Bears

Random News: It's a wonderful...sports town

339985.jpg

Random News: It's a wonderful...sports town

Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2010
10:10 AM
By Joe Collins
CSNChicago.com

Guys will stop at nothing to quote lines from movies. If you get a couple of them together at a bar, you can count on them flashing back to films of yesteryear. It's like clockwork. With my group of friends, the quotes usually start with Back To The Future, Ghostbusters and Goodfellas. That usually segues into The Blues Brothers, Airplane, The Naked Gun and The Godfather. One night, thanks to some free beverages and a friendly bartender, we even started quoting lines from Uncle Buck. Hey, it happens.

But it's nothing like how we quote "It's A Wonderful Life."

Despite the heavy Norman Rockwell'ish feeling and extra syrupy ending, we always seem to make reference to this 1946 Frank Capra classic at some point of the night. It's probably a slight man card violation...but we don't care. Some movies just need to be quoted. We'll even compare bar patrons to characters in the movie. For instance, the guy that is celebrating his 21st birthday always seems to get the "Mr. Gower" tag. The bouncer is always Mr. Potter. The clueless server that gives you the wrong burrito at 4am gets pegged as Uncle Billy. And so on.

I caught the annual mid-December airing of this movie on Saturday. I figured it was time to take the references one step further: if the legends of Chicago sports could star in "It's A Wonderful Life," who would get the key roles? I can't bring myself to compare Mary Bailey to a Chicago sports figure and I won't dare do the same with Mr. Gower. But even still, there are far too many connections between the Chicago sports world and the characters in "It's A Wonderful Life." Let's meet a few of them, shall we?
Nick The Bartender Kenny Williams
Tough. Aggressive. In charge. (especially the Pottersville version of Nick). In the movie, George and Clarence were not able to hang with the crowd at Nicks. In baseball, no general manager can hang with Kenny Williams. The Sox GM has repeatedly tossed other GMs into the snow with his persistently clutch way of signing free agents and making improvements.

Martini Ozzie Guillen
Lovable, loyal and funnywith an effervescent personality. Has a temper too, but he is better known for his good vibes.

Mr. Welch (guy that punches George at Martinis) Bill Laimbeer
Enough said.

Ma Bailey - Virginia McCaskey
The matriarch of the biggest sports family in Chicago, much in the same capacity that Ma Bailey oversaw one of the biggest families in Bedford Falls.

Pa Bailey - George Halas
Yeah, I know that Virginia is George's daughter. We're going to have to look past a few of the anachronisms to make this work! But again, this role just seemed too obvious.
Sam Wainwright - Dennis Rodman
He was annoying, unpredictable and a complete goofball. But you can't deny the fact that he was successful everywhere he went. He made others frustrated and some were a little jealous of his stardom-- but hey, he took complete advantage of the opportunities that were given to him.
Violet Bick - Cade McNown
Nothing more than a big tease.

320 SycamoreThe Bailey House - Wrigley Field
Some would want to live there. Others wouldn't live there if they were a ghost. Regardless, it's a landmark with sentimental value.

Bert The Cop - Dick Butkus
No other guy could lay down the law like Dick Butkus. He was the ultimate enforcer. If you were stupid enough to punch Dick Butkus in a game, you had to be sure you could outrun him to avoid the wrath. George decked Bert while leaving a club and was lucky to escape Pottersville alive.

Ernie The Cab Driver - Scottie Pippen
Both were always comfortable playing the sidekick. Ernie was happy to assist drivers getting from point A to point B in Bedford Falls. Pippen, second on the all-time Bulls assists leaderboard, was always happy to find Jordan for a wide-open three or baseline jam.

Mr. Potter - The New York Yankees
Henry F. Potter was the evil empire and dark cloud that hung ominously over Bedford Falls: "The richest...and meanest man in town." Chicago sports fans, along with most fans west of Jersey City, despise the evil Yankee empire. I bet if Potter was running the show in Gotham, he would already be trying to lure Cliff Lee away from the Phillies.
Harry Bailey - Jonathan Toews
The ultimate hero. Harry got the Congressional Medal of Honor for saving lives in World War II. Toews won a gold medal in the 2010 Olympics and was the Conn Smythe Trophy winner for the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks. Both were honored with grand homecoming ceremonies after their respective victories.

Clarence - Ron Santo
I was originally going to put Santo in the George Bailey spot, but after watching the movie on Saturday--and given the recent news of Santo's death-- I couldn't think of a better guy to play the guardian angel of Chicago sports. Yes...yes, I know I'm tip-toeing on being cheesy here (psssh....like the rest of this column hasn't been cheesy), but there are too many mannerisms that Clarence and Ron both shared. Both had great stories to tell and were full of life.

George Bailey - A Cast Of Characters
Try limiting this to just one character. No shot. It's impossible. You can call Michael Jordan George Bailey for being "the richest man in town." Derrick Rose could get a similar nod for being successful in his own backyard. Paul Konerko could relate to George's victory too. Patrick Kane sprinted down the ice after his Cup-winning goal just like Mr. Bailey did down main street towards the end of the movie. Mike Ditka saw the highs and the lows of Chicago sports just like George did with the ups and downs of Bedford Falls. Bobby Hull, Ray Meyer and Johnny Red Kerr could tell you the same thing. George Bailey never conquered the world as he had hoped, just like Ernie Banks and Billy Williams found out with not being able to bring a World Series to Wrigley, but they found they could still change people's lives forever just the same. These George Baileys did the big things and little things right and the people have Chicago would stand in line for hours to thank them for all that they've given the city.

Just imagine if all of these George Baileys were never born.

Or something like that.

Who is Ryan Pace's best draft pick as Bears general manager?

Who is Ryan Pace's best draft pick as Bears general manager?

Ryan Pace has been the Chicago Bears' general manager since 2015, and while some of his most memorable moments aren't the kind GMs want to be known for, like trading up for Mitch Trubisky in a draft class that included Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watston, he hasn't been a complete failure on draft weekend.

Former Super Bowl-winning GM of the Washington Redskins, Charley Casserly, published a scouting report of sorts for all of the league's top decision-makers that offered a somewhat positive spin on Pace's track record.

After five drafts, Pace has selected five Pro Bowlers: Tarik Cohen, Jordan Howard, Eddie Jackson, Cody Whitehair and Trubisky.

OK, so, maybe we should give him credit for four; Trubisky is entering a training-camp battle for the starting job with Nick Foles this summer. His Pro Bowl berth feels like ancient history.

According to Casserly, Roquan Smith has been Pace's best pick so far.

"He is the complete package as a linebacker," Casserly wrote of Smith, "who has the speed to cover sideline to sideline, excelling vs. the run."

Cody Whitehair checked-in as Pace's best value pick after selecting the team's starting center in the second round of the 2016 draft. 

As for how Pace conducts draft weekend?

"There seems to be a very close working relationship between Pace and head coach Matt Nagy," wrote Casserly. "It is a collaborative effort between those two, as well as other scouts and coaches -- all must agree on how the player's skill set fits into the scheme. The organization believes in being aggressive to acquire players, including when they traded draft picks for Khalil Mack, traded up for safety Eddie Jackson and back for OL Cody Whitehair. Those were all good trades for the Bears."

Pace has some ammunition to make a move up the board in the 2020 NFL draft if he so chooses. Armed with two second-round picks (No.s 43 and 50 overall), he'll have the ability to move into the back-half of the first round if a must-have player slides further than expected. This year's virtual draft environment may make trades tougher to execute, but there's no doubt Pace will be active in an attempt to slide up or down the board.

Ranking the 9 worst trades in Cubs franchise history

donaldson_thumb.jpg
USA TODAY

Ranking the 9 worst trades in Cubs franchise history

WIth the 2020 MLB schedule potentially being tightened/shortened, it's unknown how the July 31 trade deadline will be affected.

We're nearing the three-year mark of the Cubs swinging a deal with the White Sox for José Quintana. That trade isn't look back on kindly, but by no means is it the worst in team history. 

Last week, I named the top trades in Cubs franchise history. The club's transaction record through the years isn't perfect, however, as is the case for every team.

With that, here are the nine worst trades the Cubs have made in their history.

9 worst trades in Cubs franchise history

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Chicago Cubs easily on your device.