Word on the Street: Sports Illustrated cover jinx?

Word on the Street: Sports Illustrated cover jinx?

Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011
CSNChicago.com

Sports Illustrated cover jinx?

The latest issue of Sports Illustrated has superstitious Bears fans cringing. The cover features Jay Cutler, Roberto Garza, and Olin Kreutz with the headline, "Bring on the Packers." If that's not enough of a curse, the added fact that this is Cutler's first time on the cover has left fans a bit unsettled.

The Sports Illustrated Cover Jinx is the theory that anyone who appears on the cover will have bad luck afterwards.

But fear not: Michael Jordan was featured on the cover 49 times and had no trouble winning six NBA championships and MVP trophies. Plus, members of the 1985 Bears were on the cover two weeks in a row before beating the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XX.

Jones signs with Yankees

Andruw Jones is headed to New York. The outfielder and the Yankees have agreed to a one-year, 2 million deal, containing 1.2 million in performance-based incentives.

Jones had a weak .230 average with the White Sox last year, but managed a .931 OPS against left-handers. On the field he'll be an upgrade from Marcus Thames, who occupied the fourth outfielder spot last season. (New York Post)

Sayers has got no love for Urlacher

Former Bears star Gale Sayers once questioned the current Bears team's talent level and potential. Brian Urlacher was quick to respond saying, "How many championships did Gale Sayers win?"

After hearing that Dick Butkus recently said Urlacher was the best middle linebacker ever to play of the Bears, Sayers disagreed.

"Never! Never!" Sayers said. "Don't even try that! Don't even try that! Hey, Dick Butkus is blowing smoke! He knows! He knows who's the best ever and that's Dick Butkus!"

Sayers went on to say that Mike Singletary was a superior player than Urlacher, because Urlacher does not have "the pure instinct that Singletary had." (ChicagoBreakingSports)

Blackhawks icons to be featured at Chamber gala

Current president of the Chicago Blackhawks John McDonough will be the keynote speaker at the McLean County Chamber's annual gala Jan. 29 at the DoubleTree & Conference Center in Bloomington. He will speak on the topic of change management and the success that can come to those who embrace it.

McDonough will be joined by Blackhawks legend Bobby Hull, who is scheduled to make a few remarks and sign autographs. (FoxSports.com)

Villanova's Szczur reaches an agreement with Cubs

Two-sport standout Matt Szczur announced that he has reached an agreement with the Chicago Cubs. He will continue to play in the Cubs organization under a minor league contract. He was originally selected by the Cubs in the fifth round of the 2010 Draft.

The agreements marks his commitment to a future in professional baseball, forgoing seeking possible professional football opportunities. For the past four years, Szczur has starred as both a baseball and a football student athlete for Villanova. (Villanova.com)

Ty the sea lion picks Bears over Packers

A sea lion follows President Barack Obama's NFC Championship prediction. Ty the Sea Lion was quick to select the Bears today at the Shedd Aquarium. He made a beeline dash for the Bears logo held in his trainer's right hand when asked who would win.

He also revealed his distaste for the Packers as he stuck out his tongue when asked what he thought of the Green Bay team. (FoxSports.com)

Adam Engel making the most of his opportunity with White Sox

engel.jpg
USA TODAY

Adam Engel making the most of his opportunity with White Sox

Adam Engel is making the most of his second opportunity with the White Sox.

Engel had his best game of the season in Thursday’s finale against the Minnesota Twins, where he went 4-for-5 with three singles, a double, and two RBIs in the White Sox 9-0 win. He became the first White Sox outfielder with a four-hit game within their first 11 career MLB games since Harold Baines (10th game) on April 20, 1980, according to CSN stats guru Chris Kamka.

"Some days you hit it, some days you don’t," Engel said. "Yesterday was the day that I hit it.”

After nearly a five-hour rain delay, the White Sox came out hot right from the get-go on Thursday. In fact, by the time Engel was ready to bat for the first time, the White Sox were already leading 4-0 and Twins starter Nik Turley had been yanked from the game.

“It was awesome,” Engel. “(The) team is winning, getting some hits. It’s a great feeling. Obviously the goal is to try and help the team win.”

[Vivid Seats: Buy your White Sox tickets here]

Engel made his major league debut on May 27 and then was optioned back to Triple-A Charlotte on June 9. His wife Jaime had a child on June 12, and almost a week later, he was recalled again by the White Sox to replace an injured Leury Garcia.

Engel, who's hitting .344/.382/.406 entering Friday's game, will look to keep his hot streak going with his wife and newborn in attendance.

In Saad’s case, re-acquiring Blackhawks alumni is beneficial

In Saad’s case, re-acquiring Blackhawks alumni is beneficial

* “Don’t look to the past anymore. It’s great to think you can recapture the magic with former players but years go by and times change.”

The sentences you see above were written by yours truly after the Blackhawks were unceremoniously eliminated from the first round in April. And for the most part, I stand by the message. The Blackhawks kept going back to their alumni well for solutions but, for the most part, it wasn’t working. But there’s always an exception to the rule, always one asterisk that can be applied in every situation (as we’ve done here).

In this case, that exception is Brandon Saad.

This isn’t someone who played with the Blackhawks five or more years ago. This isn’t a player who’s in his 30s. This isn’t a player who’s at the end of his career. This is a player in his prime, a 24-year-old who has a whole lot of game remaining and a whole lot of familiarity with this group, especially captain Jonathan Toews.

By the way, anyone else struck by the irony that the same Saad deal that the Blackhawks couldn’t afford two years ago is now one that fits perfectly, and will be really beneficial in two seasons when they don’t have to worry about trying to re-sign Artemi Panarin, who will be an unrestricted free agent?

Anyway, back to revisiting the past. General manager Stan Bowman admitted that he was hoping to bring Saad back into the fold at some point, although talks for this particular deal didn’t heat up until the past few days.

“Certainly it was a tough move a couple of years ago to have to make that trade [of Saad to the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2015]," Bowman said. “Today my conversation had a much different tone. Brandon’s coming back and that chemistry is there right away and intensity and the way he plays. His all-around game is second to none.”

Saad said he wondered if he’d end up with the Blackhawks again at some point in his career.

“The day I was traded I talked with Stan and you part ways, but it’s a small league and there are always opportunities. It was definitely a thought in my mind possibly ending up in Chicago,” he said. “I didn’t think it’d happen this soon but that’s just the way it happened. It’s exciting to be back somewhere I’m comfortable, somewhere I know and an organization that’s had success.”

Yes, the Blackhawks went back to their alumni well. But instead of getting an aging veteran they’ve reacquired a kid in his prime. Every situation can come with an asterisk. This is one exception that will turn out well for the Blackhawks.