White Sox

Random News of the Day: The deal of a lifetime

Random News of the Day: The deal of a lifetime

Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010
1:01 PM

By Joe Collins
CSNChicago.com

Garage sales are hotbeds for unintentional comedy. You never know what to expect when you start digging in boxes from yesteryear. I mean, just seeing any Andy Gibb vinyl LP, or a spider web-dominated Tinkertoy collection or any Ron Karkovice baseball card wrapped in torn-out pages from an old Sears catalog is enough to produce bizarre, incredulous laughter that can only be seen by watching, say, Ernest Goes To Camp. Youre not only laughing with, youre laughing at.

"Ha! A box of VHS home videos! I should be working but I want to see that birthday party from 1986!"

"People are seriously going to by this for 50 cents?"

"Wait...do I really want all of these strangers in my garage anyway? Why am I doing all this work?"

And of course, the garage sale itself looks like the set of Hoarders and the clientele usually resembles something out of a Revenge Of The Nerds casting call. And thats on a good day. I helped my Mom out with a garage sale this past weekend and came across all of the above in a span of 48 hours. Good way to spend part of a vacation, eh?

I also came across an old wallet with a 1954 calendar in itand the picture seen here. Its my Dad shooting hoops on his driveway. Im not sure why (or how) the old wallet ended up in my Moms garage in Tinley Park--next to some old cans of Pennzoil--but it was fun to reminisce a bit, sitting on a frayed lawn chair near my Dad's old garage workbench.

His life revolved around the game of basketball. Ate it. Slept it. Breathed it. He played in grade school, high school and college and then passed the eagerness and zeal of the game to me. I grew up in the 80s, just as the Chicago Bulls were growing up around Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. My bedtime was usually around 9pm-- you know, just as those Bulls-Pistons games were about to break out into bedlam. He would always tape the final score, along with Jordan's point total, on my mirror so that it was the first thing I saw when I woke up the next morning. Talk about a great way to start the day, you know? Especially if Jordan racked up 50 points and the Bulls won at the buzzer.

We all have reasons why we do the things we do-- why we work at certain jobs, why we marry this person instead of that person, why we eat burritos instead of rice cakes, why we watch Die Hard instead of Steel Magnolias (or vice versa), and so on and so forth. But when I looked at that "Hoosiers-era" picture of my Dad playing basketball, I was reminded why I love sports. It's the safe harbor when life gets a little uneasy. It's about the love of the game, the passion of competition. It's about the agony of not bunting the runner over to second and the joy of a Hail Mary touchdown in the closing seconds. Sports is about taking your mind off the guy that cut you off during rush hour or the boss that yelled at you during a conference call-- even if the joy is temporary and a momentary diversion.

I lost my Dad a year ago this October. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) took him way too soon and I never really got the chance to say a final farewell. But one thing I will always remember about him is that, even in his final days, his joy for the game of basketball --and for sports in general-- never waned. Not one bit. Even towards the end, it was fun to watch him cheer a Bears touchdown or whine about why the Bulls couldn't hit their free throws down the stretch:

"When I was playing, our coach would always end the practice with a half hour of free throws!"

You get the idea.

Even though athletes have become folk heroes and cult objects, thanks to multiple spotlights and ridiculous salaries, the passion for sports never dies out for some people. It's wonderful to think that, at its core, the simplicities of sports can still matter. And the spirit of it all never grows old.

And best of all, it can make a garage sale go a lot faster.

Or something like that.

Jose Abreu still leading AL first basemen to start 2018 MLB All-Star Game

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USA TODAY

Jose Abreu still leading AL first basemen to start 2018 MLB All-Star Game

Last week, Jose Abreu had a nearly 26,000 vote lead to start the 2018 MLB All-Star game over Red Sox first basemen Mitch Moreland. But now Abreu can take a brief sigh of relief on his quest to Washington.

MLB updated the American League fan ballot standings Tuesday for the Midsummer Classic. The Sox first baseman now has a lead on Moreland by over 138,000 votes.

This an encouraging sign for Abreu and White Sox faithful. Are fans taking notice of Abreu’s production this season?

His numbers this year include a slash line of .283/.338/.500. He also has 11 homers, 41 RBIs and 26 doubles. For his career, Abreu has a .299 average, 135 homers and 451 RBIs in 683 games.

He ranks first among AL first basemen in hits, doubles, RBIs, SLG and OPS. In other major offensive statistics, Abreu ranks near the top 10 for almost all of them.

Abreu is a cornerstone in the White Sox rebuild and if he does indeed start, it could be huge for his confidence and the team.

An All-Star nod this season would also mean a second career appearance in the game. He debuted in his rookie year (2014) as a reserve.

If fans indeed vote Abreu in as a starter, he would be the first position player to start for the White Sox since Frank Thomas did it back-to-back as a first baseman in 1994 and 1995.

There is still time to cast your votes to see Abreu start the Midsummer Classic. The AL will have another updated voting ballot June 26.

Should the Blackhawks explore bringing back Artemi Panarin?

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USA TODAY

Should the Blackhawks explore bringing back Artemi Panarin?

Here's an interesting development as we approach the NHL Draft: Artemi Panarin has informed the Blue Jackets that he's not ready to consider an extension "at this time" and because of that, Columbus is testing the market for the Russian winger, according to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet.

Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen responded to the report shortly after in a statement released by the team:

"Artemi is an elite National Hockey League player. Our position has been that we want him to be a Blue Jacket for many years and that has not changed. He has a year left on his contract, so there is plenty of time to work towards that end. Should anything change moving forward, we will address it at that time and any decision we make will be in the best interest of our club.”

Ironically, Panarin was traded to Columbus on the afternoon of last year's draft as part of a blockbuster package that sent Brandon Saad back to Chicago. It shook up the hockey world, and has the potential to do so again.

Panarin is set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2019, but is free to sign an extension with Columbus on July 1. Clearly, that doesn't seem to be in the cards right now and it's why the Blue Jackets have to put out feelers. They can't risk losing him for nothing.

On the flip side, Panarin has every right to test the open market. He has one year left on his contract that carries a $6 million cap hit. He's due for a hefty raise, will be 27 years old next summer — the prime of his hockey career — and will certainly be looking for a long-term deal after accepting a bridge contract with the Blackhawks.

Speaking of whom, should his former team explore bringing him back to Chicago now that he's on the market?

Every general manager should and will do their due diligence and call for an asking price, Stan Bowman included. Those conversations might start with Alex DeBrincat or Nick Schmaltz, and if that's the case, you say thanks but no thanks and move on. 

The Blackhawks have the Nos. 8 and 27 picks in this year's draft as possible ammunition, but the Blue Jackets are ready to take that next step. They were up 2-0 in their first-round series before losing four straight to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals. It's unlikely they'd be looking to center a potential deal around draft picks. 

The only way you even consider it from the Blackhawks perspective is if Panarin is guaranteed to sign a long-term extension at a price you're comfortable with, but that's one of the main reasons why they traded him in the first place. 

To cap it all off, trading for Panarin wouldn't even address the Blackhawks' biggest need and that's a Top 4 defenseman. Those don't grow on trees. The Blackhawks will have the cap space to sign a player like James van Riemsdyk to patch up their top 6. You can't say the same for the free-agent blue line group.

So while it may certainly be fun for Blackhawks fans to come up with possible trade scenarios to get Panarin back in an Indianhead sweater, it just doesn't make great sense for a variety of reasons.