Cubs

Word on the Street: Canucks brass seek shelter

Word on the Street: Canucks brass seek shelter

Thursday, April 21, 2011
CSNChicago.com

Canucks brass seek shelter

Reports surfaced earlier this week that some vocal Blackhawks fans seated near Vancouver execs at the United Center were showering some of the Canucks brass with taunts and foul language. Now, in response, said executives are requesting seats in a protected area of the United Center if the series should go to a sixth game and travel back to Chicago.

We shouldnt be sitting there to begin with, Vancouver GM Mike Gillis said when asked about the incident. You can only take so much abuse for so long, and I took it longer than I normally would.
(The Toronto Globe and Mail)

Bears work at Halas Hall practice field

Well, kind of. Because of the NFL Lockout the Bears weren't able to begin their voluntary workout program as scheduled, but work is still being done at Halas Hall - by landscapers. The natural grass practice fields have been ripped up and a crew is now working to install a new surface. (ChicagoBreakingSports)

Less black players in MLB

Major League Baseball is still recognized as the most racially integrated professional sport in the United States. However, despite the diversity of the sport, the percentage of black players dropped to 8.5 percent on opening day this season. That's down from 10 percent at the beginning of last season - the lowest percentage since 2007.

MLB also admits it needs to hire more women into professional positions within the league.

"MLB has made great strides with diversity in who runs the game, and today is one of the best in sports," said Richard Lapchick of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports at the University of Central Florida.. "However, there is clearly room for improvement, especially regarding hiring more women into professional positions." (Associated Press)

Rose a mini-LeBron?

The praise for the Bulls' young point guard, Derrick Rose, continues to grow. He has been called the league MVP by everyone from Charles Barkley to LeBron James. Now, he's even being compared to the latter of those two.

NBA TV analyst Greg Anthony told the Indianapolis Star that Rose is comparable to James - and even Shaquille O'Neal - because of one thing...

"I've likened (Rose) to (Shaquille O'Neal) in his prime and LeBron James in that he physically intimidates his opponents," Anthony said. "Physically, he's as gifted as anybody we've ever had play the position of point guard. He also adds a tremendous skill-set to go along with it." (Indianapolis Star)

Prior back to the DL

After being promoted from single-A to triple-A in the Yankees farm system, things appeared to be looking up for former Cubs phenom Mark Prior. Unfortunately, he now finds himself back on the disabled list; this time for a strained groin muscle. The good news here is that the injury is not in his arm and the Yankees expect he will quickly recover from the pulled groin. If he does, there's a good chance he could see the big leagues this season as a part of the Yankees bullpen. (Hardball Talk)

Yu Darvish and Cubs pull off dramatic comeback win over Dodgers

Yu Darvish and Cubs pull off dramatic comeback win over Dodgers

There were some added stakes to Saturday night’s Cubs-Dodgers matchup. Darvish made his first start at Dodger Stadium since his infamous Game 7 loss in the 2017 World Series, looking for a great effort in front of a fan base that had their up-and-downs in terms of their relationship with him. He (maybe) took a small jab at the Dodgers before the game had even started, telling the Los Angeles Times that he wasn't worried about being booed because “the Dodgers don't have many fans here in the first three innings, so maybe it will be on the quieter side.”

Well Dodgers faithful certainly got the message and made sure to let Darvish hear it.

However, Darvish got the last laugh on Saturday night. He pitched a stellar seven innings. Over those seven innings, Darvish gave up 1 ER on 2 hits and also notched 10 strikeouts.

Darvish has been hitting his stride as of late, maintaining a 2.96 ERA over his last four starts.

All of that being said, it would be remiss of me not to mention the contributions of Darvish’s teammates. His great outing helped keep the Cubs in the game, but the gutsy performances of Anthony Rizzo and Pedro Strop are what won the contest.

Dodgers All-Star relief pitcher Kenley Jansen had a 10-game scoreless streak coming into Saturday night, but one swing of Rizzo’s bat was all that was needed to restore balance to the everlasting battle of pitcher versus hitter. After Jansen hit Kris Bryant with a pitch to put him on base, Rizzo activated “clutch mode”, mashing a 400-foot bomb out to right field.

Though small, Saturday night’s homer gives Rizzo a three-game hitting streak, perhaps forecasting that things are trending  upwards for the first baseman as the Cubs look to close out the series against the Dodgers with a win on Sunday night. And not to be left out of the fun, Pedro Strop came in to face the Justin Turner, MVP hopeful Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy and Matt Beaty to nail down the save.

Never afraid of high-pressure moments, Stop came through big time.

Strop got a ground out from Turner, struck out Bellinger and Beaty in his 15-pitch save effort. This was a much-needed win for the Cubs, who have well-documented struggles on the road. As they look to split the four-game set with the Dodgers on Sunday night, the Cubs can be pleased with their fight this week.

Saturday’s win over the Dodgers was the Cubs first win of the season after trailing through six innings, as they were 0-23 in such situations prior to the victory. Amid a season that has been fraught with injury and general roster construction concerns, it was wonderful to see the Cubs pull out a tough win lead by the much-maligned Darvish and the never-quit attitude of his teammates.

For on-the-rise White Sox, learning to win also means learning to lose

For on-the-rise White Sox, learning to win also means learning to lose

The White Sox lost Saturday night.

That’s baseball, of course, they’re not all going to be winners. And this rebuilding franchise has seen plenty of losses. But the feelings have been so good of late — whether because of Eloy Jimenez’s 400-foot homers or Lucas Giolito’s Cy Young caliber season to this point or a variety of other positive signs that make the White Sox future so bright — that losing Saturday to the first-place New York Yankees seemed rather sour.

Obviously there will be plenty more losses for this White Sox team before the book closes on the 2019 campaign. Back under .500, these South Siders aren’t expected to reach elite status before all the pieces arrive, and it would be no shock if they’re removed from the playoff race in the American League by the time crunch time rolls around in September.

But don’t tell these White Sox that an 8-4 defeat is a return to reality or a reminder that this team is still a work in progress. Even if, for a lot of players, development is still occurring at the major league level, the “learning experiences” that have been such a large part of the conversation surrounding this team in recent seasons and their daily goal of winning baseball games aren’t mutually exclusive.

“The Yankees are sitting in first place and they lost two games in a row,” catcher James McCann said Saturday night, providing a reminder of how the first two games of this weekend series went. “Just because you're expected to win and expected to be World Series contenders doesn't mean you're not going to lose ballgames. It's how you bounce back.

“And it doesn't mean you're going to win tomorrow, either. It's just, how do you handle a defeat? How do you handle a bad at-bat? How do you handle a bad outing, whatever it may be? But it doesn't mean that we step back and say, ‘Oh, we're back under .500, we're supposed to lose.’

“We expect to win when we show up to the ballpark. You can take learning experiences whether you win or lose. Do I think a game like tonight reminds us we're supposed to be in a rebuilding mode? No. We still expect to win, and we're going to show up tomorrow with that mentality.”

Maybe that’s a description of the much-discussed “learning to win” young teams supposedly need to do on the road to contender status. Maybe that can’t happen until a team figures out how to bounce back from a defeat — until it learns how to lose and how to act in the wake of a loss.

For all McCann’s certainty about the team’s expectations on a daily basis, his explanation was peppered with questions. He said he’s seen the answer to “how do you bounce back?” from this club, and his three-run homer in the eighth inning Saturday night was fairly convincing evidence that the White Sox didn’t use up all their fight just getting back to .500.

So while the White Sox know they won’t win every game — that no team will — they need to know how they handle defeat. Losing, it turns out, might end up being more instructive about when this team is ready to win.

“I think we've done a pretty good job (bouncing back),” McCann said. “You look at the road trip in Houston and Minnesota where we took two out of four from a good Houston team and then played really not very good baseball for three days in Minnesota only to come home and have an extremely good homestand.

“It's the big picture. It's not the very next day. It's not, ‘We've got to bounce back and win.’ It's not a must-win situation in the middle of June. But it's how do you handle yourself? How does a game like tonight, do you show up flat tomorrow and let it snowball into a three-, four-game spiral? Or do you fight?

“And that's what this team's been really good at doing is fighting and not giving in.”

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