Progressive thinking and the No. 1 pick in the draft

While most of Chicago is arguing the merits of drafting Memphis' Derrick Rose or Kansas State's Michael Beasley, one future sportswriter is thinking progressively.

Yeah, that's me.

While the Rose/Beasley debates give the city something to argue about other than where Alfonso Soriano should bat, Bulls General Manager John Paxson should be thinking about how he can get Rose and Beasley.

That's right, Rose AND Beasley. I didn't stutter.

Rose could become the next elite NBA point guard, you have to take him. Beasley is the inside scoring presence Bulls fans have been clamoring for in the last two years.

So instead of settling on one, why not try to get both?

It sounds like the impossible dream, but it can happen. All you need is to be a little bit creative. Think about it people, you have the No. 1 pick in the draft. You have to take in consideration each possible scenario.

The Bulls have plenty of chips to trade, and you've got to believe that no one is untouchable. The Miami Heat, who currently hold the second pick, have their hearts set on Rose. And if he's not available, the pick is rumored to be on the block.

There have to be some pieces that Pat Riley has got to like.

The Heat already have a superstar point guard in Dwyane Wade and a great supporting star in forward Shawn Marion. Adding a few proven NBA players would put the Heat back in the NBA playoff picture without a doubt.

How about adding Kirk Hinrich to team in the backcourt with D-Wade. Hinirich is a solid defender who can guard the opposition's point or shooting guard.

Ben Gordon is a flat-out scorer who can average 20 points if he starts or if he comes off the bench. A backcourt of Wade and Gordon could light up the guard combos of most NBA teams.

Adding Luol Deng would give the Heat size in the backcourt, for Deng would have to move over to the two-guard position. It's not like he's not athletic enough for the job. A 6-8 two-guard that can slash, defend and shoot out to 20 feet would have a lot of open shots with opposing defenses focusing on Wade and Marion.

I could go on, mentioning the value of Tyrus Thomas, who could turn into Tyson Chandler under the direction of D-Wade. Or how Drew Gooden could be a valuable frontcourt player in the MIA. Or how Joakim Noah would benefit from moving to the 305 -- mostly because he'd be closer to his college campus.

Oh wait, that didn't work out too well, did it?

With the No. 1 pick in the draft, the Bulls have the ability to do something special. But with the talent and potential that could (and should) be on the block, the Bulls could kill two birds with one stone.

Rose, Larry Hughes, Thabo Sefolosha, Beasley and Aaron Gray (?) could compete in the Eastern Conference tomorrow.

While I ponder the possibilities of having the two best prospects in this year's draft on the 2008-09 Bulls, I can only hope that Johnny Jumpshot is doing the same.


The most exciting thing about baseball is...

When Chicago Cubs catcher Geovany Soto hit an inside-the-park home run against the Houston Astros, I said that it was the most exciting thing to see in baseball.

Then, newly acquired center fielder Jim Edmonds made one of those patented "Jimmy Baseball" over-the-shoulder catches to rob Hunter Pence of what could possibly have been an inside-the-parker for the Astros.

I said that was one of the best catches I've ever seen, even though a keen eye would take notice that Edmonds misjudged the ball off the bat.

However, those two amazing plays took a backseat hours later when Boston Red Sox lefty Jon Lester no-hit the Kansas City Royals.

We're a month and a half into the baseball season, yet we've had a lot of top-notch plays happen already.

Minnesota Twins center fielder Carlos Gomez hit for the cycle (single, double, triple and home run) against the Chicago White Sox. Gomez was the prize that came to the Twins from the New York Mets in exchange for Johan Santana.

The White Sox have been excruciatingly close to not one, but two no hitters already this season. Lest we forget about Mark Buerhle's no-no in 2007.

Heck, even the struggling Cleveland Indians had their own highlight reel play when infielder Asdrubal Cabrera turned an unassisted triple play.

However, if there is such a thing as the low-light, Dusty Baker and the Cincinnati Reds take the cake.

If Dusty isn't asking sluggers Edwin Encarnacion or Adam Dunn to put down a sacrifice bunt, his team bats out of order. Something my little league team never did, and they had ME on the team!

All of those things are more interesting than anything I've ever seen live.

Want my list? I don't care, I'm going to give it to you anyway. It will seem biased, but a lot of the baseball I've seen has come at either Wrigley Field or Comiskey Park.

  1. Mark Prior out duels Greg Maddux in Game 3 of the 2003 NLDS. There's nothing like playoff baseball at Wrigley Field.
  2. Sammy Sosa and Moises Alou hit back-to-back jacks to beat the Reds in April 2004. This happened after the Cubs batted out of order (again, under Dusty Baker's watch because he doesn't know how to pull a successful double switch.)
  3. Carlos Lee's walk-off winner against the Cubs in 2000 at Comiskey in 14 innings. Sammy Sosa erased an 0-fer night with a game-tying home run against Keith Foulke. But Courtney Duncan got lit up by El Caballo.
So, what's the most exciting thing in baseball?

- LMed

Spygate: Is it over yet?

Yesterday, more videos were leaked by former New England Patriots video assistant Matt Walsh. These videos revealed more of the 'Patriot Way,' which evidently includes the oppositions signals, following plays, down and distance and time remaining.

It was pretty damning evidence, to the point where SportsCenter aired a special with Cris Carter and Mark Schlereth dissecting the video.

After seeing the videos, the question of the day is as follows: should the NFL levy more punishment on the Pats?

I, for one, was stunned to see the kind of video provided by Walsh. It's hard enough to stop Tom Brady, but when he knows what kind of package you're throwing at him it's got to be harder.

Maybe, in an effort to punish the Pats (and set a standard for the rest of the league that this type of cheating would not be tolerated) the league should strip the Pats of a first round pick in 2009, a second round pick in 2010 and a third round pick in 2011.

Spread the punishment and show them who's boss. Because if it was Pac Man Jones shooting the video, the Pats would probably be banned from the NFL.

Instead the NFL likely won't do anything, because, um, well, I don't know why they wouldn't.




When it comes to teases, the pretty girls in Wrigleyville have nothing on Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf.

As a Bulls fan, I'm tired of Reinsdorf jerking my chain.

We heard the T-Wolves wanted to punch the Big Ticket out of Minnesota, but the Bulls couldn't come with the right package.

We heard Pau Gasol was certainly coming to the Bulls (eventually). However, the Bulls were unable to pull the trigger.

Then, we heard that we had a chance to bring in the best player in the game. He even told us to go buy a Bulls jersey.

Unfortunately, the Bulls were unwilling to deal Ben Gordon, Kirk Hinrich and Ben Wallace.

And now, this.

Mike D'Antoni wanted to coach the Bulls, bringing his fun-and-gun style to a city that has practically slept on professional basketball since No. 23 officially hanged it up.

The Bulls wanted D'Antoni to lead its youthful roster, which he saw fit for his style.

So, why isn't he coaching the Bulls?

Because Reinsdorf and Co. sat on their hands and waited to be outbid. And they were.

They low-balled their top choice and will likely have to settle for their third choice.

Chicago, I hope you're ready for some more bad basketball.

The roster is in flux. There is no plan in place. They have no stinkin' coach. A Bulls fan's only hope is that the ping-pong balls bounce to the point where the Bulls can land either Derrick Rose or Michael Beasley.

The Bulls offseason plan should have been this:
  1. Sign D'Antoni and let the run-and-gun put Chicagoland McDonald's restaurants out of business.
  2. Rig the draft, pick up Michael Beasley.
  3. Sign Baron Davis, let him run the point.
Instead, it will look like this.
  1. Sign nameless, faceless assistant coach for cheap.
  2. With the 9th pick in the NBA Draft, select Kevin Love because we all know John Paxson loves good college players from powerhouse programs.
  3. Keep the roster in tact and hope last year was just a fluke.
The Bulls should be thriving right now. Instead they are struggling because they couldn't take advantage of the ultimate recruiting tool: the Jordan Era.

Instead, Reinsdorf treats the Bulls like a second-rate hobby.

While this city starves for a winner (that isn't lead by ranting lunatic from Venezuela), it might get it from a franchise that has provided 100 years of punchlines. Or a professional hockey franchise that isn't located in a Chicago suburb. Maybe a football team that is one year removed from a Super Bowl appearance can make it happen.

OK, maybe not.

Instead, the team that has provided Chicago with the most championships sits on its laurels, hoping the right situation happens instead of making the right situation happen.


Brenneman vs. Cubs II

While the Cubs were swinging and missing during most of the series against the Cincinnati Reds, announcer Thom Brenneman landed a cheap shot.

I have it on good authority that one of those Brenneman folk (and his sidekick Chris Welch) followed in his daddy's footsteps and basically implied (without any substance, mind you) that Cubs catcher Geovany Soto has used performance enhancing drugs.

Courtesy of Hire Jim Essian!

"THOM: You look at his career numbers, I’m talking about his minor league numbers, he just came to the majors for the first time this season. And you wonder, you know, where did all of this offense all of a sudden come from Geovany Soto?…You look at his minor league numbers, .260 one year, .269, .242, .271, .253…he had never hit more than nine home runs in a minor league season..NINE, until last year when he hit TWENTY-SIX in Triple-A Iowa and hit .353. Now all of a sudden, in his first full-year in the major leagues, granted it’s only a month and a week, but he’s hitting almost .340 and leads the Cubs in runs batted in with 24.

CHRIS: I don’t mean this in a bad way, but before steroid testing, you see a blip in the radar like that you say, well..

THOM: Right…

CHRIS: …one of the possibilities might be he’s juicing, but obviously that’s not the case anymore, everyone’s tested. And you know that doesn’t happen very much with baseball players because usually, whether it’s at the minor league level or the major league level, by the time you’re 28 or so…I’m not sure how old Soto is…he’s only 25, you reach a certain plateau of productivity. You pretty much stay within range. Maybe now that he’s getting closer to the prime of his career…around…he’s 25, so it’ll be a couple years until he’s in that…but maybe he’s reaching a new plateau.

THOM: Well another guy that was similar to that was Sammy Sosa…now people can accuse Sosa of “did he do this or did he do that”. To my knowledge he’s never been tested in a positive way for any kind of steroids, whether people believe or not he did is an entirely different question.

But the point being, that Sosa was one of those guys coming up through the White Sox organization who never hit many home runs, then all of a sudden got to the big leagues and started knocking the cover off the ball."

Oh no he didn't!

The first thing that came to my mind (and it's not because I'm a jealous Cubs fan) was Albert Pujols coming from nowhere to destroy the league, and the only comments we can get about him are from jealous Cubs fans who take shots at what Pujols' real age is and take notice that he's under the guidance of a manager whose players have been known to be (at least allegedly) BALCO'd Up!

But this isn't about Albert.

If this was Red Sox/Yankees and a broadcaster threw something like that out, it would have been the top story on ESPN. Heck, they made a big deal out of Gary Thorne's allegation that Curt Schilling's bloody sock was just a scam.

Instead, the World Wide Leader sweeps it under the rug. And to be honest, it's not that big of a deal.

Unless Brenneman takes a glance at Brandon Phillips.

The slugging second baseman only posted six home runs in 462 at bats during his time as a Cleveland Indian.

Two years later, as a Red, he's parlayed that into a 30-30 campaign in 2007 and is currently raking on my fantasy team as I attempt to capture the crown.

I'd say those numbers came out of nowhere, wouldn't you?

Let this be a lesson to Thom, who I consider to be one of the best play-by-play announcers in sports.

Don't think you can throw outrageous claims to the public without someone noticing and picking you apart.

Have a wonderful day!


LeBum James?

When LeBron James scored 25 consecutive points during the 4th quarter and overtime against the Detroit Pistons in game 5 of the 2007 Eastern Conference finals, I told everyone, this was the greatest performance ever in the NBA playoffs.

Yes, better than Jordan's 63 in the Garden way back when. And more impressive than Magic Johnson playing center replacing Kareem Abdul Jabbar in game 6 of the 1980 NBA Finals (and oh yeah he was a rookie and won MVP.)

Many Jordan and Magic fans didn't agree with my opinion on James' performance on that mystical night at the Palace of Auburn Hills. They all agreed with one thing though, that James would be one of the greatest players to ever play on the hardwood.

Now let's take a left off memory lane and make a right back to reality road. After two games against the Boston 3 Party or the PGA Tour (Pierce, Garnett and Allen) or whatever you want to call them, James is 8 for 42 in the series.

And no, the Cavs did not add Jerome James to the playoff roster and forced him to shoot jumpers at gun point, where Talking about LeBron James, the same player who scored 25 consecutive points in Detroit against a Pistons team that was known for their defense.

OK so I know what your going to say, the Celtics had the best defense in the NBA this year. That is true, but did any defense of any kind stop Jordan from making opponents look foolish guarding him? Did double teams stop Larry Bird's lights out shooting in the post season? The answer to both of these questions is: No! Every great player plays to the occasion, and King James looked more like the Queen with his performances in games 1 and 2 against the Celtics.

If you haven't looked at either of these games or looked at a box score (or living under a rock) you would probably awake from hibernation saying: well, the Cavs and LeBron can't stop Garnett, Pierce and Allen, there is just no way! Well your sadly mistaken because the PGA Tour in this series has been rained out.

Garnett scored 28 points while Pierce and Allen where no where to be found as they combined to score 4 points (well Pierce scored the total 4 points, I wanted to include Allen just for the effort.)

The Celtics miraculously win 76-72. In Game 2, the sun started to peak out of the gray clouds and The Big 3 started to come alive again with Pierce scoring 19, Allen putting in 16 and Garnett contributing 13 points and grabbing 12 boards in a 89-73 win, but the Celtics still didn't look like the team that won 66 games this year. Bron Bron and the Cavs had a chance to take advantage of the Celtics and have the series at least tied 1-1 heading back to Cleveland, but they let that opportunity slip away.

Now I guess you're going to say this: LeBron dont have good players around him. I hate to break this to you but that is weak! Michael Jordan had Dave Corzine and Sam Vincent to share the ball with in his early career but he was still able to dominate with what he had. And yes, the rest of the Cavs players did not shoot well neither, but still if you are one of the best you have to play the role!

Everyone is not perfect, in fact we have had moments at our jobs where we didn't work to our potential, if it's being a construction worker or flipping burgers. Let's just say that your a construction worker coming into work and you have a bad day. You don't get what you want built on schedule, not at the time that you usually get your assignment finished (keep in mind I don't know anything about construction work, this is an example, so bare with me) there is still the next day and you will get it done.

But the construction worker don't just finish the job and leave a few nails missing from the house and let the whole thing crumble to the ground, he has the foundation still standing. LeBron has to be like that construction worker. Yes you had a bad game (or two) but don't let the house fall to the ground missing a few nails.

The greats in the game adjust to whatever situation it is. If your jump shot is not falling take it to the cup. If you cant go to the hole, than create your own shot or dish it off to someone else. LeBron has emerged as one of the best in the NBA, but what makes you great is performing and winning in the playoffs. Without any research I could assure you that Jordan or Bird did not have 2 back to back stinkers in the playoffs like this.

One thing to keep an eye on is this, what LeBron are we going to see? The one that dominated the Pistons in game 5 in Detroit last year and off to being on of the greatest to ever play this game. Or a one hit wonder, that only tasted the finals once and never gets back to the large stage again.

Stay tuned and continue to watch this series, even though the first two games were eye sores.

- Da Carter

Cedric the Entertainer

This might turn into a slugfest, really soon.

It all started when reports came out that Chicago Bears running back Cedric Benson was arrested for BWI (Boating While Intoxicated) and was reportedly drunk, cocky and had to be subdued by police using pepper spray.

Since then, Ced has come forward saying he wasn't drunk and did not resist arrest, while alleging that the cops were abusive.

He even has witnesses, including his mother.

So now the Bears are in quite a pickle. Take note of the zero tolerance policy the team used with the Tank Johnson situation. What should they do?

They should probably cut him and save the hassle and avoid the distraction Benson would become. Besides, the Bears took hometown product Rashard Mendenhall out of Illinois, so they should be in good shape.

Wait, they took an offensive lineman from Vanderbilt?

They play football at Vandy? No way!


It seemed as if Benson's days as a Bear were numbered, with the addition of second-round draft pick Matt Forte and GM Jerry Angelo's insistence that the Bears were in search of a three-down back.

It's a shame too, because coming out of Texas, Benson was an elite college back who looked like he was the most NFL-ready back in the draft.

Instead, Auburn's Ronnie Brown (now of the Miami Dolphins) looks like he was the keeper of that draft, while former college teammate Cadillac Williams (now of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) remains stalled with injuries (did you see what I did there?) and Benson battles his legal issues.

Meanwhile, former Southern Illinois (and Auburn) running back Brandon Jacobs has a Super Bowl ring with the New York Giants.

He was a fourth-round pick, that was available for the Bears, who instead chose Purdue quarterback Kyle Orton.



On the matter of collusion

Major League Baseball is looking into why players such as Barry Bonds and Kenny Lofton remain unsigned. I doubt there is collusion involved because it's really easy to see why none of these players are being signed. Here's the list ESPN compiled:Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Kenny Lofton, Jose Mesa, Mike Piazza, Sammy Sosa, David Wells.

Could collusion be a possibility in Bonds' case? Absolutely. I doubt that's the case and it is easy to see why. Sure Bonds would be a great fit for a team looking for a designated hitter but why would any team want that baggage? For as long as we've known him, Bonds has been described as nothing short of a jagbag in the clubhouse so why would any team want to bring him in? He loves to have the attention on him but if I could make certain he was willing to change I'd roll the dice.

In Clemens' case we have to consider the legal issues. I'm not even sure he wants to come back, either. He wasn't too sharp in his return last season and he pulled in a ton of cash. Doesn't sound like collusion to me.

Lofton is an interesting situation. He was never tied to any performance-enhancing drugs but yet finds himself on the outs. Same goes for Wells. Neither put up dazzling numbers in their last season but both are good enough to be considered on bad teams right now. The only explanation I can think of is a quote from the doorman in "Knocked Up".

Doorman: "You old, she pregnant...can't have a buncha old, pregnant bitches running around. That's crazy. I'm only allowed to let in 5% black people. He said that, that means if there’s 25 people here I get to let in 1 1/4 black people. So I gotta hope there’s a midget in the crowd."

That's about the only way I can sum things up. Also on the subject of Wells, another quote from "Knocked Up" may get him a job, eventually.

E! News Executive: "Oh, no, we're not asking you to lose weight. That would be illegal. We just want you to be healthy! So go home, weigh yourself on a scale, write than down. Then subtract 20 from that number. And weigh that. Yeah."

- Hartwig

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