Note: Midway Minute is a daily Chicago sports newsletter designed for email. Sign up for free by entering your email below!
Good morning, frents!
Good news! One more 57-degree day and I'll finally be able to get all of my Christmas decorations out from under the snow.
Bulls 128, Pelicans 124
Northwestern 60, Maryland 55
Cubs 8, Mariners 8
Royals 6, Sox 5
Lightning at Hawks (7, NBCSCH)
Sox at Giants (2, no TV)
Cubs at Dodgers (7, MLB Network)
The clock is ticking
The Bears quarterback search has been a shapeless exercise, a saga that feels like it could both end at any time and stretch on forever.
The Allen Robinson story, meanwhile, is coming to an end.
At least one part of it.
Most of that is due to the fact is that there's an actual deadline on this one. The Bears must decide whether or not to place the franchise tag on their No. 1 receiver by March 9. If they don't, he'll become a free agent, free to pursue a top-of-market deal with any other club.
So that's five days for Ryan Pace to decide not only the future direction of his offense — no matter who's under center — but also the future of a 27-year-old who's done everything under his power to earn a big deal.
For his part, Robinson is increasing his offensive against getting hit with the tag, a crummy but contractually legal way for NFL teams to bring their best players back for a year without committing long-term.
Robinson spent much of Wednesday tweeting messages like the one above, public salvos to remind the Bears he might not remain the good soldier he's been here for the past three seasons. He also spoke out against the tag on Cris Collinsworth's podcast and has made eyes at a few other teams with the time-honored tactic of passively-aggressively liking posts on social media.
Whether or not they'll be effective is beside the point. Threatening a decrease in "GAF" — an advanced stat only found in the Urban Dictionary — is the only real negotiating ploy the players hold in this situation.
Pace could still tag Robinson in order to extend the negotiating window or arrange for a trade to a receiver-hungry team willing to follow the directive of the #PayARob hashtag.
Neither would put an end to Robinson's public posturing, so the sooner both sides come to an agreement on a long-term deal, the better.
The clock is ticking.
Bulls hit All-Star break with win
Zach LaVine made sure he'll arrive at his first All-Star game in style, scoring 36 points in a 128-124 road win over the Pelicans. Coby White scored 25 while Zion Williamson scored 28 on the other side.
- The Bulls dominated this one for three quarters, opening a 19-point lead. The Pelicans came back with a late surge, but didn't have enough to complete it. LaVine scored six points, including four free throws, in the final minute.
- Every Bull not named Zach LaVine will now be off until next Thursday, when the team plays the SIxers at home. The Bulls finished the first half of the season with a 16-18 record.
Cubs 8, Mariners 8
This one had everything. Joc Pederson hit his first homer as a Cub, Anthony Rizzo blasted one out of the valley and Javy Baez had a fun in-game interview with ESPN. There were also haboob-level winds, four innings that ended before three outs and the Cubs *technically* remained undefeated because of the tie.
You can't beat fun at spring training, gang.
Royals 6, Sox 5
The good: Zack Collins homered, Luis Robert went 2-for-3 with a double and the Sox scored three in the top of the first.
The bad: Sox pitchers combined for eight walks, including six straight at one point, and we had to follow all of the highlights on Daryl Van Schouwen's Twitter account since it wasn't televised. (Our first look at Lance Lynn today will come the same way.)
- Will Andrew Vaughn eventually don No. 99 in honor of Ricky "Wild Thing" Vaughn? More importantly, will he be up by Opening Day? David Brown goes deep on the Sox's top prospect. Midway Minute
- Why is the 1991 Topps Don Zimmer baseball card selling for so much? One Million Cubs
- Ricky O'Donnell on Shaq's flagging broadcasting career after getting dunked on by Candace Parker. (Last night's wrestling turn was something, though.) SB Nation
- Are the Cubs setting themselves up for their own White Flag Trade this summer? ESPN
- 10 interesting things from the long history of the Tribune. New City