Cubs And Bulls Go In Two Different Directions
Today two Chicago franchises continued to take small steps in opposite directions. No, I am not writing about the White Sox and the Cubs, but the Bulls and Cubs. The Chicago Bulls continued their summer of baby steps by adding C.J. Watson via a side-and-trade with the Golden State Warriors. The Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella announced he intends to retire after this season, when his contract ends.
The Bulls added another strong, but small piece to their puzzle. Once again, it is not as glamorous as hosting the LeBron-Bosh-Rose combo 41 nights a season at the United Center, but it added a tough defender and good outside shooter to back up Derrick Rose.
The Bulls can hardly be deemed the favorites to win the Eastern Conference, but the pundits can give us a tiny victory and speculate a Central Division championship, and, thus, a guaranteed top four seed in the Eastern portion of the postseason.
Not to brag, but now we have our long, athletic two-guard to stop the opposition from simply catching the ball near the paint and shooting over us (I liked Captain Kirk, but that killed me). We have a backup point to come in and play enough defense to hold a lead or play really small ball and pop three pointers from the corner. We have a low post scorer to bully his way into the paint (at least until we play a team with the Lakers’ collective front court length). And we have a point guard already a master at penetration, learning to extend his jump shot to the three point line.
I am excited to see the Chicago Bulls play next season, especially with the NBA lockout looming the season after.
Meanwhile, the Chicago Cubs made it clear it is time to dismantle the team. When the manager throws in the towel, it is obvious the team is a lost cause. Most of the time, the front office will start to publicly debase the manager of an underperforming team, eventually leading to a firing, since it is cheaper to cut a manager than a multi-millionaire picking at daisies in the outfield (or being sent to anger management sessions).
Piniella was never lying when he had no answer for reporters searching for some deep, dark baseball secret to inexplicable losses. He honestly had no all-encompassing answer for the Cubs underwhelming performance in 2009 and so far through a little more than the first half of this 2010 season.
Piniella manned up and made it clear the Cubs front office needs to begin searching for a new manager who can get through to these players, all while keeping his job until the contract ends. His move was actually quite genius. Now the Cubs cannot fire him without massive fallout from the fans.
One would argue the team’s difficulty selling Cubs tickets is already a sign of revolt in a city and a part of the city so well noted for grinning and bearing it, selling out Wrigley Field, even when a less than acceptable team took the field every beautiful day game.
This is an undeniably flare fired above the sports media and even the most oblivious fans holding out for a sensational second half that the Chicago Cubs as we know them are coming to an end. This is, or at least should be, Starlin Castro and Tyler Colvin’s team.