Cubs

What Chicago sports fans should be thankful for

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USA TODAY

What Chicago sports fans should be thankful for

Families gather and people talk about things they are thankful for on Thanksgiving, but what are Chicago sports fans happy for now?

Raised expectations on the North Side

Got to be thankful that a “disappointing” season is winning the division and losing in the NLCS. The expectations have skyrocketed, and that’s thanks to a ridiculous nucleus of bats and a steady front office. Not many clubs can say that. Also, though, it’s important to be appreciative of the Wrigley bar stretch. They may charge $8 for a Miller Lite, but it’s always a damn good party.

Javy tags, too. Don't forget Javy tags.

Rebuild sparking hope in White Sox fans

Where to begin? Obviously, be thankful for the plethora of young talent that will soon take over the South Side. Be thankful for Avi Time (while you still can). Be thankful that taking your friends or family to a game won’t cause you to take out a second mortgage. Be thankful for the 2020 World Series and, of course, 2020 MVP Eloy Jimenez. But most importantly, be thankful that Rick Hahn’s phone stays buzzing.

Eddie O back in the booth for the Blackhawks

The Blackhawks are having a rough start to the season, but at least Eddie Olczyk is back in the booth. The longtime Blackhawks broadcaster returned to the booth on Oct. 18 after missing time while undergoing chemotherapy treatments for colon cancer.

With some of the key names from the Blackhawks’ title runs either leaving or being unable to play this season (in the case of Marian Hossa), Blackhawks fans are probably thankful to see a familiar face and hear a familiar voice during games.

Lauri Markkanen leading the Bulls rebuild

OK, there’s not much to be thankful for about the current Bulls team. At 3-13, the Bulls are tied for the fewest wins in the NBA (maybe in the long-term that’s something to be thankful for as well). However, Zach LaVine’s pending debut after his eventual return from injury should help create some excitement.

The thing Bulls fans really should be thankful for this year is the play of rookie Lauri Markkanen. The 20-year-old leads the team in scoring (14.6 points per game) and rebounds (8.3 per game) while shooting at a high percentage (34.2 percent on threes and 50.6 percent on twos). It’s only the beginning of the Bulls’ rebuild, but Markkanen is a good start.

Mitchapalooza

If a few things broke the Bears’ way, Chicagoans could have been grateful that the team was finally out of the cellar. Instead, we’ll settle for the fact that there seems to be some building blocks already in place. Mitchell Trubisky, Tarik Cohen, Leonard Floyd and Akiem Hicks seem to fit that category. Also, some may be thankful that this is likely John Fox’s last season at the helm.

Fire ending a playoff drought

After finishing dead last in MLS in 2015 and 2016, the Fire were one of the most improved teams in the league in 2017. After posting the third best record in the league, the Fire made a first playoff appearance since 2012.

The playoff run didn’t last long with the Fire losing a play-in game at home, but the arrival of Bastian Schweinsteiger and the league’s leading goal-scorer, Nemanja Nikolic, helped fill the stadium with six sellouts and gave Fire fans something to cheer for.

Sports Talk Live Podcast: STL is live from Glendale to wrap up Spring Training

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USA TODAY

Sports Talk Live Podcast: STL is live from Glendale to wrap up Spring Training

SportsTalk Live wraps up its week at Spring Training. Kelly Crull, Tony Andracki and Vinnie Duber join Chuck Garfien from Glendale, AZ.

0:00- Kelly and Tony provide the latest news from Cubs camp in Mesa and they discuss Brad Brach's comments about this year's slow free agency.

3:00- Addison Russell speaks for the first time since his suspension for violation of MLB's domestic violence policy. The panel discusses his comments and whether or not he seemed sincere.

15:00- Joe Maddon says he wants to be more hands on. Tony talks about how Maddon was coaching up his coaches.

16:00- Daryl van Schouwen joins the panel to talk about Sox camp. They discuss what Eloy Jimenez needs to work on before he gets called up. And of course, they discuss the latest on Manny.

30:00- Chuck catches up with Yolmer Sanchez to discuss his boombox and his romantic Valentine's Day with Adam Engel.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

Cubs Talk Podcast: Addison Russell speaks

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Addison Russell speaks

For the first time since being suspended 40 games in September for violating MLB's domestic violence policy, Addison Russell met the media in Arizona. We bring you his entire press conference (1:00), as well as comments from Joe Maddon and Theo Epstein about Russell's situation and how it has changed the entire organization (20:00).

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below: