Wednesday was a study in contrasts for Chicago sports. On the baseball diamond, the Chicago Cubs managed just one run on three hits, and fell for the 12th straight time at home to the Cincinnati Reds. No team had ever won more than 10 straight games against the Chicago Cubs at home, and Dusty Baker has now made it a dozen and counting against the team he once managed. The Chicago Cubs appear to be sinking fast.
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On the ice at the United Center, it was another story. It was the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins in game one of the Stanley Cup finals. I’m not a hockey fan by any stretch of the imagination. But the postseason — and especially the championship series — has more excitement built into it than baseball’s regular season ever could.
But more importantly, the Blackhawks are a compelling story because they’re winning. The Cubs, on the other hand, haven’t won in many years, and they aren’t going to win anytime soon, either. Chicago Cubs fans are living proof that winning is not essential for continuing to support their team, but who doesn’t prefer winning over losing? And if it means crossing over into following a sport that I don’t understand very well, then so be it. Everybody loves a winner, and that’s what the Blackhawks are.
Others can continue theorizing about which Chicago Cubs players will be traded at the deadline this year, or talking about how stupid Ian Stewart was for putting his rantings on Twitter for all the world to see. All that stuff will still be there after the Stanley Cup has been awarded. As for me, I think I’ll take a few days and swim in the warm springs of championship hockey competition. After all, the Chicago Cubs’ pool of mediocre regular-season baseball won’t be going away anytime soon.