Fire hire Posada as new president

Fire hire Posada as new president

Friday, Sept. 17, 2010
11:42 AM

By Justin O'Neil

The Chicago Fire have had an up and down season on the field during what can be described as a transition year, and that movement forward continues off the pitch with the hiring of new President Julian Posada.

Posada has a background in media, most recently serving as founder and president of Caf Media. Previously he served as general manager of Hoy, the Tribunes Spanish language Chicago newspaper. The new president does not have a background in sports operations, but the Fire are hoping that Posada will help them continue to reach out to Chicagos sizable Hispanic community.

The Fire filled the presidents position after Dave Greeley, who has been president for the past two seasons, resigned on August 4. The presidents position is one of many to have changed for the Fire this season. Head coach Carlos de los Cobos been unable to find the right formula on the field in his first year, and it looks like the team will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2004. The team also exited from the Superliga in the group stage and lost to third division side Charleston Battery at Toyota Park in the U.S. Open Cup.

The Fire started slow in league play this season before having a nice patch upon the arrival of designated players Nery Castillo and Freddie Ljungberg, but have dipped in the table again. With captain Brian McBride retiring as of the end of the season, the future of the Fire is up in the air.

The team has several good young attacking players to build around in Marco Pappa, Patrick Nyarko, and Collins John. Despite the young attacking talent and the addition of Castillo and Ljungberg, the Fire have struggled to score goals this season, notching just 28 goals in 22 games. Technical director Frank Klopas and general manager Peter Wilt will need to see if the teams attack will need a further makeover in the offseason.

One of the bright spots this season has been rookie goalkeeper Sean Johnson, who has earned several save of the week nominations after taking the starting role from Andrew Dykstra.

The Fire need to make up nine points on the Seattle Sounders in order to qualify for the playoffs, although they have two games in hand. The team has not won since August 18, scoring just two goals in two draws and two losses. Virtually every game is a must-win for the club, and they will be on the road against Real Salt Lake on Saturday.

Kris Bryant's injury looms large as Cubs finish home stand in underwhelming fashion

Kris Bryant's injury looms large as Cubs finish home stand in underwhelming fashion

There are 162 baseball games in a season and some days, you’re just not going to have it. On Sunday afternoon, in a 10-2 loss to the Reds, the Cubs just didn’t have it. 

“It’s already in the trash can...” Maddon said. “... so let’s flush it out and move on.” 

Things were bleak from the very first at-bat of the game, when Kyle Schwarber took a 3-2 fastball looking for one of his three strikeouts on the day. Anthony Rizzo was the only starter not to strike out at least once, as the Cubs’ finished with 11. Reds starter Tanner Roark was responsible for 9 of them, his season-high. 

Things weren’t much better on the basepaths or in the field. Besides making two errors, Anthony Rizzo was thrown out at the plate in the 2nd inning and David Bote got doubled-up at first after drawing a walk in the 6th. The Cubs were playing playing their 13th game in 13 days, and it showed.

“I feel really good about how we’ve been playing until today,” Maddon said. “This whole month we’ve been in almost every game except for this one, and maybe the [7-0 loss on May 10th] against Milwaukee. There’s not a whole lot to be upset about, and I’m not. I just want to make sure everyone’s well moving forward.” 

There was a scary moment in the 6th inning, as Kris Bryant and Jason Heyward collided in the right field gap while trying to make a play on a fly ball from Eugenio Suarez. Bryant was slow to get up and eventually had to leave the game. He’s still being evaluated for a head/neck injury, and the Cubs don’t yet know if he’ll go into concussion protocol. For what it's worth, Bryant was cleared to fly with the team. 

“He’s doing okay,” he said. “He’s still under evaluation. We don’t know exactly what we’re doing with this whole thing yet, but we’re trying to talk with the doctors and find out exactly where we’re at.”

“We collided, and I called for the ball,” Heyward added. “We were both going hard to make a play and ran into each other.”

The loss dropped starter Jose Quintana to 4-4 on the season. Quintana went 5.1 innings while allowing six runs on 12 hits with one walk and two strikeouts. Despite relatively weak contact, the Reds hit well all weekend. Their 42 hits over three games was the most for them in a three-game series at Wrigley since 1976, and they finished the weekend with a .404 BABIP. 

“Yeah, I just had to keep pitching, you know?” Quintana said. “Keeping my focus. It was really tough - too many base hits. In some contests that happens. I just try to stay close in the game.” 

The Cubs finished their 7-game homestand at 3-4, and now hit the road for a two-city trip. Up first comes the 35-19 Astros, who are 20-7 at home. This season Houston ranks first in on-base percentage, second in slugging percentage, and third in home runs. Their closer, Ryan Pressley, has the lowest ERA of all qualified relievers and is fresh off a streak of 40 straight scoreless appearances.

“I’m excited,” Joe Maddon said before Sunday’s game. “Let’s get by today, but I’m excited for the whole week. Look at our schedule - it’s been pretty firm, and it continues to be pretty firm. And that’s the way it should be. I’m looking forward to it.” 

Kris Bryant leaves Sunday's game after outfield collision with Jason Heyward

Scott Chagnon/NBC Sports Chicago

Kris Bryant leaves Sunday's game after outfield collision with Jason Heyward

Add injury to insult for the Cubs. 

In the top of the 6th inning, with the Cubs already down 6 runs, right fielder Kris Bryant left the game after colliding with Jason Heyward in the outfield.

You can check out the video right here. 

It's possible that the move was simply precautionary. The Cubs are on their 13th game in 13 days, and being down six runs in the latter half of a getaway game isn't the time to roll the dice. That said, Bryant missing time would be a significant blow, as the Cubs' star is in the midst of a stellar season. Through 49 games, Bryant's slashing .288/.411/.576 with a .987 and a 160 wRC+. As of Sunday afternoon, only Javy Baez has a higher WAR (2.5) than Bryant (2.4). 

There's been no further announcement on the extent of Bryant's injury.