Telander: No Chicago sports cheer, so we’ll borrow some from Brooklyn
BY RICK TELANDER firstname.lastname@example.org October 6, 2012 4:33PM
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 05: Exterior views of the Barclays Center on October 5, 2012 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)
Updated: November 8, 2012 11:53AM
I was all fired up to talk postseason baseball in this ‘‘Stew.’’
But guess what, Chicago? We don’t have any.
So let’s switch to hockey. Oops, none of that, either.
So, uh, Bulls superstar point guard Derrick Rose?
He gone, too.
The Bears? We got all of them we can handle Sunday afternoon.
The Hawk-eroo? Well, yes, the White Sox announcer is still around, but you can check YouTube for any of his splendid moments.
So . . . uh . . . Jerry Reinsdorf!
I asked the former Brooklyn resident, who witnessed in his youth the departure of both his beloved Dodgers and the hometown newspaper — the Brooklyn Eagle, once edited by Walt Whitman — how he feels about the NBA’s Nets moving to Brooklyn.
‘‘This is a big thing,’’ the Sox and Bulls chairman said. ‘‘A really big thing.’’
He mentioned how, while he was growing up in Brooklyn in the 1940s, there were older folks who still deeply resented the fact the once-independent city had been gobbled up by New York City, joining the other boroughs of the Bronx, Queens, Staten Island and Manhattan to form a massive whole.
‘‘Our letters in the mail said, ‘Brooklyn, N.Y.,’ ’’ Reinsdorf recalls. ‘‘And we called Manhattan ‘New York.’ ’’
The pain of the losing the Dodgers over half a century ago — they split for Los Angeles when owner Walter O’Malley couldn’t get a new stadium deal — still pains Brooklynites, even if they weren’t alive at the betrayal.
There was something serious missing in the borough’s psyche, and all felt it. And now it’s back, in the form of an NBA team and a sparkling new arena called the Barclays Center.
Then, too, the team is co-owned by the odd triumvirate of New York real estate developer Bruce Ratner, Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, and — in a wee slice — Brooklyn-born rapper Jay-Z.
Told that co-owner Jay-Z is in the midst of doing eight concerts at the Barclays Center to kick off the new place, Reinsdorf listens as I wonder aloud if he could do something similar at the United Center. Maybe when the Blackhawks start playing again.
‘‘I could do a little stand-up,’’ he says. ‘‘Ten minutes. I could do it.’’
Rim shots, please!
◆ Speaking of the NHL, the entity has lost over $100 million already with the lockout and canceled preseason, and untold millions more with the first two regular-season weeks also cancelled.
The reason it gets so depressing covering strikes and lockouts in pro sports is that it’s obvious the money lost by the players, in particular, will never be made up in their careers. Especially the rank-and-file. The only certainty is the damage to the sport.
We had this same thing going on eight years ago with the NHL folks, and, foolish me, I thought they had it fixed.
The only thing that’s for sure is that the NHL has missed more days of work over labor-management disputes than any other American professional league, ever.
Why have winter if you can’t skate?
◆ I still am mind-numbed by this fact, and the way it will look in baseball record books years hence: Bryan LaHair was a Cubs All-Star this season.
Nothing against the ballplayer, but he batted .259 with 16 home runs and 40 RBI for 2012. He started at first base, then lost his job there. He moved to left field and lost his job there. On the Cubs.
LaHair is a big fellow — 6-5, 240 — but he turns 30 in less than a month, which is not young. In his three major-league seasons, he has hit 21 home runs and 56 RBI. The player LaHair most closely resembles at this point in his career, according to Baseball-Reference.com, is Terrmel Sledge.
You remember him, don’t you?
◆ Two more things, and then you can go to church. Or the NFL channel.
The Sun-Times’ recent series on the allegedly disabled Chicago cops who go about their merry way, pocketing disability pay while having fun in very un-disabled ways, was disgusting enough as it was. But the photo of disabled cop Charles T. Siedlicki, standing, grinning next to a dead hippopotamus he shot on ‘‘safari’’ in Africa while too injured to work, made me more depressed than angry.
To shoot a massive, rare, plant-eating, river-dwelling, cow-like hippo in modern times with a high-powered rifle?
What courage! What aim!
◆ And lastly, the two teams Theo Epstein was most recently president of — the Red Sox in 2011 and the Cubs in 2012 — had 194 losses between them this season.
This is covered by a new sabermetrics stat I invented: Losses Against Upside (before you) Go Home.