Bears

Word on the Street: Obama backs the Bears

Word on the Street: Obama backs the Bears

Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011
CSNChicago.com

Obama to be the first President attend the Super Bowl?

President Barack Obama has never hid his love for Chicago sports teams. An avid White Sox fan, plus a Blackhawks supporter last summer, the President is now showing the Bears some love.

Obama announced today from the Oval Office that he will "no doubt" be going to Dallas to watch the Bears play in the Super Bowl should they win this weekend against the Green Bay Packers. (NBC Chicago)

Carmelo Anthony not getting any closer to Chicago

Representatives for Carmelo Anthony are engaging the Chicago Bulls with hopes of pushing them into becoming a serious bidder for the Denver Nuggets star. Trade discussions have completely stopped with the New Jersey Nets, and Anthony has been enthusiastic about a possible trade to the Bulls for a while.

But Denver and Chicago officials had been previously unable to come to terms on a deal. John Paxson and Gar Forman are interested in acquiring Anthony, but are not ready to lose Joakim Noah.

Anthony has reportedly been a very unhappy client, and is pressuring his agents to make a deal soon. (Yahoo! Sports)

Toews relieved to be without All-Star captain title

Blackhawks fans were a bit upset after the outcome of the NHL All-Star Game's captain selection, as Jonathan Toews was not selected. But that didn't upset Toews at all.

"I'm relieved ... I'm more comfortable sitting on the outside. It's only my second All-Star Game appearance. There's no reason to take all that pressure right off the bat," Toews said after practice.

The Red Wings' Nicklas Lidstrom and Hurricanes' Eric Stall were selected team captains for the Jan. 30 game. (Chicago Tribune)

White Sox invite 14 non-roster players to spring training

With spring training right around the corner, the White Sox have added new players to their list of non-roster invitees.

Earlier this winter, the Sox agreed to minor-league contracts (with spring training invitations) to pitchers Brian Bruney, Jeff Gray, Josh Kinney, Shane Lindsay and Miguel Socolovich. Catchers Donny Lucy and Jared Price and infielder Dallas McPherson were also signed to minor-league deals.

Left-hander Charlie Leesman, outfielder Jordan Danks and catcher Josh Phegley were among the 14 players invited to the White Sox's spring training as non-roster invitees. (Chicago Tribune)

Milton Bradley arrested on felony charge

Milton Bradley was not the most popular player in Chicago. And it looks like he's not that well-liked in Los Angeles either.

At 10:40 a.m. at a residence in Encino, Calif., Bradley was arrested about two hours after police received a call from an unidentified woman saying a man had threatened her.

The former Cub was booked on a felony charge of making criminal threats and released after he posted 50,000 bail. His court date is set for Feb. 8. (ChicagoBreakingSports)

Former Sox Crede signs with Rockies

The Colorado Rockies signed former White Sox third baseman Joe Crede to a minor-league contract with an invite to major league camp in spring training.

Crede was a member of the 2005 World Series championship team. He played only 90 games for the Minnesota Twins in 2009, hitting .225 with 15 home runs and 48 RBI. He sat out the entire 2010 season because of back injuries. (ChicagoBreakingSports)

Green Bay paper apologizes for spelling error

After spelling "Chicago" incorrectly in a front page headline that read "On To Chicaco," Bears fans had some new material to work with.

Today, the Green Bay Press-Gazette apologized for the spelling error saying "We know the great city of Chicago is spelled with two "C"s and a "G," and not three "C"s. We were equally embarrassed we got it wrong in the first place and then failed to catch it in the proofreading process."

The paper went on to say that in the event the Packers move on to the Super Bowl, they will spell the host city of Dallas correctly. (Chicago Tribune)

Matt Nagy is winning over his players by being himself

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USA Today Sports Images

Matt Nagy is winning over his players by being himself

Despite losing 34 of his 48 games as the Bears’ head coach, John Fox’s players generally liked him and were disappointed to see him fired on New Year’s Day. That’s not to say they were blindsided by it — losing leads to people losing their jobs, even if the culture at Halas Hall had changed for the better following the disastrous end of the Marc Trestman-Phil Emery era. 

It was with that backdrop that Matt Nagy was offered and accepted the position of Bears head coach a week after Fox’s firing. Four and a half months later, Nagy has seemingly made a strong first impression on his new team, with one reason standing out among many: He’s genuine in who he is and what he does.

“I would say Nagy can be stern, and he can be playful also,” cornerback Prince Amukamara said. “I think when you’re a first-year coach, you want to win (over) your guys, and you want to be firm, and he’s doing that. You can’t really tell he’s a rookie coach or whatever. I feel like he was born for this, and he’s doing a great job.”

Granted, no player is going to publicly blast their new boss — especially not before he’s even coached a game yet. But veteran players also aren’t oblivious to who can and cannot work out as a head coach, and there haven’t been any “damning with faint praise” types of comments that were more common five years ago at the beginning of the Trestman era.

Will this win Nagy any games come September? No. But consider this sort of like team chemistry: It won't win a team anything, but if a team doesn't have it, it can be costly. 

“He’s a cool coach, man,” linebacker Danny Trevathan — who played for Fox in both Denver and Chicago — said. “He’s always giving us little details and smiling but we know he’s a hard worker just like we are. He’s up there working just like we are. He’s always putting us in the right position and he takes care of us. On the back end, where I come from, you take care of coaches like that. You go out and make plays for those coaches.”

From an observational standpoint, Nagy comes across as genuinely excited not just to be a head coach, but the head coach of the Bears. Players respect that approach — he's not coming in acting like a hired gun, and he's shown through these OTAs and practices that he cares about them, even if they haven't spent much time together yet. And he's also not strutting into Halas Hall every day with an over-inflated ego based on his promotion. That resonates, too. 

“I like the way he came in,” Trevathan said. “He came in humble but he was hungry. He came anxious, moving around in the meetings. I like that. That gets me fired up. I feel like we’ve got a good leader up here in the head coach.”

Reynaldo Lopez is changing his place in the White Sox rebuild: 'When I'm on the mound, I'm the best and I don't care about the rest'

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USA TODAY

Reynaldo Lopez is changing his place in the White Sox rebuild: 'When I'm on the mound, I'm the best and I don't care about the rest'

Rebuilds are full of surprises.

Fans can pencil in any names they want into their 2020 lineups, but there’s almost no one who’s going to have a 100-percent success rate when it comes to predicting exactly what the next contending White Sox team will look like.

Reynaldo Lopez carried plenty of hype when he was acquired from the Washington Nationals in the Adam Eaton deal prior following the 2016 season. He had a high prospect ranking before he was called up last summer. He hasn’t materialized out of nowhere.

But with names like Lucas Giolito, Michael Kopech, Alec Hansen, Carlos Rodon and others to compete with for one of those coveted rotation spots of the future, was anyone going to use the term “ace” to describe Lopez?

Well, in this rebuilding season’s most pleasant surprise for the White Sox and their fans, that’s exactly what Lopez has been. He’s been hands down the team’s best starting pitcher, and he’s making the case that he shouldn’t be considered an ancillary piece in this rebuilding process but a featured one.

He might not be getting the attention that others are. But he’s doing the most with his opportunity of being at the big league level right now. In the end, as long as you’re getting batters out, who cares how much attention you get?

“It’s not about what people say or what they are talking about,” Lopez said through a translator. “It’s about the confidence I have in myself, and I have plenty of confidence in myself. For me, I’m the best. I’m not saying the other guys are not. I’m just saying that’s the confidence I have. When I’m on the mound, I’m the best and I don’t care about the rest.”

Sunday marked the best start of Lopez’s young career, so said the pitcher himself. He was terrific in shutting down the visiting Texas Rangers, holding them to just two hits over eight scoreless innings.

It was one heck of a bounce-back performance considering what happened last time out, when he was roughed up for six runs in just two innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The difference? His attitude, his focus, his intensity, his conviction.

“I just changed my attitude in the game,” Lopez said. “I was more positive today than I was in my last outing and that was one of my biggest differences.”

“I do think he came out a little bit more focused, to be honest,” manager Rick Renteria said. “The intensity level was a little higher today. I think he threw the first couple pitches 97, 98 miles an hour, where his last outing they were at 93, 94. There wasn’t a whole lot of commitment or conviction to his pitches (against the Pirates). I think, as we talked after the last outing, (pitching coach Don Cooper) spoke to him a little about making sure he brought that intensity that he has the ability to do, to bring it from Pitch 1 and he did today.”

Renteria liked it all, and he saw something different in his pitcher when he went out to talk to him with two outs in the eighth. Lopez issued a two-out walk, and Renteria considered lifting Lopez from the game.

Lopez made sure his manager wouldn’t pull the plug on this outing.

“I hid the baseball in my glove because I didn’t want to leave the game,” Lopez said. “I asked me, ‘How are you? Are you good?’ And I told him, ‘Yes, I’m good.’ Then he asked me again, ‘Do you think you are able to get him out?’ And I said yes, ‘This is my game, and I’m going to finish it.’”

What did Lopez do with his extra life? He finished it all right, blowing Shin-Soo Choo away with a 96-mile-an-hour fastball. Then he showed as much emotion as he’s ever shown on a major league field. He earned that celebration.

“When you see your manager come out and you’ve already gone through most of your game in terms of what you might think you have in number of pitches available to you, and you reiterate that you want to finish a particular batter because you want to get out of that inning, and you do it, it's an accomplishment,” Renteria said. “It's a big accomplishment. For him, pretty good hitter. He battled him and he was able to get out of that inning and complete a very, very strong eight-inning outing.”

It’s the kind of exclamation point on a dominant afternoon that could stir some big plans in White Sox fans always dreaming of the future. What Lopez has done this season has been a strong case for a spot in that future rotation and a spot at the front of it, at that. Following Sunday’s gem, Lopez owns a 2.98 ERA with at least six strikeouts in four of his nine starts.

There’s a lot of development and a lot of time left before the White Sox contention window opens. But Lopez pitching like this offers a glimpse into the crystal ball, a look at what could be for an organization that’s acquired so much talent over the last two years.

You might not have seen it coming like this, but the future arriving in the form of Lopez is a sign that brighter days are ahead on the South Side.