Mar 23, 2020

The Bulls and Hawks are good again

Good morning, frents …

If you’re a medical worker, grocery store employee, civil service member, supply line link or anyone else helping to keep this country running, THANK YOU. You’re the reason the rest of us can stay home to self-quarantine. We know you don’t have the same luxury and will forever be appreciative.

If you’re looking to donate to a place that needs help 👇

Feed our frents

Remembering the good times

One week down.

And to tell you the truth, I don’t think it was that hard. Yes, grocery shopping was a challenge for certain items. Trying to teach, feed and entertain a four- and five-year-old while also trying to work a few freelance gigs and on this newsletter was challenging. I also have no idea when I’m going to get a haircut again.

But those are all small things. I’m healthy. So are my family and friends. There’s food in the fridge and money in the bank. If you can answer affirmatively on all four of those things, you’re as lucky as I am. There’s nothing to complain about.

From a much narrower and relative standpoint, sports fans don’t have much to complain about either. Yes, last week was the first full one we’ve had without games and the assuring metronome of anticipation —> game —> highlights that we’ve lived with since forever was noticeably missing. It was like an entire week of Wednesdays after the MLB All-Star Game strung together … with no end in sight.

But it wasn’t all bad. NFL free agency didn’t really miss a beat and gave us something to talk about and take our minds off  what’s going on elsewhere. (Thanks, Ryan!)

In this unique time, we were also able to commiserate with, be entertained by and compare notes with the wide network of fellow fans we’ve surrounded ourselves with on social media. It’s hard to feel alone if you’re part of a group that normally gathers online to talk about sports.

Last, but not least: There’s also the fact the Bulls and Blackhawks are good again.

As you’ve probably seen, most of the sports networks have turned toward showing classic games as a way to fill airtime. CBS showed the 1992 Kentucky-Duke game on Saturday afternoon and I watched the final 10 minutes hoping this would finally be the time Christian Laettner’s shot turned into a brick. (Alas, it wasn’t ... maybe next time.)

Here in Chicago, Marquee Network is re-running the entire 2016 playoff schedule. NBC Sports Chicago is doing the same with the complete playoff runs for two classic Chicago title teams — the 1995-96 Bulls and 2010 Hawks. (Complete schedule here.)

The Cubs tradeoff is a bit of a bummer. I’d still rather be watching spring training games (or wishing I were as a YouTubeTV subscriber) than re-living the World Series run.

But we’re really coming out ahead on the Bulls and Blackhawks deal, swapping two  going-nowhere squads of the present for two of the jewels in our sporting crown.

It’s been fun to watch the rebroadcasts on TV and follow along with the chatter on Twitter. Michael Jordan and Marian Hossa doing their things in their spring? That’s as good as it’s ever been in this town and so it should be no surprise that the games are getting so much engagement.

Now, will the love for these old games continue as our lockdown wears on and the actual 2020 seasons hang in limbo? That remains to be seen. The novelty of reveling in the past might only last so long, even if Chicago sports fans have made living in the past somewhat of an art form.

But  assume NBC Sports Chicago will move onto the ‘97 Bulls and 2013 Hawks once they’re done with this scheduled run on April 16. It only makes sense.

At the very least, though, we should be thankful Chicago teams have at least a few months of quality championship content banked. I have no idea what they’re doing in places like the Twin Cities or Phoenix right now.

Tonight’s schedule

Cubs at Dodgers, 2016 NLCS Game 5 (Marquee, 7 pm)
Knicks at Bulls, 1996 Eastern Conference semis Game 1 (NBC Sports Chicago, 7 pm)

The Bears signed LB Barkevious Mingo to a one-year deal, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported late Sunday night. The sixth overall pick in the 2013 draft, Mingo has never played up to that pedigree. But he should add some cheap depth to the linebacking corps (as well as fill the “fun NFL name” hole that the departure of HaHa Clinton-Dix created).

The team also made several moves to shore up its secondary in the past few days. Deon Bush was re-signed and will presumably replace Dix at safety. Safety Jordan Lucas and cornerback Artie Lucas were also signed as free agents, though neither looks more than a depth signing at this point.

Have a link for Midway Minute? Email me!

Michael Luciano thinks the Saints should trade for Mitchell Trubisky and train him to become Drew Brees’ eventual successor. Sounds great! Why not bring Ryan Pace with him to oversee the whole thing? (12Up)

Nick Kwiatkowski posted a thank you note for Chicago. (Twitter)

A good thread on how the Bears are likely following the Titans’ Ryan Tannehill signing last offseason. (@BradOTC)

• Bears TE Ben Braunecker is a Harvard grad with an interest in becoming an infectious disease doctor. Kevin Fishbain talked about coronavirus with him. (The Athletic)

• What a great format for a podcast: White Sox trivia contest. Three different guests. Under a half-hour. Well done, Sox Machine. (Sox Machine)

Meet a 27-year-old ER nurse who volunteered to be on the front lines of the fight against coronavirus. (Crain’s Chicago)

This story about loss and love between two young widowed parents was the best thing I read all weekend. (Tribune)

• A lot of people watch footage of empty Chicago streets and say it seems like a movie. That’s true, but it’s also a reminder we’re living through an important time in world history. We’ll be seeing videos like this one for the rest of our lives.

• How have you been keeping your mind occupied?  Here’s what I’ve been up to:

My wife and I did this Sox Park puzzle and started on the Wrigley Field one.

My friends and I did a Guns ‘N Roses song draft to pass some time on Saturday night.(I’m pretty sure I won.)

I ranked my favorite playoff goals of the Blackhawks dynasty run.

I watched the following:
• The first episode of the new season of Curb (just a tad behind on that one … have I mentioned that I have kids?)
• The first episode of HBO’s The Plot Against America
• The first two episodes of Netflix’s Pandemic

All were very good, worth a recommendation from me. And yes, I did need those laughs that Curb gave after watching the other two shows.

That’s it for today. Stay safe out there (if you’re still one of the ones that needs to be out there) and thank you for being a #frentofthenewsletter.

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Kevin Kaduk
Kevin Kaduk
Kevin is the founder of Midway Minute.

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