Chicago, ‘L’-inois? It’s been awhile since our last NFL, NBA, NHL or MLB playoff ‘W’
Before 2018 and 2019, the last calendar year to pass without a postseason victory by the Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks, Cubs or White Sox was 2004. Now we’re in a consecutive-years drought for the first time since the Great Chicago Mire of 1999 through 2001.
It’s cold out there. Gray. Forbidding. Miserable.
No, not the weather.
I’m talking about our sports scene.
Dateline: Chicago, ‘‘L’’-inois.
For the second consecutive calendar year — not to insult anyone’s intelligence, but that means January through December — there will be a grand total of zero postseason victories among the Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs and White Sox.
For our five teams in the Big Four professional sports leagues, 2019 started with Cody Parkey’s double-doink against the Eagles on Jan. 6 and basically went downhill from there.
It was a lot like 2018, when all the Not-So-Fab Five gave us, playoff-wise, was the Cubs’ wild-card whiff.
Thank goodness for the postseason appearances of the Sky and the Red Stars, capping off excellent seasons for both teams, because without them we’ve got nothing but the slush on our galoshes.
Before 2018, the last calendar year to pass without a postseason victory by one of Chicago’s NBA, NFL, NHL or MLB teams was 2004. That year, there wasn’t even so much as a postseason defeat for us to complain about. Talk about miserable.
Now we’re in a consecutive-years drought for the first time since the Great Chicago Mire of 1999 through 2001. The only postseason appearance during that time was made by the 2000 Sox, who were swept to the curb by the Mariners.
Maybe it’s the end of the baseball season that has me in foul spirits. More likely, it’s a combination of the witless play of the Bears, the hapless play of the Hawks and the spineless play of the Bulls.
But I can’t help but look ahead to 2020 and wonder if it, too, will pass without a postseason thrill in these parts.
The 3-4 Bears, with a quarterback who appears to be in over his head and a coach who can’t seem to get out of his own way, hardly resemble a team with a chance to play in January.
The Hawks provided ample evidence early on that they’ll go out without a playoff peep in the spring. How else to read a deeply unimpressive seven-game homestand during which they scraped together a measly five points?
And the Bulls? Their next baby step will be their first. For now, they’re too busy greeting fourth quarters by morphing into the Washington Generals.
As far as tasting postseason victory in 2020 goes, Chicago hope already is losing out to Chicago nope.
Cold. Gray. Miserable.
Or maybe it’s just me.
Have the Sox signed Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon and J.D. Martinez yet?
Oh, too much?
OK, one of them, then.
• How will new Cubs manager David Ross handle the occasional criticism, constant scrutiny and bottomless pit of media questions that come with the job?
Here’s a guy who spent the bulk of his career as a backup catcher. If he didn’t hit, well, no one really expected him to in the first place. When times got tough for his teams, the feet of bigger-name players were held to the fire.
Despite all his experience in the big leagues, Ross really hasn’t ever had to deal with this stuff.
‘‘Fans don’t care whether you’re a backup or not,’’ he said. ‘‘They expect greatness. And when you step on a field, they expect you to be prepared and to give them all you’ve got. That’s the kind of manager I hope to be. And understanding criticism comes with it, that’s not something I can control.’’
Fair enough. For now.
• Show of hands, Cubs fans: How many of you will admit the champion Nationals’ seven-game World Series against the Astros was as rich in drama and tension as the 2016 Fall Classic?
Fine. Crickets were expected.
• Upstart Illinois is a three-touchdown favorite Saturday against Big Ten bottom-feeder Rutgers.
This couldn’t possibly end badly for Lovie Smith and Co., could it?
• If Hawks coach Jeremy Colliton and Bulls coach Jim Boylen switched locker rooms at the United Center, would it really hurt either team?
Is there a single shooting hand the Bulls wouldn’t trade for Steph Curry’s broken non-shooting hand?
If hockey isn’t his thing anymore, can Brent Seabrook rebound and knock down a three-pointer?
It’s questions such as these that keep me up at night.