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Random News of the Day: Blazing a trail

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Random News of the Day: Blazing a trail

Tuesday, July 6, 20101:08 PM

By Joe CollinsCSNChicago.com
Raise your hand if you've had enough of these NBA rumors.

I'm one of the people that just wants this story to end. Over the last week, we have seen the TMZ'ification of sports magnified to near unhealthy levels. Every day has involved sports paparazzi snapping photos and gathering video of NBA free agents outside restaurants, hotels, stadiums and office buildings. Every rumor contradicts the one that preceded it. The anticipation builds. The tension mounts. For a good amount of sports fans, this kind of theater is great entertainment.

But I need a break. We all do, I think. Just get it done already, you know?

People have different ways to ease their own stress and anxiety levels. For me, I head to the bike trail. You get your exercise, enjoy the scenery and boost your self-esteem a little. What's not to love?

Apparently, 10 things by my count.

I never realized the comedy that makes up a day at the jogging path or bike trail. It is loaded with people trying too hard, people relaxing too hard and people that simply got lost along the way. The trail is full of things that actually cause stress ... and not ease it. Here is a list of the top 10 characters on your neighborhood path:

1) The Swiss Army Trail Person: The comic relief of the bike trail. Since when did a walk in the park become so complicated? It's like somebody covered these guys in Krazy Glue and threw them into one of the shelves at Walgreens. Apparently, some people just cant go an hour without their iPodfanny packheadbandswristbandsleg warmersBluetoothsunglasseschrome novelty shaving kitAltoidscompact umbrellacar key ring holderchaw tinPower Bar holder ... etc. Its too much. Its not healthy.

2) The Lance Armstrong: Before I go on, I should mention that you need to check out the Tour de France on Versus ... even for a few minutes. Some of the crashes these guys endure are incredible. These bikers are fine ... as long as they stay in France. Do we really need them among all of the everyday walkers and joggers? The Lance Armstrong types have a trace of "Swiss Army Trail Person" in them as well: skin-tight spandex bike suit? Check. Livestrong bracelet? Check. Five-hundred-sixty-five dollars worth of safety gear from the mall? Check. Blitzing by you at 40 mph while ricocheting off a kid eating an ice cream cone, all-the-while shouting "ON YOUR LEFT"? You better believe thats a check. Of the hockey variety.

3) The Rollerblading Group: The rollerblading group always seems to look like they're getting filmed as part of a 1990s sitcom intro: carefree and all over the place. Lots of smiles, lots of bad skating, lots of potential accidents. Fortunately, this is where the Lance Armstrong guy comes in real handy.

4) The Marathon Trainer: I have trained for -- and completed -- three marathons in my life. Trust me, were among the most annoying people on the planet. Were the ones who do some kind of jump-rope dance at water fountains -- to maintain a jogging motion -- because we cant stop for anything. Were the ones that get furious if theres a loose pebble on the path. We hate everybody on bikes. We despise anything that moves slower than our own pace. We dont pay attention to red lights ... or flashing "don't walk" signals. Were the idiots you see jogging in a blizzardhail stormtornadoozone action dayflood. Were like that "Rudy" character ... only 23,281,293 times more annoying.

5) Johnny And Susie Chit-Chat: "Susie, I had a wonderful time with you on our first walking date. Mind if I call you again sometime? Wait ... say that again? Move where? Oh ... you mean off the bike trail? Oh, the bikers and joggers wont mind. The bike trail is big enough for everybody. They can go around us. I know we just walked three miles. Im just too lazy and ignorant to move another three feet off the asphalt and into the grass where well be more safe anyway. Were not hurting anyone. It's fine. Maybe Ill also fiddle with my cell phone while standing right in the middle of the path, too. I might even bend down to tie my shoes. Or even send a text message or two without looking up once to see if people are in my way. Let's do this again soon! Same time, same place?"

6) The Novelty Bike Crowd: Nothing says fun like trying to get out of the way of a wobbly penny farthing rider. And dont even get me started on the people that rent those "tandem" bikes like its an old Doublemint Gum commercial. If you're lucky, on a Saturday afternoon, you might come across a unicyclist juggling bowling pins, a chainsaw and a lit torch.

7) The Chalk Artisans: Look, I think its great that your friend is jamming at a club tonight with the seating capacity of seven and a 20 suggested donation at the door. Im fine with that. But Id rather not have the message chalk-scribbled on the bike path -- a message that Im going to run over in 4 ... 3 ... 2 ...1. Please move. Hand me a flyer instead. Then, when I get 20 feet away, I can throw it in the garbage can just like the other 2,000 that came before me.

8) The Family: No particular reason to add these guys ... but just add the word "family" to the end of any of the above categories. Maalox suggested.

9) The Skateboarding Gang: A pure crack-up because they can never get those jumps down pat, can they? Keep practicing the ollies, guys. Maybe on the 943rd try youll get it. And hopefully by that time youll be doing it in a TJ Maxx parking lot, where you won't be accidentally ramming skateboards into people's shins.

And finally...

10) The Stroller-Joggers: The only redeeming quality about this situation is that the kids in the seat don't fully realize the embarrassment factor. For a woman to be a stroller-jogger is one thing. But for a man, isn't that pretty much the end? I mean, you might as well buy the minivan, Pete Yorn songs, mineral water and endless supply of polo shirts that go along with it.

A happy list!

I almost want to hear more NBA rumors.

Or something like that.

Joe Collins is an assignment desk editor for Comcast SportsNet and contributor to CSNChicago.com.

White Sox Talk Podcast: The 10th anniversary of Mark Buehrle's perfect game

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

White Sox Talk Podcast: The 10th anniversary of Mark Buehrle's perfect game

Chuck Garfien and Steve Stone take a look back at Mark Buehrle's perfect game. How did Buehrle do it? How did Dewayne Wise make that catch?

Plus, Buehrle and A.J. Pierzynski talk about how Buehrle actually told Pierzynski before taking that field that day that he would throw a perfect game and more.

Listen to the entire podcast here or in the embedded player below.

White Sox Talk Podcast

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Road struggles continue for Cubs in late-game implosion against Giants

Road struggles continue for Cubs in late-game implosion against Giants

It’s no secret that the Cubs have had their fair share of struggles on the road this season. Entering Monday’s game the Giants – the first of a nine-game road trip -- the Cubs held an 18-27 road record, 21st in all of baseball.

Things took a turn for the worse in that department on Monday night.

Clinging to a 4-2 lead in the eighth inning, the Cubs called upon reliever Pedro Strop to shut down the Giants 3-4-5 hitters. Strop, who entered action with a 4.62 ERA in 29 appearances (5.40 in July), surrendered three runs on four hits – including three doubles. The end result was the Giants taking a 5-4 lead, ultimately the game’s final score.

While Strop’s outing will get the most face time due to it occurring in a high-leverage spot, the truth of the matter is that the Cubs struggled for much of Monday’s game. After taking an early 3-0 lead, they couldn’t pull away from the Giants, watching San Francisco slowly close the gap and cut the deficit to 3-2 in the fifth inning.

The Giants actually came close to tying the game at 3-3 in the seventh inning, though Steve Cishek was able to work out of a first and second, one out jam to keep the Cubs ahead. Plus, before consecutive two out singles in the eighth inning – one being an RBI from Anthony Rizzo to give the Cubs an insurance run, the Cubs offense went through a 1-for-15 drought that began with two outs in the third inning.

At the same time, Strop struggling again is quite concerning. The 34-year-old has been the team's most reliable reliever for the past five seasons, posting sub-3.00 ERAs in each campaign from 2014-18. However, he's in the midst of a forgettable month, allowing seven runs on 11 hits in 7 2/3 innings. Strop also surrendered a game-tying home run in the eighth inning Friday against the Padres, though the Cubs were able to bounce back and win. 

Between their road woes and Strop's rough July, Monday's game did nothing to alleviate concerns over two unsettling Cubs trends. If there's one positive to take away from the game, it's that the Cubs were six outs away from picking up their third road win in seven tries this month.

Moral victories count for little when a team is in a heated pennant race, though, especially since the Cardinals took down the Pirates Monday to cut the Cubs' lead in the NL Central to 1.5 games. The Cubs have to find a way to get better on the road, and they have to find a way to get Strop back on track. Fortunately for the Cubs, there's still time to do both, as Strop pointed out postgame.

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