Cubs

Garfien: Preview of Inside Look with Jerry Reinsdorf

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Garfien: Preview of Inside Look with Jerry Reinsdorf

In a city that has won only 24 professional championships since 1900, Jerry Reinsdorf is the proud owner of seven of them. He might even call it a Lucky 7.

Theres been luck at everything Ive ever done, Reinsdorf admits. Ive had a tremendous amount of good luck, a little bad luck along the way, but the good luck so outweighs it.

Like in 1985, when Reinsdorf and a group of investors bought the Chicago Bulls, who had a young, up-and-coming 22-year-old guard by the name of Michael Jordan. How much did they pay for the franchise?

16 million.

For some perspective, thats 5.1 million less than what Rashard Lewis is making himself this season with the Washington Wizards. Hes averaging 7.8 points a game.

At the time we made the deal, no one knew what Michael Jordan was going to be, Reinsdorf says. And I dont think they would have sold the team if they had known what he was going to be, so clearly I was lucky.

Reinsdorf shared these personal thoughts in a rare extended interview about his career for Inside Look: Jerry Reinsdorf which premieres Wednesday night on CSN at 7pm. The Bulls and White Sox Chairman prefers to stay more in the background, far away from any lights or microphones. In fact, when I asked him if he could talk to the Jerry Reinsdorf who first bought the White Sox in 1981 and tell him one thing, he replied, I would tell him dont be very accessible to the media.

But with cameras rolling inside his office at U.S. Cellular Field, Reinsdorf opened up about his time as owner of both Chicago teams, speaking about such topics as the 1994 baseball strike, where Reinsdorf was portrayed as one of the most hawkish owners behind it. Looking back, if the strike had been averted, I have to believe the game would have been better off, he said. Reinsdorf talks about the first time he met Jordan, how he flippantly predicted that the Bulls would win the NBA lottery and draft Derrick Rose despite having a 1.7 percent chance, and he reveals his all-time best White Sox team. Its not 2005.

We also had one of the games all-time greatest hitters make a surprise visit right in the middle of the interview.

Theres so much great content, we couldnt cram it all into a 30-minute show. So heres what you wont see Wednesday, but what you can read about today.

On not re-signing Mark Buehrle:

Mark Buehrle was a pillar of this franchise. He was a cornerstone, he was here for a long time. He came out of nowhere. He was a 38th round draft choice. He did everything we ever asked for him. He caught all the first pitches, he threw a perfect game, a no-hitter. Anytime you needed him to go to a school or a hospital, or whatever, Mark Buehrle was always there. But the fact is at his age, it didnt make sense for us to do what the Marlins were prepared to do for him. So he went, certainly with my blessing. I spoke to him and said, You gotta take it. You gotta take this deal. And Mark said, Ill be back in 4 years.
What he was doing the night the Bulls won the NBA lottery in 2008, giving them the number-one pick to draft Derrick Rose:

I was at a White Sox game that night, so we had the lottery on TV. We should have been ninth. They started making the picks. I was nervous that we were going to drop. So they start at 13, 12, 11, 10...now we're supposed to pop up. We don't pop up. Oh my God we're in the top 3 because that's where you go. Then we had to sweat it out as they went down, and then of course they get to the top 3 and they go to a few commercials, so we have to sweat that out. So number 3 comes up and its not us. At that point I know we're going to get what we think is a great player because its either going to be Derrick Rose or Michael Beasley. Then of course, the rest is history. We get number one, and we take Derrick. We wanted to bring Derrick along slowly, but Derrick didn't let us bring him along slowly. He was ready from the get-go.

How the Bulls were able to trade for Scottie Pippen on draft day in 1987:

I had heard of him, because all year long former Bulls GM Jerry Krause kept saying to me, Scottie Pippen, Central Arkansas. I don't think anybody has seen him. We got to get this guy. This is the guy we got to have. And then Scottie went to one of the pre-draft camps I think in Norfolk, and everyone saw what there was. And then Jerry came to me in a panic and says, I dont know what to do now. Hes been discovered. He says weve got to trade up, we've got to somehow trade up to get this guy, and Jerry pulled it off. We got Scottie. So in that case, we knew what we were getting.

Why did Kris Bryant get a first-place vote in this year's National League MVP balloting?

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USA TODAY

Why did Kris Bryant get a first-place vote in this year's National League MVP balloting?

Kris Bryant was the 2016 National League MVP. And despite having what could be considered an even better campaign this past season, he finished seventh in voting for the 2017 edition of the award.

The NL MVP was awarded to Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton on Thursday night, a fine choice, though it was nearly impossible to make a poor choice, that's how many fantastic players there were hitting the baseball in the NL this season.

After Stanton, Cinicinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto finished second, earning the same amount of first-place votes and losing out to Stanton by just one point. Then came Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado, Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon and Washington Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon ahead of Bryant.

But there was someone who thought Bryant deserved to repeat as the NL MVP. Yes, Bryant earned a first-place vote — as did everyone else mentioned besides Rendon, for that matter — causing a bit of a social-media stir considering the Cubs third baseman, despite his great season, perhaps wasn't as standout a candidate as some of the other guys who finished higher in the voting.

So the person who cast that first-place vote for Bryant, MLB.com's Mark Bowman, wrote up why he felt Bryant deserved to hoist the Kenesaw Mountain Landis Memorial Baseball Award for the second straight year.

"In the end, I chose Bryant because I believe he made the greatest impact, as his second-half production fueled the successful turnaround the Cubs experienced after the All-Star break," Bowman wrote.

"Though I don't believe the MVP must come from a playoff contender, in an attempt to differentiate the value provided by each of these three players (Bryant, Votto and Stanton), I chose to reward the impact made by Bryant, who produced the NL's fourth-best OPS (.968) after the All-Star break, when the Cubs distanced themselves from a sub-.500 record and produced an NL-best 49 wins."

It's easy for Cubs fans and observers to follow that logic, as the Cubs took off after the All-Star break following a disappointing first half. As good as Bryant was all season long, his second-half numbers, as Bowman pointed out, were especially great. He hit .325 with a .421 on-base percentage and a .548 slugging percentage over his final 69 games of the regular season, hitting 11 home runs, knocking out 21 doubles and driving in 35 runs during that span.

Perhaps the craziest thing about this year's MVP race and Bryant's place in it is that Bryant was just as good if not better than he was in 2016, when he was almost unanimously named the NL MVP. After slashing .292/.385/.554 with 39 homers, 102 RBIs, 35 doubles, 75 walks and 154 strikeouts in 2016, Bryant slashed .295/.409/.537 with 29 homers, 73 RBIs, 38 doubles, 95 walks and 128 strikeouts in 2017.

Of course, the competition was much steeper this time around. But Bryant was given the MVP award in 2016 playing for a 103-win Cubs team that was bursting with offensive firepower, getting great seasons from Anthony Rizzo (who finished third in 2016 NL MVP voting), as well as Dexter Fowler and Ben Zobrist. While the Cubs actually scored more runs this season and undoubtedly turned it on after the All-Star break on a team-wide basis, Bryant was far and away the best hitter on the team in 2017, with many other guys throughout the lineup having notably down years and/or experiencing down stretches throughout the season. Hence, making Bryant more, say it with me, valuable.

So Bowman's argument about Bryant's impact on the Cubs — a team that still scored 822 runs, won 92 games and advanced to the National League Championship Series — is a decently convincing one.

Check out Bowman's full explanation, which dives into some of Bryant's advanced stats.

HandiKapping presented by Xpressbet

HandiKapping presented by Xpressbet

In the latest edition of HandiKapping presented by Xpressbet, NBC Sports Chicago's David Kaplan makes his picks for the weekend.

Kap made his picks with the help of Eddie Olczyk this week.