Matt Trowbridge's Sunday briefs on sports.
This is the golden age of Chicago baseball. The White Sox won the World Series in 2005, and both the Cubs and Sox made the playoffs for the first time in 100 years last year. That also marked the first time the Cubs had reached the playoffs in consecutive seasons in 100 years.
The Cubs run should continue: Baseball Prospectus’ computer projections have the Cubs five games better than any other National League team. The Sox have many more questions. But they also have more young stars (Carlos Quentin, Alexei Ramirez, John Danks, Gavin Floyd) than they’ve had since Frank Thomas, Robin Ventura and Jack McDowell in the early 1990s, with more on the way (Dayan Viciedo, Gordon Beckham).
So expect Chicago baseball fun to continue.
Open wallet, please fans
Make fun of oft-ridiculed Redskins owner Daniel Snyder all you want, but it’s far better to throw $100 million at star defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth than to sit on $30 million of salary cap space, as the Bears seem determined to do. Any owner who spends as willingly as Snyder is a fan’s friend.
Never forget Stormin’ Norman
Norm Van Lier’s Bulls teams reminded me of the 1985 Bears; they made defense cool. Except, unlike those Bears, those Van Lier-Bob Love-Chet Walker-Jerry Sloan teams never quite got their due. Maybe that’s fitting. Van Lier later became the most entertaining basketball analyst this side of Charles Barkley, yet somehow never made it to a national network. Yet he’ll always be remembered in Chicago as having a basketball will to win second only to Michael Jordan’s.
Wrestling expansion works
Recent IHSA moves to add a 1.65 attendance multiplier to private schools and expand to four classes in the most popular sports have worked wonderfully well. Adding a third class in wrestling, though, seemed a step too far. Until last week. If three classes dilutes the sport, how come only one school had more than two individual champs? Last year, with only two classes, three schools had at least three champs. And Lombard Montini’s four Class 2A champs would probably have all won without the expansion; all four were returning finalists who came within two points of winning last year.
Maclin best choice for Bears
SI.com’s mock draft has the Jets picking Missouri sophomore All-American Jeremy Maclin one pick ahead of the Bears at No. 17. If Maclin falls to No. 14 or so, Chicago should trade up two to four spots to grab the receiver with good size (6-foot-1) and blazing (4.3) speed.
If not Maclin, it says here the Bears’ best options at No. 18 are Illini CB Vontae Davis (predicted to go at No. 14), Ohio State LB James Laurinaitis (No. 23) or to trade down (no safeties are projected in the first round). I wouldn’t trade up for a QB, but would grab either Georgia’s Matt Stafford or USC’s Mark Sanchez if they somehow fell to No. 18. Both are projected to go in the top 10.
Matt Trowbridge’s Quick Shots on Sports appear Sundays. He can be reached at 815-987-1383 or email@example.com.