Cubs

Bears promote from within in personnel department

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Bears promote from within in personnel department

The Bears went with a former member of the scouting staff when they hired Phil Emery to replace Jerry Angelo as general manager earlier this offseason.

They have stayed in-house again with his two top personnel directors among changes that significantly expand the Bears' personnel department.

The shakeup in the front office that began with exits of pro personnel director Bobby DePaul and college scouting director Greg Gabriel two years ago largely concluded Tuesday with the promotions of former scouts Chris Ballard and Marty Barrett to directors of pro and college scouting, in addition to a number of other changes and hirings.

The moves are part of an overall expansion of the player personnel department from 12 to 18 staffers under Emery.

Ballard and Barrett return the organizational chart to its form prior to the DePaul and Gabriel dismissals, after which those two posts were consolidated under player personnel director Tim Ruskell the past two years.

The focus during the selection process for the directors position was not whether the scout came from a pro or college background, rather it was their level of skill as communicators and evaluators, Emery said. We were also looking for people with a successful background in coaching, organizational and administrative experience.

Ballard was the Bears Southwest area scout for the past 11 years after coaching seven seasons at Texas A&M-Kingsville while current Bear center Roberto Garza was a member of the Javelins.

Barrett, who was hired by Mark Hatley in 1997 has been a Bears scout since 1997 after three years with the New Orleans Saints, scouting the West Region for both organizations. He now has worked for Mark Hatley, Jerry Angelo and Emery.

Former Bears cornerback Dwayne Joseph and Kevin Turks will both work as assistant directors of pro scouting.

Joseph has 14 years of experience in scouting and football operations, spending the last eight seasons with the Miami Dolphins serving as a pro scout, adding the title of assistant director of pro personnel for one season in 2007.

Turks is in his 11th season with the Chicago Bears and his fifth as assistant director of pro personnel. He has worked as a pro scout for the Bears since 2002 after serving as an intern in Chicagos scouting department in 2001.

Jeff Shiver will serve as the Bears executive scoutassistant director of college scouting with a focus on the Big Ten Conference. He has 28 years of NFL scouting experience and is in his 26th year with the team. Shiver previously worked as an area scout for the Bears focusing on the Midwest region.

Rex Hogan and Mark Sadowski will both work as national scouts, working the West and East regions, respectively. Hogan joined the Bears as a college scout in 2003 after working five years in college football at the University of Utah and the University of Notre Dame in the areas of recruiting and football operations.

Sadowski has 15 years of scouting experience with the New Orleans Saints (1998-2005) and Bears (2005-12). He has served as Chicagos Southeast area scout after working in New Orleans as a pro scout (1998-99), NFS combine scout (2000) and Southeast area scout (2001-05).

Ted Monago, who is in his 12th season in the Bears scouting department, will serve as an executive scout with a focus on the Southeastern Conference. Monago has worked as an area scout for the Bears since 2003 after working as the teams BLESTO scout for two seasons.

Robyn Wilkey will serve as the executive assistantscouting coordinator in her 15th season with the Bears.

Kent Kahl, James Kirkland, Francis Saint-Paul and Sam Summerville will serve as area scouts.

Kahl will be Chicagos Central States area scout after serving as a regional scout with the San Francisco 49ers since 2007.

Kirkland, in his third year with the team, will be the Bears Atlantic area scout. Prior to his time in Chicago, Kirkland spent six seasons with the Cleveland Browns, including three as assistant director, pro personnel. He also worked one season as a volunteer scouting intern with the Atlanta Falcons in 2003.

Saint-Paul will serve as Chicagos West area scout after working on Northern Arizonas coaching staff for five years, including the last four as a wide receivers coach.

Summerville will be the Bears East area scout after serving as a player personnel assistant with the Browns (2009-12) and pro personnel assistant with the Eagles (2007-09).

The Bears has also hired Breck Ackley, Bobby Macedo, Zach Truty and David Williams as scouting assistants. Ackley joins the Bears personnel department after working two seasons as a graduate assistant football coach at Southern University.

Macedo comes to Chicago after spending the 2011 season as a running backs coach for Millikin University in Decatur, Ill. Truty served as director of player personnel for the Arizona Rattlers in 2011 after working as a recruiting coordinator for Eastern Michigan University for two years. Williams joins Chicago after working as player personnel assistant for the Kansas City Chiefs this past year. He has also served as a football operations intern and equipment intern for the Cleveland Browns.

Kris Bryant is ready for fatherhood '[I was] put on this earth to be a dad'

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USA TODAY

Kris Bryant is ready for fatherhood '[I was] put on this earth to be a dad'

Suffice to say Kris Bryant is budding with anticipation for becoming a father.

Bryant and his wife, Jessica, are expecting their first child — a baby boy due in April. During Friday night’s Cubs-Padres broadcast, the third baseman shared his excitement for fatherhood with reporter Taylor McGregor

“I think this is really what I’ve been put on this Earth to do, is be a dad,” Bryant said, laughing. “Obviously I play baseball pretty good, but I’m just so excited [for] this new journey with my wife and my family. Honestly, I think this is going to be one of the best years of my life.”

Bryant’s son is due shortly after Opening Day, but the Cubs will play two spring training games in Las Vegas — Bryant’s hometown — on March 7-8. He told McGregor one of Jessica’s last doctor’s appointments is around the same time, so Bryant will get one last visit in before Baby Bryant is born.

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How Dusty Baker inspired former Cub Adam Greenberg after scary head injury

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AP

How Dusty Baker inspired former Cub Adam Greenberg after scary head injury

Adam Greenberg’s baseball career was cut short by a scary head injury 15 years ago. But with the help of Dusty Baker, he found the motivation to transition to his post-baseball life.

Greenberg made his MLB debut with the Cubs on July 9, 2005, and Baker called upon the then 24-year-old to pinch-hit in the ninth inning against the Marlins. On the first pitch Greenberg saw in the big leagues, Marlins reliever Valerio De Los Santos hit him in the back of the head with a 92-mph fastball.

Greenberg was concussed from the incident, suffered from vertigo and vision problems, and battled depression. The Cubs released him in 2006 and he caught on with the Royals and later the Dodgers in 2007 — which is when Baker reappears in the story. From MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart:

A couple of years following the incident, in 2007, Baker got a letter from a fan requesting a baseball card be signed. In the letter, the person told Baker that Greenberg had been released by the Royals and his baseball career was in jeopardy. Baker tracked down Greenberg and left him the voice mail that served as his motivation for a post-baseball life.

“It was so genuine and from the heart,” Greenberg said. “It put me in tears the first time, but it was the motivation and inspiration I needed to get up and keep going. And since then, he’s been somebody that’s been near and dear to me."

It's unfortunate Greenberg couldn’t experience a long big-league career, but Baker inspired him and helped him move forward post-baseball. According to McTaggart, Greenberg started a nutrition company and sold it 10 years later. He also ran for state senate in Connecticut in 2019 and is currently a baseball analyst for the ACC Network.

Greenberg’s career effectively ended moments after it began, but 2005 wasn’t the last time he stepped in a big-league batters’ box. In 2012, fans started an online petition to get him one last at-bat — and his career came full circle. The Marlins signed him to a one-day contract on Oct. 2, 2012, and he pinch-hit that same day against the Mets.

Greenberg struck out on three pitches, but Baker’s voicemail left a mark on his life. Seeing him enjoy success outside of baseball is as heartwarming as it gets.