Word on the Street: Gibson to All-Star Weekend

Word on the Street: Gibson to All-Star Weekend

Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011
CSNChicago.com

Gibson named to RookieSophomore challenge

The NBA has announced that Bulls forward Taj Gibson has been selected to play in the annual Rookie-Sophomore game during this year's All-Star weekend. Gibson will be joined by, among others, Spurs center DeJuan Blair, Warriors guard Stephen Curry, Bucks guard Brandon Jennings. (Chicago NowBulls Confidential)

Thibodeau wins coach of the month

After his team went an impressive 12-4 in the month of January, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau started off the new month on the right foot, winning the Eastern Conference coach of the month for January. On top of his team's dominant January performance, they are also the only team remaining in the NBA who are undefeated in their own division (11-0). (Chicago Sun Times)
Packers coaches respect Cutler

Over the last week sports fans have been inundated with dozens of stories about Jay Cutler, his toughness, and the respect other players do - or do not - have for him. So, without further ado; here's another one.

After the Packers saw Todd Collins beginning to warm up on the sidelines during the NFC Championship game, the team coaching staff huddled to decide how to amend their game plan. This, in part, was the result:

"But one of the other assistants commented, 'If Cutler can play he will play because he's a tough kid so keep your guys focused on the rush lanes,' " Packers defensive line coach Mike Trgovac said Tuesday during Super Bowl XLV Media Day at Cowboys Stadium. "I'm just going to tell you from my perspective, playing against Cutler when I was at Carolina (with the Panthers staff) and he was at Denver, he's a tough kid. ... I thought that stuff (criticizing Cutler) was crazy." (ChicagoBreakingSports)

Jets assistant who tripped player resigns

Sal Alosi, the embattled New York Jets strength and conditioning coach, announced his resignation on Monday after what was likely the highest profile season a strength and conditioning coach has ever had.

Alosi was caught on camera, during a Dec. 12 game, tripping a Miami Dolphins player during a punt return. After the tripping incident, he was suspended for the rest of the season by the team and fined 25,000. A few days later, the suspension was made indefinite when Alosi admitted to ordering players to form a wall along the sideline.

"After the events that have transpired, I feel it's best for my family and me to look for a fresh start," Alosi said in a statement issued by the team.(ChicagoBreakingSports)

How a fan's kind gesture surprised Mark Buehrle on his big day

How a fan's kind gesture surprised Mark Buehrle on his big day

It’s one of the more iconic moments in White Sox history, and now Mark Buehrle has a key piece of memorabilia after a fan’s kind gesture.

Already overwhelmed by a series of gifts from the White Sox on Saturday afternoon, Buehrle was in disbelief when 17-year-old Tommy Maloney walked onto the field during a number-retirement ceremony and presented him with the flipped-through-the-legs ball from 2010 Opening Day.

The memento was one of four gifts Buehrle received from the White Sox along with a new truck, a four-seat All-Terrain Vehicle and a personalized piece of art created by White Sox outfielder Ron Kittle commemorating many of the highlights of the pitcher’s White Sox career. It was just another part of an overwhelming, emotional day for Buehrle, who was honored for his 12 seasons in a White Sox uniform.

“Pretty cool,” Buehrle said. “I don’t recall signing it for him when it happened. I don’t really remember where it went. But one, for him to give that up, that was pretty awesome.”

Maloney’s father, Matt, contacted the White Sox earlier this month to see if Buehrle wanted to meet with the fan who had the ball from a moment in White Sox history that has been replayed thousands upon thousands of times.

The Maloneys also reached out to the White Sox back in 2010, too. They informed the club they had the ball that Buehrle retrieved and flipped through his legs to Paul Konerko, who caught it with a barehanded to retire Cleveland’s Lou Marson in the fifth inning of the April 5, 2010 contest. Buehrle autographed the ball in 2010, but neither he nor the White Sox asked for Tommy Maloney, who was 8 at the time, to hand it over.

“At that point it’s just a cool ball, it’s not part of White Sox history,” said Brooks Boyer, White Sox vice president of sales and marketing.

As he looked for a unique artifact for Buehrle to offer another layer to Saturday’s ceremony, Boyer came across Matt Maloney’s most recent email. He definitely thought Buehrle would have interest in reuniting with the fan who held a key artifact from a play that has become legendary around these parts over the years.

But Boyer also asked if the Maloneys would want to donate the ball to Buehrle.

“We didn’t have the unique thing,” Boyer said. “We just didn’t have it.

“Here it is.”

How it had gotten in Tommy Maloney’s hands in the first place was interesting enough. The Munster, Ind., high schooler said his father got tickets for the 2010 season opener and he left school early to watch Buehrle, his favorite pitcher as a kid. The seats were in the first row behind the far right edge of the White Sox dugout, the same ones he was in for Saturday’s ceremony.

After the improbable play to steal a hit from Marson, Buehrle fell to his knees, which brought manager Ozzie Guillen out of the dugout. Somehow Guillen retrieved the ball and upon returning to the dugout, flipped it to Maloney, who had earlier asked him for a ball several times. Even though it was a prized possession, Tommy Maloney said he’d have no problem surrendering it again if he were asked.

The White Sox rewarded Maloney for his sacrifice as club chairman Jerry Reinsdorf determined that the youngster would present Buehrle with the ball on the field. But the White Sox didn’t tell Maloney he would present the ball until Saturday, surprising him with the news about an hour before the game.

“It’s awesome the way it played out,” Maloney said. “He’s such a great guy. He was hugging me in the dugout. He looked at me when I went up there to give him the ball and said, ‘Give me a hug.’ ”

Maloney not only stood on the field before the ceremony, he had a chance to briefly meet Buehrle in the dugout. He also received another autographed baseball. And after he was applauded by the sellout crowd, several fans stopped by Maloney’s seat to pose for a picture.

Buehrle was touched by the gesture.

“I was like, ‘Brooks, we’ve got to do something here,’ ” Buehrle said. “’He can’t just give the ball and walk out of here empty-handed.’ So I ended up signing him a ball and I don’t know if we have something else in mind, but it was pretty awesome.”

Jon Lester, Cubs rotation trends in right direction with win over Marlins

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USA TODAY

Jon Lester, Cubs rotation trends in right direction with win over Marlins

MIAMI – Jon Lester dropped his head and wiped the sweat from his face. The Cubs ace didn’t jerk his neck and twist his body, hoping the swing and the sound somehow fooled him. The slow turnaround revealed the obvious – his 75-mph curveball flew over the left-field wall and nearly into the Clevelander bar billed as an adult playground.  

Lester gripped the next ball, stared out into the visual noise at Marlins Park and went to work on Saturday after J.T. Realmuto’s three-run homer in the first inning. This is the stuff, determination and tunnel vision that’s been the antidote to the pressures of playing at Fenway Park and Wrigley Field and made Lester such a big-game pitcher.

Lester retired the next 13 hitters he faced, 15 of the next 16 and 18 of his last 20 at a time when the Cubs needed that kind of performance to buy time for their young hitters, survive a brutal schedule and weather a series of injuries. 

A 5-3 win pushed the Cubs to 38-36 as Lester (5-4, 3.83 ERA) and the overall rotation continue to trend in the right direction.