COLLEGE FOOTBALL’S ALREADY IN THE AIR and the NFL less than two weeks away:
Isn’t that why the Gregorian calendar has a September?
Hot stuffs, cool punts, even if it’s old junk, a post-heat wave edition of Ins and Outs:
• In — Cody Bellinger — So “in” that the Cubs power point is being mentioned in the same sentences as Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo. … Wrigley Field sharpies say his ambient baseball arrogance is catching. … Now if he could only fall in love with the ivy to the point he and his attitude want to stay through the emerging championship window.
• Out — Jed Hoyer bashing — Amazing what a couple of good months can do for the rep ‘n’ roll of a beleaguered MLB exec. … mid-June, Hoyer was walking in rhythm with Kenny Williams and Rick Hahn. … Now they’re 35th Street curb sweep and he’s the fresh prince of Gallagher Way. … With leave to recall, especially if Marcus Stroman, Drew Smyly and other weakening arms torpedo August.
• In — Waiting to see when the inflated Big Ten stops inflating — Some people who should know say the new magic number is “20.” … That would include new admissions Virginia and North Carolina. … The grand-prize novitiate would be Notre Dame, especially if the Irish replace Northwestern as “Chicago’s Big Ten team.” … Faith and begorrah.
• Out — The new geography of the Big Ten — Even Al Gore probably had no vision of this when he and Christopher Columbus discovered The New World. … Imagine the frequent-flyer mileage for those women’s lacrosse games when Rutgers visits USC. … The conference once boasted such cozy hitchhiker’s sports weekends.
• In — Pedro Grifol — So far out that he’s in. … Grifol’s recent claim that his White Sox are “not in a rebuild” is correct. … They are in “a freefall.” … Did Carlos Santana ever record a tune called “Lame Duck” (from the album “Los Incapacitado”)? … Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D.-N.Y.) would have a greater chance at love and happiness running for a U.S. Senate seat from Wyoming.
• Out — Thoughts of the White Sox at Arlington Park — OMG … How many desecrations does the once-hallowed racing grounds have to endure? … A majority of Arlington Heights taxpayers aren’t sold on the Bears at AP and now baseball babble about a bat pack of no-account losers relocating? … Nashville, please stockpile CIVIC gold and text “Herr Jer'” ASAP.
• In — Betting the Bears to win 7 or fewer games this season — Sorry optimists — it’s horse racing conceptualist Andy Beyer’s old “logic of illogic.” … Vegas posted the total at 7½ and a whole lot of regional folk are diving on the over. … Go the other way. … There are reasons that the franchise’s primary shade of orange is “burnt.”
• Out — Overlooking humanizing elements before Justin Fields fails as Bears QB — When he transferred from Georgia to Ohio State, Fields probably didn’t know that Mike Tomczak set the “high bar” for NFL success by former Buckeyes quarterbacks. … Plus, Fields never asked to be drafted into the toxicity of McMunchkin-ville. … That’s not a QBs room at Halas Hall — it’s a career derailer.
• In — Looking forward to the months ahead with the Blackhawks — Yeah, Connor Bedard for sure … He’s the hottest teen to hit the region since the Jonas Brothers played the Coronado Theater in Rockford. … But could the franchise’s new theme be “A Change Is Gonna Come?” … Beware the ides of January.
• Out — Lonzo Ball — He’s what being a new-mill Bulls fan is all about. … A flash of brilliance followed by extended dormancy worthy of a county payroller headed for retirement. … The great Taylor Bell asks: “Will Ball finally come off the IL just as his Social Security is set to kick in?”
• In — Wishing some swarthy 27-year-old with too much bling would emerge as a modern media entity’s new sports gambling guru — Kind of a “Jimmy the Greek” meets Bad Bunny thing. … As long as he — or she — gives out a lot of winners. … Paige Spiranac is so 2021.
• Out — Salivating over any current public sports selectors — Anybody who can pick a lot of winners isn’t handing them out for a $1,000 weekly paycheck. … Internet, radio, TV — there is so much mopery out there that there’s never been a better time in The History of Man to be the house. … As the late “sportsman” Garro McKibben once drawled, “I just hang a number and let ’em have at it. In the long run, no chance I’m gonna lose.”
•Jim O’Donnell’s Sports and Media column appears each week on Sunday and Thursday. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. All communications may be considered for publication.