Past Blogs from 2013

To Rick Hahn: You Have Got To Be Beeping Me!
December 4, 2013
By: Eli Hershkovich
Frank Thomas having a shot at the Hall of Fame might be the only news trending for the White Sox this offseason.

Rick Hahn and the Chicago White Sox organization have entered the 2013-2014 offseason with the mentality of “Let’s add, but just enough so it’s only a tiny bit”.

The signing of Jose Abreu gives the South Siders a chance to build at first base for the first time since the addition of Paul Konerko. This move I will give them credit for. As much as people want to argue that the Abreu contract was too much for a Cuban prospect, someone had to take a gamble of the youngster. Why shouldn’t it have been the Sox?

Konerko decided today that he will come back for his 16th season with the Sox. In the early part of those years, White Sox fans have seen Pauly struggle in the 1st half of the season, and then turn it on in the second half. Yet, within the past three to four seasons, Konerko has become a wizard at sprinkling the ball all across the field and playing consistently throughout. Pauly is no doubt my favorite athlete of all time, but you’d hate to see someone who’s been so good, for so long, begin to struggle, especially after last season’s numbers.

The White Sox will hopefully give Pauly the opportunity to play sporadically, unless Hahn and the rest of the crew decides to move Dunn. I couldn’t see this happening though, especially because they don’t know what to expect from the Cuban. The youngster Abreu can hopefully take away all of the magic that Konerko has learned, with the bat and the glove of course (we’re not talking wands here, come on). Let the teaching begin.

The organization decided to make another re-addition to their ball club. This time it’s a name Sox fans tend to dread: Tyler Flowers.

Why the organization felt it was right to bring Flowers back? I truthfully have no clue. The move makes no sense. After Flowers had the worst season possible replacing A.J, they turned to Josh Phegly full-time when Flowers went down for the year. Phegly might have been thought of as a little more productive, but that’s also because fans and the organization wanted and hoped to see more progress from him; Phegly could still have a future in some eyes too, but he struggled when he was given full duties behind the dish, defensively especially.

The fact that the Sox have yet to bring a veteran catcher in is crazy though. One would think the Sox would rid themselves of Flowers and/or Phegly, and target Saltalamacchia (signed with the Marlins), McCann (signed with the Yankees), or maybe even bring back Pierzynski (signed by the Red Sox). If someone wants to argue that McCann was out of the Sox price range, and they moved on from A.J, that’s fine. However, Saltalamacchia would have brought a bat to both sides of the plate, and he just caught for the World Series Champion Red Sox. Yes, his price tag was higher than normal, but I thought the White Sox were willing to pay him after all of their struggles at catcher. Instead, they bring back the piece of garbage that is Tyler Flowers.

Now where do the White Sox turn? There’s one name in Chicago that everyone has been discussing, for both the North and South Side. Plus, he’s from this city. Curtis Granderson.

Fans continue to say that the Grandy-Man wouldn’t be worth it for the White Sox because of the injury problems. Yet, the last I’ve checked, with the exception of last season’s injury, Granderson has stayed healthy for the majority of the last six to seven seasons.

Pushing the injury bug idea aisde, although Granderson won’t have a high batting average, he’ll give the White Sox a big lefty bat in their lineup. Wherever they would decide to bat him, I think it would make complete sense. With the way US Cellular Field is designed, Granderson could have a field day, or many field days, at the plate if he signs with the Sox. Although the right field porch (314 ft from home plate) at Yankees Stadium is fairly drawn in, the right field wall (335 ft from home plate) at the Cell isn’t too far back either.

The American League Central, especially the ball club in Detroit, won’t be any easier to matchup against; their organization is actually making headlining moves.

Prince Fielder was a clubber vs. the White Sox. That’s the thought I had in my mind after the Kinsler-Fielder mega-blockbuster. However, with Fielder being off the squad, Cabrera can play one of his more natural positions, first base. Not only that, second base will have a big brick behind it now, with Kinsler manning the bag.

Kinsler’s has been known as a “White Sox killer” (Ken “The Hawk” Harrelson). There’s a rule in my book; I quote Hawk at least once every chance I get. You’d think Harrelson would be able to say this phrase a lot this season, especially with Kinsler playing at the Cell more often.

The Tigers are now financially stable for the long haul with this move. They can hopefully resign Max Scherzer, and that opportunity just became a whole lot easier after trading Doug Fister yesterday to the Nasty Nats. Joe Nathan has also made his way back to the AL Central, but he’ll be closing for Motown instead of the Twinkies.

If you’re Rick Hahn, you can’t stay pat for much longer. There’s disappointment to be felt so far but there’s still time. Go out and make some moves; prove why you became the General Manager. Plus, you can show Kenny Williams why he was “promoted” to his new job.

Breaking Down The Catastrophic BCS Standings
December 3, 2013
By: Eli Hershkovich
The number one team in the land went down on November 30th when the Auburn fans charged the field. The Tigers had defeated the Crimson Tide 34-28 on one of the craziest plays, if not the best play, of the college football season.

Those in Tuscaloosa, Alabama were having what some would call a panic attack. The BCS rankings might have been having one as well.

The teams ranked one through five were as follows: Flordia State, Ohio State, Auburn, Alabama, and Missouri. Now fans all over the place, especially in those cities, scream to the BCS one question; who will make the BCS National Championship after the conference championship games this weekend?

Whether FSU wins the ACC Championship Game, which they should, many voters will wonder what will happen to Jameis Winston. If Winston is found guilty, Flordia State’s policy is that he will be suspended from game activity. So now, forget about the Heisman; could FSU compete for a national title if Winston was not on the field? It’s a question that’s pretty easy to answer, but I’ll do it for you instead. NO. No, no, no, and no.

As talented as their wide receivers are to make explosive plays, Winston creates so much time outside of the pocket. There is no chance any other QB at FSU could make as many plays as he has created this season. Regardless of the defense their backup, Jacob Cooker, would face in the title game, he would get rocked. Therefore, unless Winston gets cleared before this Sunday night, there is so much risk to deal with, if you are a voter. However, the voters can’t go against FSU if they beat Duke. For all of the above reasons of why Winston is so special, they’ll be playing in the BCS National Championship.

Now here comes the big debate. Let’s say Auburn beats Missouri on Saturday night. Do they jump Ohio State, even if OSU beats Michigan State? First of all, let me say this, the people who are talking about Missouri having a shot to jump OSU are insane. Even if they were to beat Auburn, did they beat Alabama this season? There is your answer. Coming to Mizzou’s defense (there’s a pun for you), they didn’t get a shot at the Tide though…

I was on the SEC’s side at first. The bias that has gone into the BCS the past few years (see the Alabama vs. LSU national championship) is incredible. However, I think the BCS might get it right this time. Ironically, they would have waited until the last true year of existence to do so.

If the Buckeyes take down the Spartans Saturday night, they deserve a spot in the BCS National Championship game. My initial take was that if Auburn wins Saturday, they should jump OSU no matter what, since they knocked off the best team in the country in Alabama already. Nonetheless, Ohio State is still in the Big Ten, a.k.a one of the toughest conferences in college football. I don’t care how much people want to say it’s a down year for each division in the conference; these teams are still tough to go up against. If OSU can get by the best defense in the country, with an undefeated season on top of that, how do they not deserve a spot in the big game?

For a side note, the quarterback at the commands in Columbus has to be at the top of Heisman race, especially if he takes down MSU. Sparty’s defense is going to try to contain Braxton Miller inside the pocket all that they can. If Miller has a whale of game, running and throwing the football against this talented defense, he should win the Heisman Trophy.

So it’s set for me. The national championship should include the two best all-around quarterbacks in college football today. SEC fans sure won’t be happy, but everyone else in the country would be to see a FSU vs. OSU matchup, which is worth all of the marbles.

Time To Rebuild The House That Jordan Built… Again
November 25, 2013
By: Eli Hershkovich
The news, which broke to fans around the country on Monday, November 25th, was devastating but maybe necessary for the Bulls organization.

Derrick Rose will not return for the rest of the 2013-2014 NBA season. Counting this season, Rose will have sat out two full seasons, as well as the final games of the 2012 NBA playoffs.

If you’re the Bulls organization, where do you go from here?

It’s time to question Gar Forman, or John Paxson (whoever you think the true General Manager is) why he signed Derrick Rose to such a large extension right before the 2011-2012 season?

After seeing Rose receive roughly 95 million dollars over five years, Bulls fans everywhere were overly ecstatic, including myself. The team just came off an Eastern Conference Finals appearance, and more importantly, Rose won the MVP.

It might have been a overreaction from the Bulls organization though. I understand the Bulls didn’t have the significant pieces around him, which they have now. Yet constantly in the Heat series, Rose looked worn down. Why couldn’t the front office have waited another year to sign him? His rookie contract was still on the table.

If you’re going to bring up the argument of other superstars, such as Dwight Howard or Carmelo Anthony, who received their
maximum contracts and did not win titles yet, do not. As much as I dislike both of them at times because of how they both can act like babies, their rookie contracts were up at the time. On top of it, pushing that argument aside, Dwight has proven he can stay healthy; Anthony has had minor injuries throughout his career, but at least not for a long, sustainable time.

The question resides with this current Bulls team. Is it time to rebuild right now?
If the Bulls can play as well as they did last season without their savior, they can wait until the offseason. There’s no doubt this team will have trouble accomplishing Thibodeau’s grueling time management though. By that, I mean no time management. The Bulls don’t have a Nate Robinson, who can play 39 minutes, no matter how much he shoots or plays poorly on defense, and still lights up the scoreboard for 20 points.
This team will need much more of a collective team effort between Kirk and Teague at the point, and it’s scary to think how much pressure the second year point guard can handle. This is where we hope John Calipari’s “One-And-Done” system actually worked.

Let’s say the Bulls can’t find the dynamic scoring, which they found a season ago. Unless they made a deal to get a low-income scorer, like Nate-Rob, which would be extremely tough to find, it’s time to rebuild this squad during the trade deadline or sooner.
We’ve seen this team have troubles rebuilding in the past. Whether it was the drafting of Elton Brand in 99′, then swinging him to the Clippers in 2001 for Tyson Chandler. Nonetheless, I’m not going to tell you who the Bulls need to draft. What the Bulls do need is to unload some of their talent.

As much as Bulls fans love Joakim Noah’s energy, he is an undersized big man playing power forward. Neither his post game nor jumper has really improved. If his defender is going to back off, he needs to hit that jumper more consistently. Even though he’s making close to 12-14 million dollars these next three seasons, a team will take his contract. Although the injuries would be a concern, any organization would bite on the chance to get a hustler like Noah. Plus, the injuries are just another reason to get rid of the big man.

Moving onto Deng, I have been a big fan of his before and after the Bulls gave him the big contract after the 2007-2008 season. However, the best move for this team is to go young. Butler can move up to the small forward, and the team can then draft or sign a shooting two guard. No, please do not sign another Mike Dunleavy or Marco Belinelli for cheap, especially if they’re clearing all of this cap space.

The ironic part about Boozer is he has been arguably the most consistent of the Bulls, so far this season, averaging 16 ppg and 8.7 rebounds. With the opportunity to bring over the young Nikola Mirotic from Spain for next season though, Boozer will be amnestied. Someone might even take his contract, for the rest of this season and next, if they’re desperate at this trade deadline. It seems like some another color commentator will soon have to say “Hop on the Booz Cruise!”

The Bulls of course won’t let go of their point guard, at least right now. However, all of these injuries beg to ask one question. Can Rose ever get back to his MVP level? From what we saw through the ten games he played this season, plus adding in the most recent meniscus tear, my answer is no. This organization needs to let go of their Chicago star down the road before they continue to build their franchise around a player who is not reliable.

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