That's All She Wrote

Favre's streak not the best

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George Ofman

I know my stuff. 36 years in broadcasting. Sox Cubs Bears Bulls Hawks. You ask, I'll answer

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What a streak. What a magnificent streak. 297 consecutive games played. Talk about an ironman!

Come to think of it, I will.

And Brett Favre's gaudy streak ranks fourth on my list. It ranks behind the other three major sports.

And for me, there is no comparison. None whatsoever!

I'm amazed if not downright amused at those who believe it's the greatest consecutive streak of all time. Greater than Cal Ripken's? Greater than A.C. Green's? Greater than Doug Jarvis's?

No, no and...no again!

I'm not here to diminish what Favre accomplished. His streak stands on its own. It's certainly one of the most noteworthy streaks in sports history. But let's examine it a little closer.

While Favre fashioned his streak over 19 years, it was done during a 16 game schedule with games generally played once a week. Yes, Favre took his share of beatings and had to wake up the next morning wondering if he got the license plate of the linebacker that hit him. But he also had time to recuperate. Sometimes it was two weeks when you factor in the bye week.

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Let's compare that to say, Green's NBA streak of 1,192 consecutive games? Green's remarkable run was accomplished over nearly 15 seasons and during the league's rough and grinding 82 game schedule. Think Green wasn't playing hurt some of the time? And how often did Green get a chance to recuperate? NBA teams can play four games in five nights and in different cities.

The travel alone is a grind. Green didn't get hit by linebackers but try going for a rebound and taking an elbow to the chin or perhaps, a shove to the back. And then there's the constant running up and down a hardwood floor. My knees are hurting just thinking about.

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And then there's Doug Jarvis. He played in 964 straight NHL games, an extremely impressive feat when you consider the rigors and violent nature of hockey. I'm going to guess Jarvis got hit more in one season than Favre did in his entire career.

The physical demands of pro hockey are similar to that of basketball in endurance, games played and travel. Steve Larmer got hit plenty of times. He played in 884 straight games with the Blackhawks. And he was very diplomatic when discussing the streaks.

"It's hard to compare the streaks though it's amazing what Favre did" he told me from his Canadian home. "There is a lot of luck involved. But it's like trying to compare one era of players to another." Larmer said he played hurt at times. All players do. Imagine what a hockey player must feel like after being crashed into the boards several times a game.

Let's compare that to Favre, or any quarterback. A play could last anywhere from 4 to 10 seconds. And unless you're Jay Cutler, you're not going be sacked to the turf or tackled very often. You're seldom going to throw a block.

A hockey player takes a shift for 30 to 45 seconds, sits for a few minutes, then returns. Top players might log as much as 30 minutes of ice time a game. A basketball player gets plenty of stop time due to fouls, turnovers and timeouts.Top players in the NBA might play 40 or more minutes a night.

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And you can argue Cal Ripken just played baseball even though he played it for 2,632 straight games over 16 seasons of a 162 game schedule. Ripken played with his share of injuries, too and while the physical demands of baseball pale in comparison to that of the other sports, are you going to tell me playing day in and night out with some rare days off over 6 months and then doing it for 16 straight years is less impressive than Favre's streak?

On the contrary; I think it's more impressive. And so is that of Green and Jarvis. I suggest their bodies (not Ripken's) took more of a beating than Favre's.

Oh. Did I mention Glenn Hall played 502 consecutive games in goal and without a mask? Now that's a streak that belongs among the pantheon of great streaks.

Sorry. When it comes to the greatest consecutive game streaks in sports, Brett Favre finishes behind the rest.

George Ofman is a sports reporter for WBBM Newsradio 780. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter @georgeofman

Ozzie as good as gone?

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George Ofman

I know my stuff. 36 years in broadcasting. Sox Cubs Bears Bulls Hawks. You ask, I'll answer

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Ozzie Guillen's not going to retire as he's threatened to do in the past. Only it's possible he'll be managing the Florida Marlins next season!

Matter of fact, as I reported on Newsradio 780 WBBM, intermediaries for Guillen and the Marlins have been talking since early August about a move to South Florida only it wouldn't be much of a move for Guillen since he owns a home in Miami.

Guillen's people approached the Marlins and they were more than receptive considering the franchise will open its' new glossy stadium in 2012. Who better to be the face of the franchise than Guillen who could sell tickets in any language though Spanish works perfectly in this region.

Tampering rules prohibit either side from direct contact but this is not exactly a wink-wink, nod-nod. Both organizations are well aware of what's going on.

Guillen is the Marlins number one choice and there may not be a close second. We're not sure who Guillen's intermediaries are but if Oney Guillen's involved, Twitter can't be far behind.

Remember, Guillen was the third base coach for the Marlins when they won the World Series in 2003. He was hired by the Sox the next year and was not Williams's first choice. Cito Gaston was.

Come to think of it, Guillen wasn't in the picture until Jerry Reinsdorf suggested he give the former Sox shortstop a chance to sell himself. But the relationship between Williams and Guiilen has all but deteriorated with one source describing as irreparable.

Guillen said it's up the White Sox where he'll be next season. Translation; contract extension. He has a year left on his deal but Williams would love nothing more than to let him move as far away from the Sox dugout as possible.

Nothing is set in stone. Reinsdorf could play peace maker and both Guillen and Williams co-exist for another year. Another scenario could find Guillen staying and Williams taking a hike with Rick Hahn becoming the new GM. Williams is tired of the drama. And Guillen remains the face of this franchise.

Anything's possible. But if the Marlins are serious about Guillen (and serious could mean 16 million dollars over 4 years), they could get him front row seats to watch Lebron, Wade and Bosh go 82 and 0. And those three could get first row seats to watch Ozzie manage the Marlins next season.

You can follow me on Twitter @georgeofman and on Facebook. I also work the update desk and report for Newsradio 780 WBBM.

The Cubs calamity at Clark and Addison

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George Ofman

I know my stuff. 36 years in broadcasting. Sox Cubs Bears Bulls Hawks. You ask, I'll answer

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If the past weekend in Colorado didn't convince die-hard Cubs fans their team was dead, then no dose of reality will cure them. There was a record breaking 12 run, 11 hit barrage Friday night; a walk off homer by a guy who hit for the cycle on Saturday and then, Carlos Silva losing his breath and some of his heartbeat on Sunday. If the Cubs still have heart, the beat is far worse than irregular.

The Cubs also traded Ted Lilly and Ryan Theriot and welcomed back (though not exactly with wide open arms), Carlos Zambrano who made two appearances out of the bullpen. Sunday's effort equaled 54 pitches, 2 runs, 4 hits and two walks in 2 innings. If progress is measured in pitches, Big Z is soon headed to the rotation. If it's measured in performance, Zambrano will need more than anger management to restore his ailing career.

And their lame duck manager was attending the funeral of an Uncle. The funeral for the 2010 Cubs is scheduled for October 4th. No word whether Lou Piniella will be one of the pallbearers.

The Cubs aren't merely a train wreck; they're a 20 car pileup on the Kennedy!  No emergency personnel can save them, not even Derrick Lee who decided to remain part of this disaster rather than except a trade to a contender. While cloistered in the studios of WGN radio over the weekend where I conducted "The Cubs 10th inning post game show",  callers (which numbered fewer than usual and with good reason) showed less outrage than in previous months when the Cubs were fooling them into false hope. The passion usually reserved for denizens who worship at the corner of Clark and Addison is fading faster than one run losses. And the Cubs have 24 of them, most in the majors. The chants of "Let's go Cubs" is about to replaced by "Let go of these Cubs".

And that's going to be an issue General Manager Jim Hendry will have to tackle while searching for his third manager. The payroll could plummet as attendance will for the rest of the season. What will he do with the nearly invisible Kosuke Fukudome and the all too visible Zambrano? That's nearly 60 million dollars to fret about.  Aramis Ramirez will opt in rather than out of his contract meaning he'll reap 14.6 million. And remember, Alfonso Soriano is due another 72 million over the next 4 seasons. If I'm Tom Ricketts, I would consider hiring an actuary and one of Zambrano's doctors.

Meanwhile, the White Sox are thriving on the south side, a first place team in search of a playoff spot that seemed so farfetched just 6 weeks ago. Jealous Cubs are in search of a new direction. How does next year sound....again?

You can follow me on twitter @georgeofman and on Facebook. I'm also a contributor to WGN Radio's "Cubs 10th inning post game show."

Prince Fielder not worth a princely price

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George Ofman

I know my stuff. 36 years in broadcasting. Sox Cubs Bears Bulls Hawks. You ask, I'll answer

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How much is too much for the portly Prince Fielder? Only Kenny Williams knows. Check that; only Kenny Williams and Jerry Reinsdorf know. The price for a prince could wind up being a king's ransom so is it worth it?  Gordon Beckham and Daniel Hudson? Carlos Quentin in the mix? How about Jordan Danks and a few others in the much depleted Sox system?  Then there is the money. If a trade is made by July 31st, the Sox would owe Fielder about 3.5 million through this season.  He's arbitration eligible for 2011 so we're talking in the 12 to 15 million dollar range. And did I mention he'll be a free agent after next season? Think Jerry would allow Kenny to sign off on a long term deal worth an average of $25 mil per season? There's a better chance of Brooks Boyer building his own cap to seal the oil leak in the Gulf.

So Fielder would be a rent a player for the rest of 2010 and 2011. Does he assure you a World Series title?  No way to really quantify that. The Sox could definitely use a left hand bat in their lineup. It's why they've kicked the tires on Adam Dunn and perhaps done the same with Lance Berkman and maybe even Adam LaRoche. But Fielder is a horse of a different kind and I do mean horse. He's listed as 5-11, 268. Rather generous, don't you think? But he is only 26 and heading into the prime of his career so long as he doesn't eat his way through it. And it begs this question; How does a vegetarian look like a Sumo wrestler?

And can someone tell me why a guy who batted .299 last season with 46 homers and 141 RBI has 23 and paltry 45 RBI for a team that is 6th in majors in runs? I'm just asking with the hopes someone has a reasonable answer.

Bottom line; he's not worth it.

Could the next Cubs manager be Dave Martinez?

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George Ofman

I know my stuff. 36 years in broadcasting. Sox Cubs Bears Bulls Hawks. You ask, I'll answer

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Yes, that Dave Martinez, the one who once played for the Cubs and is part of team's folklore in an unseemly manner.  I'll touch on that later.

Martinez is in his 4th season as bench coach of the Tampa Rays, a young team that went to the World Series in his second season and has since been a contender. The boyish looking yet fiercely competitive Martinez is considered by many in baseball circles as solid managerial timber. Long time Rays play by play announcer Dewayne Staats (who also shared a Cubs microphone with Harry Caray from 1985 through 1989) believes Martinez is ready to take the next step. "The more you get to know him, the more you see he has the potential to be a very good manager. Being around Ray manager Joe Maddon gives him a better sense of the job."

 While Martinez has spent over three seasons as a bench coach, he's believed to have interviewed for one managerial job; the Cleveland Indians. He has the Cubs' pedigree just like Joe Girardi. What he doesn't have is Girardi's cache; two managerial stints and a World Series title.  This is hard to beat which is why Girardi should be very high on Jim Hendry's list.  But Girardi, who is in the final year of a contract with the Yankees, could stay only it might cost the Steinbrenners a king's ransom. Martinez would manage for peanuts in comparison. While Martinez toils in relative anonymity in Tampa, Staats thinks he could handle with the Cubs. "They haven't won in over a century so the demands and the size of the market are a challenge.  Dave is respected and grades positive in many areas. He would be a solid major league manager."

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Martinez broke in with the Cubs in 1986 and spent two plus seasons there until being traded to Montreal in 1988.  It was widely speculated that trade and Rafael Palmeiro's departure after the season was connected to one of the more stunning and scurrilous stories in Cubs history.  Martinez, Palmeiro and several others were linked to having had a romantic interlude with Cindy Sandberg, Ryne's ex-wife.  While the story was never proven, it gained prominence when Sandberg retired suddenly during the 1994 season.  Only ten days after his shocking announcement, Cindy Sandberg filed for divorce. Sandberg, who met his second wife Margaret during his retirement, made a comeback in 1996.  And Martinez also returned to the Cubs, albeit for 18 games during the 2000 season. 

Imagine if Martinez got the job. What would Sandberg think? So while Martinez could become the next manager of the Cubs, his lack of experience and innuendo could doom his chances.

You can catch me on twitter @georgeofman and on Facebook. I'm also a contributor on WGN radio 

Grading the Sox and Cubs

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George Ofman

I know my stuff. 36 years in broadcasting. Sox Cubs Bears Bulls Hawks. You ask, I'll answer

What a first half it's been. The surging and almost surreal White Sox were 9 ½ game out of first place some 5 weeks ago. Now they own the penthouse in the Central division. Back on June 8th the Cubs were 6 ½ behind co-leaders St. Louis and Cincinnati. Now they're 9 ½ back.  So, in the spirit of the All-star game, it's time to grade both our Chicago teams. Some of those grades are very good; some not. The Cubs individually graded better than I thought. Tell me what you think?

You can follow me on twitter @georgeofman and on Facebook. I'm also a contributor on WGN radio.

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Zambrano to Sox.... Are you crazy?

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George Ofman

I know my stuff. 36 years in broadcasting. Sox Cubs Bears Bulls Hawks. You ask, I'll answer

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We know Carlos is and to an extent, so is Ozzie Guillen. But Kenny Williams isn't. Bold and calculating, yes but crazy....No!

And this is why Big Z will not wind up on the south side....and shouldn't.

Oh, did I mention Jerry Reinsdorf? Think he'd sign off on the loony from the north side?

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Zambrano to Sox.... Are you crazy?

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George Ofman

I know my stuff. 36 years in broadcasting. Sox Cubs Bears Bulls Hawks. You ask, I'll answer

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We know Carlos is and to an extent, so is Ozzie Guillen. But Kenny Williams isn't. Bold and calculating, yes but crazy....No!

And this is why Big Z will not wind up on the south side....and shouldn't.

Oh, did I mention Jerry Reinsdorf? Think he'd sign off on the loony from the north side?

Continue reading...

No issues with LeBron

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George Ofman

I know my stuff. 36 years in broadcasting. Sox Cubs Bears Bulls Hawks. You ask, I'll answer

I've got no problem with this, how about you? Bet you're ticked off LeBron didn't pick the Bulls, or even the Cavs. I'm not. Matter of fact, all the power to him. This is precisely what free agency is all about, even if it's attached to a dog and pony show followed by a somewhat schmaltzy made for TV event. But it was one Hell of a TV event. Kudos to ESPN which milked the publicity machine for every drop and likely had a massive audience. You watched, I watched....everyone watched, except my wife. She was asleep. Her loss.

Was it somewhat boring? Yes. Was it trite? Yes again. Was it captivating? Yes, Yes and Yes. The only thing missing was the question no one wanted to ask. When did LeBron really make the decision? If you believed it was this morning, I've got a cap for that oil well that really does fit! I think Lebron knew where he was going before he received 5 other teams that thought they had a chance. Bulls GM Gar Forman stated, "I remain convinced this organization made the strongest of bids to acquire LeBron James during this free agency period." Maybe the Bulls did, maybe they didn't. Bottom line is they were hoodwinked by LeBron and especially the homeboy, Dwyane Wade. He knew where he was going all along and it was no where. And Chris Bosh knew where he was going. And so did LeBron. They may have known this for days, months or even years!

But in the end, it doesn't matter. LeBron exercised his right to pick and choose where he was moving his mint and it's down to South Florida. I've got no problem with this, how about you?

Now, can the Bulls find a way to win an NBA title in the next 5 years? This, I have a problem with.

You can follow me on twitter @georgeofman and on Facebook. I'm also a contributor on WGN radio

Beckham bending but not breaking

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George Ofman

I know my stuff. 36 years in broadcasting. Sox Cubs Bears Bulls Hawks. You ask, I'll answer

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The golden child looks a little green, like a rookie. This was supposed to be the year Gordon Beckham would overtake Mark Buehrle and Ozzie Guillen as the Face of the White Sox Franchise would; Hollywood looks with a Hall of Fame future.

It's not happening.

"I haven't played very well all year. What can you say, it's my fault."

Beckham looks a little rough around the edges these days, the results of a .206 batting average and just 2 home runs. At this rate, he's headed for a face lift and the hall of shame. "It's frustrating. The baseball Gods are not smiling down on me." 

Neither is Ozzie Guillen, the Sox God of the dugout. Beckham is on the bench again because Brent Lillibridge, (whose face belongs on the cover of some teen magazine because he looks about 12 years old) is producing.

 

 

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Too many LeBron James Rumors

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George Ofman

I know my stuff. 36 years in broadcasting. Sox Cubs Bears Bulls Hawks. You ask, I'll answer

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Up in the sky, it's a bird, it's a plane...No, it's another Lebron James story. Please, gag me with a crowbar!  Whether it's the blustery Stepen A. Smith who claims his sources are impeccable and that LeBron and Chris Bosh are going to join forces with Dwyane Wade in Miami, or the New York Times which sited an NBA executive as saying it's a done deal; LeBron and Bosh are coming to the Bulls, or countless others stating they know where the King will be crowned, the steady stream of rumors is going to force me to solicit emotional advice from Carlos Zambrano!

Who are these people and how come they know so much, or so little?

Is this intriguing story? Yes. Is it alluring? Absolutely. Is it Annoying? You bet. You can't go a minute without the latest titillating tweet or fearless Facefook prediction chronicling the latest adventures of the franchise savior.  Remember when he was spotted somewhere in the northern suburbs checking out new digs? The word is it happened to be Julius Peppers, not LeBron. Honest mistake. I mean we're talking two hulking, African American Athletes in a tax bracket most of us wish we were in. Peppers is already getting paid handsomely by the Bears. But will LeBron have his pay checks printed by the Bulls?

It all depends on the rumor of the day.

Just saw a tweet claiming LeBron was sited at a Unimart in Bolingbrook. I kind of like that one.

Then there was the recent Chicago visit of Lebron to a local fitness guru. Did anyone really see him?  Maybe it was Peppers wearing a LeBron mask.

Seriously, no one knows where LeBron will take his act to next.

The King is about to receive interested teams in his home town of Akron, Ohio the way the Pope receives visitors to the Vatican. I wonder if you get special dispensation if you bring a pair "Air Jordans".

LeBron and his posse (and he has an unusual posse to say the least) will court would be employers including the Bulls. Fortunately, Jerry Krause will be unable to attend unless you can come up with a good rumor linking LeBron and Krause breaking bread and slobbering over crumbs at Cincinnati Reds' game. 

Yeah, it would be great to see LeBron in a Bulls uniform. He's already changing his number from 23 to 6 in deference to Jordan. But he could be wearing that uniform in New York, New Jersey, Miami, L.A. (that's the Clippers, not the Kobes) or Cleveland.  It all depends on the next rumor.

Wait....LeBron's limo just parked at Superdawg. Gotta go.

You can catch me on twitter @georgeofman (No LeBron rumors, really) and on Facebook. Plus, listen to me on WGN radio.

Isner and Mahut a hit But Storm is not

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George Ofman

I know my stuff. 36 years in broadcasting. Sox Cubs Bears Bulls Hawks. You ask, I'll answer

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It finally ended, and I couldn't have been more relieved. The longest tennis match in history had become a tortuous exercise in being annoyed. And this is coming from a tennis lover who watches way too much of "The Tennis Channel!  John Isner and Nicolas Mahut created wonderful theater, albeit several acts too long. Aces were the rule, not the exception. Long rallies were short. Guts and adrenalin were not. Holding serve seemed a right. Breaking it might get one of the combatants a jail sentence. The only intrigue was when it would end, not how. But while the riveting 5th set marathon was creating its own drama, it also was creating a babble fest in the broadcast booth. This is when being tortured and annoyed became unwitting partners.
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Isner and Mahut a hit But Storm is not

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George Ofman

I know my stuff. 36 years in broadcasting. Sox Cubs Bears Bulls Hawks. You ask, I'll answer

ISNER AND MAHUT.jpg
It finally ended, and I couldn't have been more relieved. The longest tennis match in history had become a tortuous exercise in being annoyed. And this is coming from a tennis lover who watches way too much of "The Tennis Channel!  John Isner and Nicolas Mahut created wonderful theater, albeit several acts too long. Aces were the rule, not the exception. Long rallies were short. Guts and adrenalin were not. Holding serve seemed a right. Breaking it might get one of the combatants a jail sentence. The only intrigue was when it would end, not how. But while the riveting 5th set marathon was creating its own drama, it also was creating a babble fest in the broadcast booth. This is when being tortured and annoyed became unwitting partners.
Continue reading...

Isner and Mahut a hit But Storm is not

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George Ofman

I know my stuff. 36 years in broadcasting. Sox Cubs Bears Bulls Hawks. You ask, I'll answer

ISNER AND MAHUT.jpg
It finally ended, and I couldn't have been more relieved. The longest tennis match in history had become a tortuous exercise in being annoyed. And this is coming from a tennis lover who watches way too much of "The Tennis Channel!  John Isner and Nicolas Mahut created wonderful theater, albeit several acts too long. Aces were the rule, not the exception. Long rallies were short. Guts and adrenalin were not. Holding serve seemed a right. Breaking it might get one of the combatants a jail sentence. The only intrigue was when it would end, not how. But while the riveting 5th set marathon was creating its own drama, it also was creating a babble fest in the broadcast booth. This is when being tortured and annoyed became unwitting partners.
Continue reading...

Who will the Cubs and Sox trade?

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George Ofman

I know my stuff. 36 years in broadcasting. Sox Cubs Bears Bulls Hawks. You ask, I'll answer

The trading deadline is July 31st and it sure looks as if it will be a sellers market on both sides of town. Judging how the Cubs and Sox have fared thus far, there are a number of candidates who could be sent packing. Here's a list of possible suspects.

You can follow me on Twitter @georgeofman and on Facebook. Plus, catch me on WGN radio.

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The joy of a Blackhawks Stanley Cup

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George Ofman

I know my stuff. 36 years in broadcasting. Sox Cubs Bears Bulls Hawks. You ask, I'll answer

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What a place to be.....on the Blackhawks bench as they celebrated their first Stanley Cup in 49 years. The feeling was surreal. The view is now ingrained with the memories of having been on the field in Houston when the White Sox won the World Series and in Atlanta when the Cubs won their first playoff series in eons.  Plumb road assignments, all of them. But nothing can compare with being just several feet away from watching a team hoist this silver urn emblazoned with names of the past; those who also earned the right to loft this coveted trophy around a 200 by 85 foot sheet of ice. 

The Blackhawks did it. And I happened to be a passenger on this glorious ride. Reporting for WGN radio, the flagship of the Hawks, I was afforded a front row seat for Hockey's most prestigious and incomparable shows as soon as it began. The front row being the bench where the Hawks had just leaped from after Patrick Kane scored a goal only he knew went in.  The hand shakes between the champs and the runner-ups, the game and relentless Flyers, was so close I almost felt as if I was next in line to tell Chris Pronger, "You're one hell of a player but the other guys copped the cup."

And then there was the mob scene on the ice. Just seeing the look on Marian Hossa's face was priceless. Some players looked dazed, as if something unexplainable had just occurred. Delirious was the moment and the Hawks earned the right to be in it.

And I had the best seat in the house for it. 

 

 You can catch me on twitter @georgeofman and on Facebook. I also report Sports for WGN radio as an Anchor and host of some of the Cubs 10th inning post game shows.

Selig gets it right: Galarraga must settle for one hitter

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George Ofman

I know my stuff. 36 years in broadcasting. Sox Cubs Bears Bulls Hawks. You ask, I'll answer

I have resisted. I can't anymore.Baseball must institute replay for more than just home run calls.

Armando Galarraga's not so perfect game settled the issue for me.

(If you haven't seen the video, you can at the end of this piece)

It's time to at least allow managers to have the right to challenge a call, but just one call. It's kind of like the NFL policy of coaches throwing the red flag. 

Here's the real issue of the day; The Commissioner deciding whether to review the call because he has the power to overturn it. 

He shouldn't. And he didn't. Good no call, Bud.

I understand why it could be the right thing to do because clearly, Galarraga threw a perfect game. But he didn't.

Umpire Jim Joyce made the call. It was the wrong call and he owned up to it with a tearful apology. But there is no replay for calls such as the one Joyce made thusly, Selig did the right thing by not getting involved.

Even Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski said he would not petition MLB to overturn the call. If you would have made an exception now, you'd have to make an exception for previous mistakes that could have cost a team a win. This cost a player a milestone.

It's unfortunate but his team won the game. If Selig had interceded, any team that may have lost a game due to a blown call would have the right to tell Selig, change this call, too!  Remember Phil Cuzzi's brutal mistake in the Twins/Yankees playoff game last year? The Commissioner  didn't change that call.

Jim Joyce blew the call. Bud Selig didn't.


You can follow me on twitter @georgeofman and on Facebook. I'll handle a share of Cubs 10th inning post games on WGN radio 720

 

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Lebron plus Calipari don't equal Bulls

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George Ofman

I know my stuff. 36 years in broadcasting. Sox Cubs Bears Bulls Hawks. You ask, I'll answer

Can we be honest here? Good.

There is no way LeBron James will join the Bulls if he's part of a package deal including John Calipari. Forget about it.  Not a chance. Stop Dreaming!

Do you really believe Jerry Reinsdorf will cede power to anyone with the possible exception of Phil Jackson and Doug Collins, neither of whom will wind up back on West Madison Street?  Think about it for a minute. Matter of fact, take two minutes. Reinsdorf hasn't ceded power to any coach. He never has and likely never will.  And John Calipari?  First and foremost, Calipari will command an enormous contract which equals power. He also likely has a significant buyout clause at Kentucky. The knicks can pay it; so can the Nets. And I'm sure Reisndorf could, but he won't. LeBron is another matter. I'm certain the Bulls would love to have him but if he's attached to Calipari, this dog and pony show will never make it to O'Hare, let alone the chairman's office.

The Bulls don't do business this way. Yes, I do remember how Jerry Krause tried to serenade Tracy McGrady with the lovabulls and Benny the Bull greeting him at O'Hare. It was a farce and it failed miserably. History should be a teacher. 

There will be no greeting parties for LeBron especially if Calipari is part of his posse.

Oh; one last thing. I really don't think Calipari will leave Kentucky. Maybe Lebron has another coach in mind.


You can catch me on twitter @georgeofman and on Facebook. I also do a share of Cubs post games on WGN Radio 720.

The King of Kings

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George Ofman

I know my stuff. 36 years in broadcasting. Sox Cubs Bears Bulls Hawks. You ask, I'll answer

Can you imagine "The King" playing for the Bulls? It could happen. LeBron James could bolt Cleveland for our town. But if he decided to sign with the Bulls, he'd have to share that nickname with Paul Konerko who was dubbed "The King" several years ago. 

Think about being known as "The King." Such reverence! It takes quite a man to have that moniker. Here are a few including some in the world of sports. If you can add a king or two, please do so.  (I would particularly like them during a Texas Hold 'em tourney)

You can follow me on twitter @georgeofman and in Facebook. I also do a share of Cubs 10th inning post game shows on WGN Radio 720.

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How some Cubs prospects have fared

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George Ofman

I know my stuff. 36 years in broadcasting. Sox Cubs Bears Bulls Hawks. You ask, I'll answer

The Starlin Castro era has begun. Yes, another highly regarded Cubs prospect has hit the bigs.  You might be surprised to know of the Cubs current 25 man roster, 9 are home grown talent. They include Castro (non drafted free agent 2006); Tyler Colvin (first round pick in 2006 draft); Randy Wells (38th pick in 2002 draft); Ryan Theriot (3rd round in 2001 draft); Carlos Marmol (non drafted free agent 1999); Carlos Zambrano (non drafted free agent 1997); Geovany Soto (11th round 2001 draft); Sean Marshall (6th round 2003 draft) and James Russell (14th pick in 2007 draft).

But what about some other ballyhooed draft picks of recent vintage?  Here's a list of some highly touted Cubs prospects now with other teams or out of baseball.

I'm doing a share of Cubs tenth inning post game shows on WGN radio 720. You can also follow me on twitter @georgeofman and on Facebook.

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Should the Sox trade Buehrle?

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George Ofman

I know my stuff. 36 years in broadcasting. Sox Cubs Bears Bulls Hawks. You ask, I'll answer

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Let me get this straight from the outset; I'm a big fan of Mark Buehrle's. Who isn't? Despite the overwhelming presence of Ozzie Guillen, who remains the face of the White Sox franchise, Buehrle continues to be the team's marquee player. Yes, I know the ruggedly handsome and gregarious Gordon Beckham is on a fast track to replace Buehrle but right now, the affable and respectful lefty from St. Charles, Missouri is still the player's face of the sagging south siders.  Why, on Tuesday night, he squatted behind the plate to catch the ceremonial pitch from teenage sensation Justin Bieber. Buehrle has done this service often as the role model for the organization. Thankfully, Buehrle and Bieber did not perform a duet. For those of us in the media, it's hard to find a more approachable, cooperative and first class athlete than Buehrle. He sometimes seems as perfect as the historic game he threw last year. And his highlight reel includes a no-hitter and this remarkable play.... 

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12 Other Great Endings In Chicago Sports History

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George Ofman

I know my stuff. 36 years in broadcasting. Sox Cubs Bears Bulls Hawks. You ask, I'll answer

It's safe to say Marian Hossa's game winning goal against Nashville in game five of the Blackhawks Stanley Cup quarterfinal series was one of the greatest endings to game involving a Chicago team. Of course, the entire sequence of events from Hossa's hit and subsequent 5 minute major penalty to Patrick Kane's tying goal made this a remarkable game to be at. Lucky I was.

Here are 12 more great finishes, some with accompanying videos. And yes, Michael Jordan is in a few of them. If you can come up with more, please do so.

You can follow me on twitter @georgeofman and on Facebook. You can also hear me do a share of Cubs 10th inning post game shows on WGN Radio 720.

First up: a no-brainer for me. It happened 21 years ago and it seems as if it was only yesterday.

A classic moment to say the leasr.  And here are two more by the same guy. Talk about your own groundhog's day..

 

This wasn't the frist time a Chicago star did the back to back thing. Chris Chelios scored back to back game winners against Vancouver in the second round of the 1995 Stanley Cup Playoffs. His second game winner was the last goal scored in the Pacific Coliseum.

And while our next subject didn't end the game, his impact on it's finish was historic at Wrigley field.

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 June 23rd, 1984 was one of the greatest moments in Cubs History. Hall of fame second baseman Ryne Sandberg would twice homer off hall of famer and former Cubs closer Bruce Sutter. Both homers came with two outs. The first came in the bottom of the 9th and the second in extra innings. The game would be known as the "Ryne Sandberg game."

It was a perfect day for Ryno but not as perfect as the one Mark Buehrle had for the White Sox last July.

 

this moment in Sox history wasn't perfect, but close. While it wasn't a walk-off homer, it effectively ended game number 163 and sent the sox to the 2008 playoffs.

 

The famous "Blackout" game ended with a spectacular diving catch by Brian Anderson.

When it comes to unlikely game ending dramatics, this guy is near the top of my list.

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Scott Podsednik's walk-off homer in game two of the 2005 World Series was about as unbelievable as it was a great finish.

Time for some more Bulls finishes and.....Guess who?

What a way to go!  And what a controversial yet spectacular finish this was to a 1994 playoff game against the knicks. There was 1.8 seconds left when Phil Jackson diagrammed a play for Toni Kukoc and not Scottie Pippen. Pip was incensed and refused to go into the game. But it didn't stop Kukoc from his heroics. 

 

That won a playoff game. This one captured a championship. 

Things haven't gone as smoothly for John Paxson in recent years.

Two other game enders of note:

With about a second remaining and the game tied 63-63 overtime seemed certain. DePaul did have possession of the ball, but they were along way from the basket. Under such circumstances the odds against scoring are considerable. Unfortunately, at least from the Wildcats perspective, nobody told DePaul guard Kenny Patterson the odds. On the game's final play, DePaul inbounded the ball to Patterson who caught it somewhere north of thirty feet from the hoop. Despite the considerable distance between him and his target, Patterson managed to put enough force behind his shot that the ball traveled all the way to the hoop and through the net. By the time the ball slide through the net's nylon, the buzzer had sounded. The game was over. The final score: DePaul 65 Northwestern 63. 

And then there was the 1980 Thanksgiving day treat. Dave Williams returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown as the Bears defeated the Lions.

 

If you can come up wuth other great game enders in Chicago sports history, please add your comments. And don't forget to catch me on Twitter @georgeofman and Facebook.

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The wackiest weekend

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George Ofman

I know my stuff. 36 years in broadcasting. Sox Cubs Bears Bulls Hawks. You ask, I'll answer

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Too bad Lebron had to spoil it. If only the Bulls could have found a way to highjack the King, they might have completed a weekend of unparalleled success.  The Cubs swept the Brewers; The Sox swept the Mariners and the Blackhawks swept their fans away with a miraculous victory.

7 out of 8 ain't bad.  

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Zambrano: The $Ace of the pen

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George Ofman

I know my stuff. 36 years in broadcasting. Sox Cubs Bears Bulls Hawks. You ask, I'll answer

Carlos Zambrano went from being one of the highest paid pitchers in baseball to the highest paid reliever. He will earn $17.875 million this season. Unless the Cubs find another guy to fill the set-up role (don't expect a trade in the near future) or Carlos Silva bombs in his next few starts, Big Z will make Big Dollars pitching late in games, not early.

Here is a list of other highly paid men of the pen. Most are closers.

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It's not Piniella's fault

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George Ofman

I know my stuff. 36 years in broadcasting. Sox Cubs Bears Bulls Hawks. You ask, I'll answer

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You're blaming the wrong guy. While doing a series of "Cub's 10th inning post game shows" on WGN Radio, passionate if not misguided callers have riddled Lou Piniella with criticism.  I understand the considerable angst north side loyalists are going through just as I do the good folks who support the hitless wonders on the south side. And they're blasting Ozzie Guillen. 

But when it comes to grandfatherly Lou, you're making a mistake.

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The other mouth that roared

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George Ofman

I know my stuff. 36 years in broadcasting. Sox Cubs Bears Bulls Hawks. You ask, I'll answer

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He's the most refreshing mouth in town. Not Ozzie Guillen; he has to freshen up his act. No, I'm talking Joakim Noah who in one entertaining session flattened the city of Cleveland and the image of Kevin Garnett. 

This is exactly what the Bulls need since they won't see Garnett and Boston again this season after getting flattened by King James and his Clevelanders.

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The infamous bird flippers

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George Ofman

I know my stuff. 36 years in broadcasting. Sox Cubs Bears Bulls Hawks. You ask, I'll answer

He's gone but not forgotten. Milton Bradley took his tattered reptuation to Seattle where good will is not on his resume. But his middle finger is certainly prevalent. During a recent game at Texas, where Bradley once toiled, he decided to salute his former fans with a gesture that speaks volumes about his personality (or lack there of).

We chronicled some sports celebrities and others caught in the act last year. It's time to update the list a bit. Here are a few more including a few your are probably familiar with. We sulate them just they way they have salulted you.

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Don't worry about Peavy, either

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George Ofman

I know my stuff. 36 years in broadcasting. Sox Cubs Bears Bulls Hawks. You ask, I'll answer

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Just like Carlos Zambrano, whom I wrote will rebound to go 17 and 9 this season; I'm not worried about Jake Peavy, either. His first effort wasn't nearly as bad as Zambrano's, but it wasn't pretty. Funny thing is Sox fans aren't going ballistic after Peavy self destructed against the Indians Wednesday night.  They didn't shout "Same old Peavy". They aren't gnawing on fingernails because Peavy didn't look very sharp. That's because the same old Peavy would be most welcomed. He does have a Cy Young award in his trophy case. Zambrano does not.

Peavy, like Zambrano, was staked to a 3-nothing. Unlike Big Z, it took him 5 innings to cough it up, not 5 minutes. Peavy left having thrown a whopping 106 pitches.  But Peavy's resume includes the word ACE. Zambrano's does not. I don't think there are allot of nervous nellies on the south side wondering how Peavy will fare in his next start. You can be sure Cubs Nation will be analyzing every pitch Zambrano throws at Cincinnati Sunday.  Some of them might be sitting next to their analysts!

Peavy and Zambrano are alike in many ways when you consider both are 28 with birthdays one day apart. Peavy was born on May 31st, Zambrano on June 1st.  Peavy's lifetime record is 95 and 68 with a 3.27 ERA. Zambrano is 105 and 69 with an ERA of 3.55.  Both are earning lots of money, more than enough to support their three kids.  Peavy has 3 boys; Zambrano, 3 girls. And while both are determined pitchers, it's their demeanor and actions that sets them apart.  No need to go further.

Peavy should win at least 16 games but he'll need better support than a measly 2 hits. That won't get it done.  I'm not worried Peavy will have meltdown on the mound.  Zambrano is always a worry.

But in the end, both will lead their team in victories.  Book it.

Catch me on the Cubs post game show Sunday the 11th and Monday the 12th and future post game shows on WGN Radio.  You can also follow me on twitter @georgeofman and Facebook

 

The real Big Z will show up

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George Ofman

I know my stuff. 36 years in broadcasting. Sox Cubs Bears Bulls Hawks. You ask, I'll answer

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He was awful. You don't need me to say it if you saw it. If this was the new Carlos Zambrano then bring back the old one. Not last year's but the one from 2004 through 2008. The one that managed to win 78 games. At least Zambrano didn't have a melt down on the mound in Atlanta though he might want to clean and burn the box score. Big Z gave up a big 8 runs in just 1 1/3 innings. This equates to an ERA the size of the speed limit on the Eisenhower, when there's no construction.  Of course, it pales in comparison to Jeff Samardzija's. He checks in at 108 which would be a great one game stat if that's how many yards he collected in pass receptions.  But I digress.

Please don't tell me Zambrano is an ace. He's not and he probably never will be. Maybe he shouldn't have been handed the ball on opening day again. Yes, he's making 18 million. Yes, he has a history of boling faster than water on a hot stove. But I still have faith. I think the new Big Z will appear and when all is said and done, will do what I predicted in my last column entitled the 10 most improved Cubs and Sox players in 2010. I wrote that Zambrano will go 17 and 9 with a 3.7 ERA.  Go ahead, suggest a therapist. (Not for Z but for me!) I like couches but only when I'm alone. The opener was an abberation. Zambrano was nickeled and dimed before he was dollared by a rookie. He wasn't the only Cub who failed.

His next start is Sunday at Cincinnati. The new Big Z will be there. The old one better not, for his sake and the Cubs'.

Catch me on the Cubs 10th inning show Sunday the 11th and future Cubs post game shows on WGN Radio. You can also follow me on twitter @georgeofman and on Facebook.

Most improved Cubs and Sox players in 2010

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George Ofman

I know my stuff. 36 years in broadcasting. Sox Cubs Bears Bulls Hawks. You ask, I'll answer

With the baseball season just a few days away, it's time to make some personnel predictions. There are certain members of the Cubs and White Sox I believe will have very big years. Here are my fearless forecasts. 

You can follow me on twitter @georgeofman and on Facebook

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