Tuesday, June 3, 2014
With Hawks done, what's next this summer?
By Jon Greenberg
Jose Abreu's rookie power surge, the Bulls' pursuit of Carmelo Anthony and the trade market for Jeff Samardzija will keep Chicago busy until the Bears get back to work.
By now, you've come to terms with the end of the Chicago Blackhawks' season, an unceremonious suspension to the budding hockey dynasty.
So what's next for Chicago sports fans? Besides spending time with your friends or family. Unless, of course, they're also sports fans.
Here are some things to look forward to as you fight that aching inside your hockey soul and before you satiate that breach with Bears training camp minutiae.
TBD, June, landmark commission meeting: The city's commission on Chicago landmarks meets Thursday, but the Cubs' additions to the never-ending, never-starting renovation of Wrigley Field won't be on the table. Crain's reporter Danny Ecker wrote that the Cubs are hoping for a special session of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's handpicked board later this month so they can start digging the new home clubhouse sometime in July. Call me when a shovel hits the dirt.
June 5, MLB amateur draft: This is the Cubs' World Series. They pick fourth. Hilariously enough, the White Sox could ice them out of a top pitching prospect by picking third. The Cubs tried to lose but still can't beat the Sox when it matters most.
From now until July 31, the Jeff Samardzija Trade Watch, presented by Cheap Baseball Team: Samardzija wants a big free-agent payday, one that will assuredly make him the highest-paid Notre Dame athlete ever. The Cubs have tried to sign him to a club-friendly deal, but Samardzija wants ace money. The Cubs have ace money, but they act like a small-market team circa 2004. It'll be a shame for the team and its fans if Samardzija is dealt, but hopefully for him he heads to a team that cares about winning now.
Now until October, the summer of Abreu/Sale: While Cubs fans count down the days until Javier Baez is called up, the Sox have stars ready now.
Chris Sale and Jose Abreu are not only the best baseball players in town, but each is among the best in baseball. If they were Cubs ... well, that argument is tired. It'll be interesting to see whether the Sox's crowds pick up significantly during the summer, especially if the Sox keep pace in the playoff race. But attendance aside, it'll be a treat to watch Sale every five days and Abreu every game on TV, where the ol' Hawkaroo is certain to pin the future of the human race on this pair.
Now until Aug. 31, South Side Market: In his days as general manager, Kenny Williams was always good for a win-now trade involving prospects. Now Williams is the executive vice president, and I'm sure he gets itchy around this time of year. Would he influence Rick Hahn to make a move to get a playoff berth?
Um, forever and always: You don't need my help here to find things to obsess about. The Chicago media will give you daily reasons, including a Twitter countdown to training camp, to pay attention to the Bears months before games begin. Organized team activities are covered like the Stanley Cup.
June 26, July 1-10, the NBA draft and start of free agency: One thing the Blackhawks' demise should do is prepare you for the epic disappointment that will be the Bulls' free agent/Kevin Love summer. Carmelo Anthony coming to play on the cheap? Love getting traded to Chicago? Maybe Lance Stephenson bringing his Dennis Rodman-esque style to the Bulls?
There's a good chance the draft will be the highlight of the Bulls' summer. But, hey, stranger things have happened. Potential additions aside, it just would be nice to see Derrick Rose make Team USA this summer, stay healthy and look game-ready come October.