Bears

Cubs-Sox bring back the drama

767070.png

Cubs-Sox bring back the drama

If you wondered whether the Cubs and White Sox still had any juice left, it didnt take long to get the answer.

There couldnt have been many bigger headlines than the new Mr. Cub walking away. The fans chanted Pauley, Pauley. There was a purpose pitch in retaliation and a manager unhinged.

Friday began with word spreading about Kerry Woods retirement, and ended with another farewell news conference in the Wrigley Field dungeoninterview room. In between, the White Sox won a wild game 3-2 in front of 34,937 fans that couldnt have left disappointed.

Paul Konerko staggered to his feet, but didnt want any help walking back to the dugout, a towel pressed against his face. This wasnt the time or the place to show weakness.

No one can question Konerkos toughness. The White Sox captain got up after Jeff Samardzijas 85 mph splitter smashed into his face, leaving a small laceration and swelling above his left eye.

It was a scary scene in the third inning. Konerko had opened the game with a two-run shot, the 404th home run of his career. Samardzija said there was no malicious intent.

There are lot of superstars in the league that put up big numbers, get paid a lot of money, Samardzija said. Pauleys one of those guys that does (it) the right way. Theres not too many of (them) out there. Hes not about show. Hes not about himself. Pauleys a great guy.

That ball got away. Unfortunately, it hit him up high. If I could take it back, I would.

Philip Humber responded by throwing a ball behind Bryan LaHairs back, and this was a game played with a real hard edge.

When David DeJesus tried to stretch a single into a double in the fifth inning, White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham took the throw and barreled over him.

Beckham, an All-State free safety and quarterback in high school back in Georgia, knocked DeJesus off the bag. The out call set off Cubs manager Dale Sveum, who seems to greet everything else by shrugging his shoulders or rolling his eyes.

As far as I know, you cant shove people off the base, Sveum said. Otherwise, everyone would be doing it all the time.

The fuse was lit and Sveum rushed out to argue and got ejected. In the run-up to Cubs-Sox, everyone wondered if it would be boring without Ozzie Guillen or Lou Piniella or Carlos Zambrano playing the instigator. Not so much.

There was Wood striking out Dayan Viciedo, the only batter he faced in the eighth inning, and leaving to a loud ovation.

It was a very special moment, Sveum said. I wish I could have been out there to be the one that took him out of the game and made that decision. I wish I would have thought about that before I got carried away.

Even Samardzija who says things like whatever, dude became a little emotional.

Samardzija gave up the go-ahead home run to Beckham in the eighth, but submitted another strong performance, giving up three runs in 7.1 innings and notching eight strikeouts, again showing he can be a frontline guy.

Samardzija watched both these teams while growing up in Indiana and wanted the spotlight. He has vivid memories of how dominating Wood could be.

I remember being a kid and my dad reading an article or something about Kerry Wood working out in the pool, Samardzija said. Thats why he threw 98 mph. And so my dad has me in the pool the next day kicking floaties around and stuff.

That was the dude you wanted to be. Thats how you wanted to throw. You wanted to throw hard. You wanted to throw a big curveball.

No, it wasnt a sellout. But, yes, the drama was definitely back in this crosstown rivalry. Even one of its villains had to give props to the modern-day Mr. Cub.

I love Kerry Wood, White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. He had a tremendous career. I wish he wouldnt have had the injuries he had, because he would have been one of the best ever. Classy guy (who) was good for the game.

He worked his tail off every day and wanted the ball in big situations. He had a great run and its sad to see the way it ended.

Its kind of poetic justice that he struck out the last guy he faces.

Puppy Pick 'Em Puppy Walter makes his Week 7 picks for Bears-Saints

Puppy Pick 'Em Puppy Walter makes his Week 7 picks for Bears-Saints

When the Bears announced their 2019 schedule, we decided to have some puppies reveal the opponents. Now, we have taken it a step further. We have a puppy that will make weekly picks for the Bears games.

It is Week 7!

Walter's choices in Week 7 are a chance to go to Mardi Gras or a celebration of St. Patrick's day in Chicago. Bears fans should be excited about his decision in Week 7... and now we're all looking forward to St. Patrick's Day again!

The 12-week old dachshund was hand-selected by the scouts at NBC Sports Chicago and hails from One Tail at a Time rescue. He came from a shelter in Alabama and was transported to Chicago.  At just 7 weeks old and without his mom, he beat a deadly virus and spent some time in the doggie ER, where he healed and became strong again. 

Now, Walter is ready to rumble between the well-manicured lines of Sweetness Field. He is NOW adoptable via onetail.org and has two adorable sisters named Martha and Millie, who are already adopted. 

Walter will pick the games throughout the NFL season, including the playoffs and we hope that his nose follows the scent to the Bears every week, all the way to that magical game in Miami in February. Narrated by Jason Benetti, play-by-play announcer for the White Sox.  

It is time for Puppy Pick ‘Em presented by Nissan.

To learn more: www.onetail.org

How will the Blackhawks utilize Kirby Dach?

kirby_dach_traverse_city.jpg
Detroit Red Wings

How will the Blackhawks utilize Kirby Dach?

The Blackhawks recalled No. 3 overall pick Kirby Dach from his AHL conditioning stint on Friday night after he appeared in three games with the Rockford IceHogs. He missed the first week of training camp with a concussion and the organization wanted him to get a taste of the pro action and back up to speed after not playing in any preseason games, either.

"I enjoyed the experience there," Dach said. "I had a lot of fun. Got to see a couple buddies. It was good for me to get down there and get some pro games under my belt and just feel what the pace is going to be like. It'll be another step up here, but I feel good and I feel like I'm ready to go."

Whether Dach makes his NHL debut on Sunday against the Washington Capitals won't be revealed by head coach Jeremy Colliton until after morning skate on Sunday. But where does he fit into the lineup going forward?

The Blackhawks are 2-0-1 in their past three games and aren't necessarily looking to shake up their rotation, even though they're still searching for consistency on all four lines.

The easy answer is for Dach to slide into a third-line center role behind Jonathan Toews and Dylan Strome, but the trio of David Kampf, Dominik Kubalik and Brandon Saad has undoubtedly been the most consistent for the Blackhawks this season. And we saw in the home opener what happened when they were separated. 

The Blackhawks held an optional practice on Saturday morning and didn't run through line rushes, but before Dach was assigned to Rockford, he took several spins on the first line with Toews and alternated with Drake Caggiula and Alex DeBrincat. It's possible Dach starts on the wing, where he can play top-six minutes and not have as much responsibility as a center would.

"I've played wing in previous years, so it's not something that's new to me," Dach said. "At the same time I'm open-minded to just getting into the lineup and helping the team win."

The Blackhawks can give Dach up to nine NHL games before deciding whether they want to burn the first year of his entry-level contract or send him back to the Saskatoon Blades of the WHL.

"As a kid you always grow up dreaming of playing in the NHL, so there'll be nerves," Dach said. "But there will also be a lot of excitement. I've just got to do my best to focus on my game and be ready to play whenever my name's called upon by the coaching staff."

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.