Intensifies the effects?

Intensifies the effects?

By Frankie O
CSNChicago.com

Once again the big fella is out of commission with back woes, but no worries, it only gives me more time to lie around and think. Of course Im doing the thinking in the haze induced by my doctor prescribed pain medication (Is there any other kind?!) so no worries there either, right? On second thought, yikes!

One thing the meds do though is limit the attention span quite a bit. Double yikes!!

So hop on board as I share a few things and scuse me while I kiss the sky.

Fantasy football is the root of all evil. I say this while Im 0-8. Are you freaking kidding me? I couldnt be this bad if I tried. And the scary part is, IM TRYING. I have no shot at all and Im still scouring the waiver wire for the one guy that can make the difference. Whatever! And dont think for one second youre getting off easy here. I can feel about 2000 words in your future to explain the sheer misery Im living with!

As the mess at Penn State approaches the official one-year mark, Im still dealing with the waves of emotions that it has caused. With anger still being the prevalent one, I was relieved to hear that former president Graham Spanier was finally charged. I of course say this knowing the upcoming trials (CurleySchultz) are only going to make me feel worse. Im also left wondering if Joe would have been arrested also if he was still alive. I guess the trials will give us that answer.

In the testament of all-time greatness, I have always thought that it is the second title that bestows that honor. And they dont have to be consecutive, although that helps greatly. Its always something that I wrestle with concerning the 85 Bears. One-hit wonders? That was a great team, no doubt, but only 1 title? And now, in less than a year, Im left to contemplate the football and baseball Giants. The New York football Giants won titles following the 2007 and 2011 seasons. Are they an all-time great team? How many teams have done that? Are they as good as the Giants team that won following the 1987 and 1990 seasons? Those were great teams. And with the San Francisco Giants now having won 2 World Series in 3 years, how will they be measured? Better than the Red Sox of 04 and 07? Why or why not? The Braves were demeaned for years because the only won one. Two in three years is hard to deny, but this team? Really

I have a hard time understanding running a marathon in New York this weekend. I understand the get back up your feet thing, but doesnt this feel awkward and forced? I know there will be basketball and football games played in the NY metro area this weekend, but those are in controlled environs without there being the amount of outside (read: taxpayer provided) support that Im sure a 26 mile race through five boroughs requires. I would love to know Gov. Chris Christie thinks about it. Im sure we know what he would do. Speaking of Christie, say what you want about his politics, but you cant help but be impressed by his passion for what he does. This is not the last we hear of him Im sure.

I know the bubble has already burst for this seasons Bulls due to D-Roses injury, but Im not ready to go completely negative on them as I felt my fellow panelists on CTL were last Friday. I agree that this years squad is suffering from a talent deficit, relatively, but during the regular season talent isnt the only reason teams win. Watch any Knicks games lately? As I look at the east, its the Heat then there is everybody else. Indiana has nice balance, but can you name me three guys on the team without looking? Two? The thing I like about the Bulls is because of their coach, they show up every night. During the regular season over the last two years they own the leagues best record. Last year, when Rose missed 27 games, they were 18-9 in those games. Can their two veteran starting guards stay healthy? Good question. Will their 2nd-five evolve to the level of the last two? Even better question. But two things Ive learned about a Tom Thibodeau coached team is that: They are going to show up every night. And he is going to get the most out of every player on his roster. In a mediocre eastern conference, that should be good enough to be very competitive even if it is a tough watch.

Dont know about you, but Im convinced there wont be hockey until January at the earliest. This is a one-sided battle but the ones on the wrong end dont seem to get that. I agree with them that any contract that is currently in effect should be honored. That seems fair. But life isnt always fair. Life is about knowing when to cut your losses. In this case, it whether or not you want to give up a year of salary to make a point that wont be made. The owners hold the cards and are intent on playing them. It appears to me that the players might be getting some bad advice from the guy steering their ship. This isnt baseball and in case you havent noticed there doesnt seem to be any public outcry that games arent being played. In fact I havent heard anything at all. Your move Donald.
But fans need to fill the void, especially the deranged, bartending ones. So for the very first time, Im doing something Ive mocked forever and never dreamed Id ever do. Im almost ashamed to admit it. Almost. For I, Frankie O (Drink!) am now participating in a fantasy basketball league. I have no clue what Im doing and half way through the draft, had no idea who I, or anyone else for that matter, was selecting. But it was kind of cool doing something new. And, its actually made me excited, for once, about the start of the NBA season. Best yet, I cant do any worse than in football, can I? (I heard that!) For now, its my shiny, new, sports passion. This is going to be fun. Well, at least until the pain meds wear off, or the Eagles win another game, whichever comes first. Ugh. The Eagles. Talk about pain inducing. Time for another dose! It will be back to reality soon enough.

PS. I must be on some good ones. I didnt mention Jay Cutler once.

Blackhawks sign goaltender Jeff Glass to two-year deal

Blackhawks sign goaltender Jeff Glass to two-year deal

The Blackhawks added organizational depth to their goaltending position by inking Jeff Glass to a two-year deal that runs through the 2017-18 season, the team announced Thursday. His deal carries a $612,500 cap hit, according to CapFriendly.com.

Glass, 31, signed a contract with the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League in January, and played well enough to earn himself a deal at the professional level.

He owns a 5-4-1 record with a 2.38 goals against average, .917 save percentage and two shutouts in 10 games since joining the IceHogs, and has earned victories in four of his last five games.

A third round selection by Ottawa in 2004, Glass has yet to make his National Hockey League debut, but he's making strides in the right direction by jumping Mac Carruth on Rockford's depth chart and rotating with Lars Johansson.

The move provides insurance for a Blackhawks team that is relatively thin at the goaltending position outside of Corey Crawford and Scott Darling, the latter of whom will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. 

And given the uncertainty of Darling's status heading into the summer, Glass could compete for the backup job next year. He also fills the expansion draft requirements if Chicago chooses to go that direction, although it's unlikely he'll be claimed by Las Vegas.

Braves Way: How Cubs are still focused on next wave of young talent

Braves Way: How Cubs are still focused on next wave of young talent

MESA, Ariz. – Chairman Tom Ricketts wants the Cubs to be known someday as one of the greatest sports franchises in the world, right up there with global brands like the New England Patriots, Manchester United and Real Madrid.

But the most relevant blueprint for baseball operations right now might be the Atlanta Braves model that won 14 consecutive division titles between 1991 and 2005, an unbelievable run that still only resulted in one World Series title.

In a "Chicks Dig The Long Ball" era, the Braves had 60 percent of a Hall of Fame rotation (Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz) and a manager (Bobby Cox) who would get his own Cooperstown plaque.

The Braves Way still didn't only revolve around baseball immortals. The churn of young talent and under-the-radar contributors makes big-time prospects Eloy Jimenez and Ian Happ — and somehow finding a next wave of pitching — so important to The Plan.

"The Braves did such a great job during their run of always breaking in a guy or two," general manager Jed Hoyer said this week. "There's a lot of benefits to always trying to break in a guy every year, trying to add new blood every single year. Young guys are great even for a veteran team, because they provide the spark. They provide new energy.

"I thought Willson (Contreras) was a big part of that last year. Coming up in the middle of the season, it was like a great spark for our guys. Maybe one of these guys can provide that spark."

During that 15-year window, the Braves had 14 different players show up in the National League Rookie of the Year voting:  

1991: Brian Hunter, Mike Stanton
1992: Mark Wohlers
1993: Greg McMichael 
1994: Ryan Klesko, Javy Lopez
1995: Chipper Jones
1996: Jermaine Dye 
1997: Andruw Jones 
1998: Kerry Ligtenberg 
1999: Kevin McGlinchy
2000: Rafael Furcal 
2001: –
2002: Damian Moss
2003: –
2004: –
2005: Jeff Francoeur

The Braves produced Rookie of the Year winners in 1990 (David Justice), 2000 (Furcal) and 2011 (Craig Kimbrel). That gap in the early 2000s foreshadowed a relative down cycle where the Braves averaged almost 82 losses losses between 2006 and 2009 and made zero playoff appearances.

Jason Heyward's big-league debut in 2010 coincided with a run of four straight seasons where the Braves averaged 90-plus wins and made the playoffs three times.

[MORE: Why Joe Maddon sees Kyle Schwarber as the leadoff guy in Cubs lineup]

Baseball America put Jimenez (No. 14) and Happ (No. 63) on its preseason top-100 list of prospects. Whether it's making an impression on Joe Maddon's coaching staff, being showcased for a future trade or getting more comfortable in the spotlight, Jimenez and Happ will be two players to watch when the Cubs begin their Cactus League schedule on Saturday.

"Everyone thinks our future is here," Hoyer said. "It's really important to never get caught in that. You always want to have guys in the minor leagues ready to come up. Having organizational depth is really important. Those guys are good players and they're going to help us at some point."

Jimenez is a dynamic 6-foot-4 corner outfielder from the Dominican Republic who figures to begin his age-20 season at advanced Class-A Myrtle Beach. Happ, a 2015 first-round pick, finished last season at Double-A Tennessee and can switch-hit and move between the infield and the outfield.

Contreras is trying to make the leap from energizer to everyday frontline catcher. Albert Almora Jr. — who also contributed to a championship team as a rookie — is trying to earn the center-field job. The Cubs already trusted Carl Edwards Jr. in the 10th inning of a World Series Game 7 and now hope he can keep evolving into an Andrew Miller-type reliever.

The Cubs need the assembly line that's rolled out Anthony Rizzo (June 2012), Kyle Hendricks (July 2014), Javier Baez (August 2014), Kris Bryant and Addison Russell (April 2015) and Kyle Schwarber (June 2015) to keep delivering talent.

"It's something that we have to be really mindful of," Hoyer said, "to make sure that we continue to put a lot of focus on player development, the same kind of focus that we put on it when we were rebuilding, because those guys are going to have a huge impact on us."