Cubs

(Frankie) O-Bombs!

(Frankie) O-Bombs!

Wednesday, September 30th

At the bar, when somebody orders an O-Bomb, I add Red Bull with Bacardi O, chill it and serve it as a shot. Here, when you add a highly caffeinated beverage (those who know me know EXACTLY what it is!) to a sleep deprived bartender and put him in front of a computer keyboard, you get: Frankie O-Bombs! (Also served as a shot!)

BEARS FEVER!!!

As if there was a doubt, we are once again reminded that this is a Bears town. The bar is alive with talk of the Da Bears and what the future holds for this team. I say, hold on and enjoy the ride. This team has already shown that it has more heart than its immediate predecessor. Any discussions that Ive had about the Bears in leading up to this season, had to be started with how AWFUL they were to end last year. So far, this team has shown resiliency, and heart, to come back from 4th quarter deficits to take the lead in all 3 games. If not for the blown coverage in the closing moments of the opener, this team would be 3-0. Very exciting! This team needed to get off to a good start to have any shot. They need to pummel Detroit back to their senses, rest up during the bye, then get ready to run the gauntlet. All of a sudden, the gimmes against San Fran and Cincy look a lot tougher. This leaves only the Browns and the Lions in the season finale as easy wins. The other 10 are going to define these Bears. A split would mean 10-6. Wait! Now Im getting ahead of myself. I think Ill just enjoy the mauling of the Lions and say that this team is better than I anticipated and leave it at that. Two things: Whatever theyre doing to get opposing kickers to miss makeable kicks: Keep it up! And, something has to be done to figure out the running game, which averaging under 3 yards a carry = not going to get it done.
SPEAKING OF FEVER

What was up with the neon green uniforms for Seattle? Does too much caffeine not let you see your team unless they wear reflector gear? Was it 60s Acid Flashback Day at Quest Field? Is there an unexpected opening in the Seahawks' marketing department?

THIS SEASON IS OVAH! YESSSSS!!

I dont know about you, but the Chicago portion of the MLB season cant end soon enough. Ive often said that Id rather have my team not make the playoffs, than to have to endure a postseason loss. I think Ive changed my mind. Last year ended much too abruptly on both sides of town, but the thing was, you had the feeling that both could do much better, and do it as soon as this year. The unhappy ending was just a speed bump on the way to ultimate victory. So much for that. Im not getting the vibe at the bar that fans feel very optimistic towards next year either. This has really been a bummer of a season in a town that knows those types of summers all too well. Both sides of town are going to have a lot of offseason work to do to re-energize the faithful.

BE LIKE MIKE?

Going out with a blaze of glory? It was more like a blaze of shrapnel! Who didnt get hit? We all know that MJ believes in tough love, but this was ridiculous. Ive gotten a ton of comments about his speech and Im still waiting for the first favorable one. Of course, the comments were mostly from out-of-towners, who, unlike Chicagoans, didnt realize how the Greatest Basketball Player Ever was wired. Those of us here knew that Jordan never took kindly to, or FORGOT, a slight. I tried to defend him with the he was always driven by inner demons defense, but to no avail. I think Mr. Teflon has taken a huge PR hit. Doesnt change what he did on the court, and thats what people will remember. In fact, in this 24 hour news-cycle memory society we live in, Im sure most have forgotten it already. Except that is, for the people whom the speech meant the most: The people who KNOW him. Then again, it probably wasnt a surprise for them. Still its a far cry from all of the reaction that I got in the bar after Ryne Sandbergs HOF speech. His speech uplifted everyone, not just one person.
STILL DONT GET IT

The good thing for golf: Even on a football Sunday, with the Bears playing at the same time, we had several TVs tuned into the golf tournament. (Which is more than I can say for the Cubs and Sox combined, they both achieved NASCAR status!) The bad thing: No Drama! Theres no fun when Tiger just has to stay close. Nor is there additional pressure on Mickleson (always when the fun starts!) when he knows that Tiger is content to lay back and collect the REALLY big check. If golf truly wants to get noticed (Where was the story in your Monday paper?) they need to listen to Frankie O and give the money to the WINNER of the FINAL tournament! And, again, they need to put the 10 Mill-dough beside the 18th green, where everyone can see it! You want attention? Ill get you attention!

NITTANY LYIN

Although I put my time in at Penn State, (see where higher education can get you?) and have rooted for the football team my entire life, even I knew that they were NOT the 5th best team in the country. In fact, all week at the bar, I told anyone who would listen, that no way should they be giving 9 points to any Big Ten team, let alone a team they cant beat. The only thing missing was a Tim Dwight punt return for 6. Ugh! I think its about impossible to perform at a high level when you return only 1 offensive lineman and also lose 3 of the top 4 receivers in school history. Its going to be a long year. For those of you who benefitted from my counsel, you know where to find me!
WAR HORSE

As much as the offseason Favre saga made me want to gag, his playing with the Vikes is must-watch. The play he made at the end of the game to Greg Lewis (another grizzled vet, how did he keep his feet in?) is a play we will watch forever. Everyone was talking about it at the bar, and thats what Favre does, for as much as he can take you out of a game, he can win one in an instant. Cant wait to watch his 1st game against the Pack, somebodys got to lose, right?

MARQUIS DE BAD

Anyone else notice Jayson Marquis struggles down the stretch for the Rockies? His 6.28 ERA in the last month are hidden in his overall good numbers. Think hell make this playoff roster. Surprisingly, his brother in (lack of late season big game) arms, Javier Vazquez, has actually been pretty dominant down the stretch. Dont worry Javy, your safe. There wont be any playoffs in your near future to gag in, your team will just miss.

K.O.D.

Well, I dont know why theyre going to bother to play the season: Barry Melrose has picked the Blackhawks to play the Flyers in the Stanley Cup Finals. If thats not the kiss of death, I dont know what is. He took out both of my teams in one breath.

CHILD PLEASE

Dont know about you but I get a kick out of Chad Ochocinco. His time on-camera was the best part of Hard Knocks. His latest stunt is why you have to love the guy. He found four people on Twitter who would go to Green Bay and sit in BENGALS uniforms, in the front row of the end-zone (in tickets that 85 bought) so that he could score a touchdown and do the Lambeau-Leap into them. Then it actually happened! Are you kidding me? The No Fun League needs more of this guy! Anything that messes with Packer fans, Im all for!

Cubs still searching for answers for Tyler Chatwood's puzzling control issues

Cubs still searching for answers for Tyler Chatwood's puzzling control issues

Tyler Chatwood looked to be turning the corner with his control issues, but alas, he and the Cubs aren't so lucky.

After walking only two batters in a solid start in Atlanta last week, Chatwood had taken a big step in the right direction. It was, after all, only the third time he'd walked fewer than 5 batters in an outing this season.

Those control woes reared their ugly heads once again Tuesday night at Wrigley Field in a 10-1 loss to the Indians. Chatwood walked 6 batters and managed to net only 8 outs, getting hammered for 4 runs in the third inning.

"Ugh, it was tough," Maddon said. "The stuff was so good, we just couldn't get a strike."

"It's definitely frustrating," Chatwood said, "because one at-bat, I'll feel really good and the next one, I feel like I'm fighting myself.

"Last time [out], I was able to stay in the rhythm. Tonight, I was kinda battling, rushing rather than staying back, so it's just keeping that feeling and maintaining that."

His season ERA is only 3.74, which looks good until you consider his WHIP is 1.62 and he's walked 40 batters in 45.2 innings with only 41 strikeouts in the process. He now leads baseball in walks per 9 innings.

Chatwood said earlier this month in St. Louis that he's figured out what has led to the startling lack of control and while he didn't elaborate on the mechanical issue, he was working hard at correcting the problem in bullpens.

He's also used the term "fighting myself" at least a dozen times this month alone and it's become a common refrain for his explanation of what's going on. 

"He's got a busy delivery when he throws the baseball," Maddon said. "He's kinda busy what he does with his hands. It's not like he can just change it easily because that's how his arm works, how his body works.

"Sometimes, like you see him the other day, everything's on time and how good it can be and when it's out of sorts a bit, then all of the sudden it becomes shotgun. Ah man, you can see the movement [on his pitches] from the side, how good it is. 

"We gotta harness it somehow. I spoke to him briefly on the bench; I reassured him it's gonna be fine, it's gonna be really good by the end of the year. We gotta figure it out and he knows that. But man, that's good stuff. We just gotta get it in the zone."

Chatwood also admitted part of the problem is mental in that he's trying to force pitches rather than trusting his stuff. He's also gotten into the bad habit of drifting down the mound, though he's not sure when or where he picked up that hitch in his delivery.

Chatwood and Cubs pitching coach Jim Hickey are working on slowing his delivery down to get his arm in the same spot on a more consistent basis.

When the Cubs signed Chatwood over the winter, it was easy to see why.

He just turned 28 in December, his peripherals and a move from hitter-friendly Coors Field foretold a potential leap in performance and his stuff is nasty. Plus, he signed a three-year deal at a relative bargain of $38 million.

Once the Cubs signed Yu Darvish in spring training, you could make the case that Chatwood could be among the best No. 5 starters in baseball.

Nine starts later, the honeymoon period is well over with Chatwood, as he threw only 30 of his 74 pitches for strikes Tuesday night and sent catcher Willson Contreras sailing all around home plate for pitches way out of the zone.

Still, it's clear to see there is some intriguing talent there and the season there is roughly 70 percent of the season remaining before the Cubs make what they hope is another run at the World Series.

"I have a lot of faith," Maddon said. "I know we're gonna reap the rewards, the benefits as he figures this thing out."

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should Bulls use Lauri Markkanen as centerpiece of a trade to bring in a superstar?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should Bulls use Lauri Markkanen as centerpiece of a trade to bring in a superstar?

On this episode of SportsTalk Live, Hub Arkush (670 The Score/Pro Football Weekly), Danny Parkins (670 The Score) and Lauren Comitor (The Athletic) join David Kaplan on the panel.

Manny Machado Mania continues in Chicago. Do the Cubs even need to trade for him to win the World Series this year?

Ricky Renteria has to bench another player for not hustling. Is this becoming a problem on the South Side?

Plus, Lauri Markkanen is named to the All-Rookie team. Could he be the centerpiece of a trade if the Bulls want to acquire a superstar or move up in the draft? 

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below: