General

Taking the temperature of Chicago’s sports teams

RickThis weekend’s Wisch List newspaper column from The Daily Journal (Kankakee, Ill.) and The Times (Ottawa, Ill.) …

The WISCH LIST

By Dave Wischnowsky

The Chicago Cubs have a new boss (same as the old boss?).

Derrick Rose is back (sort of). The Bears still have groin groans (but someone’s got their back). The White Sox might have a future star (but what about their past?). And the Blackhawks are definitely generating a buzz (perhaps a bit too much).

Now that you’ve got all that straight, I’ll actually explain.

Cubs

On Thursday, I tried to check if “Rick Renteria” translated as “Dale Sveum,” but I couldn’t find my Spanish-to-Swedish dictionary.

In all seriousness, the Chicago Cubs’ new manager will indeed be resigned to the same fate as their old manager if the team doesn’t provide him with far better rosters.

For all I know, Renteria could be great. But considering it took almost six weeks to hire him, I can’t help but suspect that he wasn’t Theo Epstein’s No. 1 choice behind Joe Girardi. And if he wasn’t even the No. 2 guy in 2013, is he really better than the Cubs’ No. 1 choice two years ago?

Bulls

Derrick Rose is off to a slow start in his return to game action, and so are the Bulls.
But as CBS 2’s Ryan Baker pointed out after Chicago’s loss to the Pacers, during the 2010-11 season when Rose was named MVP and the Bulls finished with a 62-20 record, they started the season just 9-8.

So don’t give up hope yet. There’s reason for concern, but not panic.

It’s awfully early.

Bears

Last season, hordes of Bulls fans criticized Derrick Rose for not returning soon enough from a torn ACL. I didn’t. But I am criticizing Jay Cutler – and the Chicago Bears – if the quarterback tries to return too quickly from a torn groin.

Considering how well back-up QB Josh McCown has performed (100.2 passer rating) since Cutler went down against Washington, I see no compelling reason for him to return before he’s healed, even though Cutler is planning on it. It’s hard enough bouncing back from a groin pull when you work a desk job, let alone as an NFL quarterback.

White Sox

The White Sox have their first baseman of the future in $68 million Cuban slugger Jose Abreu. They have their first baseman of the past in free agent Paul Konerko. And they have, well, dead weight in Adam Dunn.

Even with the DH, there almost surely aren’t enough at-bats to keep all three players happy in 2014. But if the White Sox are serious about the future, it would probably serve them well to figure out a way to keep Konerko in the fold.

After all, I know that I’d rather have the 26-year-old Abreu mentored by Konerko, rather than by Dunn and the .197 batting average he’s had since joining the Sox. However, with the team still owing the struggling slugger $15 million, the whole situation already might be a Dunn deal.

Blackhawks

In Chicago, the Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks are certainly buzzworthy. But perhaps their fans are taking that a little too literally.

On Thursday night, I sat in the 300 level of the United Center for the Hawks’ game against Winnipeg. In the first period, a well buzzed fan with drink in hand lost his balance walking through our row and tumbled down two full rows directly in front of me.

Later, in the third, when the Jets’ Adam Pardy was checked through the glass and into the crowd, one unruly fan dumped beer on him while another yanked Pardy’s helmet off and put it on his own head.

Hawks games are fun. But when it comes to the boozy behavior, fans really need to put it on ice.