Bears

CSN to air 'Pepsi MAX Field of Dreams' baseball game featuring Frank Thomas

CSN to air 'Pepsi MAX Field of Dreams' baseball game featuring Frank Thomas

Comcast SportsNet to air Pepsi MAX Field of Dreams Baseball Game, featuring White Sox legend Frank Thomas, on
Sunday, May 20 at 5:00 PM

Game also features MLB legends Reggie Jackson, Johnny Bench, Wade Boggs, Edgar Martinez and more!

Chicago, IL (May 14, 2012) Comcast SportsNet, the television home for the most games and most comprehensive coverage of the Chicago Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs and White Sox, will air the Pepsi MAX Field of Dreams Game featuring White Sox legendfuture Baseball Hall of Famercurrent Comcast SportsNet White Sox analyst FRANK THOMAS on Sunday, May 20 at 5:00 PM, or immediately following Cubs Post Game Live presented by Horseshoe Casino, after CSNs Cubs-White Sox BP Crosstown Cup telecast.

The Pepsi MAX Field of Dreams Game took place this past Saturday, May 12 at Huntington Park in Columbus, OH, featuring a dream team of MLB legends playing six innings against the winner of the Pepsi MAX Field of Dreams contest: Columbus resident Tim Wisecup and his ten friends.

Last fall, fans had the chance to visit mlb.compepsimax to vote for which of four finalists they wanted to host the Pepsi MAX Field of Dreams Team, and now Wisecup will have this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play ball against the starting Dream Team comprised of:

Catcher Johnny Bench
First Baseman Frank Thomas
Second Baseman Edgar Martinez
Third Baseman Wade Boggs
Shortstop Ozzie Smith
Outfielders Reggie Jackson, Rickey Henderson, Dave Winfield
Pitcher Pedro Martinez
Relief Pitcher Dennis Eckersley

Appearances were also made by Joe Charboneau, Lenny Barker and Kent Mercker.

Comcast SportsNets telecast on Sunday, May 20 will be a one-hour version of the game. George Grande called play-by-play with David Maezhold and Natalie Taylor serving as dugout reporters, along with interviewing MLB legends and Wisecup. In addition to the May 20 debut telecast of this game, replays will air on the following datestimes: Tue, May 29 at 11pm - Sat, June 2 at 9pm - Sun, June 10 at 4:30pm - & Fri, June 15 at 7pm.

As the Bears begin to form an identity, special teams need to catch up

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USA Today

As the Bears begin to form an identity, special teams need to catch up

If you squint, you can start to see the Bears forming an identity. The offense, at its best, will control the game with Jordan Howard and an offensive line that’s improving with cohesion over the last few weeks. The defense will stop the run, rarely blow assignments and — at least last week — force a few turnovers. 

Those can be the makings of a team that's at least competitive on a week-to-week basis. But they also leave out a critical segment of this group: Special teams. And that unit is obscuring whatever vision of an identity that may be coming into focus. 

Jeff Rodgers’ special teams unit ranks 29th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA ratings, and is below average in all five categories the advanced statistics site tracks: field goals/extra points, kickoffs, kickoff returns, punts and punt returns. 

Had the Bears’ just merely "fine," for lack of a better term, on special teams Sunday, they would’ve controlled a win over the Baltimore Ravens from start to finish. But a 96-yard kickoff return (after the Bears went up 17-3) and a 77-yard punt return (which, after a two-point conversion, tied the game in the fourth quarter) were the Ravens’ only touchdowns of the game; they otherwise managed three field goals. 

Rodgers didn’t find much fault with the way the Bears covered Bobby Rainey’s kickoff return — he would’ve been down at the 23-yard line had the officiating crew ruled that Josh Bellamy got a hand on him as he was tumbling over. But the Bears players on the field (and, it should be said, a number of Ravens) stopped after Rainey hit the turf; he got up and dashed into the end zone for a momentum-shifting score. 

“A lot of our players stopped, all their players stopped,” Rodgers said. “There were players from both teams who came on to the field from the sideline. So there’s a lot of people on that particular play who thought the play was over.”

That return touchdown could be chalked up to an officiating-aided fluke, but Michael Campanaro’s punt return score was inexcusable given the situation of the game (up eight with just under two minutes left). The Bears checked into a max protect formation, and no players were able to wriggle free and get downfield toward Campanaro (Cre’von LeBlanc, who replaced an injured Sherrick McManis, was knocked to the turf). Rodgers said O’Donnell’s booming punt wasn’t the issue — it didn’t need to be directed out of bounds, he said — and instead pointed to a lack of execution by the other 10 players on the field. And not having McManis isn’t an excuse here. 

“We expect everybody to play at the standard at which that position plays,” Rodgers said. “I don’t put that touchdown on one guy getting hurt, but you’d always like to have your best players on the field.”

In isolation, the special teams mistakes the Bears have made this year can be explained — beyond these two returns, Marcus Cooper slowing up before the end zone was baffling, yet sort of fluky. But while the Bears’ arrow is pointing up on defense and, at the least, isn’t pointing down on offense, these special teams mistakes collective form a bad narrative. 

“We take those players, we practice it, and like all mistakes, you admit them and then you fix them,” coach John Fox said, “and then hope to God you don’t do it again.”

Fantasy Football Fix Podcast: Midseason trade targets and who you should sell high on

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USA TODAY

Fantasy Football Fix Podcast: Midseason trade targets and who you should sell high on

Rotoworld and NBC Sports fantasy analyst Josh Norris joins the Fantasy Football Fix Podcast to discuss if Derrick Henry's time in Tennessee has finally arrived. Plus, the CSN Fantasy crew analyzes which players you should sell high on and who you should target in midseason trades.