Quick Shots: Dominate Central playoff route for Sox and Cubs
The White Sox are alive! The Cubs, too. The Sox, 8-2 in their last 10 games before Friday, came back with a 7-2 record in interleague play. The Cubs (5-5 in their last 10) watched division leaders Cincinnati (4-6) and St. Louis (3-7) fall back.
Both are 6.5 games back and hold the same playoff key. The Cubs are somehow one game over .500 against the rest of baseball, but 13-20 vs. its own NL Central kind in the worst division in baseball (a collective 38 games below .500). The Sox and everyone else in the AL Central trail the Twins because Minnesota is 17-9 in the division while the other four have losing records against each other. Beat the Twins, Tigers, Royals and Indians — not exactly a daunting task — and the Sox will contend.
World Cup can’t match NHL
I hear the buzz around the Blackhawks and I wish I knew more about hockey; I quit following the game after graduating from NCAA hockey power North Dakota in 1982. I hear the buzz around the World Cup and just wish it would go away. Hockey looks exciting; it’s just hard to follow the puck. Anyone can see what’s going on in soccer — usually nothing.
Bears could use Haynesworth
With no NFL salary cap this year, 39 veterans have been traded since March, the most in 10 years. ESPN.com’s Len Pasquarelli says there is a 60-40 chance Washington DT Albert Haynesworth will join that trend. The Bears should pursue him.
After the Redskins gave him a $21 million option this spring, teams would only be on the hook for $3.6 million guaranteed this season and $5.4 for 2011. He’d fit perfectly next to $91.5 million end Julius Peppers. Haynesworth is quick, with 18.5 sacks the last three years, and at 6-foot-6, 320 pounds would be Chicago’s best run-stuffer in ages.
Glamorous NBA finale a bore
Lakers vs. Celtics. Game 7. It’s not supposed to get any better than that for the NBA. Why, then, did it seem like such a snore?
Maybe it was because the Celtics looked ancient. Or because the only truly dynamic player, Kobe Bryant, shot 6-for-24. Or that the Lakers rallied to win despite making only three field goals in the fourth quarter, triumphing by shooting 14 free throws to Boston’s two in the final 12 minutes. Whether it was one of those things or all of those things, the NBA’s most glamorous matchup since Michael Jordan retired made the World Cup look exciting.
2.0 rule isn’t helping anything
An office debate on Rockford’s 2.0 rule to play sports led me to share my views. The idea sounds great: use the carrot of sports to increase student performance. But it doesn’t work. Graduation rates have not risen at Guilford, Jefferson, Auburn and East, but their sports teams — and school spirit — have suffered playing under more restrictive rules than the rest of the state.
The 2.0 rule is like NCAA Propositions 48 and 16 that make freshmen athletes have a 2.0 GPA in core subjects and an 18 on the ACT. That’s done little to boost graduation rates since 1986. And fairtest.org reports the NCAA’s own study showed that had Prop 48 been in effect in 1984 and 1985, 47 percent of African-American students who went on to graduate would not have been eligible, vs. eight percent for whites.
Matt Trowbridge’s Quick Shots on Sports appear Sundays. He can be reached at 815-987-1383 or firstname.lastname@example.org.