I am so unbelievably disappointed and enraged that I am at a loss for words. I felt the need to say something, but now that I’ve actually started writing I’m thinking it best to give this a few days, otherwise this post will just be a bunch of f-bombs. But seriously. Dick move, Bears. Dick move. One of the best defensive players in football history and you can’t just pay the man?!?
I’ve grown accustomed to the Chicago Cubs losing. Depending on who they play, I often times find myself prepping for disappointment in advance. It’s not that I don’t love my boys, or that I want them to play poorly, I’ve just learned over the course of 30 years that heartache is inevitable. I get excited at the start of every season, much like a little kid on Christmas morning. I wake up with so much energy and I can’t wait to open my presents, hoping that I will receive that which I desire most. Being a Cubs fan for me has been 30 years of wanting that present to be a World Series victory (and to be honest, lately I’d settle for a winning season) and instead receiving a package of hideous underwear (yes–that actually happened to me once). They have talented players, they have a ton of money, and yet they end 2012 with 101 losses.
I love the Cubbies but this post isn’t about them. Like I said, I expect them to lose (and that statement breaks my heart). This is a post about my beloved Bears. My beloved Bears that also have a ton of talent, tons of money, and the ability to only play half-seasons before eliciting rage in Chicago fans everywhere. Unlike the Cubs, I was alive back in the mid-80s when the Bears were the kings of football. I remember how alive my hometown was when they won the Super Bowl. I still own several forms of the Super Bowl Shuffle and can sing that obnoxious song in its entirety from memory. Those were the good old days. These are the not-so-great recent days…
I had to suffer through Rex Grossman (I feel like that doesn’t require any further explanation). The Bears go out and get themselves a talented, but immature, quarterback to replace Rex. A lot of people don’t like Jay Cutler; I don’t like many things about Jay Cutler. I think he’s talented, but I also think he’s hotheaded and acts like a child. So we have our fancy man-child QB who gets injured last year mid-season, after a promising start. Enter world’s worst back-up QB…Bears suck terribly for the rest of 2011.
After 2011 we start to see some changes for the 2012 season. Goodbye, Caleb Hanie (you were truly awful), hello Jason Campbell (you didn’t impress me that much either). We reunite Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall (I could watch them all day), finally adding a quality, not to mention giant, WR to our line-up. Suddenly things are looking up, except for one glaringly obvious oversight…OFFENSIVE LINE! You can pay for a fancy QB and a talented target for him to throw to, but it’s a waste of money if you can’t protect your QB so that he’s able to actually throw the ball. Despite the horrible play of our offense, our defense carries the Bears to a 7-1 start. Several major players get injured and we lose 5 of our last 6 games, turning our sure-thing playoff contender season into a festering turd. There is a slim chance that we can still make the playoffs, but even if we do we don’t deserve it, because injuries aside, the Bears just flat-out are not playing well.
So what needs to be done differently in 2013? For starters, maybe it is finally time to part ways with Lovie Smith. I don’t dislike him, but the Bears have made changes at every coaching level beneath him and have not managed to find a way to win. Brian Urlacher has been another hot topic. I love Brian Urlacher. LOVE. Hall of famer for sure, arguably one of the best middle linebackers to ever play the game. The thought of him retiring, or worse, no longer being a Bear, makes me feel physically ill. If Christmas wishes were real things, then mine would be that Brian Urlacher (if the Bears do not offer him a contract as a player) retires and moves into a coaching position with the team. I just don’t want to live in a world where Urlacher is somewhere other than Chicago. Even if he is physically slower these days, he is so valuable for the morale of our defense.
SIDE RANT: To some of you crazy Chicago fans out there, stop saying that Shea McClellin should be moved to the middle linebacker position! He is not a middle linebacker, and while he may (someday…maybe) become a valuable member of the Bears defense, he will never, NEVER, be even a quarter of the player Brian Urlacher is!
Back to 2013…GET US AN OFFENSIVE LINE! I would also like to go on record as saying that I was opposed to paying Matt Forte a ton of money later in his career. Though a valuable member of our offense, the only reason Matt Forte looked so good last season was because he WAS our offense last season. We didn’t have Brandon Marshall or Michael Bush, and Cutler was out half of the season. Since Caleb Hanie couldn’t throw the ball, Matt Forte ran the ball (and not well enough to help us win I might add). So then he goes and cries and demands more money, we finally cave and give it to him, and he has not done much for us this season (save a few solid plays). That money could have gone to build up our offensive line. I don’t dislike Matt Forte, I just don’t think he’s worth what we’re paying him at this point.
I could go on for hours but I think I’m done for now. Wait, one last thing, I like Alshon Jeffrey, but would someone please teach him to be less handsy. Thanks.
After half an hour of staring at my computer screen, a blank Word document open, inviting my thoughts to be typed and displayed in internet land, I’m still at a loss for words. My beloved Cubbies were playing better. Rizzo was named NL Rookie of the Month for July. His walk-off two-run homer against the Cards in the bottom of the 10th on July 29th was a welcomed moment of beauty in this dismal season.
I guess what’s really on my mind is Bryan LaHair. More specifically, what the hell is happening with Bryan LaHair? I was really impressed with LaHair during the first half of the season. I mean, you bring in this guy as a placeholder for Rizzo, he makes virtually no money compared to the rest of the Cubs active roster, and he ends up hitting 14 homers (so far this season) and earns a spot on the all-star team. Rizzo comes to Chicago, LaHair moves from 1st base to right field, and all of a sudden he forgets how to hit a baseball…
Despite his slump, I really like LaHair. I was sad to see Dempster and Soto get traded, but I was happy that we kept LaHair. Now the Cubs have called up Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters. I understand the importance of giving your young prospects playing time in an already “lost” season. The Cubs need these young guys to develop because, and not to sound totally cliché, they are the future of our organization. But can’t we find a way to work LaHair back into the rotation? Let the guy work his way out of his slump. I really think he could do great things for the Cubs.
LaHair aside, I’m excited to see how all this young talent develops over the next couple of months (and seasons). I’m going home in a few weeks and will make my way to The Friendly Confines for a Tuesday night game against Milwaukee. Win or lose, nothing beats spending an evening at Wrigley.
In other Chicago sports related news, the Bears take on the Broncos tonight in their preseason opener. Thanks to NFL Preseason Live I’ll be able to watch! Also, Alex Brown signs a one-day contract just so he can retire as a Bear. You gotta love Chicago!
A few photos from STP…
July. It’s a month Seattle-dwellers love. July 4th marks the beginning of Seattle “summer” and we’ve been enjoying sunny days for the past week. Personally, I’m fond of July for other reasons. The Tour de France is in full swing and STP is 2 days away. Come 06:00 Saturday morning I will be biking from Seattle to Portland with 4 of my favorite people (and about 10,000 strangers)! We’re not crazy, we just really love riding bicycles.
This will be my first year participating in STP. I opted to do RSVP (Ride Seattle to Vancouver and Party) last season because I’ve heard some horror stories about STP (mostly pertaining to large groups of douchebag riders). This year I’m doing both rides and then taking a short (but long overdue) trip to my homeland for a little lakeside R&R.
Since the next 48 hours will probably feel like an eternity, I’ve left myself plenty to do. I’ve been re-reading Tim Krabbe’s The Rider. One of my favorite books to read in July (highly recommended if you enjoy cycling). I still need to bathe my bicycle and pack. Tomorrow I get to venture to REI (one of my favorite things to do) and pick up my rider’s packet and a few odds and ends. Keeping busy is a good thing. I still have to suffer through 8 more hours of work…
That’s all I’ve got for now. I’ll post some pics upon my return to Seattle early next week.
.342. Just typing it makes me cringe. I know that the number will change over the next several months, but that thought doesn’t exactly evoke feelings of warmth or hope. But hey, there’s always next season…
I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t a Cubs fan. Like so many of us, I never stood a chance. I was brainwashed at birth into the cult of Cubs fandom. 30 years (so far) spent dreaming that my beloved Cubbies will bring Chicago that World Series victory. Every spring elicits a feeling of hope that maybe this year will finally be the year that we break that pesky curse. Cubs, I’m still waiting…and at this point I’d even be willing to settle for a winning season.
Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the Cubs. I will be a Cubs fan until the day that I die. Fact. Even if they never win a World Series in my lifetime, I will never jump ship. I would rather sink. This doesn’t mean that I don’t get frustrated from time to time. I mean come on, guys! You have the worst record in all of baseball. Not just the National League, but ALL of baseball! San Diego and Seattle are currently better than us…it’s just wrong.
I have lived in Seattle for nearly 4 years now and have never watched a Mariners game. Why would I? I’m a Cubs fan. Plus, the Mariners suck. So you can imagine how incredibly frustrating it is to have to take shit from Mariners fans whenever they spot me walking down the street in a Cubs shirt.
But wait…if you believe everything you read on the news and in blogs…a miracle is coming to the Cubs. His name is Anthony Rizzo, and some Cubs fans seem to think that he is the answer to all of our problems. I’m not knocking Mr. Rizzo. Quite the opposite. Like many eager Cubs fans I was glad to see that he was finally called up from the minors. He’s been playing well in Iowa and he looks to have a bright future ahead of him. His addition certainly can’t hurt our season. I just don’t see the addition of one player to the roster being much of a solution (unless he ends up being the Michael Jordan of baseball) to the epic failure that is Cubs baseball this season. In less than 7 hours from now, I’m going to log on to MLB.TV (I spend a lot of money on MLB.TV every season so I can watch the Cubs “play”) and hope to be wowed. I know that this season is out, but if Mr. Rizzo can bring even a little something to the plate, then there’s always next season…right?
Yesterday morning I was feeling on top of the world. Having completed my first ever half-marathon the previous day, for which I had inadequately trained and ran anyway despite having a kidney infection, I was riding the high. I was slightly sore, but nothing that a little stretching and some Advil (pretty sure I shouldn’t be taking right now) couldn’t relieve. My muscles tightened considerably as evening approached, but I was still feeling pretty darn good. This morning…jello legs. I now have a date with the foam roller…
I know that it is at least partially self-fulling prophecy, but I’m beginning to think there’s something legit to this body falling apart after 30 phenomenon. Now granted, my body seems to have been ill-equipped for all the physical abuse I’ve thrown its way since, well, birth. You add a shitty immune system and allergies to the equation… After biking from Seattle, WA to Vancouver, BC last August, 2 weeks after having crashed my bike, cracking my helmet and separating my AC Joint (shoulder), I’m beginning to wonder if I have some sort of pain fetish. Doctors often imply that I’m stupid, while my friends tell me that I’m hardcore. I’ve realized that there’s really no difference between the two, it’s merely calling the glass half empty vs. half full.
Back to that whole body falling apart after 30 phenomenon… About a year ago, I had a doctor tell me that my bone density was going to decline steadily after I turned 30. He said that I should be particularly careful given my medical history and my calcium deficiency (I’m allergic to dairy, yet here I sit eating yogurt…). I laughed, mostly because my body already hates me, but agreed that I should probably start taking calcium supplements. I now regret laughing. 30 = weird new aches and pains. If I feel like this now, I don’t want to imagine what 40 is going to be like.
I should be nicer to my body. It’s really not designed for all this abuse. But here is what’s going through my mind at this very moment…less than 3 weeks until STP (it’s a bike ride from Seattle, WA to Portland, OR for those unfamiliar)!!! Despite my aches and pains, it’s time to get back on the horse, which really isn’t a horse at all, it’s a bike…