Bulls

Fantasy, Favre, F-bombs and the first day of school

Fantasy, Favre, F-bombs and the first day of school

Friday, Aug. 19, 2010
2:35 AM

By Frankie O
CSNChicago.com

Thats a pretty incongruous grouping in the title, but in the life of a bartender, I could be talking about those four subjects, in a matter of minutes, at any time during my night. Im nothing if not versatile! Who would have guessed that the dog days of summer would provide so many interesting topics to discuss? For the guy-in-a-red-bow-tie it all starts with my rotisserie baseball team. Its the blessing and curse of being in the mix. This is week 20 of the 26 week everyday grind that is fantasy baseball. It does not leave your brain. EVERYDAY! So, unlike the also-rans in the league, I cant take any time off to focus on fantasy football stats in preparation of my upcoming football, draft. Well, not a lot of time anyway. I have a fever, and the cure is more fantasy stats. (Or is that cow bell?)

Its at a time like this that separates a winning season from merely cashing. And thats the point. Since the reason for fantasy sports is to win a title in a make believe numerical sporting contest to prove your mental prowess and all-around manliness! Not winning is for losers! But unlike fantasy football, which is almost all luck for someone who remotely knows football, in baseball the luck is still involved, but with due diligence, you can make up for some misfortune. The problem is which move is the one you should make? Its in this way I share something in common with Brett Favre. No, not the diva part, although, since I won my fantasy football league last year and have turned my participation in my work leagues in to my own personal ATM machine(I love saying that!), Im partially entitled. Its the fact that I wrap myself into a pretzel before I can make a decision. Back and forth, back and forth, will I, or wont i? Its mental torture! Poor Brett, his constant indecision(S!) must be wearing him out. NOT! Im just kidding. I dont think Favre and I are alike at all. I think Favre takes his time in waffling on decisions because he likes the attention and is a drama queen. While I on the other hand feel that any decision I make will meet with impending doom and regulate me to also-ran status. Can you feel my pain? My psychosis?

Something besides fantasy drafts that all NFL fans look forward to as a sign that the season is here, is the show Hard Knocks on HBO. (Could you imagine, in this day and age, anyone who doesnt get HBO? Honestly! ) Ive watched them all, and besides mostly wanting to vomit during the one featuring the Cowboys ,Eagles fan and all, I have enjoyed them thoroughly. Who could forget during the Chiefs edition, Brodie Croyles wifes declaration, in her Alabama twang, that this will be Brodies year! Or last year, featuring the Bengals, the organizational angst over the hold-out of 1st round pick Andre Smith? Included in this was the viewing of his work-out video that was, unfortunately, for all of us watching, released for public consumption. Lets just say it wasnt the best marketing tool an agent has ever used to make his client more enticing.

The re-enactment of that work-out clip during the rookie talent show was absolutely hilarious. Then, this year, there is Rex Ryan. I dont know about you, but I found him to be a f-ing scene stealer and f-ing larger than life. Its his use of a certain four letter word, and its derivatives, that has made him the object of national attention. Its gained that attention largely to the negative reaction of his mother, which most found humorous and sweet, and the negative reaction of Tony Dungy, which was not. Swearing and bad language unfortunately, are a fact of life. Obviously, there is a time and place, but its something adults do. In fact, while watching a Cubs game at a certain un-named bar, you hear it a lot! (One of the reasons, besides Illinois law, that the youngsters should be kept away from the bar proper.) While I have a ton of respect for Tony Dungy as a person and a coach, I think its time to lighten up Francis! Coaches curse. Bosses curse. Its an attention getter. As long as its not part of a personal verbal assault, I dont see the harm in it in a locker room or professional playing field, where non-participants are not permitted. Again, this is a behind-the-scenes glimpse. For me personally, because I have young children and a live microphone in front of me each Friday and maybe have gotten a little older, I try to use profanity as little as possible, but sometimes, with the guys, might let it fly. Boys will be boys. Working at a bar, I understand it will happen and I cant fight every battle to stop it. But there are times when I need to step in to stop it for the sake of everyone else in the restaurant, when it is loud and belligerent, like I said, time and a place.

But by making this public stand, Im trying to figure out, what does Dungy have to gain, and what is he trying to prove? The public olive branch to Mike Vick I understand. But this? It reminds me of the Eddie Murphy routine where he talks about Bill Cosbys disdain of the use of foul language in his and Richard Pryors comedy acts. That objection didnt make an f-ing difference then, and from our knowledge of the Ryan family, this probably wont make an f-ing difference now. Like everyone else I talk to at the bar, I cant wait to watch the rest of the series. And finally, no possible segue here, so Ill jump right in, its here, a day that has become a parents holiday in my house, my kids are back in school! Its time to get my life back, or at least some of it. Entertaining the kids all summer, while being something I live for and revel in, can wear an old man out. (Not that its just me, the Boss helps out once in a while!) Luckily, theyre all at an age where they still love to go to school, so I dont feel entirely guilty in my glee. Well still have plenty of time together.

Its called me, doing, I mean, helping them with their homework every night! But because they get up so early and home from school late, two things happen: Theres less time for them to nuke the house, which means less clean-up time. And, for a late to bed, late to rise bartender, there is a little extra free time after lights out for the kids during his evenings off. What to do with that time? Did I mention that my fantasy football draft is in two weeks? Its time to study. Im going to own that f-ing league, again!!

Wendell Carter Jr., NBA Cares host court restoration event that honors slain teenager Darius Brown

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USA TODAY

Wendell Carter Jr., NBA Cares host court restoration event that honors slain teenager Darius Brown

On Saturday NBA Cares, jr. NBA, EA Sports, Wendell Carter Jr., Complex and artist Hebru Brantley teamed up to renovate the  MetCalfePark basketball court in honor of slain teenager Darius Brown, who was fatally shot and killed on August 3, 2011. 

The court was re-designed with Brantley's FlyBoy character as the centerpiece.

The FlyBoy character represents “hope and optimism that makes people believe that no matter where they are from, no matter what their circumstances, anything is possible."

The event hosted by NBA Cares—and also a part of Complex Community Week—featured Wendell Carter Jr. conversing with the kids and helping "Slam Dunking Science Teacher "Jonathan Clark with an awesome dunking display for the kids. 

Metcalfe Park's (43rd State) new look is amazing and the FlyBoy image serves as the perfect image for the court.

As Hebru Brantley states, "FlyBoy is about taking flight and believing in yourself enough to reach your true potential."

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

On a mistake-filled afternoon, Javier Baez does what he does best and saves the Cubs

On a mistake-filled afternoon, Javier Baez does what he does best and saves the Cubs

Consider the Cubs’ starting middle infield in Saturday’s 6-5 win over the San Diego Padres to be comprised of two extremes. 

On one end of the spectrum was Addison Russell, who started at second base. Russell was doubled off second base on an Albert Almora line drive in the second inning — a ball hit hard enough where, had it fell in for a hit, he wouldn’t have scored. There was no spinning Russell drifting far enough off second base to be doubled up; it was simply bad baserunning. 

Russell, too, was thrown out at home on an Almora ground ball in the fourth inning. He appeared to lose a pop fly in the sun, too, which fell in for a double in the third inning. 

Manager Joe Maddon was willing to excuse the pop-up double — “The sun ball, there’s nothing you could do about that,” he said — but sounded frustrated with Russell’s far-too-frequent baserunning gaffes. 

“He’s gotta straighten some things out,” Maddon said. “He has to. There’s no question. I’m not going to stand here — he’s got to, we’ve talked about his baserunning in the past. 

“… The baserunning, there’s some things there — we’re making too many outs on the bases and we’re missing things on the bases that we can’t to be an elite team.”

Russell’s mistakes were part of a larger sloppy showing by both teams. As Cubs reliever Brandon Kintzler put it: “No lead was safe. It was really just who was going to survive and not make so many mistakes.”

Javier Baez ensured the Cubs would survive by not merely avoiding mistakes, but by coming up with two massive plays. 

Baez’s three-run home run in the fourth inning gave the Cubs’ the lead for good, and he fell a triple short of the cycle. He’s homered in consecutive games, and Maddon senses the 26-year-old is emerging from a slump that dropped his OPS to .853 after Wednesday’s game, his lowest mark since the small-sample-size landscape of mid-April. 

But it was Baez’s masterful tag in the bottom of the ninth inning that captured most of the attention around Wrigley Field, reminding everyone in the dugouts and stands just how incredible “El Mago” can be. 

Craig Kimbrel walked Wil Myers to lead off the bottom of the ninth inning, and after budding superstar Fernando Tatis Jr. inexplicably bunted (he popped out), Myers took off to steal second base. Kimbrel sailed a fastball high and inside, and Victor Caratini’s throw was well to the left of second base. Myers appeared to have the base stolen until Baez gloved the ball and rapidly snapped a tag onto Myers’ left leg:

”We needed a play made, and he made it,” first baseman Anthony Rizzo said. “It’s what he does.”

Baez’s home run increased the Cubs’ win expectancy by 35.7 percent; his tag on Myers upped it that mark from 83.3 percent to 96.5 percent. This is why the Cubs’ mantra, even when Baez is in a lull, is to let Javy be Javy. 

One player can’t carry a team forever — Baez had his best season as a pro in 2018, only to see the Cubs crash out of the Wild Card game, of course. But it’s hard to not think about the kind of plays Baez can conjure up when the Cubs need them the most in 2019’s playoff race. 

After all, stuff like that tag on Myers — the Cubs have come to expect that from Baez. 

“You saw a lot of plays today, they weren’t baseball plays,” Maddon said. “The game is clamoring for baseball players who know how to play this game, and he’s one. He is one. He’s got the biggest hard drive, the most RAM, he’s got everything going on every day. 

“He sees things, he’s got great vision. Technically, he’s a tremendous baseball player. He’s going to make some mistakes, like everyone else does, but what he sees and sees in advance — it’s like the best running back, it’s the best point guard you’ve ever seen. It’s all of that. As a shortstop, that’s what he is.

“… We needed him to be that guy today and he was. And again, it’s not overtly surprising.”