Monday, January 5, 2009

Reflections on 2008, Chicago wish list for 2009

This piece was written by a guest writer named Bino. He is a huge Bulls, Bears, Sox and Hawks fan. Enjoy!

Wow. Take a breath 2008 was an unpredictable year for the average sports fan. Starting with the New York Giants Super Bowl win over the undefeated Patriots in what will go down as the Greatest Super Bowl of all-time, through the Roger Clemens steroid hearings, to the 1-15 Dolphins and 4-12 Falcons ditching last place and going to the playoffs. Not to mention the Tampa Bay Rays ditching the Devil and their lifelong streak of 60 win seasons to win the AL Pennant, 2008 was clearly the year of the underdog.

For us here in Chicago, our sports were as predictable as our government is corrupt. Aside from winning the NBA lottery, Chicagoans were treated to a predictably disappointing sports year. That’s not to take away anything from our two MLB division winners, but the 08 Cubs collapsed as hard if not harder than they did in 03, and the White Sox, while beating expectations, fell ass backwards into the playoffs after Carlos Quentin hit his hand as hard as he hits a ball against his bat, knocking him out for the season. Its not that our teams were that bad (Bulls aside), its just that when it mattered most, our teams predictably failed to deliver. So here is a 2009 wish list that should it come true, will end the misery and disappointment that has become typical Chicago sports.

We’ll start with Da Bears, whose 2008 was summed up in a 6 minute 90 yard touchdown drive by the Texans with the Bears trailing by 7 points and our season on the line. There are 2 things I wish for in 2009 for the Beloved.

#1. Anquan Boldin: Anyone else sick of watching wide open passes to Marty Booker, Rashied Davis, and Devin Hester bounce off their hands? Give up the 1st and 3rd round picks Arizona is asking for. It’s better than watching our 1st and 3rd round picks not pan out year after year. (Chris Williams and Earl Bennett…is anyone going to own up to that??)

#2. New defensive coordinator: I don’t know who to replace him with, but Babich needs to be gone ASAP. Remember when the Bears had the best young defense in the league. And then Ron Rivera was fired. And now all of those players (Mark Anderson, Tommie Harris, Nathan Vasher…etc) have regressed. You do the math.

For the Bulls, 2009, similar to 2008, should be a rebuilding year. I have only one wish for the Bulls and John Paxson.

#1. Don’t mess it up: I don’t wish for too much for the Bulls in 2009 because I want Amare Stoudamire or Chris Bosh playing for us in 2010. Every move they make should be geared towards having the cap room to sign one of them. Rose and a great big man. That’s it. Don’t mess it up.

Next I’ll move onto the Cubs, but I must say I am a White Sox fan who basks in the glory of Cubs fans misery. So in making the Cubs wish list, I thought what would help the Cubs look so good in the regular season, so that Cubs fans would once again be blindsided by another failed postseason.

#1. Bobby Abreu: I’m pleasantly surprised that the Cubs aren’t interested in pursuing him. I mean a .300 20 hr 100 rbi, 20 sb, .400 obp, LEFT HANDED bat?? Soriano, Theriot, Ramirez, Abreu, Soto, Lee. Speed, power, balance, and patience. Sign him.

#2. Jake Peavy. I don’t think the Cubs need him, but why not? For minor leaguers and spare parts? Put it this way: would you rather see Dempster and Lilly pitching again in the postseason?

The 2009 White Sox are a team that’s very hard to read. Are they a slow old team led by Paulie, Thome, and Dye, like in 2007 or are they a great pitching, clutch hitting team like they were in 2008?

#1. Get Brian Roberts. You talk about a picture perfect fit for this White Sox team. A true leadoff hitter who gets on base and wreaks havoc on the basepaths for our sluggers. I don’t even want to see the 2nd base competition this season between Jayson Nix, Chris Getz, an Brent Lillibridge. Give up Fields and some pitching and get Roberts.

#2. Don’t trade Dye or Jenks. I seriously couldn’t believe I was reading articles about rumors of the Sox trading these guys. Dye is our second most consistent hitter and leads all AL outfielders in homeruns since 2005 (it really isn’t close). Jenks is the backbone of the bullpen. Our bullpen never fully recovered once he got injured in June. If you want to be competitive in 2009, don’t trade Dye or Jenks.

I saved the best for last, because the 2009 Blackhawks are likely to the best team we see in Chicago. Its tough to wish for things for a team that ranks in the top 5 for nearly every important team category, but here I go.

#1. Stay humble. The Hawks may have been a little bit too into themselves going into the back-to-back Detroit games. They need to continue to keep working hard and not buy into the hype like the 2007 Bulls.

#2. Add another defender. The emergence of Duncan Keith into a top defenseman made the defense one of the best in Hockey. That being said adding another physical defender will teams from attempting to bully us come playoff time. The Hawks are great but Detroit just proved that we can be intimidated. Get another enforcer so that doesn’t happen again.

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