On the Bandwagon? Quiz will help identify fans

On the Bandwagon? Quiz will help identify fans

Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2010
5:21 PM

By Joe Collins
CSNChicago.com

Let me fix your wagon.

Picture this. You and your dream girl (or guy) are on your first date. You know you have a hot one. A fancy dinner is planned. Your buddy hooked you up with box seats for later on that night.

Your date has a nice smile. You get ahead of yourself and start thinking about where the second date will be, how your wedding will be...and what your first child will be named. Things start off smoothly - the dinner is great, the conversation is amazing...etc.

But then when you get up to leave...she calls you by the wrong name.

Cue the 'losing horn' of failure.

Talk about a bummer, you know? Everything was going so well. You thought you established a connection with a person and then figured out they didn't read the foreward of, "Dating For Dummies." You try to overlook the faux pas but keep coming back to it again and again the rest of the night: "How can a person not remember that?

"Was it something I did? Do I detect a fraud? Is that the ultimate red flag? Do they get a second chance?"

The same is true in sports.

Maybe you have gone to a game recently and had the following happen: you're part of a large group of people wearing similar team colors. It's like date night with 60,000 of your closest friends. Everyone's having fun, high-fiving after big plays...etc. Then, the following exchange takes place with another member of your group:

You: "Wow...that kickoff return was crazy! Did you see that block? Nobody can touch 2-3 when he gets into the open field."

Other Dude: "I know man! David Hester...you are...reee-markable!"

(You can almost hear the needle scratching off the record)

You: "Mmm...y-you mean...Devin Hester is reee-diculous?"

Other Dude: (awkward silence)

Talk about the ultimate red flag.

You've been hit. Not by a smooth criminal...but by a bandwagon fan.

Bandwagon fans are the most scrutinized group in sports. And before anybody gets nervous, no, I'm not calling Bears fans - or any other group of fans - bandwagoners. But I'm guessing that a ridiculous (ha) percentage of Bears fans should know that Devin Hester was labeled "ridiculous" by announcer Jeff Joniak on an amazing return for touchdown a few years ago.

But every group of friends has "that guy" that claims a hard core allegiance to a certain team...and then, amazingly, can't remember how to pronounce the star player's name on said team...or something equally mind-boggling. The reaction by others is usually one part unintentional comedy, two parts disbelief and five more parts anger.

Bandwagon fans are always a mixed blessing for every sports franchise: they pack the stadiums and bars when teams are winning, and then usually vanish once the team falls below .500. They also add to the bottom line and make TV executives glad that they invested in the team for a prime time slot.

But on the flip side, you also get "David Hester" moments coming out of the woodwork every now and then. Personally, I don't mind bandwagoners all that much, I'm all for the awkward comedy. And in the end, there isn't all that much you can do about it but sit and wonder if these bandwagoners fake their way through other parts of life.

But maybe it's time to do something about it.

I have developed a five-question bandwagon defrauding kit for each of the major sports teams in Chicago (CubsSoxBullsBlackhawksBears). I urge you to give a suspected bandwagoner the quiz if you think heshe might be scamming you. Each set of questions is easy enough that the mildly interested fan should get without much hesitation. But they're just hard enough to force the bandwagon fans into buying the next round of drinks.

(Disclaimer: Any fan who physically goes to a game and cheers for a Chicago team or supports them in any way is a winner in my book and it doesn't matter what their sports acumen is...but still...)

CHICAGO CUBS:

--The last Cubs World Series championship came in what year?

--What Cubs outfielder won National League MVP honors in 1987?

--What Cubs pitcher threw a no-hitter against the Astros in 2008?

--What team passed the Cubs down the stretch to win the N.L. East in 1969?

--True or false: Cubs and Cardinals fans are usually the best of friends and root for each other's team.

CHICAGO WHITE SOX:

--Who was the most valuable player in the 2005 World Series?

--What was Carlton Fisk's number while playing for the White Sox?

--What shortstop won American League Rookie of the Year honors for the southsiders in 1985?

--What Sox pitcher recently won his second gold glove?

--Which Minnesota team makes the blood of a White Sox fan boil more: The Twins or St. Olaf?

CHICAGO BULLS:

--Derrick Rose went to what Chicago high school?

--After playing for the Bulls, Michael Jordan went to play for what other NBA team?

--What two players were the building blocks for the "Baby Bulls" in 2001?

--Coach Tom Thibodeau was an assistant on what team last season?

--Bill Laimbeer, a guy whose car you'd want to egg in the 1980s, was part of what nemesis team?

CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS:

--"The Golden Jet" is the nickname for what Hall of Fame Blackhawk?

--Who scored the game-winning goal in Game 6 to clinch the 2010 Stanley Cup?

--Name one player from the 1992 Chicago Blackhawks team that advanced to the Stanley Cup Final.

--True or false: The Blackhawks once made the playoffs 28 consecutive seasons.

--What "Original Six" team is considered to be the archrival to the Hawks? (Hint: They wear red, too)

CHICAGO BEARS:

--What was the final score of Super Bowl XX?

--What Chicago Bear ran back the opening kickoff for a touchdown in Super Bowl XLI?

--Where did the Bears play their home games prior to moving into Soldier Field in 1971?

--Quarterback Jay Cutler went to what university?

--True or false: Green and yellow are popular colors to be worn at Soldier Field - especially if you are in the upper level and the home team is winning 35-3 (well...I guess the answer varies depending on how you view the question).

So go get 'em, Chicago fans. See who the longtime, loyal followers are in your group.

And then locate the sheep. But go easy on them, all will be forgotten when they get the next round of drinks.

And they better.

Rule 5 pick Dylan Covey takes advantage of showcase as White Sox down Indians

Rule 5 pick Dylan Covey takes advantage of showcase as White Sox down Indians

GOODYEAR, Ariz. — If Carlos Rodon starts on the disabled list as expected, the White Sox won't turn to any of their vaunted top prospects in the interim.

The news on Rodon has been encouraging so far as no structural damage has been discovered. Still, the White Sox won't clear Rodon until after he receives a second opinion on Monday. While the length of Rodon's absence won't be determined for several days, the White Sox are certain of one route they won't take — they don't want to disrupt the development of their young starting pitchers. Were a DL trip for Rodon necessary, the White Sox would likely select either Saturday's starter, Dylan Covey, or minor leaguer David Holmberg over their top prospects. Covey made a strong impression on Saturday afternoon with 3 2/3 scoreless innings pitched and the White Sox rallied for a 10-7 victory over the Cleveland Indians at Goodyear Ballpark.

"When you have an opportunity to stabilize action or movement for players it serves them better," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "They get a little more comfortable where they're at. They get comfortable with the staffs they're working with and the information they're gathering, being in a routine. It is a little disruptive going from team to team to team. It happens, but it's not the most conducive (to learning)."

The White Sox are all about development this season. Therefore, they have no plans to call upon Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Carson Fulmer or Michael Kopech unless they're A) ready and B) throwing every fifth day in Chicago. Renteria's comments Saturday reiterated Rick Hahn's earlier message, saying the club doesn't want to disrupt the development path.

That puts Covey, a Rule 5 draft pick in December, with a decent opportunity to make the club out of camp. Covey commanded the strike zone on Saturday only hours after Renteria said he hoped to see the young right-hander replicate an Arizona Fall League performance that initially warmed the White Sox up to him.

Aside from a two-out walk in his final inning, Covey was sharp the whole way. He allowed three hits and struck out three.

"My last couple of outings I was definitely feeling the stress," Covey said. "I was kind of pitching a little passive, pitching to not make a mistake instead of just going right after guys. So today and yesterday I just thought I'm just going to throw every pitch with conviction and see what happens. I got a lot of weak contact today and some swings and misses, so I felt good."

Covey threw 44 pitches, 27 for strikes. He potentially could stay in Arizona on Thursday and make an additional minor league start to build arm strength, which would get him to roughly 60 pitches before the regular seasons started.

The White Sox don't officially need a fifth starter until April 9 and they're off the following day. That break could allow the White Sox to start Covey as part of a bullpen day. Covey said he recently changed his mindset after lackluster results in relief this spring. The right-hander has a 6.94 ERA this spring in 11 2/3 innings.

"Obviously my last two outings out of the pen I wasn't getting crushed, but I just wasn't commanding the ball or commanding the count as much as I would like to be," Covey said. "The mistakes get hit a little harder when you're falling behind in the count. Today I wanted to have the mindset of attacking hitters, throwing everything down in the zone and going right after them, and it worked out."

The White Sox blasted six home runs in the contest, including a majestic, go-ahead grand slam by first baseman Danny Hayes in the top of the ninth inning. Hayes is hitting .351/.400/.595 with two homers and is tied for the team lead with 13 RBIs this spring. Jose Abreu, Nick Delmonico, Cody Asche, Everth Cabrera and Jacob May also homered for the White Sox. 

Joe Maddon breaks down the Matt Szczur vs. Tommy La Stella decision for Cubs

Joe Maddon breaks down the Matt Szczur vs. Tommy La Stella decision for Cubs

MESA, Ariz. – Matt Szczur vs. Tommy La Stella appears to be the final decision as the Cubs shape their Opening Night roster.

That's assuming good health – manager Joe Maddon sounded unconcerned about Ben Zobrist (stiff neck), Addison Russell (stiff back) and Albert Almora Jr. (stiff neck) – and the Cubs carrying an eight-man bullpen.

Maddon appeared to eliminate one variable, confirming that La Stella has signaled a willingness to go to Triple-A Iowa if necessary, which would normally be an obvious statement, except for last summer's "Where's Tommy?" episode.

"I haven't even thought about it," Maddon said during Saturday's media session at the Sloan Park complex. "It's not an issue. I thought we handled it pretty openly last year and there's been no blowback whatsoever from the players."

Beyond this – La Stella initially refused to report to the minors last July, moved back home to New Jersey and talked briefly about retirement – an American League scout and a National League scout tracking the Cubs in Arizona both agreed that Szczur looks like the superior player.

Plus Szczur – and not La Stella – is out of minor-league options now.

"When you get this kind of a talent, depth-wise, it's a wonderful problem to have," Maddon said. "And then, of course, the rules start creeping in. The rules in this situation would benefit Matt, which is a good thing, because he's a big-league guy that's been riding the shuttle. He's done it in a very stoic manner, and he's been great for us."

La Stella has allies in the clubhouse – Jake Arrieta got a Coastal Carolina tattoo on his right butt cheek after losing a College World Series bet – and goes about his routine in a quiet, diligent manner.

La Stella is not a distraction at all and can hit left-handed and play the infield – two attributes that Szczur can't bring to Maddon's bench.

"Matt Szczur, to me, is a Major League Baseball player," Maddon said. "You're seeing what Tommy can do from the left side of the plate right now. And then it's just a matter of balancing things out. We've already mentioned that some guys on the infield can play the outfield within this group, thus it presents differently regarding what you need."

[MORE CUBS: Javier Baez won’t change his style around Cubs after World Baseball Classic: ‘We’re not showing anybody up’]

Szczur is hitting .361 with a .994 OPS through 14 Cactus League games and can play all over the outfield. But that skill is diminished when the Cubs already have four established outfielders plus Zobrist and Kris Bryant able to shift from the infield.

Then again, defensive wizard Javier Baez should have the Cubs covered all across the infield in case of an emergency. With the defending World Series champs a week out from facing the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium, we're about to find out if Maddon made his recommendation or had a possible trade scenario or disabled-list situation in mind.

"I love Matt Szczur," Maddon said. "This guy as a teammate – you're not going to get a better one. Nobody's going to get a better one on any team for any reason.

"We haven't decided everything or anything yet. Stuff happens in a very short period of time. He is a major-league baseball player. So we'll just wait a couple more days, see how it plays out. But he's a benefit to any group that has him."