By S.C. Zuba
With 2009 winding down and all Chicago sports fans (with the exception of Blackhawks fans) wishing 2010 will bring more joy than the previous year, I believe it is appropriate to look back on all that 2009 brought us in sports.
At the conclusion of the 2008-2009 season, the Bulls provided sports fans with one of the most thrilling seven-game series in NBA history against the Boston Celtics. From the Bulls’ triple overtime win, to the brawl between Kirk Hinrich and Rajon Rondo, to Brad Miller’s bloody mouth, this series was laced with all the drama a great NBA series needs.
As the Bulls close out 2009, they may be closing out on their head coach, Vinny Del Negro, as well. Del Negro has proven he is not ready to be a head coach, and all the “buzz” around the media is that Del Negro will be gone soon.
If I could describe the Cubs’ season in one word, it would be disappointment. Coming into the 2009 season, most analysts predicted the Cubs would run away with the division—although that was far from the reality.
This team repeatedly under-performed and found itself watching the playoffs from home, which may be better than getting swept in the first round.
A bright spot in 2009 for the Cubs was the sale of the team to the Ricketts family. These owners want to win and seem to be willing to dish out the cash necessary to bring home a World Series to Chicago.
It would be impossible to talk about the Cubs’ season without mentioning the infamous Milton Bradley. Bradley signed a three-year, $30 million deal with the Cubs and was nothing short of a train wreck from the start.
Bradley was ejected in his first home appearance for arguing with an umpire, couldn’t remember how many outs there were, accused the fans at Wrigley Field of being racist, and was sent home with 15 games remaining in the season. Seattle, he is your problem now.
Chicago White Sox
Coming into the 2009 season, not many people knew what to expect from the Sox. There were so many young players like Gordon Beckham, Chris Getz and Alexei Ramirez that many people were unsure of how this team would gel together.
The season was up-and-down for the most part. Just when the Sox would begin to gain ground on the Tigers and the Twins, they would fall back among the lowly Indians and Royals.
The brightest moment of the 2009 season came on a hot July afternoon when Mark Buehrle took the mound and was destined for greatness.
Buehrle was lights out that day, and the rest is history. Dwayne Wise aided in Buehrle’s pursuit of perfection with one of the most spectacular catches in the history of baseball.
To close out the 2009 season, the Sox added Jake Peavy, giving them one of the most powerful starting rotations in Major League Baseball.
The Bears are arguably the most disappointing aspect of Chicago sports in 2009. April 2, 2009, the Bears traded for what we all thought was the savior of the franchise—Jay Cutler.
After the trade, NFL analyst Peter King predicted the Bears to be Super Bowl winners…he has since recanted his prediction.
He, and the rest of Bears Nation, could not have been more wrong. The Bears have been an embarrassment, and because of this dismal season, no one is safe at Halas Hall. Since week six, fans have been calling for the heads of Head Coach Lovie Smith, Offensive Coordinator Ron Turner and General Manager Jerry Angelo.
Nothing has gone right for the Bears since team captain Brian Urlacher was lost for the season in week two.
2009 will be remembered as a year of disappointment for all Chicago teams. Fans were continually let down from their high expectations and can only close their eyes and hope for a better year in 2010.
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From the Dec. 30, 2009 – Jan. 5, 2010 issue