Cubs

Bears 2012 season guaranteed to make someone happyunless

781448.png

Bears 2012 season guaranteed to make someone happyunless

Do you realize that the 2012 season, still more than three months away but it already is all but assured of making one group of watchers happy no matter how it comes out?

Heres how that works:

Good year

If the Bears do well, as in the third consecutive 10-6 or better assessment of CSNChicago.com (the 2010 call was right; the 2011 one was as well at 7-3 before Jay Cutler went down), the majority of Chicago will be generally happy. Players and coaches dont always get this, but Chicago wants to love its Bears.

The over-under point for the Bears is 8.5 wins, which has the faint feel of a suckers bet since the Bears won eight games last season without Cutler for six games, Matt Forte for almost five and Brandon Marshall for any.

Bad year

Nothing is ever assured in the NFL, including the Bears improving from last season. So a team that should win 10 or 11 could wind up losing that many; just ask Mike Ditkas last team (5-11 in 1992 from 11-5 in 1991).

That fall from grace was enough to get Ditka fired despite playoffs the previous two and seven of the previous eight seasons. Obviously, if the Bears miss the playoffs for the fifth time in the six seasons since Super Bowl XLI, Lovie Smith wont be back for a 10th season (Ditka had 11).

That would make happy the Smith-haters who didnt think Smith deserved any more of a pass on last seasons collapse than Jerry Angelo got.

Gregg Rosenthal over at NFL.com is the latest to note the obvious that Smith is under immediate pressure to win, something made amply apparent in post-Angelo-firing remarks by George McCaskey and Ted Phillips and even more so in the hiring of Phil Emery.

Either way, somebody will be happy with the way this season turns out.

Unless

Smith signed a two-year contract extension in February 2011, running through the 2013 season. Matters will get interesting should the Bears go, say, 10-6 but dont make the playoffs.

Could happen. The 2008 Patriots went 11-5 and missed. The 2010 Buccaneers and Giants went 10-6 and missed, then New York went 9-7 last season and won the Super Bowl.

Then what do the Bears do?

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 31st homer in 1998

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 31st homer in 1998

It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.

Sosa's 18th homer of June and 31st of the season came off the Tigers in the Cubs' brief 2-game Interleague series in Detroit. 

Sosa connected in the first inning off Tigers starter Seth Greisinger, going back-to-back with Mickey Morandini. 

The Cubs wound up getting out to a 5-0 start in the game but still lost 7-6 on a Gabe Alvarez single in the bottom of the 11th.

The aforementioned Morandini homer was only the 3rd of the season for the Cubs second baseman. He finished with 8 homers on the year and 224 total bases on 172 hits in what was a very good offensive season. Yet it paled in comparison to Sosa, who had nearly 200 more total bases (416) and a slugging percentage nearly 200 points above Morandini's (.647 to .471), a testament to how truly incredible Sosa's season was.

Fun fact: Tony Clark was the Tigers' cleanup hitter that day. Clark is now the head of the MLB Players Union.

Fun fact No. 2: Paul Bako was the Detroit catcher in the game. He later became the Cubs backup catcher in 2003 and 2004, when he posted a .611 OPS in 119 games over the two years.

Mitch Trubisky jersey sales trending in right direction

Mitch Trubisky jersey sales trending in right direction

Positive press about the Chicago Bears' offseason is having a strong impact on the jersey sales for the team's highest-profile player, Mitch Trubisky.

According to Dick's Sporting Goods, Trubisky's No. 10 is the fifth-most popular jersey among offensive players over the last 30 days. He's No. 6 among all players, regardless of position.

The Bears' offseason has been full of superlatives since their aggressive approach to free agency. The signings of Allen Robinson, Trey Burton and Taylor Gabriel put the spotlight on Trubisky and the potentially surging passing game. The second-round selection of Anthony Miller and word of Kevin White's offseason emergence has turned positive momentum into higher-than-anticipated expectations for Trubisky this season.

For Chicago to have any chance at meeting those expectations, Trubisky, who's entering his first full season as a starter with a new head coach and offensive system, has to thrive. Fans must be confident that he will, considering the investment they're making in his jersey.

Trubisky ended his rookie season with four wins in 12 starts, throwing for 2,193 yards with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. He completed 59.4 percent of his passes. He should have a much more productive season in 2018 with his new arsenal of skill players and an innovative coaching staff, led by coach Matt Nagy and offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich.