Frankie O: HEY BARKEEP!

Frankie O: HEY BARKEEP!
April 12, 2013, 9:45 am
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Frankie O

Yes, just one of the expressions that yours truly will invariably hear during a shift at the bar. Along with being referred to as chief or boss. I love manners! Anyway, while at the bar my usual response is an eye roll, here in cyberspace, I’ll actually respond. The following are just some of the topics discussed this week. It’s a one-stop shop for the rantings of a sports-crazed bartender. But also remember, they’re designed to make sense to a half-imbibed audience, so feel free to help yourself to whatever is handy if any of what you’re about to read doesn’t make any sense.

What’s going on with Derrick Rose? Might as well start on a high note! This question is not one you want to ask to get on my good side. I long for the days of Brett Favre retirement talk. If Rose starts texting pictures, I’m out of here. I’m now firmly in the next year camp. If he hasn’t done it by now, why bother? If he truly wanted to help out in the playoffs for this year, he would be in by now getting over the final recovery hurdle. His coming back during the playoffs would just create a circus. Then again, if his shoe employers have a say, maybe they would probably like that. He could roll out new rehab wear for the weekend warrior. I’m starting to believe that this year was not an option all along. Next year we will be told how his practicing with his battered teammates for 3 months brought him back to the MVP level we will see in 2014.

What do you think of the Wrigley Field mess? I can’t wait for the made-for-TV movie. This “drama” has everything Roger Ebert would have loved. It reminds me of one of those “Pink Panther” movies except that Inspector Clouseau is working for both sides. For a “warm and fuzzy” organization, the Cubs don’t seem to be operating that way, on or off the field. That being said, maybe that’s the true cost of winning. I agree that the Cubs should get the benefit that every other sports team in this town has received and not be forced into so much political football. But, if you have a signed agreement with neighborhood partners, what are you going to do? And if you don’t understand that the “Chicago way” means that everyone gets a piece, whose fault is that? Besides, the really big money is going to come to them during their next TV deal or when they start their own network. Hey they could play the movie on their new channel on a loop when the team isn’t playing. Now, there are some parallel fronts! And one more thought: Is the timing of all of this designed to take away from the attention from this years’ product on the field? Just wondering. Enjoy the show!

Will the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup? I don’t know, but I can’t wait to watch. The Cup is the hardest trophy in sports to win. Lost in all of “The Streak” hoopla is that none of it matters when the playoffs start. (As I have so eloquently discussed here previously. Seriously! It was freaking eloquent!) I like the addition of veteran Michal Handzus (former Flyer!) to help with the faceoff deficiency this team suffers from. But only 2 things really matter: Are they healthy? Which with 9 games left in the regular season, besides Bolland, is yes. And more important: How good is the goaltending? That has been an issue in the last 2 first round exits. Curious that Ray Emery has started the last 3 games, but 15-1 is 15-1. I’m starting to think that the team feels more confident with the playoff tested veteran being between the pipes when the real hockey starts. Oh, and if the playoffs started today, the Hawks would be in line to play Detroit, defending champion L.A., and Anaheim just to get out of the West. That’s sick!

What do you think about the Eagles hiring Chip Kelly? As you can guess, a lot of customers know where I’m from, that or they just like seeing my head turn bright red. I don’t see the difference in a new head coach! This team was put on earth to torment me. Turnovers kill you!! Every time! And besides the stuff we won’t get into here,(been there, done that) Mike Vick was put on this earth to tease Andy Reid and turn the ball over! Oh, and to get hurt also. Reid needed a QB in KC, why for love of Pete wouldn’t you give him one, or both, of the guys at the top of the depth chart. The whole league knew that San Francisco wanted no parts of Alex Smith and Andy gave them 2 draft picks. 2 draft picks! Why would you give Vick any money or keep Nick Foles, who does not fit your offense?! I would rather watch Dennis Dixon be overmatched than watch this train-wreck again. The key to any offense is to have a QB and the Eagles don’t have one. You know where you get them? In the draft! Trade up and roll the dice on Geno Smith. He fits your offense to a t. Signing Kelly was a bold move. I haven’t seen any since. That’s no way to win in the NFL.

Is Urlacher done? First off, I’m a big Urlacher fan. I’ve been able to watch his whole career here. I wish the Eagles could have someone who could play like he used to. Used to. He has had an unbelievable career for someone who was not drafted for the position he played in college. But after 13 seasons, he doesn’t have the legs a “speed” linebacker needs. That’s a cold, hard fact. That’s why I expected his negotiations to get ugly and they did. My wish, like most of the Bears fans I talk to, was that he could be the motivational factor next year that Ray Lewis was for Baltimore last year. Lewis couldn’t run any more either, but he always knew where he had to be as well as where everyone else around him should be also. He also was kind of a motivator. Sound familiar. And if this really is the “go for it year” with Jay Cutler in the final year of his contract, wouldn’t it make sense to keep Urlacher for one more season also? The problem is he isn’t worth what he thinks he is. He’s made a lot of money, and will continue to in this town for the rest of his life. Why not eat it a little to come back for one more try? I know that the Bears are probably not innocent here and drew a line in the sand that was beneath sea level. But they are running a business and with the rubik’s cube of a salary cap, there is only so much to go around. I’m still holding out hope that they can reconnect and come to an agreement. I don’t know if he has any offers, at this point logic would seem to imply he doesn’t, but it would be awful to see him make a cash-grab and wear another uniform like Steve McMichael did years ago. Urlacher will always be a Bear. Let’s hope he can wear the uniform he was born to wear, reconnect with his fans and go out in a way that is befitting a player of his stature.

Have you ever met Roger Ebert? I, like everyone else in Chicago, was saddened to learn of his passing last week. He and Gene Siskel were the first movie reviewers I ever paid attention to with their “Sneak Previews” show which I began watching in the late seventies. Who are these guys from Chicago? And why are they always arguing? It was great that they made you look at movies in a different way. In a lot of ways I consider movies like I do wine: There is good and bad and a lot of times any 2 people can’t agree on which is which. It’s a matter of personal taste. During my formative years as a young adult though, seeing the “Two-thumbs up. Way up” as sign of approval was always an indication that this was a movie that was must-see. Ebert was one of the icons of Chicago when I moved here. It was with him in mind that I entered my movie-reviewing endeavors for CSN Chicago. At first I found it hilarious that someone would pay me to watch a movie, interview a couple of stars, and then give my opinion. Over 20 movies later I still do. It’s hard to take some of it serious, but then again movies touch us all in many different ways and who is going to deny us that? The beauty is we all can have our own opinion of what is good and bad and always be right! I remember before the first time I was flown to L.A. to do a review and I was thinking, “This is nuts!” Another out-of-body experience that I had was going to a preview of a movie that was for media and contest winners a couple of years ago here in Chicago. I was teasing my wife about sitting in the “media only” section and enjoying our free popcorn and snacks while commoners gave me the “Who are you?” glance when I looked across to the opposite end of the aisle we were sitting in. There sat Roger Ebert, ROGER EBERT!! He was there with his note pad and I couldn’t help but give repeated glances until the house lights went down. We were there to review the same film! After the movie, I resisted the urge to be a tourist/stalker for one of the first times in my life and didn’t fight the crowd to get over to talk to him. I’ve always regretted that since you never know when you will get another chance. As it turns out I will never get another. But I will always remember that night, and as always when I think about it, have a smile on my face.