With Major League Baseball on its All-Star break, the North American sports world has all but come to a halt. Sure there are sports going on with the Wimbledon Championships in the semifinal round, Tour de France, U.S. Open Cup and Gold Cup, but the main sport leagues are off resulting in one of the slowest sports days of the year. So Second City Hockey is looking at which professional team will bring a title back to Chicago first.
After 108 years without a World Series championship, the Cubs finally captured a title last November. But the Cubs aren’t the only ones to break long-standing title droughts for Chicago. The White Sox won the 2005 World Series for its first title in 88 years and the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010 for its first championship in 49 years.
With the Cubs win, the Bears now hold the longest title drought in the city at 31 years. The Bulls are next at 19 years. The Fire could be placed in third only four months and 11 days from the Bulls if you focus solely on the MLS Cup and don’t count the team’s U.S. Open Cup win in 2006. But we’ll count it and have the White Sox in third, followed by the Sky (who have never won a title in its 11-year history), Fire and Blackhawks.
Let’s breakdown the recent history for Chicago’s top seven teams:
Bears: The Bears have had their chances to win a title since 1986 with the closest coming in 2007 when they lost to Indianapolis in Super Bowl XLI. Four seasons later, the Bears looked to be headed back to the Super Bowl, but had the red carpet yanked from underneath them in the 2010 NFC Championship game by their arch-rival Green Bay at home. In the 31 seasons since winning Super Bowl XX, the Bears have made only 10 playoff appearances and two conference title games, including a 28-3 lost in 1989 to San Francisco and the after mentioned loss to Green Bay. The Bears are definitely in a rebuilding process after drafting North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky with the No. 2 overall pick in the spring.
Blackhawks: The Blackhawks have won three Stanley Cups this decade and haven’t missed the playoffs since 2008. In that span, they’re 3-2 in the Western Conference Final having lost in 2009 and 2014. The Blackhawks have fallen in the first round the past two playoffs. The last time they did that was followed by a Stanley Cup celebration.
Bulls: After the Michael Jordan era ended in Chicago, the Bulls missed the playoffs for six seasons. But since 2005, the Bulls have reached the postseason in 11 of 13 seasons. While that may be an impressive feat, they haven’t made much noise in the playoffs with seven first-round exits and only one Eastern Conference Finals appearance in 2011. The Bulls traded star player Jimmy Butler during last month’s draft and look to be heading toward somewhat of a rebuilding process and look further away from winning a NBA title than ever. Let’s hope some new management is brought in to do it the right way.
Cubs: At 11:47:41 p.m. Nov. 2, 2016, Chicago changed forever: The Cubs won the World Series. This year, however, hasn’t been easy for the Cubs as they enter the second half of the season below .500 and in second place behind Milwaukee in the Central Division. The Cubs currently sit 7.5 games back of Colorado for the second NL wild-card spot. General manager Jed Hoyer is going all in after acquiring left-hander Jose Quintana from the White Sox for outfielder Eloy Jimenez, right-hander Dylan Cease and infielders Matt Rose and Bryant Flete on Thursday.
Fire: Talk about a turnaround. After back-to-back seasons of finishing in last place in the league standings, the Fire are the best team in MLS. The first year was rough under head coach Veljko Paunovic, but with the additions of Nemanja Nikolic, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Jorge Bava and a trade for midfielder Dax McCarty the team has veteran star power to mentor its youth and fill out a complete team. Those moves have made Nelson Rodriguez the best GM in Chicago this year. The Fire, who were eliminated in penalty kicks by USL side FC Cincinnati in the Round of 16 in the U.S. Open Cup on June 28, haven’t lost in league competition since April 29 at New York. Without having to worry about the U.S. Open Cup, the Fire will have fresh legs and look poised to make a deep run in the MLS playoffs.
Sky: Chicago basketball isn’t looking good. The Sky lost its star player Elena Delle Donne to injury and ran fell 3-1 to eventual champion Los Angeles in the semifinals in the playoffs last season. Quite a few things have changed since then. Pokey Chatman, the longest tenured coach and general manager in franchise history, was fired and hired by rival Indiana. The Sky is now coached by Amber Stocks, who spent two seasons as an assistant for the Sparks. Delle Donne, the 2015 WNBA MVP and face of the franchise, was traded to Washington for Stefanie Dolson, Kahleah Copper and the No. 2 overall pick in the draft. The Sky used that pick on South Carolina’s Alaina Coates, who has yet to play in the WNBA after having ankle surgery. They’re currently the last place team in the Eastern Conference with a 4-12 record.
White Sox: The White Sox have made only one playoff appearance since winning the 2005 World Series. Chicago won the AL Central in 2008, but fell 3-1 in the AL Division Series to Tampa Bay. They floated at the top half of the division for the next four seasons before slipping to the bottom half for the last four seasons. But despite being the last place team in the AL, a young prospect pool as fans optimistic for the future.
The question today: Which Chicago team will be first to hoist a championship trophy again?
SCH Chicago title picks
Sound off in the comments on your picks.