Here are some random thoughts on a Sunday morning:
-- Mariano Rivera will be active for his last game as a pro today, and will be pitching his last inning in the bigs, barring any "come-backs." While I have never been a secret stalker of anything Yankee, Mo Rivera is a sure fire Hall of Famer. He goes out the career leader in saves, postseason saves, postseason ERA, and has five World Series rings. Also, you never hear anything bad about the guy. Solid teammate, that everyone in the clubhouse looks up too, solid professional, and a philanthropist off the field. Makes me wonder who on either Chicago baseball team could say the same. Not necessarily the career leader in a major pitching category, but the solid, true professional part. I guess, Paul Konerko.
--Speaking of Paulie, he looks like he wants to sign a last one-year deal to come back and do a farewell tour on the South Side. Konerko has been nothing short of a solid pro over at 35th and Shields since arriving in '99 from the Reds. He's been in the top 10 in MVP voting twice, a six time all-star, has 434 home runs and was crucial in the 2005 World Series run. So, is he a Hall of Famer? Who knows? The way voters have been shrewd with letting anyone at all in to Cooperstown, makes it look tough. Yet, with all the PED talk, and the fact that Paulie never once was mentioned or even suspected, you have to look at his career and say he did it right and he produced on a regular, non-enhanced level over his 17-year career. I hope he gets in.
-- Speaking of White Sox first baseman with a chance to get into the Hall of Fame without perfect careers, Adam Dunn sits precariously close to the 500 home run mark. At 34, Dunn sits at 440 home runs. If he plays as long as Konerko, which as a DH, is completely conceivable, Dunn would hit 500 home runs with ease. Even in the last three "non-productive" years with the Sox, Dunn has hit 86 jacks. Do they vote him in if he gets to 500? Before everyone and their mother started getting to 500 home runs at the height of the PED craze in baseball, 500 home runs was the standard of excellence for a home run hitter. Dunn is another guy who has never been accused of juicing. It will be curious to see what happens with him.
-- I wrote before the Bears season "Why not the Bears?" And, I am starting to feel more and more confident in my beliefs that Da Bears can get to at least the NFC Championship Game. I know, I know, its only been three weeks and they beat two teams who still haven't won a game, but I have a good feeling about these Bears. The offense has only been together for two months, and yet, is humming along. Give Cutler and Crew another month and this offense is going to be Patriots level scary, and I mean Brady to Moss Patriots, not Brady to Kenbrell Thompkins ordinary.
-- The defense did the same thing the last few years with Lovie, too. Strong against the run, bent but never broke against the pass, and forced turnovers. I think that a lot of credit for this start has to go to Phil Emery. Emery put together a staff of smart, and personable guys, that were able to come in and ingratiate themselves with a largely veteran group. If Emery and Mel Tucker come in barking and doing the my-way-is-the-highway act, much like Greg Schiano is doing in Tampa, then this is easily an 0-3 team. Emery also brought in Marty Bennett and Jermon Bushrod, drafted the whole right side of the offensive line, and gave Matt Forte an extension. This keeps up, Emery will be Executive of the Year.
-- Out of deference to a good friend, I will say this: I am secretly rooting for the Detroit Tigers in this years postseason. I know its not a leap to root for a midwestern team, with a nasty 1-2 in their rotation, a back-to-back MVP, and a coach who ropes butts in the dugout, but I am not doing it for that. Being a Chicago sports fans, I think that we sometimes take for granted having solid owners. That's because before Rocky Wirtz came in, we were kind of jaded to think they didn't exist. Mike Iitch is an 80-something owner who is apparently in declining health, and Dave Dombrowski has done everything he can, with the green light from Ilitch to spend money and make this team a World Series winner. Ilitch spends money on anything and everything, because he wants that World Series ring. It's kind of the last wish of a dying man scenario, and when that happens in sports, it's pretty magical. They have gotten close to the promised land twice in the 'oughts, which is twice more than the Cubbies since the 19'oughts. I will secretly be rooting for them to win one for their octogenarian owner.
-- That being said, I will openly be rooting for the Pirates to win game 163 against the Reds in the one game Wild Card play-in game and advance to the proper playoffs. I love when teams get in and play like they have nothing to lose. The Red Sox group of idiots showed that when confidence, talent and swagger come together in a short amount of time on the biggest of stages, anything can happen. Here's to hoping the Pirates can take a page out of their managers playbook, be positive and beat Dusty and the Reds. I really hope they meet the Tigers in the World Series.
-- As long as its not the Cardinals, I will root for anyone.
-- And lastly, D Rose is back. And from all reports, looks strong. I think my next article will be, "Why Not The Bulls?"
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