I was originally going to name this post "A Few People Every Chicago Sports Fan Should Hate", but then StevieY pointed out to me that I shouldn't attribute my personal hate list to all Chicago sports fans. Thus, here is my personal sports hate list. All of these people should be enemies of Chicago sports fans, but you can decide who you hate. This list is in no particular order (except Bruce Pearl, who is by far the worst):
Bruce Pearl: I hate this guy more than anyone else on this list. When his face flashes on the TV screen or his name comes up in conversation, I usually react immediately by saying "F#$% that guy!". Why, you ask? Well its a long story, but I'll give you the short of it here. In the late 1980s, Pearl, an assistant at Iowa, and Jimmy Collins, an assistant at Illinois, were both pursuing a hot recruit named Deon Thomas. At some point Thomas committed to Illinois. Pearl lost, end of story, right? Wrong. Pearl proceeded to call Thomas and ask if he had received inappropriate gifts from University of Illinois in order to commit. He recorded that call. Thomas indicated he had received those things (it's still debatable whether he admitted anything). A subsequent NCAA investigation found that the allegations were completely false. Thomas passed a lie detector test regarding the issue. The problem, however, is that the investigation uncovered a bunch of other minor violations that resulted in heavy fines and sanctions on Illinois recruiting. There is speculation that when Henson retired as Illinois' coach, Collins career had been stained by the scandal and that is why he was not named the new coach. When Collins went to the Horizon League to coach UIC, Pearl coached for the rival University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Collins refused to shake Pearl's hand after any of the games between the two teams. He is the scum of the earth. When Thomas was asked about forgiving Pearl, he was quoted as saying: "It's hard to forgive a snake." This man deserves to be eliminated from the game permanently for his shady actions. If you see him on the street, flick him off for me please. Thanks.
Eric Gordon: Ahh, more shady college basketball recruiting enemies. This spot honorarily goes to Kelvin Sampson, but let's focus on Gordon for now. After committing to Illinois, Sampson texted Gordon until his cell phone literally exploded. Gordon finally agreed to go to Indiana after Sampson promised to stop texting him. He was one of the top recruits in the country and was leading IU to a great season until Sampson's shadiness caught up with him and the program collapsed in on itself. Illinois relied on that recruit and completely altered their recruiting strategy in reliance on Gordon's guarantee. Shame on him and his parents for teaching him that his word didn't matter. Shame on the whole Indiana basketball program for bringing in a coach that was a known cheater.
Bad Boy Pistons of the Late 1980s: The Jordan Rules were shady. For those that don't know, Chuck Daly was the coach of the Pistons in this era. In an effort to stop the unstoppable force that was Michael Jordan, Daly adopted a strategy he called "The Jordan Rules", where he told his team to foul Jordan as much and as hard as they could until he weakened and got frustrated. Eventually Jordan was able to overcome this strategy. The Pistons took that the way they took everything: with class.
Tony LaRussa: The Cardinals themselves are just a team, it's their fans and their coach that are so bothersome. No fans are worse than Cardinals fans. They have an inflated sense of importance based entirely on their manager's luck. Yeah, luck. Tony LaRussa, inventor of the "bat the pitcher 8th" strategy, is a lucky man. His teams have managed to have success despite a complete lack of strategy, leadership, and talent. St. Louis is an afterthought, Cardinals fans. Just so you know, your city hasn't been relevant since the late 1800s and no amount of LaRussa luck will ever change that.
Brett Favre: Well well well. 3 years ago I would have felt a little nervous putting him on the list. Not because I didn't hate him, but mostly because any Packers fan could just say I was jealous and I would have a hard time proving otherwise. Not anymore. This guy has shown his true colors. A self-centered douchebag, Favre has proven to be the complete ass-hat we all thought he was by retiring, returning, re-retiring, re-returning, etc. Looks like the saga will continue into 2009. The media's love for the all-time interception leader is baffling as well, and no amount of slurping on him by John Madden and Peter King will change my mind that this guy is overrated and a shitty human being.
The 1969 Mets: I wasn't alive for the 1969 season, but my childhood was peppered with stories of the great 1969 Cubs. 4 future hall of famers were on that team. Williams, Banks, Jenkins and Santo (he should be in the hall and you know it). This team was better than the 2008 team we all just watched choke against the D-Bags. They were heavy favorites to win the NL and go on to the World Series. But the "Miracle Mets" had other things in mind. The Cubs were leading the Mets on September 2 by 12.5 games. 12.5 games. Insurmountable one would think. After a 4-game losing streak, the Cubs travelled to Shea Stadium, where they lost a doubleheader. In the second game, a black cat came onto the field, ran around Santo in the on-deck circle, then stared at Durocher in the Cubs dugout. The Mets continued to win and the Cubs continued to lose. The Cubs ended up losing the pennant by 8 games. 8! F#$% the Miracle Mets.
Bill Wirtz: It has been well-documented on this site that I know little about and care little for the game of hockey. I barely paid attention to the Hawks the last 15 years. The one thing I knew was that Bill Wirtz was the worst owner in all of sports in the modern era. No one will even argue with that. He refused to spend any money, created an extremely non-fan friendly atmosphere, and basically killed hockey in Chicago. Evidence of how bad he was? Literally the day he died, the Hawks began to win and almost made the playoffs for the first time in over a decade.
Steve Bartman: It's not fair to blame Bartman for what happened to the Cubs in 2003. I mean I dislike the guy, don't get me wrong. What he represents for me and an entire new generation of Cubs fans, however, is detestable. As a Cubs fan in my early 20s, I had heard about how the Cubs were supposedly "cursed" by crazy circumstances over the last century and how they would never win a championship. In my experience, the Cubs were just bad to mediocre. There were no curses, just an average team muddling along through season after season. Then 2003 happened. The curse all of a sudden became a very real thing for young Cubs fans, not just a mythical story our fathers told us growing up. It almost makes me want to cry.
Honorable Mention: Ben Wallace, Larry Hughes, Mike Illitch, Dusty Baker, Mike McCaskey, Brock-for-Broglio, Pat Riley(Circa 1990s),Corey Patterson, Ray Nietschke, Eddy Curry.
While writing this post, I went from boiling blood anger to near-tears sadness. If none of these people were to exist, my life would be so much better. If anyone has any others to add that I forgot, please feel free to add them in the comments.