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Kerry Wood loses his cool in loss to Braves

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Kerry Wood loses his cool in loss to Braves

Kerry Wood walked off the mound and squeezed his glove before throwing it into the stands. He tossed his hat to the fans before disappearing into the dugout.

It was like a scene out of Little League. One pressbox wag wondered what the reaction would have been if Carlos Zambrano had done something like that.

The boos were muted, barely audible, during Tuesday nights meltdown, because its Wood. Cubs fans have a soft spot for the kid they watched grow up at Wrigley Field.

But it all unraveled for the 34-year-old reliever during the eighth inning of a 3-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves. His postgame media session lasted 45 seconds. He cut it off after a reporter mentioned the glove.

Irrelevant, dude, and why the (bleep) would you even bring that up? Wood said. You guys have a good night.

With that, Wood stormed away from his locker. He hadnt really spoken publicly since leaving the team in the middle of April, flying from Miami to Chicago for a cortisone shot the team hoped would strengthen his right shoulder.

There were more questions about Woods health after he faced six Braves and walked two and gave up two hits. By the time Dan Ugglas two-run single landed in left-center field, parts of the announced crowd of 38,523 began heading toward the exits.

Thats the frustrating thing, Wood said. I bounced back from the injection and the shoulder feels great. It still feels fine. I actually threw some good curveballs tonight for the first time in a month. But its all about results.

Manager Dale Sveum: He said he feels fine.

The Cubs (12-18) wasted another strong start from Ryan Dempster, who limited a powerful Braves lineup to one run across seven innings, but hasnt had his luck change.

Dempster still doesnt have a win yet, even with a 1.02 ERA through five quality starts. He probably knows Wood as well as anyone in the Cubs clubhouse.

I know hes feeling good, Dempster said. Coming off the DL, hes had a couple rough outings. But hes a professional, as professional as anybody Ive ever played with and things will turn around real soon.

Before the game, Cubs president Theo Epstein told reporters how the upcoming draft is probably the most important thing that were doing right now, to be honest.

Its a year-long process, Epstein said. Right now, were right in the sweet spot of finishing up evaluations, going back, getting final looks and then well get together and dissect all the information.

Thats where the Cubs are at as an organization, looking at around 10 players for the sixth overall pick.

While it would be nice to win this year, its not the No. 1 priority. Its all building toward the future, which seems to make a 3 million setup guy something of a luxury item.

Wood can do a lot for that clubhouse, and may still strengthen this bullpen, but right now he has a 14.54 ERA. Something is clearly gnawing at him.

Its frustrating. It doesnt matter if youre young or a veteran guy, Sveum said. When you give up a couple runs and you walk a couple guys, its frustrating. It doesnt matter who you are, how many years you have in the big leagues. Its frustrating to do that in a tie ballgame.

NBA Orlando restart: What are chances 2020 season sinks or swims?

NBA Orlando restart: What are chances 2020 season sinks or swims?

As it stands right now, the NBA appears well on track to begin its 22-team season restart on July 30 in Orlando.

The question, though, is if it will finish what it starts.

On the most recent episode of the Bulls Talk Podcast, NBC Sports NBA Insider Tom Haberstroh explained the array of apprehensions that come with the experiment the league is about to embark on. From the health and safety issues that come with a still-raging pandemic, to the mental health concerns facing a player population under relative isolation, and more, pulling this bubble off would be a grand logistical feat by the NBA.

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So, what odds did Haberstroh give the season ending as currently planned, and with a champion crowned? 50-50. A coin flip.

“I know that’s a cop-out,” Haberstroh said, “but I think it’s about a 90 percent chance we see a tip-off on July 30, and I think it’s going to be less so at the end of the playoffs. Because I think, we don’t know how this coronavirus is going to react to this bubble, we don’t know how disciplined the players will be in respect to staying in the bubble and respecting the social distancing rules and the mask rules.

“Everything looks good on paper. The 113-page protocol the NBA gave out was very thorough, an epidemiologist that I talked to said that it was a really solid plan. Of course, as Adam Silver says, it’s not risk-free. There’s risk in this bubble, and I think, when I mentioned the 50/50 proposition to an executive two days ago, he responded, ‘I don’t think that’s pessimistic enough.’ And I thought I was on the wrong side of that — I thought, I was like ‘Is that too pessimistic here, 50/50?’ And he assured me that there is concern around the league about — not Week 1, I don’t think it’s the first month in the bubble that teams worry about. I think it’s just as the bubble continues, Month 2, Month 3, is that people let their guard down and slowly just get a little bit too comfortable with the surroundings, and that’s what you have to guard against.”

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The NBA released the latest results from its mandatory “Phase 2” testing on Thursday, reporting that 25 of 351 (7.1%) players tested since June 23 were positive for COVID-19, along with 10 of 884 (1.1%) team staffers.

“Phase 2” of the league’s restart plan saw the 22 invited teams return to their home markets (the one exception being the Toronto Raptors, who traveled straight to Orlando) for restricted workouts at team facilities. An influx of positives under those circumstances was to be expected. In fact, the Nuggets, Clippers and Nets all recently reportedly shuttered their facilities on a temporary basis after positive tests in their respective organizations — though the Nets have since reopened theirs, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski

The hope for the league is that the invited teams can enter Orlando as infection-free as possible, and from there, daily testing, symptom monitoring, contact tracing, and targeted sanitation and social guidelines can mitigate potential infection, spread, or, worse yet, outbreak.

But there are concerns on that front, as well, starting with the testing protocols surrounding the Disney employees that will staff the bubble.

“The biggest worry, to me, is the Disney staffers who are not being quarantined, who are not being tested day-to-day,” Haberstroh said. “Adam Silver on a recent call with reporters said that they are trying to find a subset, or negotiate with Disney, a subset of their Disney staffers who are coming from homes or an environment where there’s as high as 15% positive tests in Orange County, Fla., they’re trying to figure out a way to test those individuals before they come into the bubble. Right now they are not being tested.”

Should the league keep its players sufficiently insulated from said staffers, perhaps that won’t be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. But given the unpredictability of the virus, and the unpredictability of individual human behavior, it’s impossible to yet know exactly how the bubble experiment will play out. How many positive tests will there be in the bubble? How many positives would warrant another season shutdown? Will positive tests on different teams be treated differently based on specific risk factors — e.g. age of coach? For that matter, will older coaches be allowed to walk the sidelines? Will we even see quality basketball? Could players be at higher injury risk after a months-long hiatus? Will anyone break the bubble? Is this all even worth it?

As Haberstroh noted Silver saying, there’s no risk-free option for resuming a contact sport during a global pandemic, especially considering all the variables the NBA brings with it. The above questions are nebulous for now. But answers may soon rear their head.

Listen to the rest of the conversation, in which Haberstroh and Co. discuss the NBA's restart, Zion Williamson's return to action and the state of the Bulls' rebuild, here or via the embedded player above.

Bulls Talk Podcast

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Bulls Talk Podcast: Tom Haberstroh details the NBA Bubble in Orlando

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USA TODAY

Bulls Talk Podcast: Tom Haberstroh details the NBA Bubble in Orlando

The first game in the NBA Bubble in Orlando is scheduled for July 30 for the resumption of the 2019-2020 NBA season. 

Kevin Anderson and Rob Schaefer are joined by NBC Sports NBA insider Tom Haberstroh to discuss the details of the bubble and if the top four seeds should select their opponent in the playoffs. Later, Tom shares his thoughts on the Bulls' front office changes.

(1:14) - Will the NBA finish the rest of the season?

(9:11) - How concerned is the NBA with the mental health of the players in the bubble?

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(17:35) - This will be the hardest championship ever won

(30:18) - Should the top four seeds be able to select their playoff opponent?

(43:35) - What does the rest of the NBA think of the Bulls' front office changes?

Listen here or below.

Bulls Talk Podcast

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