There was a famous long-time Sun-Times sports writer named Bill Gleason. He wrote about what he said was the holy grail for Chicago sports teams back then... finishing .500. And for a long time, he was right about that. Chicago sports fans had low expectations and the sports franchises in town were happy to oblige that. And Gleason was poking fun at that.
Then things began to change. The 1985 Bears seemed to break the glass ceiling. Next, the Greatest Of All Time came to play for the Bulls and they began to win championships with ease. Our South Side heroes followed suit with the magical 2005 season. The Blackhawks temporarily forgot what a lousy franchise they have been and won some Cups. And even the North Side Ball Club Inc. got their long-lusted-for World Series.
And what also changed? The expectations of Chicago sports fans. We saw that is was in fact possible for a Chicago team to win a championship. And we began to want more.
The problem? Chicago sports team owners do not agree. In their minds, we need to shut up and be satisfied. We already got ours. Just go back to being satisfied with a .500 season.
It’s hard to go back to cheap hot dogs when you’ve tasted the finest barbeque.
I’ve said this many times. The best thing about the Chicago sports scene has always been Chicago fans. Not the teams. Not the franchises. And certainly, not the Owners.
Chicago sports teams have never matched up to the high level of the Chicago sports fan. Knowledgeable, passionate, generational, fair-minded. If we could only get some franchises who think that way.