A sports columnist’s mailbag: Rookie Messiah, Rose is back and it’s Darling time

Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant throws the ball to first base during the 10th inning against the San Diego Padres at Wrigley Field in Chicago on April 18. The Cubs won, 7-6, in 11 innings.

Chris asks: how much do you love Kris Bryant?

Sometimes I exaggerate a bit in these mailbags. For example, last week I told you guys that I ate an entire block of cheese, but really I ate about 3/4 of the cheese. I mean, I still ate a lot of cheese, but that’s not the point.

I am not exaggerating when I say I felt physically ill between the time of Kris Bryant’s call up and his major league debut.

I’m not proud of this.

When it was first announced on Twitter that Bryant was going to get called up, I could feel myself getting nauseous.

Cubs’ fans get excited about any glimmer of hope, so when that glimmer is the bright light of Kris Bryant, you better believe they’ll let everyone know about it.

I could already see the Tweets pouring in. A lot of people were proclaiming Bryant as the messiah. I even (sarcastically) tweeted out a few pictures of Jesus, and claimed they were exclusive photos of Bryant showing up to the ballpark. It was madness.

In his first game, Bryant struck out 3 times, and finished 0-4, which made me happy. I am sure that Bryant will go on to have a great rest of the year. He’ll probably end up being one of the greatest baseball players of all time, win a presidential election and establish world peace.

That being said, I’ll always remember the extreme hype that led to a three-strikeout performance in his major league debut.

Plus, the White Sox just called up their top prospect, Carlos Rodon, which makes me even happier.

Torrence asks: Do the Bulls have what it takes to win the championship after a solid Game 1 performance by D-Rose?

Derrick Rose looked great in the Bulls first playoff game against the Bucks last week. He looked like the Rose that we all knew before all of the serious injuries.

If you didn’t know about his oft-injured past, his performance in Game 1 would lead you to believe he is still one of the league’s best point guards.

Rose finished with 23 points, but the statistics don’t matter as much as the way he was scoring — he looked confident, fearless, and at times, like nobody on the planet could stop him.

That was the Rose that not only Bulls fans, but NBA fans across the globe grew to love. That is also the only way that Rose can exist if the Bulls want any chance at winning an NBA championship.

The window is quickly closing on this current Bulls’ core. Joakim Noah is almost always hurt. Pau Gasol had an outstanding season, leading the NBA in double-doubles with 54, but will be 35 years old next season.

Then there’s Derrick, which is the big question mark. He’s healthy now (go run to a wooden object and knock on it). But will he be healthy in seasons to come, or for that matter the rest of the playoffs?

I am not one to know the answer to such questions but I can tell you if Rose can stay healthy throughout the playoffs, the Bulls can advance to the NBA Finals.

The Cavaliers are great and all, but with a healthy D-Rose on the attack, LeBron and the Cavs can be beat. I am most concerned about that team the Bulls will more than likely see if they make it to the championship: the Golden State Warriors, who are playing incredible basketball.

They look like a team on a mission, and sometimes there’s nothing anyone can do to stop that. Am I penciling in the Warriors as the NBA Champions? Not at all. I just see them as the greatest threat to the Bulls’ championship hopes, but time will tell, and so will the health of Derrick Rose.

For now, let’s just enjoy watching healthy Derrick for as long as we can.

Ryan asks: who should the Blackhawks start in net?

I am admittedly not the biggest Hawks fan, but I certainly enjoy watching them when the playoffs roll around.

I know that one of the early emerging storylines for the Hawks has been who should be playing goalkeeper going forward. The competition is between regular-season starter Corey Crawford and Illinois native Scott Darling.

Crawford started Game 1 against the Nashville Predators, but gave up three goals before head coach Joel Quenneville decided to put in Darling.

Darling stopped all 42 shots he saw in Game 1 , and the Hawks went on to win. Coach Q went with Crawford in Game 2 and the Hawks lost.

Crawford has given up nine goals in the playoffs, and hasn’t been in net for a win — Darling was in net in Game 3 and the Hawks earned their second victory in the series.

I have a lot of respect for Crawford. At times, he has played like one of the better goalkeepers in the NHL.

But, with all due respect to Crawford, it’s Darling time. I am in no way a hockey expert, but when it comes to the playoffs, you go with what’s working, and Darling is working. The Hawks’ two wins have come with Darling in net, and I don’t think this should, or will change.

Quenneville announced that he will start Darling in Game 4, and I say this is the right move.

Sam is a senior in Media.

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