Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Scoop's Chicago sports odyssey
By Scoop Jackson
Sox fans shared Zach Stewart's look of disbelief after Monday's 10-4 loss.
ESPNChicago.com writer Scoop Jackson is spending this week trying to prove that when it comes to sports, there is no city like Chicago.
Monday: I wake up at 6:30 a.m. and the first thing I hear is the voice of Jessica D'Onofiro on Channel 7 talking about the mayor's mission to possibly turn Wrigley Field into Fenway Park. I relive the story on the cover of the Sun-Times.
This is not the way to begin one of the best weeks in Chicago sports.
But this is Chicago. At some point politics are going to get involved. Church and state may be separate, but not politics and sports.
Meaningless night games are on tap for the Bulls and the White Sox. Both are home, so there's an opportunity to see one and miss the other. Stay South or go West? Gotta make a choice. When the news breaks that Derrick Rose and Luol Deng won't be playing, I figure watching the Sox at the Cell is the better option. South Side wins. Got to the Cell late, right after A.J. Pierzynski homered in the second inning to give the Sox the lead. The temperature was steadily dropping, making a brotha think thrice. Plus listening to Chuck Swirsky call the Bulls game on the radio while driving didn't help.
Scoop Jackson found his sports fix on Monday at a legendary old-school bar.
Plan C: Bar.
If you watch “Boardwalk Empire” you know Al Capone knew what he was doing when he got here, and you also know that not much has changed. Of all the cities in the country, none has a bar culture -- especially when it comes to bars that understand sports as a religion -- like Chi. Bar none. While most people flock to Rocky's or Cork & Kerry's (or now the new Taj Mahal of sports bars: Baccardi at the Park) to watch White Sox games, the real W-Sox spot is away from the Cell on Halsted: Mitchell's Tap. Legendary. Old school like Vrdolyak.
While the Sox maintained a comfortable 4-2 lead, the regulars at Mitchell's couldn't believe what was happening to the Bulls. "Yous better not (expletive) lose this game," one man yelled at one of the flat screens hanging on the wall as the Bulls played the worst team defense they've played all season. They were losing to a team that's vying to get Anthony Davis with the first pick in the NBA draft.
I tapped out at the beginning of the ninth inning, figuring I'd beat the traffic. As I'm driving past Grandstand on 35th Street (without a doubt one of the best team-themed neighborhood sports stores in the country), I have to stop to cop a hard-to-find Sox fitted hat for comedian Craig Robinson. By the time I get back in the car, the O's tie the game.
"Here we go," I say out loud to myself. No mangy rescue dog shows up with a Bud Light in his mouth. This is real.
Sox lose 10-6.
How the Sox could have a worse meltdown than the Bulls against another team from the D.C. area on the same night, I have no idea.