Frankie O: Line of demarcation

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Frankie O: Line of demarcation

By Frankie O
CSNChicago.com
There are events that create these lines in our lives and nothing is the same. For anyone associated with Penn State University, a line was drawn on November 5, 2011, and there is no going back. For the alleged victims of Jerry Sanduskys evil, predatory reign these lines were unfortunately drawn a long time ago, covered in a sickening shroud. I can only hope that for their sake that a new, uplifting one can be drawn, but the cynic, and realist, in me has no idea if that can ever be the case.

I think about these victims every day. Thats the parent in me. I cant help but feel a little guilty whenever I give my little ones a hug and kiss. I realize how precious they are and how fortunate I am to have them in my life. For some reason Ive been doing it a lot more frequently lately. How some monster could see them as something else is very unsettling. Seeing children for the gift they are is at the core being a parent. I dont know if it is coincidental that Sandusky does not have any biological children of his own. I know for myself, when my oldest was born it changed the way I looked at everything. First and foremost was the unconditional love and need to provide for and protect the new center of my universe. And not being unaware of what was right or wrong, being responsible for someone elses little angel took on an entire new meaning. I cant think of a bigger responsibility then when I am in charge of the care of someone's child.

That a sick deviate can exist is something that a behavioral psychologist can try to explain, but that doesnt mean the normal-thinking of us can understand. The issues being dealt with here are beyond any sort of acceptable behavior. But what makes me especially nauseous in this case is that there where highly educated people, who were put in a position because they should know better, and they did nothing to stop the atrocities from continuing. When procedure means that a university official can determine when a crime has occurred without consulting police, this should be a big red flag that morality has been shoved aside for profitability.

The more we learn the sicker it gets. I dont know when the thought of a cover-up began, but you cant convince me that isnt what occurred. In that case, what kind of monster agrees the safety and innocence of young kids is worth saving the program? I cant begin to fathom the depths of the feelings of the victims, but how could one be so unfeeling as to turn their backs on them?

The fallout, of course, is that it casts a stain on anyone associated with the university in any way. I know there has been a lot of talk about the current team and I get that, but this is much bigger. Being a symbol for child abuse, which the university now is, means that anyone who wears the Penn State colors, walks on the university campus or has the name prominently featured in their resume, is going to have to answer questions and explain how they feel about what has occurred.

Hopefully this will create enough emotion that it motivates us to make sure that the truth is learned and no matter who it is, anyone in any way responsible will have to pay a price.

Not that that will erase any of what has happened. Listening to the Bob Costas interview with Sandusky on Monday was chilling. I wont try to analyze his pauses and inflections for what secret meaning they possess, I think its obvious enough, but by just going on the facts of what he was talking about, at what point is it appropriate behavior for a man in his 50s to be showering at any time, let alone late at night in an empty building, with a young boy? Horeseplay? Again, I dont understand why this guy is not in jail! Not only that, he has no restrictions on his movements or is being monitored. In fact he was advised by his attorney, to take a vacation with his wife so he will be ready for the stress of the upcoming trial. Does that make anyone else angry?

This brings me to the least understood situation of what we are dealing with, at least with some that I talk to. These victims must confront their abuser in a court of law if justice is to be done. In a way it is to re-live their nightmare over again for all to see. I know that this is a fundamental procedure in our judicial system, and rightfully so, but it rips at my heart to think of how painful that must be. One can only hope that they have the strength and support to be able to do what must be done. And now that they are older, they can finally stand up to the person who willfully took advantage of them, in a way they were unable to as a child.

That is also how people are going to understand the magnitude of what has taken place. This story still has many, many unanswered questions. What has yet to come out is the explanations of what those tied to the university will use as their excuse. Im sure it will center on one person though, and whether you believe them or him. Mike McQueary being able to talk has to make a lot of people nervous. He also will have a say in the way that Joe Paterno will be viewed from here on out, although there still are some who refuse to believe that Joe could have done any wrong. At this point its a little late for that kind of thinking, isnt it? Its going to be to what degree of wrong, when all is said and done.

But whatever happens, its going to be when we hear from the kids themselves that this whole awful episode will hit home. No amount of spin-doctoring is going to be able to change what happened to them and the culture that allowed it to happen more than once.

The contradiction that is Paterno and what was built at Penn State is that we should strive to be something better, that education and brotherhood are great virtues. But the measure of what we achieve isnt in the magnitude of what we have built, it is in the knowledge that we make this a better place to live one at a time, bringing everyone with us, especially those who cant always fend for themselves. Somehow, Paterno and those around him forgot this very basic idea. They became enamored with themselves and all that they possessed. Soon we will learn at what price.

Wednesday on CSN: Northern Iowa hosts Evansville

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Wednesday on CSN: Northern Iowa hosts Evansville

Missouri Valley Conference play is back on CSN+ on Wednesday night as Evansville heads to Northern Iowa. You can catch this game live at 7:00 p.m. on CSN+.

The Panthers (8-11, 3-5) have won three straight conference games after a seven-game losing streak. Senior Jeremy Morgan continues to put up big numbers for Northern Iowa as he leads the team in every major statistical category.

Evansville (10-11, 1-7) has dropped six consecutive games as the Purple Aces have struggled in conference play. Senior Jaylon Brown is averaging 21.0 points per game as one of the few bright spots for Evansville.

These two teams also played on Jan. 1 as Evansville picked up a 70-58 win over Northern Iowa.

Looking at the Brett Anderson deal and what the future holds for Cubs' pitching

Looking at the Brett Anderson deal and what the future holds for Cubs' pitching

The Cubs already have a clear vision for their 2021 Opening Day lineup, when the images of superstars like Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant can be plastered next to the iconic marquee at a fully renovated Wrigley Field. 
 
But the Cubs don't really have a five-year window for pitching, given all the medical risks, the weaker spots in their farm system and a team built around big-name hitters. It's more survival mode, getting through a spring training lengthened by the World Baseball Classic, past the All-Star break and into October.
 
A blurry picture is coming into focus for 2017 – an industry source confirmed that Brett Anderson was in Chicago on Tuesday to undergo a physical – yet this uncertainty is still the fastest way to derail the next championship parade down Lake Shore Drive and Michigan Avenue.
 
If healthy, Anderson would be a relatively low-risk, high-reward gamble for the defending World Series champs. Yahoo! Sports reported that the $3.5 million agreement includes incentives that could boost the deal's overall value to $10 million. 
 
The Cubs need a sixth starter as a hedge against Mike Montgomery stalling during his first full season in a big-league rotation, or John Lackey feeling his age this year (38) or the stress from throwing almost 3,000 innings in The Show.  
 
The Cubs know the history of nine-figure contracts for pitchers is littered with bad investments, and Jon Lester's left arm has already made it through 14 playoff rounds and accounted for nine straight seasons with at least 190 innings. Kyle Hendricks is a cerebral Cy Young Award finalist who doesn't have that much margin for error and will need to keep making adjustments and being unpredictable. 
 
As much as Jake Arrieta tries to meditate and stay in the moment, every pitch he fires this year can be viewed through the prism of his looming free agency. 
 
"We love Jake," team president Theo Epstein said after the Cubs settled on Arrieta's one-year, $15.6375 million contract, avoiding an arbitration hearing with the Scott Boras client. "We'd love for him to be around for a long time. But it's not the first time a talented core player has gone into the last year of his deal. It won't be the last time. It doesn't always mean the player's leaving. 
 
"I'm sure at the appropriate time we'll have confidential conversations and see if now is the time to get something done, or we put it off until later. He knows how we feel about him. Years and dollars are always complicated. But I'm sure we'll take a stab at it."
 
The bottom line is the Cubs could be looking to replace 60 percent of their rotation next winter. Maybe Tyson Ross recovers from surgery to address thoracic outlet syndrome, returns to his All-Star form at some point during a one-year pillow contract with the Texas Rangers and proves worthy of a long-term commitment. 
 
Perhaps the Cubs again target the star pitchers they once tried to lure out of Japan, with Yu Darvish positioned to become a free agent after this season and Masahiro Tanaka able to opt out of the final three years ($67 million) of his megadeal with the New York Yankees.       
 
All along, the Cubs planned to flip young hitters for pitching. The same aggressive mentality that pushed Epstein's front office to send an elite prospect (Gleyber Torres) to the Yankees for rental closer Aroldis Chapman – and secure one season of Wade Davis without worrying about Jorge Soler living up to his enormous potential for the Kansas City Royals – will be in play if the team needs a rotation upgrade at the trade deadline this summer. 
 
"We were in that phase for three-plus years where we were really single-minded about acquiring young talent," Epstein said during Cubs Convention in mid-January. "I remember at this very panel we'd talk about that and some of the questions were: Why are you trading all these players that we've heard of for guys we've never heard of?
 
"That was tough in one way, but those trades are a little bit easier for us to quote-unquote ‘win' those deals, because you're trading players who are at the end of their contracts. You're getting young prospects. We went out of our way to work really hard to make sure we hit on those trades – and luckily we did. 
 
"But now we're in a phase where we have such a good team, when we have holes – and we're going to have holes, last year to get Chapman midseason, going forward we really have to address starting pitching – we're going to be on the other end of some of those trades.       
 
"We're going to aggressively try to get really talented major-league players. It's always extremely painful for us to make some of those trades where we send prospects for established players. Those trades are hard to win. You're more likely to quote-unquote ‘lose' those trades. 
 
"But the bottom line is we're not up here to pad our resume and make trades that we can look back on and say that we ‘won' those trades. We're up here to win World Series. And if those deals help us win World Series, that's what it's all about."
 
Maybe Anderson helps the Cubs get back to the postseason for the third straight season, something this franchise hasn't done since the 1907 and 1908 teams won back-to-back World Series titles.    
 
Anderson will turn 29 on Feb. 1 and led the majors with a 66.3 groundball percentage in 2015, when he went 10-9 with a 3.69 ERA in 31 starts and still accepted the one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from the Los Angeles Dodgers.  
 
Anderson's medical file includes: Tommy John surgery on his left elbow (2011); a strained right oblique (2012); disabled-list stints for a stress fracture in his right foot (2013) and a broken left index finger (2014); plus surgical procedures on his back (2014 and last March).    
 
Anderson also has perspective as someone who grew up around the game. His father, Frank, is the University of Houston pitching coach and former head coach at Oklahoma State University.  
 
Whether or not Anderson stays healthy, the Cubs are at a point where they will have to keep thinking bigger and bigger.
 
"We're always going to be committed to young players," Epstein said. "It's in our DNA to trust young players, to grow with young payers. But as painful as it is…you sometimes have to move those guys to make sure your major-league team has a legitimate chance to win the World Series.
 
"We're not doing it recklessly. It's not something that we want to do. But when you have a team that's really good – and you have a chance to win the whole thing – we think it's our obligation to make those deals from time to time."