Chicago Sports Exchange: Sox Keep Cool, Eventually Explode; Not Much Heat Elsewhere

There are many reasons to say “God bless, Steve Stone,” and maybe the best reason currently is the Twitter account of the Chicago baseball legend and color announcing standard-bearer.

Stone doesn’t suffer the many fools who appear on the app trying to bring him or the Chicago White Sox as a organization down through general trolling or more specific Chicago sports fan malaise and overreaction.

Like the amazing communicator he’s proven to be over decades explaining and analyzing the game — from being Harry Caray’s party sidekick to Jason Benetti’s slightly less geeky elder — Stone uses his platform responsibly, providing the kind of context, depth of thought and even-handed perspective that only a baseball lifer could provide.

Take this tweet from early Sunday for instance:

Whether the Sox themselves needed such sentiment is not known but fans certainly needed this kind of take after the South Siders got swept by St. Louis, a.k.a. The Walking Dead, in a doubleheader Saturday, the first freakin’ games they played since July.

Momentum seemed to be beyond the Sox after Saturday, but it would seem Stoney saw something we didn’t, as often is the case.

Anchored by this amazing feat, something the Sox also did in 2008 (the only American League team to hit four homers in a row in that time), they blasted the Cards 7-2 Sunday to salvage one game from their weekend set and, as Stone somewhat predicted, kept their record at .500 entering a new week and a four-game home series with Detroit before the first Cubs-Sox crosstown battles next weekend.

The Sox have offered a lot of feast and just as much famine in their first 20-odd games, but they have enough talent to keep people interested, and as Sunday showed, enough power in their lineup to keep them alive against most pitching staffs.

And with this week bringing with it games against a beatable division rival and the Cubs, who they should definitely want to out-do, the Sox could finally make the mark many expected them to make entering this promising season. Keep calm, and listen to Stoney.

Hold — Cubs Hit First Bump of Shortened Season

Unfortunately, the Cubs don’t have the easy-going wisdom of Steve Stone speaking for them anymore, but how about the lubricated antics of Mark Grace? SMH.

Gracey’s inappropriate rant came to signify an overall lost weekend for the Cubs and by-far their worst series of the season, losing three of four to Milwaukee, the three coming all in a row and each by a run.

The randomness of losing three games all by a run could be easy enough to shake off. Milwaukee needed the wins more at this point and they fought to get them. But with five games in three days coming against the previously absent Redbirds and those games leading into the first crosstown series of the season, the North Siders are going to need a lot of energy to get through the week.

Things have been pretty easy-going for rookie manager David Ross and his guys so far, but business is picking up quickly this week and if they want to maintain their place as contenders in the NL they would like to both squash this current losing streak and keep any others from appearing in the next seven days. And Kris Bryant, feel free to join in on the season anytime now, your guys need you.

Buy, Buy, Buy!!! — Bulls Canned Boylen

They fired him! The bastards actually did it!

What else is there to say really? Jim Boylen is no longer coaching the Bulls. Anyone could get announced as having the job in the next week — Ime Udoka, Becky Hammon, hell, even Jim BoyLAN could get another shot — and there would be reason to feel good about the direction the team is in now, even though there’s still a lot to be left to the imagination regarding future plans.

But all we got to know now is that ol’ “Lunchpail” Jimmy is gone. Don’t worry about him, surely Mr. Slate will take him back at the rock factory, cause head coaching just ain’t his thing.

Buy — Sky Learning Lessons While Winning

The hierarchy in the WNBA is subtlety taking shape after a few weeks in the “Wubble.” In past weeks we thought the Chicago Sky to be playing for the very top spot of the league, but that may not be the case at the moment.

Surely, the Sky still look like a playoff team after going 2-2 (7-4 overall) in the past week, but them losing like they did to the league’s true top team, Seattle, on Monday left a lasting mark.

Still, the team looked tough in getting a win back against Phoenix on Wednesday and cruising against also-ran Atlanta on Sunday. In between those games came a three-point loss to Connecticut on Friday.

The Sky are working through a changing rotation that is trying to make space for healing stars Diamond DeShields and Stefanie Dolson among others, which can’t happen soon enough cause the team could use more ball control and added veteran leadership.

Maybe this is just a transitional period, but the Sky have another big game coming Tuesday against Las Vegas, a team that sits alone in second place in the league, having lost only once since falling to the Sky in each team’s opening game down in Bradenton.

Buy — Hawks Hanging On For Playoff Life

We may be looking at the last moments of the Hawks’ unlikely playoff run, but the team showed heart in staving off elimination Sunday night in a 3-1 win over the Las Vegas Golden Knights in their first round Stanley Cup Playoff series.

Just as they fell 3-1, Vegas is up 3-1 in the series, winning the first three games, two of which came down to one goal and one even coming in overtime.

Still competitive, the Hawks may have just ran out of steam. Also, there’s the issue of Vegas’ defensive intensity and depth, two issues our guy Sidney Brown saw coming.

Robin Lehner has been solid at the least in three games and future hall-of-famer Marc-Andre Fleury took over in Game 3 and saved all but one of the Hawks’ 27 shots.

For the Hawks, advantages like having two goalies who could possibly lead you to the Cup Finals are something that the team needs to work on for another season or two.

Meanwhile, the Hawks now can only disrupt things and they’ve done good job of that so far. When you’re dealing with Vegas and you hit once the instinct is to hit again, the Men in Red need to just let it roll.

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