General

Is Chicago ready to put the ‘Win’ in Windy City?

From the Saturday, May 9, editions of The Daily Journal (Kankakee, Ill.) and The Times (Ottawa, Ill.) …

RoseBy Dave Wischnowsky

The WISCH LIST

Besides the Blackhawks’ highly notable exception, you know they don’t call Chicago the Windy City because its sports teams actually win.

But could that soon change?

It’s certainly a possibility with the Bulls, led by a resurgent Derrick Rose, showing flashes of being a legitimate NBA title contender as they wage battle with LeBron James & Co., while the Blackhawks once again look like the team to beat en route to the Stanley Cup.

Meanwhile, on the baseball diamond, the Cubs are assembling a formidable collection of young talent that could finally end their eternal title drought … some day.

It’s unlikely, of course, that Chicago will crown three champions during 2015, but it’s not ridiculous to think the city could end up with a couple of them. If it did, Chicago would join elite company, as in the history of major North American professional sports (NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL) a single city/metropolitan area has been home to multiple champions in one season only 14 times, most recently in ’04 when the New England Patriots and Boston Red Sox respectively won the Super Bowl and World Series.

Detroit is the only city that has hosted more than two major sports champs in a single season, which happened way back in 1935 when the Lions, Red Wings and Tigers all captured their league’s crowns.

So, as Chicago shoots for its own sports glory this spring, I wanted to fire off a few of my own thoughts about the city’s bustling sports scene.

The Butler did it

In February 2013, I wrote that, “If the Bulls are to scale the championship mountain in the coming years, [Derrick] Rose is going to need help. Because while his play might seem superhuman, he isn’t Superman. Even Michael Jordan needed his Scottie Pippen to win titles. LeBron James, meanwhile, needed Dwyane Wade to finally get his ring.”

With his slew of knee injuries, Rose has looked far more mortal than superhuman since that time, of course. But this spring, he’s again beginning to resemble Batman, although the guy still does need his Robin if the Bulls are to win it all. Luol Deng simply wasn’t that player.

Jimmy Butler, however, just might be. This week, the swingman was named the NBA’s Most Improved Player after boosting his scoring average from 13.1 to 20 points, his shooting from 39.7 to 46.2 percent, his rebounding from 4.9 to 5.8 and his assists from 2.6 to 3.3.

If Chicago does win a ring, it’ll likely be because the Butler did that.

Rockin’ Robin

Earlier this week, after the White Sox’s record fell to 8-14, the Chicago-based website sportsmockery.com called manager Robin Ventura’s squad “the worst team in MLB,” arguing that while the Sox didn’t have baseball’s worst record, the teams below them “didn’t have [the] high expectations for this season [that] the White Sox did and still do.”

Following that criticism, the Sox promptly snapped a five-game losing streak by beating the Tigers. However, questions continue to swirl around Ventura, who may not be the primary reason for the Sox’s struggles, but is also yet to show he’s the answer.

If things don’t change, it won’t surprise anyone if Ventura is eventually fired, either after the season or during it. But I also wouldn’t be stunned if we see Ozzie Guillen emerge as his potential replacement.

After all if, George Steinbrenner can hire Billy Martin five times, Jerry Reinsdorf surely could hire Ozzie twice. Remember you heard it here first.