Bears

Cubs challenge Starlin Castro to be a leader

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Cubs challenge Starlin Castro to be a leader

MILWAUKEE Everyone understood that Year 3 would be a revealing look into the type of player Starlin Castro could ultimately become.

Last year Castro thought those billboards opposite Derek Jeter were cool, and his Why not? attitude leads him to believe he could be a Cal Ripken Jr.-type, a franchise player who spends his entire career in one place.

A Cubs official once mentioned Edgar Renteria as a reference point. Ex-manager Mike Quade may have singled out Castro too often, but the tough love worked well for Miguel Tejada back when they were together in Double-A ball.

Castro is immensely talented, and still only 22 years old, but the mental lapses make you wonder sometimes.

Its my fault, Castro said. I know that I have to concentrate. (Its) a new day, (so) dont think about yesterday and dont let that bad kind of thing happen again.

Manager Dale Sveum had a talk with Castro on Tuesday, some 24 hours after the young shortstop forgot how many outs there were and kept jogging off the field, not throwing to first base on a potential double-play ball.

Sveum seemed to reach a breaking point after Mondays 3-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants, threatening to sit Castro and challenging him to get his head in the game.

Sveum watched Castro (3-for-5) respond with a good all-around game in a 10-0 win over the Milwaukee Brewers.

Youre not going to bench a guy for something like that, Sveum said. Youre going to bench guys for not playing hard or not preparing and things like that. Thats just one of those unfortunate things that happen and you try to eliminate (them).

Hes had a few incidents, obviously, but people forget that hes come a long way defensively. He hasnt made a fielding error in maybe six weeks now, so were forgetting about the big picture that the guys still hitting .300.

Beyond wins and losses, Sveums coaching staff figures to be judged on how young players like Castro develop.

For the most part, Sveum likes the way Castro has gone about his business, studying video and spray charts and buying into the defensive shifts and positioning. The manager appeared to be backing away from his last straw comments.

Im not reneging on what I said, Sveum said. He knows that its the last straw, meaning a number of things, not just something like a brain fart on the field. Its the whole package of doing everything you can to make yourself and the people around you better.

Alfonso Soriano essentially delivered the same message to Castro.

You take the talent that hes got, he (can be overconfident), Soriano said. You forget the part of the game thats most important mental. Hes got his ability physically, but sometimes mentally he doesnt even think about it, because he knows hes got big talent.

You can make an error throwing, drop the ball, but mentally its not acceptable. Maybe once, its acceptable, because we are human, but not a couple times.

You shouldnt underestimate the mental toughness it took to leave the Dominican Republic and get to the majors in less than 1,000 minor-league at-bats.

Castro also showed drive in learning how to speak English and becoming comfortable communicating with the media and people around the organization. Hes expected to take charge now.

All the great shortstops of all-time were always commanding the field defensively, Sveum said. Thats what goes with that position. You have to be the leader and understand that youre the one who makes everybody around you better, whether its your throws (or) the double plays (or) making sure somebodys in the right spot.

As Theo Epsteins front office ramps up the rebuilding project, how Castro responds the next four months will be telling.

Its his job to take control of the situation, Sveum said. Its that time where you got to step up and start making people better around you.

Bears Season in Review: Adam Shaheen

Bears Season in Review: Adam Shaheen

The Chicago Bears 2019 season was a lesson in disappointment in almost every way possible, from the quarterback to the offensive line and even the vaunted pass rush. But no position underwhelmed more than tight end, and Adam Shaheen was a big reason why.

The former second-round pick of the 2017 NFL draft failed to make any impact whatsoever. And that's not hyperbole. He appeared in just eight games, registering nine catches for 74 yards and zero touchdowns. Believe it or not, his stat line was an improvement over 2018 when he had just five catches for 48 yards in six games.

Shaheen's career narrative has been defined by injury, and it continued last season. He was placed on injured reserve in late-November with an apparent foot injury, marking the second-straight season that his year came to an early end.

It's been a remarkably disappointing career for Shaheen so far, who was viewed as a Rob Gronkowski-lite coming out of Ashland University. His jump from the small-school ranks to the NFL was expected to include a steep learning curve, but after three forgettable seasons, it's safe to say Shaheen's failed in almost every way possible.

The Bears are expected to bring Shaheen back for 2020 and he'll likely be in a training-camp battle for a roster spot. Chicago is going to add more talent to the position via either free agency or the NFL Draft and it wouldn't be a surprise if Shaheen begins the offseason schedule last on the depth chart.

It's been an unfortunate outcome for a draft pick that seemed so promising in 2017. Instead of growing into a fixture in the Bears' lineup, Shaheen will be left to fight for his NFL future this summer.

Dwyane Wade posts emotional video reacting to Kobe Bryant's death

Dwyane Wade posts emotional video reacting to Kobe Bryant's death

Former Bull and Chicagoland native Dwyane Wade posted an emotional video Sunday reacting to the death of Kobe Bryant.

"I came in the league and I chased him," Wade said. "That's who I chased. I wanted to be respected by him, and once I reached that level, I knew I did something.

"Kobe, thank you, man. Thank you for all the memories — we've got a lot of good ones. These tears that we cry, we're going to miss you. And it's not leaving today, a week from now, a month from now, a year from now. We'll forever, forever miss you, man.

"You're a legend, you're an icon, you're a father, you're a husband, you're a son, you're a brother, you're a friend. Thank you for being my friend. I love you, brother."

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