Bears

Walk, fielder's choice all Giants need to top Garza, Cubs

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Walk, fielder's choice all Giants need to top Garza, Cubs

SAN FRANCISCO -- Matt Cain pitched into the ninth inning on the way to winning his fifth straight start and the San Francisco Giants beat the Chicago Cubs 2-1 on Saturday.Aubrey Huff drew a bases-loaded walk to tie the game at 1 in the sixth, then San Francisco went ahead on an RBI fielder's choice by Joaquin Arias on which Huff broke up a would-be double play. Huff produced his first RBI since April 16 and just his fifth this season after he spent a stint on the disabled list with anxiety disorder and is no longer a regular.David DeJesus homered but it wasn't enough to help the Cubs avoid their ninth straight road loss. It is Chicago's longest skid away from Wrigley Field since also dropping nine in a row from Aug. 25 to Sept. 10, 2006.Cain (6-2) was his vintage self on turn-back-the-clock to 1912 for the Giants, playing in the New York Giants' white uniforms with dark blue pinstripes. The Cubs wore head-to-toe navy blue and the scoreboard was black-and-white sans video in the spirit of the Polo Grounds.Cain allowed a leadoff walk to Starlin Castro in the ninth before manager Bruce Bochy turned to Javier Lopez, who induced DeJesus' double play before Sergio Romo recorded the final out for his first save in his first chance. Cain struck out seven and waved after walking off to a standing ovation after an impressive 117-pitch day. He moved his career record to 75-75, the right-hander's first time at .500 since he was 17-17 in 2007. He stayed strong in the late innings, getting through a 1-2-3 seventh on seven pitches to put him at 94.Melky Cabrera singled in the sixth for his majors-leading 81st hit for San Francisco, which began the day four games back of the first-place Dodgers for their closest spot to division-leading Los Angeles since May 8. The Dodgers won 6-2 at Colorado earlier Saturday.DeJesus hit a deep solo home run to right-center with two outs in the fourth to put the Cubs on the board. After "hours and hours of deliberating," manager Dale Sveum dropped his primary leadoff hitter down to the third hole for the first time this year in an effort to spark the struggling Cubs.DeJesus' second homer of the year was the 16th by an opponent this year at pitcher-friendly AT&T Park compared to just six by the Giants, who still won for the 10th time in their last 14 home games. The clout also snapped an 18-inning scoreless stretch by Cain against the Cubs.Matt Garza (2-4) struck out six and walked one in six innings, allowing two runs on five hits but lost his third straight start. The right-hander is winless in his last five outings since beating the Phillies on the road April 29.

Tony Campana had two hits batting leadoff for the Cubs, who had a three-game winning streak snapped in Friday night's 4-3 defeat. The run came on the heels of a 12-game losing streak.Angel Pagan singled in the sixth and matched a franchise record with a 26-game home hitting streak. Fitting he did so in a retro uniform, as he tied Mike Donlin's mark set from Aug. 28, 1905, to May 5, 1906.Giants closer Santiago Casilla said he felt "bien, bien, bien" after injuring his right knee in the ninth inning Friday night. An MRI on his knee showed only a bruise and the right-hander was listed as day to day.NOTES: Cain's first career complete game came vs. the Cubs on Sept. 9, 2005. ... Neither team actually played on June 2, 1912. ... Cubs 3B Ian Stewart sat out with a sore left wrist before pinch-hitting in the eighth. Sveum said he was unlikely to start him before Monday's game at Milwaukee. ... The Giants expect Cabrera to be a top candidate for NL Player of the Month for May, to be announced Sunday. He batted .429 with seven doubles, five triples, three home runs and 17 RBIs. ... 1B Huff to former 1B J.T. Snow: "Did they take BP in 1912?" Snow: "Yeah, and they also took infield." ... The game drew a sellout crowd of 41,239 - roughly 7,000 more fans than the Polo Grounds held in 1912. ... LHP Barry Zito (4-2) pitches Sunday for San Francisco against Travis Wood (0-1).Box scoreCopyright2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Unfinished Bears job a 'bitter pill' for John Fox, but the legacy lies beyond just the W-L record

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USA TODAY

Unfinished Bears job a 'bitter pill' for John Fox, but the legacy lies beyond just the W-L record

When John Fox succeeded Marc Trestman in 2015, neither he nor the Bears were looking at the situation and Fox as any sort of “bridge” hire – a de facto interim coach tasked with winning, but just as importantly, developing and getting a team turned around and headed in a right direction.

The heart of the matter is always winning, but in the overall, the mission statement also includes leaving the place better than you found it. Fox did that, which is very clearly the sentiment upstairs at Halas Hall as the Bears move on from Fox to Matt Nagy.

“It would’ve been nice to see it through,” Fox said to NBC Sports Chicago. “That’s kind of a bitter pill but you sort things out and move forward.

“I do think it’s closer than people think. We inherited a mess... but I felt we were on the brink at the end. I think that [Halas Hall] building is definitely different; they feel it. I do think that it was a positive.”

(Fox is probably not done coaching at some point, but that’s for another time, another story, and anyway, it’s his tale to tell when he feels like it. Or doesn’t.)

One measure of the Bears change effected: Virtually the entire Trestman staff, with the exceptions of receivers coach Mike Groh and linebackers coach Clint Hurtt, was jettisoned along with Trestman. By contrast, Nagy has retained not only virtually the entire Fox defensive staff under coordinator Vic Fangio, but also arguably the single most important non-coordinator offensive coach by virtue of position responsibility – Dave Ragone, the hands-on mentor of quarterback Mitch Trubisky.

Obvious but extremely difficult decisions are coming, as to shedding personnel and contracts – Josh Sitton, Pernell McPhee, Willie Young being among the most difficult because of tangible intangibles that no organization wants to lose.

“Bridge” results

Fox was never intended as a bridge coach but the results point to that function having been served. To exactly what end remains to play out under Nagy and the quarterback whom Ragone and Fox’s handling began developing.

Rick Renteria was one of those “bridge” guys for the Cubs, intended to be part of pulling out of or at least arresting the slide into the Mike Quade-Dale Sveum abyss, and leaving something for Joe Maddon. The late Vince Lombardi effectively served as that, at age 56 and for an unforeseen one-year for a Washington Redskins organization that’d gone 13 years without a winning season before Lombardi’s 1969 and needed a radical reversal. The culture change was realized over the next decade under George Allen and Jack Pardee, much of the success coming with the same players with whom Washington had languished before the culture change.

The Bears were in that state after the two years of Trestman and the three years of GM Phil Emery, certain of whose character-lite veteran player acquisitions (Martellus Bennett, Brandon Marshall) and high-character launchings (Brian Urlacher) had left a palpable pall over Halas Hall. A Fox goal was to eradicate that, which insiders in Lake Forest say privately was accomplished even amid the catastrophic crush of three straight seasons of 10 or more losses, and with injuries at historic levels.

What happens next is in the hands of Nagy and GM Ryan Pace, after a third John Fox franchise turnaround failed to materialize. Or did it? Because much of the core, from Trubisky through the defensive makeover, came on Fox’s watch, like him or not.

“You wish some things would’ve happened differently obviously,” Fox said, “but there was a lot positive that happened.”

Blackhawks ban four ejected fans from future home games

Blackhawks ban four ejected fans from future home games

The Blackhawks have banned the four fans — who were ejected from Saturday's game against the Washington Capitals for their racist remarks towards Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly — from future home games.

On Monday, a Blackhawks spokesperson released this statement:

We have contacted the select individuals involved in the incident on Saturday to notify them that they are no longer welcome at our home games. Racist comments and other inappropriate behavior are not tolerated by the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Blackhawks also wanted to remind fans that they can alert security at the United Center by texting the following to 69050: UCASSIST <SPACE> followed by the seating section, row and a brief description of the issue.