Today’s top story on the Chicago Sun-Times sports page is wondering, now that the Blackhawks have ended their 49-year Stanley Cup drought, which team in the city is next to win a championship?
The article says the logical answer, in drought terms, would obviously be the Cubs. But, come on, let’s be honest here. The soon-to-be 102 years of futility is not ending any time soon, and certainly not this year, as the bumbling, stumbling Northsiders flat-out refuse to hit the ball (or acknowledge they could use some coaching on how to do so). I would say I’ve never seen a team so inept at hitting with runners in scoring position or winning on the road, but I have. Last year’s Cubs.
The White Sox are in the same boat. Their offense is slightly better than the Cubs’, but beyond Paul Konerko’s 17 homers and the rejuvenated Alex Rios in the outfield, they’re not scary at the plate. Their normally good pitching has failed tremendously this year, too, with Mark Buehrle performing well below his career averages and Gavin Floyd looking terrible. In other words, they’re not going to reprise any of that 2005 World Series magic this year.
Things aren’t looking much better once the calendar flips to the football months, either.
The Bears are coming off a 7-9 year in which their shiny new savior of a quarterback, Jay Cutler, performed just like every other Chicago Bears quarterback–except the mythical Sid Luckman, who hasn’t touched a football since, y’know, dying 12 years ago, at the ripe age of 81. You can say all you want about the additions of Julius Peppers and Chester Taylor on the playing side and Mike Martz as the offensive coordinator, but until they add legitimate wide receivers or an offensive line capable of protecting Cutler for longer than a second or two, I don’t see this team being much better than 8-8.
Basketball-wise, the prospects are slightly brighter, as the Bulls stand a chance of getting back in the championship biz, but they’re not the scariest of contenders out there, having just squeezed by the competition into the playoffs this year and getting easily ousted in the first round. Sure, there’s the off-chance they sign Lebron James, but does anyone actually see that happening? I don’t. They’re likely going to rely on the continuing improved play of guys like Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah.
So, Chicago fans, it’s not looking terribly likely we’ll be able to celebrate again in the near future, unless the Hawks can do something no team since the ’97-’98 Red Wings has done, repeat as Stanley Cup champions.