Cubs make ‘dark deal’ in Chapman trade

The Cubs dipped into the murky waters of morality in trading for the hot-headed ex-Reds pitcher who has a little bit of a past when it comes to domestic violence. I voiced my opinion when the Bears did the same last year. To be fair, Chapman was not formally charged with anything, but where there is smoke, there is fire.

To me, there is nothing worse than a man violently putting his hands on a woman or child. Everyone deserves a second chance? Sure. Doesn’t have to be on my team. This sends a horrible message to fans, and more importantly, employees of the Chicago Cubs organization.

Full disclosure: There was no evidence Chapman violently put his hands on anyone. We know he is a hot-head though. That fact has been well documented, and captured on video. Just ask Cubs first basemen Anthony Rizzo who was willing to take on Chapman and the entire Reds bench.

So what did Chapman do? He admitted to firing 8 shots into a garage wall during a heated argument. Do I really need to point out how bad this is? Especially in 2016? Taking your anger out on a wall, is definitely better than taking it out on a living being. I’m not sure using a firearm is much of a tradeoff though.

How will the clubhouse take it? Anthony Rizzo was the center of a lot of Chapman friction. He is tight with his mother, and the rest of his family. I’m not sure how that is going to fly with him. The current roster seemes like a bunch of “good guys” who are all willing to sacrifice for one another. A very close-knit bunch.

Had Chapman come out and say he made a mistake, had a little news conference, and said he was going to use his incident to educate people on domestic violence, I would be fully on board. Until that happens, I will be a little skeptical.

Winning is not everything. It can’t be. The end doesn’t justify the means. Chicago is usually more classy than this. Theo and Jed have built them into a top flight organization. An organization you expect to be leaders when it comes to social issues. Would a World Series be worth it if Chapman goes out and has another “episode”?

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Brawl of the week: Idols of Azeroth

This week’s Brawl of the week is: Idols of Azeroth. We have had this at least once before, and this is one of the “random brawls” that I particularly like. Your deck is comprised of Raven Idols, which let you choose to discover either a minion or spell. There is the normal “RNG” factor, but cut down by the choice that is yours to decide.

Hearthstone Screenshot 07-20-16 14.12.51

Idols of Azeroth.

As usual, I start my brawl off as a mage. I like to win:)

Raven Idols

Many Idols. Billy is in there somewhere.

My opponent must have had a really bad draw (as did I) because they checked out after round 2. Which was great because I need to get this post out!

Thanks for playing!

Thanks for playing!

There is some strategy: I like to get 1-2 minions before I start going with spells. After that I tend to react to what’s going on with the game. That’s about it. Get in and get your free card. Since you pick your class, you can do all your daily quests with this brawl if that works for you. See you next week!

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Salute to Charles Tillman: Peanut punch!

The day started out with near perfect conditions as the Chicago Bears met the San Francisco 49ers at their new stadium in Santa Clara. Clear skies, packed house, star spangled banner. The stage was set for a clash of the titans. Historically, the Bears have underperformed in the city by the bay. They were going down that same path until they started on their improbable comeback.

The 2014 Bears are no stranger to adversity. They lost speedy and tall WR Marquess Wilson to a broken collarbone, in just the first week of training camp. They lost a home game to a feisty Buffalo Bills team, one that almost every sportswriter known to man had the Bears winning. In the process star Wide Receivers Brandon Marhsall and Alshon Jeffery both sustained injuries to their legs. They also lost Guard Matt Slaussen and Center Roberto Garza to ankle injuries.

The Bears found themselves quickly sinking in “quicksand” after a 3 and out, a blocked punt and a host of penalties. Down 17-0, with less than 2 minutes left, Jay Cutler took a pop to the chest that drew a penalty, and woke up the sleeping giant. He rallied a few plays later and threw a TD to Marshall, who made an amazing one handed grab in the end-zone.

San Francisco would receive the ball to open the 3rd quarter and drive 80 yards, taking up over 9 minutes of gametime. The embattled and battered Bears defense would hold the 49ers to just 3 points the entire second half. Late in that drive Bears veteran conerback Charles Tillman would be forced out with a triceps injury. The same injury that ended his season in 2013. His teammates rallied. I like to think they “won it for peanut”. The Bears got some amazing play down the stretch from just about the entire defense, including 2 picks from rookie CB Kyle Fuller and 2 sacks from DE Willie Young.

The writing is all but on the wall for the decorated veteran and stalwart community member, in Tillman. He is on a one year deal and the NFL is not kind to superstars later in their careers. Tillman, who almost left for sunny Tampa Bay in the offseason, opted to come back to Chicago and give it another shot at a championship.

If this was the last game for Charles “peanut” Tillman in a Bears jersey, I will be proud of the way they played. The toughness they displayed. The poise they showed, fighting through adversity. The stoic resolve embodied everything Tillman was as a Bear. From his rookie year when he took a sure touchdown away from Randy Moss, to his patented “Peanut Punch”, which caused 42 forced fumbles, to his Pro Bowl season in 2012, I have thoroughly enjoyed watching this man play the game of football. I have nothing but gratitude, appreciation, and love for the player and more importantly–the man.

Charles Tillman came to the bears via 2nd round pick in 2003, selected by then GM Jerry Angelo. As a dedicated “draft geek”, I had no idea who the skinny CB from Louisiana-Lafayette was. We got quite used to Angelo drafting players a round or two ahead of when most scouts/prognosticators projected them to go. Once Tillman got on the field, all of that talk was quickly forgotten. It was clear Peanut had a real knack for making plays. One of his most infamous plays came in week 15 of his rookie season when he snatched a game winning TD away from All-Pro Randy Moss.

Over the years, Tillman would rack up a jaw-dropping 42 forced fumbles, 36 interceptions and shut down stellar Wide Receivers, including one of the top in Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson. Not many have played him better than Peanut. Tillman was just as much of a force in the community if not more. He has done many charitable events over the years and tackled adversity especially when his daughter was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy. Most Blackhawk’s fans know Tillman from his appearances as a season ticket holder. Tillman has been going to games well before the resurgence made it en vogue again.

I wish the absolute best for Charles Peanut Tillman, the man and the player who has won the admiration and respect from a city and hopefully anyone who was privileged to cross his path. I hope for the Bears, they extend whatever courtesy they can and find a position for him somewhere in the organization.

This article was written 9/16/14

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Hope Diamond is back for another round at the BlizzCon talent contest

That’s right, last year’s #2 in the BlizzCon talent contest is back with another rocking entry for the 2016 contest. This year’s submission: Theramore.

Check it out and be ready to vote. You can also watch other Hope Diamond videos, including their 2015 performance at BlizzCon.

Hope Diamond are: Kristen Gielecki, Joe Schweigert, and Roy Horton.

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Brawl of the week: “Servant of Yogg-Saron” Tryouts

This week’s Tavern Brawl is definitely a new one. It’s a play on the Servant of Yogg-Saron legendary minion. Kind of. Each time you play a minion, a random spell is played, that targets randomly. Shenanigans ensue!

'Servant of Yogg-Saron' Tryouts

‘Servant of Yogg-Saron’ Tryouts.

Of course I started out with the mage, (like I usually do on these) but I don’t think class matters much on this one. You do not get any spells. I guess the only thing that comes into play is the mage has lots of minions that can grant you additional ones. Then there are the class legendaries as well.

Pick hero

Choose your hero.

RNG is strong and crazy with this one. I think I targeted my minions or my character with my first 3-4 ‘random spells’ which was understandably frustrating. I wanted to concede a couple times. No matter what happens (unless you run out of minions) keep plugging. My fortunes changed in a turn or two and I suddenly found myself with board control, while my opponent had no cards.

Don't worry, be happy!

You play a minion and it gets killed, your opponent gets a thrill. Don’t worry, be happy!

So go on and get in on the action. Grab that free pack. See you next time!

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Are the Cubs built for “October”?

I wrote and interesting article the other day, in which I basically said, their slump could be beneficial. It also pointed out some deficiencies. I want to expand on that today.

We all know their strengths:

  • Youth
  • Power
  • Speed
  • Defense
  • Starting pitching depth
  • Management (pitching and coaching)
  • More talent in the minor leagues

Their lineup has some scary potential. Nothing more evident than looking at the starting lineup for the 2016 National League All-Star game. For the second time in MLB history, a single team will field all four starters in the infield. That’s pretty impressive. That’s not going to get you to October though. That doesn’t even translate into a division win.

The Cubs starting pitching has been dominant at times.

Hitting: The Cubs were impressive early on. Piling up runs and having patience to outlast the other team’s starting pitchers. They were running on all cylinders.

Deficiencies:

  • Youth
  • Power
  • Defense
  • Starting pitching
  • Bullpen
  • Plate discipline
  • Injuries

Some of the same strengths are coming back to bite the Cubs in their collective arses. Most glaringly their youth. At the beginning of the year they showed great plate discipline, but injuries have forced them to insert rookies into the lineup. While they have been great at times, the Cubs strike out at record numbers. As of today they have 5 starters with 50+ strikeouts. 763* overall, good for 6th most in the MLB. They do lead the league with 375 walks though. (10 from pitchers)

Power: They have been hitting lots of home runs, but when they don’t, they don’t score many runs. In addition, the Cubs starting pitchers have been giving up more home runs.

While the defense has been pretty good at times, there are lapses. At times, this leads to additional stress on the starting pitchers.

Bullpen: The bullpen has been hit or miss for the most part. Sometimes it looks stellar. Sometimes it looks sub-par. There is a valid question that closer Hector Rondon might not be the stopper they need to get to the World Series.

Injuries have played their part in the Cubs recent slump. The biggest one is probably to Dexter Fowler, who has set the tone as the Cubs leadoff man. That’s right, not high-priced free agent outfielder Jason Heyward–who has recently been lowered in the batting order.

I think the starting pitchers will bounce back, and is the real strength of this team. They will only be as good as that unit will take them. They need to help them out by more consistent hitting, and a little help in the bullpen.

I wouldn’t panic, or go out and make a crazy deal to bring in other players. This team is built to be good for a long time. I just don’t think it is made for a championship–as constructed. They need at least 2 arms in the pen, (probably a closer) and possibly a veteran bat to bring protection/take pressure off Anthony Rizzo.

*includes pitchers

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Bulls sign ex-Heat guard Dwyane Wade–no really!

Wednesday night rumors starting swirling about on the Twitterspehere that a certain prodigal son was being pursued by the local NBA team. I was in various stages of disbelief. Mainly because I thought the Bulls were in full tank-mode. They still might be. That remains to be seen.

First and foremost. Dwyane Wade was probably the last NCAA basketball player I watched, and hoped he landed on the Bulls. He had that “something”. I didn’t think it would lead to 3 championships, but I think it was fairly easy to see he’d be an All-Star. Fast forward to 2016. Dwyane Wade was the last player I thought the Bulls would even consider. For a half dozen reasons. Age, skill deteriorating, oh, and then there is the stuff he pulled back in 2010. There is also the alleged bad-mouthing he would do when anyone asked about the Bulls.

I’m not sure what Wade will bring to the Bulls, or how much he has left in the tank. One thing I know is that it has the potential to be more entertaining. I already said I am more excited to watch the Bulls after they drafted Denzel Valentine, and got rid of some “dead weight”. I’m not going to throw roses for Wade, or jump on the hype-train. I have very low/realistic expectations for Wade and the Bulls this season. Frankly, I don’t need to see them make the playoffs. I would actually rather see them be in contention for a top-five pick in the 2017 NBA draft.

Reasonably, they still could be. Dwyane Wade will no doubt be an upgrade vs what they had before the signing. He might even be an upgrade vs Derrick Rose. I think the biggest thing he will add to the team is his name–which should keep fans coming to see him and the Bulls, while they keep on “retooling”.

This makes it a little more interesting when the Bulls play Cleveland, New York, and Wade’s former team–the Miami Heat.

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