Bears

Singer defends Obama-Hitler analogy

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Singer defends Obama-Hitler analogy

From Comcast SportsNet
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Hank Williams Jr. is about to have his say. Williams' has cut a new song "I'll Keep My ...," calling out "Fox & Friends" and ESPN after an interview last week on the Fox News talk show led to the end of his association with the sports network and "Monday Night Football," long home to his "Are you ready for some football?" theme. He's also scheduled to appear on "The View" and "Hannity" on Tuesday to discuss the uproar that sprung up after he made an analogy that President Barack Obama and House Speaker Rep. John Boehner golfing together was like Nazi leader Adolph Hitler and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu playing a round. ESPN decided to pull Williams' intro from last Monday's "MNF" telecast after the comments and the move became permanent Thursday when both sides said they'd decided to pull the spot. Williams wrote the topical third verse of "I'll Keep My ..." when he woke up Friday morning and he and a group of players laid it down in a Nashville studio by Friday afternoon. It could be on iTunes late Monday or early Tuesday. In the song Williams, son of country music icon Hank Williams, says "Fox & Friends" hosts twisted his words: "So Fox n Friends wanna put me downAsk for my opinionTwist it all around." He finishes the verse: "Well two can play that gotcha game you'll see." Early in the song, he says the U.S. is "going down the drain" and says it's becoming "The United Socialist States of America." He mentions keeping "Fox & Friends" and ESPN out of your home toward the end of the song. Williams' comments last Monday drew unlikely reactions with many commentators and comedians coming to his defense, claiming ESPN was infringing on his right to free speech. His defenders included the left-leaning Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar of "The View" and Jon Stewart of "The Daily Show" and on the other side of the political landscape Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh. The brouhaha prompted Williams also to start selling "Hank Jr. for President" T-shirts on his website. Williams' theme song has been part of "MNF" since 1989. The song was a version of his hit "All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight" that he altered to match each week's game. He owns the song and all the rights to it, so ESPN will not be able to use it in any way. Instead, the network says it will use an intro featuring Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders and soul singer Jimmy Scott prior to the Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions game Monday night. The introduction will change each week.

Bears to hold joint training camp practices with Broncos this summer

Bears to hold joint training camp practices with Broncos this summer

The Bears will reunite with former defensive coordinator Vic Fangio in Denver this summer, as word broke Monday the Broncos will host Matt Nagy and Co. for joint training camp practices in advance of their preseason game in August.

The Chicago Tribune's Brad Biggs confirmed the news on Twitter.

This is the second time Denver will welcome the Bears for training camp sessions. The two teams held joint practices back in 2018.

Training camp won't be the first time the Bears will see Fangio since his departure last offseason. Chicago pulled off a last-second victory over the Broncos in Week 2 of the 2019 season when kicker Eddy Pineiro booted a 53-yard game-winner as time expired in the fourth quarter. His kick was set up by the clutch version of Mitch Trubisky, who connected on a 25-yard pass to Allen Robinson on the play before Pineiro's conversion.

Fangio left a lasting impact during his time as the Bears defensive coordinator that reached its peak in 2018 when Chicago was widely regarded as the most ferocious defense in the league. The Bears finished third in yards allowed per game and ended the season with the top run defense. Their 27 interceptions were tops in the NFL, too.

Behind a refined approach, Albert Almora Jr. is off to a hot start this spring

Behind a refined approach, Albert Almora Jr. is off to a hot start this spring

The Cubs have only played three spring training games, and it’s dangerous to use spring results to predict regular season successes/failures. Still, it’s okay to acknowledge Albert Almora Jr.’s hot start in camp.

In two games, Almora is 4-for-4 with a walk, double, home run, four RBIs, and four runs scored. That line is essentially equivalent to a single game in the regular season and could be turned upside down by the end of the week. But it’s a start for the 25-year-old who’s struggled immensely at the plate for the last season-and-a-half at the plate.

In his last 177 games (dating back to the second half of 2018), Almora holds a .235/.270/.347 slash line. The advanced stats paint an uglier picture: 58 wRC+, .261 wOBA and 52.2 percent groundball rate.

Last season was the most challenging of Almora’s young career. He hit .236/.271/.381 in 130 games with a 64 wRC+, .271 wOBA, -0.7 fWAR (all career worsts). On top of that, he was involved in a heartbreaking moment early in the season; an Almora foul ball struck a young girl at Minute Maid Park during a Cubs-Astros game in May.

Almora recently refused to blame his 2019 offensive woes on that incident, though it obviously played a part. He did admit he was in a bad place mentally and used this winter to decompress. Almora also used it to make some adjustments to his swing and the changes are clear as day:

Pre-2020:

2020:

As MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian notes, Almora is now more upright in the box and his stance is more closed. His leg kick is less defined, and he’s rotating his front leg far less than previous seasons. In short, he’s more direct to his swing and has more time to react in the box because he cut out a lot of his pre-swing movements.

Almora said Monday he’s far from where he wants to be, pointing out the MLB season is a 200-day marathon. It’s too early to tell whether his simplified approach leads to sustainable success.

Small sample size be damned, Almora’s made noticeable adjustments. That’s the first step in his mission to get back on track offensively.

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