On Wednesday Feb. 27, during the ESPN show Around the Horn, a show where sports columnists from the nation’s largest sports cities debate on specific subjects. A regular guest on the show and Los Angeles Times sports writer Bill Plaschke said to Chicago Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti that Chicago was an "Irrelevant sports town."
It is true that a few of the Chicago sports teams are in desperate pseudo rebuilding phases. The Bulls fell down right out of the gate this past season. But with the acquisitions of Drew Gooden and Larry Hughes, and brand new, number one overall pick Derrick Rose. The Bears and their lack of anything resembling an offense. The White Sox, two years after winning the World Series missed the playoffs by 20+ games in 2006 and are struggling to hold on to their lead in the AL Central. The Cubs have hit the 100 year mark for not winning a World Series and are "celebrating" the 63rd anniversary of the last time they were even in the Series. Finally the NHL residents of Chicago barely missed the playoffs this past season with the dynamic-rookie-duo of Jonathan Toews and rookie of the year Patrick Kane the future looks extremely bright for one of the Blackhawks.
What Mr. Plaschke might not remember is that about four or five years ago the Denver Nuggets were one of the worst teams in the NBA. The Broncos were still trying to find a replacement for John Elway. And not too many people cared about how well the Colorado Avalanche were playing well, and were a couple years removed form winning the Stanley Cup.
But let's take a look at the bright side of Chicago sports for a moment. The Bears are a little over a year removed from being in the Super Bowl. The White Sox brought a World Series title to Chicago for the first time in 88 years, in 2005. The Cubs are giving fans an actual sports related reason to attend Wrigley Field again this year.
There are also the not so major sports: the Chicago Wolves of the AHL/IHL have won 4 championships in the last 10 years, between the two leagues. They have also never had a losing season. The newest addition to the Chicago sports family, the Rush of the Arena Football League, won the AFL championship in Arena Bowl XX and have made the playoffs in every season of their existence, including clinching home-field advantage for the AFL playoffs for the first time this season.
Though Chicago's sports are in a state of limbo and the teams are not as feared as they used to be. But professional athletes still want to be come to Chicago.
Japanese baseball player Kosuke Fukudome (Cos-kay Fook-u-domay) was quoted as saying his two main choices to play Major League Baseball came down to Chicago's north and south side ball clubs and eventually landed with the Cubs.
The White Sox have been no strangers to welcoming foreign players into the clubhouse having 2e Cuban players on th current roster. Picking up a couple Japanese players in Shingo Takatsu and Tadahito Iguchi a few years ago. Plus several players from Manager Ozzie Guillen's homeland of Venezuela.
Calling Chicago an irrelevant sports town is like saying that the sky is green. Bill Plaschke needs to check his history and make sure he wasn't talking about Cincinnati.