Cubs

Pappa nets Fire first home win over FC Dallas

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Pappa nets Fire first home win over FC Dallas

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- Sebastian Grazzini and Marco Pappa scored and goalkeeper Sean Johnson stopped a penalty kick as the Chicago Fire rallied for a 2-1 victory over FC Dallas on Wednesday night.The Fire (5-3-3) won for the third time in five matches to remain in fourth place in the Eastern Conference.Defender Matt Hedges scored in the 41st minute to put FC Dallas (3-7-4) on the board first. Dallas extended its winless streak to eight matches (0-5-3) and remained winless on the road (0-5-1).Grazzini tied the score in the 45th minute, lofting a 25-yard left-footed shot over Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman's right shoulder.Johnson stopped Blas Perez's penalty kick in the 52nd minute, diving to his right to get a hand on the low shot. The attempt was ordered when Fire forward Dominic Oduro tripped Bruno Guarda from behind near the goal line.Pappa got the tiebreaker in the 63rd on rebound off a penalty kick by Grazzini. Pappa was three steps into the penalty area before Grazzini launched his kick, but no infraction was detected by referee Hilario Grajeda, and Pappa converted the rebound with goalkeeper Kevin Hartman on the turf. The penalty kick resulted from Dallas defender Zach Loyd pulling Pappa down as they chased a loose ball into the penalty area.
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Joe Maddon not expecting a shake-up of Cubs coaching staff

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USA TODAY

Joe Maddon not expecting a shake-up of Cubs coaching staff

Unless Joe Maddon gets blindsided by top-down changes or a personal decision, it sounds like the Cubs manager expects his entire coaching staff to return for the 2018 season, keeping together the group that has made three consecutive trips to the National League Championship Series.

“Of course,” Maddon said Wednesday at Wrigley Field, where the defending World Series champs were facing an elimination game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, on the verge of getting swept out of the NLCS. “Listen, the staff’s done a great job. Our staff’s been awesome. It’s a tightly-knit group. Really, there’s a lot of synergy involved.

“Nobody knows everything. Everybody helps everybody. There’s a lot of cross-pollination. Nobody’s on their own little island. I really like that.”

Pitching coach Chris Bosio – who would be an in-demand candidate after helping develop Jake Arrieta into a Cy Young Award winner and turn Kyle Hendricks into last year’s major-league ERA leader – also told WSCR-AM 670 that he believes the staff will remain intact.

Maddon – who only brought bench coach Dave Martinez over from the Tampa Bay Rays after the 2014 season – is a hands-off boss and a baseball lifer who did a lot of grunt work before becoming rich and famous.

“I don’t think any of them ever withhold saying something to me that they have on their mind, which I really appreciate,” Maddon said. “They don’t feel like they can’t say it. That’s the one thing I always wanted to build, that kind of a method where: ‘If you got something, say it. Don’t hold it back. Just say it. You know you can.’

“There’s nothing held against you for doing it. I think in some places that isn’t the case, so there’s a lot of positive messaging going on.”

This would be a connect-the-dots scenario, but Maddon ruled out the idea of hiring Jim Hickey, the longtime pitching coach who has roots in Chicago and parted ways with the Rays this month. Hickey’s influence helped turn the Rays into a viable small-market contender, coaching up young pitchers like David Price and Chris Archer.

“I called him to console a friend,” Maddon said. “We have not discussed (anything else). I just wanted to know how he was doing, purely because it kind of surprised me, and it surprised a lot of us. So I did talk to ‘Hick,’ but we talk all the time.

“He sends me texts when he’s driving over the causeways down there, because he knows how much I love looking for dolphins driving over the Howard Franklin or the Gandy Bridge. So he (texts): ‘I saw a couple dolphins this morning.’ And I try to get him to come to our parties – he’s a funny guy.

“We had a great relationship and he’s going to turn out just fine. He’s going to be well-sought-after.”

High School Lites Podcast: Bracket fever? Time to visit the bracketologist

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High School Lites Podcast: Bracket fever? Time to visit the bracketologist

Which teams are on the right side of the IHSA playoff bubble? What seems to be the magic number for playoff points? Shaw Media’s Steve Soucie, our resident bracketologist, puts the IHSA football playoffs in perspective. He is joined by hosts Joe Collins, Jared Storck and “Edgy” Tim O’Halloran.

For some teams, a win puts them in the playoffs. For others, it’s win…and hope that a few other teams across the state help shape the standings in their favor. All this, plus a look at the Week 9 High School Lites rundown and much more.