The Bears 2017 Remains Unclear

The 2016 Chicago Bears season was chock full of injuries, poor performances, losses, and ultimately disappointment. It’s difficult to pull the good out of a 3-12 season, but there were certainly flashes of what could be the future of the Bears. But how bright will that future be–what can we expect out of the Bears next season? As it turns out, the future might not be so clear.

 

Is Howard the Answer?

When the Bears spent a fifth round pick on Jordan Howard last year, expectations were somewhat muted. He was the tenth running back taken in the draft, falling behind the likes of CJ Prosise, Kenyan Drake, and Tyler Ervin, among others. Howard outperformed every single one, with the exception, of course, of Ezekiel Elliott. While Drake, Prosise and Ervin combined for a total of 356 rushing yards, Howard went off for 1,313 and 6 scores on the ground. Next year, the Bears will be forced to determine if Howard’s explosive rookie year was a fluke or the real deal. My inkling says it’s the latter.

 

Healthy Players

What do Bobby Massie, Kyle Long, Kyle Fuller, Kevin White, Josh Sitton, Eddie Goldman, Mitch Unrein, Alshon Jeffery, Leonard Floyd, Pernell McPhee and a number of others have in common? All missed time for the Bears this past season due to a combination of injuries and suspensions. Next year, most of these should become non-issues. With White and Jeffery back to full health the receiving corps will be back to full health, giving whoever is under center a few strong targets.

 

Cut Cutler

Cutler’s time in Chicago may be winding to a close. After seven years of a strong arm that was seemingly best suiting for throwing interceptions and missing targets, it’s time to end the Jay Cutler era. The issue that cutting Cutler won’t clear up is the lingering question of who will start under center in his absence. Neither Matt Barkley nor Brian Hoyer are ideal replacements. The 2017 free agent class is also less-than stellar. The possibility for a trade remains–New England’s Jimmy Garoppolo and the oft-injured Tony Romo are often cited as trade candidates for teams in search of a QB this summer.

 

Looking Ahead to the 2017 Cubs

tony angiuli cubs

With a softly hit ground ball to third base, an illuminating smile on the face of one of the best young players in the game and a perfect throw across the diamond, a 108 year old curse was broken.

And after a quick and tidy parade through the city that drew crowds of a fairly considerable size, the Windy City finally, at long last, had a championship baseball team.

For most people–really almost everyone–this was the first time that the Commissioner’s Trophy had made its way to Chicago (the good part of Chicago, at least). It was a historical moment that few will ever forget–it has been written about thousands of times on thousands of blogs (including my own), and will continue to be written about for quite some time. People are basking in the glow emanating from the reflection of the trophy, and for good reason. It had, after all, been 108 years–generations of Cubs fans have come and gone without seeing a team win a World Series, and few of us are interested in letting it get that far again.

Fortunately, looking at the team the Cubs are fielding, we won’t have to wait much longer to see another.

Few things can kill a team’s postseason hopes faster than the loss of star players–be it through free agency, trades or injury.

The man who threw the final pitch of the 2016 season, Aroldis Chapman, falls into the first of those three camps, having been signed to a five year deal by the Yankees.

The loss of a closer–particularly one as dominant as Chapman, can be debilitating. But the Cubs determined they’d quickly right that ship, trading Jorge Soler for incredibly underrated relief asset Wade Davis.

Though the Chapman–Davis swap likely won’t hurt the Cubs much (Davis is an All-Star and has two top 8 Cy Young finishes in the last 3 years), the loss of Soler and Dexter Fowler–who left via free agency–will affect the Cubs outfield and lineup.  

Fortunately, those losses won’t hurt the Cubs too badly, as the wealth of young farm talent on the team is more than enough to make up for any holes. Ben Zobrist could slide into an outfield role to replace Fowler, while Javier Baez–one of the numerous playoff heroes for the Cubbies–can take his spot at second. Albert Almora, another young talent can also provide outfield depth with a now-healthy Kyle Schwarber and Jayson Heyward playing the corner spots.

The overwhelmingly young Cubs roster isn’t just primed to play well next year, it’s in a great position to do so for years to come. Move over Yankees, there’s a new powerhouse team in Major League Baseball.

Why It’s Time for Tim Tebow to Take a Time Out

tony-angiuli

When I was a student at the University of Florida beginning in 2004, I took a certain fondness to the athletics of my University. There’s something special about seeing a team of Division I athletes band together, facing off against bitter rivals that put professional sports rivalries to shame. The student sections bouncing up and down, sending tremors throughout the stadium. The chants, the boos and jeers and, of course, the raucous applause and cheers that ensure there isn’t a moment of silence between the opening whistle and the final snap (or basket, or out, or goal, etc).

 

That’s why, during my time at the University of Florida, I very much enjoyed watching Tim Tebow light up opposing defenses. It’s also why I’m telling Tim Tebow that, right now, it’s time to call it quits on the attempted foray into baseball.

 

I’ll admit, the idea of Tim Tebow sending an Adam Wainwright curveball into the bleachers at Wrigley Field would be, to put it lightly, overwhelmingly satisfying. I might not recover for weeks, were that to happen. Piper, my dog, might have to go to the dog-ear nose and throat doctor to get his ears checked from the hysterical laughter and cheering I’d likely do.

 

But that won’t happen. That won’t ever happen. Because Tim Tebow won’t ever reach the major leagues. In fact, he probably won’t manage to have an impact in the minors either.

 

When Tebow first attempted to make the transition from Florida football standout to NFL great, he stumbled and, ultimately, failed. The next logical step was to try a new sport. But the reviews have been less than stellar. Is Timmy Football an athlete, certainly? Is he a great human being, almost undoubtedly. But is he a baseball player, no.

 

The attempt was, in all honest, admirable. The fact that Tebow was signed at all is a testament to his incredible athleticism and determination. But the experiment has gone on long enough–like his short but mildly successful football career, it’s high time that Tebow walks away from another sport.

 

I like Tim Tebow just as  I like alliterations. But like the title of this blog, sometimes you just have to know when to call it quits on something–I know that I shouldn’t speak solely in alliteration, and Tim Tebow should know that he can’t do anything he wants. Seeing Tim try to make the dive into a successful baseball career was interesting, and I hoped the best for him. But Tim, my friend, my fellow Florida Gator, and one of the most exciting athletes that I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching in person–it’s time to take a time out.

Journalists Believe in the Chicago Cubs and You Should Too

You know your team is doing pretty well when the press keeps talking about how they’re going to take the World Series. Such is the case with the Cubs. But these aren’t just empty sweet nothings. The club has had an awe-inspiring season, which is totally deserving of praise.

Below are some of the glowing headlines that I’ve encountered over the past season, all of which express a belief in something great ahead for the Cubs. (I won’t say what.)

Believe in the Chicago Cubs - Tony Angiuli Florida

Cubs’ incredible Game 4 comeback gets even better with age

“…the Cubs did something in Game 4 of the National League Division Series, in that moment, that it has taken us a while to process. But now we know exactly what we saw.”

10/13/16 | ESPN.com

These Cubs curl up in the warm embrace of World Series expectations

“It might be silly to declare “World Series or bust” for a team that hasn’t won the pennant since 1945 or the World Series since 1908, but that sentiment reverberates from every corner of the Cubs clubhouse.”

10/13/16 | USA Today

It’s World Series Or Bust For The Chicago Cubs

“The Chicago Cubs are looking to break a curse that is more than a century old.”

10/7/16 | Forbes

Young Cubs soar past all expectations, caution flags

“The one caution coming from the front office was that ‘all progress is not linear,’ especially with the Cubs’ young players. In other words, some of these kids might take a step backward this year before going forward again.

That didn’t happen.”

9/26/16 | Chicago Daily Herald

Curses Don’t Exist: The Chicago Cubs Are Winning the 2016 World Series

“I’ll tell you what’s happening: The Chicago Cubs are winning the 2016 World Series. It’s happening because, again, curses aren’t real. It’s happening because the Cubs have been on an absolute tear all season and only seem to be getting better. ”

9/6/16 | The Ringer

Larry Bowa: Cubs Should Win World Series This Season

“It was 32 years ago this month that the Chicago Cubs set the city a blaze with pennant fever for the first time since 1969.”

8/23/16 | CBS Chicago

5 Reasons Chicago Should Still Be World Series Favorites

“Chicago fans are used to the Cubs choking and struggling after promising starts. There is a reason that the Cubs haven’t won a World Series since 1908. Even though their team is struggling now, there is no reason to expect the struggles to continue and end their World Series chances.”

7/20/16 | Inquisitr.com

An Irresistible Force Rises in Chicago

“The 2016 Cubs might actually be able to end the franchise’s immovable title drought — and emerge as the best team in baseball history”

6/7/16 | The Ringer

The Chicago Cubs and the New Baseball

“The longtime losers are now the preseason favorites—a sign of how the smartest teams have become the best ones.”

6/3/16 | The Atlantic

 

Journalists the world-over are feeling the Chicago enthusiasm. So, who’s to say they won’t be able to win it? Yes, I’m knocking on wood.

Let’s go get’em Cubbies!

 

Tony Angiuli

An Ode to Kerry Wood

If you were to catch a Cubs Game at Wrigley Field sometime in 1998 or sometime between 2000 and 2008 or sometime between 2010 and 2012, chances are that you had the opportunity to catch the amazing Kerry Wood doing what he does best: pitching. Nicknamed Kid K (a play on his first name and the letter used to statistically denote a strikeout), Kerry Wood was a force to be reckoned with. His renown as an adept pitcher would often cause crowds of fans to launch into boisterous chants of “Kerry, Kerry, Kerry”. In some games, you could even see fans expectantly counting Kerry’s strikeouts with big “K” cards.

Kerry Wood "K" signs - Daily Herald

Daily Herald

It all started when in a 1998 game against the Houston Astros. It was a rainy, drizzly day. For the Astros, it must have felt a heck of a lot rainier. Kerry pitched a 20-strikeout game, with no walks. The Astros only got one hit in the whole freaking game. And this was Wood’s fifth MLB start. To this day, Wood’s 20-strikeout performance is unprecedented (barring the Roger Clemens’ record). As the saying goes, the candle that burns twice as bright, burns out twice as quickly. In August of that same year, Wood was on the disabled list with elbow trouble.

Still, Kerry Wood’s performance against the Astros and other teams was more than enough to earn him the title of National League Rookie of the Year.

The Chicago Cubs' Kerry Wood leaves the field pumped up after getting out of a jam in the 12th inning against the Brewers.

Daily Herald

In 2000, Wood returned to active duty. In his first game back, fate put him once again against the Astros. Wood didn’t disappoint. He managed to hit a two-run homer and pitch 6 great innings. Unfortunately, the year-plus on the bench had taken a toll on his form. He did alright, but it definitely was not nearly as head-turning as his 1998 season.

2001 was a rough year for Kerry, but a good year for the Cubs. Then, 2002 was a good year for Kerry, but a rough year for the Cubs. In 2003, both entities seemed to be aligned. On top of having a great season, Kerry managed to get the Cubs to the National League Championship Series. But in Game Seven, Wood fell into a downward spiral. It seemed that everything he threw was getting hit to the outfield. The loss wasn’t entirely his fault, but he definitely took a lot of blame on his shoulders, something that has endeared him to a lot of Cubs fans to this day.

Kerry Wood - MyCubsToday.com

MyCubsToday.com

He stayed with the Cubs till 2008, after which point he moved onto the Cleveland Indians and eventually the Yankees. He then came back in 2011-2012 with the promise of being a Cubs for life. Although he never re-achieved his 1998 glory. Kerry Wood stands out as a great pitcher and a die-hard Cubbie, among the ranks of Ernie Banks, Aaron Aronson, and (despite his unpopularity after the doping scandal) Sammy Sosa.

Tony Angiuli

Two of the Greatest Chicago Cubs Players of All Time

The Chicago Cub have always been at team of both talented and likable players. That’s not to say that we haven’t had our fair-share of curmudgeons and flops, but by-in-large, each generation of players has yielded an impressive array of Cubbies. Amongst all of those golden players, a couple standout as going above in beyond both in performance and character.

Adrian Anson (1876-1897)

Adrian Anson is a Cubs legend. He played with the Cubs before they even became the Cubs. At the dawn of the National League, Anson stood out as a remarkable player on the Chicago Whitestockings. So much so that when the team wasn’t doing so well during the 1879 season, the president of the club (Al Spalding), named Anson Team Captain (hence “Cap” Anson) and Player Manager. During that time, the team was referred to as Anson’s Colts, before becoming the Colts, the Orphans, and then the Chicago Cubs in 1902. To this day, Anson is the Cubs’ all-time leader in hits, singles, doubles, RBI’s and runs. In fact, Anson had such good control of the bat that in the 1878 season he only struck out once and in the 1879 season he only struck out twice.

Adrian Anson in 1907

Anson was a natural leader who many of his fellow players looked up to. When the many of the backers of the Chicago cubs pulled out, Anson invested his own funds to keep the team going. Anson had his fair share of character flaws (he was an outspoken racist and was known to be particularly strong-headed) but his dedication to the sport are legendary.

Ernie Banks (1953-1971)

Ernie Banks just might be the most exemplary Cub in the history of the team. Unlike other players, he dedicated his whole entire Major League Baseball career to working with the Chicago Cubs. Before he was a Cubbie, Ernie Banks spent time playing for the Kansas City Monarch in the the Negro League and spent two years of military service. In a time where baseball was still segregated so that the likes of the Negro League still existed, Ernie Banks defied boundaries.

Baseball Cub of Ernie Banks

At the age of 22 he started playing for the Cubs. He managed to win two MVP Awards (1958 and 1959), pulled some amazing stats in the 1950s, and transitioned into a a player-coach role in the 1960s. In 1977, Banks was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame; in 1999, Banks was added to the roster of the MLB’s All-Century team; in 2008, a statue of Ernie Banks was unveiled in front of Wrigley Field; in 2009 the Library of Congress designated Banks as a Living Legend, and in 2013, Banks was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his contribution to the sport.

Sculpture of Mr. Cub in front of Wrigley Field

“Mr. Cub”

But Banks made contributions to society that existed well beyond baseball as well. He founded the Ernie Banks Live Above and Beyond Foundation to help underprivileged seniors and children get access to palliative care programs that they wouldn’t otherwise have. Long after his career with the Cubs, Banks remained an active voice in the Chicago scene.

His dedication to baseball, to the Cubs, and to the city make Ernie Banks one of the greatest cubs of all time.

 

I plan on covering more great Chicago Cubs players in future posts. Any thoughts? Let me know on Twitter @AnthonyAngiuli.

Upset that Sammy Sosa isn’t on this list. Don’t worry, I wrote a whole other piece dedicated to him.

Thanks for reading!

Tony Angiuli

A Brief History of the Cubs and the World Series

The Cubs are currently enjoying one of their best seasons since, since forever! That is, since 1945. It’s been 108 years since the Cubs last won a World Series. The only other team with a comparable Series slump would be the Cincinnati Reds, but even they’re slump clocks in at a staggering 22 years less than the Cub at 86 years.

By 22 years more than any other team in the MLB, the Cubs reign as the kings of the slump. By 22 years more than any other team in the MLB, the Cubs are ready for a victory.

1876

President at the Time: Ulysses S. Grant

Poster advertising the 1876 Chicago Cubs

The 1876 Chicago Cubs AKA White Stockings.

One hundred and forty years ago, Baseball was a very different game. The teams making up the at-the-time nascent national pastime had foreign names like the Hartford Dark Blues, the New York Mutuals, and the St. Louis Brown Stockings. At the time, the Cubs were known as the Chicago White Stockings. Needless to say, colors and stockings were all the rage at the time. (For a look at how today’s MLB teams got their names, check out this piece in Mentalfloss). With a name like the Chicago White Stockings you would think we’re talking about the Chicago White Sox, but we’re not. However, there was a period of time where the Chicago White Stockings did shed their name for a series of less than stellar one’s (Anson’s Colts, the Colts, and the Orphans) before the press dubbed them with the name we know them as today in 1902. During that period of time, Charles Comiskey of Comiskey Park relocated the St. Paul Saints to Chicago and in a smooth marketing move decided to call them the Chicago White Stockings (*cough* name-stealers *uncough*).

In 1876, as the Chicago White Stockings, the Cubs managed to score the first of their six National League titles. At the time it was impossible to win a World Series. There was no American League, there was only the National League. So winning the NL Championship was for all intents and purposes equivalent to winning the World Series.

That is until, 1903 when the first World Series game was held.

1906

President at the Time: Teddy Roosevelt

The Crosstown rivalry between the Cubs and Sox runs deep. In 1906, these two teams found themselves facing off against one another for the World Series Championship. Both teams played rather pitifully in the series, but in the end, the Sox won with an 8-3 advantage.

1907

President at the Time: Teddy Roosevelt

Up until 1985, winning a National  League Championship was a lot more cut and dry. All you had to do was have the greatest amount of wins in your league, and you were the champ. In 1907, the Cubs had 110 wins. In the World Series, they faced off against the Detroit Tigers. Although the first couple of games in the Series were tough, the team went on to sweep the next four. This was it: the first World Series win for the Cubs.

1908

President at the Time: Teddy Roosevelt

The 1908 Chicago Cubs posing with their terrifying mascot.

The 1908 Cubs mascot was a lot more terrifying than its contemporary counterpart.

When it comes to Cubs history, the saying truth is stranger than fiction most definitely applies. The New York Giants, The Pittsburgh Pirates and the Chicago Cubs were neck-and-neck vying for the National League Championship. Finally, on one summer day, it all comes to a head.

Cubs vs. Giants. Winner get the championship and goes onto the World Series. The Cubs manage to secure a lead and are barely hanging on to it when near the end of the game the Giants’ Fred Merkle scores what looks to be a game winning hit. Within seconds, Chicago fans rush the field in outrage, preventing Merkle from rounding the bases. Seizing the opportunity of the moment, the Cubs make a scramble to tag second base with a number of baseballs. The National league decides to end the game in a draw and decides to order a re-play. In that re-play the Cubs manage to win, taking the National League title over the Giants and the Pirates by one game.

Once again, the Cubs face the Tigers in the World Series Championship. Once again, the Cubs win.

1910, 1918, 1929

Presidents at the Time: William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge –> Herbert Hoover

The Cubs make it to the World Series, but lose to the Philadelphia Athletics, the Boston Red Sox, and the Philadelphia Athletics, respectively.

1932

President at the Time: Herbert Hoover

The Cubs play against the New York Yankees in the 1932 World Series. Unfortunately, the Yankees make out with a total sweep. This is also the legendary game where Babe Ruth pointed to center field and called his dazzling home run.

1938

Babe Ruth at Wrigley Field during the World Series

Did Babe point? Or was he just stretching? One of baseball’s greatest mysteries.

President at the Time: Franklin D. Roosevelt

It wasn’t until 1988 that lights were installed at Wrigley Field. It was hear in near-dark that the Cubs catcher-manager Gabby Hartnett hit his “Homer in the Gloamin” catapulting the Cubs into their third NL pennant of the decade. Unfortunately, once they go to the World Series they faced a total shutdown by the Yankees. Again.

 

1945

President at the Time: Franklin D. Roosevelt –> Harry S. Truman

Billiy Sianis holding his Billy Goat getting ejected from Wrigley Field.

Billy Sianis getting ejected from Wrigley Field.

This is the game of the Billy Goat Curse.The one that changed it all. Once again, for the fourth time, the Cubs find themselves facing off against the Tigers in the World Series. In game four of the series, Billy Sianis the owner of the Billy Goat Tavern brought his goat into the stadium. But Sianis and his goat were then ejected from the field. Upset, Sianis shouted “The Cubs ain’t gonna win no more!” Who would have thought that the words would from a tavern owner could be so full of magical power?

This Series made for one of the most dramatic yet. Going almost tit-for-tat, the Cubs and the Tigers force a Game 7. Here, the Tigers amazing Stan Hack runs past home plate for 6 of his 7 at-bats. In the end, the Cubs end up losing 9-3.

And they haven’t been able to make it back to the series sense.

 

So it’s been 108 years since the Cubbies have won a World Series and 72 since they’ve even made an appearance, but as any Cubs fan know any season just might be the season. Looking at the stellar performance of the club over the past several months, it looks like this season might just be that season. Fingers crossed!

 

Tony Angiuli

An Ode to Sammy Sosa

In 1998, Chicagoans from all walks of life had their eyes on one sports figure. “Slammin” Sammy Sosa was a baseball player of epic proportions. When Sammy Sosa first signed on with the Cubs through a trade with the Sox back in 1992, there wasn’t too much fanfare about him joining the roster. By the end of the 1993 season, people knew Sosa as a force to be reckoned with. By 1997 he had earned a reputation as a home run hitter. In 1998 he had a famous home run derby with St. Louis’ Mark McGwire and stoked the flames of one of Chicago’s greatest sports rivalries.

Sammy Sosa up to bat for Chicago Cubs - Tony Angiuli

Even, all the way down in Florida I felt the pull of his influence.

Although I was born in Chicago, I moved with my family down to Florida when I was four years old. I was 6 years old when Sosa started playing for the Cubs. Although I watched games with my family, I had more important things on my mind, like my studies at pre-school and playing with toys.

But it seemed that as I grew up, Sosa grew to be a larger and larger figure in my life. For starters, if I try really hard, I can recall a lot of fanfare about Sammy Sosa being a 30-30 player (30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in a single season) in 1993. Something that’s a bit easier for me to recall is when Sosa again managed to be a 30-30 player in 1995.

Before long, I was glued to the TV whenever a Cubs game would come on. My favorite baseball player, and even sports player in general, was Sammy Sosa. He was hitting an average of 30-40 home runs a season and for anyone who watches baseball, home runs are the equivalent of advanced pyrotechnics. They’re feats of super human strength. Particularly if you’re a kid, home runs are soooooo cool.


Metropolis could keep their Super Man. Chicago had Sammy Sosa.

In 1998, a super villain emerged to counter Chicago’s super hero (maybe super rival is more accurate, but in the melodrama of a child’s perspective on sports, McGwire was a villain). The two competed to see who could get the most home runs. At first McGwire had the lead, but it eventually became a grueling back-and-forth. Although both ended up beating the previous home run record 0f 63, McGwire landed 70…while Sosa only scored 66. It was a tough blow, but we still had hope.

In 1999, Sosa and McGwire again went head to head. Again, McGwire took the lead with 65, while Sammy Sosa trailed behind by 2 with 63. But trailing behind by 2 was a lot better than trailing behind by 4. Things were getting better. It was only a matter of time before our hero Sosa would win!

In 2000, Sammy managed to net the highest amount of home runs in the league. His total of 50 was not nearly as head-turning as his previous score, but it was still impressive achievement, especially so, because it beat McGwire’s total of 32 HR.

In retrospect, I realize these home run match-ups were just as lucrative for the wallets of the baseball clubs as it was for the spirits of fans. But there’s no way that they can take away from the sense of investment that I, my family, and so many other baseball fans felt.

Although Sammy Sosa still performed well, his career slowly wound down in the next several years, with the coup de grace being the cork-bat scandal that he was found not guilty of. Then in 2005, he suffered a back injury that really took its toll on his play, and by that time it seemed that Sosa was ready to move on. When he was traded to the Orioles in 2005, it was a blow, but it was something that seemed at that point inevitable.

Sammy Sosa was more than an amazing player, he was a figure that united a team and a city around him.

The Three Biggest Cubs Rivalries

After years of living in Florida, my loyalty still lies withthe Chicago Cubs. And it looks like the Cubbies are having one heck of a 2016 season.

Chicago Cubs Logo - he 3 Biggest Chicago Cubs Rivalries by Tony Angiuli

As of last night, they’ve won 19 of their last 22 road games, recently scoring a 16-0 game against the Cincinnati Reds (for a 6-1 total against the reds this season). But the Reds have never been to big of a challenge for the Cubs. When it comes to rivalries there are a few teams that have consistently been tough opponents throughout the history of the Cubs. Here’s a look at the Big Three:

Milwaukee Brewers (The 1-95 Rivalry)

Milwaukee and Chicago are only 80ish miles apart form one another, which means that in tight games, fans from either city can flock to the respective stadium. The Brewers have kicked Chicago’s butts the past decade and managed to win a Division title (where the Cubs  have not), but the Cubs recently gave them a run for their money in the 2015 season. Although the two teams are rivals, the truth is that most Chicago fans save their animus for the Sox and the Cardinals. More than anything, the Cubs and the Brewers have a lot in common. Aside from them being midwest teams, the two have both gone a long while without a World Series Championship. Despite the opinions of some, I’d say the two still have a rivalry going.

Chicago White Sox (The Cross-town Rivalry)

Hailing from the same city means nothing to the Sox and Cubs rivalry. More than anything, it exacerbates it. The Cubs have their territory in the northern picturesque territory of Wrigleyville. The Sox are located in the South Chicago area of Bridgeport. We both have our unfair stereotypes for one another. Sox fans accuse Cubbies of being wealthy frat boys. Cubbies accuse the White Sox of being a mega-star team that doesn’t give a lick about tradition (think Yankees vs. Mets meets Yankees vs. Red Sox). The White Sox have more recently won a World Series and have consistently performed better than the cubs, but they recently change the name of their field from Comiskey Park to US Cellular One Field (yuck!). To make matters worse, when it comes to head-to-head games, the White Sox have a much larger advantage in terms of wins. Ultimately, it’s a friendly rivalry. We’re fortunate to have two great teams in our city that speak to so many people. Just don’t expect many people to say that out loud.

St. Louis Cardinals (The Route 66 Rivalry)

Separated by 297 miles, the Cubbies and the Cardinals are perhaps the hottest rivalry in Cubs History. There are a number of factors that contribute to this: both teams are fierce, the fact that both states share the same state bird, the fact that the Cardinals Sportscaster Harry Caray switched sides to become a Cubs icon, etc. But I personally will point my finger at the Sammy Sosa/Mark McGwire rivalry. The two squared off in a 1992 home run derby of sorts where Mark McGwire took the prize for single-season home run record. Although things cooled down in the years following the departure of those historical players, analyst predict that the rivalry will flare up this season.

For more sports info, check out the rest of TonyAngiuli.org.

Gators Attempt to Redeem their Season With Wins Against Missouri

The Gators have had a disastrous end to their regular season, losing an astounding 4 out of their last 5 games. Although some of these losses are to tournament contending teams like the University of Kentucky and University of South Carolina, the Gators needed to win in order to retain any hopes of competing in this year’s NCAA Tournament. At the moment, the Gators’ prospects in this year’s tournament seem pretty dim. With only two games left, there is an almost sure chance the Gators will be left out of March Madness

O'Connell_CenterHowever the UF did manage to pull a great win on the road against the Missouri Tigers, who are currently last in the SEC standings. The game’s final score, 82-72, showcased the team’s capabilities when focusing their efforts on both offense and defense. It wasn’t until a minute and a half into the game until either team could score a basket against the other. Was it awesome defending on the part of both teams, or two offenses that have been lacking for the better part of the year? Regardless, the Gators’ back to back baskets opened the score, and helped spark an action packed game that fans had been long awaited.

The Gators blocked five shots in the first few minutes of the game, setting the tone for the Tigers the rest of the game. In the first half alone, only 35% of Missouri’s shots touched the net, scoring a lowly 28 points. UF on the other hand, finished the half with a whopping eighteen point lead, ending the half at 46-28. A true showcase of what the Gators were really capable of achieving.

Missouri came out of the locker room determined to close the gap though, preventing the UF from walking away with a blowout win. Sophomore point guard Chris Chiozza, after contributing to seven assists, 5 points, and four rebounds in the first half, increased the Gators’ lead back to 18 points with 19:39 to go. In the next three minutes, he continued his hot streak with another three point basket, and a lay-up. However as the team continued to stretch their lead, Florida seemed to get overly confident. Missouri went forth, and closed the original 21 point gap to only 10 points with three minutes to go – giving the Tigers a real shot of turning the lead around. With a slam-dunk from Finney-Smith though, the Gators exerted their authority on the court, permanently solidifying their lead. The Gators went on to win the game 82-72.

If you liked this post and would like to read more on Gators news and info, check out my twitter @Tony Angiuli for more. Thanks for reading!