Saturday, April 24, 2010

Miller Park 4-23

Most of the box score stuff you guys are more than capable of looking up so I just am going to hit the highlights of the game, and some of my observations.

-The atmosphere reminded me very much of the sox tigers game I went to. I have never felt so much hatred in the air at a Brewers game before.
-It was NOT north wrigley. If I had to guess I would say that only 1/4 of the fans were cubs fans.
-The roof was closed. Outside temp was about 50 with rain.
-Jeff Suppan should quit. He pitched an extrodinarily slow game and officially gave up 5 earned in 4 and a third. I personally think the 6th run should have been earned but w.e.
-Slow game. Even though the score was 8-1 Dempster and Suppan sure take their time. Total game time 3:12.
-In the first inning I got to witness my first replay at a baseball game. I still think the ball cleared the yellow line however prince fielder was awarded a double.
-Either miller park broke their speed gun of their reliever coffey is a madman. In the final inning, in which he gave up two runs, he struck one guy out with apparently a 200 MPH changeup and then got the next batter to ground out to short with an 800 MPH fastball.
-The hotdog won the race beating the churrizo in a photo finish.
-No Zambrano out of the pen, however he did warm up with the pen and was screwing around in the outfield during BP. If I was the manager I would not want him screwing around just in case I do want him to be my ace again sometime soon.
-The cubs infield certainly looks impressive. Looking back on my scorecard I have 2 ! so a fantastic night on defense for them.
-I was greatly disappointed not to be able to witness Trevor "Hells Bells" Hoffman come into the game.
-Apparently the brewers have cheerleaders now.
-Beer and a brat cost 12 even. Both were fantastic.
-Only four security incidents. One a fans cub instigated it. He was thrown against a rail, cuffed and led out by security. The second was instigated by a Brewers fan and he was simply led out. The other two had to do with fans rushing the field.
-Overall, not a terrible game to go to as Miller park is still in my eyes a fantastic place to go see a game.
-I will try and get some pictures and video up soon.
-Go Brewers

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Illinois vs Northwestern at Wrigley

ESPN Chicago is reporting that the Illinois vs Northwestern game will take place at Wrigley Field on November 20th, 2010.

The Armchair Superstar Mock Draft 2010!

Separated by two hundred miles, one Armchair Superstar sits in an office in Chicago, while another is embroiled in the baccanalian depths of Indiana University’s world-famous Little 500 Week.

You would think it would be difficult for us to focus on the NFL draft. You would be wrong. There's never too much going on for us to ignore the NFL Draft, or as I like to call it, Christmas III.

This year, Steve Noffke (office) took the even picks, including the Saint Louis Ram’s number one selection. Mark Fodor (never too old for college) will be handling the odds. We conducted our draft, much like Bears ownership, via Google Chat. Enjoy.

Steve Noffke: #1 St. Louis Rams Select... QB SAM BRADFORD, Oklahoma.

The new ownership wants a new face of the franchise, and ever since his health was given the ok, they have been looking at Bradford, I have to say i think Suh is the best player, but I can't blame them for passing on him for a franchise QB. Especially after drafting Chris Long 2 years ago.

Mark Fodor: I really do think this is a business decision - drafting a franchise QB buys you at least an extra year to break in said quarterback without winning.

Chris Long, Adam Carriker, even Jimmy Kennedy years ago - the Rams haven't had much luck on the defensive line. But Oklahoma QBs in the NFL? Can you name any that have turned out great?

SN: In the past 20 years, no.

MF: #2 Detroit Lions select DT Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska.

The fans in Detroit were chanting his name Tuesday, according to the NFL Network. I think Suh has everything you look for in a prospect - he's seasoned (age 23 coming into the league), he is incredibly quick and strong and has the potential to somewhat redefine the position by being better (maybe) than guys like Warren Sapp.

At Nebraska, he was in the backfield every time you looked up. Interior linemen can't contain him. And he gives underrated Lions LB Ernie Sims a chance to shine.

SN: He sacked Colt McCoy 4 times in the Big XII title game, talking about showing up big on the big stage. As a Bears fan, i am not thrilled about seeing him twice a year.

SN: #3 Tampa Bay selects DT Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma. Some experts have McCoy rated higher then Suh and he is a great pickup for the Bucs. He has a big time motor and instantly upgrades their defensive front.

MF: I can't entirely disagree with Tampa's thinking here, since McCoy is a consensus type guy. But something about him makes me uneasy. Why wasn't he more productive in college? And will a defensive tackle really help the Bucs noticeably? We mentioned Chris Long earlier – ‘sure thing’ defensive linemen just don’t always pan out.

SN: The Bucs do have a lot of needs and McCoy only solves ones of them.

MF: Okay, did you know the Redskins only have four picks in the entire draft?

So I wouldn't be particularly shocked to see them try and trade down and gain some ground. But if they stand pat...

SN: Daniel Snyder is trying to set the record for most consecutive drafts with the fewest picks.

MF: At #4, the Washington Redskins select OT Russell Okung, Oklahoma State.

Okung has been the top tackle on people's boards for a long time, but as the draft approaches there's been a lot of talk of Oklahoma’s Trent Williams and even Bryan Bulaga passing him. I think Okung fits better in a Shanahan zone blocking scheme because of his speed and agility. He’s also a great pass blocker.

SN: Love getting the franchise tackle, Okung can replace Chris Samuels who retired and Shanahan needs someone to protect McNabb.

SN: Number 5 Kansas City selects OT Bryan Bulaga, Iowa.

MF: leapfrogging Trent Williams!

SN: I don't think you can go wrong with Bulaga or Williams here, but from what I hear, GM Scott Pioli loves Bulaga and he’s "his type of player" a meat and potatoes guy.

MF: Here's my thing with Bryan. I think he's an NFL right tackle, not a left tackle. He's not quite elite enough as a pass protector. He reminds me more of John Tait than of, say, Orlando Pace (in their prime).

SN: do you feel more comfortable that he'll be steady then Williams?

MF: I wouldn't be surprised to see KC end up with Bulaga, but they could trade down a few spots and still have a good shot at him.

MF: I really think it's a toss up. But I think Bulaga could start right away at RT and be fine.

Speaking of that comparison though, let's do this. At #6, the Seattle Seahawks select Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma.

That makes three offensive tackles in a row, following the top pair of DTs. That's a lot of top ten beef.

Williams is solid but strikes me as a workout warrior. Is he better than Phil Loadholt, his former teammate who went in the second round to Minnesota last year and ended up starting opposite Bryant McKinnie?

SN: I personally think the Seahawks will take whoever is their top rated player at this spot regardless of position (be it Berry, Morgan, etc.) because there will still be value at the tackle position when they pick again at 14.

MF: It comes down to how they value those top three guys versus the next tier of tackles in Bruce Campbell, Anthony Davis, Charles Brown.

SN: I like Williams, but agree with your concerns, which is why i think the Chiefs pass on him.

MF: Of this top six, I see McCoy and Williams as the potential busts.

SN: Cleveland Browns at #7 select S Eric Berry.

I think Berry is the second best player in the draft (behind Suh) and would be a great pick for the Browns in this slot.

MF: I agree that Berry is a phenomenal value here and he's going to have a great career. It will be interesting to see if Holmgren can turn Cleveland into an NFL team. Getting an elite safety here is a decent start.

SN: I think Cleveland is hoping they can get a QB with a later pick because that is an obvious need for them, but high profile QBs have not done well for the Browns they came back into existence (See Couch and Quinn).

MF: This is a deep draft for QB prospects.

Really, a deep draft in general. Which means you take Pro Bowlers where you can get 'em. And Berry definitely has that potential, more so than, say, the last two picks.

SN: I see Berry being the third best safety in the league within his first two years (behind Troy and Ed).

MF: At #8, the Oakland Raiders select... Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida.

SN: I love Pierre-Paul.

MF: If NFL games were played in workout attire and involved drills only, Pierre-Paul would be an all time great. I don't think this guy is a sure bust. But he is definitely a workout warrior. Ceiling: Jevon Kearse, junior. Hard to turn down that kind of potential.

The Raiders did just trade for Quentin Groves, but I think Groves is more of a depth addition along the defensive line.

SN: I know a lot of people see bust on him but I think he has the speed and versatility to fit in a 3-4 or 4-3.

SN: #9 Buffalo Bills select Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame. He's got a strong arm to fight the wind in Buffalo, played in cold weather at Notre Dame, learned in a system from a Coach who has done great things with QBs, and was the only reason Notre Dame was decent last year. Also played through pain.

MF: Um, Golden Tate is offended by that.

SN: haha

MF: I had Jimmy on my "do not draft" list, so it's for the best that you take him now anyway.

SN: He'll have a big target if James Hardy can stay on the field.

MF: Lee Evans, Roscoe Parrish are speedsters like Floyd and Tate were at ND last year.

#10 Jacksonville Jaguars select... you ready for this? ...

Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama.

SN: YES. McClain is a solid choice here.

MF: After Berry and Suh, I think McClain is the third best player in this draft. I hate to say that anybody's a sure thing, but McClain is a sure thing. He will give Peyton Manning fits. He's smart, physical, and strong. Oh, and fast.

The comparisons are to Patrick Willis, and those comparisons are, in my mind, accurate.

Also, the Giants and Cards would love to get ahold of McClain, meaning that the Jags hold a pretty good card here if they do want to trade down.

SN: 6’ 4” 254 and a sure tackler, hard not to like him.

SN: Denver Broncos Select Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech.

I don't see them taking potentially problematic WR Dez Bryant since they just parted ways with another problematic wideout.

MF: Morgan gets to face single teams, since Dumervil has emerged as an elite pass-rusher.

SN: Morgan is an All-American, ACC player of the Year, lots to like about of this guy.

MF: I think he's a decent fit. I probably would have gone CB to put somebody good on the opposite side from Champ Bailey.

MF: Worth noting that this was our (the Bears’) pick from the Jay Cutler trade.

#12 Miami Dolphins select Earl Thomas, S, Texas.

Pretty simple: Their secondary needs work, and they play the Pats and Jets twice a year. Thomas is a good prospect here and really blew up as a redshirt sophomore last year.

SN: He can play corner or safety, so I like his versatility. He plays both the run and pass well, and like you said, gives the dolphins someone to cover Welker in the slot.

MF: not to mention the Jets' dozen or so targets.

SN: Ok, 13 San Francisco Takes Joe Haden, CB, Florida.

They take the top player on their board because they can get a need a few picks later.

MF: There's been talk that he and Kyle Wilson from Boise are a lot closer than previously rated.

SN: yeah, he can have fun covering Larry Fitzgerald twice a year.

At #14, Carroll goes defense. How 'bout his own boy, and a reach, in Taylor Mays, S, USC?

SN: I really could see Carroll pulling a Superior and trying to get a bunch of his guys.

MF: Yeah, Pete is such a recruiter, it's hard to imagine him NOT going for Southern Cal guys, especially since he has final say on the picks.

SN: full control in Seattle.

SN: #15 New York Giants Select Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee.

We have already discussed him a little, but he is another big DT and the Giants need some help on D, and they do love their D-line being stacked.

MF: I think it's a good pick, although Barry Cofield has been good for them at DT. Osi Umeniyora is on his way out in New York.

MF: Anyway at #16 the Tennessee Titans take G/C Maurkice Pouncey, Florida.

A great interior lineman, one of two in this draft. He gets the edge because he can take over for Kevin Mawae who is old, yet hanging on.

Having played with Tebow, he knows what it's like protecting a mobile, athletic quarterback.

SN: I like Pouncey a lot, Him and his brother made a great core for the Florida line.

MF: Would be nice if the same team could draft Mike Pouncey next year.

SN: #17 San Francisco Selects Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers, this is a need pick, They need some O-line help and he's the best one left at this point.

MF: Davis is a definite talent but has character/motivation questions. If anybody can handle that kind of guy, it's Mike Singletary.

SN: He wants winners.

MF: I do think Anthony is a decent value pick at #17.

SN: The OT drop off after him is pretty high.

MF: Okay. At #18, the Steelers take CB Kyle Wilson, Boise State.

MF: William Gay and Ike Taylor are adequate, but Wilson can step in as a nickel back in his first year. AFC North teams have been upgrading their wide receivers this year (see: Anquan Boldin, Antonio Bryant), and Steelers are in an arms race.

SN: I think he was the only one who left that undefeated BSU team.

MF: I thought about interior line but I think the PR ramifications of picking a guy to protect Big Ben... well... not pretty.

SN: It's the Steelers, they love having a good defense and he helps that.

#19 Atlanta takes CJ Spiller, RB, Clemson.

MF: now THAT is an interesting pick.

SN: I know the falcons need defense and will most likely go that way in this spot, but if CJ Spiller is still there, they can't pass him up.

MF: I like Spiller a lot. But with Norwood on board and Michael Turner the clear starter, how much can he really get on the field?

SN: he's the best RB in the Draft, he can be ready to take over for Turner in a year or two, until then, he is versatile enough to do other things for the team, and he played not too far away at Clemson.

MF: I think the Burner has more than a year or two left in the tank. Still, Spiller represents value at 19. I would have gone with a LB.

Not to mention I was about to draft him.

SN: Houston has Slaton.

MF: Slaton didn't convince anybody last year. He was a bigger first round bust than Forte in fantasy.

MF: At #20, the Houston Texans select Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State. And their offense gets downright scary.

Between Bryant and Andre Johnson, and a hopefully recovered Owen Daniels... and Matt Schaub rounding into form, this could mean aerial fireworks for the ages.

SN: that's a scary offense. With the two stars on defense, too, that team could finally make the playoffs.

SN: #21 Cincinnati Selects Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma.

MF: Here's my thing - they've been injury prone at TE, as Hard Knocks demonstrated last season. Gresham is coming off a serious injury.

SN: Gresham is an awesome talent, shame what happened to him last year, adds another weapon for Palmer to go along with Ochocinco and Benson.

MF: And he definitely fits a need. I could see them taking Dorin Dickerson from Pittsburgh over Gresham if they go TE.

SN: also, they will get last year’s first round choice Andre Smith back and healthy.

MF: I hope he's been eating healthy, man. Terrence Cody and Smith did not make Alabama's strength and conditioning coach look very good.

MF: #22 New England is happy to find LB/DE Brandon Graham, Michigan, still on the board.

A flexible, high motor player who will fit in great in New England. He knows how to get to the quarterback. Productive in college. Relatively low ceiling, but also low bust potential. He'll be solid.

SN: oo, that was my next pick.

MF: I finally stole one! Sweet.

SN: Since he's off the Board, the Packers will take Sergio Kindle, DE/LB Texas.

Hawk, Matthews, Kindle – good young LBs.

MF: That defense is young and gifted. Kindle fits in great.

SN: also helps lessen the Aaron Kampmann blow.

MF: I think he's a much better fit in the 3-4 than Kampmann.

MF: #24 Philadelphia doesn't need much on offense, but ran short on defensive bodies last year. Defensive tackle Brian Price from UCLA is the pick. He fits the 4-3 better than Jared Odrick from Penn State.

SN: Yeah, a deep DT draft this year.

MF: it's wild how deep this draft is at many positions!

I do expect to see a few guys come out of left field in the last ten picks here, e.g. Nnamdi Asomugha a few years ago.

#25 Ravens select Mike Iupati, G, Idaho.

MF: I've been trying to pick him for like ten picks now.

SN: Ravens are good on D, might go with the Georgia Tech WR, but i see them building up the line some more to go along with Mr. Blindside himself Michael Oher.

MF: at #26, the Arizona Cardinals select one of my favorite players, Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Mizzou.

He steps in to replace Karlos Dansby right away. A smart, athletic player with true NFL tools.

SN: Yeah, he's a good fit in that system

MF: I remember watching him against Northwestern in the Alamo Bowl last year - he pretty much saved the day for Missouri.

SN: He can play right away.

MF: Between him and Ziggy Hood, they really stuffed the Wildcats’ running game and screen passing.

#27, The Dallas Cowboys Select Charles Brown, OT, USC.

MF: They need help on the line for sure.

SN: they just realesed Flozell Adams, line is a need, and he is a big tackle who can step up.

MF: I don't know if he starts right away but he is a good player and capable of playing LT.

MF: at #28, San Diego drafts Terrence Cody, DT, Alabama.

SN: YES! Mt. Cody.

MF: Jamal Williams has been such a beast there but he was hurt last year and their defense really suffered.

SN: Yeah, Jamal Williams made the pro bowl and then hasn't been able to stay healthy since.

MF: Cody is built in the Ted Washington mold as a 3-4 nose tackle. I also almost went with RB Ryan Mathews from Fresno State here to replace LT, but I think Mount Cody makes a bigger impact.

SN: a good potential replacement, be sure to show his picture again.

MF: oh yes.

SN: #29 The New York Jets go with Carlos Dunlap, DE, Florida

SN: He has some off-the-field issues, but you know Ryan wants to take a versatile defender.

MF: Was it Simmons who said Vernon Gholston may be the first first rounder released on Hard Knocks?

MF: Well, Dunlap would help that along.

SN: 6'6”, 277 lbs, runs a 4.66.

SN: i can deal with some issues with those credentials.

MF: Jason Taylor's also on board for the Jets now. They're making a push towards being an AFC favorite this year, and are no doubt better on paper than the Patriots today.

At #30, the Minnesota Vikings select a guy who can learn from Favre and be a face of the franchise. That's right...

Colt McCoy, QB, Texas.

SN: ballsy, but I like it.

MF: I think McCoy is a better fit in the Vikes system than Tebow. Though it would be fun to see the Florida kids, Percy Harvin and Timmy, reunited.

SN: I think Colt is going to be a fantastic Pro QB, but he could use some on the job training.

MF: Colt was, at one point, rated as low as a fourth rounder. He had a great pro day and is healthy. Texas, it's worth noting, did not have a great offensive line last year.

SN: #31 Indianapolis take the OT flying up the Draft Boards…

MF: yesssss....

SN: Rodger Saffold OT, Indiana.

He has done nothing but impress scouts since his East/West Shrine Game, and can play any of four offensive line positions.

MF: Pretty amazing that an Indiana University kid has a shot at the first round, but Tracey Porter of the Saints just proved that the Hoosiers can produce great pros.

SN: his personality fits in perfectly with the Colts.

MF: I see him as an RT, but that flexibility will appeal to Bill Polian.

MF: With the last pick in the first round, the New Orleans Saints take Jerry Hughes, OLB, Texas Christian. He replaces Scott Fujita and is an instant upgrade. He can also come to the line on passing downs.

SN: Yes, they don't need any help on offense with Payton and Brees, and they already got DE help with the Alex Brown signing.


SN: Best Pick #7 Eric Berry. I know the Browns have a lot of needs, but he's my number 2 on my big board and getting him at 7 is a good value.

MF: I agree on Berry. My favorite pick is McClain to the Jags at 10. I see him as a potential All-Pro. I'd be shocked to see Mike Iupati get to #25 - he's a great value there.

MF: As far as reaches, I like Cincinnati taking a TE, but I'm not 100% sold on Gresham - I think there are other tight ends that may end up better pros.

SN: McCoy to Minnesota I like, but he is a reach in the late first round.

MF: Sliders - Bruce Campbell, Jared Odrick, Golden Tate, Tim Tebow are all out of the first round. No huge surprises there.

Thanks for reading – let us know what you think!

Cubs Prospect Watch:

So it’s April 22nd and the Cubs are off to a tremendous start (read – sarcasm). With “The Machine”, AKA Albert Pujols, carrying the Cardinals on his back to a 10-5 start, is it time to look to next year for the Cubs already? Maybe not quite yet – but it is time to call up some young guys to give the ole ball club a shot in the arm.

If I’m Jim Hendry there are three prospects that I would call up TODAY who would have an instant impact in the big leagues (ranked in order of awesomeness):

1) Starlin Castro, SS (Pictured) – (.380 Avg, 3 2bs, 3 3Bs, 1 HR, 12 RBI, 4 SB at AA Tennessee)

If anything, calling up Starlin would make new around the majors. A lot of people would point to this as the Cubs rushing another top prospect to the big leagues, but I say let him give it a try. We know what we are getting with Theriot, why not shift him to 2B and make room for this future all-star? I like Jeff Baker at 2nd…but even more as a pinch hitter.

2) Andrew Cashner, RHP – (17IPs, 2.60 ERA, 25 Ks, 4 BBs at AA Tennessee)

Cashner was drafted to be a closer, and I think he will fulfill that at some point in his career. He has been starting at Tennessee this year but would be immediately become the dominant 8th inning guy the Cubs have lacked so far this year (yea, yea, I know...Zambrano was moved to that role – well, he suuuucks and should be playing the role of 5th starter or cut…)

3) Jay Jackson, RHP – (18IPs, 2.00 ERA, 12Ks, 3 BBs at AAA Iowa)

By all accounts Jackson is one of the Cubs top prospects and I say throw him into the fire. Carlos Silva will not continue to sport a 0.95 ERA this year…With Lilly returning from injury I think the Cubs rotation would look great if it went: Dempster, Lilly, Wells, Jackson, Gorzelanny/Silva.

There are definitely a few more prospects waiting in the wings as well. I have my eyes on:

Tony Campana, OF – (.404, 6 SBs at AA Tennessee)

Hung-Wen Chen, RHP – (2-0, 1.50 ERA, 2 starts at AA Tennessee)

Josh Vitters, 3B – (.250, 6 RBIs at A Daytona)

Brett Jackson, OF – (.315, 11 BBs, at A Daytona)

Alberto Cabrera, RHP – (1-1, 16.1 IPs, 12 Ks, 2 BBs at A Daytona)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

NFL Schedule Released Today

Today the NFL Schedule releases. We already know who the Bears are playing, but now the big questions are dates and times. Below are a list of things I am going to be looking at.

Philadelphia Eagles

Will the NFL make it 5 straight years of the Bears playing McNabb, umm I mean Kolb & the Eagles on Sunday Night on the lake front? I am going to say yes. The Bears had a subpar season, but will still likely land 1 or 2 prime time games because they are still a big ratings draw.

How Many Primetime Games?

Building on what I was just saying, the Bears are a big draw for ratings (especially with people who want to see Jay Cutler fail, btw HAPPY JAY CUTLER DAY!). I expect them to land 2 or 3 prime time dates this season. Yes I know Sunday Night Football has flex scheduling subject to change, but you get my point.

Games I can make


I am going to try to go to Jerry’s World and see the Bears play the Cowboys in Dallas this season (Maybe Turkey Day!?). I am already lined up to go to 3 Indiana football games this year (@ Ohio State, Iowa and @Purdue) and if any of those games fall on the same weekend as the Bears’ trip to Dallas I will be unable to attend. So I am crossing my fingers.


One of Ryan’s favorite past times is giving Patriots fans crap about 46-10. I am trying to get tickets to this game with a Patriots fan so I can do just that. I know they will be hard to get, but hopefully I will find something.

When are the Vikings coming to Town

I want to see Old Man Favre and the dome sweet Vikings come to town in late December when it's snowing at about 3 degrees out. Knowing the NFL, the Vikings will get us and the Packers on the road before October.

Those are the things I’m keeping an eye on, what about you?