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Football is Coming!

We are less than a month away from regulation football, everybody!

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL, CHICAGO?

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL, CHICAGO?

Training camp is hot and happening in Bourbonnais! With a week and a half until preseason begins, the Bears face many obstacles that must be cleared in order to prepare to face-off against another team. The loss of Lovie, the departure of Urlacher, and the shaky consistency of Jay Cutler are all things that the Bears must improve in order to have a shot at the playoffs.

Steppin up!

Steppin up!

The Bears solid defense is something that needs a bit of work as they are adjusting to working without their former leader, Brian Urlacher. Tillman is looking good, Peppers is in the quarterback’s face, and Jennings is keeping himself near the ball to keep near the action. With so much speculation about how the defensive line would shape up after the losses of Urlacher and Lovie, they seem to be picking up where they left off and building on their solid foundation. Lance Briggs is stepping into Urlacher’s legendary shoes and calling plays. Mel Tucker, first year defensive coordinator for the Bears, says “[Briggs] is doing a great job with checks and the adjustments.” Maintaining solid work will definitely help the Bears on their journey to the postseason.

Bear Down, Cutler, or Bow Out

Bear Down, Cutler, or Bow Out

ESPN Chicago’s Michael C. Wright notes that Jay Cutler’s problem is not his arm. Cutler struggles with his dropbacks, delivery, and footwork. While Cutler is definitely showing signs of improvement, when asked if he could maintain his momentum, Marc Trestman said, “We’ve got to come here and remind each other each day, ‘If we’ve got two willing guys that are willing to work with each other to do it, we’ve got the best chance.” Trestman knows there is no magic bullet with Cutler; Cutler must evolve. Evolution is a slow process, but if Cutler is already showing signs of improvement, he may have a chance of keeping his job. Along with his own performance, he must teach himself not to rely heavily on Brandon Marshall. Marshall missing a few days of training camp due to a hip injury gave Cutler a way to refocus on other receivers and allowed for other receivers to give Cutler a chance to trust them on the field. If the Bears are going to work, they must work as a team, not as a dynamic duo.

Only one dynamic duo can win a Super Bowl, and you're not Batman, Jay Cutler!

Only one dynamic duo can win a Super Bowl, and you’re not Batman, Jay Cutler!

The breakout star of training camp is Kyle Long. Reports coming from Bourbonnais say #75 is an amazing defender and a great asset to the team. He spent the offseason working on mixed martial arts fighting techniques to improve balance and stamina. He still has a lot of work to do to beat out James Brown for the starting right guard position, but he remains optimistic and focused. “I’m playing a game that kids play for fun,” Long said, “We’re blessed enough to be able to get paid. It feels great.” Training camp is fantastic, but he must really shine bright when the preseason begins August 9th.

HOLY PRIZES, BATMAN!

HOLY PRIZES, BATMAN!

We are excited for preseason and excited for the official return of the Chicago Bears on August 29th! We are so excited, in fact, that we are having a Chicago Bears Tailgating Giveaway! Head over to our Facebook page and enter to win the contest. Click here for details, and keep an eye on our Facebook page for other opportunities to enter! Bear Down, Chicago! Football season is almost here! SPORTS IS GOOD!

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Where Do We Go From Here?

HEY, REMEMBER WHEN THE BLACKHAWKS WON THE STANLEY CUP?

IT LOOKED LIKE THIS AND IT WAS AMAZING!

IT LOOKED LIKE THIS AND IT WAS AMAZING!

Right now, life is all parties, parades, and passing out. Chicago has the parade coming up on Friday which is already drawing a large out-of-town crowd. This week promises to be a sea of red shirts and jerseys passing through the streets making Chicago’s infrastructure look like arteries crammed with red blood cells. However, after the remnants of the parade have been swept away and July brings patriotic parties and barbecues, we must make sure we are not still clinging desperately to the Blackhawks win. Next week many of us will find ourselves in a food-stained Shaw jersey, surrounded by empty beer cans, watching Dave Bolland’s game-winning goal on repeat on YouTube, and looking to see if anyone else still has any energy to party for the Blackhawks.

Where do we go from here? In a week or so, your boss will not accept that faded Toews shirt as acceptable work clothing and your fatigue as the norm (this window of time is even shorter for those of you living outside of Chicago). At some point in the near future, after the parades and parties, we have to figure out how to get back into normal life. We’ve spent two months in playoff hockey rooting against the Wild, chanting “Detroit Sucks!”, dethroning the Kings, and taking down the Bruins that our brains are programmed for drinking and adrenaline at seven o’clock at night. Without Shaw beating up the opposing team, how are we supposed to figure out how to exist? Is there life beyond playoff hockey?

1. Hey, Did You Know Baseball Is Happening?

No Jumbotron!

No Jumbotron!

 

Hey, did you guys know that baseball is still a sport? Did you know that it’s been happening since, like, April? Now, we know that suggesting switching over to baseball from playoff hockey is like telling you that drinking sips of Sprite will get you just as drunk as slamming shots of tequila.

"No, Sprite's gonna get you tore up. Look at how faced this lamb is!"

“No, Sprite’s gonna get you tore up! Look at how faced this lamb is!”

 

So, more has been happening at Wrigleyville than an argument about a ridiculous jumbotron. It turns out that this team known as the Chicago Cubs has been playing a game known as baseball there for, like, three months. Their 31-43 season is hardly surprising because these numbers reflect the Cubs playing baseball. As usual, the Cubbies have some outstanding winners and some abysmal-looking losers. Nate Schierholtz is killing it this year with a line of .296/.347/.558 and has ten homeruns under his belt with 29 RBI. However, Carlos Marmol is killing the Cubs by allowing 26 hits, reeling in 21 walks, and letting six home runs get pitched right out of the park. Statistics like this reflect why he’s the perfect closing pitcher; he’s the best bet the Cubs have for screwing up a lead and losing it all in the ninth which is pretty much their baseball superpower.

Replace flying and super strength with errors and losing in the final moments and this is what the Cubs look like.

Replace flying and super strength with errors and losing in the final moments and this is what the Cubs look like.

 

The Cubs are expected to trade major assets Nate Schierholtz, Matt Garza, Scott Feldman, and Kevin Gregg. This is perfect because the Cubs’ offense is terrible, so trading their best offensive players seems like a really good idea.

Surprisingly, down at Comiskey (or, if you’re new, US Cellular Field), things are fairing a little better but not by much. Their 29-41 season is a smidge more successful than the Cubs, thus far. After being swept by the Cubs in the Crosstown Classic, the White Sox haven’t fared better than their North Side rivals and will not be getting to the playoffs this year. At 10.5 games behind the Tigers and looking a losing hot player, Jesse Crain, the White Sox need to focus on playing with new ways to spice up their game for next season or admit that they’ve just stopped believin’.

Hmmm…perhaps baseball isn’t the best thing to follow a successful hockey season with. Whereas it is a good excuse to drink, it may just be a good way to pass the time until August.

2. Bears Football Is Only 74 Days Away!

But who's counting?

But who’s counting?

On August 9th, the Chicago Bears pre-season games begin in Florida against the Panthers!

This season promises to be interesting as a lot has been shuffled. First, Lovie Smith has been replaced by new head coach, Marc Trestman. He has yet to have to prove himself, but he has had a successful track record of focusing quarterbacks. Quarterbacks need to be focused, and they need someone they can connect with who can run the ball. New to the roster this season is former New York Giant, Martellus Bennett. This tight-end had fifty-five receptions and five touchdowns with the Giants next year; hopefully, he will take pressure off of Brandon Marshall. This will also be the Bears’ first season without Brian Urlacher leading the defensive line. We have seventy-four days until we see how this new line-up performs on the field; once that starts up, it’s only a short time until hockey begins again.

3. Just Wait for More Hockey

We just need a short break!

We just need a short break!

 

With no lock-out looming like storm clouds in the distance, we won’t have to wait as long for hockey season! Give the boys a break, they’ve had a long short season of kicking ass and taking names.

4. Look Good For Lord Stanley’s Cup

Peep This Champ Shiz!

Peep This Champ Shiz!

 

Okay, you don’t have to stop the party for the Blackhawks. The Stanley Cup is exciting, and there will probably be a lot of babies born in Chicago nine months from now. However, though your ratty Kane shirt has brought the Blackhawks a lot of luck, it’s time to freshen up your look with some new Blackhawks threads because the Stanley Cup is in Chicago and it demands some fine threads and accessories. Luckily Clark Street Sports has a lot of Stanley Cup Championship gear to choose from, so you can add to your already extensive Blackhawks-themed wardrobe. Whether you’re going to the parade or just keeping the summer going strong with endless Stanley Cup parties, you’re going to need to show your love for the hard work the Blackhawks did this season. So visit http://www.clarkstreetsports.com for all of your sports attire.

We’re going to get through this time without hockey together because there are so many other teams to scream yourself hoarse over because sports is good!

 

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Chicago Sports: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Waiting To Exhale

Waiting To Exhale

Well, hockey………hockey…….

Thursday’s game four wasn’t so much painful as it was devastating and heart-breaking. “Painful” implies that what happened is easily walked off; what happened in game four was more like your mom telling you that Santa isn’t real followed by an atomic wedgie from dad. Game four was painful if you elevate the definition of “painful” to “everything that happened in ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre.'”

But I digress.

Johnny, Be Good!

Johnny, Be Good!

The game was strong and tense through the first scoreless period. However, the tight tapestry of the Blackhawks playing began to unravel halfway through the second period. With three penalties on Captain Serious (read: three power plays for Detroit), Toews spent six minutes of the second period in the penalty box, a place where it is actually impossible to score goals. Whereas the Blackhawks were strong in keeping out of fights when Detroit tried to take advantage of the quick tempers and flying fists of Bickell and Shaw, they did not clean up on power plays and their tired defense allowed for the empty net goal that resulted in the shutout game.

No reason. Just look at Sharpie smiling and try to mimic it. It'll feel better.

No reason. Just look at Sharpie smiling and try to mimic it. You’ll feel better.

The blogosphere, radio shows, ESPN, local news programs, people around the water cooler, and everyone else you know will be spending every minute from now until puck drop on Saturday dissecting what went wrong in game four and how we can repair what we have in order to claim victory at the Madhouse this weekend. Whereas the Blackhawks do have a shot (they spent the majority of this shortened season undefeated, remember), the shot comes with acquiring discipline. They were more focused and disciplined in game four than they were in game three, but what everyone seems to have forgotten (well, until last night) is that the Red Wings have absolutely stepped up their game, and it did not come out of nowhere. Yes, the Blackhawks swept the Red Wings in regular season, but the Red Wings defeated the Anaheim Ducks in the first round of the playoffs; the Anaheim Ducks were the only team the Blackhawks could not beat in regular season. Detroit is a serious threat. Winning the next three games isn’t impossible; the Blackhawks are a great team. However, in order to do it, they need to focus on Detroit being a legitimate threat and play them with discipline, heart, and impeccable skill. This is not impossible, but no matter what happens the city of Chicago will be on the edge.

"Someday," thought Mike Ditka, "I'm gonna run this field."

“Someday,” thought Mike Ditka, “I’m gonna run this team to the greatest Super Bowl ever and have a mustache God and all the angels envy.”

Let’s move on to happier Chicago sports news. The headline “Chicago Bears Retire Mike Ditka’s Number” may be a few decades late, but we’re glad that it’s finally here. Iron Mike Ditka’s number now retires to the hallowed land of retired Chicago Bears numbers with Dick Butkus, George Halas, Gale Sayers, Brian Piccolo, and Walter “Sweetness” Payton. Read more about Ditka’s retired number here, and be sure to pick up our Superfan Ditka tee to make sure you have the proper attire to celebrate on December 9th when the retirement ceremony takes place at Soldier Field.

We cannot guarantee that our Ditka shirts will make you look this good.

We cannot guarantee that our Ditka shirts will make you look this good.

The Chicago Tribune reports that Ditka’s number will be the last one that the Bears will retire, which is upsetting to the Urlacher fans who were not only sad to see #54 retire this week but would also like to see his number hang with the rest of the legends. A thirteen year career at Soldier Field that was spent being a reliable, talented, and unique asset to the Chicago Bears certainly deserves major recognition. However, since it took decades to honor the man who is the face of the Chicago Bears to many, only time will tell what honors can and will be bestowed to the greatest linebacker since Butkus.

This Urlacher fan is a pretty adorable honor. None of us will miss Urlacher like she will.

This Urlacher fan is a pretty adorable honor. None of us will miss Urlacher like she will.

Finally, Memorial Day weekend is here! As we all watch the clock so our three day weekend can begin, many of you will be braving the chilly spring weather to see the White Sox take on the Florida Marlins or the Chicago Cubs play the Cincinnati Reds. Though it may be cold for baseball, the weather reports are saying that perfect eighty degree weather will be here for the Crosstown Classic. If you don’t have the perfect shirt to show your baseball fever, don’t fret! We’ve got plenty of White Sox and Cubs gear to choose from. Visit our website or check out one of our shops as you enjoy a weekend of shopping, brunching, and relaxing this holiday weekend.

 

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Wednesday’s Wild World of Sports

With baseball season in full swing, playoff hockey causing us to chew off our fingernails, a big announcement from Brian Urlacher, and the Bulls still grabbing headlines, this has, indeed, been a heck of a week for Chicago sports!

Dave Bolland does his best Joker impression to intimidate the Red Wings.

Dave Bolland does his best Joker impression to intimidate the Red Wings.

With the Blackhawks down in the playoffs against the much-hated Detroit Red Wings, the team is still optimistic about game four. Perhaps the Blackhawks were too confident against the team they swept in the regular season (a team they beat by a touchdown on Easter Sunday) and dismissed the fact that in order to play the Blackhawks, the Red Wings beat the second seed, the Anaheim Ducks (a team the Blackhawks could not beat in regular season). Game three saw an intense, ugly game that kept every fan, Chicago and Detroit, on the edge of their seats. The denial of what could have been the Blackhawks’ second goal certainly lowered the Blackhawks spirits as much as it raised the Red Wings’. However, in game four, it is clear that they cannot allow lowered spirits to turn into violent outbursts. Hockey may be a notoriously violent sport, but you can’t score goals from the penalty box. Though Brian Bickell and Andrew Shaw clearly will not let the Blackhawks go down without a knock down, drag out, good old fashioned hockey fight, in order to play effectively the Hawks need to keep their anger in check and focus that energy on getting to the net, keeping the puck in control, and playing angry while playing smart.

Save it for when we're ahead, Shawzer.

Save it for when we’re ahead, Shawzer.

The Chicago Bulls may be out of the playoffs, but the team with the most heart in the NBA may be losing the biggest heart of the team, Nate Robinson.

But we can't split up this dynamic duo! We can't!

But we can’t split up this dynamic duo! We can’t!

The news of Robinson’s likely departure has Chicago in an uproar. The little powerhouse that was a valuable asset to the Bulls in the playoffs has won the hearts of Bulls fans (and his on court relationship with the giant Joakim Noah might be one of the most endearing things in all of the NBA). The threat of Robinson’s leaving the Bulls has gotten Bulls fans in such an uproar that there is an online petition to convince the Bulls to keep Nate Robinson on the roster. Is this the best way to keep the running heart of the Bulls on the roster? Only time and a growing collection of signatures will tell.

So long, Brian

So long, Brian

Breaking news this morning is the retirement of Brian Urlacher, the Bears’ amazing linebacker. After toying with the idea of signing with the Vikings, Urlacher decided to retire from football altogether. Whereas we will miss seeing him destroying the competition every Sunday afternoon, we can selfishly admit seeing him go is better than seeing him in a purple helmet with viking horns on it. Retiring from football as a Chicago Bear was important to Urlacher, and we at Clark Street Sports wish the revered #54 the best of luck in retirement after thirteen years tearing up Soldier Field in navy and orange.

Baseball is serious business!

Baseball is serious business!

Memorial Day weekend means three day weekend and a lot of Chicago baseball. Whether your allegiance is to the North Side or the South Side, this weekend is a great time to take advantage of some fantastic Chicago baseball against the Marlins and the Reds before the Crosstown Classic kicks off on Memorial Day!

If you’re not dedicated enough to sport a full back Sox vs. Cubs tattoo this weekend, don’t worry! Clark Street Sports has all the gear you need for this year’s annual baseball blow out and for all your other Chicago sports needs! Until next time, sports fans, let us know what you think of what’s happening in the wild world of sports and keep rooting for the Windy City!

 

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Hockey City Classic Merchandise @ Clark Street Sports

College Hockey Fans, the Hockey City Classic at Solider Field is just 12 days away and Clark Street Sports has all your favorite Hockey City Classic Merchandise

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NFL: Packers @ Bears

This Sunday, the NFL’s oldest rivalry is renewed as for the 186 meeting, the Green Bay Packers face the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Bears fans, remember to pickup all your favorite merchandise at one of Clark Street Sports Locations (http://www.clarkstreetsports.com/store-locator.html) or online (http://www.clarkstreetsports.com/) before the game on Sunday.

Please share your responses and follow us on Twitter (https://twitter.com/ClarkStSports), Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/clarkstreetsports), Pinterest(http://pinterest.com/clarkstsports/), Google Plus (Clark Street Sports), and now Flickr(http://www.flickr.com/photos/clarkstreetsports). Remember to also check out our merchandise at http://www.clarkstreetsports.com/

 

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