Cubs

Word on the Street: Gibson to All-Star Weekend

Word on the Street: Gibson to All-Star Weekend

Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011
CSNChicago.com

Gibson named to RookieSophomore challenge

The NBA has announced that Bulls forward Taj Gibson has been selected to play in the annual Rookie-Sophomore game during this year's All-Star weekend. Gibson will be joined by, among others, Spurs center DeJuan Blair, Warriors guard Stephen Curry, Bucks guard Brandon Jennings. (Chicago NowBulls Confidential)

Thibodeau wins coach of the month

After his team went an impressive 12-4 in the month of January, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau started off the new month on the right foot, winning the Eastern Conference coach of the month for January. On top of his team's dominant January performance, they are also the only team remaining in the NBA who are undefeated in their own division (11-0). (Chicago Sun Times)
Packers coaches respect Cutler

Over the last week sports fans have been inundated with dozens of stories about Jay Cutler, his toughness, and the respect other players do - or do not - have for him. So, without further ado; here's another one.

After the Packers saw Todd Collins beginning to warm up on the sidelines during the NFC Championship game, the team coaching staff huddled to decide how to amend their game plan. This, in part, was the result:

"But one of the other assistants commented, 'If Cutler can play he will play because he's a tough kid so keep your guys focused on the rush lanes,' " Packers defensive line coach Mike Trgovac said Tuesday during Super Bowl XLV Media Day at Cowboys Stadium. "I'm just going to tell you from my perspective, playing against Cutler when I was at Carolina (with the Panthers staff) and he was at Denver, he's a tough kid. ... I thought that stuff (criticizing Cutler) was crazy." (ChicagoBreakingSports)

Jets assistant who tripped player resigns

Sal Alosi, the embattled New York Jets strength and conditioning coach, announced his resignation on Monday after what was likely the highest profile season a strength and conditioning coach has ever had.

Alosi was caught on camera, during a Dec. 12 game, tripping a Miami Dolphins player during a punt return. After the tripping incident, he was suspended for the rest of the season by the team and fined 25,000. A few days later, the suspension was made indefinite when Alosi admitted to ordering players to form a wall along the sideline.

"After the events that have transpired, I feel it's best for my family and me to look for a fresh start," Alosi said in a statement issued by the team.(ChicagoBreakingSports)

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Andre Dawson talks about his Cubs reunion

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Andre Dawson talks about his Cubs reunion

Carmen DeFalco (ESPN 1000) and Jordan Bernfield join Kap on the panel. Anthony Rizzo returns to the Cubs after an emotional weekend home while Tom Ricketts expects another World Series parade. Plus Hall of Famer Andre Dawson joins Kap to talk about his Cubs reunion and how the current crop unsigned free agents compares to his experiences with collusion. 

Strikeout machine Alec Hansen wants to be the best ... OK, one of the best

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AP

Strikeout machine Alec Hansen wants to be the best ... OK, one of the best

GLENDALE, Ariz. — On a day when Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada took live batting practice for the first time this spring, off in the distance was a lanky White Sox prospect standing in the outfield grass.

But Alec Hansen was doing more than shagging flies. He was watching both hitters very closely.

“I was looking to see how much pop they had,” Hansen said of Abreu and Moncada. “I kind of look at that to see the difference in power between minor league ball and the major leagues. It’s nice to see it’s not a huge difference. That makes me feel a bit more comfortable.”

At 6-foot-8 — actually 6-foot-8-and-a-half, according to his spring training physical — Hansen is a big man with big plans for his baseball career. He might be quiet on the outside, but he has booming expectations for himself on the inside.

“I want to be the best,” Hansen said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago.

The best? The very best?

That’s what Hansen aspires to become, though later in our conversation, he did dial back a notch, settling for becoming “one of the best.”

Either is fine with manager Ricky Renteria, who is overseeing these uber-confident White Sox prospects and accepts their lofty expectations.

“I think their mindset is where it’s supposed to be,” Renteria said. “None of these kids are concerned or consumed with the possibility of failure. Much more they’re consuming themselves with the understanding that they might hit some stumbling blocks, but they’re going to have a way to avoid overcoming them and push forward and be the best that they can be.”

In his first full season in the White Sox organization, Hansen led the minor leagues with 191 strikeouts. He’s proud of that accomplishment but admitted something: He’s not that impressed because he didn’t do it where it really matters — in the major leagues.

When you watch Hansen pitch, it’s easy to see that the talent is there. His coaches and teammates rave about his ability. With his enormous size and power arm, he is loaded with strengths.  

Though there is one weakness that Hansen acknowledges he needs to work on.

“Sometimes I have a tendency to think too much and worry. I think worrying is the worst thing that I do just because I want to be perfect,” Hansen said. “I think everyone wants to be perfect, some more than others, and I worry about things getting in the way of achieving perfection.”

To Hansen, that doesn’t mean throwing a perfect game. He actually takes it one step further.

He wants to strikeout every single hitter he faces.

“I love striking people out,” Hansen said. “Not having to rely on anyone else and just getting the job done myself and knowing that the hitter can’t get a hit off me. That’s a great feeling. That they can’t put it in play. Like a line drive out. That’s terrible.”

At some point, Hansen will have to lower these impossible expectations for himself. This is an imperfect game. There’s no place for nine-inning, 27-strikeout performances. Players end up in the Hall of Fame because they learn how to succeed with failure.

In the meantime, Hansen is here in big league camp watching and learning anything and everything.

“I’m a good observer. I listen. I don’t really talk too much. I’m a pretty quiet guy. I like to sit back and observe and see how these guys go about their business. Just trying to be at their level, hopefully one day surpass them.”

Surpass?

“It’s kind of hard to surpass some of these guys. I mean, they’re at the tip-top, like the pinnacle of the sport,” Hansen said. “I guess you could say, to get on that level and then be one of the best in the league.”

He might be on his way.