White Sox

On the Bandwagon? Quiz will help identify fans

On the Bandwagon? Quiz will help identify fans

Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2010
5:21 PM

By Joe Collins
CSNChicago.com

Let me fix your wagon.

Picture this. You and your dream girl (or guy) are on your first date. You know you have a hot one. A fancy dinner is planned. Your buddy hooked you up with box seats for later on that night.

Your date has a nice smile. You get ahead of yourself and start thinking about where the second date will be, how your wedding will be...and what your first child will be named. Things start off smoothly - the dinner is great, the conversation is amazing...etc.

But then when you get up to leave...she calls you by the wrong name.

Cue the 'losing horn' of failure.

Talk about a bummer, you know? Everything was going so well. You thought you established a connection with a person and then figured out they didn't read the foreward of, "Dating For Dummies." You try to overlook the faux pas but keep coming back to it again and again the rest of the night: "How can a person not remember that?

"Was it something I did? Do I detect a fraud? Is that the ultimate red flag? Do they get a second chance?"

The same is true in sports.

Maybe you have gone to a game recently and had the following happen: you're part of a large group of people wearing similar team colors. It's like date night with 60,000 of your closest friends. Everyone's having fun, high-fiving after big plays...etc. Then, the following exchange takes place with another member of your group:

You: "Wow...that kickoff return was crazy! Did you see that block? Nobody can touch 2-3 when he gets into the open field."

Other Dude: "I know man! David Hester...you are...reee-markable!"

(You can almost hear the needle scratching off the record)

You: "Mmm...y-you mean...Devin Hester is reee-diculous?"

Other Dude: (awkward silence)

Talk about the ultimate red flag.

You've been hit. Not by a smooth criminal...but by a bandwagon fan.

Bandwagon fans are the most scrutinized group in sports. And before anybody gets nervous, no, I'm not calling Bears fans - or any other group of fans - bandwagoners. But I'm guessing that a ridiculous (ha) percentage of Bears fans should know that Devin Hester was labeled "ridiculous" by announcer Jeff Joniak on an amazing return for touchdown a few years ago.

But every group of friends has "that guy" that claims a hard core allegiance to a certain team...and then, amazingly, can't remember how to pronounce the star player's name on said team...or something equally mind-boggling. The reaction by others is usually one part unintentional comedy, two parts disbelief and five more parts anger.

Bandwagon fans are always a mixed blessing for every sports franchise: they pack the stadiums and bars when teams are winning, and then usually vanish once the team falls below .500. They also add to the bottom line and make TV executives glad that they invested in the team for a prime time slot.

But on the flip side, you also get "David Hester" moments coming out of the woodwork every now and then. Personally, I don't mind bandwagoners all that much, I'm all for the awkward comedy. And in the end, there isn't all that much you can do about it but sit and wonder if these bandwagoners fake their way through other parts of life.

But maybe it's time to do something about it.

I have developed a five-question bandwagon defrauding kit for each of the major sports teams in Chicago (CubsSoxBullsBlackhawksBears). I urge you to give a suspected bandwagoner the quiz if you think heshe might be scamming you. Each set of questions is easy enough that the mildly interested fan should get without much hesitation. But they're just hard enough to force the bandwagon fans into buying the next round of drinks.

(Disclaimer: Any fan who physically goes to a game and cheers for a Chicago team or supports them in any way is a winner in my book and it doesn't matter what their sports acumen is...but still...)

CHICAGO CUBS:

--The last Cubs World Series championship came in what year?

--What Cubs outfielder won National League MVP honors in 1987?

--What Cubs pitcher threw a no-hitter against the Astros in 2008?

--What team passed the Cubs down the stretch to win the N.L. East in 1969?

--True or false: Cubs and Cardinals fans are usually the best of friends and root for each other's team.

CHICAGO WHITE SOX:

--Who was the most valuable player in the 2005 World Series?

--What was Carlton Fisk's number while playing for the White Sox?

--What shortstop won American League Rookie of the Year honors for the southsiders in 1985?

--What Sox pitcher recently won his second gold glove?

--Which Minnesota team makes the blood of a White Sox fan boil more: The Twins or St. Olaf?

CHICAGO BULLS:

--Derrick Rose went to what Chicago high school?

--After playing for the Bulls, Michael Jordan went to play for what other NBA team?

--What two players were the building blocks for the "Baby Bulls" in 2001?

--Coach Tom Thibodeau was an assistant on what team last season?

--Bill Laimbeer, a guy whose car you'd want to egg in the 1980s, was part of what nemesis team?

CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS:

--"The Golden Jet" is the nickname for what Hall of Fame Blackhawk?

--Who scored the game-winning goal in Game 6 to clinch the 2010 Stanley Cup?

--Name one player from the 1992 Chicago Blackhawks team that advanced to the Stanley Cup Final.

--True or false: The Blackhawks once made the playoffs 28 consecutive seasons.

--What "Original Six" team is considered to be the archrival to the Hawks? (Hint: They wear red, too)

CHICAGO BEARS:

--What was the final score of Super Bowl XX?

--What Chicago Bear ran back the opening kickoff for a touchdown in Super Bowl XLI?

--Where did the Bears play their home games prior to moving into Soldier Field in 1971?

--Quarterback Jay Cutler went to what university?

--True or false: Green and yellow are popular colors to be worn at Soldier Field - especially if you are in the upper level and the home team is winning 35-3 (well...I guess the answer varies depending on how you view the question).

So go get 'em, Chicago fans. See who the longtime, loyal followers are in your group.

And then locate the sheep. But go easy on them, all will be forgotten when they get the next round of drinks.

And they better.

Would potential bargains like Mike Moustakas or Carlos Gonzalez make sense for White Sox?

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USA TODAY

Would potential bargains like Mike Moustakas or Carlos Gonzalez make sense for White Sox?

The 2017-18 baseball offseason continues to be, well, the 2017-18 baseball offseason, even with spring training games being played in Arizona and Florida.

A bunch of names remain on the free-agent market, including All-Star players who thought they would be in for big multi-year contracts. But as teams continue to deny the wishes of guys who expected to get big deals, the suggestion that those players might end up needing to take one-year offers if they want to play during the 2018 season is becoming a more common talking point.

So with potential bargains to be had for some pretty big-name players, do the White Sox jump into the waters and try to lock up a potential future piece on the cheap? Though they aren’t expected to contend this season, the White Sox have been mentioned in a pair of recent reports surrounding a pair of All-Star position players: Mike Moustakas and Carlos Gonzalez.

MLB.com's Jon Morosi wrote last week that the White Sox are a potential fit for Moustakas, who has sat and watched as former Kansas City Royals teammate Eric Hosmer received a huge contract from the San Diego Padres. Moustakas set a new Royals record last season with 38 home runs but has yet to find a team.

The White Sox, connected to Baltimore Orioles star Manny Machado earlier this offseason, seem to have a current big leaguer or highly ranked prospect locked into almost every position on the diamond for the foreseeable future, but third base isn't necessarily one of them. Jake Burger was last year’s top draft pick, though there’s speculation he could slide over to first base. The team still envisions him as a big league third baseman, for what it’s worth.

Moustakas is 29 and already has seven big league seasons under his belt, including a pair of All-Star appearances and a pair of trips to the World Series, including the Crowns’ championship back in 2015. His 38 homers and 85 RBIs in 2017 were both career highs. He slashed .272/.314/.521, the final of those three numbers the best mark of his career.

Moustakas has rarely hit for average or reached base at too high a clip, though those recent power numbers would be intriguing at a hitter-friendly park like Guaranteed Rate Field, where he has 10 career dingers, 26 career RBIs and a .249/.308/.456 career slash line as a visitor.

Certainly Moustakas would be a buzz-worthy addition, and if the White Sox could get him for a good value thanks to this slow-moving market, that adds incentive to bring him aboard. A short contract would have even more incentive for the rebuilding White Sox, who would have the option to either sign him to a long-term deal or deal him away in a deadline deal depending on his immediate production levels.

But for fans hoping the White Sox will spend big on a third baseman in one of the next two offseasons — Machado is a free agent next winter, and Colorado Rockies star Nolan Arenado is set to hit the market the winter after next — slotting in an outside addition at the hot corner now could impact those plans.

Gonzalez is a completely different story, a three-time All Star during his 10-year big league career who is just three seasons removed from a 40-homer campaign in 2015. The 32-year-old Gonzalez also has a trio of Gold Gloves to go along with his 215 career home runs. FanRag’s Jon Heyman listed the White Sox as a possible landing spot for CarGo this weekend.

But his walk year in Colorado was not a very good one by his standards. In 136 games for a Rockies team that ended up in the playoffs, he slashed .262/.339/.423, all those averages way down from his usual level of production. And his power numbers plummeted to 14 homers and 57 RBIs after he combined for 65 homers and 197 RBIs in 2015 and 2016.

The good news for the White Sox is that down year makes Gonzalez far more affordable. Should he command only a one-year contract, the White Sox could take a flier, stick him in the outfield — which still has an unresolved spot with few strong offensive options for center field — and trade him should he bounce back in a big way. Or, at 32, perhaps he’s a guy the White Sox could opt to keep around should he prove valuable and the rebuild continues to move along ahead of schedule.

Gonzalez seems the less risky move at this point, as Moustakas could still be looking for a multi-year contract. But the White Sox have plenty of financial flexibility and flexibility in their decision-making should they add either guy and he proves worthy of a midseason deal or a long-term look.

Bulls are unlocking something with Zach LaVine: 'He was terrific'

Bulls are unlocking something with Zach LaVine: 'He was terrific'

MINNEAPOLIS—The applause was thunderous on the welcome back for Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine, two Timberwolves draft picks sent away when the chance to acquire Jimmy Butler came along.

But some of the air was taken out the Target Center due to the absence of Jimmy Butler, who’ll miss the next several weeks after deciding to have surgery on his right meniscus following an injury Friday night.

So while there was no rematch of the thrilling contest the two teams had in Chicago, some things were very much the same.

Lauri Markkanen’s struggles continued.

LaVine showed more flashes of his complete game and Dunn had a couple moments of his own.

And on the other side, Tom Thibodeau kept his starters in the game with victory secured and his team up 20 points in the Timberwolves’ 122-104 win over the Bulls Saturday night.

The Timberwolves broke the game open in the fourth quarter with some key shot-making from veteran Jamal Crawford, as he was one point short of the Timberwolves having four 20-point scorers on the night.

Jeff Teague, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins combined for 70 points in their first game of many without Butler.

LaVine was a main reason the Bulls stayed afloat in the first 36 minutes, finishing with 21 points, seven assists and six rebounds in his first game back in front of the Minneapolis crowd he spent his first few years playing for.

Going head-up with his former teammate Wiggins for a stretch, the two seemed to relish their practice matchups. Wiggins was doing a lot of pure scoring while LaVine seemed to enjoy probing the defense and making plays for teammates, taking more of a ballhandling role as opposed to floating around the perimeter for 3-point attempts.

“He’s doing a much better job not settling for tough shots,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “He’s attacking the basket much better than he was. You can just see him getting his legs, getting more comfortable. It was good to see him as a playmaker, he was terrific.”

Perhaps the Bulls are unlocking something with LaVine, getting him the ball in different places and on the move, where he made some nifty passes in traffic, exercising patience and maturity.

“I liked it. Hopefully we get a little bit more of it,” LaVine said. “But it’s working. Should’ve stuck to it.”

They didn’t, as the Bulls didn’t look as organized as they have previously. Dunn looked extremely motivated and aggressive but it seemed to work against him at times as Teague took advantage of Dunn being too quick for his own good. So hyped up, Dunn blew a breakaway dunk in the first half, but luckily Nwaba was right behind him for a putback.

That type of energy was expected for Dunn and LaVine, maybe even moreso for Dunn considering his underwhelming rookie year where he didn’t get much chance to play as a top-five pick.

Dunn finished with 10 points on four of 12 shooting while Cameron Payne scored 11  in 19 minutes, but the decision making from both point guards left plenty to be desired—which is to be expected given the lack of veterans on the floor.

Their starting unit again struggled as Justin Holiday and Robin Lopez again sat as the evaluation of the younger players continued.

Cristiano Felicio had a better outing than his foul-plagued game against Philadelphia, scoring 11 points but had his hands full on the other end. David Nwaba impressed for the second straight game as a starter, getting in the open floor to force the action, scoring 14 with nine rebounds in 34 minutes.

“The second quarter, I thought, was one of our better quarters of the year,” Hoiberg said. “As bad as we played in the first quarter, I thought we were down 20. We just didn’t sustain it. Against a great team like that, it’s gonna cost you.”

Nwaba, along with Bobby Portis, was a big reason why the Timberwolves couldn’t run away from the Bulls until well into the fourth quarter, even after taking a double-digit lead in the first quarter and sending Hoiberg scrambling for early timeouts.

“You can expect it because you haven’t played with that group before,” LaVine said. “We’re gonna get that chemistry down. We (only) had a couple practices with that lineup.”

Whether it’s the lineup change or just the rookie blues, the year has clearly caught up with Markkanen, who only made one field goal in 32 minutes.

“Gotta get some extra shots up. I see myself thinking too much,” Markkanen said. “That’s how it is. Of course it’s frustrating to not make shots but it is what it is. Gotta work through it.”

Markkanen has gone one-for-eight in each game coming from the All-Star break and missed all seven of his 3-point attempts.

“He’s shooting the heck out of the ball in practice,” Hoiberg said. “He’s struggling right now with his confidence, no question about it. As a shooter, you gotta keep looking to be aggressive, take the open ones. It takes one game to get that confidence back.”