Chicago Cubs

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.

Cubs lose Pierce Johnson on waivers

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Cubs lose Pierce Johnson on waivers

The Cubs have parted ways with the first pitcher drafted by Theo Epstein's front office.

The Cubs designated Pierce Johnson for assignment last week when they purchased the contract of Jen-Ho Tseng to make his first MLB start against the New York Mets.

Now Johnson is with a new organization.

The San Francisco Giants claimed Johnson off waivers Wednesday. He was initially selected in the supplemental first round in 2012 with the 43rd pick, 37 spots behind Albert Almora Jr.

Johnson is now 26 and just made his first — and only — big-league appearance May 19 this spring.

In Triple-A Iowa, Johnson had a 4.31 ERA in 43 games, including one start. He struck out 74 batters in 54.1 innings, but also walked 27 batters and had a 1.454 WHIP. 

Johnson spent six years in the Cubs minor-league system, going 29-21 with a 3.24 ERA, 1.305 WHIP and 9.3 K/9, working slightly more than half the time as a starter (74 starts, 56 relief appearances).

With the Cubs taking Johnson off their 40-man roster in mid-September as opposed to promoting him with expanded big-league rosters, it clearly shows he was not a part of their long-term pitching plans.

Why Ben Roethlisberger's perspective on young QBs (like Mitchell Trubisky) is worth keeping in mind

Why Ben Roethlisberger's perspective on young QBs (like Mitchell Trubisky) is worth keeping in mind

If Mitchell Trubisky takes over as the Bears’ starting quarterback this year and has some success, keep Ben Roethlisberger’s perspective in mind: It’ll take a couple of years before he’s solidly established in the NFL. 

Roethlisberger said even after his rookie year — in which he won all 13 regular season games he started — he still was facing defensive looks he hadn’t seen before in Year 2 and 3 as a pro. So saying someone is and will be one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL after a productive first season is, for Roethlisberger, too early. 

“I think it takes a couple years,” Roethlisberger said. “That’s why I’m always slow to send too much praise or anoint the next great quarterback after Year 1. I think people in the media and the 'professionals' in some of these big sports networks are so quick to anoint the next great one or say that they’re going to be great; this, that and the other. Let’s wait and see what happens after two to three years; after defenses understand what you’re bringing; you’re not a surprise anymore. 

“I think it takes a few years until you can really get that title of understanding being great or even good, because you see so many looks. In Year 2 and 3, you’re still seeing looks and can act like a rookie.”

The flip side to this would be not panicking if Trubisky struggles when he eventually becomes the Bears’ starting quarterback. For all the success he had during preseason play, most of it came against backup and third string defenses that hadn’t done much gameplanning for him. Defensive coordinators inevitably will scheme to make things more difficult for a rookie quarterback with normal week of planning, and it may take Trubisky a little while to adjust to seeing things he hasn't before. 

“They’re not going to line up in a 4-3 or a 3-4 base defense, they’re going to throw different looks at you, different blitzes to try and confuse you,” Roethlisberger said. “The confusion between the ears part is really one of the biggest keys to it.”

The “it” Roethlisberger referred to there is success as a rookie. The former 11th overall pick was lucky enough to begin his NFL career with a strong ground game headlined by Hall of Fame running back Jerome Bettis, a balanced receiving corps featuring Hines Ward, Plaxico Burress and Antwaan Randel El and a defense that led the NFL in points allowed (15.7/game). Trubisky, as the Bears’ roster currently stands, won’t be afforded that same level of support. 

Roethlisberger, though, had a chance to meet and work out with Trubisky before the draft (the two quarterbacks share the same agent) and, for what it's worth, came away impressed with 

“I thought he was a tremendous athlete,” Roethlisberger said. “I thought he could throw the ball. I thought when he got out of the pocket and made throws on the run, his improvising. I got to watch some of his college tape. Just really impressed with the athleticism. The ease of throwing the ball; it just looked easy to him when he was on the run, when it wasn’t supposed to be super easy. So I thought that those were the most impressive things that I got to see; obviously not sitting in a meeting room and knowing his smarts or things like that, but just the athleticism.”