What the Darwin Barney designation could mean

Tuesday night, the Cubs designated  infielder, Darwin Barney for assignment. Which means the veteran has 10 days to be traded, released, or waived. Barney, a nifty infielder who has been struggling at the plate, will hopefully find a home with a team ready to win. So what does this mean for the current roster?

First of all, I wish Darwin nothing but the best. Like most Cubs fans, he is a favorite of mine. I will not forget the stellar gold glove season he has in 2012, one of the bright spots in this rebuilding period. Barney will likely catch on with a team that needs some solid defense and is poised to make a playoff run. Which is good for him, but what does this mean for the 2014 Cubs? What does it mean going forward?

Immediately, it makes room for recent call up, Arismendy Alcantara who has been a bit of a spark-plug for the Cubs offense and seems to be able to play 2B and CF with a decent proficiency. He had a nice little Home Run on Tuesday that nearly left the park. It also clears the way for potential call-up, Javy Baez who has been playing 2B in AAA ball. Baez has been in the Cubs system for 4 seasons now and looks like he could be called up as soon as September 1 when rosters expand.

It also may signify the end of the Cubs “tanking” to get more draft picks. The Cubs have been collecting prospects for the last 3 seasons, it’s time to start playing them. Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro are both showing they are solid, if not All-Star capable players. The future is now and it looks to be a bright one. We may even see the Cubs go after David Price which has made his interest known playing for the Cubs and winning here would be, “The coolest”. The “price could be right”, the time could be now. We should find out as it gets closer to the MLB trade deadline.

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This week in Naxxramas

Hey folks! Welcome to This week in Naxxramas! Let’s take a look at the new Hearthstone expansion and what will be waiting for you!

First of all you need to download the patch, after that, you simply click on “Solo Adventures” right in the middle of the main menu.

Solo Adventures

Solo Adventures, opens up Naxxramas or Practice mode.

Then you want to select “Normal” to do battle in the Arachnid Quarter with one of the new bosses.

Welcome to naxx

Welcome to Naxx!

Now you are ready for your first boss, Anub’Rekhan.

Anub

Hopefully you don’t have a fear of spiders!

You then get to select which deck you wish to use against them. Don’t worry if you don’t win your first time out. It takes a little bit to figure out what you are up against. The Naxx UI is a little different than practice UI, which will always take down any minion you have on the board. All three bosses are fairly minion dependent too. That is all I will say on that, in case you want to figure it out on your own!

choose your hero

Choose which hero you will face each boss of Naxxramas with!

Mild spoilers ahead–defeating Anub’Rekhan unlocks your first 2 Naxx cards,

Haunted creeper unlocked

The Haunted Creeper, which went right into my Hunter deck, thank you. It’s a 1/2 beast that when killed, spawns two little 1/1 spiders. So much fun! You are now ready to take on boss #2, good luck!

Faerlina Reward

After defeating the Grand Widow Faerlina, you get your next two cards, Nerub’ar Weblord. A 1/4 minion that makes playing a minion with Battlecry (2) more mana. Now you get to face the “big boss” Maexxna,

Maexxna Defeated

Defeating Maexxna unlocks the Nerubian Egg, and 0/2 minion that has a nifty Deathrattle–summon a 4/4 Nerubian. You also get the legendary card, Maexxna for unlocking the Arachnid Quarter. Pretty good haul if you ask me. Maexxna is a 2/8 beast that destroys any card it damages. You also unlock Class Challenges, which give you the opportunity to earn a new class card for the class you complete it with!

Class challenges unlocked

Druid and Rogue class challenges unlocked!

They give you a pre-made druid deck and you must defeat one of the Naxx bosses to complete this challenge. Easier said than done! Doing so, unlocks the Poison Seeds class card. A 4 mana spell that destroys all minions and replaces them with a 2/2 treant.

Druid challenge completed

Defeating the Rogue challenge gives you the Anub’ar Ambusher, a 5/5 minion with Deathrattle. Upon death, it sends a friendly minion back into your hand.

Dey go boom!

So head on over to Naxxramas and go unlock the new cards and challenges!

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10 most important Bears for 2014

Sun-Times Reporter Adam Jahns wrote about his 10 most important Bears for the upcoming NFL Season. I though it would be a fun thing to do as well. It’s kind of silly to do in a way because football often comes down to 1 play, where all 11 men need to do their job. But, this is what we do a week before camp breaks. So let’s do it.

10. KR- We don’t know who will be Devin Hester’s replacement at Kick Returner yet, but he will have huge shoes to fill. The Bears don’t necessarily need a home-run threat at the position, but they do need someone steady to get those “hidden” yards and occasionally flip the field position.

9. Robbie Gould- Special teams and the Kicker are things we have taken for granted over the years here in Chicago. Robbie Gould is one of the most accurate (if not the most) in the NFL. I remember when Kevin Butler went down in the mid 90′s, the replacement kickers were really bad. Missing a FG last year cost them a game and in the grand scheme, cost them a shot at the playoffs.

8. Mel Tucker- Marc Trestman, Aaron Kromer and Matt Cavanaugh all pulled their weight on the offensive side of the ball. They coached up the O-line, QBs and overall offense. In all fairness, Tucker had his hands tied by scheme and injury last year. This year GM Phil Emery added a lot of depth to the defensive side of the ball. No excuses.

7. Jermon Bushrod- The O-line was pretty good last year. It all starts with Bushrod. I don’t think the Bears have the depth at Tackle if he were to go down.

6. Brandon Marshall- I could easily put him #1, but 3rd yeard WR Alshon Jefferey has all but developed into a Brandon Marshall clone. He had a breakout season last year, taking a lot of heat off Marshall. That said, Brandon is still a huge part of the Bears offense. Looking forward to see what B-Marsh can do in year 2 of this offense.

5. Lance Briggs- Lance is the captain of the defense. Bad things happened when he missed time last year. He solidifies the LB corp and makes sure the guys are in the right spots. Lance needs to have a healthy season.

4. Charles Tillman- Not having Tillman on the field is as close to a disaster as you can get. Even though the Bears have added rookie CB Kyle Fuller, they would take a marked drop if Tillman misses significant time.

3. Jared Allen- For the Bears defense to be solid, the Bears need to be productive on the D-line. They need to get pressures on the QB and stops on third down. It all starts with Allen.

2. Matt Forte- This guy, like Charles Tillman, does not get near the respect he deserves. He accounted for over 1900 yards of offense and 12 TDs. I still think he was slightly under used. I expect Forte to put up similar numbers this season, maybe a little more in the passing game and a little less rushing.

1. Jay Cutler- QB is widely regarded as the most important position on the field. This year, there is no Josh McCown to come in and win games if Cutler misses time. If Jay can play 15-16 games and be healthy for the playoffs, he will be poised to put up some record numbers offensively. 4,000 yards and 30 TDs should be a realistic expectation for QB production.

 

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5 new wands on the way for Hallow’s End!

On Friday I had an amazing conversation with Jeremy Feasel with Blizzard. He tweeted out a question: What major lore figure would you like to dress up as for Hallow’s End? My immediate response was: Stitches for boys and Sylvanas for girls. His reply sent me into a whirlwind of excitement–

We are getting a Stitches wand for Hallows End! In addition, we are getting 4 more new wands! Now, for me, nothing excites me more than the WoW holidays. Now that I think about it, this probably means that they might be trying to get the expac out by Hallow’s End. Why else would they be talking about it now? If they weren’t going to put it in until 2015, why bring it up? In addition to that, they announced raid testing was going to start on Monday the 21st. October release for Warlords? It might be a long-shot, but it’s a shot!

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Plan your karaoke playlist

Was thinking today, if I were to ever karaoke, I should maybe plan it out. Think of songs I would want to sing. Maybe practice a little. Thing is. I have sung in front of people before. Most of my friends don’t even know (or remember) that I took 2 semesters of voice lessons at a local Jr. College. Not something I advertise. So yeah, I can sing in front of strangers. It’s the family and friends part that gives me pause. At any rate, I do want to karaoke at some point. So let’s see what my list would look like:

Big bottom- I figure you should at least do one Spinal Tap song right?

You’ll never find another¬† love like mine- My mom loves Lou Rawls. She used to play this song or at least mention it when it was on the radio. It’s a good song.

Born in the USA- Sing along with the Boss? Sing like a Boss!

Blue collar man- Tommy Shaw has always been a singer I admired and try to emulate a little. Well, as best as I can.

I touch myself- Yeah. This would be hysterical. I’m not sure I could pull it off without laughing.

Piano Man- Everyone loves Billy Joel, right? At least everyone should know it and maybe sing along?

Eye of the tiger- This one would be a fun one to sing. If I could nail it, it would really set the tone.

Another one bites the dust- Cap off the night with a fitting song from Queen!

So that should do it. 8 songs (9 if you count the bonus). No idea if I can sing that many without blowing my vocal chords. I think practice is in order. Will you plan yourself a karaoke night? Feel free to let me know in the comments down below!

 

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Do you set goals for yourself in-game?

The content lull in Warcraft is a good time to chase achievements, level alts or get all kinds of other stuff done. I have plenty to do–so much actually. I feel like I need a “chore wheel” or some kind of elaborate system to figure out what to do next. Sometimes I set goals. Of course when one is hit, I flounder around until I can think of the next one. Do you do this too? Or have you figured out a system for yourself?

I think I set more goals in WoW than I do in real life. Which is kind of odd, I guess. In Warcraft, I can pick and choose. I can go after smaller, more realistic things. I mean, I know I will never be a top PvPer or raider, so I can exclude that. Doing What a Long Strange Trip was pretty cool. A little challenging too. After I did it, I went out to do it again! (and a third time). I stopped once they took 310% flying off the table.

warlords rainbow

Is Warlords of Draenor beta on your list? It’s not on mine, but good luck!

I eventually want to go for Loremaster but keep putting it off. My latest goal is to get my priest to 90 and play on Timeless Isle. I also have a level 40 warrior who I want to hit the level cap before the next expansion.

So what about you guys? Do you set goals for your characters or just play it by ear? Feel free to let me know in the comments down under!

 

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Your best pull in Hearthstone

I finally finished today’s daily, which for me was win 5 games with a priest or warlock. I had some incredibly bad luck, bad pulls and just generally a hard time winning. I even made a new warlock deck (which I really like) so I didn’t have to try and win 5 games all with the priest. I get my gold and race right over to buy a pack (OK, I just clicked on “Shop”). I open it, and BAM! BAM! BAM!

King Krush was the first card I turn over! I was stunned. He is only my 3rd legendary. If you have been following me, you know I have been thinking about which legendary I should create. King Krush was in the mix. I was so happy. The look on my face must have been sheer amazement and joy. Then I clicked on the next card.

King Krush

The Krush of love!

BAM! A rare. No big deal, but after hitting a legendary, I was a little surprised. I then went up and–BAM! Epic! The Pyroblast turned over. Even though I already have one, I was overjoyed. Getting epic cards are great, getting one after a legendary is unreal. Pyroblast is on my list of “I win” cards and now I have 2! I’m pretty sure that is not fair.

So after screen shotting this cardgasm, I had to come here and start writing up this wonderful post. In addition to those 3 cards, I got the Windfury Harpy, which I didn’t have and Unleash the hounds, which I already had 2. A damn good pull if I do say so myself. In case I didn’t use up all my luck, I am going to run out and buy some scratch-off tickets and see if I can win some big money!

Have you had a really good “pull” in Hearthstone? Feel free to tell me about it in the comments down under. If not, keep trying. I am living proof that these things can happen–eventually!

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