Okay, so if you're a Sox fan, you might not be looking on to Chicago Bear football with as much anticipation as us currently losing our blue Cubbie blood everywhere, but everyone in Chicago is always excited for the start of Bear season, right? Well, as bad as the baseball this summer has been, football may not be offering fans much reprise in the fall.
Its never too early to start keeping the team in perspective, and I don't want Cub fans placing their mid-summer lives in the future endeavors or a Julius Peppers or Jay Cutler when there is so much waiting to go wrong. While I'm excited for Bears season to begin, I blame this largely on the Cubs. I expect to be entertained by Bear football this year, but I'm not placing any playoff bets on them just yet either. I suspect we shall be looking for Lovie Smith and Jerry Angelo to depart at the end of the Bears upcoming season, much like we currently hope for Ricketts to banish Lou Piniella and Jim Hendry from the Cub empire at the season's completion.
Both the Cubs and Bears have people running the team and in the front office with their jobs on the line. Lovie, Lou, Jerry Angelo, and Jim Hendry all have nothing to lose because they've lost it all already. Both GM-Manager/Coach scenarios are guys putting all their eggs into one basket (no hand baskets though) and rolling the dice. Actions provide the evidence for this, as the Bears have loaded up on free agents and Lou wants the team's trade bait to stick around.
If the teams fail, all of these men are likely jobless anyways. They all see a greater chance of striking gold by clinging to any hope in front of their eyes right now. Lou is probably right in thinking that he will win more games this year if Ted Lilly, Aramis Ramirez and Derek Lee stick around than if Hendry is able to trade them for young talent. Likewise, Lovie and Angelo both see the team winning more games with the lot of recently added free agents, and Angelo opted to stay with Lovie and ride out that roller coaster rather than rolling the dice and going in a new direction for his own "last chance." The future, the following season, is not important to any of these men.
Currently, Jim Hendry is in the toughest position of all. Lovie and Angelo are waiting for their season to start in order to evaluate how their last-ditch efforts are going, but Hendry is stuck looking at a team that is screaming to be dismantled while his head coach, surely in some sort of selfish denial, is publicly "hoping" to keep it together. While Hendry's future does not look good either way, he is faced with waving the white flag or clinging to false hope with the contractual blunders he has made filling the current roster.
In any case, there are some interesting similarities between the two teams and their efforts for their respective 2010 seasons. Take a look:
Cubs sign hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo- Bears sign offensive coordinator Mike Martz
Both of these men are heralded as offensive geniuses within their sport. While Jaramillo's success has been limited at best for the Cubs, there is
much doubt as to how well the Bears' offense will be able to consume the Da Vinci Code-like playbook of Martz. Both of these moves reek of desperation on both sides, considering the massive salary Hendry offered Jaramillo and Martz's inconsistent track record.
Cubs old and bad players vs the Bears old and bad players
While Lee and Ramirez have been a large part of the Cubs struggles this season, one can only wait to see if aging Bears players will be equally frustrating this upcoming season, but there is plenty of potential for disappointment as aging past-stars and increasing underproductivity are rampant on both rosters.
(Potential) Bear payroll-suckers: Brian Urlacher, Olin Kreutz, Frank Omiyale, Kevin Shaffer, Josh Beekman, Tommie Harris, Julius Peppers
I recognize that for these Bears players listed, a lot of it comes down to post-injury performance or living up to the contracts that they were offered (which they cannot control) and accepted (which, of course, they can). In any case, that was exactly the same scenario facing many of the listed Cub players before the season started as well. This particular comparison exposes the similar risks being taken by each team.
Out of touch coaches
This one is short and sweet. Lou is not aware of what you want him to do, as
he's tried everything that he humanly can. Likewise, Lovie still speaks volumes about his predictable and easily dismantled cover two defense, while also clinging to his "get off the bus running" methodology, despite how much the team (rightfully) throws now with Cutler.
GMs gone wild
While it is refreshing to see the Bears aggressively spending money in hopes of immediately improving the team, Angelo's poor draft record pushed him into this situation, much like Hendry's inability to stabilize a productive farm system for the Cubs. In the past few seasons, both GMs have actively pursued players with large contracts. Many of Hendry's deals have already come back to haunt him while the
tale is still in progress for Angelo. However, does anyone currently believe that the additions of Peppers, Taylor, Manumaleuna, and Harris are solely enough to get the Bears where they need to be? It sure looks nice on paper, but so has the Cubs roster for quite some time.
So, what does all of this mean? Absolutely nothing, but I found some of these similarities to be rather uncanny. Can't you picture it? Lovie's right leg tied to Angelo's left as they stand at the starting gate sneering at their opponents; Lou and Hendry similarly bound. The gun fires and Lou/Hendry immediately fall flat on their faces while Angelo and Lovie look around, for the time being, confused and nervous. ,
Who will win this race of desperation? The Cubs aren't looking too hot right now, while the Bears have limitless potential with their talent currently off the field. But Hendry could turn things around if he owns up and attempts to right some wrongs before what will likely be his departure at the end of the season. Likewise, once football season starts, the Bears' potential may be dropping at drastic rates if the talent on paper does not quickly translate to the field.
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Tags: Alfonso Soriano, Aramis Ramirez, Baseball, Brandon Manumaleuna, Brian Urlacher, Carlos Zambrano, Chester Taylor, Chicago Bears, Chicago Cubs, Chris Harris, Derek Lee, Football, Frank Omiyale, Free Agency, Jim Hendry, John Grabow, Josh Beekman, Julius Peppers, Kevin Shaffer, Kosuke Fukudome, Lou Piniella, Lovie Smith, Mike Martz, MLB, NFL, Olin Kreutz, roster, Roster Moves, Rosters, Rudy Jaramillo, Tommie Harris, trade deadline, Trades