Fantasy, Favre, F-bombs and the first day of school

Fantasy, Favre, F-bombs and the first day of school

Friday, Aug. 19, 2010
2:35 AM

By Frankie O
CSNChicago.com

Thats a pretty incongruous grouping in the title, but in the life of a bartender, I could be talking about those four subjects, in a matter of minutes, at any time during my night. Im nothing if not versatile! Who would have guessed that the dog days of summer would provide so many interesting topics to discuss? For the guy-in-a-red-bow-tie it all starts with my rotisserie baseball team. Its the blessing and curse of being in the mix. This is week 20 of the 26 week everyday grind that is fantasy baseball. It does not leave your brain. EVERYDAY! So, unlike the also-rans in the league, I cant take any time off to focus on fantasy football stats in preparation of my upcoming football, draft. Well, not a lot of time anyway. I have a fever, and the cure is more fantasy stats. (Or is that cow bell?)

Its at a time like this that separates a winning season from merely cashing. And thats the point. Since the reason for fantasy sports is to win a title in a make believe numerical sporting contest to prove your mental prowess and all-around manliness! Not winning is for losers! But unlike fantasy football, which is almost all luck for someone who remotely knows football, in baseball the luck is still involved, but with due diligence, you can make up for some misfortune. The problem is which move is the one you should make? Its in this way I share something in common with Brett Favre. No, not the diva part, although, since I won my fantasy football league last year and have turned my participation in my work leagues in to my own personal ATM machine(I love saying that!), Im partially entitled. Its the fact that I wrap myself into a pretzel before I can make a decision. Back and forth, back and forth, will I, or wont i? Its mental torture! Poor Brett, his constant indecision(S!) must be wearing him out. NOT! Im just kidding. I dont think Favre and I are alike at all. I think Favre takes his time in waffling on decisions because he likes the attention and is a drama queen. While I on the other hand feel that any decision I make will meet with impending doom and regulate me to also-ran status. Can you feel my pain? My psychosis?

Something besides fantasy drafts that all NFL fans look forward to as a sign that the season is here, is the show Hard Knocks on HBO. (Could you imagine, in this day and age, anyone who doesnt get HBO? Honestly! ) Ive watched them all, and besides mostly wanting to vomit during the one featuring the Cowboys ,Eagles fan and all, I have enjoyed them thoroughly. Who could forget during the Chiefs edition, Brodie Croyles wifes declaration, in her Alabama twang, that this will be Brodies year! Or last year, featuring the Bengals, the organizational angst over the hold-out of 1st round pick Andre Smith? Included in this was the viewing of his work-out video that was, unfortunately, for all of us watching, released for public consumption. Lets just say it wasnt the best marketing tool an agent has ever used to make his client more enticing.

The re-enactment of that work-out clip during the rookie talent show was absolutely hilarious. Then, this year, there is Rex Ryan. I dont know about you, but I found him to be a f-ing scene stealer and f-ing larger than life. Its his use of a certain four letter word, and its derivatives, that has made him the object of national attention. Its gained that attention largely to the negative reaction of his mother, which most found humorous and sweet, and the negative reaction of Tony Dungy, which was not. Swearing and bad language unfortunately, are a fact of life. Obviously, there is a time and place, but its something adults do. In fact, while watching a Cubs game at a certain un-named bar, you hear it a lot! (One of the reasons, besides Illinois law, that the youngsters should be kept away from the bar proper.) While I have a ton of respect for Tony Dungy as a person and a coach, I think its time to lighten up Francis! Coaches curse. Bosses curse. Its an attention getter. As long as its not part of a personal verbal assault, I dont see the harm in it in a locker room or professional playing field, where non-participants are not permitted. Again, this is a behind-the-scenes glimpse. For me personally, because I have young children and a live microphone in front of me each Friday and maybe have gotten a little older, I try to use profanity as little as possible, but sometimes, with the guys, might let it fly. Boys will be boys. Working at a bar, I understand it will happen and I cant fight every battle to stop it. But there are times when I need to step in to stop it for the sake of everyone else in the restaurant, when it is loud and belligerent, like I said, time and a place.

But by making this public stand, Im trying to figure out, what does Dungy have to gain, and what is he trying to prove? The public olive branch to Mike Vick I understand. But this? It reminds me of the Eddie Murphy routine where he talks about Bill Cosbys disdain of the use of foul language in his and Richard Pryors comedy acts. That objection didnt make an f-ing difference then, and from our knowledge of the Ryan family, this probably wont make an f-ing difference now. Like everyone else I talk to at the bar, I cant wait to watch the rest of the series. And finally, no possible segue here, so Ill jump right in, its here, a day that has become a parents holiday in my house, my kids are back in school! Its time to get my life back, or at least some of it. Entertaining the kids all summer, while being something I live for and revel in, can wear an old man out. (Not that its just me, the Boss helps out once in a while!) Luckily, theyre all at an age where they still love to go to school, so I dont feel entirely guilty in my glee. Well still have plenty of time together.

Its called me, doing, I mean, helping them with their homework every night! But because they get up so early and home from school late, two things happen: Theres less time for them to nuke the house, which means less clean-up time. And, for a late to bed, late to rise bartender, there is a little extra free time after lights out for the kids during his evenings off. What to do with that time? Did I mention that my fantasy football draft is in two weeks? Its time to study. Im going to own that f-ing league, again!!

How Indians regrouped and reloaded after losing unforgettable Game 7 to Cubs

How Indians regrouped and reloaded after losing unforgettable Game 7 to Cubs

MESA, Ariz. — As Major League Baseball officials responded to an unbelievably timed rain delay, Cleveland president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti huddled in a suite beneath Progressive Field and recognized what he saw in Cubs executives Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer after nine innings in a World Series Game 7.

"(We're) trying to figure out: Hey, what's going to happen here? How long are we going to have to wait? Are we going to have to pick up this game tomorrow?" Antonetti said. "I remember the look on both Jed and Theo's faces — it was the same as mine — just like exhaustion and fatigue and angst."

Soon enough, Epstein would be standing in the visiting dugout, his black suit completely drenched, winging it through a CSN Chicago postgame show interview: "Jed's in charge. I'm going on a bender."

However Cleveland fans processed the 10th inning — at least LeBron James had already delivered the city's first major sports title since 1964 — the Indians regrouped and reloaded as one of the favorites to win the 2017 World Series.

Danny Salazar — who hadn't built himself back up to full strength by the Fall Classic — threw two scoreless innings during Sunday afternoon's 1-1 tie in front of a sellout crowd at Sloan Park in Mesa. The Indians also survived and advanced into early November without frontline starter Carlos Carrasco (broken right pinkie finger) throwing a single playoff pitch or All-Star outfielder Michael Brantley (right shoulder complications) playing beyond May.

But the Indians didn't just sit back in their comfort zone this winter and simply hope for good medical reports and assume their young core players would improve. Sensing an opportunity, Cleveland swooped in around Christmastime and made a three-year, $60 million commitment to Edwin Encarnacion, who put up 42 homers and 127 RBIs last season for the Blue Jays, weakening the team that lost the American League Championship Series.

"It certainly has a positive impact on the momentum that we established and revenue heading into the following season," Antonetti said. "But I still think beyond that, it's been a big leap of faith by our ownership to really step out beyond what may make sense, just looking at where our projections might be.

"It's really a belief in our fan base that they'll continue to support our team and build on the momentum from last year."

Cleveland already paid the price for Andrew Miller — the Yankees wanted Kyle Schwarber or Javier Baez from the Cubs as a starting point last summer — and now control the game-changing reliever for two more pennant races. The Indians also invested $6.5 million in Boone Logan — a reliever the Cubs had monitored closely — when the lefty specialist lingered on the open market until early February.

Between the future Hall of Fame manager (Terry Francona), a Cy Young Award winner (Corey Kluber), the young All-Star shortstop (Francisco Lindor) and the dude from Glenbrook North (Jason Kipnis), Cleveland has way too much talent to be consumed with what could have been in Game 7.

"Hopefully, our guys learned from all of their experiences," Antonetti said. "They went through a lot last year. But I think at the same time, we have an appreciation and realize how hard it is to win, and how hard it was to get to the postseason.

"Continuing that mindset — and remembering what helped us get there — will benefit our guys the most. They'll reflect back and realize we didn't just show up and end up in the postseason and in the World Series. We started that work on Day 1 of the offseason and Day 1 in spring training."

Kurt Busch steals a monster of a win in Daytona 500

Kurt Busch steals a monster of a win in Daytona 500

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Kurt Busch had a monster start to the season with a last-lap pass to win the crash-filled Daytona 500.

Busch is sponsored by Monster Energy, which kicked off its first season as the title sponsor for NASCAR's top series Sunday with the season-opener. It wasn't NASCAR finest moment, though, as multiple accidents pared down the field and had a mismatched group of drivers racing for the win at the end.

"The more that becomes unpredictable about Daytona, the more it becomes predictable to predict unpredictability," Busch said. "This car's completely thrashed. There's not a straight panel on it. The strategy today, who knew what to pit when, what segments were what. Everybody's wrecking as soon as we're done with the second segment.

"The more that I've run this race, the more that I just throw caution to the wind, let it rip and just elbows out. That's what we did."

It appeared to be pole-sitter Chase Elliott's race to lose, then he ran out of gas. So did Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr. and Paul Menard. As they all slipped off the pace, Busch sailed through for his first career Daytona 500 victory.

It also was the first Daytona 500 win for Stewart-Haas Racing, which is co-owned by Tony Stewart. The three-time champion retired at the end of last season and watched his four cars race from the pits.

"I ran this damn race (17) years and couldn't win it, so finally won it as an owner," Stewart said.

Ryan Blaney finished second in a Ford. AJ Allmendinger was third in a Chevrolet, and Aric Almirola was fourth for Richard Petty Motorsports.

The win was a huge boost for Ford, which lured Stewart-Haas Racing away from Chevrolet this season and celebrated the coup with its second Daytona 500 victory in three years. Joey Logano won in a Ford in 2015.

The first points race of the Monster era was run under a new format that split the 500 miles into three stages. Kyle Busch won the first stage, Kevin Harvick won the second stage and neither was a contender for the win. NASCAR also this year passed a rule that gave teams just five minutes to repair any damage on their cars or they were forced to retire.

But the race was slowed by wreck after wreck after wreck, including a 17-car accident at the start of the final stage that ended the race for seven-time and reigning series champion Jimmie Johnson and Danica Patrick. It was a particularly rough incident for Patrick and her Stewart-Haas Racing team, which had all four of its cars collected in the accident.

"Just seems like that could have been avoided and was uncalled for," Johnson said of the aggressive racing behind him that triggered the accident.