Cubs

Word on the Street: Bears looking at CFL WR?

Word on the Street: Bears looking at CFL WR?

Monday, Jan. 3, 2011
CSNChicago.com

Bears expected to check out CFL receiver

Canadian Israel Idonije was a great fit for the Chicago Bears, and it looks like the Bears will look north for another addition to their team.

Brad Biggs reports that the Bears are looking to schedule a workout for Andy Fantuz. The Canadian native led the Canadian Football League in receiving this past season, and has worked out for five NFL teams already. The 6-4 wide receiver weighs in at 220 pounds and made 87 receptions for 1,380 yards last season with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. (Chicago Tribune)

Bulls defense becoming one of the NBA's best

Tom Thibodeau is known for his emphasis on a strong defense and the Bulls are a reflection of that.

The Chicago Tribune's K.C. Johnson reports that the Bulls have climbed to second behind Miami in opponents' field-goal percentage at .428 and third in opponents' 3-point percentage behind Atlanta and Miami at .336.

Despite the development, Thibodeau said his team still has room to improve.

"We still need to clean up some things in terms of how we're challenging shots and containing the ball," Thibodeau said. (Chicago Tribune)

Are the Bears ready for playoff football?

The loss to the Green Bay Packers had no impact on the post season for the Chicago Bears, but CSNChicago.com's John Mullin says it was "exactly what the Bears needed: a swift shot to the chops."

Despite a strong effort by the defense (who held the ninth-ranked scoring offense to 10 points and eighth-ranked yardage generator to 284), he says the performance of Mike Martz, Jay Cutler, and the offensive line should dispel any notion that the Bears are ready for playoff football. (CSNChicago.com)
Vikings announce interim coach Frazier to stay

The Minnesota Vikings announced that they have reached an agreement with Leslie Frazier to be their next coach. After Brad Childress was fired, the Vikings went 3-3 under the direction of ex-Bear Frazier. Frazier has interviewed for seven coaching vacancies over the past three years. (Chicago Tribune)

Toews in the lineup against Kings

For a team that has suffered many injuries this season, this is good news.

CSNChicago.com's Tracey Myers reports that Jonathan Toews will be on the ice tonight when the Blackhawks take on the Los Angeles Kings. The captain said this morning that hes not rushing back at all and has been happy with his healing since Tuesday.

Theresalways that side of things that you want to push it to get back as fastas you can but I can honestly say that I dont feel like theres anyrisk coming back tonight," Toews said. "It feels really good. I hit theice a couple times and I dont think I lost much. Hopefully Ill pickup where I left off. (CSNChicago.com)

Winter Classic ratings are in and...

The Washington Capitals' 3-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the rain at Heinz Field got a bump in ratings despite being delayed from 1 to 8 p.m. Saturday.

The Winter Classic's television ratings were up 10 percent from last year's overtime game between the Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins at Fenway Park. Plus, the clash of stars Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin saw 4.5 million viewers, up from 3.7 million last season. (Chicago Tribune)

Ex-Sox Olivo heading to Seattle

Former White Sox catcher Miguel Olivo has agreed to a two-year deal with the Seattle Mariners worth 7 million. The deal, which brings Olivo to the Mariners for the second time in his career, also includs a club option for the 2013 season. Along with Olivo, the Mariners reportedly agreed to terms with former-Cardinal infielder Brendan Ryan. (ChicagoBreakingSports)

Kris Bryant is ready for fatherhood '[I was] put on this earth to be a dad'

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USA TODAY

Kris Bryant is ready for fatherhood '[I was] put on this earth to be a dad'

Suffice to say Kris Bryant is budding with anticipation for becoming a father.

Bryant and his wife, Jessica, are expecting their first child — a baby boy due in April. During Friday night’s Cubs-Padres broadcast, the third baseman shared his excitement for fatherhood with reporter Taylor McGregor

“I think this is really what I’ve been put on this Earth to do, is be a dad,” Bryant said, laughing. “Obviously I play baseball pretty good, but I’m just so excited [for] this new journey with my wife and my family. Honestly, I think this is going to be one of the best years of my life.”

Bryant’s son is due shortly after Opening Day, but the Cubs will play two spring training games in Las Vegas — Bryant’s hometown — on March 7-8. He told McGregor one of Jessica’s last doctor’s appointments is around the same time, so Bryant will get one last visit in before Baby Bryant is born.

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How Dusty Baker inspired former Cub Adam Greenberg after scary head injury

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AP

How Dusty Baker inspired former Cub Adam Greenberg after scary head injury

Adam Greenberg’s baseball career was cut short by a scary head injury 15 years ago. But with the help of Dusty Baker, he found the motivation to transition to his post-baseball life.

Greenberg made his MLB debut with the Cubs on July 9, 2005, and Baker called upon the then 24-year-old to pinch-hit in the ninth inning against the Marlins. On the first pitch Greenberg saw in the big leagues, Marlins reliever Valerio De Los Santos hit him in the back of the head with a 92-mph fastball.

Greenberg was concussed from the incident, suffered from vertigo and vision problems, and battled depression. The Cubs released him in 2006 and he caught on with the Royals and later the Dodgers in 2007 — which is when Baker reappears in the story. From MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart:

A couple of years following the incident, in 2007, Baker got a letter from a fan requesting a baseball card be signed. In the letter, the person told Baker that Greenberg had been released by the Royals and his baseball career was in jeopardy. Baker tracked down Greenberg and left him the voice mail that served as his motivation for a post-baseball life.

“It was so genuine and from the heart,” Greenberg said. “It put me in tears the first time, but it was the motivation and inspiration I needed to get up and keep going. And since then, he’s been somebody that’s been near and dear to me."

It's unfortunate Greenberg couldn’t experience a long big-league career, but Baker inspired him and helped him move forward post-baseball. According to McTaggart, Greenberg started a nutrition company and sold it 10 years later. He also ran for state senate in Connecticut in 2019 and is currently a baseball analyst for the ACC Network.

Greenberg’s career effectively ended moments after it began, but 2005 wasn’t the last time he stepped in a big-league batters’ box. In 2012, fans started an online petition to get him one last at-bat — and his career came full circle. The Marlins signed him to a one-day contract on Oct. 2, 2012, and he pinch-hit that same day against the Mets.

Greenberg struck out on three pitches, but Baker’s voicemail left a mark on his life. Seeing him enjoy success outside of baseball is as heartwarming as it gets.