By Tim Baffoe-

(CBS) Meatball karma has a funny way of striking a balance, doesn’t it? Brian Urlacher, the face of Chicago football for more than a decade, retired Wednesday. Gauging the response of the rabble, most Bears fans would have preferred he played with the team for another sad, rickety year. Alas.

In order to even everything out in the Windy City gridiron cosmos, though, the Bears will be retiring Hall of Fame tight end and former head coach Mike Ditka’s number 89 jersey on Dec. 9 when the team takes on Ditka’s other former team, the Dallas Cowboys, on Monday Night Football. Chicago Tribune Bears beat reporter Brad Biggs told The Mully and Hanley Show Friday morning that the jersey retirement has nothing to do with Urlacher’s retirement, and it had been planned for a while. But while that is probably true, it’s hard to deny this is some playcalling of the mustachioed, garlic-breathed, angina-suffering football gods, as Ditka has long been a deity himself in Chicago, quasi-religiously for some and rightfully satirically for others.

Weekend. Should we talk about the weather?

On to your correspondence.

Hey, it’s fellow handsome CBS Chicago blogger Dave Wischnowsky. I like where your mind is at, Wisch, and while I’m very averse to reality television, if I can get a producer credit on this, I’m all for it.

Hell, I’d actually probably watch at least Season 1 of a show with Urlacher as a cop. There can be an episode with Rashaan Salaam getting caught with weed, Cade McNown exploiting handicapped parking, Urlacher being denied a chance to collaborate on the Sam Hurd case, Urlacher makes a bad commercial for a line of tasers, Curtis Enis disturbing the peace by speaking in tongues, and a Tank Johnson (fill in the blank) charge. The possibilities are endless. And if the show is a success, there could be one of those setting change seasons a la Jersey Shore in Italy. Only this time Urlacher has to deal with the Cincinnati Bengals for a year. Invest a bunch of Score blogger money in this Wisch, and call me when the ball is rolling.

Wade is pretty over the top when it comes to thinking everything that doesn’t go his way is some perceived slight against all that is pure in the world. Thing is, we tend to notice such behavior out of players we particularly don’t like, and Chicago-area native Wade has reached Isiah Thomas levels of loathing in this town. I mean, you have to admit that like 80% of foul calls result in at least a look of disgust or surprise from any player accused.

At the risk of breaking bad on a Chicago favorite, Michael Jordan was known to complain to refs a hell of a lot. The Bad Boy Pistons, notably Thomas and Bill Laimbeer, often put on their best faux shock faces after knocking a Bull on his butt and getting called for it. Hell, Laimbeer even got a Sports Illustrated cover out of it. John Starks STILL isn’t done complaining. Shaquille O’Neal never had a problem criticizing refs during or after a game. A guy who made playing hoops a unique brand of theatre (-re on purpose) and who I love for kitsch value immensely, Rasheed Wallace, complained so much that he accumulated a record 304 technical fouls in his career. Somehow Danny Ainge managed to get me to take Pat Riley’s said a few months ago after Ainge hypocritically called out Lebron James. As a player it was pretty tough to find post-whistle footage of Ainge not looking like you failed to use a coaster with your non-caffeinated soft drink.

Basketball whining is an art form, though. If you’re not whining, you’re not trying. It does eventually get you favorable calls, and the “whiniest” guys are usually some of the most talented. Best players = most floor time. More floor time = more chances to try to work the refs. Vladimir Radmanovic isn’t exactly honing his whining craft, get it?

letter to tim baffoe:

i was on and i was looking up a particular info on stephen a. smith, i saw your article about you not liking stephen a’s suppose comments about hockey.

the reason i wrote you is because, you said something just as offensive, when you ssid maybe espn should just dress him up in a clown suit, and have a black face.

you went too far, right there and you should take that comment back. no matter if you were bothered by stephen a accessment of hockey, you didn’t need to go that far.

that was just as offensive, the last thing this country needs is racial stereotype, you called stephen a the most stereotypical racist on tv, but here you made the clown

comment, that makes you no better. maybe stephen a at times, not fond with nonblack athletes, but for you to say black face in a clown suit, was offensive and wrong

for you to utter out. you should take it all back, you could’ve chosen better words, more consistent words.   wasn’t smart tim, you should know better.

internet user:       rumar spencer                south hill, virginia

This is the greatest email I have ever received. Ever. It’s beautiful on so many levels—from the necessity to mention to not understanding that quoting someone else isn’t my own words to the fractured structure to the denotation that this email was sent by an internet user. It puts a big smile on my face going into the weekend.

And here’s your Angry Penn State Fan of the Week:

Subject: Not worth the time to read

From: Bruce

Jumping on the SI wagon mr buffone?
Very sad.

Sent from my iPhone

 Thanks for emailing, tweeting, and reading. If your question did not get answered this time, that does not necessarily mean I am ignoring it. It may be saved for the next mailbag. Hopefully you’re a slightly better person now than you were ten minutes ago. If not, your loss.

Want your questions answered in a future Mailbag? Email them to or tweet them to @TimBaffoe with the hashtag #TFMB. No question, sports or otherwise, is off limits (with certain logistical exceptions, e.g. lots of naughty words or you type in Portuguese or you solicit my death). If you email, please include a signature.

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