All our major franchises seem to be headed in the right direction
May 21, 2009, 3:37 PM
By: Tom Waddle
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Alfonso Soriano is an example of Thinking Big.
I have to say that while I've adopted the slogan "Think Big," it's not the original property of yours truly. The other day as I was singing the praises of our local GMs, my talented co-host, the honorable Marc Silverman blurted it out.
We spent the past few months happily celebrating the relevance of all our local sports teams. For the first time since I arrived in the Windy City in '89, all our major franchises seem to be headed in the right direction -- due in large part to the actions of their general managers. Every one of them is either Thinking Big or seems to be receptive to the battle cry.
No one believed that Jerry Angelo could pull off the Jay Cutler deal. No one believed he was so bold. Thankfully, he shocked us all and brought a dedicated fan base out of the quarterback dark ages. Not since the days of Sid Luckman have the Bears broken the huddle with a difference snuggling under center. Am I content with the group that Cutler will be throwing to? Obviously not, but the call to the Cardinals about Anquan Boldin only confirmed my belief that business is being conducted differently up at Halas Hall these days!
Televised home games, welcoming back yesterday's stars, and a talented young team. From top to bottom, from Rocky Wirtz to John McDonough to Dale Tallon, the Hawks have changed their culture. Tallon is most responsible for the transformation because he drafted, signed or traded for every member of this Western Conference finals participant. Has every moved worked? No. But Tallon has built a team that can play with the NHL big boys for years to come.
Jim Hendry has been the architect of the back-to-back NL Central champs. Bolstered by a giant payroll, he has made the big deals or has at least played a part in most of them. Alfonso Soriano was signed, Carlos Zambrano was re-upped, Rich Harden was acquired, plus we have Milton Bradley who is the team's much needed left-handed bat. It's not a spotless résumé, but it's not from a lack of trying or Thinking Big! And if not for the unsettled sale of this team, odds are Hendry would've landed Jake Peavy.
Criticize Kenny Williams for the Nick Swisher experiment if you will. Maybe relying on both Jose Contreras AND Bartolo Colon was a bit too risky. But also acknowledge that Kenny built the first World Series champ this town has seen in nearly a century. Over the course of his career, he's been more than willing to shake things up when things aren't going well. Don't blame Kenny if Peavy would rather pitch at Petco instead of the launching pad on the South Side.
Maybe the only local franchise that hasn't been Thinking Big is the Bulls. (No Pau Gasol -- because of the luxury tax). But now new GM Gar Forman has a chance to change that. With Derrick Rose in place, now is the time to find him a pick 'n roll playmate, and a good one! Now's the time to get in front of the much talked about prized 2010 free agent class. Follow the lead of your local GM brethren and bring me Chris Bosh or Amare Stoudemire NOW! (Preferably Stoudemire). Make a deal that would bring that much needed presence in the United Center paint! Think Big!
Look, these guys aren't infallible and they have their warts, but they've brought Big Market thinking to a big market town. Get a tip of the cap from this small minded sports fool!
Tom Waddle is a co-host of "Waddle & Silvy," mornings from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on ESPN Radio 1000. Send comments, questions and feedback by clicking here.