So the MLB regular season has come to an end...and we learned a lot, at least I think.
First, Miguel Cabrera is the best hitter in baseball. You could certainly debate that Mike Trout is the MVP, but to say Cabrera is not the best hitter would be completely wrong.
Second, Robin Ventura can make it in this league. We all laughed at the idea of him becoming the Sox skipper, but he did a pretty masterful job balancing the bullpen, rotation, veterans, and everything thrown at him (sure September was a mess, but he is a 1st-time manager, so I give him a pass this year)
Third, Anthony Rizzo is a great building block in Chicago, Darwin Barney is a great defensive second baseman, and Starlin Castro still has room to grow...and he will.
Next, Ron Roenicke is a really good manager. I had this feeling last year, but this year the Brewers never would have climbed out of the abyss if not for the way he managed this club. He deserves as much credit as the players for the turnaround.
Finally, while it may be exciting, the 2nd wild card team is still flawed. I truly think it needs to be a 5-game series. This is not March Madness...a play-in game is nothing but a hokey-gimick. If you are going to do it, do it right Bud! The problem with a 5-game series is it gives the top teams way too much time off, clearly disadvantaging them. Because of that, I think it's gotta go.
Oh, and I almost forgot the most important one...the season is still way too long.
That's what "King" James would have you all believe...or at least he said as much this week following backlash from his most recent "lets make this about me" tweet. Following Blake Griffin's monster dunk over Kendrick Perkins, Lebron felt it was necessary to weigh in via twitter (not a problem as I see it). Here is Lebron's Tweet following the Griffin dunk (Clearly he is making it about himself)..."Dunk of the Year! @blakegriffin just dunked on Kendrick Perkins so hard!!! Wow! I guess I'm No. 2 now. Move over #6"
Perkins questioned why the self-annointed King would bother tweeting about someone else's big play. The back and forth continued between the two, who clearly don't like eachother.
Thats the basic background, but I felt compelled to comment because of the latest development.
After the Heat's 102-89 loss to the Magic Wednesday night, James brought us the latest gem in a series of "poor me" thoughts from the King. Apparently, Lebron feels like we are all blaming him for bad things that happen...
"I'm an easy target; if someone wants to get a point across -- just throw LeBron's name in there," James said. "You could be watching cartoons with your kids and you don't like it, you say, 'Blame it on LeBron.' If you go to the grocery store and they don't have the milk that you like, you just say, 'It's LeBron's fault.' "
It's hard to react with anything other than ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?!?!? How self-absorbed and arrogant can you be? I know when I stubbed my toe on the couch last night, the first thing I thought was, "LEBRONNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!"
James should reconsider his nickname, King's don't act like this. I'm think something like Lebron "Look at me" James.
Disappointing when you consider he could have been the best player in NBA history...
The 2011 season ended with a 17-13 win over the Vikings on New Year’s Day…a rather anticlimactic finish to a dive-bomb of a season. Eight wins, eight losses, and a thumb injury at quarterback. That’s how 2011 will be remembered.
2012 means it’s time for a new chapter in the storied franchise’s history…and as the page turns forward, it does so without GM Jerry Angelo. After eleven years as general manager, Angelo was relieved of his duties today.
In his tenure, the Bears won four division championships, two NFL title appearances, and 1 trip to the Super Bowl...but for the fourth time in five seasons, missed the playoffs again this year. Chicago did have success under Angelo, but his awful track record in the draft will certainly be the legacy left behind. Of his 82 draft picks, just 22 are still on the roster. Lance Briggs and Devin Hester are the top two.
Until Angelo was canned, the Bears were never going to move forward as a franchise. Now, the Monsters of the Midway can get younger, and with any shred of hope, stop playing the game like its still 1985. The move for Jay Cutler showed this team wants to step out of the stone age, but they have still yet to make the full-leap. With Jerry gone, they now can.
This franchise needs to recognize the importance of an aerial attack, and needs to build around the draft. Young, deep teams have sustained success (see reigning Super Bowl Champions). The offensive line needs to improve, but if healthy, I think they have some solid pieces. Wide receivers are a must. I said it last year, I will said it again and again until there is a strong core of targets for Jay Cutler to throw to. And an insurance plan at QB is a must. 2011 was bookended with bad quarterback play in Jay’s absence. That can’t happen again.
On defense, shutdown corners and above average safeties will make this team a contender. I am more than comfortable with the front four (or seven if you include the LBs), but the backend of the defense is mediocre at best. Again, get younger! Especially at linebacker. Urlacher and Briggs won’t be around forever, so who is next in line.
I don’t believe the Bears need to tear it all down and start anew, just that changes needed to take place at the top. Angelo’s firing was step 1 in moving forward and stepping into the new era of football.
The Bears season is essentially done, and I couldn't be more excited about the return of hoops. Not college hoops you purists! THE NBA! Yes, I know a vast majority of you can't stand the league, and while I understand why, I don't share the same feelings. With Derrick Rose inked to a max extension, I cannot wait to see this Bulls team eclipse 60 wins again this year (45 since its a shortened season...that would be the same win percentage) I still think Dwight Howard would be a great addition (and I'm willing to deal Deng, Noah and Gibson to get him), but even without superman, this team will contend again for the East.
I was very critical of the Rip Hamilton signing, but I was wrong. Even though it was a preseason game, I loved what I saw on Tuesday night. Hamilton is a guy who can hit the outside shot, can run the floor with Derrick Rose, and can create his own shot when needed. The Bulls didn't have that last year. He is not a defensive stopper, but you have other guys to play that role. One other big thing Rip does for Chicago is move! The Bulls did a lot of standing and watching Rose last season...Hamilton is a guy he is active on the offensive end. I like the signing, even if it means admitting I was wrong.
I'll have some more detailed predictions for the season before the calendar turns to 2012, but I'll tell you right now, I like the Bulls to make the conference finals!
I'm very encouraged by the Bears performance Sunday in the win over the Panthers, but there is a still a major problem - no wide receivers! Play-calling was much better, o-line looked good, defense/special teams were pretty much business as usual. What was missing was a pass attack.
As long as Chicago opts out of the importance of a legit wideout, they will continue to fall short. This team has enough to make the postseason, and will be a division contender for the near future, but they will NOT win the big show without a #1 wideout.
Here are the Bears' top 10 receivers (based on receptions) of all time!
1) Walter Payton
2) Johnny Morris
3) Marty Booker
4) Curtis Conway
5) Mike Ditka
6) Neal Anderson
7) Matt Suhey
8) Bobby Engram
9) Desmond Clark
10) Dick Gordon
Notice a problem here, no true #1 receivers. Its a passing league, and the Bears need to run to be successful...but the potential will NEVER be realized without a #1.
Time of Possession...the single biggest reason the Bears lose games. There are a number of reasons Chicago loses the T.O.P. battle, but the bottom line is: lose that battle, lose that game!
In the Bears two losses, they have had the football a combined 46 minutes, 17 seconds...their opponents have had the football 73 minutes, 43 seconds. That is nearly 28 minutes opponents have the chance to score that Chicago does not. Imagine if the Badgers got the basetball for 30 minutes, and their opponent only got 10 minutes. Who would win? It should come as no surprise the Bears lost the Green Bay and New Orleans with that sort of discrepency in time of possession.
Did I mention the game the Bears won? They held the football for 33 minutes, 19 seconds...Atlanta had the ball for 26 minutes, 41 seconds.
T.O.P. is the reason for the losses, so how does Chicago fix the problem?
1) Run more! Even if its unsuccessful, you are taking time of the clock and giving your defense the opportunity to rest. You keep the defense honest, and every now and then, Forte will break a long run.
2) Script a drive...Green Bay's opening possession is almost ALWAYS their best, thats because it is planned ahead of time...Score early, build confidence, and establish rhythym...I'm not sure the Bears know how to do that.
3) Improve the line...easier said then done, but unless the line gets better, it won't matter if you run or pass, the offense won't move!