to the Tigers to blow the save in his second game). Nate Jones appeared in the first three games of the Tigers series, too, totaling 2 1/3 innings. 

On Monday, both Jones and Robertson were given a much-needed rest day. So Zach Duke, Albers and Dan Jennings were called upon by manager Robin Ventura to cover seven outs against the powerful Cubs lineup. Albers blew the save, but Jennings’ strikeout of Jason Heyward with the go-ahead run on second set up Tyler Saladino’s walk-off single to net the White Sox a 5-4 win. 

“We’ve picked up a lot of innings lately,” Robertson said. “Everybody’s just giving it everything they got right now. It’s obviously, we would’ve loved to have nothing but zeros go up, but that’s not the way baseball works. We’re facing a lot of good lineups. And we’ve just hung tough and tried to at least give us a chance to win. Thankfully, we’ve been very fortunate to walk off these last three games.” 

It’s not just the volume of innings that’s taxing the bullpen, though. With three consecutive walk-off wins — the first time the White Sox have done that since Aug. 4-6, 1962 — have come plenty of high-stress pitches. Over the last week, the White Sox bullpen has the highest average leverage index in baseball, and that’s with this group shouldering the generally low-leverage early innings of Saturday’s game in place of Sale. 

“The more we work, the more proud we are of what we do,” Jennings said. 

Still, this group could probably use a breather. Without an off day until Aug. 1, though, the only way to get one is to be ruled out for a game, as Robertson and Jones were on Monday. 

“Hopefully we can rotate, I know there’s some other guys that I know might need a day so maybe hopefully Nate and Robertson are really fresh tomorrow and we can build off that,” Jennings said. “(Or) maybe we can get that eight, nine, 10-run win where we can kind of sit back and relax a little bit, hopefully.”

Manager Robin Ventura said he went with seniority in choosing who to cover Jones and Robertson’s innings Monday, which helps explain why he didn’t use 2015 first-round pick Carson Fulmer against the Cubs. Fulmer’s recent control issues — he only threw 12 of 30 pitches for strikes in blowing a lead against the Tigers on Friday — could’ve played a factor, too. 

“You’re trusting the guys who have been here,” Ventura said. “You’ve got some new faces that are out there, it would’ve been asking a lot to bring them in and put them in that.”

White Sox relievers have squandered leads in each of the team’s last four games, though: Fulmer on Friday, Jones on Saturday, Robertson on Sunday and Albers/Jennings on Monday. In addition to a short outing from Turner and no outing from Sale, the White Sox are missing right-handers Jake Petricka and Zach Putnam from a group that looked to be fairly deep earlier in the season. 

The White Sox relief corps could certainly use a day off or at the least, as Jennings said, a blowout win where some of those young arms — Fulmer, Michael Ynoa and Tommy Kahnle — could polish off some low-pressure innings. But those easy wins have been few and far between this season: The White Sox only have three wins by more than three runs since May 14. 

So if that trend continues, this group is going to have to continue to cover plenty of high-stress innings without a break, at least for the next week. 

“Obviously the bullpen the last few days had to pick up the team, and we take pride in that,” Albers said. “Especially Nate and D-Rob were down today, shoot, they’ve been pitching every day too. Everybody else started to try to pick them up. That’s what we’re here for.”