White Sox

Tebow-verload

Tebow-verload

By Frankie O
CSNChicago.com

You never can get too much of a good thing can you? After all, we are in the season of over-indulgence. Yours truly is in the middle of it on different fronts. There are the gifts for the kids, which make me wonder if this is a holiday or a reason for the wife to see how much credit we have. Also, theres the work holiday parties. As Ive said many times, there is a reason why certain people dont socialize together -- because they shouldnt! The uncomfortable feeling that one gets from being forced to spend time with people that they normally wouldnt spend time with, should not make them drink until they cant see straight. You should save that for the family gatherings! (Kidding, of course! Sort of.)

Aside from feeling like you got hit over the head by a two-by-four when you wake in the morning, the endless snickers that you are going to hear in the workplace cant be much fun, unless that was the problem in the first place, then its the same-old, same-old. None the less, dont be that guygirl! Remember people, when you are at a bar, there is a professional behind that bar to make sure that you know when to say when, so listen!

The thing that seems to be getting to the saturation point though, at least with the customers at the bar, is the Tebow-mania that is gripping the nation. Not that I can blame them with the way the game played out on Sunday, they got Tebow-ed when they never saw it coming. But then thats the point. From what weve all been told, this never should happen. Ever! Especially not in the NFL.

Tebow broke into the national scene as a backup quarterback on the Florida Gators national champions in 2006. He passed for a touchdown and ran for one in the title game against Ohio State. In a harbinger of things to come, he was also the teams second leading rusher for the season. In 2007 he was truly ridiculous as he accounted for 55 touchdowns, 32 passing and 23 rushing. Are you kidding me? He easily won the Heisman and led his Gators to a bowl victory while wearing a cast on his right (non-Tebow-ing) hand. To say that he created a mania in an already crazed SEC, would be as understated as I can get. He also started the whispers from the non-believers.

Football experts questioned his limited NFL skill-set, while even more pointedly, a lot were put off by his personal beliefs of which he was, and still is, a little too willing to share. Wearing biblical verses on your eye-black, is not about being shy, and pardon the pun, is about as in-your-face as you can get, thus started the lovehate emotions that he has stoked on a national level. The next year was when it became over-the-top. After a shocking 31-30 loss to Ole Miss in week four, he went on a post-game rant on how hard he would work not to let something like that happen again. Of course, Florida did not lose another game that season, winning the National Title Game against Oklahoma. It was during that game, that I personally became nauseous with broadcaster Thom Brennamans constant gushing over Tebows almighty qualities.

That is the game and event that drew the line-in-the-sand for Tebow followers and detractors. Folks can accept most things, as long as it isnt shoved down their throats. Its nice to be able to make up your own mind, but when you are constantly told how great someone is, doesnt it annoy you? All right already, I get it! I could spend three days talking about the divisiveness that can be created by religion, but we arent here for that. Like the bar, I also try to avoid the religion and politics here in cyberspace. Try. But almost any conversation about him includes mention of his beliefs, in part because he cant seem to utter ten sentences without mentioning them. So now like religion or politics, the Tebow conversation is eliciting a ton of emotion in the discussions that I listen to, or participate in.

My take though, is that I tune that part out. While I dont have a problem with his beliefs, I just dont know that I should know every inch of them while I watch a football game. I also understand in the socialviral media world that we live in, that is never going to happen. I mean, are blogging bartenders out there for crying out loud! So, when he talks, I just use earmuffs and he can say whatever he wants! (Think Will Ferrell in Old School.) Honestly, theres nothing we have to listen to, or read, if we dont want to.

That aside, what really fascinates me is the venom that seems to possess some in their football analysis. In the premiere issue of the NFL Magazine, they decided to capitalize on the phenomenon and booted Cam Newton from the cover so that they could feature their new fair-haired child. In a typical move, contributor Boomer Esiason, took this opportunity to take umbrage with Tebows quarterbacking skills. I guess he didnt learn from his Marinoville comment of a few years ago. But in a rush to be the definitive voice, why wait until the votes are in? Who cares if hes 7-1 this year?

While Ill admit, his throwing motion is beyond awful, especially when viewed from behind, when are we ever going to learn that it isnt always about form. Ever watch Jim Furyks swing? Even Joe Montana had to listen to the naysayers when he entered the league about his lack of velocity on his throws, although I doubt he could hear it over the racket caused by his four Super Bowl rings.

Now Im not even about to go there with Tebow, or any other QB after 11 career starts, but Im not about to say he cant either. Not when this kid has done nothing but win his whole life. I get it that the age where a Bobby Douglass clone can achieve long-term success is probably long gone, but this is a bigger, stronger Bobby Douglass whose strength and toughness would make Steve Austin feel like a wuss. (No, not the wrestler, somebody people my advanced age remember!) (Did I just go over the Brennaman line?!) I keep hearing that the league will figure him out, but did Rex Ryan? Lovie? When the game was on the line, both of those gurus defenses wilted. (Lovies team had many other issues, but I digress.)

So while I agree some of this has gotten out of control, Im just going to be an NFL fan and enjoy it for what it is: An improbable, fun, cool ride. The future is guaranteed to none of us. This includes Tebow, since John Elway, the Broncos V.P. of Football Operations, has refused to discuss his QB plans for the future, and has only recently, grudgingly gotten aboard the Tebow Express. And because of these people not believing in him, (His own front office!) makes me enjoy it even more. (Yes, even here, I can find a cynical slant!) This has been the year of the improbable. From the Packers in the Super Bowl, to the Cardinals in the World Series and Tony Stewart in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, (A NASCAR reference?) weve watched champions come from the depths where they were considered afterthoughts. But something they shared with Tebowlicious is easy to see: Belief. Belief in themselves, and in those around them to achieve beyond their, and the non-believers, wildest dreams. In a season of over-indulgence, I think thats something that all of us could use more of.

Revenge tour: After Eloy Jimenez homered against Cubs, Yoan Moncada homered against Red Sox

moncada-624.jpg
USA TODAY

Revenge tour: After Eloy Jimenez homered against Cubs, Yoan Moncada homered against Red Sox

Call it the White Sox Hitters Revenge Tour.

Last week, Eloy Jimenez provided the single best image of rebuilding progress to date for the White Sox, smashing a game-winning homer in the ninth inning against the Cubs, the team that traded him, at Wrigley Field, the park he always assumed would be the one he'd call home as a big leaguer.

Well, a week later, Yoan Moncada exacted similar revenge on the team that traded him.

In the first of a three-game series between the White Sox and Boston Red Sox, Moncada took a second-inning pitch out to left field, depositing a ball over the top of the Green Monster for a tie-breaking two-run homer at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox traded Moncada — as part of a package that also included Michael Kopech and Luis Basabe — to the White Sox during the Winter Meetings in 2016 in the deal that jump-started the South Side rebuilding project.

Between signing with the Red Sox in 2015 and making his White Sox debut in 2017, Moncada spent time as the No. 1 overall prospect in the game. After a disappointing first full season in the majors last year, Moncada is having a much better go of things in 2019, bringing a .295/.347/.509 slash line into Monday night, when he belted his 13th home run of the season.

Of course, the Red Sox are pretty happy with their return in that trade, Chris Sale, who in addition to being one of the best pitchers in baseball over the past two and a half seasons got the championship-clinching out in the World Series last October.

But part of the reason the White Sox future is so bright is the return they got in the Sale trade. And one of those players got his revenge, Eloy style, on Monday night.

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"It's certainly possible": Craig Kimbrel could be at Wrigley by the end of the week

"It's certainly possible": Craig Kimbrel could be at Wrigley by the end of the week

With each appearance that Craig Kimbrel makes in Iowa, the more anticipation for his arrival in Chicago grows. Kimbrel, who’s faced 11 batters over three appearances for the team’s Triple-A affiliate, is not far away from Wrigley. He’ll get in another inning of work on Tuesday, and then the team plans to meet with him and make a decision about next steps.

“He’s feeling really good and doing a nice job of getting himself ready,” Cubs’ President Theo Epstein said before Monday night’s game. “It’s not really about results or velo right now, it’s just kind of getting back into game shape and building that foundation. Tuesday’s an important checkpoint for him, to see how he’s feeling, and we’ll get together with him and make a call after that game.

“We’re getting close to the point where we’ll have established enough of a foundation where there’s an opportunity to take the next step provided he feels good with everything.” 

Once in Chicago, expect Kimbrel to be used as a closer in the most traditional sense of the word - at least at first. That means three out appearances in save situations, as opposed to a more flexible, leverage-based role that Kimbrel has -- at times throughout his career -- pushed back against. He only pitched more than an inning twice in 2018, and has done so 26 times over the span of his 542 game career. 

“With Craig, as he gets here, he’ll be slotted and really carefully,” Joe Maddon said. “And then as we get there, to the latter part of September, if it’s necessary, that’s when I think you look for the four outs possibly.

“He’ll be a three out guy when he gets here.” 

Some more news and notes from Wrigley Field as the Cubs begin a 4-game series against the Braves: 

  • After throwing 4 innings in relief on June 20th, Cubs top prospect Adbert Alzolay will make the first start of his major league career on Tuesday night. Alzolay is the presumed odd man out once Kyle Hendricks returns, but it sounds like the Cubs will give the rookie plenty of opportunities to prove he belongs with the major league club throughout the summer. “I think it’s all about can he perform at a level that allows him to contribute and make an impact,” Epstein said. “And it’s really important because you’re always looking for contributors and especially young ones that can come in, refresh the pitching staff, and be here for a while and make an impact. We need more of those guys.” 
  • There were a number of updates on injured Cubs pitchers on Monday. CJ Edwards threw up to 120 feet on Monday, and felt good according to Epstein. The reliever still has to throw a handful of side sessions before the team plans to approach him with a game progression. 
  • Kyle Hendricks threw 15 pitches off a mound, and also felt good after. He’s possibly in line to throw a longer bullpen later this week, and Epstein had mentioned the All-Star break as a time that’s “certainly in play” for his return. 
  • Brandon Morrow has thrown two side sessions in Arizona, and will throw a third sometime within the next two days. Prospect Nico Hoerner is also in Arizona taking part in baseball activities. Epstein mentioned the end of this week as a time that Hoerner could start seeing live at-bats again. 
  • 2B prospect Robel Garcia is making a ton of noise in Iowa. The 26-year-old is slashing .294/.366/.614 with 13 home runs over 43 games this year. With a lack of production from that position at the major league level (82 wRC+, 20th in MLB), speculation on Garcia’s timeline has grown of late. “He hits the ball really, really hard from both sides of the plate,” Epstein said. “He gets it in the air a lot, especially left-handed. He can turn around anyone’s fastball. Those are good ingredients - it’ll be interesting to see how he does as the league adjusts to him a little bit and challenges him with a heavier dose of breaking stuff.

    “I don’t want to put a timetable on it, but you’ve got to pay attention to a guy who’s performing at the level he is and offers the different skills that he has. Anyone on the Triple-A level is certainly on the radar.”