Welcome to The Chicago Homer’s Mailbag. It runs once a week unless it doesn’t, and in it I answer questions from readers via Twitter or email. The questions can be about any damn thing you please, and there likely isn’t a question I won’t answer. There may be questions I can’t answer, but I’ll try.
If you’d like to submit a question for the next edition of the mailbag it’s pretty simple. Either ask the question on Twitter using the #AskTCH hashtag — as long as you use the hashtag I will see it — or send an email to TCHMailbag@gmail.com.
And now that you know how to do it, let’s get to the this week’s questions.
This week’s mailbag is already better than last week’s because I didn’t receive a single question about Felipe Paulino. He has been erased from our memories, never to return. Instead I received some good questions. In fact, I received so many that some are actually going to be getting left out this week.
I’m sorry if I’m not including yours, but there were just so many, and some, like the first one, required incredibly long answers. I’m not looking to write a novel here, you know?
If you had to rank all of Chicago’s teams in order of the one you care about the most to the least, what would the order be? – Eric Stone
I need to tell you off the bat that I’ve never really considered this, so I’m going to put some thought into my response here, but not too much. I have other questions to get to after all. Also, since you just asked about Chicago teams, I’m going to leave my college allegiances out of this.
So, without further ado, here we go.
1. White Sox – Baseball has always been my favorite sport since I was a child, and even though college football has caught up, baseball is still my 1a. The White Sox have always been my favorite baseball team, so when we do the math of adding up my favorite sport and my favorite team in that sport, the White Sox grab the top spot.
2. Blackhawks – This may surprise you, and it even surprised me a bit myself. For the majority of my life the Bears would be the easy choice in second, and the Blackhawks were fourth or fifth. I’ve loved hockey since the days of NHL 93 on Sega Genesis, but there were a few years there where I was more interested in the NHL in general than the Blackhawks. Partially because the Blackhawks kept getting rid of all my favorite players, and largely due to the fact Blackhawks games were never on TV. That’s all changed in recent years, and it also happened to coincide with the Hawks being really good again. I’ve reached the point now where the Hawks take priority over everything. Like on Friday when all four teams were playing at the same time, two in playoff games, I didn’t even have to think about which game I’d be watching.
3. Bears – I still love the Bears, and during football season they are my top priority, but overall they’ve slipped. I just don’t enjoy the NFL like I used to, to be honest. Don’t get me wrong, I still spend my entire Sunday watching it, but I prefer the college game overall. For me the NFL has become a bit too corporate and sanitized, with approximately 35 commercial breaks per game. It’s hard to really get into the game when it stops and goes to commercial every few minutes, and while I’m rooting for the Bears every Sunday, I’m also rooting just as hard for my fantasy teams.
4. Bulls – At this point I feel like I need to point out I enjoy all of these teams very much, I’m just ranking them in comparison to one another. I just feel like I’m insulting the Bulls by putting them fourth, but this is just where they rank in my mind. I’m much more likely to skip a Bulls regular season game than I am any of the three teams above them.
5. Cubs – Listen, I don’t love the Cubs, I don’t hate the Cubs. I’m interested in them, though. Mostly due to the fact that I just like baseball so much that I’m happy to live in a city that gives me two teams to follow, but also because I have so many friends who are Cubs fans. We got to have something to talk about, don’t we?
6. Fire – I like the Fire, I really do, but even if I were putting together a list of my favorite soccer teams, the Fire would probably finish last. I’d rank them behind Aston Villa (more on them later), Napoli, the United States and Italian national teams. It’s not totally their fault, though. It’s a combination of MLS just not being that good — I enjoy it, but the quality of play is lacking compared to Euro leagues — and the Fire just playing at the worst times for me to watch them. When the Fire are playing a match at the same time the White Sox are, I’m sorry, but unless the Sox get down 8-0 in the first few innings, the Fire aren’t going to be seen by me that day.
I really don’t know. I know that the biggest story of the offseason is going to be the pursuit of Carmelo Anthony, and I’m straddling the fence a bit on that. I’ve written in the past that I’m against the idea, but I’m no longer so sure that it’s a bad one. Or, at the very least, I’m not sure what the better option for the Bulls is.
Sit around another year and hope you can get Kevin Love? How long can you keep waiting and hoping to land another star?
So while I don’t think the Bulls will get Carmelo, I’m much more open to the idea of him, but I’m not sure I’d qualify it as the ideal move. For my ideal offseason I’ll just stick to the draft and Nikola Mirotic.
First move, I’d bring Mirotic over. I’ve heard so much about him in recent years, and I’m ready to see him. Obviously I’d amnesty Carlos Boozer to do this. It’s nothing personal against Carlos, but we’ve seen his best, and what he can do for the Bulls. It’s time to move Taj Gibson into the starting lineup.
Then comes the draft. The Bulls have the No. 16 and No. 19 picks, and my ideal two selections (that I think the Bulls actually have a chance of drafting, so, you know, not Jabari Parker) would be Nik Stauskas and anybody else. Adriean Payne, T.J. Warren, Rodney Hood, Shabazz Napier (in case Augustin leaves), I don’t care. Just get me Nik Stauskas and I’ll be a happy, happy Bulls fan.
I don’t not enjoy them. My dad is a big NASCAR fan, and I spent a lot of time around auto racing growing up, both at home watching on television, and at the track. I’ll gladly watch a NASCAR race when one is on, it’s just that I’m not watching a NASCAR race over most Chicago sporting events. And they usually are, but I do follow from afar. I pay attention to what’s happening, even if I’m not watching diligently.
This is not an easy question to answer. For athlete I’m going to go with Dwyane Wade. I just fucking hate Dwyane Wade, which is funny given how badly I wanted the Bulls to draft him all those years ago. But I fucking hate him. A lot.
As for personality, I just don’t know.
I think the team will look a lot different in five years, even if the core is still around. Both Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane are set to be unrestricted free agents after next season, but let’s not even pretend like the Blackhawks are going to do anything but re-sign both of them. Probably this summer.
They’ll still be here in five years.
Marian Hossa is signed through 2020, but he’s 35 right now, and I don’t think he plans on sticking around that long. Patrick Sharp is 32 himself, and I don’t see him still being a Blackhawk in five years, either.
Of the players currently on the roster that I think have the best chance of still being here, I’ll say Brandon Saad, Duncan Keith, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Corey Crawford. The only member of the original “core” that I think will be gone by the team’s choice is Brent Seabrook. He’s signed for two more seasons, and he’s already started to decline in my opinion. So when you have nearly $10 million tied up in Keith and Hjalmarsson, as well as new deals coming for Toews and Keith, the Hawks really won’t be able to afford a new deal for Seabrook even if they wanted to.
Then the rest of the roster will be Teuvo and a bunch of role players.
This mailbag is already running pretty long, so I’m going to try and keep this short and sweet.
ACC: Does anybody actually care about anything Wake Forest does?
Big 12: Iowa State has developed a nice basketball program in recent years, but there’s a reason the team is full of transfer players. Nobody’s first choice is Iowa State, it’s only when you have limited options.
Big Ten: First of all, I’d lock the doors and keep Maryland and Rutgers from joining. Then I’d boot out Nebraska. Nothing personal, as I enjoy having Nebraska in the conference. It’s a fit. But I’d just go back to the 11-team conference I grew up with.
Pac-12: You probably expect me to say Colorado, but I actually have memories of Colorado being good at stuff. So I’m going to go with Utah. Yeah, the football team had a few years there with Urban Meyer, and the basketball team was cool when it had Andre Miller and Keith Van Horne, but it’s still Utah, man. It’s no BYU.
SEC: Now that James Franklin is gone I’d drop Vanderbilt. Listen, the SEC chose Vanderbilt cuz it felt like it needed at least one “smart” school. It doesn’t. Just keep the football factories and Kentucky so you have a basketball presence.
Without weapons: six.
With weapons: three.
Why do you like Aston Villa? It seems like you’re being tortured every Saturday morning. – Krieger
I don’t know, I chose them a few years ago, and I’ve stuck it out. I won’t lie, though, my patience is wearing thin. Any time there’s a glimmer of hope about the future, dark clouds roll in.
A month ago Villa beat Chelsea and everything seemed to be falling in to place. They were comfortably ahead of a relegation spot, and they’d just been playing well. Since then they’ve lost five of six — with one draw — and lost their best player, Christian Benteke, to a torn achilles.
Now there are rumors the team may be getting sold, and that could have a huge impact on whether or not I stick around. I’m hoping the team is sold to somebody with a ton of money and that doesn’t give a shit about losing it.
So it’s going to be a wait-and-see approach this summer with Villa. My original thought before this season began was that, should Villa flirt with relegation again — which they are — that I’d say screw it and just start rooting for Liverpool. You know, soccer might be more fun if you were watching a good team. The problem is that Liverpool is on the verge of winning the Premier League for the first time. They last won a league title in 1990, when the league was still called the First Division. So to jump to Liverpool right now just doesn’t seem right. I’m not going to bandwagon.
Instead the team I’m considering is Southampton. When I first started following Villa a few years ago, I also adopted Southampton as my second division team. Since then, however, Southampton won promotion to the Premier League where they’ve actually been better than Aston Villa in both seasons they’ve been up. Hell, this season Southampton was flirting with qualification for European play.
So that’s the question I’m facing this summer: Aston Villa or Southampton. I don’t want to ditch Villa, I really don’t, but I’m just not enjoying it right now. Sports are supposed to be fun, right?
And that’s it for this week’s mailbag. If your question didn’t make it send in a better one next time.
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