Chicago Cubs

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)

Stop asking if the Cubs are back, they need to make their own momentum — like they did Sunday

Stop asking if the Cubs are back, they need to make their own momentum — like they did Sunday

Stop asking if the Cubs are back.

That’s been a season-long talking point every time something that seems big at the time happens, constant wonder over what can snap the Cubs out of it and get them back to their expected place of dominating the division and looking like a World Series contender.

But it’s been pretty plain up to this point that one game hasn’t made that drastic difference fans are looking for.

All those “Cubs back?” inquiries have only been met with the same kind of play that’s kept the team middling all season. Flashes of brilliance have come and gone, and still the Cubs turned in a sub-.500 first half and remain just a few games ahead of their division rivals from Milwaukee and St. Louis.

So it’s time to stop wondering if every big win will lead to the Cubs turning on the jets and blasting away from the Brewers and Cardinals.

If the Cubs are going to get the kind of momentum required to do that, they’re going to need to make it themselves. Just like they did Sunday.

The Cubs beat the visiting Toronto Blue Jays and completed their first three-game series sweep in a month, their first since that six-game win streak out of the All-Star break with back-to-back broom breakouts in Baltimore and Atlanta. (For those appreciative of technicalities, yes, the Cubs won both games in the road half of the Crosstown matchup with the White Sox.)

But it was the way they did it Sunday, coughing up a 3-0 lead, coughing up two runs in the top of 10th, only to score three times in the bottom of that extra inning, winning on a walk-off base hit by one of the new guys, Alex Avila.

Did it mean that the Cubs are back? Did it mean this is the start of something great? What did it mean?

“That we’re a good team, I guess,” Avila said. “There are certain times over the course of the year when you’re a team that’s trying to get to the playoffs, you’ve got to win crazy games like that, games you should win.

“For me, momentum depends on the next guy that’s pitching, to be honest with you. If (John Lackey) goes out Tuesday and throws a good game and gives us an opportunity, then you can say that. But for me, once the game’s over it’s over, and the next game is something completely different.”

Sunday’s game was far from pretty. The Cubs benefitted from a pair of dropped third strikes in that 10th inning, including one where Blue Jays catcher Raffy Lopez plum forgot to throw to first, allowing Javy Baez to reach. Baez scored the game-winning run two batters later, sliding in ahead of the throw on Avila’s hit.

This time last year, the Cubs had a double-digit lead in the National League Central standings. After this sweep, you still need just one hand’s worth of fingers to add up their current division lead. This clearly isn’t last year. But Sunday’s win did have a little bit of that 2016 feel to it.

“The way the boys grinded at the end was awesome, definitely reminiscent of last year somewhat” starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks said. “That’s where we’ve got to get to, we’ve just got to be who we are right now. And hopefully that’s the team we can be now, maybe even progress beyond that. But yeah that was huge. Kept on fighting, even late in that game, and found a way to win that one.”

That’s not to say, though, that 2017’s problems didn’t pop up. The Cubs were just 3-for-12 with runners in scoring position. They gathered just four hits the remainder of the game after Albert Almora Jr.’s bases-clearing double with nobody out in the third inning. The bullpen could hardly be described as lock-down, with Justin Wilson adding two more walks to his struggle of a portfolio since joining the Cubs, Wade Davis also walking two batters and Koji Uehara charged with the two runs in the 10th that put the Blue Jays on top.

But listen to Joe Maddon and look elsewhere.

Those “little things” that everyone is always so fond of telling you make the difference in championship seasons? They were there Sunday, chiefly in the form of Baez’s 10th-inning hustle, which first got him to first base on that dropped third strike and later allowed him to score from second on the game-winning base knock.

“Javy runs hard,” Maddon said. “For those who ever want to criticize this guy, that’s a ball in the dirt, about 15 feet away from the catcher, the catcher just blanked out on it. If Javy does not run hard right there, it’s a different result. He ran hard, and that’s why he was safe because by the time Lopez figured it out, he had already beaten it to first base.

“All those little diminutae like that, that’s the difference between winning and losing. Everybody’s going to look at Alex’s hit. Great. It was a big moment. But Javy striking out and not just sulking, runs to first base.

“This is the nuance of the game,” Maddon continued, moving on to the lead Baez got at second base ahead of Avila’s hit. “Guys that get good (secondary leads). The way I’ve always described that in spring training when you have your base-running meeting is that you’re being a great teammates when you get a good secondary lead because it leads to moments like that. … You’re being a great teammate when you understand the importance of getting good secondary leads.”

Maybe the spark that’s been so intensely looked for all season isn’t one singular highlight-reel win but a collection of plays over the course of a few games. All three of these wins against the Blue Jays were one-run victories. Little things make the difference in such tight games. They make the difference in such tight division races, too.

One game and one sweep against a last-place team gets the Cubs nowhere close to out of the woods. A playoff spot is hardly a certainty in such a closely contested Central. And for as potentially momentum-building as this weekend series might have seemed, remember the Blue Jays are a last-place team. The Cincinnati Reds, both the team the Cubs played prior to the Blue Jays and the team they’ll play next, and the Philadelphia Phillies, the second stop on next week’s road trip, are also last-place teams.

The Cubs should be winning these games. You could just as easily argue that Sunday’s game was a troubling sign. Why should the Cubs need two dropped third strikes in the 10th inning to get them a win against a last-place team? Valid question.

But if you heard the racket coming out of the Cubs’ celebration room, you might be convinced otherwise.

Is momentum real? To this point, it hasn’t been for the 2017 Cubs. But with the schedule at an easy point, maybe it becomes real soon. They just have to make it.

“We want to get on a good roll,” Almora said. “This series is great, it’s a great start. We’ve been playing well since the All-Star break, so we feel really good as a team. Pitchers coming together, offense coming together. It’s great.”

“A really good team, once you’ve won the series with one left, c’mon. This is when you really want to make some hay at that point, you just don’t want to concede anything,” Maddon said. “Getting three out of three makes a difference moving forward.”

Watch: Cubs complete extra-inning comeback with walk-off hit to sweep Blue Jays

Watch: Cubs complete extra-inning comeback with walk-off hit to sweep Blue Jays

Sunday's Cubs-Blue Jays game had a little bit of everything.

There was Miguel Montero's home run against his former team to tie the game, a crazy catch against the wall by Kevin Pillar and that doesn't even include the 10th inning, which was on its own level of bizarre.

Pillar put the Blue Jays ahead with a single in the top of the 10th and then Justin Wilson walked the first two batters he faced to extend Toronto's lead to 5-3.

Then things got real weird.

Kyle Schwarber reached to lead off the inning despite striking out. He reached on a wild pitch third strike.

Later in the inning, after Schwarber had come around to score and cut the lead to 5-4, Javy Baez also reached on a dropped third strike. Catcher Raffy Lopez decided not to throw to first with the tying run, Ben Zobrist, at third base.

The Blue Jays' implosion continued when Jason Heyward was hit by a pitch after falling down 0-2 in the count. That loaded the bases and set the stage for Alex Avila to do this:

That wrapped up a series sweep for the Cubs.