Feb 27, 2020 5 min read

Welcome to the Jim Boylen Fan Club — Population: Zero

Hello, frents.

Here’s a tip you might not know about: If you’d ever like to leave a public comment or join a conversation around that day’s topic, you can visit the site by clicking the header of the email. Then head to the bottom of the email and offer your thoughts like my friend Steve Paynter did with Mitch Trubisky on Wednesday.

You can even try it out today by answering my question in the headline below.

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Is Jim Boylen the least popular coach in Chicago sports history?

Zach LaVine tried to clear things up on Wednesday.

That video clip that went viral the night before?

The one that showed him yelling ‘I have 40 f****** points” at someone offscreen?

A someone the tweeter simply assumed was Bulls head coach Jim Boylen before hitting ‘send’ and spurring an entire next-day news cycle?

Yeah, Boylen wasn’t the target, LaVine said. The Bulls guard instead claimed he was talking trash to someone else (reported elsewhere to be a referee) at the end of the team’s loss to OKC at the United Center.

"I've got to do a better job," LaVine told reporters. "The cameras have been following me lately so people are going to make their own assumptions on what's going on between me and Jim or me and the team but our relationship is fine. I'm a competitive and fiery guy on the court so that's pretty much what happened."

LaVine’s story may check out, but that tweet doesn’t zoom around the Internet if it doesn’t seem so damn believable. The disconnect between Boylen and his team has been a storyline since he ran them through a boot camp last season. You only have to go back a few days for a story about LaVine and his coach clearing the air over Boylen’s propensity to take needless timeouts in blowouts.

But while the level of animosity between Boylen and his players, if any, is up for debate, there’s no denying that Bulls fans have seen enough. Go check out the comments of any social site and it’s filled with venom that goes beyond the type of ‘dis guy’s a bum’ meatball stuff that was being directed at Matt Nagy last fall.

The disparagement hasn’t just stayed online, either. Here’s a clip of some clown telling Boylen he’s a disgrace to the city as he leaves the floor.  (Yes, this is a different incident than the one in December.)

It sucks, because by all accounts, Boylen is a great guy. He’s a career assistant that’s was miscast and given an inexplicable extension by an inept front office. Now he’s taking all the arrows for leadership’s collective shortcomings because he’s the one who’s in public most often. Boylen is deserving of some of those shots, but definitely not all of them.

It got me to wondering: Is Boylen the least popular coach in Chicago sports history?

After thinking about it for most of Wednesday, I can’t think of anyone else that comes remotely close. Dusty Baker and Marc Trestman became big punchlines after the fact, but things mostly stayed civil when they were here. Cubs fans were indifferent toward Mike Quade and Dale Sveum through all the losing, Robin Ventura’s pedigree as a player saved him from any below-the-belt criticism as a manager from Sox fans.

As for the Bulls, they’ve seen their share of bad coaches since the dynasty left town. Tim Floyd’s winning percentage was .205 (49-190) in those awful immediate post-Jordan years; Fred Hoiberg went 115-155 but wasn’t exactly run from town with a pitchfork-wielding mob.

But now people are saying all sorts of terrible things about Boylen because he won’t put Coby White in the starting lineup after a run of three good games? I get that things with Bulls fans are finally boiling over — understandably so — but in a city that has seen its share of bad coaches, what is it about Boylen that has everyone piling on?

Know a Bulls fan who needs to read this? Send it to them!

Wednesday’s results

Cubs 8, Royals 0
Baez homers, Kyle Hendricks pitches two scoreless against a split-squad KC team


Royals 7, Sox 6
Engel hits a three-run homer as a mostly minor-league lineup faced the other half traveled to Royals camp in Surprise.

Today’s schedule

Hawks (+175) at Lightning (-227) (6 pm, NBC Sports Chicago, O/U 6.5)
Illinois (-5) at Northwestern (7 pm, BTN, O/U 132)

Spring training
Cubs at Rangers, (2:05, Marquee)
Mariners at Sox (2:05)

“Whataname … Cap … Bo-so”

Here’s another couple of comment prompts: 1) If this were to happen today, which NFL coach would it be?  2) Would he be fired over it?

Marquee Network reached a deal with WOW! Broadband. Still no word on Xfinity (Cubs Insider)

• Matt Norlander on how a schedule change helped the Big Ten became the nation’s top basketball conference (CBS Sports)

Bruce Miles’ feature on Paul Sullivan has all the Mike Royko and Carlos Zambrano stories you’re headed there for  (The Athletic)

• The Fire kick off its season in Seattle this weekend and Hans Freakin’ Zimmer is out here dropping hype music. (Hans Zimmer)

•Interesting: Ticketmaster, StubHub and AXS told a congressional committee that they would support showing “all-in” prices for tickets at the start of the ticket-buying process, not at the end (ESPN)

• Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, which means only one thing: Out with the packzis, in with the pepper-and-egg sandwiches (Block Club Chicago)

Just your everyday run-of-the-mill “premeditated” girl brawl at Wheaton North (Daily Herald)

Just your everyday run-of-the-mill parents of Notre Dame lacrosse players bar fight (The Observer)

• Finally, because it’s never a bad time to learn a piece of Two Pudge Trivia:

That’s it for today. Thank you for being a #frentofthenewsletter.

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

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