TELANDER: On day of gluttony, feast on all that is good in Chicago sports
BY RICK TELANDER Sports Columnist November 27, 2013 4:00PM
Minnesota Twins v Chicago White Sox
Updated: November 27, 2013 4:01PM
Somebody asked me not long ago how I would have described myself as a boy — or a “yoot,’’ as late Chicago ring announcer Ben Bentley called such.
I replied, “Hungry.’’
Not hungry for fame or wealth or knowledge, though those goals might have fit vaguely into my profile. No, I meant hungry for food. Mostly hot dogs and hamburgers, which I loved then and love now.
I was always hungry. Lord, so skinny, but always starving. And I wanted meat. Grilled, processed, whatever. Serve me meat.
I also loved turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, pumpkin pie. That meant I loved Thanksgiving, particularly the license to gorge. Can you believe it: A holiday dedicated to overeating?
I still love the holiday. Food drunkenness is not a vice on Thursday.
Anyway, we give thanks for what we have, what we might have, on Thanksgiving. And here in the Chicago sports world we have things to be thankful for, Derrick Rose’s knees notwithstanding.
◆ The Cubs.
Stop, already! I’m sort of joking, but not really. Consider that the Cubs aren’t playing now, so they can’t add to their 288 losses in the last three years. That’s a good thing, right? As the stupidest female vice presidential candidate in the world would say, “You’re darn tootin’!”
◆ Elena Delle Donne.
The first-year forward for the Sky was named WNBA rookie of the year. The 6-5 game-changer is smooth and tough and somebody who can help the league get noticed in this man’s sports town.
Plus, that euphonious name. Five E’s, three L’s, three N’s, two D’s and an A. Sounds almost like perfume.
◆ The Blackhawks.
What else needs to be said other than Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Grandpa Q? OK, we’ll throw in Duncan Keith, Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa and Corey Crawford.
We’ll also throw in bellows-lunged national-anthem singer Jim Cornelison (though why doesn’t he sing the right notes at the end?), Pat Foley and even Brother Rice High School grad Eddie Olczyk and his hockey hair light.
We’ll even throw in the United Center pregame experience with all that video and music craziness, the production that won the “NHL best pregame team introduction, opening or halftime video’’ gold medal this year in the Promax/BDA marketing awards.
Oh, and did I mention defending Stanley Cup champions, a 17-4-4 record, first place in the Central Division and hardly anyone injured? Let’s not bring up the Bulls, please.
◆ Jabari Parker.
Yes, the Simeon grad is at Duke, the much despised school that inspired this chapter title in Reed Tucker and Andy Bagwell’s new book, Duke Sucks — Duke Students Are A Bunch Of Wealthy, Elitest Punks Who You Wouldn’t Want To Get Stuck Talking To At The Polo Match.
Nevertheless, Parker will be gone from Durham, N.C., and Coach K’s clutches as soon as the 2014 NBA draft lottery happens, and all the Duke stuff will be like a summer-camp photo. Parker is the real deal. He’s talented and doesn’t get into trouble, and if he could ever come back to Chicago …
Pass the turkey leg, please.
◆ Hawk Harrelson.
Ye old Hawkeroo, 72, is a finalist for the Ford C. Frick Award, the Baseball Hall of Fame’s highest honor for an announcer. Will the Hawk win? Probably not. On second thought, he might win.
Why not? He’s been the voice of the White Sox forever, he’s different from about any announcer you can think of except maybe a South Carolina hog sorter (if you’ve ever heard one) and he has made “He gone!’’ into a social expression on par with “Whatever’’ and “Gesundheit!’’
◆ Billy Goat Tavern.
The dark, semioriginal joint below Michigan Avenue has been threatened with demolition if the National Association of Realtors, the owner of the building above, decides to go ahead with plans for a 93-million-by-2-million-square-foot redevelopment at the same location. This would mean the whole place would be blown up, let God sort out the pieces.
The goat head, Royko columns, sad Cubs artifacts, Pepsi-No-Coke grillmen, grease and Sun-Times and Tribune blowups would all have to go. Maybe the place could be recreated. Maybe owner Sam Sianis can re-do the, uh, ambience elsewhere.
But for now, amid the uncertainty, Billy Goat Tavern, the main place, the joint where a goat somehow got involved in baseball history and helped create a viral insanity that likely never can be purged, is still there in all it’s, uh, magnificence.
And for this — and the tripla-cheeseburgers — we are thankful.