Good morning, frents …
What a difference a few days can make …
Your obligatory coronavirus update, as the situation pertains to sports:
- The CDC is recommending no public gatherings of 50+ people for the next eight weeks. That would mean nothing before May 11, at the very least.
- The NBA is targeting a mid-to-late June return with no fans, per Woj.
- MLB may not return until Memorial Day weekend, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports. The league ended organized workouts at team spring training facilities on Sunday and encouraged everyone to head home.
- The Bulls and Blackhawks are paying the United Center’s 1,200-person game day staff for the 14 games they’re scheduled to miss, a tab that Crain’s Chicago Business reports is $3.3 million.
Now, time for the obligatory disclaimer: In the whole scheme of things going on right now in the world, sports is secondary to almost everything else.
But it’s also of importance of us, which is why we’re following this story and how it impacts the things we love. No need to apologize, as long as you weren’t one of the balloonheads out on Clark Street Saturday night.
The Super Self-Quarantine Shuffle
So you’re stuck at home with nowhere to go. You’ve already flipped through Netflix for 20 minutes without deciding on anything, sorted your set of old-school Topps by facial hair (fu manchu —> handlebar —> walrus) and mock drafted the Bears’ two second-round picks every which way.
Take it from someone who’s worked from home the past 13 years: There’s no quicker way to make time disappear than firing up YouTube and falling down a rabbit hole of related videos. So I’ve taken the liberty of putting together a playlist of my 10 favorite Chicago sports-related videos that could eat up an afternoon or two.
The Making Of The Super Bowl Shuffle
The song and video was awesome. The “making of” documentary that came with the VHS tape that was a prerequisite for living in the Chicago area from 1985 was somewhat less so. (Honestly, how was it possibly this boring? Literally nothing happens!) Still, there aren’t many videos that get yanked quicker from YouTube faster than the Super Bowl Shuffle and this one has somehow lasted since last July. Go watch before it disappears.
Bears vs. Patriots, Super Bowl XX
Gotta watch it just one more time to make sure Walter really didn’t get the ball.
Come Fly With Me
The other video that everyone in Chicago wore out within a few years. If the NBA ever comes back, we need them to shoot something in the same style, right down to the synthesizer music, for Zion Williamson.
Illinois vs. Arizona, 2005 Elite Eight
There are so many great full-length NCAA tournament games on YouTube that some enterprising basketball blogger could make a full bracket playlist for March Madness-starved fans. This one would easily take one of the four quarterfinal slots.
The Sosa-McGwire Game on August 19, 1998
Sammy briefly took the home run led with his 48th in the fifth inning, only to see Big Mac hit two to regain in. As I wrote in one of my favorite all-time pieces for Yahoo Sports, I was somewhere in the 500-level for this one, buying two beers for a total of $7.50 with a fake ID I’d just bought in California.
The last two minutes of Game 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final
The best part only takes 17 seconds, but you’ll want to stick around to Jonathan Toews raise the Cup that you can hear Bruins fans chanting just over 10 minutes earlier.
Chicago White Sox vs. California Angels, October 5 1980
Harry Caray calls a meaningless game on the last day of the season. I’d trade a couple packs of toilet paper to experience that in real time again.
Jean Shepherd’s America — Comiskey Park
Ever wonder what A Christmas Story would sounded like if it were about old Comiskey Park instead of a BB gun? The B-roll of mid-80s Comiskey and Wrigley combined with Shepherd’s writing and narration make it more than worth the click.
Notre Dame vs. Florida State, “The Game of the Century” 1993
Back when college football let teams from outside of the south compete for national championships. Bob Costas’ intro is an all-timer and OJ Simpson popping up on the sidelines as a reporter is the closest thing an old broadcast gets to a record scratch.
The Sports Writers on TV
Truth: If I had access to the full archive of this show, I could probably last all the way to Bears season. Oft imitated but never anywhere close to duplicated, this show was incredibly ahead of its time. Vintage Chi-caw-go.
What are your favorite Chicago sports videos that suck your time on YouTube? Email me the links and I’ll include them in an upcoming Midway Minute.
Know someone who would like this list? Forward it to them.
If you’re looking for any semblance of normalcy this week, the NFL has it for you with the opening of the new league year (unless that is also curtailed today).
Free agency opens this week with teams able to negotiate within the legal tampering period starting today and the official floodgates opening at 3 pm on Wednesday.
The Bears have three big questions heading into free agency:
- Which quarterback will they bring in to “compete” with Mitchell Trubisky? (Or will they sign or trade for someone whose talent makes No. 10 expendable?)
- Who will they sign to bolster their thin secondary and receiving corps?
- Will they cancel the fifth-year option for Leonard Floyd before Wednesday, adding just over $13 million to the team’s estimated $21 million of cap room?
The passage of the new collective-bargaining agreement on Sunday morning increased the salary cap by $10 million to $198.2 million, though that doesn’t give the Bears a big advantage since everyone got that room.
Speaking of the CBA, the new deal insures labor peace through 2030, gives the owners an option to expand to a 17-game schedule and adds two more teams to the playoffs.
The deal barely passed and two prominent members of the Bears franchise were not impressed.
Want to know more? ESPN’s Dan Graziano has a good explainer.
Have a link to share on Midway Minute? Email me!
• Is ESPN really moving up the release date for the 10-part Bulls documentary? There’s been an increase in advertising and the tagline now says “coming soon” instead of “coming in June." (Awful Announcing)
• Jay Busbee was at the only sporting event held in America on Sunday. (Yahoo Sports)
•Yesterday would’ve been Selection Sunday. This video will have to do. (@IlliniMBB)
• I enjoyed the conversation that Matt Spiegel had with Roger Clemens on Sunday’s Hit &Run. (670 The Score)
• The penguins now have the run of Shedd Aquarium. (Tribune)
• Finally, in case you need any inspiration in the kitchen over the next month …
That’s it for today. Hang in there and thank you for being a #frentofthenewsletter.
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