Brett Favre could lead the Vikings to another NFC North title.
August 21, 2009, 10:25 AM
By: Tom Waddle
What was my radio partner thinking? Is Marc Silverman the only red-blooded, football-crazed man alive who truly believed Brett Favre was going to stay retired? Why? Because Favre said he was done? Hadn't he made that statement before? All right, enough with the questions. The obvious has occurred. Favre avoided the majority of training camp and is now a member of the Minnesota Vikings. He's not just a member. He's their starting quarterback. Come Friday night, he'll be under center for the first snap in Kansas City.
Some of you are tired of drama. I say, "Get over it." This is a story worth covering. A future Hall of Famer joins a team that is stacked on defense and has the best running back on the planet. Because of the better talent around him in Minneapolis, Favre has a greater chance to succeed with the Vikings than he did with the Jets. If Favre ditches the gunslinger mentality in lieu of a game manager approach, he will likely lead the Vikes to another NFC North title. Don't make too much of the "commotion" that may exist in the locker room due to Favre's late arrival and the preferential treatment that goes along with his stature. Sage Rosenfels and Tarvaris Jackson have no resume nor do they have the right to feel slighted. If there's a veteran who thinks Favre doesn't give the Vikings the best chance to win, that guy doesn't have a very good feel for his own team.
Are the Vikings now the front runner in the NFC? Not necessarily. Favre has been more bad than good over the past four years. However, if used properly in this situation, he might just be the final piece to the Vikings' puzzle.
In Philadelphia, the Eagles shocked the NFL universe by signing Michael Vick. Surprisingly, the guy who lobbied the hardest for Vick was Donovan McNabb, the league's most underappreciated player in the past decade. There are many interesting possibilities with Vick in the Eagles' huddle, but one shouldn't take significant snaps under center. McNabb is the quarterback of this team. He gives the Eagles the best chance to return to the NFC title game for the sixth time during his tenure. You may wonder how the cruel and fickle Eagles fans, and coaching staff for that matter, will respond when McNabb struggles for the first time. If Andy Reid gave McNabb the hook for Kevin Kolb, how quickly will he be tempted to go to Vick if things go bad?
Finally, please stop the dissecting of everythingJay Cutler. He didn't play well in the Bears' game in Buffalo, plain and simple. But it was just 14 snaps, in his first preseason game with a new group of teammates. This group didn't include Greg Olsen or Matt Forte, so please, put the boo guns away for now. If we see the same struggles in September and October, then have at it and fire away. In the meantime, look to his three seasons in Denver if you want to make an evaluation of Jay Cutler, the quarterback. And for the love of everything good and pure, he wasn't throwing Devin Hester under the bus. He was stating the obvious! Devin is a "run under it" receiver, not a "go up and get it" receiver. He's no Brandon Marshall, as Cutler is quickly learning.
If you want to wring your hands, Bears fans, look to the secondary for a reason why. They didn't do anything to alleviate fears with their performance against the Bills. Granted, Charles Tillman, Zackary Bowman, and Danieal Manning were out, and this is a group that may struggle even at 100 percent. Now, more than ever, the Bears' D-Line needs to produce a pass rush if they wish to return to dominance. Another 28-sack season will spell doom for this Bears defense. God, I love football!
One lefty admits drug use, other one dominates AL champs
July 23, 2009, 11:30 PM
By: Tom Waddle
On a day when Jim Parque was a front page story for his admitted use of HGH, another less-than-physically-impressive White Sox lefty pitched a perfect game. It wasn't about an overpowering fastball or dominant physical stuff. It was about a guy hitting his spots, keeping the ball down and keeping an accomplished group of hitters off balance. A tip of the cap to Mark Buehrle, a great pitcher and a great guy.
Back to Parque for a moment. He cheated. After denying the offense, he finally came clean and told his story about using HGH. And somehow, someway, I can differentiate what he did from what Bonds and Manny and others did.
Jim Parque wasn't looking to build on a physically sound frame, unhappy with success and wanting more. He was a marginal starting pitcher, dealing with a debilitating injury and the impending mortality of his professional career. Speaking from experience, injuries are by far the worst part of being an athlete. After years of taking yourself to the brink physically, bouncing back ain't so easy.
In Parque's case, he saw using HGH as a way to salvage his dwindling career. He was wrong for breaking the rules, but I ask those of you willing to be honest with yourselves: What would you have done? Fortunately, or unfortunately, I am too old to have been faced with the same dilemma.
Other things rattling around in my head:
Anyone out there interested or impressed with the LeBron Story? Truly, who cares that a Division I college basketball player from an excellent basketball school dunked on LeBron? And did you see it? It wasn't an overly impressive dunk and LeBron certainly wasn't "posterized." Shame on James and the people at Nike for being so sensitive, and irrational, to think this would tarnish his image. Big deal, get over yourself. Showing humility would've further endeared LeBron to those who want to love him anyway.
Enough, Brett! I'm one of your biggest fans, but quit telling us how much of a grind it is to put your 40-year-old body through the rigors of an NFL season and offseason and then contact someone about coming back. Do it, or don't do it. It seems like a perfect fit in Minnesota. Sign the contract and show up for the first day of training camp. Your new teammates deserve as much!
I wonder if the Blackhawks consulted with Jim Parque on how to deal with the acknowledgement that their new $63 million investment has a shoulder injury. I believe they knew that Hossa had an injury when they signed him, and I don't doubt he will eventually be just fine for the upcoming season. I just don't understand why they didn't let it be known that he had an existing injury that needed some rehab and possibly minor surgery. Look, every professional, regardless of sport, has defects that need a little clean-up. I think the Blackhawk faithful would've understood. Now, I'm sure many feel like the ORGAN-I-ZATION was trying to pull one over on them.
We're a week away from the start of Bears training camp and I can't remember a time when I was more excited and more optimistic about the fellas in the burnt orange and navy blue. Camp should be a must-visit just to hear the whistle of a Jay Cutler skinny post throw!
The Brewers are cooked unless Doug Melvin pulls another rabbit out of his hat before the trade deadline. IF he lands Roy Halladay, I MAY change my tune. Same goes for the Cardinals. With that said, if no meaningful additions are made, this disappointing Cubs team will win their third consecutive Central Division title. Did you hear that Cardinal Howard?
Lou threw his hat, the Sox are on a tear and Ben Gordon's gone
July 2, 2009, 10:48 PM
By: Tom Waddle
Some random thoughts heading into the July 4th weekend, and I apologize in advance for the lame "stuff" to follow. I started vacation during the 11 o'clock hour of our show Thursday morning.
On the South Side, we're being told that Ozzie is now pushing all the right buttons, hence the six-game winning streak. Look, I'm an Ozzie fan, and the hit-and-run clinic at The Cell last weekend was masterful, but this team is winning 'cause they're getting lights-out starting pitching and the bats are alive! Chris Getz and Gordon Beckham are quickly proving themselves as reliable contributors for this Sox team. I'm with Oz, though, no need to get caught up with pennant fever just yet. There are still question marks in the rotation, the bullpen has been predictably inconsistent and the young guys will make mistakes. With that said, I'm more convinced than ever that they will be in contention when September rolls around.
Lou Piniella threw a fit -- and his hat. Happy now, Cubs fans?
Hope you Cubs-fan meatheads are happy with Lou's recent hat-tossing escapade that resulted in his first ejection of the season. Was that the "fire" you were looking for? Know what I'm looking for? I'm looking for that $50 million outfield to finally start hitting its weight.
In another obvious sign that Phil Jackson will be back in search of an 11th NBA title, the hoops buzz is that Ron Artest is set to sign with the defending champs. The lone knock against the Lakers this season was that they weren't always motivated and took days off. Artest will help jack up the intensity and keep the champs interested. Phil obviously knew something we didn't, suggesting he would only coach home games. Honestly, who can handle Wacky Ron for all 82 games?
Ben Gordon waved goodbye to the Bulls as expected, and he COMPORTED himself on the way out as expected. Ben was a true pro here in Chicago and I wish him well. (As if he really cares what I think.) Be patient, Bulls fans; the 2009-10 season will look a lot like last year, if not a few clicks worse. This team is now poised to make a splash in the 2010 free-agency period.
Martin Havlat is out, Marian Hossa is in. Since I know nothing about hockey, I consulted my "hockey people" and they seem very happy about the move. Hossa is more durable, more reliable and more explosive. Or so my hockey pals say.
I read that Saints linebacker Calvin Pace just got pinched and will serve a four-game suspension for violating the NFL drug policy. He says the positive result is due to an over-the-counter supplement. I'm just wondering, where's the outcry? I know Pace isn't to the NFL what Manny is to MLB, but why do we constantly give NFLers a pass for taking banned substances? Love me some Shawne Merriman, but the whole sporting world turned the other way when he was nabbed. Just saying.
Finally, happy Fourth of July to all of you ESPN 1000 fans out there. I love this holiday for a number of reasons. First of all, the true meaning is quite deep and moving as we recognize how precious our freedom is. It's also a great day for a barbecue and a good reason to get your drink on, in a responsible manner, of course. It signifies the midpoint of the baseball season and gets the football juices flowing! We are now less than a month away from our guys reporting to Bourbonnais. Happy Jay Cutler Day, by the way. As a player, the Fourth always signified the last day of the carefree offseason. It was always a bittersweet holiday for me as I knew it was time to get back to work. Now, as a sports talker, or knucklehead, it's just another reason to get away from Silvio! Enjoy the break and be safe.
If MLB can arbitrarily thumb its nose at any agreement at any time, why would you ever agree to anything?
June 19, 2009, 11:12 AM
By: Tom Waddle
Brian Bahr/Getty Images
Sammy Sosa is allegedly one of 104 major leaguers in 2003 to test positive for a soon-to-be-banned substance.
Another week, another long list of issues, which I'm sure you're dying for me to comment on.
Remember, if you vehemently disagree with the following views, take it up with "The General" and "Miss Kitty." For those of you outside the circle of friendship, take it up with Mr. and Mrs. Waddle -- my parents.
Surprise, surprise. Sammy Sosa is in the spotlight for allegedly being one of 104 major leaguers in 2003 to test positive for a soon-to-be-banned substance. While Sosa's miraculous physical transformation over the years certainly didn't pass the eye test, there was never any evidence that he violated Major League Baseball's drug policy.
If this allegation is proven true, Sosa can wait as patiently as he likes. However, in my humble opinion, he will never be enshrined in Cooperstown. I don't wish to waste your time pontificating on the filth of the steroid era, but I would like to step up to the soap box and discuss the seriousness of these continually leaked names.
While it might be what the media and fans want, revealing this list would violate a confidentiality agreement that was supposed to be honored by both sides. The court order sealing the results seems to validate my opinion. First of all, if this was supposed to be an anonymous survey to determine the severity of the steroid problem, why were any names attached to samples? Why didn't each sample just have a number on it that wouldn't ever link it to its supplier?
I'm not looking to protect the guilty, but rather to protect the integrity of the pact that was agreed to by both sides. If the results were revealed, a dangerous precedent would be set. As a player, how could you ever trust MLB or the union again?
On another front, does it strike you as odd that this story is "leaked" soon after Sosa talked about his inevitable entry into the Hall? Who is the anonymous source? I'll leave the conspiracy theories up to you.
On Thursday, the Detroit Tigers placed Dontrelle Willis on the 15-day DL with "anxiety disorder." Make snide jokes if you want, but this is a very real ailment. Ask hundreds of others who quietly deal with the same issue yet keep it to themselves. Just because these guys are highly skilled and highly paid professional athletes, don't assume they're immune to the enormous pressure that comes with doing their job in front of thousands of people. In many cases, these athletes expect significantly more from themselves than the fans who pay to see them. They are harder on themselves when they don't succeed. I'm not suggesting you pity them. Just don't be a meathead.
Cubs-Sox Part 1 is in the books, and despite a thrilling late-inning comeback by the Cubs on Thursday, this was a pretty ho-hum Crosstown Classic. With both teams underachieving and given the weekday setting, I found this to be less than thrilling overall. Sure, I'm a Reds fan, so maybe I don't get it, but tickets were selling for an average of $116 this year. They were $160 on average last year.
Cubs fans, don't get all worked up about Ozzie Guillen's comments on your ballpark. The conditions are awful. Ozzie is an entertainer as well as a World Series-caliber manager. While you're at it, stop blaming your manager and his confusing news-conference behavior for the dismal start to this season. For a brain cramp against the Twins, you want Lou to sit Milton Bradley for a game. Fine, I'm OK with that. You want to sit Soriano for a day or two, as he's mired in the worst slump of his career. I'm OK with that as well (although you would've missed his game-winning hit Thursday). But get a hold of yourselves: This is the team he's been given. He's made his share of mistakes, but he's got a better chance of an NL Central three-peat with Alfonso Soriano, Bradley and Geovany Soto in the lineup than without them. They will hit. Trust me, I am a baseball sage. Well, they'll at least hit better than they are right now.
And finally, I too have my Bears buzz on, and it's a good one. But I'm not ready to call Devin Hester a legit No. 1 receiver, nor am I ready to say the receiving corps is just fine as is. Obviously everyone is a touch giggly up at Halas Hall after a week of OTAs, but let's save a little enthusiasm for late July when they finally put the pads on. I'm just trying to add a dose of reality to the conversation.
Chicago sports are full of myths. Here are the cold, hard facts
June 12, 2009, 6:23 PM
By: Tom Waddle
Have you ever seen that show on Discovery called "Myth Busters"? It features two guys who make it their business to either dispel or confirm urban legends and questionable assertions. More times than not, they come to the conclusion that what you've been told or what you've come to believe is TOTAL BUNK! I think it's time for a little sports-themed myth busting.
Jay Cutler is immature, not a leader and will implode during the course of the regular season when he realizes the lack of talent around him. He's not a top-10 quarterback currently in the NFL and the Bears won't be significantly better with him rather than Kyle Orton.
Jay Cutler is a normal 26-year-old who is experiencing the learning curve that is the NFL. The group around him, although not All-Pro caliber, will improve with his mere presence in the huddle. If you put him through a series of physical tests and drills, most intelligent scouts would rank him in the top three. The intangibles will come with age. Any nitwit who doesn't acknowledge that Cutler is a significant upgrade over Orton needs a sports exam. Which he or she will promptly fail.
The NL Central is one of Major League Baseball's top divisions.
The Brewers have one legit starter in Yovani Gallardo. The rest is a collection of "just guys" who all have an ERA of 4.5 or higher. Contrary to popular belief, Trevor Hoffman will eventually give up a run or two, the bullpen will come back to earth, and Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder aren't enough to win a division by themselves.
The Cardinals are injured, thin and not real impressive past their No. 1 starter. Manager Tony LaRussa will get high marks for getting the most out of this year's team, which will fade down the stretch like last year's team.
The Astros are bad, the Reds are young and the Pirates are the Pirates. Yuck!
Waddle hates Ben Gordon.
Ben Gordon is Waddle's favorite Bull. Waddle also believes the Bulls would be best served saving their cash and spending it on a big man who can play the pick-and-roll with superstar-to-be Derrick Rose. Gordon is a good guy, a true pro, a hard worker and someone who brings his best effort every night. He's also 3 inches too short, not a great defender and needs the ball too much. I wish him all the best in his next city.
The aforementioned Rose is just a product of his environment and isn't responsible for the wake of impropriety he allegedly left behind in Memphis.
If it is proved that he indeed did commit academic fraud and didn't take the SAT, he is responsible for his own actions. I'm not suggesting we stop cheering him on at the United Center. I'm not suggesting we look down on him forever. But what on God's green earth is wrong with asking people to do the right thing and assume responsibility for their actions. None of us is without fault. Not acknowledging one's faults is a character flaw.
Not eating a gyro makes you less of a man.
Whether it is a gyro, a hot dog, a burrito, cabbage, meatloaf, liver and onions, or a tasty filet, you control what you put in your mouth, I get to choose what I put in my mouth. I don't like heights; I'm afraid of snakes, rats and spiders; I'm claustrophobic. All good reasons to question my manhood. What I choose to eat is not a good reason to start the "wuss" chants!
The Blackhawks' run in the postseason has made everyone a hockey nut.
Most will still change the channel when the teams on the ice aren't wearing an Indian head sweater. By the way, Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals is Friday.
Silvy is a neurotic sports geek.
OK, you got me there. But he's a hell of a sports talk radio show host and he's my partner, so only I can make fun of him!
All our major franchises seem to be headed in the right direction
May 21, 2009, 3:37 PM
By: Tom Waddle
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Alfonso Soriano is an example of Thinking Big.
I have to say that while I've adopted the slogan "Think Big," it's not the original property of yours truly. The other day as I was singing the praises of our local GMs, my talented co-host, the honorable Marc Silverman blurted it out.
We spent the past few months happily celebrating the relevance of all our local sports teams. For the first time since I arrived in the Windy City in '89, all our major franchises seem to be headed in the right direction -- due in large part to the actions of their general managers. Every one of them is either Thinking Big or seems to be receptive to the battle cry.
No one believed that Jerry Angelo could pull off the Jay Cutler deal. No one believed he was so bold. Thankfully, he shocked us all and brought a dedicated fan base out of the quarterback dark ages. Not since the days of Sid Luckman have the Bears broken the huddle with a difference snuggling under center. Am I content with the group that Cutler will be throwing to? Obviously not, but the call to the Cardinals about Anquan Boldin only confirmed my belief that business is being conducted differently up at Halas Hall these days!
Televised home games, welcoming back yesterday's stars, and a talented young team. From top to bottom, from Rocky Wirtz to John McDonough to Dale Tallon, the Hawks have changed their culture. Tallon is most responsible for the transformation because he drafted, signed or traded for every member of this Western Conference finals participant. Has every moved worked? No. But Tallon has built a team that can play with the NHL big boys for years to come.
Jim Hendry has been the architect of the back-to-back NL Central champs. Bolstered by a giant payroll, he has made the big deals or has at least played a part in most of them. Alfonso Soriano was signed, Carlos Zambrano was re-upped, Rich Harden was acquired, plus we have Milton Bradley who is the team's much needed left-handed bat. It's not a spotless résumé, but it's not from a lack of trying or Thinking Big! And if not for the unsettled sale of this team, odds are Hendry would've landed Jake Peavy.
Criticize Kenny Williams for the Nick Swisher experiment if you will. Maybe relying on both Jose Contreras AND Bartolo Colon was a bit too risky. But also acknowledge that Kenny built the first World Series champ this town has seen in nearly a century. Over the course of his career, he's been more than willing to shake things up when things aren't going well. Don't blame Kenny if Peavy would rather pitch at Petco instead of the launching pad on the South Side.
Maybe the only local franchise that hasn't been Thinking Big is the Bulls. (No Pau Gasol -- because of the luxury tax). But now new GM Gar Forman has a chance to change that. With Derrick Rose in place, now is the time to find him a pick 'n roll playmate, and a good one! Now's the time to get in front of the much talked about prized 2010 free agent class. Follow the lead of your local GM brethren and bring me Chris Bosh or Amare Stoudemire NOW! (Preferably Stoudemire). Make a deal that would bring that much needed presence in the United Center paint! Think Big!
Look, these guys aren't infallible and they have their warts, but they've brought Big Market thinking to a big market town. Get a tip of the cap from this small minded sports fool!
For the record, again, I'm not a Milton Bradley detractor
May 14, 2009, 11:47 AM
By: Tom Waddle
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images
Let me start this week's "nonsense in print" with a few rhetorical questions. When you sit around the campfire, do you place your hand over the open flame? (That one's for you Boy Scouts out there.) Would you shave with a rusty razor found in a dumpster? Would you fill your gas tank with a lit cigarette in your mouth? Would you go to a rabid-animal petting zoo and pet away? Would you pull the mask off the ol' Lone Ranger?
Now, those of you who answered yes to any of those questions are dismissed. The rest of you obviously have a firm grasp of common sense, so I ask you one final question.
After being booed mercilessly over the first five weeks for little to no production, why would the affable Milton Bradley taunt the wailing jackals at the Friendly Confines? As he seems to be emerging from his early-season slump, Bradley swats a 400-foot bomb to the seats in center -- off Jake Peavy, no less -- and feels it's necessary to cup his hand behind his ear in defiance of those who have voiced their disappointment in the high-priced free-agent acquisition. Why?
He said after the game that he needs the support of the hometown fans. So why start that kind of thing with them? Why give them even more incentive to unload the boo-gun if he hits another rough patch? Well, it came as no surprise to me that the diehards would rather focus on yours truly. "Shut up, Waddle, you're a Milton Bradley hater!" "Shut up, Waddle, you don't know baseball!" "You're an idiot, Waddle, he was just having some fun!" OK, so maybe they got the idiot part right, but I'm not sure I need a master's in baseballology to come to the conclusion that this act seems counterproductive for a guy whose emotions get the best of him every now and again. And for the record, again, I'm not a Milton Bradley detractor.
I've said repeatedly that this was a solid signing by Jim Hendry. If he stays healthy, I expect him to put up very good numbers. As for having fun, we'll see whether the bleacher exchanges are slap-happy walks in the park if he goes back into a slump. Enough of that for now. Grab your Billy Williams throwback jerseys, take a big swig of the Cubbie Kool-Aid, and reserve your first-row seat for the 2010 Cubs Convention.
And another thing, those of you who are angered by the return of the Brett Favre talk: Do I need to remind you that we are in the business of presenting and discussing the big stories in the world of sports? A future Hall of Famer contemplates joining the most talented team in the Bears' division, and we should take a pass? I think not. Like many, I don't believe Favre has much left, and a damaged biceps tendon won't help his cause. But this is a story, and it will be until the 2009 season has come and gone.
Speaking of stories, this Blackhawks team is the feel-good story of the last decade here in the Windy City. One million fans have gone through the turnstiles at the UC. The home telecasts are being watched by a record number of people. And a likeable young team has advanced to the Western Conference finals. I feel good for the long-suffering Blackhawks faithful who have watched this once-proud franchise reach the sports abyss. I feel good for us johnny-come-latelies who've jumped on the bandwagon in droves and are enjoying the ride.
My 11-year-old daughter went to her first hockey game last Tuesday. Despite the Blackhawks' loss, she said it was the most fun she's ever had. (So much for those heartfelt moments we've shared on the neighborhood playground over the last decade.) She's threatening to boycott school and join a motorcycle gang if I don't take her to another playoff game. I told her I'm looking into it. Maybe I'll take her to Wrigley and just let her heckle the Cubs' new right fielder. You know, just for fun.
Insiders say Jay Cutler's bad reputation is a creation of misinformation in Denver.
April 24, 2009, 9:43 AM
By: Tom Waddle
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
Petulant child or innocent victim of a PR blitz?
Yo, T-Weezy checking in from La-La Land, hanging with the stars and chillin' with the beautiful people!
Actually, I'm lying on my hotel bed in a pair of cargo shorts, a dirty T-shirt and black socks as I try to memorize as many names as possible for the NFL Network's marathon draft coverage this weekend. Sounds glamorous, doesn't it? Actually, it's pretty cool to be with NFL insiders who actually have inside information, not rumors coming from "Southside PJ" spewing nonsense on a message board. That was a little mean, wasn't it? Sorry. Anyway, it's nice to be back in the football bunker.
Some random thoughts after picking some large football brains:
Jay Cutlerisn't the petulant child the Broncos want you to think he is. My source says while he might like to go out and have fun every now and again -- like all single 25-year-olds -- he was the first one in the building every morning, studying film of the upcoming opponent. His teammates loved him and Brandon Marshall was made by Cutler, not the other way around. New Broncos coach Josh McDaniels is now suffering from debilitating migraines. I wonder why.
For you Notre Damers, don't be shocked if Brady Quinn is traded before or during the draft. Eric Mangini doesn't think the world of him. The Browns are also looking to move Braylon Edwards, who's never gonna repeat his career year of 2007, but he's still a talent that needs a change of scenery.
Al Davis is even crazier than you think he is.
Andre Smith of Alabama looks soft but plays hard. He should be a dominant tackle despite his Jell-O appearance.
The Vikings love Florida wide receiver Percy Harvin and aren't scared off by his positive marijuana test at the combine.
Overall, this is a very weak draft in which teams will be more inclined to take the best possible player and not draft for need.
Outside of that, everything else coming outta my mouth is more than likely a guess. Let's face it, the draft is one gigantic crap shoot. Nobody knows exactly how 20-year-olds will react with newfound fame and fortune.
Right now, I've gotta be honest, I'm more interested in trying to figure out our Bulls, secure second-round playoff tix for the Hawks, find a therapist willing to give a group discount for the Cubs bullpen and convince Kenny to open up the check book for John Danks. Trying to predict what the Bears will do with their second-round pick is way down on my list of things to do at the moment. At least until tomorrow's noon production meeting at "the Network." Hey look, the Bulls just made another silly mistake. Like I said, Celtics in 6?
When we talk again next week, here's hoping Jerry has added a wide receiver, a safety, an edge rusher and some O-line help.
Sometimes I just can't wrap my arms around the most pressing issues in the world of sports.
April 15, 2009, 11:13 AM
By: Tom Waddle
AP Photo/Paul Sancya
If you're a regular listener of the "fun fest" weekdays from 9 to 1, you've come to know that I've got more questions than answers. Sounds like an odd proclamation from a "know-it-all" sports-talk radio host, doesn't it? See, there I go again with the questions! Now, don't get me wrong, I've got plenty of opinions, too, but they're normally outnumbered by the vast, disconnected queries that fill my melon. Sometimes I just can't wrap my arms around the most pressing issues in the world of sports.
Case in point: I'm sure you read early this week that a severed goat head was found hanging from the Harry Caray statue early Monday morning. WHY? A Southside prank? Look, a prank is putting shaving cream in the earpiece of a phone and telling someone the phone is for them. (Ask 49ers head coach Mike Singletary about that one. One fall day in 1991, I was feeling a little creative and was hoping to catch Jim Morrissey off guard, but got Samurai Mike instead. It was a difficult afternoon, to say the least.) Breaking the curse, you say? If you believe in curses, you're a goof, and strapping a bleeding, bacteria-infested goat head on the statue of a baseball legend isn't the route to take. I've got one word for the guilty party: DISGUSTING and STUPID ... OK, that was three words, but I couldn't help myself.
On the topic of WHY, and baseball, why are Sox and Cubs relief pitchers nibbling? It's 25 degrees, its misting, and the wind is blowing IN at 30 mph. Throw strikes and make the guy at the dish who's wishing it was August beat you with that frozen piece of lumber that stings when it makes contact.
WHY were you booing Dewayne Wise on Opening Day? Granted, all major leaguers should be able to get a bunt down, but who were you expecting to take the field, Grady Sizemore? He's a 31-year-old journeyman who's never had more than 162 at bats in any one season. Boo Kenny if you don't like your center fielder.
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images
WHY, for the love of everything good and pure in this world, does Tyrus Thomas continue to do things that drive me and all Bulls fans crazy? He's made tremendous strides and is starting to develop into a difference-maker, and then he slams the ball into the hardwood, tackles a Piston, gets T'd up and then strides past Vinny Del Negro with that annoying "stink eye" expression that would make Jon Gruden proud. You get paid like a pro, act like one. Please.
WHY does Rick Morrissey still think Jay Cutler is bad idea? Love me some Rick Morrissey, but even the most ardent Kyle Orton fan must acknowledge that the Bears just got significantly better at the most important position in all of sports. No Super Bowl predictions from me just yet, but I do know they took a giant step towards returning to the big game in the future.
WHY do the rugged men of the NHL grow the playoff beard? If you want a good-luck charm, buy a rabbit's foot or something that doesn't collect frozen snot and last night's dinner. I'm more than willing to acknowledge a handsome man, but those things are hideous. Note to Bobby Jenks, Reed Johnson and John Salmons: You guys need a razor, too. And BTW, why doesn't John pronounce his name like the fish?
WHY is Florida International University interested in Isaiah Thomas? He bankrupted the CBA, wrecked the Knicks, struggles to get along with co-workers, and can't stick that 25-foot jumper anymore.
WHY did Silvy's one-eyed barber mysteriously leave the country, forcing him, Perry, Burger, Delevitt and Carm to have to find a new barber?
WHY did Harry get on that horse?
WHY ....... I could go on forever, but I've gotta go pick up one of my daughters at soccer practice.
My goodness do I love vacation! That's not to say I don't LOVE my gig at this fantastic radio station, but...
April 8, 2009, 9:57 AM
By: Tom Waddle
My goodness do I love vacation! That's not to say I don't LOVE my gig at this fantastic radio station, but guys, is there anything better than waking up when you wanna wake up, combing your hair with your pillow, throwing on the same "uniform" from yesterday, and starting the day off with a "cool one"? The never ending bike rides with the four kids and hauling 70 pounds of beach toys and gear gets a bit tedious, but I love getting away from it all.
I also love returning to a Chicago sports landscape that is teeming with activity and intrigue. That sounded a little, snooty didn't it? Let's just say, there's a whole lot going. Such as...
While I'm sure most of you are still suffering from "Cutler Overload", I'm just getting started! Let's keep it simple: It was a great deal. Jerry Angelo didn't overpay. The Bears are a better team now than they were before the deal was made. With that said, don't start making Super Bowl plans just yet. (at least plans that involve our Beloved. ) The playoffs are certainly a more distinct possibility, but this team is far from a finished product. They still need to upgrade at wide receiver, find a change of pace back to spell Forte, and upgrade a defense that has underachieved the past two seasons. I would urge everyone to take a larger picture look at this acquisition. Jay Cutler is a franchise caliber quarterback who should be under center for the next decade!
I would expect the Cubs fans to be the ones demanding big things this year. After consecutive October kicks to the Family Treasure Chest, its time to deliver. It's hard to believe a team with this much talent, and so much invested, doesn't have a single playoff victory in the Lou Pinella era. IF they don't make post season progress this year, I say there's a very good chance that Sweet Lou takes his blender and margarita glasses and heads south. You heard it here: THIS IS THE YEAR... that they win a divisional playoff series, and probably nothing more. 95 wins should earn Lou consecutive Manager of the Year awards and a third straight NL Central title.
I'm picking the Sox to win their division as well. Mostly because I don't want Ozzie, Kenny, or AJ to cuss me out. This team will have NO trouble scoring runs and their manager will get the most out of them. I say 85 wins gets them another AL Central title. I may be willing to kick that number up a little if Kenny finds a legitimate leadoff hitter in the next couple months.
Silvy won't like this, but I think we should start giving Vinny a little credit. Is he a finished product? No. Does he still make rookie mistakes? Yes. But he's also growing into the position and has his guys playing hard and headed back to the playoffs... where they will be bounced quickly by the Celtics or Magic. Despite the occasional disaster against the dregs of the league, I find this a pretty likable bunch.
And for you Hawk fans, congrats on your return to the post season. I'm actually writing this with the 87 Waddle Indian Head Sweater that Brandon Faber so generously gave me several weeks back. Okay, that's a lie, but I can see it from where I'm sitting. And I am serious about going to a playoff game at the UC. If I'm in town I hope Steve Larmer scores a hat trick tonight!
That's all for now. I promise, next time I'll actually pick a lane and stay in it! Possible topics: People who constantly clear their throat on a 50 minute train ride. Guys who take beer league softball too serious. The greatness of the Discovery Channel. Speaking of that, the TV is calling me! Bulls and Cubs for you, maybe, I've got the new season of the Deadliest Catch in my sights!