Bears

Take a vacation from your problem, baby steps and death therapy

Take a vacation from your problem, baby steps and death therapy

Friday, July 16, 2010
4:45 PM

By Frankie O
CSNChicago.com

Used to be that the time around the all-star break was spent talking about baseball and vacation plans. Well theres still plenty of that, but in this new world of the 12-month season for all of the professional sports, theres plenty of other topics to keep the conversations at the bar flowing. Get it? Flowing? Wheres my rim-shot?! Since your man behind the bar is leaving for a little R and R, (Relaxation with the family and the Recovery afterward!) I dont have the time to share with you EVERTHING thats on my mind here right now, but of course I cant leave without a few shots! SHOTS!

I guess if you live long enough, you see things repeat themselves over and over and during that evolution of time they might change form. The new age of self-promotion is upon us, and talk about leaving a bad taste in your mouth. (Im on a roll!) From Joe Namath, to Muhammad Ali to Reggie Jackson, these were the masters of media manipulation when I was a youngster. They never met a microphone that they didnt like. Funny thing though, they were entertaining and, oh yeah, winners! The disaster known as The Decision was about as far over the top as you could get. I watched like everyone else, but I would more consider it rubber-necking than actually watching. Besides the unveiling of LeBrons massive ego for all to see, it also demonstrated the fact that his handlers are in way over their heads. If the Three Stooges do make it to the Finals, they actually made me a Lakers fan.

Talking about the legacy of George Steinbrenner was another topic, but how could you avoid it when it was on the World Wide Leader non-stop for 4 days. I understand that he was one of the largest sports figures of our times, but.. I guess thats the point, you can argue his merits, both ways for hours. My opinion is that in the last 40 years he and Marvin Miller might be the two most important non-players in sports. (with Pete Rozelle a close third.) That being said, my lasting memory, besides the sparring with Billy Martin, will be of him yelling at George to get him his calzone on Seinfeld.

Did you know that Major League baseball had its All-Star game this week? Apparently no one else did either since it got its lowest rating EVER. Hey, Bud! Do you realize that youre the only one who thinks that playing this game for home field advantage in the World Series is a farce? And if this is a game to promote the sport, why wasnt the hottest thing to hit your sport in years, Steven Strasburg, in the game? He, right now, is one of the top 10 pitchers in the game, plus EVERYONE wants to see him. Could you imagine him pitching against A-Rod? What? A-Rod didnt play either? Have you been talking to LeBrons people? (This is the first year I can remember that I didnt watch the Home Run Derby. Nick Swisher? Honestly?)

Locally, there are two baseball conversations: Can the Sox last? And, when are they going to blow up the Cubs? Well know by the end of the month when the trading deadline comes, it will tell us all we need to know. Then again if youve been coming into the bar, you already know how I feel about both teams. (Hint: Adam Dunn and TNT!)

In the, what a difference a year makes department, do you remember Cutler-Mania? I think with everything else going on around here, the fact that no one is really paying attention to them is a good thing. Its time for them to go to work and doing it under the radar will hopefully payoff. I dont think that they are going to get a lot of respect nationally, or maybe even locally for that matter. Thats why I think they are going to have a chance at a decent season. I think the keys will be the O-line and the pass rush. (What a football genius!) Naturally well beat this topic to death in the coming months.

I finally found a way to get interested in the World Cup. I had a little rooting interest, if you know what I mean. This time I wasnt bored out of my mind. I actually watched the games for what they were supposed to be. In doing so I realized that watching any competition being played at the highest level can be mesmerizing, even if I didnt get the payoff I was hoping for.

First there were the Go-Go Sox, now we have the Bye-Bye Hawks. Its another example with the mass exodus of playerscontracts of how truly special this past season was and how this organ-I-zation performed at every level. The good thing is that the core will be here for a while. The question is whether the new pieces brought in can play to the level of their predecessors.

Well Id like to keep going, I know that youre interested in how my roto baseball team is doing and of course my opinions on one of my obsessions, The World Series of Poker, but the big fella has to get the car packed to the hilt and hide the charge cards from the boss as she makes her last minute preparations. Well have plenty of time for whatever is going on in sports, and then some, in two weeks. For now, when you think Clark Griswald, picture him making a drive to the beaches of Delaware in an out of control min-van. My one treat for myself as we drive? Im going to have the kids watch the movie I referenced in my title. There are only so many episodes of Sponge Bob that a father can listen to in one trip. Im sailing!!!

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should the Bears let Mitch Trubisky throw more?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should the Bears let Mitch Trubisky throw more?

Adam Jahns (Chicago Sun-Times), Ben Finfer (ESPN 1000) and Jordan Cornette (The U/ESPN 1000) join Kap on the panel. Justin Turner hits a walk-off 3-run HR off of John Lackey to give the Dodgers a 2-0 lead in the NLCS. So why was Lackey even in the game? How much blame should Joe Maddon get for the loss?

The Bears run the ball over and over and over again to beat the Ravens in overtime, but should they have let Mitch Trubisky throw the ball more?

Dry humping and second-guessing: Joe Maddon defends his Game 2 bullpen decisions

Dry humping and second-guessing: Joe Maddon defends his Game 2 bullpen decisions

Joe Maddon has no easy decisions.

With the way his tattered bullpen has pitched this postseason, there's a very real possibility that any guy he calls on to pitch is the "wrong" guy or the right guy in the "wrong" spot.

For everybody wanting Maddon to ride Wade Davis as a workhorse this fall — something the Cubs skipper has already done just to get to this NLCS — remember how much flak he took for overusing Aroldis Chapman a year ago at this time.

Davis also hasn't been superhuman this postseason, allowing a pair of runs (including a homer) and seven baserunners in 4.1 playoff innings, good for a 4.15 ERA and 1.62 WHIP.

So when Maddon sat in the dugout late Sunday evening watching helplessly as John Lackey served up a walk-off homer to Tormund Giantsbane Justin Turner, the "Madd Scientist" immediately found himself in the crosshairs of Cubs fans and the media.

The first question he fielded in his postgame press conference was about not using Davis and there were several follow-ups. That and the offensive futility is about all anybody wanted to talk about after the Cubs fell down 0-2 in the NLCS.

Maddon explained Davis was available only in a save situation due to workload issues — the Cubs closer was in uncharted territory Thursday night/Friday morning, throwing the most pitches (44) and innings (2.1) he's thrown since Aug. 24, 2013 when he was still working as a starter. That's a span of 1,511 days.

"Wade knew that going into the game, it was going to be with the say," Maddon said. "We caught the lead, he's in the game. So whatever the narrative was, it's really a false narrative. He was not coming into that game until we grabbed the lead. He was not going to pitch more than three outs. That's it."

How does Maddon respond to his second-guessers?

"Doesn't matter," Maddon said. "First of all, social media, the moment I start worrying about that, I really need to retire. Second of all, that was all predetermined [Sunday] night again."

Davis also has a recent history of arm troubles (he was on the disabled list twice in 2016 for a forearm issue) and also saw his workload jump in September just to help the Cubs get to the postseason. In the final month of the regular season, Davis threw 237 pitches, 42 more than he threw in any other month of 2017. The last time he topped 200 pitches in any month was May 2015.

TV cameras showed Davis throwing in the Cubs bullpen alongside Lackey at one point in the ninth inning, leading to surprise by a huge faction of the (*looks around and whispers*) social media fanbase when the game broadcast resumed after commercials and the pitching change was to bring Lackey — not Davis — into the game.

"Wade was not warming up to come in that game," Maddon said. "Wade was probably just testing his arm at that point. We had talked about it before the game — up and in. 

"For those that aren't involved in Major League Baseball and professional baseball in general, when a guy's throwing too much, it's very important to not dry hump him, as the saying goes. Get him up and put him back down and bring him back in later. So I wasn't going to do that."

(Wow, really was not expecting to hear or write the phrase "dry hump" regarding this story.)

Maddon insists health is not the problem with Davis.

"Yes [he's healthy]. Oh yeah," Maddon said. "Listen, this guy just did yeoman kind of work — I love that word — in Washington and was not prepared to go more than three outs. I don't understand why that's difficult to understand.

"And furthermore, you have to also understand it wasn't the last game of the year or the second to last game. It was about winning eight more games. All these things are factors."

Maddon has a point. This isn't a Buck Showalter case where the Baltimore Orioles manager failed to use his best reliever — Zach Britton — in a non-save situation in a winner-take-all American League wild card game because he wanted the closer to be ready for a save.

The Cubs went down in a game that was tied 1-1 with their best reliever failing to get in the game even though he hadn't pitched in the last two days. 

But Davis can't cover every inning in relief, especially when the Cubs' two starters (Jose Quintana and Jon Lester) lasted just 9.2 innings against the Dodgers, leaving the Cubs bullpen to account for the other 8+ innings somehow.

The rest of the Cubs bullpen has to step up, too, which they did before the ninth inning of Game 2.

Still, Maddon couldn't resist getting one more defensive shot in before putting the matter to bed:

"I really hope you all understand that social media doesn't count at all," he said. "Twitter doesn't count at all. And really, as sportswriters, you should do a better job than relying on Twitter to write a story, quite frankly."

Well then.