By: Will Farlow
Zach Lavine has received a historic moment in his young career . Lavine has been named as a reserve to represent the Chicago Bulls in the 2021 NBA All Star game. The shooting guard is a player teammates can go to for leadership. Lavine in my opinion has yet to hit his prime , and is continuing to grow as a player. I have always believed that a player that has a team first mentality can be successful in their career. These are my takes on how Lavine's work ethic led him to his first NBA All Star Game nod.
Lavine was close to an All Star nod back in 2020 to represent the Bulls at home in Chicago and was denied. Lavine has to this point allowed last year's snub to allow his work ethic and confidence help him to thrive under new head coach Billy Donovan. The shooting guard has shown large improvement in his defense, assist totals, and helping put the Bulls toward a winning record. Lavine needs to work on his shot timing in game ending situations which to do consistently requires practice. The Chicago Bulls are a team I see towards contention in the near future . The question is when and how their star shooting guard can get them there. Lavine has proved he can do that for Chicago, and in my view has earned the honor to be in the 2021 NBA All Star game.
Lavine making it to the all star game as a reserve for the eastern conference is now a part of Bulls history. The 25 year old guard is the first Bulls player since Jimmy Butler to be awarded honors to be in the all star game I find that historical connection interesting in regards to Lavine in the deal sending Butler to Minnesota which started the Bulls rebuild. The Bulls have been searching for a superstar, and Zach Lavine could be that player.
Hard work is something that can take a person far once it pays off. I see Lavine playing his heart out for Bulls fans each game. The hard work he has put in thus far in his career shows others that hard work pays off eventually. That eventual pay off is taking place in the 2020-2021 season with Bulls shooting guard Zach Lavine. Congratulations to Zach Lavine to being named to the 2021 NBA All Star game, news that puts the NBA on notice of the emerging Chicago Bulls.
By: Will Farlow
The Super Bowl every year from what I remember is two talented NFL teams facing each other for the Vince Lombardi Trophy and the spoils of winning a title. This year was different as I watched the Super Bowl 55 game tonight seeing things many fans did not expect. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers upset the 2020 Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs 31-9 to win Super Bowl 55.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers brought in future Hall of fame QB Tom Brady to help transform their team into champions, and I would say their mission was accomplished. The other Buccaneers players in my opinion were smart to buy into Tom Brady's leadership and message of trusting him to lead them to a Super Bowl title. Tonight's game was a smart coach, strong defense, and a very experienced QB showing a young Chiefs team a good challenge. These are my takes on tonight's game that the other NFL teams should watch about how to approach facing Mahomes and Kansas City next season.
In my opinion, Tom Brady tonight at quarterback showed that true experience and intelligence on the field beat talent. Patrick Mahomes is talented for a young QB, but Tom Brady continues to show football fans true professional skill on the field. I believe Tampa Bay was stronger on defense tonight aside from their talented Tom Brady led offense. I saw a Tampa Bay defense finish the regular season as a top ten defense this year making the Buccaneers fun to watch. I think tonight's game rings true to the 2014 Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks as they proved defense can still win championships. My early prediction prior to tonight's game is that defense would truly dictate the outcome of Super Bowl 55.
I give credit to Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs on a great season, however, seemed that they ran out of confidence tonight at Ray James Stadium. I saw a young QB with talent, but an entire offense that drops the football lacking a healthy offensive line. Championships in sports in my opinion are not just won by talent, but how confident a team is fueling that to an effort worthy of winning the big game.
I believe that Kansas City will have a bright future in the AFC for many years to come. However, tonight Mahomes and this talented Chiefs team learned a lesson from an experienced Buccaneers team. Congratulations to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for their Super Bowl 55 title win, and football fans this game will definitely help fans through a long offseason.
By: Will Farlow
The Chicago White Sox in the top of a ninth inning in an elimination Game 3 of the 2020 MLB Wildcard Series faced a tough closer in Liam Hendriks of the Oakland A's. Little did the White Sox hitters know that just a few hours ago the Southsiders would sign that same closer to join the team in Chicago. The Chicago White Sox , according to ESPN MLB reporter Jeff Passan, signed star free agent closer Liam Hendriks to a 3 year $39 million dollar deal with a fourth year $15 million dollar option for 2024.
This signing by the White Sox is another big move showing Sox fans that this team is ready to work toward a World Series starting in 2021. Hendriks in my opinion is one of the most reliable, consistent closers in baseball. Hendriks during his last stint in the majors pitched a 1.78 ERA with 14 saves, and 37 strikeouts in 2020 as the closer for the Oakland A's. The star right handed closer is joining one of the youngest MLB bullpens in the Chicago White Sox.
General manager Rick Hahn and the White Sox front office that has continued to put good effort in their transactions since the rebuild in 2016 should be applauded for another great move. The White Sox have a strong young built team that features a good supportive cast of veterans. I believe adding a star closer like Hendriks inches the Sox even closer on paper as potential favorites to win the AL Central division title in 2021. I know that this isn't the key goal for this young White Sox team that is working hard toward contending toward a World Series championship.
Liam Hendriks is the type of closer you can depend on in any type of game situation. The former White Sox closer Alex Colome did quite well in my view, however, for a team looking to win a World series next year the upgrade to Hendriks is vital to that success. Hendriks now joins a potential 2021 White Sox bullpen featuring Aaron Bummer, Matt Foster, Codi Heuer, Jimmy Cordero, Jace Fry, Evan Marshall, and possibly Garret Crochet. The White Sox now can focus on continuing to develop their pitching , and bringing in Hendriks I see him working with these talented Sox bullpen arms.
Hendriks getting the contract length reported shows me how the early contention window for the White Sox looks. The Chicago White Sox still have opportunities to add players through free agency or trade with spring training projected to start in a few months. This Liam Hendriks signing by the Chicago White Sox in my viewpoint is a true A+ move by the organization. White Sox fans that didn't like the team facing Liam Hendriks can breath a sigh of relief as he is now on our side of the mound. Welcome to Chicago Liam Hendriks, and all the best to you in your new stint as the new closer for the Chicago White Sox.
By: Will Farlow
The Chicago Bulls are headed into a new era for their historic franchise. The Bulls have a new front office in new Executive of Basketball Operations Arturas Karnisovas, general manager Marc Eversly, VP of Player Personnel Pat Connelly, and Assistant GM J. J Polk. The Bulls also have a new head coach in Billy Donovan along with assistants Chris Fleming, Josh Longstaff, Maurice Cheeks. Heading into the 2020 NBA Draft the Chicago Bulls are picking fourth with the chance to possibly trade up or stay at 4 and fill their needs at small forward. Chicago features talented players such as Colby White, Zach Lavine, Lauri Markannen, and Wendell Carter Jr. in a strong core that with the NBA Draft can be added to for the future. The Bulls also have a need at point guard , front court , or some type of play maker that in my opinion take this team to the next level toward contention. Here are my takes on what new Executive VP Arturas Karnisovas should do his first draft with this new Bulls front office.
The Chicago Bulls trade the 4th overall pick and center Wendell Carter Jr. to the Golden State Warriors for the second overall pick
Round 1: Pick 2
James Wiseman C Memphis
New Executive VP Arturas Karnisovas and the revamped Bulls front office hit a home run with slight risk in this trade up to the second overall pick. I had predictions that the Bulls would stay put at 4 and draft a wing , however, opportunity can knock and that is the case as the Chicago Bulls select center James Wiseman with the second overall pick. Wiseman has great size, and in my opinion is a solid rebounder and post presence Bulls fan will enjoy for a long time. I think his is a better quality center for Chicago as Wendell didn't in my opinion mesh well with Markannen. Wiseman slides in well to me with a talented power forward in Lauri Markannen giving the Bulls a solid front court moving forward. I like this low risk trade up by Karnisovas in his first draft pick for the Chicago Bulls.
The Chicago Bulls trade star shooting guard Zach Lavine to the New York Knicks for the eighth overall pick, small forward Kevin Knox II, point guard Dennis Smith Jr. , and a 2021 first round pick
Round 1: Pick 8 Isaac Okoro SF Auburn
The Chicago Bulls receive a call from the New York Knicks a team in need of a star as Chicago trades Zach Lavine to New York. Arturas Karnisovas sees the need for a wing in the Chicago Bulls roster and acquires the eighth overall pick, a future first rounder, and young talents in Knox and Smith Jr. to add an already talented young Bulls roster. I like how Smith Jr. adds defense to the Bulls backcourt, and Knox good long term depth at small forward when The Bulls select with the 8th overall pick a talented wing in Isaac Okoro out of Auburn. I like this move for Chicago as it solves an issue at wing plus a defensive upgrade. I like the upside of Okoro who has strong defensive skill along with being a fairly good shooter. This is a good pick for the Chicago Bulls and the future of the franchise.
Round 2: Pick 44 Cassius Winston PG Michigan State
I have the Chicago Bulls sticking here in Round 2 as Arturas finishes off a strong draft as his first as head of the Bulls front office. The Bulls see their need for depth at point guard by selecting Cassius Winston the point guard out of Michigan State. Winston to me solves an issue Arturas addressed as a need for good passing ability he seeks at the point guard position. After the trade with New York, Winston joins young point guard Dennis Smith Jr. , and Tomas Satoransky with Colby White taking over at starting shooting guard. I like Winston's three point shot and ability to pass well , and help the Chicago Bulls improve at the point guard position. This final pick is a good ending to the first draft by the new front office that Bulls fans can be excited about as the Bulls ahead into free agency with the goal of contention in sight.
By: Will Farlow
I always believe in the realm of sports especially baseball that fans should always expect the unexpected. Well, Will's Fifth Quarter Special fans I am here to tell you that as we all prepared for next Sundays football games this morning the Chicago White Sox signaled us to keep an eye on baseball. The Chicago White Sox in my view made a statement this morning as like other White Sox fans I tuned into the Rick Hahn season ending press conference. Rick Hahn announced what some White Sox fans predicted as the end of the Rick Renteria manager era in White Sox history.
Rick Renteria in my personal view as a baseball fan is a kind, passionate baseball mind that connects with players to help develop them to full potential. Renteria did just that with the White Sox players brought into the organization from the rebuilds start in 2016 to the final out in Game 3 of the AL Wild Card Series in 2020. I can see various explanations for the move by the White Sox as well as what it means for the future of this historic organization. Renteria is a good manager, but the basic facts of poor lineup management , and effectiveness at steering this talented young ball club farther into their first playoff run since 2008 does come into play.
Renteria is someone that left his mark in positive manners to the development of Sox players. The next question we will need to wait to fan the answer to fellow sports fans is which person will take over as White Sox manager and will help this talented young team toward championship aspirations and long term success. Well Will's Fifth Quarter Special fans work and changes are not made overnight and it looks like GM Rick Hahn and his staff will once again take a smart approach to finding the next manager for this organization to fulfill what Hahn sold to Sox fans as long term success for many years to come. The book is closed on Rick Renteria as the manager of the Chicago White Sox in what I see as the statement of the new contention era of White Sox baseball.
By: Will Farlow
The Chicago White Sox one year out of the rebuild have put the Southsiders on the map again after a historic win in White Sox history. The White Sox are heading to the MLB Playoffs for the first time since 2008 after a 4-3 win over the Minnesota Twins. The Southsiders sent right hander Reynaldo Lopez to the mound against Twin's starter Kenta Maeda in a game White Sox fans will remember for a long time. The Sox came into the Thursday afternoon game with a chance to clinch with a win after the Kansas City Royals and Seattle Mariners both lost in their respective games on Wednesday night. I feel that this White Sox win sends a clear message to the rest of the league. Here is a recap of the White Sox win along with my takes on this young team moving forward.
Reynaldo Lopez came into the game as the Sox wanted to give starter Dallas Keuchel additional rest which in my opinion was a smart move. Reynaldo Lopez got off to a great start until White Sox killer in Twins center fielder Byron Buxton got his first home run of two in the first few innings. Jose Abreu answered with a home run of his own , and this back and forth scoring continued till the bottom of the seventh inning where the Sox trailed 3-2. This point of the victory was the best part to me as Jarrod Dyson stolen bases along with hits by Eloy and Abreu helped pave the way for a White Sox victory. I am continuing to be impressed by the talented youth in the Sox bullpen as Codi Heuer and Alex Colome got the job done in key situations .
This to me is even more special of a victory as veterans here since the rebuild began players like Jose Abreu , Tim Anderson, Yolmer Sanchez, and Adam Engel get their first chance in playoff baseball. This White Sox team is heading into its remaining ten games being able to focus on fighting for the division championship. I like the chances for this team as each game they prove the saying that Ricky's Boys Don't Quit. This is a special moment the team should celebrate , and never forget with something important to remember. I like how veterans like Tim Anderson enjoy the moments , but the focus on a title opportunity shows this team truly has the eye of the tiger.
There are always questions of how a young team like the White Sox can handle the playoffs with a lack of postseason experience. I believe with this hard working team that plays good baseball with each pitch and at bat every inning makes Sox fans sure of a special 2020 postseason upcoming. I can see from the moment this team played preseason intrasquad teams that White Sox baseball was beginning to enter the next great area in the team's history. So questions of Nomar Mazara's poor hitting and pitching depth can still be solved as anything can happen in a game of baseball. Congratulations to the Chicago White Sox organization , and lets see this team do what I and other White Sox fans believe can happen.
By: Will Farlow
The Chicago Bulls will not be picking at 7th overall for the first time in three seasons. The Chicago Bulls were awarded he fourth overall pick in the upcoming 2020 NBA Draft. This will be the first top 5 pick for Chicago since 2008 when the Bulls picked hometown point guard Derrick Rose at 1st overall. The Bulls in the first offseason in the post Gar/Pax era are in a great spot in the upcoming draft. The Chicago Bulls new executive vice president Arturas Karnisovas gets a chance to find an impact player for the Bulls to add to a talented young team. It is very interesting to see Michael Jordan's owned Charlotte Hornets one pick above his former NBA team as Charlotte won the third pick. I find that an interesting story heading into the 2020 NBA Draft.
The Chicago Bulls have needs at the small forward position , and a wing player which this pick can give the team many options in the 2020 NBA Draft. I am excited for this pick as its a lottery where anything can happen and this is a great spot for a team in Chicago looking to head back into contention. This draft features talented young players such as Anthony Edwards, Lamelo Ball, James Wiseman, and foreign talent Deni Avdija. This is a draft class where it is unknown which player will be the first pick making it a very interesting draft in two months. Bulls fans can feel confident in their new head front office executive vice president Arturas Karnisovas and his strong success in the draft as he approaches his first draft leading the newly formed Chicago Bulls front office.
I am excited to see what the Chicago Bulls do in the upcoming 2020 NBA Draft on October 16th . The Bulls are bringing in a front office with key pieces at the helm such as executive vice president Arturas Karnisovas, new general manager Marc Eversly, scout J.J. Polk, and Pat Connelly. These individuals bring draft intel from the teams they worked with during a majority of an NBA season. I believe this can really help the Chicago Bulls at a high pick at fourth overall find a talented player to add to their roster to play in Chicago for a long time. We have at least two months until the Chicago Bulls are on the clock at fourth overall in the 2020 NBA Draft barring a trade up. I am excited to see what comes up moving forward up to the NBA Draft on October 16th when the Chicago Bulls are on the clock with the fourth overall pick.
By: Will Farlow
The Chicago Bulls fans are getting news they were hoping for as Friday morning Jim Boylen was relieved of his duties as head coach . Jim Boylen being let go by Chicago follows his failure to connect and properly develop the youth on the roster , and his awful record as head coach in two season at 39-84. The new Bulls front office lead by Executive VP Arturas Karnisovas makes an important move for the new direction of the franchise in Chicago. Boylen's firing is seen to fans as a sign that the new Bulls front office is taking a great approach to putting the Chicago Bulls back on the map in the NBA. The Chicago Bulls during an unprecedented time such as Covid 19 is bringing in great new individuals into their revamped front office , and this is a sign of the hopes of a better coaching staff and roster.
Boylen came to Chicago back in 2015 as an assistant head coach under former Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg. Boylen helped implement a defense first approach to Chicago. Following the firing of Hoiberg back in 2018, the Bulls made Boylen the head coach to much surprise of Bulls fans. Boylen according to many reports was brought in to bring discipline and accountability to young players , and that did obviously not go as planned with him at the helm. Boylen did not properly utilize a cornerstone like Lauri Markannen well in the game plan, and face much backlash from players like Zach Lavine. I like this move for the Chicago Bulls, and it definitely shows their commitment as an organization to do right by their young talent and to put this team on a better track moving forward.
My first impressions about the Jim Boylen firing is a important domino to fall in the future of the Chicago Bulls organization. I feel that this move shows the players on the Bulls roster is how important the new front office is taking their opinions and concerns into account. Chicago Bulls ownership is showing good faith to new Executive VP Arturas Karnisovas to find his guy that he feels in the best interest of the players will be the best fit as a head coach in Chicago. There are always many names that come into a conversation as to who can replace the vacancy left by the firing of Jim Boylen. Some head coaching names I have my eye on are former Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson and the smart player development he did for the Nets. The name that really opens some eyes for me as a good candidate is Spurs assistant head coach Becky Hammon.
The firing of Jim Boylen continues to signal the importance to Jerry and Michael Reinsdorf and the new front office that the future of the Chicago Bulls will be put on a better track. I am excited and also curious as to what moves come next for the Chicago Bulls. I have faith in this new front office after this move and hope they bring in the best head coach that fits this talented roster of young players in Chicago. Bulls fans rejoice as the Jim Boylen era is officially over in Chicago and a new direction is on the horizon.
By: Will Farlow
The Chicago White Sox have a MLB roster with a bright future, and tonight another piece is added to the puzzle. The Chicago White Sox make the call to former Oregon State Beaver Nick Madrigal to take over second base for Chicago. The Chicago White Sox designated reliever Kelvin Herrera for assignment to make room on the roster for Madrigal. Madrigal came in as the fourth overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft as a pick White Sox fans couldn't wait to see play for the White Sox. The speedy right hander is great at contact hitting and a special trait of a low strike out rate that can get White Sox fans excited for many years to come.
Madrigal played very good during the 2020 spring training team intrasquad games prior to the 2020 season start. Madrigal received compliments on his plate discipline and consistent hitting from veterans pitchers he faced like Lucas Giolito and Dallas Keuchel. The new White Sox second baseman is a hard working, confident rookie that should mesh really well with the good character players already with the White Sox.
Madrigal comes up to a major league club in the White Sox in need of more defense and consistent hitting this early in the season. Madrigal will be batting ninth in his major league debut as the White Sox face the division rival Kansas City Royals. The Chicago White Sox have great potential for this season early, and Madrigal I hope brings his winning experience from college to this team. I see the new second baseman as a main focal point in the White Sox infield for the next decade. I like Nick Madrigal's work ethic , and after not making the Opening Day roster he continued to work toward his goals. I see him as a successful second baseman in the MLB and wish Nick the best of luck in his MLB Debut tonight in White Sox black and white at Kaufman Stadium tonight.
By: Will Farlow
The Chicago Cubs ended the 2019 season on a sour note finishing in third place in the NL Central and falling short to the Milwaukee Brewers and the St Louis Cardinals for a chance in the 2019 postseason. The Cubs with a small amount of flexibility in the payroll brought in some veterans to add to the already strong roster featured on the Northside of Chicago. The Cubs have a new manager and familiar face leading the team in a unique Covid-19 affected 60 game season that will determine whether the contention window is closing and if the Cubs need to rebuild . Here is my 2020 Cubs season preview recapping their offseason, the opening day roster , and my takes on the future of the team that calls Wrigley Field home.
Cubs 2020 Offseason
One Door Closes, Another One Opens
The Chicago Cubs faced a decision for a new manager as on September 29th, 2019 it was announced the Cubs would part was with Manager Joe Maddon after five seasons. Cubs fans wondered who would be their next manager following the departure of Maddon, and little did they know the answer that would come. The old saying where as one door closes another opens was the case for the Cubs as on October 23rd 2019 the team announced former 2016 clubhouse leader and catcher David Ross is the new manager. Ross brings in my opinion a good personality and knowledge of the game along with the good connection and bond with the Cubs team and organization.
Key Free Agent Moves and Contract Extensions
The Cubs faced a tough situation in terms of signing free agents and extending key players with a high payroll near the luxury tax threshold. This is a list of the free agent signings and key contact extensions for the Cubs.
RHP Jeremy Jeffress – 1 year 850,000 dollars
2B Jason Kipnis – minor league contract
OF Steven Souza Jr. - 1 year 1 million
C Jose Lobaton- minor league contract
RHP Rex Brothers – minor league contract
2020 Chicago Cubs Opening Day Roster
The Chicago Cubs announced on Thursday July 23rd their official 30 man roster for Friday's Opening Day game against the Milwaukee Brewers. The Cubs have many players returning from their roster in the 2019 MLB season. Illinois native infielder Jason Kipnis was added to the Opening Day roster and could be a help to Chicago at second base.
Projected record: 34-26
I feel like the Cubs have a talented roster that can still make some noise in the NL Central in 2020. I have them finishing with a record of 36-24 in this shortened 60 game season with a new manager in David Ross and a tough schedule with NL Central rivals that feature a lot of roster improvement made in the off season. The Cubs with the report of 16 team expanded playoffs have a chance for postseason if David Ross leads them in a way that brings consistent play for Chicago and not too many injuries. If this is the last dance for this current roster they should look to go for it all this season in 2020. The Cubs have questions to answer during and following the season as contracts to stars like Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, Anthony Rizzo, and Javier Baez are still unanswered to each player's future in a Cubs uniform. I believe the results of this 2020 season determine whether the Cubs keep parts of this roster or if the team is headed for another rebuild.