Cubs

Brooks earns respect, capture City Title

391555.jpg

Brooks earns respect, capture City Title

Friday, Feb. 18, 2011
10:20 p.m.

By Michael O'Brien
YourSeason.com

On the back of Brooks' warm-up shirts is the phrase "Respect is taken."

The Eagles took their respect over the past three weeks, knocking off North Lawndale, Bogan, Farragut and Curie on the way to the Public League championship game. Then Friday at Chicago State Brooks put the finishing touches on the magical run, beating Young 67-54 in the title.

The senior backcourt led the way for Brooks. George Marshall scored 23 and dished out four assists. Mike Powell scored 15 and grabbed five rebounds.

Marshall, Powell and big-men twins Keith Gray (seven points, nine rebounds) and Kevin Gray (five points) are four-year starters for the Eagles. Chris Head coached Brooks for the past three years. Bobby Locke left Evanston in August to take the Brooks job.

"They were a very tight team when I took over," Locke said. "I didn't yell at them for the first month of practice."

Brooks (22-3) jumped out to a 14-7 lead. Young closed to within one point on a Sam Thompson dunk to open the third quarter, but the Eagles responded with a 15-3 run. The Dolphins never threatened again.

"We started out with a lot of momentum and got that lead," Brooks senior Xavier Wells said. "After that we knew we just had to keep it up."

Wells hit two three-pointers to start the fourth quarter and finished with 13 points.

"George, coach and I sat down at the beginning of the season and had a meeting to make sure we were all on the same page," Powell said. "It's great to play with George. We're double trouble."

Thompson led Young (17-10) with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Kwai Pearson scored 14 points and Derrick Randolph added 12. The Dolphins seemed out of sync from the opening tip, never able to capture the magic they played with in their upset of top-ranked Simeon in the semifinals on Wednesday.

Young beat Bogan 46-44 to win the sophomore title. Freshman Paul White led the Dolphins (31-2) with 15 points and eight rebounds. Sophomore Keith Langston added nine points and five rebounds. Sophomore Juwan Henry led Bogan (30-1) with 14 points.

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

kris_bryant.jpg
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.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Chicago Cubs easily on your device.

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

adamgreenberg.jpg
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.