Bulls

Do Cubs fans have the patience to see this through?

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Do Cubs fans have the patience to see this through?

The Cubs are off to a 6-13 start and rank near the bottom of the MLB in most of the important categories, including ERA, runs scored and errors.

Dale Sveum has this team playing hard and fighting each day, but those are the simple facts. Right now, this is not a championship-caliber team.

That's not to say they won't be next year or in 2014 or even at the end of this season. Nineteen games is hardly a large sample size.

Given the slow start and the 71-91 finish in 2011, some fans are already growing restless, however.

When Theo Epstein was hired, he made it clear from Day 1 that there would be no quick fixes. Everybody was on board right away, but this isn't the way some people pictured it. Some fans certainly wanted a quick fix, and it's hard to blame them after more than a century without a World Series title.

Everybody wondered how long Theo's honeymoon phase would last with the fans. Would the Wrigley Faithful be patient with their rock star executive?

I posed this question to CSN analyst and 12-year MLB veteran Todd Hollandsworth earlier this season.

"I don't expect them to be patient," Hollandsworth said. "When you're with your brothers and sisters that attend games, you might get a little mad at them for not sticking it out through the growing process.

"But I absolutely believe we will see that when they turn this around and the Cubs become the organization they have hopes of becoming, the fans will all come out in full force. The place will be packed each and every day and each and every night. That's just how it's going to be. But right now, you're going to lose some attendance based on the performance."

Many in the past have tried the quick fix to turn things around, throwing money at free agents like Alfonso Soriano. But that course of action didn't bring about a championship.

"They've tried to piece this thing together forever and it has not worked," Hollandsworth said. "It's been band-aid solutions. And the band-aids have been ripped off and the wound gets bigger. This is something that has needed to go all the way back to the depths of the minor-league system and be rebuilt, turned over, reinvested."

One of the things Theo has tried to do to help is establish "The Cubs Way" from the lowest of minor league levels right up to the majors. Hollandsworth went through a similar tactic with the Dodgers, the organization that made him a third-round pick in the 1991 draft.

"I grew up in a farm system with a culture and ideas that were just sound all the way from short-season A-ball all the way to the major-league club," he said. "Tommy Lasorda was running that camp. That's who we were. 'Bleeding Dodger Blue' was the saying.

"The Cubs aren't looking to 'Bleed Cubbie Blue' but I will say this -- when they players know it, they players want to see each other succeed. They feel the desire to support and pull for each other. And then you build a core team from within. You have guys that lean on each other like brothers.

"It will take some time. There will always be the small victoriees. That's what I continue to challenge fans -- to see the small victories in each game."

After another ugly loss, the Bulls are now the subject of a timely joke from an opposing player

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USA TODAY

After another ugly loss, the Bulls are now the subject of a timely joke from an opposing player

The Bulls had a drama-filled Sunday and apparently other players around the league have heard.

After the Bulls' starters got yanked twice in the worst loss in franchise history on Saturday, the team had a long practice on Sunday after playing on back-to-back nights. That didn't sit well with some of the players on the team.

On Monday night, the Bulls came out fast with an 11-point halftime lead against the Kings. The second half, however, was ugly. The Bulls lost 108-89, getting outscored 63-33 in the second half.

The ugly finish led to a comment overheard in the hallways of the United Center after the game. It is a bit of salt in the wound for Bulls fans.

Too soon.

So the Bulls have had two ugly losses in a row, just went through some uneasy tension between their new coach and players and now are the butt of a joke from an opposing player. Ouch.

 

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White Sox promoting Omar Vizquel to manager of Double-A affiliate

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MILB

White Sox promoting Omar Vizquel to manager of Double-A affiliate

LAS VEGAS — Omar Vizquel’s first year as manager of the Class A Winston-Salem Dash was such a success he is receiving a promotion inside the White Sox organization.

NBC Sports Chicago has learned that Vizquel will manage the Double-A Birmingham Barons in 2019.

In 2018, his first season as a manager at any level, Vizquel was named the Carolina League’s manager of the year after leading the Dash to a first-half title and an 84-54 record.

Vizquel, 51, oversaw the development of many of the White Sox top prospects last season, including Dylan Cease, Luis Robert, Blake Rutherford, Micker Adolfo, Luis Gonzalez, Gavin Sheets and Nick Madrigal. Many if not all of those players have either already made it to Birmingham or will likely find their way there next season, and Vizquel will be there to lead them once again.

Having a manager who played winning baseball at the major league level and can share that experience with the White Sox farmhands is a huge bonus for the rebuild. Vizquel made the postseason six times with the Cleveland Indians, reaching the World Series in 1995 and 1997.

And thanks to his leadership, he helped create a winning culture with the Dash.

“It didn’t matter that it was the minor leagues. That team was something else,” White Sox pitching prospect Zach Thompson said on a recent edition of the White Sox Talk Podcast. “I think that team is a sign of what we’re doing with the White Sox organization. I think it’s a sign of what’s to come for us. That team clicked. Everyone was best friends. We all got along.”

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