Word on the Street: Adam Dunn to Cubs or Sox?

Word on the Street: Adam Dunn to Cubs or Sox?

Sunday, Nov. 7, 2010

Dunn heading to Chicago?

Possibly, but the real questions is, which team would he come to?

Reports are both the White Sox and the Cubs are front runners to land Adam Dunn, the most prized free agent first baseman.

CalltothePen.com believes the South Side is the perfect destination for Dunn, as Paul Konerko may not be back in '11 and the team has already publicly stated the need for a left-handed power hitter.

Many sources speculated the Cubs to be the most likely place for Dunn to land weeks ago, but there have been reports out that the Cubs have removed themselves from the sweepstakes for the slugger due to financial problems. However, despite those reports, SI.com's Jon Heyman believes Dunn will still come to the North Side.

Chicago Tribune Cubs beat writer Paul Sullivan also believes the Cubs are the most likely candidate to secure the first baseman, but would have to get rid of Kosuke Fukudome and his big contract first. (Chicago Tribune, RotoWorld.com, CalltothePen.com)

Hossa returns to lineup for Hawks

When Marian Hossa originally suffered an upper body injury on Oct. 27, the Blackhawks were expecting to be without the star forward for a full two weeks. But, Hossa suited up for Chicago's tilt with the Oilers at the United Center. (NHL.com)
Vikings enjoy a weekend of ups and downs

The Minnesota Vikings, the Bears' next opponent, started the ninth weekend of the NFL season off with a ban, as star receiver Percy Harvin and head coach Brad Childress almost came to blows. According to reports, Childress questioned Harvin's effort during practice on Friday and the young Florida alum responded by yelling at his coach.

The argument escalated and "was as close to physical as you can get," according to one source.

However, the Vikings were able to rebound and battle back from a 24-10 deficit to the Arizona Cardinals Sunday to pull out a 27-24 win in overtime. Brett Favre led the charge with two touchdown passes and 446 yards, the highest total of his illustrious career. (Chicago Tribune, ESPN.com)

Peppers not seriously injured

When the Bears' star defensive end Julius Peppers was writhing in pain on the ground late in Sunday's game, Bears fans and the organization collectively held their breath. But, the freakishly athletic pass rusher said he just got the wind knocked out of him.

"It was nothing," he said. "I wasn't nervous about it. I just wish I could have stayed in. But, oh well." (Chicago Tribune)

Ricketts to star on "Undercover Boss"

Sunday night's "Undercover Boss" episode features Todd Ricketts, one of the co-owners of the Chicago Cubs. Ricketts will suit up in a cleaning uniform and plunger while going undercover as a maintenance employee with the organization. The episode was originally to be aired at 8 p.m. on CBS. (CubbiesCrib.com)

Anthony Rizzo/Javier Baez antics show how this Cubs team doesn’t feel the same weight of history

Anthony Rizzo/Javier Baez antics show how this Cubs team doesn’t feel the same weight of history

LOS ANGELES – Within minutes of the last out on Thursday night at Dodger Stadium, ESPN’s @SportsCenter account sent out a photo of Moises Alou at the Wrigley Field wall to more than 30 million Twitter followers: “The last time the Cubs were up 3-2 in an NLCS was Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS vs. the Marlins. Most remember it as ‘the Bartman Game.’”

As Kerry Wood once said: “Irrelevant, dude.”
Look, the Cubs still need to find a way to beat either Clayton Kershaw or Rich Hill this weekend, with Kenley Jansen resting and waiting for the multiple-inning saves. The obligatory description for Kershaw is “the best pitcher on the planet.” Hill’s lefty curveball – and “the perceptual velocity” of his fastball – freezes hitters. Jansen has a mystical cutter reminiscent of the great Mariano Rivera. The top-heavy part of this Los Angeles playoff pitching staff has held the Cubs to zero runs in 16.1 innings.

But until proven otherwise, forget about this idea of a Cubs team weighed down by the history of a franchise that hasn’t played in the World Series since 1945.

Just look at Javier Baez getting in Anthony Rizzo’s airspace during Game 5, the human-highlight-film second baseman standing right next to the All-Star first baseman as he caught a Kike Hernandez pop-up for the second out of the third inning.

It didn’t matter that this was a 1-0 game and MVP-ballot players Justin Turner and Corey Seager were coming up. This is what the 2016 Cubs do. Rizzo caught the ball, quickly flipped it underhand and it bounced off Baez’s chest – in front of a sellout crowd of 54,449 and a national Fox Sports 1 audience.

“We always mess around,” Rizzo said at his locker inside a tight clubhouse jammed with media after an 8-4 win. “So I’m screaming: ‘Javy! Javy! I got it! I got it, Javy, I got it!’

“And usually he’ll yell at me: ‘Don’t miss it!’ Or I’ll yell at him: ‘Don’t miss it!’

“We do that a lot. If it’s a pop-up to him, I’ll go right behind him. It’s just little ways of slowing the game down and having fun, too.”

Rizzo is a Gold Glove-caliber first baseman for a team that led the majors in defensive efficiency this year. As a super-utility guy, Baez got credit for 11 defensive runs saved in 383 innings at second base, or one less than co-leaders Dustin Pedroia and Ian Kinsler, who each did it in almost 1,300 innings.

“Sometimes when I call (Rizzo) off to get a fly ball, he starts talking to me,” Baez said. “I tell him: ‘Hey, you can do whatever you want. Just don’t move my head. You can touch me if you want. Just don’t move my head.’

“And I told him to be ready for it, because I was going to do the same thing. You just got to be focused on the fly ball. No matter what’s happening around you, you just got to catch it.”

[SHOP: Buy a "Try Not to Suck" shirt with proceeds benefiting Joe Maddon's Respect 90 Foundation & other Cubs Charities]

This isn’t about Bartman. It’s about a group of young, confident players who are growing up together and absolutely expect to be in this position. It’s manager Joe Maddon designing “Embrace The Target” T-shirts and telling them to show up to the ballpark whenever they want and then blow off batting practice.

“For sure, we’re relaxed,” said Baez, who’s gone viral during these playoffs, the rest of the country witnessing his amazing instincts and flashy personality. “I’m relaxed when I play defense.”

The thing is, Rizzo and Baez could be playing next to each other for the next five years, the same way Kris Bryant and Addison Russell will be anchoring the left side of the infield.

This is how Rizzo introduced Russell to The Show when a natural shortstop tried to learn second base on the fly last year and track pop-ups in front of 40,000 people: “Hey, watch out for that skateboard behind you! Don’t trip!”

“Oh yeah, we yell at each other all the time,” Rizzo said. “It’s just one of those things where you got to stay loose.”

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