Bears

'Super Joe does it again'

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'Super Joe does it again'

"Super Joe does it again."

That's how Cubs manager Dale Sveum described Joe Mather's pinch-hit home run in Friday's win over the Dodgers.

And you know what? It's a nickname that might as well stick.

Mather got an invite to Cubs spring camp as a 29-year-old journeyman utility player who had never really stuck in the Majors. He had an outside chance of making the roster initially, but a stellar spring made Mather the logical choice for the final bench spot.

All he's done with the opportunity is post a 1.11 OPS and .346 AVG.

Mather, who can play all three outfield spots as well as first and third base, hit the first home run from a Cubs outfielder on the season April 29 in Philadelphia and followed that up with a pinch-hit opposite-field home run Friday against the Dodgers. His solo shot proved to be the difference in a 5-4 ballgame.

That wasn't the only time Mather has used his bat to help the Cubs pick up a win. On April 23 against the Cardinals, Mather came through with a two-out, two-run single to give the Cubs a walk-off victory over their biggest rivals and the reigning World Series champions.

Mather has endeared himself to his teammates and coaches in the past three months and while he won't maintain this offensive pace, he should still be a very valuable bench player for the Cubs as the season wears on.

Mather doesn't do anything particularly good, but he's a very fundamentally sound player that can provide some pop and grinds out each at-bat. He came up in the Cardinals' system, where they put a premium on fundamentals and discipline at the plate.

If he keeps coming through with clutch hits, it may not be long until the bleacher bums at Wrigley start holding up signs for "Super Joe" to hit it to them.

Bears among 50 most valuable sports teams in the world

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USA Today

Bears among 50 most valuable sports teams in the world

The Chicago Bears haven't enjoyed many wins over the last several years, but that hasn't done anything to hurt the franchise's bottom line.

According to a recent report by Forbes, the Bears rank 17th among the 50 most valuable sports teams in the world for 2018. The franchise is valued at $2.85 billion.

17. Chicago Bears

Value: $2.85 billion

1-year change: 6%

Operating income: $114 million

Owner: McCaskey family

Chicago is seventh among NFL teams in the top-17, with Dallas, New England, New York (Giants), Washingon, San Francisco and Los Angeles (Rams) all having higher valuations.

It's no surprise the Bears are this valuable, even without a winning product. They play in one of the greatest sports cities on the planet. And just imagine what will happen to the club's price tag if Mitch Trubisky and the new-look roster actually start winning games. 

Cubs, Bears, Bulls among the top 25 wealthiest sports teams in the world

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USA TODAY

Cubs, Bears, Bulls among the top 25 wealthiest sports teams in the world

What Chicago sports team is worth the most money in 2018?

As reported by Kurt Badenhausen in a Forbes article about the 50 richest teams around the globe, the Cubs are the most valuable organization in the Windy City.

Chicago’s North Side baseball team ranks as the 16th wealthiest team in the world, valued at $2.9 billion, an 8 percent increase from 2017. The Cubs are the third-most affluent franchise in Major League Baseball, behind the New York Yankees ($4 billion) and the Los Angeles Dodgers ($3 billion).

This year, the baseball club owned by the Ricketts family surpassed the wealth of the Boston Red Sox ($2.8 billion), who the Cubs were ranked behind last season at $2.68 billion. In the span of a year, the North Siders gained two spots in the top 50 from 18 to 16 on the list.

What could be the reason for this increase?

Could it be that the Cubs are in first place in the NL Central? Or could it be the incredible performances from players like Jon Lester and Javy Baez?

Whatever the reason is for the Cubs’ prosperity, the team is doing something right.

The club also surpassed the Bears on the list this year. In 2017 the Bears (worth $2.7 billion last year) were tied with the Red Sox as the 16th most valuable sports team on Earth. The McCaskey-owned football team has fallen to a tie at 17 with the San Francisco Giants, both valued at $2.85 billion in 2018. The Bears even increased by 6 percent in the last year, making the Cubs’ jump seem greater.

The Bulls, owned by Jerry Reinsdorf, are the last team from Chicago to make the cut. They stand at 23 in the top 50, tied with the Denver Broncos. Both franchises are worth $2.6 billion. Chicago’s NBA team even fell a spot from 2017, but they still increased their value by 4 percent (worth $2.5 billion last year).

The Bears are the seventh richest team in the NFL, while the Bulls are fourth wealthiest in the NBA.