Good morning, frents!
Well, if nothing else, I guess Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy finally fixed the kicker problem? Drinks are on Cairo Santos this weekend.
Hawks 4, Stars 2
76ers 127, Bulls 105
N'Western 65, Michigan 49 (WBB)
UConn 94, DePaul 60
Reds 7, Sox 4
Cubs 8, Rockies 6
N'Western vs. Maryland (W) (1 pm, FS2)
Illinois vs. Rutgers (6:30, BTN)
Heat at Bulls (8, NBCSCH)
Brewers at Cubs (2, Marquee)
Sox at Rangers (2, no TV)
Hawks at Panthers (6, NBCSCH)
Cubs at Royals (2, no TV)
Angels at Sox (2, NBCSCH)
Raptors at Bulls (8, NBCSCH)
Angels at Cubs (3, Marquee)
Sox at A’s (3, no TV)
A few weeks ago, my friend Dan hit me a picture of the contents of his most rip session. This year's Topps set includes chrome and insert cards based on the classic 1986 design that got many of us into the hobby.
"There's a card in here that has a retro design and a 35th anniversary stamp on here," Dan texted. "Which means we've been collecting cards for 35 years?!?!?!"
The punctuation was his. But the idea was mine. A couple of days later, I placed an order for full '86 team sets for both the Cubs and White Sox with plans to do a deep dive review of each.
The result is a fun post for paid Midway Members. As a thank you for helping keep this newsletter free, David Brown and I took a long look at not only each card in the Sox set, but the circumstances surrounding that crazy '86 season — Hawk Harrelson's first and only campaign as GM and the last year of Tony La Russa's first tenure with the team.
Trust me when I say i think you're going to dig it. It was a lot of fun to write and I think it turned out great. Midway Minute members can read it here by logging into the website with your email.
If you haven't signed up yet, now's a good time! You'll not only get access to this post, but the Cubs version that's coming in the weeks ahead (those cards strangely still haven't arrived) and the monthly mailbag for members that's coming up too.
Bonus! I have two '86 Sox Topps sets + two '86 Sox traded sets. I'll send one out to each of the first four people who sign up for a paid membership today!
Bulls second half starts with a stumble
So much for banking a win with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid on the sidelines. While neither Sixers star was back for the first game since the All-Star break, most of the Bulls also stayed away in a sleepy 127-105 loss at the UC. Tobias Harris scored 24 to lead the Sixers while Dwight Howard played like Barack Obama was still in his first term — 18 points and 12 boards.
The good news for the Bulls: Lauri Markkanen went 7-for-7 from three-point range in his return to the lineup and get an immediate chance to bounce back against Miami tonight. The Bulls are 16-19.
- Cool news: Zach LaVine was added to the player pool for the United States Olympic team.
Lankinen and Hawks earn split in Dallas
Speaking of rebounds, the Hawks did just that after an awful effort on Tuesday. The team somehow scored four goals on its first eight shots and Kevin Lankinen had 28 saves in a 4-2 victory over Dallas. That's a big win over a team that trails the Hawks for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Central
Joc Pederson homers again (twice!)
So far, so good for the Cubs' biggest offseason acquisition. Pederson homered twice against Rockies pitching on Thursday, bringing his total to five in seven spring training games. His $7 million deal is going to be a steal — and an annoying thorn in the side of Sox fans — if he can keep seeing the ball like this.
- Kyle Hendricks wasn't great in his return to the mound after skipping a spring training start. He struck out five, but also allowed four runs and seven hits in five innings of work.
Rodon and Lopez competing for fifth starter spot
Carlos Rodon and Reynaldo Lopez both pitched in Thursday's 7-4 loss to Cincinnati with varying results. Rodon was perfect in two innings — his first action this spring — while Lopez gave up five runs in three innings. The Sox have a solid first four with Lucas Giolito, Dallas Keuchel, Lance Lynn and Dylan Cease, but that last spot is probably going to produce as much turbulence as the last third of the Sox lineup.
- David Brown on the mess that is DePaul basketball. Midway Minute
- Ricky O'Donnell says Ayo Dosunmu is the Chicago star the Illini always needed. SB Nation
- Tyler Kepner stopped in Sox camp to write the Tony La Russa story for a national outlet. NY Times
- There isn't a state basketball playoff this year, but there is the Chipotle Clash of Champions this weekend. Sun-Times
- A former Seahawk lit up Russell Wilson for "starting drama." NBC Sports Northwest