The Cubs hired Rob Deer as an assistant hitting coach for James Rowson, who replaced Rudy Jaramillo during the season. Disenchanted Cubs fans on Twitter and across the Internet were quick to point out that Deer holds the dubious honor of posting the all-time lowest single season batting average in MLB history–a .179 in 1991 for the Tigers. And while I agree he might not immediately wow us with his credentials, I’d also like to point out that Tony LaRussa was pretty lousy as a player, too. (And just for clarity’s sake, that’s less of an actual comparison of an assistant hitting coach and a first-ballot Hall of Famer than it is an unnecessary-but-cathartic shot at the still-reigning King Weasel of Passive-Aggressive Mountain.)

Hide your kids; hide your wives–coyotes were spotted wandering around outside Wrigley Field. For reals.

Former Cubs pitcher and baseball savant Greg Maddux is the new pitching coach for the United States team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. It’s a shame Maddux parted ways with the Cubs organization–I think it’s only a matter of time before he extends his legend with great success in either a coaching role or front-office position (he’s currently serving as a special assistant to the Rangers’ GM, a role he previously held with the Cubs under Jim Hendry).

ESPN’s Buster Olney projects which teams are most likely to land free agent slugger Josh Hamilton. Since it’s an Insider article, I’ll give you the bullet points: in descending order of likelihood, Olney says it could be the Rangers, Brewers, Red Sox, Mariners, Orioles, or (surprise, surprise) some mystery team. Way to hedge those bets, Busty!

Have you heard of Fireman Ed? He’s the Jets’ bald, angry-faced super-fan who leads the J-E-T-S chants and has received increasingly more and more face-time during Jets’ broadcasts over the years. Anyway, he retired over the weekend. Well, “retired”–he’s still going to attend the games and root for the Jets. He’s just ditching the fire helmet and the unofficial cheerleader role that gained him his modest notoriety. Fireman Ed–or Ed Anzalone as he’s known outside the Meadowlands–is fed up with contentious and pugnacious Jets fans, so much so that he’s taken to leaving the games early. You can read his whole earnest explanation here. To some degree, I sympathize with him in what surely feels like futile fanaticism for his beloved team. But frankly, I’m not sure the retirement of his super-fan persona isn’t for the best. It would like spotting a subdued and street-clothed Ronnie Woo Woo out in the Wrigley bleachers one sunny afternoon–unusual, but not altogether unwelcome.

On Sportcenter last night, Scott Van Pelt described Monday’s Panthers-Eagles game as having “fantasy implications.” Well played, SVP. To be fair, it also had implications for both head coaches and their respective hot seats. In the end, Cam Newton did his thing; the Eagles’ defense didn’t do theirs (or did, depending on how you look at it). Panthers win, 30-22.

Nick Saban is a jerk. On Sunday he was complaining about the BCS; specifically that it wasn’t fair that the Florida Gators would likely get a better bowl game than the team that loses the SEC championship game this coming Saturday (you can read Florida head coach Will Muschamp’s response here). How quickly Saban forgets that it’s that same flawed BCS system that paved the way for the Alabama-LSU rematch and his second national championship just last year. Stop whining, Nick Saban. (Full Disclosure: I haven’t liked Saban for several years. His cowardly act of voting my Oklahoma State Cowboys as #4 to keep them out of the national championship game last season only confirmed what I already thought of him.)

If you had much time yesterday in the midst of your feverish Internet shopping to browse the web for sports news, you might have seen reactions to some bizarre statements made by ESPN’s Tom Jackson about Jay Cutler during Sunday’s pregame show on ESPN. Rather than rehash the details, let me instead point you to this excellent article from Awful Announcing that breaks down Jackson’s illogical and unfounded assertions about Cutler’s character, and looks at the media’s increasing tendency to lazily revert to “the narrative” rather than give, you know, actual facts and intelligent opinions informed by those actual facts.

Lady, you’d keep your hands off that manatee if you knew what was good for you.

Finally, a fan won basketball tickets from Milwaukee Bucks’ forward Drew Gordon Gooden for tweeting a picture of his Kirk Hinrich Bulls jersey in a toilet. The Twitter-based contest was devised by Gordon Gooden, who regretted that the winning jersey belonged to his former Bulls and Kansas Jayhawks teammate Hinrich. I doubt any baseball players will make a similar offer, but I’ve got a Neifi Perez jersey marinating in the can just in case.

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