What Chicago sportswriters want you to forget

With GM Phil Emery finally cut loose and the short, but not-quite-short-enough, Trestman era coming to a crashing end, the last major item on the Chicago Bears’ to do list is to find some NFL patsy willing to take Jay Cutler off their hands.

But as Jay slowly fades into the turnover sunset, I want to remind folks that, back in 2009, the Chicago Tribune, Sun-Times, and Daily Herald sportswriters were virtually unanimous in clamoring for the Bears front office to go after the mentally weak Broncos’ quarterback at all costs. Why, that gaggle went as far as accusing the Bears of not really wanting to win if they dared to pass up this possibility.

cutlerThe irony, of course, is, those very sportswriters are the same ones currently calling for Cutler’s head. And they’re doing their damndest to make it sound like they were onto him all along because they clearly believe the rest of us have very short memories. But I haven’t forgotten about all those old columns.

Once! Just once, I would love to see a Chicago sportswriter simply admit they were wrong about something. Though I’m sure that will never happen because, when you consider their dismal track records, the mea culpas could go on for days.

C’mon! The Tribune sports team was a dismal 10 and 39 in predicting the outcome of Bears games seven weeks into the season. And we’re talking about simple wins and losses here –  they didn’t have to deal with the spread! Even Marc Trestman’s record was better than that!

Our intrepid sportswriters did do better in the second half, but that’s only because they finally started predicting losses long after the rest of us had already come to that foregone conclusion. (And, per their own prose, if Trestman and Emery got fired for so often getting it wrong…)

The sad thing is, Cutler’s mental collapse should come as no surprise to anyone with half a brain which explains why Chicago sportswriters completely missed it. If the mere mention of a trade – to the Patriots, no less – was enough to send a supposed frontline quarterback flying into a furious demand-to-be-traded temper tantrum frenzy, then can the fact that he can’t figure out which team he’s supposed to throw to come as any shock?

The guy is passive aggressiveness personified. If just one teammate/coach/GM/owner fails to consistently extoll his endless virtue, Cutler gets back at ’em by playing like abject crap. He’s the NFL equivalent of a Jewish mother-in-law.

Rodgers, Brady and Peyton Manning have all had their ups and downs, but as real leaders always do, they take responsibility for the downs and give their teammates credit for the ups. Jay Cutler has never understood that dynamic and, thus, he will never be more than a mediocre quarterback. And he soon will be gone.

All I can say is good riddance!

And maybe, just maybe, someday, Chicago sportswriters will actually get something right!

A book excerpt: On Newsrooms

As you may have noticed, I’m kinda taking the adult version of Christmas break. The news cycle gets slower this time of year, Larry and I have an unusual two weeks off the radio, and, with my wife being a teacher, we’re all just hanging around enjoying each others company. Well…at least I’m enjoying theirs.

But that doesn’t mean I’ve put the pen down completely! The book goes well and, in lieu of any posts here, I thought I’d share some excerpts. And the first is my thoughts on newspaper newsrooms. Enjoy!

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“…You see, long before the dawn of this dismal print media downturn, newsrooms were some of the worst places on the planet in which to work. And even though those wretched souls will shriek, howl, and rend their garments at the mere mention of their implicit and complicit misery, as Shakespeare so aptly put it, inordinately vehement protests only serve to prove the proponent’s original point. Nobody’s happy in a newsroom.

Some of ‘em may love that platonic journalistic ideal, and some of ‘em may even love their coworkers, but trust me, they can’t stand working for a newspaper.

And it all starts with the publishers who couldn’t give a flying fuck about any of the individual players because they know they have an inexhaustible supply of starry-eyed Woodward wannabes and desperate middle-aged writers who’ve long since given up on their dreams, but, demoralized by the insistent inculcated lack of newsroom respect, now believe themselves to be unsuitable for any other task.

The former are willing to take all sorts of crap because they don’t know any better and they’ve yet to abandon their Quixotic flights of fancy. But when they finally do fall prey to this persistent and harsh reality, they become the latter, an unhappy group of mediocre past-their-prime penitents who inexplicably and ferociously cling to jobs they slowly start to loathe while self-medicating with copious amounts of alcohol.

To be fair, that’s a vast oversimplification which we’ll explore later. But suffice it to say that the publishers treat the managing editors like shit who, in turn, treat the editors like shit who, in turn, treat the talent like shit who, in turn, treat the freelancers and stringers like shit.

But the most remarkable thing about this phenomenon is, per our previous sinking ship analogy, it all takes place on an unconscious level. It’s like it was with NFL concussions. Those incrementally deleterious injuries were such a fundamental part of the macho folklore that no one dared speak their name until some suffering former players forced them to talk about it.

If even one of these lowly newsroom minions managed to summon up the courage to stand on their cubicle desk and shout, “this ain’t right,” they’d be replaced in a heartbeat by one of the thousands of soulless stringers who have it even worse than they do. And it wouldn’t have anything to do with insubordination – it’s the fear that the heresy they put forth threatens to bring the entire collective cognitive dissonance crashing down from within.

Had a retired lineman shouted “concussion” a decade ago, they would’ve been labeled a pussy. But now high school players are filing lawsuits.

So while my former compatriots love to shake their fists and shout at the dastardly Internet, the truth is, this untenable business model was already failing long before our precipitous newspaper decline served to make matters so much worse.”

Finally! The December 18, 2014 edition of Left, Right and You…

… is right here!

Sorry for the delay folks!

So Elgin city council contender Fred Moulton was the first to take us up on our “state your case” challenge and Larry and I think he did pretty damn well. If you’re running for office and you get a crack at free publicity, you need to be prepared as Fred most certainly was!

Moulton show 3Up to this point, none of the challengers have really impressed me (there’s still time!), but it would certainly behoove the incumbents to pay attention to Fred.

Then Larry and I got into a rather spirited discussion on roadside safety checks, a subject on which we did not agree. It’s a good thing I’m always right!

Don’t forget, with Christmas and New Year’s Day falling on Thursdays, Left, Right and You will not be back until January 8, 2014 when former Kane County Sheriff Pat Perez joins us in the studio. The following week we’ll host our second Elgin city council candidate, Rose Martinez.

Until then, please have a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, a Happy Kwanzaa, and a Furious Festivus. Have a safe New Year’s Eve and you might want to watch out for those inevitable December 31, roadside safety checks.

Thank you for listening!

Get ready for Left, Right and You!

That’s the voice promo and now for the full breakdown!

Larry and I have already had an interesting conversation on the Tribune’s Brian Dugan interviews so we thought we’d share it with you. This individual certainly elicits some very strong feelings, but how is that no one caught on to him long before he became a serial killer?

Fred Moulton (courtesy of the Daily Herald)

Fred Moulton (courtesy of the Daily Herald)

Then, Elgin City Council candidate Fred Moulton will join us in the studio to issue his opening statement. Larry and I are looking forward to it!

Using a Geneva “event” as an example, in the second half, we’ll be discussing the effectiveness of and fallout from those police “roadside safety checks.” Apparently some folks don’t understand the notion of “probable cause!”

Have you noticed that the sun only seems to come out before Left, Right and You comes on? Perhaps the Big Guy is trying to tell you something! At least that’s the conclusion most conservatives would come to.

That’s Left, Right and You, with the Smiling Conservative, Larry Jones, and me, Jeff Ward, every Thursday from 3 to 4 p.m on WRMN AM1410. Be there or be square!

It’s time to stop calling ourselves Christians

So since it was Wednesday, an after a morning of writing, I dutifully headed off to Graham Cracker Comics in St. Charles in eager anticipation of acquiring this week’s new releases.

You see, when we last left off, Bruce Wayne, aka Batman, had traveled to the planet Apokolips to rescue the body of his son Damian, aka Robin, which had been stolen by his arch nemesis Ra’s al Ghul. Using his advanced battle suit, Batman is about to square off against Darkseid in an effort to acquire the Chaos Shard and resurrect his dead son.

accidentAnd I can’t wait to see how it turns out. Don’t laugh! There’s a little bit of Sheldon Cooper in all of us.

But as I was walking into the comic book store, I heard the sudden screeching of tires followed by that telltale sickening metallic whump. My line of sight was semi-blocked by all the construction materials used to renovate that strip mall, but I still managed to see one car sitting sideways across the east side of the Prairie Street and Randall Road intersection.

Figuring there wasn’t much point in running the 220 yards up to the scene of the accident to see if anyone was injured, I immediately dialed 911 in the hope of getting the folks, who actually knew what they were doing, out there as soon as possible.

The fact that I was transferred once and the length of the emergency call surprised me, but, in the end, the St. Charles Police and paramedics got there within a scant two minutes.

But here’s the thing, as I stood there talking to the dispatcher and waiting for the first responders to arrive, not a single motorist stopped to offer assistance of any kind. For five minutes they simply drove around the crash and went along their merry way. I wonder if any of them even bothered to call 911. At least they didn’t start honking.

So much for that highly vaunted American holiday spirit. Could this be the war on Christmas that Fox News keeps talking about?

I eventually ended up talking with a couple of St. Charles firefighters who, despite the two obviously disabled vehicles, assured me that no one was hurt. But even though the drivers were fine, my perception of my fellowman’s capacity to be their brother’s keeper certainly took a massive hit.

What’s happening to us? We’re waging a war on the poor, we actually believe there could ever be a justification for torture – especially of innocent people, and it’s OK to kill someone for selling untaxed cigarettes on the street. When did our automatic response to anyone who finds themselves in a difficult or dire situation become “bleepin’ deal with it?”

When did we get to the point where we can’t even be bothered to expend the 60 to 120 seconds it would’ve taken to stop and check on two fellow human beings who could’ve been hurt? Isn’t the principle conveyed by the story of the Good Samaritan, a parable I learned in third grade, as important as any other biblical tenet?

Before y’all starting hammering me for “bashing” Christians – again – please remember that I’m not the one who came up with the rules. I’m simply pointing out a vast inconsistency between those rules and those people who purport to follow them.

So all I can say is, considering those perpetually packed Randall Road and Tri-Cities churches, our pastors, ministers and priests are failing miserably. What are you guys doing up there every Sunday? Isn’t Christianity supposed to be a bit more than railing at gays and beating up liberals?

Maybe it’s the fear of a lighter collection plate, or maybe you just can’t bring yourselves to challenge your flock, but if we’ve really gotten to the point where the plight of our fellowman means this little, then the least we can do is stop calling ourselves Christians.

Todd Martin weighs in on “roadside safety checks”

Regarding yesterday’s piece on the Geneva Police Department’s roadside “safety check” which netted all of ONE drunk driver out of 41 tickets issued. So here’s semi-frequent contributor Todd Martin with his thoughts, which for some strange reason, always seem to be more brief than mine:

martin“From the data, it is clear that most of the enforcement is regarding people having proper paperwork to drive their car: registration, license, proof of insurance. This makes sense, since when you are pulled over in one of these traps, this is what they ask for. They don’t have a mechanic looking at your brakes or a truck scale to see if you went over the GVWR rating on your car or have you prove the turn signals/brake lights/headlights all work.

These roadblocks are there to raise money from people that fall behind in their paperwork. In America, we should not have to “show our papers” unless there is probable cause. In America, we should not have our cash seized by the police through “Civil Asset Forfeiture” because you have money in your vehicle and can’t prove on the spot where it came from. In America, sniper rifles should not be pointed at peaceful protesters from atop military vehicles.”

And I couldn’t have said it better myself. Now, if we can only get the Geneva Police to read it.