Cubs

Word on the Street: Not in Rodman's job description

Word on the Street: Not in Rodman's job description

Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011
CSNChicago.com

Not in Rodmans job description

Dennis Rodman admitted he never had a conversation with either Michael Jordan or Scottie Pippen while playing for the Bulls, keeping his on-court relationships, well, on the court. The players werent on bad terms; Rodman just chose to focus his energy solely on his job - to fit with the team and win.

The Bulls team that Rodman, Jordan, and Pippen played for was not known for having close relationships, but they sure did accomplish what any athlete at any level hopes and dreams about their entire lives. (ProBasketballTalk)

Locker room breakup

Since the 2007-2008 season, Blackhawks Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane have had stalls next to each other in the locker room, but that is no longer the case. Today the duo was separated, moving Kane into a corner space for media purposes.

Toews claims the separation was mutual, but assured he would not be the one moving. Hopefully the two will not be too upset about their new long distance relationship. (Chicago Tribune)

Armstrong linked to banned doping doctor

Lance Armstrong has always denied doping allegations and tested negative in drug tests, but the seven-time Tour de France champion might not be telling the truth. The Associated Press claimed newspaper reports in Milan state that Armstrong had been paying a banned doping doctor through a Swiss front company.

Armstrong has admitted to knowing Michele Ferrari, the doctor in question. There is no information yet on when the payments were made. (TheAtlanticWire, Associated Press)

Quade expects a second chance

Despite a 68-87 record, Cubs manager Mike Quade says hes expecting to return for the 2012 season. However he has not discussed his future with owner Tom Ricketts. Although Quade is contracted through next season, there is a good chance a new general manager will want to bring his own manager in. (HardballTalk)

Byfugliens in trouble again

Former Blackhawks player Dustin Byfuglien was already in the spotlight after being arrested for his involvement in an alcohol-related boating accident on Aug. 31. The current Jets defenseman passed a breathalyzer test, but new reports show he may have been high on drugs.

Byfuglien refused a urine or blood test, which is an automatic offense. His current court date is set for Oct. 21, but may be deferred until after the season. (ProHockeyTalk)

Cubs' World Series expectations are no surprise, but they show how radical transformation from Lovable Losers has been

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USA TODAY

Cubs' World Series expectations are no surprise, but they show how radical transformation from Lovable Losers has been

MESA, Ariz. — Tom Ricketts sure doesn’t sound like the guy who met his wife in the bleachers during the century-long tenure of the Lovable Losers.

“Everyone knows that this is a team that has the capability to win the World Series, and everyone will be disappointed if we don’t live up to that capability.”

Yeah, the Cubs have been among baseball’s best teams for three seasons now. That curse-smashing World Series win in 2016 was the high point of a three-year stretch of winning that’s seen three straight trips to the National League Championship Series and a combined 310 wins between the regular season and postseason.

But it’s still got to come as a strange sound to those who remember the Cubs as the longtime butt of so many baseball jokes. This team has one expectation, to win the World Series. The players have said it for a week leading up to Monday’s first full-squad workout. The front office said it when it introduced big-time free-agent signing Yu Darvish a week ago. And the chairman said it Monday.

“We very much expect to win,” Ricketts said. “We have the ability to win. Our division got a lot tougher, and the playoff opponents that we faced last year are likely to be there waiting for us again.

“I think at this point with this team, obviously that’s our goal. I won’t say a season’s a failure because you don’t win the World Series, but it is our goal.”

The confidence is not lacking. But more importantly, success drives expectations. And if the Cubs are going to be one of the best teams in baseball, they better keep winning, or they’ll fail to meet those expectations, expectations that can sometimes spin a little bit out of control.

During last year’s follow-up campaign to 2016’s championship run, a rocky start to the season that had the Cubs out of first place at the All-Star break was enough to make some fans feel like the sky was falling — as if one year without a World Series win would be unacceptable to a fan base that had just gone 108 without one.

After a grueling NLDS against the Washington Nationals, the Cubs looked well overmatched in the NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers, and that sparked plenty of outside criticism, as well as plenty of offseason activity to upgrade the club in the midst of baseball’s never-ending arms race.

“I think people forget we’ve won more games over the last three years than any other team. We’ve won more playoff games than any other team the last three years. And we’ve been to the NLCS three years in a row,” Ricketts said. “I think fans understand that this is a team that if we stay healthy and play up to our capability can be in that position, be in the World Series. I don’t blame them. We should have high expectations, we have a great team.”

On paper, there are plenty of reasons for high expectations. Certainly the team’s stated goals don’t seem outlandish or anything but expected. The addition of Darvish to a rotation that already boasted Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks and Jose Quintana makes the Cubs’ starting staff the best in the NL, maybe the best in the game. There were additions to the bullpen, and the team’s fleet of young star position players went untouched despite fears it might be broken up to acquire pitching.

“I think this is, on paper, the strongest rotation that we’ve ever had,” Ricketts said. “I think that being able to bring in a player of (Darvish’s) caliber reminds everyone that we’re intending to win our division and go all the way.

“We’ve kept a good core of players together for several years, and this year I think our offseason moves have really set us up to be one of the best teams in baseball.

“Just coming out of our team meeting, the vibe feels a lot like two years ago. Everybody’s in a really good place. I think everyone’s really hungry and really wants to get this season off to a great start and make this a memorable year.”

There should be no surprise that the team and its players and its executives and its owners feel the way they do. The Cubs are now expected winners, even if that’s still yet to sink in for the longtime fans and observers of the team they once called the Lovable Losers.

Blackhawks deal Michael Kempny to Capitals for conditional third-round pick

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks deal Michael Kempny to Capitals for conditional third-round pick

The Blackhawks dealt defenseman Michael Kempny to the Washington Capitals for a third-round pick. Kempny had seven points in 31 games this season.

Kempny, 27, recorded 15 points in 81 career games for the Blackhawks. He tallied an assist in Saturday's 7-1 victory over the Capitals.

Kempny signed a one-year extension through the end of this season back in May.