White Sox

Word on the Street: Thibodeau disliked Deng's T

Word on the Street: Thibodeau disliked Deng's T

Monday, April 18, 2011

Thibodeau not a fan of Deng's late foul

Luol Deng received loads of praise from teammates, media and fans over the weekend for the forth quarter technical foul he picked up for shoving Tyler Hansbrough. Just before, Hansbrough had committed a hard foul on Derrick Rose - just one of many Rose had suffered throughout the game. However, it appears head coach Tom Thibodeau was not one of those showering him with praise.

"What I don't want are fourth-quarter technicals; I can tell you that," Thibodeau said.

"This is the playoffs," Thibodeau said. "There are going to be fouls like that. This is ordinary. This is no big deal. Just play. That's what we have to do. All that other stuff is nonsense." (Chicago Tribune)

Bears' game abroad hinges on NFL labor deal

The NFL made an official announcement that the Chicago Bears will play in London when they meet Tampa Bay on Oct. 23 at Wembley Stadium. The game would mark the first time the Bears played in London since a preseason game in 1986.

But if the NFL's labor situation isn't resolved by Aug. 1, the game will be played on U.S. soil. Tampa will host the game at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. (Chicago Breaking Sports)
NBA fines coach 35,000

The NBA has charged Portland Trail Blazers' head coach Nate McMillian 35,000.

His offense? Griping.

McMillian was angry because the Dallas Mavericks took 29 free throws and his team took 13. Mavs star Dirk Nowitzki had 13 free throws in the fourth quarter alone, helping lead Dallas to an 89-81 victory. (Chicago Breaking Sports)

Rose displacing Kobe?

Kobe Bryant is the unofficial Most Valuable Clutch Player in the NBA. But he's getting older according to NBC Sports' blog Trash Talk, that title will fall to Derrick Rose.

Michael Ventre is confident that Rose will be the clutch guy in the NBA. He attributes Rose's superior judgment over his peers, understanding of his strengths and weaknesses, and he has the calm and the vision to convert.

Ventre also mentioned that Rose has a better, more reliable outside shot than LeBron James. (NBC Sports)

Schlitter headed back to Cubs

Chicago native Brian Schlitter will report to the Cubs' complex in Mesa, Ariz. because of a technicality. The Commissioner's office deemed that the Maine South alum's elbow injury was a pre-existing condition when the New York Yankees claimed him off waivers for the Cubs last December, and voided the claim.

He was returned to the Cubs from Philadelphia, which claimed him after the Yankees waived him. After pitching in spring training for the Phillies, he was placed on the disabled list in March with a right elbow strain.

"We're glad to get him back," Jordan Hendry said. (Chicago Tribune)

Rick Adelman out as Houston coach

The Houston Rockets will be without a familiar face on the sidelines next season. According to the Houston Chronicle, Rick Adelman will not return as Rockets coach.

Adelman led the Rockets to their only playoff series win in 17 years and a franchise record 22-game winning streak. Adelman and Rockets general manager Daryl Morey failed to reach agreement on how they would continue to work together after consecutive seasons in which the Rockets failed to reach the playoffs.

"I've talked this over with my wife and we have a pretty good idea what we would do either way," Adelman said last week. "It's OK either way. There are definite things I want to know if I were to have the opportunity to come back." (Houston Chronicle)
Former Hawk Daze buys Hinsdale mansion

Here's a twist on recent news; a former Blackhawks player is actually buying a home in Chicagoland. Reversing a recent trend of former players selling their Chicago homes and moving from the area, Eric Daze recently paid 1.68 million for a new, six-bedroom, mansion in Hinsdale. (ChicagoBreakingSports)
Notre Dame releases report on lift accident

Notre Dame has released a report on the scissor-lift accident that left one student dead last year. Declan Sullivan was recording a Notre Dame football practice on a scissor lift when high winds knocked over the lift, killing Sullivan. So, who was to blame? According to the report, it's not one person in particular. The report says that multiple factors led to the tragedy, including the height of the lift, the strength of the wind, and the staff members' lack of knowledge regarding the weather forecast. (Bleacher Report)

Bennett signs with new agent

Bears wide receiver Earl Bennett has signed with a new agent from the Chicago mega-firm Octagon according to a tweet from Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal. Bennett, 24, will be represented by Doug Hendrickson and C.J. Laboy as he enteres the final year of his contract.

In 2010 Bennett played in 14 games and made 46 receptions for 561 for the Bears. (Twitter.com)

Left, right, center: Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert and Micker Adolfo are dreaming of being the White Sox championship outfield of the future

Left, right, center: Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert and Micker Adolfo are dreaming of being the White Sox championship outfield of the future

GLENDALE, Ariz. — All that was missing was a dinner bell.

From all over the White Sox spring training complex at Camelback Ranch they came, lined up in front of the third-base dugout and all around the cage to see a trio of future White Sox take batting practice.

This is all it was, batting practice. But everyone wanted to get a glimpse of Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert and Micker Adolfo swinging the bat. And those three outfield prospects delivered, putting on quite a show and displaying exactly what gets people so darn excited about the White Sox rebuild.

How to sum it up if you weren’t there? Just be happy you weren’t parked behind the left-field fence.

Jimenez and Robert are two of the biggest stars of the White Sox rebuilding effort, with Adolfo flying a bit more under the radar, but all three have big dreams of delivering on the mission general manager Rick Hahn and his front office have undertaken over the past year and change: to turn the South Siders into perennial championship contenders. The offensive capabilities of all three guys have fans and the team alike giddy for the time they hit the big leagues.

And those three guys can’t wait for that day, either.

“Actually, just a few minutes ago when we were taking BP, we were talking about it,” Jimenez said Tuesday. “Micker and Luis said, ‘Can you imagine if we had the opportunity one day to play together in the majors: right, left and center field? The three of us together and having the opportunity to bring a championship to this team?’ I think that’s a dream for us, and we’re trying to work hard for that.”

“We were just talking about how cool it would be to one day all three of us be part of the same outfield,” Adolfo told NBC Sports Chicago. “We were talking about hitting behind each other in the order and just envisioning ourselves winning championships and stuff like that. It’s awesome. I really envision myself in the outfield next to Eloy and Luis Robert.”

How those three would eventually line up in the outfield at Guaranteed Rate Field remains to be seen. Adolfo’s highly touted arm would make him an attractive option in right field. Robert’s speed and range makes him the logical fit in center field. Jimenez will play whichever position allows his big bat to stay in the lineup every day.

Here in Arizona, the focus isn’t necessarily on some far off future but on the present. As intriguing as all three guys are and as anticipated their mere batting practice sessions seem to be, they all potentially have a long way to go to crack the big league roster. Jimenez is the furthest along, but even he has only 73 plate appearances above the Class A level. Adolfo spent his first full season above rookie ball last year. Robert has yet to play a minor league game in the United States.

The group could very well make its way through the minor leagues together, which would obviously be beneficial come the time when the three arrive on the South Side.

“We were talking about (playing in the big leagues), but also we were talking about just to have the first stage of the three of us together in the minor leagues first and then go to the majors all three of us together,” Robert said. “To have the opportunity to play there should be pretty special for us. We were dreaming about that.”

For months now, and likely for months moving forward, the question has been and will be: when?

Whether it’s Jimenez or top pitching prospect Michael Kopech or any other of the large number of prospects who have become household names, fans and observers are dying to see the stars of this rebuilding project hit the major leagues. Yoan Moncada, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez made their respective jumps last season. Hahn, who has said repeatedly this offseason that the front office needs to practice patience as much as the fan base, has also mentioned that a good developmental season for these guys might involve no big league appearances at all.

And it’s worth remembering that could be the case considering the lack of experience at the upper levels of the minor leagues for all three of these guys.

“In my mind, I don’t try to set a date for when I'm going to be in the majors,” Jimenez said. “That is something I can’t control. I always talk with my dad and we share opinions, and he says, ‘You know what? Just control the things that you can control. Work hard and do the things that you need to do to get better.’ And that’s my key. That’s probably why I stay patient.”

But staying patient is sometimes easier said than done. The big crowd watching Jimenez, Robert and Adolfo send baseballs into a to-this-point-in-camp rare cloudless Arizona sky proved that.

Dreaming of the future has now become the official pastime of the South Side. And that applies to fans and players all the same.

“I’m very, very excited,” Jimenez said, “because I know from the time we have here, that when the moment comes, when we can all be in the majors, the ones that can finally reach that level, we’re going to be good, we’re going to be terrific. I know that.”

With Josh Sitton on his way out, what’s next for the Bears’ offensive line?

With Josh Sitton on his way out, what’s next for the Bears’ offensive line?

The first major move of Ryan Pace’s 2018 offseason hit on Tuesday, as NFL Network reported the Bears will not exercise Josh Sitton’s $8 million option for 2018. 

The move accomplishes two things for the Bears: 1) It frees up about $8 million in cap space and 2) Removes a veteran from the offensive line and creates a hole to fill, presumably by a younger free agent or draft pick. 

The 31-year-old Sitton signed a three-year deal with the Bears after Green Bay cut him just before the 2016 season, and was a Pro Bowler his first year in Chicago. Sitton played 26 of 32 games in two years with the Bears, but him being on the wrong side of 30 was likely the biggest factor here. If the Bears saw his skills eroding, releasing him now and netting the cap savings while going younger at the position does make sense. 

“Going younger” doesn’t guarantee the Bears will draft Notre Dame brawler Quenton Nelson, though that did become a greater possibility with Tuesday’s move. Nelson might be one of the two or three best offensive players in this year’s draft, and offensive line coach Harry Hiestand knows him well from the four years they spent together at Notre Dame. 

There’s a natural fit there, of course, but a few reasons to slow the Nelson-to-Chicago hype train: Would he even make it to No. 8? Or if he’s there, is taking a guard that high worth it when the Bears have needs at wide receiver, outside linebacker and cornerback? Still, the thought of Nelson — who absolutely dominated at Notre Dame — pairing with Hiestand again is tantalizing, and Nelson very well could step into any team’s starting lineup and be an immediate Pro Bowler as a rookie. 

If the Bears go younger in free agency, Matt Nagy knows 26-year-old guard Zach Fulton (No. 25 in Bleacher Report’s guard rankings) well from their time in Kansas City. Fulton — a Homewood-Flossmoor alum — has the flexibility to play both guard positions and center, which could open the door for Cody Whitehair to be moved to left guard, the position he was initially drafted to play (though the Bears do value him highly as a center, and keeping him at one position would benefit him as opposed to moving him around the line again). There are some other guys out there — like Tennessee’s Josh Kline or New York’s Justin Pugh — that could wind up costing more than Fulton in free agency. 

Or the Bears could look draft an offensive lineman after the first round, perhaps like Ohio State’s Billy Price, Georgia’s Isaiah Wynn or UTEP’s Will Hernandez. How the Bears evaluate guards at the NFL Combine next week will play an important role in how they go about replacing Sitton. 

The trickle-down effect of releasing Sitton will impact more than the offensive line, too. Freeing up his $8 million in cap space -- which wasn't a guarantee, unlike cutting Jerrell Freeman and, at some point, Mike Glennon -- could go toward paying Kyle Fuller, or another top cornerback, or a top wide receiver, or some combination of players at those positions (as well as outside linebacker). The Bears were already in a healthy place cap-wise; that just got healthier on Tuesday.