MORRISSEY: Your winter-survival guide for brutal Bears and Bulls

SHARE MORRISSEY: Your winter-survival guide for brutal Bears and Bulls

Bears running back Benny Cunningham fumbles in the end zone against the Packers on Sunday. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Baseball’s hot stove very well could be the only source of heat for Chicago sports over the next three months. I’d prefer warming my hands over a fire of real football games and real basketball players rather than possible trades, but it doesn’t look like I have a choice.

Cubs president Theo Epstein is talking about a yawning window in which the franchise could be a World Series contender for “seven years, hopefully, at least.’’ I love that there’s nothing especially audacious about his statement. Yes, you say to yourself matter-of-factly, it could be so.


Is the Bears’ run-heavy approach actually hurting QB Mitch Trubisky?

10 reasons why John Fox needs to go

The Sox’ rebuild is going very well. General manager Rick Hahn, having already traded for a boatload of young talent, has made it clear that he’s open to more veterans-for-prospects deals if they make sense. I love that few people who care about the Sox are balking at this out of loyalty to players who aren’t crucial to a rebuild. There are all sorts of good reasons to love Jose Abreu, but if you’re going to tank, do it right.

Ah, baseball’s offseason. So full of possibility. Feeling toasty? I’m so happy for you.

Here’s a blast of frigid winter – a Saskatchewan Screamer, as WGN weather worshipper Tom Skilling might joyfully describe it.

The brrrrrrutal Bulls. And the brrrrrrutal Bears.

Bundle up for wind-chill readings in the negative double digits, right?

Hold on a second. Before hypothermia sets in, let’s try to turn two terrible situations into two not-so-terrible ones. Let’s turn those frozen frowns upside down. If we’re going to make it through the cold and the snow, we need to manufacture some warm feelings. You’ve come to the right place. As usual, I can’t turn off the positivity!

When the most interesting thing about your team is a one-punch fight between two teammates, the phrase “hopelessly defective’’ comes to mind. But the more I think about it, the more I wonder if it might be the best thing that could have happened to the Bulls, who aren’t good at basketball. If I were team vice president John Paxson, I’d do the opposite of what the management handbook says to do. The handbook very much wants Nikola Mirotic and Bobby Portis to shake hands and make up.

But if I were in charge, I’d want Mirotic to continue to aim his vow of silence at Portis, who punched him and broke two of his facial bones during an October practice. I’d want as much attention as possible taken away from the product on the floor, which, other than Lauri Markkanen, is almost unwatchable. Can you get people to come to the United Center to witness two teammates avoiding each like ex-college sweethearts at a party? More easily than you can build a marketing campaign around a roster that includes Cameron Payne, Justin Holiday, etc.

So Niko and Bobby. Silencers at 10 paces. Perfect.

The Bears pose a different kind of problem. Everyone on the team seems to get along wonderfully. Considering how bad the Bears are, that’s an indictment. You’d think at least one player would despise another on general grounds of incompetence. But, no. We’re told the locker-room “culture’’ is excellent. We’re also told it’s a positive that coach John Fox hasn’t lost the team.

If anything would make this season more palatable, it would be anarchy. Otherwise, what’s left? Watching Mitch Trubisky learn from a coaching staff that doesn’t seem to know how to use him? Cringing at the possibility the Bears might bring back Fox under the flimsy rationale of continuity? I’ll root for open rebellion as a diversion from having to watch bad football.

The last hope for cold-weather fun are the Blackhawks, who used to be good all the time but are struggling about a quarter of the way through the season. They will figure things out. I won’t fall into the annual spiral of panic I recently accused their fans of being in. But I am asking (for a friend) when things will get better. Soon, right? Right? Right?!!!

If things do go down the drain for the Hawks, Chicago is headed for a very cold, very depressing three months. Pitchers and catchers will report sometime in mid-February, which means that, until then, we’ll need the Cubs and the White Sox to keep us warm via free-agent signings and trades.

I envision a post-apocalyptic nuclear winter in which Chicago sports fans wander the streets, their hands clawed, their hearts two sizes too small from a lack of good cheer or anything to cheer for.

If they’re lucky, they’ll stumble upon a Northwestern basketball game or a Northwestern bowl game. Otherwise, they had better make friends with frostbite.

The Latest
Bret Cavanaugh and Alex Bielfeldt will be the first to reach Nationals in any sport out of Reed-Custer High School when they fish the Bassmaster High School National Championship Aug. 1-3 on Tennessee’s Chickamauga Lake.
The Hawks’ prospect pool is almost overflowing with talent after adding in their 2024 draft class, including the defenseman taken with the No. 2 overall pick.
Everyone’s tolerance is different, and sometimes love isn’t enough to get you through challenges in relationships.
She treats her grown son like he’s the more mature one.
The FBI early Sunday named 20-year-old Thomas Matthew Crooks of Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, as the subject involved in the shooting.