After a wait of more than a century, the Cubs finally rewarded fans with a World Series win. And now that the team's much-deserved victory lap is winding down, let’s take a look at which teams and fan bases from the four major sports are most deserving of the next Chicago championship, listed from least to most deserving.
5. White Sox
Since winning it all just over a decade ago, the team has imploded so spectacularly that even its few loyal fans have since applied for conscientious objector status. The Apathy-O-Meter at Guaranteed Rate Field seems permanently stuck at 11.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the Sox actually did bring home hardware in 2016, as they were awarded the coveted Guinness Book of World Records plaque for most dogs attending a sporting event.
I think the front office needs to come to terms with the fact that canine Sox fans might outnumber human ones. For a team near the bottom of the standings in both wins and attendance, it’s hard to argue against running the Bark at the Park promotion more often—although I’m not sure PETA would let the poor pups be subjected to more than nine innings of Sox baseball.
The Blackhawks have three Stanley Cups in the past decade, and that’s plenty for now, thank you very much. Sure, the stadium and local sports bars are packed for playoff games, but that can be explained away by the fact that many of those games are not even available on an expanded cable TV package. Why? Because there are about 50,000 total people in the U.S. who care about hockey, and all of them are at the United Center and surrounding bars.
I will say this: Chicagoans love their Hawks jerseys. At any given moment, you can’t walk 100 yards in any direction without seeing one. Most experts agree it’s because the jerseys are warm and comfy. Other theories exist, but few include people actually liking hockey.
These fans have been through a lot in the past 20 years, from a dynasty to disaster and everywhere in between. A few short years ago, it looked like the Derrick Rose-led Bulls were destined for a bright future with multiple championships.
That didn’t quite work out, but fans have been admirable in hanging tough. Also, the team’s not bad.
With a defense that offers less resistance than a set of saloon doors and an offense that has yet to reach 24 points in a game this season, the Bears don’t have much going for them.
But you have to hand it to Bears fans—the team has won a total of 13 games in the past three seasons, yet each Sunday fans continue to live and die with the team. Well, mostly die lately. But still.
The only event in this city to surpass the excitement of the '85 Bears was the Cubs' World Series victory earlier this month. And the only event that would hold a candle to that celebration would be another Bears title.
The Cubs have the greatest and most loyal fan base in all of sports, and anyone who disputes that is at war with reason.
After a tormenting, 108-year wait, the Cubs will top this list every year for the foreseeable future, even if they keep adding championships—which they very well might.
Even two or three years ago, the mere thought of the Cubs winning back-to-back World Series titles would have been enough to flip the hemispheres of your brain. Now that it’s a distinct possibility, the next championship chase on the North Side will stay top of mind for Chicago.
Tim Coffey is a RedEye contributor. @tqcoff