Word on the Street: Kerry Wood returning to Cubs?

Word on the Street: Kerry Wood returning to Cubs?

Thursday, Oct. 28, 2010
CSNChicago.com

Sullivan's death weighs on Notre Dame players, University to investigate

Declan Sullivan, a 20-year-old student filming practice, died after his video lift toppled in windy conditions. Several Irish players then took to Twitter to post their thoughts on the tragedy.

A post from linebacker Brian Smith read: "In the midst of a season where you are disappointed with the outcomes ... you can lose sight of what's most important. Sad day at practice."

From defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore: "Never take life for granted I hate that some times it takes something like this to realize this"

In addition, the University will open an investigation into Sullivan's passing.

"There is a lot to learn here, we will learn it all, we will learn it in an expeditious manner," athletic director Jack Swarbrick promised during a Thursday news conference. (chicagobreakingsports.com)

Race a factor in Bears nightclub incident?

Bears veterans took the rookies out on Monday night for their traditional sinner but things didn't go as planned when Angels & Kings in Chicago turned away the group. While it's purely speculation at this point, some members of the team, including Lance Briggs and Israel Idonije believe the act was racially motivated.

Kerry Wood returning to Cubs?

Kerry Wood began his career as a dominant flame-thrower at the friendly confines of Wrigey Field, could he make a return? According to multiple sources, the Cubs would welcome Wood back to bolster their bullpen if payroll permits that they can.

Wood, 33, could serve as a quality set-up man to Carlos Marmol and figures to look for a multi-year deal in the 6-8 million range. After a mid-season trade send Wood from the Cleveland Indians to the New York Yankees, Wood posted a 0.69 ERA and 1.23 WHIP in 24 games. (cubbiescrib.com)

Bears DT Anthony Adams wins Ed Block Courage Award

Chicago Bears DT Anthony Adams was named the team's recipient of the 2010 Ed Block Courage Award today. The prestigious award is presented to one player on all 32 NFL teams who best exemplifies a commitment to sportsmanship and courage and serves as an inspiration in the locker room. The recipients of the award, who are voted on by their teammates, symbolize professionalism, great strength and dedication, and they are considered community role models.

Know as a leader throughout the locker room, Adams is in his fourth year with the Bears after spending his first four NFL seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. A hard worker with a humorous attitude, Adams has started 61 of 101 career games played in his NFL career, recording 289 tackles, 8.5 sacks, 22.5 tackles for losses, two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. (chicago.sbnation.com)

Illini lose one recruit, gain another

Rock Island point guard Chasson Randle announced Wednesday he will not attend the University of Illinois, choosing instead to play his college basketball at Stanford. Randle is ranked 68th in his class by Rivals.com.

However, there was good news on the recruiting front for the Illini, as De La Salle forward Mike Shaw announced he will take his talents to Champaign. Shaw is the No. 58 senior on Rivals.com. (dailyillini.com)

Bulls name Green Team Ambassador

Former Bull Sidney Green was named a Team Ambassador, the Bulls announced on Thursday. Green joins Scottie Pippen in that position. Green averaged 9.2 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game while playing for the Bulls from 1983-86.

"I would like to thank the Bulls organization for promoting me to this position," Green said. "I will work to my utmost ability to earn and justify the confidence the Bulls have shown in me. It is great to work for such a first-class organization, which is not only successful on the court but also is so committed to the betterment of our community. (chicagobulls.com)

Spartans police escort out of Evanston raises questions

Michigan State created a traffic gridlock as the team cut and weaved out of Illinois after defeating Northwestern on Saturday. In a maneuver usually reserved for U.S. presidents and other VIPs, Illinois State Police troopers for the first time escorted the Michigan State football caravan from Ryan Field on the Northwestern campus and along the Edens and Kennedy expressways toward Michigan. Previously, Evanston police would escort teams only to the entrance of the Edens Expressway in Skokie.

State police officials downplayed any negative impact, saying the traffic-stopping escort was no different from accompanying a funeral procession or a truck hauling an oversize load. (chicagotribune.com)

Agent: Martin Havlat underused by Wild

Allan Walsh, the agent of former Blackhawks winger Martin Havlat, spoke out about the Minnesota Wild's use of his client. Walsh claims that the Wild are limiting Havlat's playing time and, by doing so, his productivity.

"When Chuck reached out to Marty Havlat two summers ago after he led Chicago to the conference finals while leading the team in points in the regular season and playoffs, he shared a vision of building an up-tempo offensive team with Marty as a pillar to this strategy," Walsh said in an e-mail to the Star Tribune. "That's why he signed with the Wild."Since that time, Marty has been used in a purely secondary role. Look at this season, he's played four straight games at about 14 minutes of ice time, he's used on the second power-play unit, he sits for long stretches, he's not used in the shootouts. At a certain point in time, one has to ask, 'Why is he here?' One has to ask, 'Why pay this guy 30 million to not play?' (startribune.com)

Cubs president Theo Epstein, world's greatest leader? 'The pope didn't have as good of a year'

Cubs president Theo Epstein, world's greatest leader? 'The pope didn't have as good of a year'

MESA, Ariz. – Cubs president Theo Epstein showed zero interest in playing along with Fortune magazine putting him on the cover and ranking him No. 1 on the list of "The World's 50 Greatest Leaders," or two spots ahead of Pope Francis.

"The pope didn't have as good of a year," manager Joe Maddon said Wednesday, channeling Babe Ruth.

Epstein essentially bit his tongue, responding to reporters with a copy-and-paste text message that reflected his self-awareness and PR savvy. 

"Um, I can't even get my dog to stop peeing in the house," Epstein wrote. "The whole thing is patently ridiculous. It's baseball – a pastime involving a lot of chance. If (Ben) Zobrist's ball is three inches farther off the line, I'm on the hot seat for a failed five-year plan. 

"And I'm not even the best leader in our organization; our players are."

Epstein obviously has a big ego. No one becomes the youngest general manager in baseball history and builds three World Series winners without a strong sense of confidence and conviction. But he genuinely tries to deflect credit, keep a relatively low profile and stay focused on the big picture. 

Fortune's cover art became an older image of Epstein standing at the dugout, surrounded by reporters during a Wrigley Field press gaggle. (This was not Alex Rodriguez kissing a mirror during a magazine photo shoot.) The text borrowed from Tom Verducci's upcoming "The Cubs Way" book. 
 
Fortune still hit an Internet sweet spot and generated a lot of buzz, ranking Epstein ahead of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (No. 4), Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster (No. 7) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (No. 10).

"I'm all about the pope," Maddon said. "Sorry, Pope Francis. We're buds. I'd like to meet him someday. But after all, what we did last year was pretty special. 

"Has the pope broken any 108-year-old curses lately?"

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Epstein also ended an 86-year drought for the Boston Red Sox, putting the finishing touches on the immortal 2004 team and winning another championship in 2007 with eight homegrown players. 

No matter how the Cubs try to airbrush history now, that five-year plan featured lucky breaks, unexpected twists and turns and payroll frustrations as the franchise went from 101 losses in 2012 to 103 wins last season. But even after the biggest party Chicago has ever seen, no team in baseball is better positioned for the future. And there is no doubt that Epstein is a Hall of Fame executive.  

"He's very good at setting something up and then permitting people to do their jobs," Maddon said. "That's the essence of good leadership, the ability to delegate well. But then he also has the tough conversations. 

"He sees both sides. I've talked about his empathy before. I think that sets him apart from a lot of the young groups that are leading Major League Baseball teams right now. You know if you have to talk to him about something, he's got an open ear and he's going to listen to what you say. He's not going to go in there predetermined. 

"You can keep going on and on, him just obviously being very bright, brilliant actually. He's got so many great qualities about him. But he leads well, I think, primarily because of his empathy."

That blend of scouting and analytics, open-minded nature and pure guts led to the Cubs: drafting Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber; trading for Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Hendricks, Jake Arrieta, Addison Russell and almost their entire bullpen; and signing transformative free agents like Jon Lester and Zobrist.            

Chairman Tom Ricketts locked up Epstein before the playoffs started last October with a five-year extension believed to be worth in the neighborhood of $50 million. Arrieta didn't laugh off the Fortune rankings.

"It just shows you all the positive that's he done," Arrieta said. "Not only here, but beforehand in Boston and what he's built for himself and for the city of Boston and the city of Chicago. It's hard to understate what he means to the organization."

How Cubs decided Kyle Hendricks would be their fifth starter

How Cubs decided Kyle Hendricks would be their fifth starter

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — When Joe Maddon made the obvious choice and named Jon Lester as the Opening Night starter, the Cubs manager joked about Kyle Hendricks reacting to the news by throwing stuff around the weight room.

So imagine how last year's ERA titleholder and a World Series Game 7 starter responded to the idea of being slotted fifth in the rotation.

"I heard things rattling in there," Maddon said with a laugh.

The Cubs revealed their alignment before Thursday afternoon's Jake Arrieta vs. Zack Greinke matchup at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, confirming Brett Anderson will work as a starter (for as long as he's healthy) while Mike Montgomery moves to the bullpen for the defending champs.

The Cubs want John Lackey to face the St. Louis Cardinals, so he will open as the No. 3 starter at Busch Stadium. To break up the lefties in the rotation, Anderson — who once tweeted: "Kyle Hendricks looks like he'd celebrate a World Series win with a glass of 2% milk, Oreos and a book" — will start Game 4 against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park.

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Whether or not the Cubs are overthinking this and overplaying their hand with a mild-mannered personality, don't expect Hendricks to rage against the pitching infrastructure.

"That's the point about our group," Maddon said. "Everybody buys in. Everybody's good. They understand being a part of the puzzle in your own unique way.

"It's kind of neat when you can have these conversations, knowing that ego's not going to play a part of it from the player coming back at you. They know it is part of the overall picture. They also know that the purpose is to try to do what we did last year.

"It's a unique situation. I'm not saying we're taking advantage of it, because everybody kind of digs it."

Whether or not Hendricks repeats his 2.13 ERA and third-place finish in the National League Cy Young Award vote, the Cubs see 200 innings as his next level after throwing 180 in 2015 and 190 last season (plus seven playoff starts combined).

"Everybody gets hung up on numbers," Maddon said. "He's definitely better than a No. 5 starter. It just happens that we're going to slot him in the five-hole coming out of camp. It's not a pecking order regarding ability by any means.

"A lot of it is just comfort zone for us with Kyle doing so well there last year. But, listen, Kyle can be a lot of people's No. 2s or even a 1 in a situation right now, too."

All along, the Cubs have coached up and managed Hendricks to the point where he could beat Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers to clinch the franchise's first pennant in 71 years.

"Why mess with that?" Maddon said. "As long as his ego doesn't force you to attempt to try to do something differently, and it doesn't, outside of throwing things a little bit. He's beautiful. We're all good."