Random News of the Day: Tricks of the trades


Random News of the Day: Tricks of the trades

Thursday, July 29, 2010
11:16 AM

By Joe Collins

I can't help injecting sports references into everyday life. It's a lost cause. I'm beyond help. For instance, take my upcoming wedding: I've already compared the invite list to picking seeds in the NCAA basketball tournament. There are the No. 1 & No. 2 seeds (wedding party), the No. 3's, No. 4's (close friends) and then there are the questionable No. 14 seeds that you hardly ever talk to...but feel obligated to invite because of family (conference) connections.

I also like people who take the MLB trading deadline to exciting new heights. I remember during one particular late July afternoon at my first TV job, one of our sports anchors ridiculed a photographer by saying, "we're going to trade you to a station in Rockford for two teleprompters and an intern to be named later. We laughed and laughed...until he ended up in human resources. Oh well.

The mouth-breathers out there have debated ad nauseum for weeks now on which White Sox and Cubs couldshould be expendable and who should be brought here in return. I think it's time to liven up the MLB trade stew with a little spice called randomness:

"Go Cubs Go" to the state of New Jersey for three jukebox songs and cash: I love what the Ricketts family has done so far. Their proactive stance on changing the ballpark experience has been well documented and the results (at-bat music, food selections...etc.) have surfaced. The on-field improvements will come too, I suppose. And, I love singersongwriter Steve Goodman. His "City Of New Orleans" is one of the best red, white and blue Americana songs of all time. I'm just not the biggest fan of his "Go Cubs Go." To me, it's too much 80's sitcom opening credits and not enough razor's edge. I'm probably going to be in the extreme minority on this, but how about we ship this song to a New Jersey jukebox for Bruce Springsteen's "Glory Days" and a few others? Like the new at-bat music that has surfaced at Wrigley, wouldn't this give the ballpark more of an edge?13 of Barack Obama's White Sox loyalty to the Nationals for Adam Dunn: The White Sox get a left-handed bat without giving up Daniel Hudson or any of the marquee prospects. And Washington gets a guy who actually wears a Nationals cap every now and then. If the Nats want to make a serious run at being relevant in their own back yard, then they have to get the Commander In Chief on board (you know...a few autograph signings, a few charity functions here and there, some banners around the ballpark...etc). And the Sox still retain a 23 majority on Barack's loyalty to the South Side. This is a win-win, folks.Passive Cubs fans to Pittsburgh for Primanti Brothers sandwiches: Every team has a group of passive fans. You know, the ones that come in the third inning, leave after the seventh inning stretch and check their cell phones 20 times in-between. For some reason, the Dodgers and Cubs fans get picked on about this the most. It is widely speculated that a good amount of Cubs fans just go to Wrigley "for the atmosphere." That's fine, I guess. But as a Cubs fan, I wouldn't mind these fans be replaced by, not only by fans who cheer the subtleties of the game itself (moving a runner into scoring position...etc), but with some of the best sandwiches in America. Nothing says fun like grilled meat, cole slaw, tomato and french fries between two pieces of Italian bread. In return, Pittsburgh gets a group of fans to help boost sagging attendance numbers. (Random tangent: if any team needed a boost in attendance, it's the Pirates. They have, arguably, the best ballpark in America. I feel for these guys.)U.S. Cellular Fields Go Go Sox Grille, Burger Barn, South Side Hitmen Grille, and Tex Mex concession stands for Prince Fielder: On the White Sox web site, the words endless supply of meats highlight the concession stand category. Mmmm. That place is amazing, you know? Unfortunately, in order to get the lucrative lefty bat, the White Sox are going to have to give up the meat of their ballpark food lineup for, well, someone to help the meat of their batting lineup. The irony in all of this is that Fielder is a strict vegetarian. A pro-veggie atmosphere on the South Side would have to be a given to make the trade fly. I cant begin to imagine the horror for herbivore Prince Fielder watching grown men in sausage suits run around his backyard every home gamein Milwaukee no less. Ted Lilly and Rod Blagojevich to the Yankees for David Robertson, Slade Heathcott and cash: The Yankees get their rotation insurance in Lilly, and they also get Blago-- a guy with a personality that is more suited for the Big Apple. It also gives Blago a second chance on Celebrity Apprentice and a huge break on transportation costs. The Cubs get a serviceable bullpen guy in Robertson, their outfielder of the future in Heathcott and cash to help build a larger home clubhouse. Do it. DO IT!We can dream, can't we?

Or something like that.

Ryan Pace calls Bears' offseason 'aggressive' and 'energizing'

USA Today

Ryan Pace calls Bears' offseason 'aggressive' and 'energizing'

The Chicago Bears won the offseason. At least, that's what the national opinion seems to suggest.

General manager Ryan Pace may not have read all the news clippings, but he offered his thoughts on the job he and the front office accomplished since January 1.

"It's been aggressive, a lot of work has been done, very exciting and energizing," he said at Bears training camp from the campus of Olivet Nazarene University Thursday. "There's a lot of new pieces and it's really neat to see the assets come together."

Pace and his team certainly did do a lot of work. The Bears made headlines in free agency with the signings of Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel and Trey Burton, three players expected to provide a huge boost to the Bears' passing game.

In addition to what he did on offense, Pace exercised his option with the transition tag placed on Kyle Fuller and matched the Packers' offer for the ascending cornerback. It was a big-money deal that showed players in the locker room he's willing to reward hard work and effort. It also showed the fans that he wasn't going to let the Packers steal a homegrown talent.

It didn't stop there. Pace strengthened the defense even more with the selection of linebacker Roquan Smith in the first round of April's NFL Draft and gave the offense yet another weapon in the second round when he traded up to select Anthony Miller, a receiver who could challenge for a starting job as a rookie.

Yeah, it's been an aggressive few months.

And let's not forget the biggest change of all: Matt Nagy.

Pace's tenure as Chicago's GM will likely be defined by the last few months. He invested in his hand-picked quarterback and made his first "real" coaching hire after a few years of experience on the job. He'll sink or swim with those two decisions. He knows it, and he went all-in this offseason.

Matt Nagy says Allen Robinson is mentally and physically ready for training camp

USA Today

Matt Nagy says Allen Robinson is mentally and physically ready for training camp

The toughest part of any comeback from injury in sports is the mental aspect. Players have to build trust in their body again in order to eliminate thought from their movements.

In the case of Chicago Bears receiver Allen Robinson, he has to regain confidence in his left knee after tearing his ACL in last year's season opener.

According to coach Matt Nagy, Robinson is ready.

Nagy, who met with the media at Bears training camp Thursday in Bourbonnais, told reporters that Robinson is mentally and physically ready to go. The biggest issue for Robins, Nagy said, is building chemistry with quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.

Robinson is more than 10 months removed from his ACL tear, an injury that generally takes less time than that to recover. He participated in some on-field work during minicamp sessions this offseason in an effort to build that confidence.

Robinson will look to regain the 1,400-yard, 14-touchdown form he displayed in 2015, a year in which he was arguably the top young receiver in the NFL. 

"For us, he can play multiple positions," Nagy said. "We want him and Mitch to work on timing."

They'll start working on that timing Friday when the Bears kick off their first training camp practice.