McGRATH: A little bit of a lot of things
BY DAN MCGRATH For Sun-Times Media October 26, 2013 1:27AM
Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald had watched his team lose three consecutive games entering play Saturday at Iowa. | AP
Updated: October 26, 2013 9:40PM
The man doesn’t tweet, but if he did . . .
◆ Wondering if Northwestern’s four-game losing streak takes Pat Fitzgerald out of the running for the Cubs’ job.
◆ Jim Leyland? Now there’s a skipper for the Cubs. Don’t know a soul in baseball who doesn’t like him. Bet they’d try to get him to quit smoking.
◆ The Fox NFL pregame show wanted Brandon Marshall to discuss his personal commitment to mental-health awareness, so producers sent Randy Moss to interview him. That’s a misapplication of the term going deep.
◆ The White Sox are committing six years and $68 million to Jose Abreu, a Cuban first baseman — exclusively a first baseman. So long, Paulie. Nice knowing you.
◆ A friend who is not bilingual worries that ‘‘Jose Abreu’’ is Spanish for ‘‘Adam Dunn.’’
◆ The Red Sox have gone from gritty and likable to tiresome and annoying. Sort of like Duke basketball.
◆ ESPN’s ‘‘30-for-30’’ documentary film series has been consistently outstanding. ‘‘The Book of Manning,’’ about America’s first family of football, wins best in show.
◆ Who gets to the playoffs first, the Cubs or Dale Sveum?
◆ Judging by his CSN interview for the recent Steve Bartman documentary, Sammy Sosa has made remarkable progress with the English language since his play-dumb testimony before a congressional committee investigating the use of performance-enhancing drugs in 2005. Rosetta Stone? But what’s with the Jay Mariotti haircut? A tribute?
◆ A coach who gets the passing game arrives and brings the team’s offense into the 21st century just as age overtakes the defense and renders it a meek shadow of its former ferocious self. In the immortal words of Bernie Lincicome, that is so Bears.
◆ I like Ozzie Guillen, but I think Milton Bradley has a better chance of becoming the Cubs’ third-base coach than the volatile Mr. Oz.
◆ Mariano Rivera: world-class as a closer and, by all accounts, as a person, too. Worthy of a world-class send-off. But would the deification have been so reverential if he had played his entire career in Kansas City rather than New York?
◆ Roger Goodell could take a step toward making the NFL safer by banning Brandon Meriweather. The Redskins safety is a vicious, serial headhunter who plays with no conscience.
◆ Lest anyone impugn the credibility of League of Denial co-authors Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada, Steve won a Pulitzer Prize for international reporting from Iraq for the Washington Post in 2008, around the time Mark was collecting a boatload of awards for his takedown of the BALCO steroid lab for the San Francisco Chronicle.
◆ White Sox catchers batted a collective .192 this season with 16 home runs, 58 RBI, a .253 on-base average and a .324 slugging percentage for an OPS of .577. They also threw out 26 percent of would-be base-stealers. Nah, they didn’t miss A.J. Pierzynski.
◆ With the death of Bum Phillips, the word ‘‘folksy’’ is retired from NFL lexicon forever. The current generation of dour, corporate-speak coaches is about as folksy as Dick Cheney.
◆ Torey Lovullo, a .224 hitter in eight major-league seasons, once heard Sparky Anderson describe him as ‘‘the next Mickey Mantle.’’ It would be just the Cubs’ luck to hire Lovullo and have him become the next Mike Quade.
◆ Six members of ESPN the Magazine’s 12-man panel of experts picked the Clippers to win the NBA’s Western Conference. Sorry, Doc, the Clips are the NBA’s version of the Cubs. It never ends well for them.
◆ Being a DH won’t hurt ‘‘Big Papi’’ Ortiz’s Hall of Fame candidacy as much as his ties to PEDs will.
◆ Brandel Chamblee implied that Tiger Woods might be a cheater. Very bad career move.
◆ Those Martellus Bennett quips that provoke such uproarious laughter from the press corps would be funnier if the Bears were 5-2 and not 4-3 and limping.
◆ The Cardinals drafted Michael Wacha with a compensatory pick they got for losing Albert Pujols to free agency. Funny how those things seem to happen to good teams.
◆ Inconsistent hitting was the Reds’ undoing this season, so they replaced the manager with the pitching coach. Nutty.
◆ Don James died last week at 80. He wasn’t well known to Midwesterners, having done his best work at the University of Washington, but he was a great coach who went 4-2 against the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl.
◆ Bruised USC and battered Penn State should be howling about the NCAA’s selective enforcement after seeing Miami skate on some serious charges. Jerry Tarkanian’s explanation of selective enforcement: “The NCAA is so mad at Kentucky they put East Carolina on probation.”