Preps Talk

Word on the Street: Singletary won't return as head coach

Word on the Street: Singletary won't return as head coach

Sunday, Dec. 26, 2010
CSNChicago.com

Singletary will not return as head coach

Former Bears linebacker Mike Singletary will not return as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers next season, according to reports out of CSNBayArea.com. The 49ers lost to the division rival St. Louis Rams 25-17 Sunday, effectively knocking the preseason NFC West favorite out of the postseason.

The 49ers are now 5-10 with one game left to play and there are reports that he may very well be fired even before the final game of the season. If not, it is confirmed the former Monster of the Midway will not be back next year. (CSNBayArea.com)
Cubs out of the running for Webb

Brandon Webb has reportedly agreed to a deal with the Texas Rangers, pending a physical. The Cubs were said to be out of the running for the pitcher's services before Sunday, when those talks were nixed before the Webb-Texas report.

A source claims Webb is closing in on a decision from both of the remaining teams. The veteran has not pitched since Opening Day of 2009, but has drawn interest this offseason as his shoulder is reportedly healthy. (ESPN.com and MLB.com)

Vikings-Eagles pushed to Tuesday night
Thanks to a horrendous storm on the east coast, the Philadelphia Eagles' matchup with the Minnesota Vikings that was originally scheduled for Sunday night has been moved to Tuesday night. The game will be played at 7 p.m. CST and televised still on NBC.

"Due to public safety concerns in light of today's snow emergency in Philadelphia, tonight's Vikings-Eagles game has been postponed," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said. "Because of the uncertainty of the extent of tonight's storm and its aftermath, the game will be played on Tuesday night at 8 p.m. ET This will allow sufficient time to ensure that roads, parking lots and the stadium are fully cleared. The National Weather Service states that a winter storm warning in Philadelphia remains in effect until 1 pm on Monday."(Chicago Tribune)

Hawks regaining health

Marian Hossa and Viktor Stalberg will play in Sunday night's Blackhawks game against the Columbus Blue Jackts. Hossa hasn't played since he was hurt in practice on Nov. 29 with a lower body injury. Stalberg was injured Dec. 15 in a game against Colorado.

Patrick Kane is still sidelined and is going to evaluate how he feels after Monday's practice before making a choice about whether or not he will play Tuesday in St. Louis. (CSNChicago.com)

Vikings could play outdoors in '11

The Vikings must have enjoyed their outdoor game against the Bears last Monday night because there is talk of Minnesota playing outside for all of the 2011 season.

Sources say Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission is assessing the viability of the Vikings playing in TCF Bank Stadium at the University of Minnesota (where they played the Bears last Monday) for the entire season. (ESPN.com)

Bulls leading the way in home attendance

LeBron James left a void on the Cleveland Cavaliers when he took his talents to South Beach, but the fans are still packing the stands in the King's old castle. The Cavs have the second best home average attendance with 20, 562. Only the Bulls draw more fans at home. (NY Times)

Parity in the NFC North?

The Detroit Lions, who have spent the larger part of the decade in the NFC North cellar, have now won three straight games and sit at 5-10 on the season. The Lions were heralded as a much-improved team coming into the '10 season, but until recently, they hadn't shown much proof of that. But, after a win against the 7-8 Miami Dolphins (a team that was previously still alive in the AFC playoff picture), Detroit now has its best winning streak since 2007. (Chicago Tribune)

High School Lites Week 9 football roundup

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High School Lites Week 9 football roundup

High School Lites featured plenty of great action on Friday night as NBC Sports Chicago had highlights of many of the area's top matchups. Some playoff dreams came to fruition while others crashed and burned. 

Watch tomorrow as the IHSA playoff brackets are revealed tomorrow on NBC Sports Chicago+ at 8 p.m. Be sure to also follow us on Twitter @NBCSPreps for all of the latest IHSA football scores and highlights. 

DRIVE: Prairie Ridge: Episode 10

Wintrust Athlete of the Week: Back of the Yards QB Jeremiah Harris

St. Xavier Team of the Week: De La Salle Meteors

Friday's Top 25 Games

No. 1 Lincoln-Way East 18, No. 19 Bolingbrook 14 

No. 2 Prairie Ridge 55, Dundee-Crown 14

No. 3 Maine South 56, Niles West 9

No. 4 Marist 42, Joliet Catholic 14

No. 5 Lake Zurich , Mundelein

No. 6 Phillips 53, Clark 0

No. 9 Homewood-Flossmoor 50, Sandburg 14

No. 10 Barrington 40, Conant 19

No. 11 Huntley 45, McHenry 7

No. 12 Naperville Central 35, Lake Park 21

No. 13 Hinsdale Central 42, Hinsdale South 14

No. 24 St. Charles North 35, No. 14 Batavia 28

No. 16 Wheaton North 20, Waubonsie Valley 10

No. 17 Crete-Monee 52, Cahokia 8

No. 18 St. Rita 47, Marmion 14

No. 20 Lyons 31, Oak Park-River Forest 14

No. 21 Nazareth 48, Marian Catholic 7

No. 22 Oswego 30, Plainfield Central 0

Mount Carmel 35, No. 23 Providence 34

Other Highlights

Tinley Park 29, Evergreen Park 0

T.F. South 21, Oak Forest 14

Glenbard North 24, Neuqua Valley 14

St. Edward 29, Wheaton Academy 28

Marian Central Catholic 44, St. Patrick 21

Saturday's Top 25 Games

No. 7 Loyola vs. Brother Rice

No. 8 Glenbard West vs. Proviso West

Cubs will be open for business as Theo Epstein weighs trading hitters for pitching

Cubs will be open for business as Theo Epstein weighs trading hitters for pitching

Theo Epstein answered questions from the Chicago media for more than an hour on Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field, but the most interesting part might have been what the Cubs president didn’t say, something along the lines of: These are our guys.

Or at least Epstein didn’t give the same full-throated endorsement of The Core that he delivered after engineering the Jose Quintana trade with the White Sox this summer, getting an All-Star pitcher without giving up anyone from the big-league roster.

Whether it’s the way the Los Angeles Dodgers dominated the Cubs throughout the National League Championship Series that ended Thursday night, the inconsistencies and frustrations during a 43-45 first half of this season or the reality of losing 40 percent of the rotation, you walked out of that stadium club press conference thinking big changes could be coming.

“We’re going to pursue all avenues to get better,” Epstein said.

The Cubs already understood this would be a challenging time to dramatically reshape their pitching staff, with Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta, Big Boy John Lackey and All-Star closer Wade Davis about to become free agents.

The Cubs don’t really have many (any?) high-end, headliner prospects left to trade after borrowing heavily from their farm system to acquire Aroldis Chapman for last year’s World Series run and get Quintana to help solidify the rotation through 2020.

All of Major League Baseball is looking beyond this winter and preparing for the monster free-agent class that will hit the open market after the 2018 season.

Meaning it’s time for the Cubs to make some difficult decisions about all these young hitters they’ve collected.

“It may or may not be,” Epstein said. “Those choices, they’re not unilateral things. You can’t sit there and decide: ‘Hey, this guy, we’re moving him.’ Because you don’t know what the return might be. You don’t know how the different moving parts might fit together.

“I think going into the offseason prepared to make some tough choices and execute on them — and keeping an open mind to anything — is appropriate under the circumstances where we have some obvious deficits and we have some real surplus with talented players who are really desirable.”

Let’s assume All-Star first baseman Anthony Rizzo, MVP third baseman Kris Bryant and catcher Willson Contreras are essentially untouchable.

The Cubs used the ninth overall pick in the 2015 draft on Ian Happ with the explicit idea that the college hitter should be on a fast track and could be flipped for pitching later: Is it time to sell high after the rookie just put up 24 homers and an .842 OPS?

During an exit meeting with Albert Almora Jr., Epstein said he couldn’t promise an everyday job in 2018, though the expectation would be more responsibilities: Think anyone else would be interested in a potential Gold Glove center fielder who’s already playoff-tested?

Do you want Addison Russell or Javier Baez as your everyday shortstop for the next four years? Is there an American League team willing to bet big that Kyle Schwarber will crush 40 homers a year as a designated hitter?

The Cubs have to ask themselves those types of questions, which could mean getting outside of their comfort zone and taking on some riskier pitching investments and sapping the strength that has turned them into the dominant force in the NL Central.

“We’ve really benefitted from having two or three extra — and ‘extra’ in quotes because they’re not really extra — starting-caliber players on the roster,” Epstein said. “That helped us win 97 games in ’15, 103 last year, 92 this year. That’s as big a part of the club as anything.

“Having an Addison Russell go down and being able to move Javy Baez to shortstop — that’s an obvious example of it. But those things show up every week for us. There’s a day where someone can’t make the lineup and someone else slides in and you’re still starting eight quality guys. That’s huge.

“Sooner or later, you reach a point where you have to strongly consider sacrificing some of that depth to address needs elsewhere on the club. There’s no sort of deadline to do that. But I think we’re entering the phase where we have to be really open-minded to that if it makes the overall outlook of the team and organization better.”

Translation: The Cubs are open for business. Make your best offer.