In my latest installment of “Misery Loves Company,” we head west from Ohio and land in the lovely state of Illinois. Home of the first McDonald’s, Blagojevich, and Wayne and Garth, would more could these fine people want… how bout a few more rings!
Over the years I have adopted the Bears as my second NFL team for various reasons, none of them being that they are winners!
While the Bears have more regular season and overall victories than any other NFL team, with eight pre-merger championships and their last Super Bowl victory occurring in 1985, its safe to say, Chi-town is ready for another big win.
Even with Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo, the Bears couldn’t come through in the 60s and 70s. Under Ditka (remember he’s no juice box boy!) DA Bears brought the big one home in the 80s, but have yet to come up with it since. Winning their first playoff game since 1995, and a trip Super Bowl XLI, one of my favorite games from start to finish (including Prince’s half-time), the Bears could not get the W. If Brian Urlacher could be a little less clothed on the field, and Jay Cutler, Da Bears new Frat-chise QB, can get his crap together, this might be the year of a return to glory!
I grew up in the magical era of the Jordan Bulls, and watching that team single handedly ignited my love of basketball. You’re a young team, founded in 1966, you experienced a slow start. But then came that fateful moment in 1984 when you nabbed Michael Jordan out of the University of North Carolina. At first is was slow going with Jordan, but from 91-93, domination was the name of the game, and so was a three-peat!
You’ve experienced your ups and downs, losing Jordan to baseball in 93, subsequently losing Cartwright, Williams, Paxson and Grant, but you held on, and it paid off from 96-98! The trifecta of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippin and Phil Jackson led the Bulls to six championships in eight years with two three-peats!
It’s been a tough road since then, and was punctuated with a brutal series loss to the Celtics this year, but wins are in the air, and greatness, and my memories of BJ Armstrong, will never fade!
Oh those boys in blue, the Cubbies, the loveable losers, I could not feel for them more. The longest drought in professional sports, 101 years of ringless fingers… how it pains me.
Back to back championships in 1907 and 1908 seemed like a great sign, alas, it was to be the last. Claiming five NL pennants from 1929 – 1945, soon the curse of the Billy Goat was to fall. In Game four of the 1945 World Series, Billy Sianis was ejected along with his goat, allegedly due to an unpleasant odor. Sianis cursed that the Cubs would never win again, and sure enough, they haven’t!
In the late 60s the Cubs returned to winning seasons and the 70s and 80s saw more of the same. Getting so close, yet so far away!
The Cubs went from worst to first in 2007, with the addition of my boy Soriano and Lou Piniella, but ended 2008 in more heartache. The ghost of Harry Caray is with you boys, and streaks were made to be broken!
Chicago White Sox
The South Siders, no strangers to heartache, although recently appeased. The 1917 World Champs followed up their win with the infamous Black Sox scandal from 1919-1920. After Cicotte and Jackson confessed to fixing the 1919 Series, and the remaining players suspended, the team was all but dismantled.
Winning the pennant in 1959, its first in 40 years, was only a tease. Not until the 2005 White Sox team, and their motto of “win or die trying,” would the Championship return to Chi-Town. While the title hasn’t returned since, the team is still impressive and with our Commander in Chief and John Cusack supporting these boys, the sky’s the limit!
Named after the Blackhawk Division of the 86th Infantry during World War I, and founded in 1926, the Blackhawks were only a few years in the league before their 1937- 1938 Stanley Cup win.
The Hawks returned to the Cup finals during the 1960-1961 season and brought home the win, and have since been unable to return the cup to Chicago. The Hawks returned to the playoffs on an annual basis in the 70s and 80s, only to exit quickly each time.
With a strong 2008-2009 season and leading the league in largest home attendance, its safe to say the 2009-2010 will be another nail-biter for Hawks fans, hopefully ending in victory and an end to the longest cup draught in the NHL.