Our fine city by the Lake has gone through some tough times in the last decade in sports. Without exception, every single team representing the Chi has absolutely stunk at one time or another. The Sox winning it all in 2005 and the Bears' Super Bowl in '06 were high points, but other than that, the mid-2000s were a bit of a struggle for Superfans.
Now that we're in the offseason for the NHL, NBA, and NFL, and in the stretch run for baseball, it's a good time to see which organizations are doing well, and which ones are flailing.
1. Chicago Blackhawks - They just won the Stanley Cup, and have an excellent young group of stars to build around. New management has turned around fanhood with more accessible games on TV, and hey, everyone likes to back a winner. The 'Hawks bandwagon has never been more full.
On the downside, all of the cost-cutting moves this offseason, while necessary, have left something of a bad taste in fan's mouths. Losing Niemi and Byfuglien reminds me of the Sox having to dump Rowand after the World Series. Still, things are looking good for the Blackhawks going forward.
2. Chicago Bulls - Despite losing out on LeBron James and the rest of Miami Thrice, the Bulls have a new coach, lots of fresh blood, and emerging superstars in Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah.
Top to bottom, this might be the best roster in the NBA (at worst, it's still Top 10), and Tom Thibodeau knows what to do with good depth. (DEFEND! PRESS!) Also, the Bulls have made the playoffs the last two seasons in a row, and fan support barely even wavered during the crappy years.
I expect the Bulls to be a fast-breaking, fiercely aggressive team this year, a joy to watch even if they don't get to the Finals.
3. Chicago White Sox - Ozzie Guillen is the best coach in Chicago, and with his seven years' experience, the dean of Windy City coaching. He has his team, once again, in position to battle it out down the stretch with the Twins for the AL Central crown.
Is this a dominant team? No, but quality pitching and steady leadership (not just Oz, but also Buehrle, Don Cooper, Paul Konerko) make being a Sox fan easy these days. Also, US Cellular has the best food in town, ballpark-wise.
4. Chicago Bears - No doubt, this is OUR team, the team that every sports fan in Chicago really cares about. So why No. 4? Well, they were 7-9 last year. Lovie Smith is gone if they don't make the playoffs. Key players, like Brian Urlacher and Olin Kreutz, but including many others, are getting old.
This is a make-or-break year for the Bears. Succeed, and reclaim the top spot in Chicago fan's hearts. Fail, and we know we're in for a rough 2010-2020 at Soldier Field.
5. Chicago Cubs - Yes, it warms the cockles of my evil lil' heart putting the Cubs down here. Seriously though, they are overpaid and terrible, and Lou Pinella is on his way out.
On the bright side, Wrigley still fills up for games, Starlin Castro and Tyler Colvin look like they'll be good, and new ownership is willing to spend.
6. Chicago Rush - In case you hadn't heard, they just got eliminated from the playoffs. You hadn't? Oh. Right.
7. Chicago Wolves - I'll be honest. I have no clue how the Wolves did this year, or are doing. But I do know they signed Chelios for a minute there, so that counts for something. And they've always been a decent AHL/IHL team.
8. Chicago Fire - Technically they play in Naperville, so that's Strike One. Also, they have a losing record this season and are scuffling in their international league. Strike Two. I'm not ready to give up on the Fire yet, but with solid soccer teams emerging in LA, New York, and even Salt Lake City, it looks as if the Fire may be stuck in reverse.
9. Chicago Sky - We have a WNBA team? Yes, and they stink.
Did I miss anything? Lacrosse? Rugby?