MORRISSEY: With 3 teams rebuilding, how much losing can Chicago take?
Three of Chicago’s five major professional sports teams are going through rebuilds, meaning the near future will be a Sam’s Club of losing around here. There are several ways to look at this:
— God hates us.
— Five years from now, we’ll be enjoying the Golden Age of Chicago Sports!
— Cackling owners who like to sip out of snifters and watch fans suffer are in on the conspiracy.
— What’s more beautiful than the sound of a jackhammer thumping? One hundred jackhammers thumping!
I have nothing against rebuilds. In fact, I agitated for all three teams — the White Sox, Bulls and Bears – to raze their rosters and start over again. But, clearly, I didn’t think this through well enough. I didn’t consider the prospect of watching three bad teams being bad together for several years.
Don’t be surprised when the American Psychiatric Association announces a new condition, Chicago sports post-traumatic stress disorder, characterized by dull stares and mutterings of, “I never knew antiquing with my wife could be so much fun’’ or “You know, Jay Cutler wasn’t so bad.’’
To ensure that concurrent rebuilding projects never happen again, I propose that, in the future, only one Chicago team at a time can go through a reconstruction. Any more than that is not fair to fans who root for multiple Chicago teams. Under my plan, at the first hint of a rogue general manager breaking out hard hats and scaffolding, the Better Business Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission and the Sun-Times’ Watchdogs will be notified.
We have a rebuild overload on our hands, folks. A rebuild glut. A rebuild building complex. Chicago sports are a construction zone, with backhoes digging and cranes reaching for the sky. Speaking of reaching for the sky, you don’t suppose the robber barons will reduce ticket prices during their rebuilds, do you? Let’s not hold our collective breath.
Is there not a politician in the Chicago area who sees a ridiculously easy man-of-the-people opportunity to demand that ticket prices be cut drastically if a team is drastically losing on purpose? How about three teams tanking at once? Isn’t that worthy of a proposed law announced on the 5 p.m. news? Shouldn’t that produce a speech for the ages? Give me liberty, a cheap ticket or death. And hold the liberty.
The Cubs won the World Series last season. In other good news, the Blackhawks still have a good amount of talent and will continue to win games. Then there are the Chicago teams going through earnest losing with the aim of touching rock bottom, gaining more high draft picks and coming out on the other side with a championship.
With the trade of star Jimmy Butler to Minnesota last month, the Bulls announced their intention to start over. The Sox already were in rebuilding mode, but their shocking decision to trade pitcher Jose Quintana to the hometown-rival Cubs, of all teams, for four minor-leaguers signaled that anything was possible in their pursuit of youth. And by drafting quarterback Mitch Trubisky with the second pick overall in the draft, the Bears declared they were all in on their rebuild.
See you in 2020 or beyond.
As I’ve mentioned in the past, it’s not the rebuild that’s important, it’s the people doing the rebuilding. When team president Theo Epstein announced a complete Cubs rebuild, true believers gave their bodies and souls to him, and it paid off (but enough about male Cubs fans). Do you trust John Paxson and Gar Forman to turn the Bulls into a winner after acquiring Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen? Do you trust Rick Hahn to find the right veterans to mesh with some of the top prospects he has amassed for the Sox? Do you trust that Ryan Pace found the quarterback of the future in Trubisky, even though many draft experts panned taking him so high in the draft?
Do you trust all three teams to succeed at the same time? If so, man, that’s a lot of trust.
But trust is what this is all about. It’s what three out of five Chicago teams are asking of the city’s sports fans: Stick with us through these difficult times, and we’ll reward you with a winner.
It’s not a bad plan. I just wish Jerry Reinsdorf, chairman of both the Bulls and the White Sox, would have gotten together with Bears chairman George McCaskey and tried to stagger the rebuilds. There’s only so much losing people can take at once.
I’d like to think all of this rebuilding is a coincidence. Unless somebody up there doesn’t like us.