Hannah Gettleman

The weather has finally warmed up, sildenafil but we’re still having a mediocre baseball season in Chicago. One sure-fire way to fix those blues? A new HAM of the Week—and this week, we’re putting the spotlight on Chicago Cubs’ rookie Arismendy Alcantara.

Arismendy Alcantara HAM

Arismendy Alcantara, http://www.chicagotribune.com

After the Cubs designated former Golden Glove winner and second baseman Darwin Barney on assignment, Alcantara, who took over for Barney while he was on paternity leave, moved in his place.

If Alcantara’s name sounds like a mouthful (pronounced AIR-ES-MEN-DEE AL-CAHN-TRA), that’s because it is—just look at his stats:

The 5’10”, 170 pounds Dominican Republic native already crushed a homer onto Sheffield Avenue past the bleachers last week in a win versus the San Diego Padres, and has gained experience playing at second base and center field.

He’s given the team some much-needed energy in the second half of the season, with five RBIs in his first five games.

As most rookies are up in the majors for a two-game stint, Alcantara has taken advantage of his time and continues to put on a performance. Since being promoted to the majors on July 9, Alcantara has a .255 batting average, seven RBIs, four stolen bases and two home runs—and he may not be sent back to Iowa just yet. He’s been playing in almost every game, and continues to prove why he deserves to stay in the majors.

Alcantara signed with the Cubs at shortstop as an international free agent in 2008, playing in the Dominican Summer League that summer. He moved throughout the minor leagues starting in 2011 with the Peoria Chiefs in Class-A, followed by the Daytona Cubs in Class A-Advanced in 2012. He played for the Tennessee Smokies in the Class Double-A Southern League with former HAM of the Week Javier Baez in 2013, where he had a .284 batting average, 13 home runs and 46 RBIs. That year, Alcantara represented the Cubs at the All-Star Futures Game, where he had a home run, and a name to be reckoned with.

Arismendy Alcantara, http://www.baseballhotcorner.com

Arismendy Alcantara, http://www.baseballhotcorner.com

Prior to his call-up, Alcantara began the 2014 season with the Iowa Cubs in Class Triple-A. But even before the season began, his name was starting to gain buzz. According to the Chicago Tribune, while Alcantara was regarded as a “second tier” behind the “Big Four” prospects (including Baez, former HAM of the Week Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler and Albert Almora), he had a chance to get to Wrigley before them, just to show them how it’s done.

With the second half of the season in full swing, it’s only a matter of time before we see more fantastic rookies come through for the organization.

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Even though we don’t have the greatest baseball teams, doctor we are tried and true dedicated Chicago fans—and that was noted by our “Windy City Sweep” in selecting the NL and AL winners, buy cialis the “Fan Vote” that would send White Sox’s Chris Sale and CubsAnthony Rizzo to join the best of the best at the 2014 All-Star Game in Minneapolis on Tuesday.  Rizzo’s stellar performance throughout this season (and All-Star cred) is one to be noted, which is why we’ve named him our HAM of the Week.

I made my first trip of the summer to the friendly confines for a beautiful Sunday Funday, and I was ecstatic to see our HAM of the Week in action. Win or lose, the 24-year-old first baseman is definitely one of the stars of the team, and it’s easy to see why he’s such a fan favorite.

Anthony Rizzo, http://www.bleacherreport.com

Anthony Rizzo, http://www.bleacherreport.co

Rizzo was first drafted by the Boston Red Sox at 17 following his senior year of high school in the 2007 MLB Draft. Theo Epstein was the-then manager of the team, but when Epstein was called in 2011 to be the Cubs’ current GM, he brought Rizzo in with him.

We first profiled Rizzo two years ago when he was first called up by the organization. Unlike a lot of Cubs prospects, he shined in his rookie season and is one of the club’s most celebrated prospects. During that season, he had three game-winning RBIs in his first five games, the first player in the team’s history. He hit 7 homers alone in July, and was named the NL Rookie of the Month.

So far this season, he’s had 20 home runs and 49 RBIs over 92 games with an average of .277 and is climbing the ranks among the top first basemen in the National League.

He’s the face of an All-American boy: Born in New Jersey and raised in Florida, he seems to have the “boy next door” charm and humble personality. He’s 100% Italian, though, but I’m sure he can make a mean spaghetti with marinara:

Besides his impressive accomplishments, Rizzo is also a cancer survivor. Diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma not even a full year into the minor leagues in May 2008, he was successfully treated with chemotherapy. Rizzo is a big advocate and his charity, the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation, hosts annual “Cook-off For Cancer” and “Walk Off For Cancer” events.

What else is there to know about the smiley baseball stud?

Anthony RIzzo, http://www.huffingtonpost.com

Anthony Rizzo, http://www.huffingtonpost.com

According to the ladies of “A Drink With”, he would be willing to trade places with Bears’ linebacker Brandon Marshall for a day, and we think he’s got the skills to mesh with Cutty and the crew.

He’s also revealed he is very much single, and is willing to call girls to ask them out. You heard it first—chivalry isn’t dead!

We already know this year probably isn’t “the year” for the Cubbies (shocking), but maybe Theo and Rick should start bringing up more prospects and giving them a chance to hone their skills in the majors for more than a few days—former HAM of the Week Mike Olt is climbing up the ranks and showing signs of the “Rizzo” effect—who is going to be next?

Catch this hottie with teammate Starlin Castro on Tuesday during the All-Star Game at 7 PM on FOX, and on Friday and Saturday versus the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Follow Anthony Rizzo on Twitter at @ARizzo44.

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While we’ve all been caught up in World Cup madness, case both the Bulls and the Blackhawks created some major waves in their respective drafts this past weekend. And though we’ve still got plenty of time before both seasons start, cialis sale we thought we’d kick off the week getting to know one of the newest members of the Chicago Bulls from the 2014 draft: Doug McDermott, our HAM of the Week.

If you look up “Tall, Dark and Handsome” in the dictionary, you will definitely find 22-year-old Doug McDermott’s picture. The 6’8”, 225-lbs Grand Forks, North Dakota native may play at small forward, but we think he’s going to be a huge powerhouse for the Bulls in the 2014-15 season.

Doug McDermott, http://espn.go.com

Doug McDermott, http://espn.go.com

The Bulls drafted the former Creighton star, as the 11th pick in the first round. At Creighton, (where he was coached by his father, Greg), he led the NCAA in scoring for the 2013-14 season with 26.9 points per game, was a three-time consecutive first team All-American from 2012-14 and a three-time consecutive first team All Midwest Valley Conference from 2011-2013, this year’s Consensus Player of the Year and was awarded the John R. Wooden Award as the most outstanding men’s college basketball player.

McDermott began his career in Ames, Iowa, where he led the high school team to 53 consecutive wins and won consecutive Iowa state titles. Though he was set to attend Northern Iowa on a scholarship, he left to play for his dad. If being the coach’s son wasn’t enough pressure, the younger McDermott seemed to thrive on it, as he became one of eight players in NCAA men’s basketball history to pass 3,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in all four years with the Bluejays.

Doug McDermott knows about the art of scoring, as mentioned in this interview with Fox Sports:

McDermott also has history of playing overseas: following his freshman year, he played for the United States in the FIBA Under-19 World Championship, where the team placed fifth.

Doug McDermott, http://college-basketball.si.com

Doug McDermott, http://college-basketball.si.com

He also landed the March 12 cover of Sports Illustrated, which pays homage to the 1977 cover featuring Larry Bird.

By the way, his Twitter avatar is amazing—”Dougie” really is the bees knees.

And when you get praise from former Chicago Bull Kyle Korver (who also played at Creighton), you know you’re on the right team.

But McDermott is just like the rest of us in that maybe he’s not the next Jordan Spieth, and maybe he hates public speaking. But that boyish charm sure has our hearts beating loud and clear.

According to ESPN, McDermott’s path to basketball stardom is just beginning, and we can’t wait to see more amazingness from him when he’s off the bench and playing at the UC.

Is it too early for us to give the young newbie a nickname? Just based on his stats, we really want to go with McBuckets…

Follow Doug McDermott on Twitter at @dougmcd3 and Instagram at @dougmcd35.

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I know absolutely nothing about professional soccer. It’s not a sport I usually follow (and to make matters confusing, buy viagra many countries refer to the sport as “football”) but with the World Cup being every four years, online not to mention the hot guys from around the world (not to mention I’m a sucker for accents), decease I miiight just have to start paying attention. Whether you’re a newbie or an aficionada, these five players are ones you need to know, our HAMs of the Week:

Name: Neymar Country: Brazil Age: 22 Position: Forward

Neymar, http://www.bleacherreport.com

Neymar, http://www.bleacherreport.com

As with any legend, one name is all you need to make it big: Oprah, Madonna…and Neymar. The host country has a lot of pressure to live up to (especially after that own goal in their first game versus Croatia), but as one of the faces of the team, Neymar (full name: Neymar da Silva Santos Junior) seems to be a natural pro at scoring on the field. He’s racked up the awards with his club team FC Barcelona, most notably winning back-to-back South American Footballer of the Year awards in 2011 and 2012. He’s also won the coveted Golden Ball for Best Player at last year’s FIFA Confederations Cup, is the seventh highest goal scorer for the national team and a 2010 Olympic silver medalist. Oh yeah, and he’s on this month’s cover of Vogue Brazil with the gorgeous Mrs. Tom Brady, Giselle Bundchen. Trust us, you can’t miss this hottie’s signature mohawk.

Follow Neymar on Twitter at @neymarjr.

Name: Jozy Altidore Country: USA Age: 24 Position: Forward

Team USA is placed in a group known as the “Group of Death” (Ghana, Ronaldo and Portugal and Germany), and begins play today. But with plenty of eye candy on our team, it’s all a matter of scoring our hearts. One of the captains of the team, Altidore is already making headlines, scoring two goals in this year’s send-off match against Nigeria.

Altidore plays for English team Sunderland and was also a member of the 2010 World Cup team. He’s also deeply involved in charity work, from his contributions to his parents’ native Haiti with Wyclef Jean’s charity Yele Haiti in 2006 to his Jozy Altidore Foundation, which provides opportunities on and off the field for underprivileged children.

Follow Jozy Altidore on Twitter and Instagram at @JozyAltidore.

Name: Gerard Pique Country: Spain Age: 27 Position: Defender

Gerard Pique, http://www.buzzfeed.com

Gerard Pique, http://www.buzzfeed.com

If the name doesn’t ring a bell, perhaps you know his ultra-famous girlfriend, Shakira? Fun fact: the twosome met when he was featured in her music video for “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa), the official anthem of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Pique, along with Neymar, plays for FC Barcelona and was a member of the winning (and, according to Buzzfeed, the tournament’s hottest) team in 2010. Pique has won every major tournament in his career, including the Champions, the Premier League, the European Super Cup and the aforementioned World Cup. And he’s a super-hot dad to the most adorable son, Milan. Talk about one gorgeous family.

Follow the 6’4” blue-eyed stud on Twitter and Instagram at @3gerardpique.

Name: Daniel Sturridge Country: England Age: 24 Position: Forward

This dude has got the moves (you need to see his celebration dance following his goal in Saturday’s game versus Italy, where he also perfects the art of the duck face). The handsome Brit, who turned pro at 17, played for two of the country’s elite leagues, Manchester City and Chelsea before eventually making his way to Liverpool, his current club. According to Grantland, Sturridge has scored in 31 matches in 37 appearances with the club and has doubled the league average rate of shots converted to 24.7 percent. The sport runs in the family, as both his father and two uncles played in the league. Oh, and he’s a big fan of Leo Dicaprio—so I’m sure we’ll get along juuust fine.

 

Follow Daniel Sturridge on Twitter at @D_Sturridge and Instagram at @dstudge.

Name: Cristiano Ronaldo Country: Portugal Age: 29 Position: Forward

Cristiano Ronaldo, http://www.theguardian.com

Cristiano Ronaldo, http://www.theguardian.com

We can’t imagine a World Cup hotties list without this bad boy. The former HAM of the Week, who plays with club team Real Madrid, is his country’s top goal scorer with 49 goals, and is playing in his third World Cup. He’s one of the first to reach the 400-goal milestone in 653 appearances, and won the 2013 FIFA Ballon d’Or (French for Golden Ball, which is basically the equivalent of MVP), ending Argentina’s Lionel Messi’s four-win streak.

He’s known for being a playboy and is currently dating Russian model Irina Shayk, with whom he shares the smoking-hot cover of Vogue Spain. He’s also a fashionisto and opened the boutique CR7 (his initials and jersey number) in Portugal. Those winning looks have transferred off the field, as he’s an underwear model for Armani Exchange.

Cristiano Ronaldo, http://www.usmagazine.com

Cristiano Ronaldo, http://www.usmagazine.com

Follow Cristiano Ronaldo on Twitter and Instagram at @Cristiano.

Tell us: who are you rooting for in the World Cup?

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I’ll admit it—golf is probably one of my least favorite sports, viagra one that I have a hard time diving into for an afternoon of viewing. And I know I’m not alone when I say this. But leave it to the Masters to remind me of the incredible skill involved in the game beloved by so many, and just as important –  that there’s plenty of eye candy that makes viewing a little more bearable, including former HAM of the Week (and an SDI fave) Adam Scott.

We’re ready to add another to that list: Jordan Spieth, our HAM of the Week.

The 20-year-old golfer was tied with eventual winner Bubba Watson for first place leading into yesterday’s final round, and despite finishing tied for second with Jonas Blixt, he’s emerging as the sport’s “next Tiger Woods”. And when Forbes calls you “the Derek Jeter of golf”, you know you’re a pretty big deal.

So what’s the 411 on the young pro?

Jordan Spieth, http://www.nytimes.com

Jordan Spieth, http://www.nytimes.com

The 6’1”, 185 lbs Dallas native is the spitting image of an All-American boy. He began his career with two second-place finishes in the 2008 and 2009 Junior PGA Championship. Spieth (pronounced SPEETH) followed that with two wins in the U.S. Junior Amateur tournaments in 2009 and 2011, which, ironically, he joined Woods as the tournament’s only multiple winners.

Spieth took his game to the University of Texas, where he helped the Longhorns win the NCAA championship, was named Big 12 Freshman and Player of the Year, and was named to the first team All-American.

He earned a spot in the U.S. Open in 2012 as an alternate and tied for 21st place, and he turned professional midway through his sophomore year at 19 years old.

Spieth participated in a few minor tournaments at the beginning of 2013 as an amateur, but really hit his stride by winning the John Deere Classic in July, becoming the fourth youngest PGA Tour winner and the first teenager to win the tournament since 1931.

But that win granted him more than brownie points: it gave him status as a PGA Tour member, eligibility for the FedEx Cup, and entry into the 2013 Open Championship, PGA Championship and 2014 Masters. Oh yeah, and he earned a spot on the United States squad in the 2013 Presidents Cup in October.

By September, Spieth was named the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year and ended the season ranked 22nd in the world. We’re guessing that number jumped just a little lower since yesterday. He may not be #1 (that’s Adam Scott), but he’s definitely #2—especially for his feelings on the Heat:

 

Spieth is not just about the game: the Presidents Cup selection led him to start the Jordan Spieth Charitable Trust, which lends time, awareness and financial assistance to special needs youth, military families and junior golf.

He’s got that Southern charm and class, and is a true Texas boy—he’s a Longhorns fan and Rangers fan, owns four pairs of cowboy boots and calls all of his elders “Mister”, especially to a golf royalty like Watson. Spieth also played baseball as a pitcher and loves tropical vacations—sounds like a great match for us! Spieth looked like he had a ton of confidence in his game (and, well, was easy on the eyes if I’m being honest here), and we know he’ll get his green jacket in due time.

Follow Spieth on Twitter at @JordanSpieth and Instagram at @jordanspieth and at http://www.jordanspiethgolf.com.

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Things are looking bright with the Chicago Bulls. Fresh off yesterday’s 95-88 OT win versus the Miami Heat at the UC, drugstore the Bulls are once again, seek proving doubters wrong and showing incredible consistency on both sides of the ball.  Former HAM of the Week Joakim Noah and D.J. Augustin have both posted multiple 100-point games in the past week and a half. Add another player to make this a powerhouse trifecta: Taj Gibson, our HAM of the Week.

He’s not always on the starting lineup, but he should be. And here’s proof:

The 6’9”, 225 lbs Brooklyn, New York native moved to California in 2004 to attend basketball prep school. Gibson played basketball at the University of Southern California for three seasons, helping the Trojans win the Pac-10 tournament championships in 2009.

Taj Gibson, http://www.sbnation.com

Taj Gibson, http://www.sbnation.com

The Bulls selected Gibson in the 2009 NBA draft. During his rookie season, the 28-year-old made the NBA All-Rookie First Team, averaging nine points and 7.5 rebounds per game.

Now in his fifth season, Gibson is averaging a career-high 74.3% free throw percentage, 1.2 assists, 29.1 minutes and 13.5 points per game.

The team has managed to win more games against their biggest rival without former HAM of the Week Derrick Rose, and has been consistent during the second half of the season. A lot of that is thanks to Noah’s stellar play, but Gibson’s moves also deserve recognition.

Bleacher Report calls this season “his breakout year”, becoming a budding star in the NBA and should be considered one of the top two-way forwards. Gibson rises to the occasion defensively, and he is able to cover his opponents with a wide range of skills while allotting for a lower field-goal percentage. Gibson has also emerged as a red-hot offensive player—he leads the team in total points this season with 836.

With all of this in mind, Gibson should be a sure-fire candidate for the Sixth Man of the Year award (and possibly for this year’s All-Defense team). He’s delivered in every game as a top player on the double team since the Bulls traded former HAM of the Week Luol Deng, scoring in double figures in 22 of his last 24 games.

Off the court, Gibson has already won our hearts. He recently revealed to the Chicago Tribune that his favorite “chick flick” is “Sex and the City” and he’s a wine aficionado. In an interview with the ladies of A Drink With, he credits MJ for having the biggest inspiration on him (he was the best Bull, after all), and Taj’s natural energy brings a sense of humor to a seriously focused team.  And if you love the “Real Housewives” series, Taj is your guy—he’s not shy about sharing his love for the drama series.

The dynamic duo of Noah and Gibson may give us Bulls fans some hope for a possible playoff picture as well, especially with a weak Eastern Conference. And with Boozer’s contract up, we’re thinking Thibs may need to do some reevaluation of the team’s starting lineup…

Follow Taj Gibson on Twitter at @TajGibson22 and Instagram at @tajgibson22.

 

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