A Little From the Sports Pages

Dude, I’m tellin’ ya……….

A couple of things have happened in the sports world with a local flavor.

On Friday, the Chicago Bears signed free agent Pro Bowl defensive end Julius Peppers to a huge contract. They also signed running back Chester Taylor away from the Minnesota Vikings where he’s been a pretty decent back behind mega-stud Adrian Peterson. Of course some over-excited news media people and a couple of the (comparitively) level-headed fans immediately stamped the moves as leading to at least a 10 win season and a return to the playoffs.

I’m not so sure about that. I like the moves, but if you go back and look at some of the earliest posts on this blog, I disagreed with most people that the acquisition of quarterback Jay Cutler was a Super Bowl guarantee. The media led that parade more than anyone else. These recent moves the Bears made definately improve the team a little more. And the cool thing that goes alongside the signing of Peppers is that Brian Urlacher also returns healthy. We played all but two quarters without him last year. I think he’s been a bit overrated the last three or four seasons, but he is still a Pro Bowler (or very close to it when healthy).

So when we line up next year, we will have two Pro Bowlers on the defensive line in Peppers and Tommie Harris. And then two of our three linebackers are Pro Bowlers with Urlacher and Lance Briggs. If just one more player steps up and has a really good year like Alex Brown with 10 sacks or Peanut Tillman with 6 or 7 interceptions, this defense could be pretty good.

And you’d think Cutler will have to improve over last season’s debacle. Devin Hester will be entering his third season as a wide receiver and has to have some growing confidence. The jackass we had at offensive coordinator is gone (Ron Turner) and we brought in a guy that knows what the hell he’s doing in Mike Martz. Factor in Matt Forte and Chester Taylor and hopefully we’ll score a little more next season. While the revamped defense is letting up less points.

But I’ll save any prediction for closer to the season after the injuries set in and the inevitable arrests and what-not. And let’s not forget that Lovie Smith isn’t the greatest coach in the world either.

My high school’s boys basketball team that I touted a few weeks ago won their Regional final over a tough Julian team. They’re now up to 26-1 and play Simeon today. It’s been an awesome season for the Lyons Township team, but I’m rather worried about going up against Simeon. I mean this team is legendary in Chicago. They’ve been a top team since I was an adolescent. That was 28, 29 years ago ! It is the alma mater of Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose. When he played at Simeon just a few years ago, they won back-to-back state championships. Easily.

So the LT Lions really have their work cut out for them if this dream season is to continue. But Julian was a tough ass Chicago team too. I wish the Lyons Township team the best of luck.

Then we have spring training in full swing for major league baseball. Just a couple of more weeks and baseball is back ! We can forget all about the snow and the cold temps and enjoy a ballgame again. My fantasy baseball draft is a week from Saturday so I’ve been ranking players and studying up for a while now. And in yesterday’s mail, I received the entry sheets for a sweet homerun pool I play in. There’s usually over 11,000 people in this thing and if I were to win it just once, I wouldn’t have to worry so much about my unemployment running out.

Just once.

But these are all signs of the upcoming season and the start of actual spring. You gotta love it !

Meanwhile the Hawks are back at it after the Olympics break. After losing to the New York Islanders in New York—-which always happens—-they’ve whupped up on everybody else.

And the Bulls are still screwing around where they look great one night and then lose by twenty the next night at home. But it all adds up to about a .500 record. So my prediction from the Dirty Dozen prophecies is looking really good. I said 42-40 at best. And right around the 41-41 mark. Right now, the team is 31-31. So there’s twenty games to go and they have to go 10-10 or 11-9 to make me a genius.

Finally, we’re just about up to the NCAA tournament and all the hoopla that goes with that. Not so sure if I can play in any pools this year due to the shortage of funds. HEY…..it’s hard to play fantasy baseball, play in homerun derbies, and NCAA pools with no money, OK ?? But I’ll do what I have to to play in the baseball games.

I’ll still fill out a bracket sheet just to see how I would have done. The only bad thing is I’ll get pissed either way. If I make a bunch of horseshit picks, I’ll just be pissed at myself and how dumb I am. But even if I make a bunch of great picks where I would have dominated the pool……that would piss me off because of the earnings I could have had.

So maybe I shouldn’t even fill out a bracket this year.

Of course I will…….don’t be stupid !

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