Bears

Word on the Street: Stop blaming Bartman

Word on the Street: Stop blaming Bartman

Friday, Jan. 14, 2011
CSNChicago.com

Cubs partied before 2003 Game 7 loss?

Could a late-night party have contributed to the Chicago Cubs playoff loss of 2003? According to Radaronline, a woman revealed she spent the night drinking and partying with three unnamed Cubs players until 4 a.m. the night before Game 7.

She revealed this information during a casting interview for the tentatively titled reality show "Cleat Chasers," which profiles baseball groupies. (RadarOnline.com)
Maine South football program placed on probation

The IHSA placed 2010 8A State Champion Maine South on probation following the organization's probe into violations that included the use of counterfeit sideline passes at the state final game and failure to follow the rules on the number of coaches allowed on the field and in the press box.

Head coach Dave Inserra and assistant Rick Magsamen have been suspended for the 2011 season opener. The IHSA also said that Maine South will not be able to host IHSA postseason events "until demonstrating compliance with IHSA playoff policies." (YourSeason.com)

New York Post features 'Return of the Jet-I' cover

The New York Post went for a Star Wars theme to honor the New York Jets playoff stand. On the cover of their 16-page special playoff section, the Jets are portrayed as members of the Rebel Alliance, while the Patriots are cast as the evil Empire. Bill Belichick is cast as Darth Vader, Rex Ryan as Han Solo, and Mark Sanchez as Luke Skywalker. (New York Post)

Young players added to All-American list after 'oversight'

Five Young basketball players were left off of the McDonald's All-American announcement on Thursday. Executive director of the program Robert Geoghan called the absence of the five Division I-bound players from the list "an oversight."

The players will be added to the list on Monday. Geoghan said he has encountered similar situations many times before and mentioned that Young's players were not the only ones left out because they could not be verified. (Chicago Tribune)

Bears to hold joint training camp practices with Broncos this summer

Bears to hold joint training camp practices with Broncos this summer

The Bears will reunite with former defensive coordinator Vic Fangio in Denver this summer, as word broke Monday the Broncos will host Matt Nagy and Co. for joint training camp practices in advance of their preseason game in August.

The Chicago Tribune's Brad Biggs confirmed the news on Twitter.

This is the second time Denver will welcome the Bears for training camp sessions. The two teams held joint practices back in 2018.

Training camp won't be the first time the Bears will see Fangio since his departure last offseason. Chicago pulled off a last-second victory over the Broncos in Week 2 of the 2019 season when kicker Eddy Pineiro booted a 53-yard game-winner as time expired in the fourth quarter. His kick was set up by the clutch version of Mitch Trubisky, who connected on a 25-yard pass to Allen Robinson on the play before Pineiro's conversion.

Fangio left a lasting impact during his time as the Bears defensive coordinator that reached its peak in 2018 when Chicago was widely regarded as the most ferocious defense in the league. The Bears finished third in yards allowed per game and ended the season with the top run defense. Their 27 interceptions were tops in the NFL, too.

Behind a refined approach, Albert Almora Jr. is off to a hot start this spring

Behind a refined approach, Albert Almora Jr. is off to a hot start this spring

The Cubs have only played three spring training games, and it’s dangerous to use spring results to predict regular season successes/failures. Still, it’s okay to acknowledge Albert Almora Jr.’s hot start in camp.

In two games, Almora is 4-for-4 with a walk, double, home run, four RBIs, and four runs scored. That line is essentially equivalent to a single game in the regular season and could be turned upside down by the end of the week. But it’s a start for the 25-year-old who’s struggled immensely at the plate for the last season-and-a-half at the plate.

In his last 177 games (dating back to the second half of 2018), Almora holds a .235/.270/.347 slash line. The advanced stats paint an uglier picture: 58 wRC+, .261 wOBA and 52.2 percent groundball rate.

Last season was the most challenging of Almora’s young career. He hit .236/.271/.381 in 130 games with a 64 wRC+, .271 wOBA, -0.7 fWAR (all career worsts). On top of that, he was involved in a heartbreaking moment early in the season; an Almora foul ball struck a young girl at Minute Maid Park during a Cubs-Astros game in May.

Almora recently refused to blame his 2019 offensive woes on that incident, though it obviously played a part. He did admit he was in a bad place mentally and used this winter to decompress. Almora also used it to make some adjustments to his swing and the changes are clear as day:

Pre-2020:

2020:

As MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian notes, Almora is now more upright in the box and his stance is more closed. His leg kick is less defined, and he’s rotating his front leg far less than previous seasons. In short, he’s more direct to his swing and has more time to react in the box because he cut out a lot of his pre-swing movements.

Almora said Monday he’s far from where he wants to be, pointing out the MLB season is a 200-day marathon. It’s too early to tell whether his simplified approach leads to sustainable success.

Small sample size be damned, Almora’s made noticeable adjustments. That’s the first step in his mission to get back on track offensively.

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