By Dave Wischnowsky-
(CBS) It’s the city of Love (Bob) and the city of Roses (Derrick & Family). It’s the city of heart taps (Sammy’s) and the city of kisses (Sammy’s … again). It’s the city of passions (ever seen Cubs fans?) and the city of swoons (ever seen the Cubs?).
And here on Valentine’s Day, Chicago is the city whose sports teams we still hold dear – even when they play like they’re frozen in headlights. So, in lieu of a Hallmark card for Feb. 14, I’m going to provide Chicago – and the Land of Lincoln – with a list of a few of the things that I currently love about our local sports scene.
But, hey, I’d hardly be a Windy City sports writer if I didn’t also crack open a bottle of whine and tell you what I currently hate as well, right? And, with that, it’s on with the ode.
I LOVE that Michael Jordan still has his edge, even if he’s only using it these days to harbor a silly grudge against Sports Illustrated by denying the magazine an interview for his 50th birthday because it mocked his baseball when he was 30.
I HATE that MJ turning 50 is making me feel old.
I LOVE that Derrick Rose says that he’s “gained 10, 11 pounds of muscle” while rehabbing from the torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.
I HATE that he’s also still 10, 11 percentage points away from being 100 percent, with Rose putting the health of his knee at “probably in the high 80s.”
I LOVE that NCAA basketball fans have gotten the chance to watch phenoms such as Rose, Anthony Davis and Nerlens Noel compete at the college level.
I HATE that those athletes are forced to go to school for one year, even if they don’t want to, and risk injuries like the one Kentucky freshman forward Nerlens Noel suffered on Tuesday night. Basketball players should be allowed to go pro right out of high school, but if they do choose college then they should have to be there for at least two seasons, and preferably three.
I LOVE that the Illinois basketball has now beaten Butler, Indiana and Purdue. Hoosier Daddy? And can the Illini get Notre Dame on the schedule come tourney time?
I HATE that in spite of this three-game winning streak, the Illini are still two games under .500. in the Big Ten. They never should have lost to Purdue and Northwestern the first time around.
I LOVE that White Sox manager Robin Ventura seemingly wants to earn a contract extension rather than just have one handed to him.
I HATE that in baseball some long-term player’s contracts aren’t merit-based, too. And, yes, Alfonso, I am talking to you.
I LOVE that Illinois put together a solid football recruiting class for 2013.
I HATE that I have to add the caveat “… for a 2-10 team.”
I LOVE the idea of the Cubs rebuilding the organization from within.
I HATE the reality of doing it. Wake me when they get a No. 1 starter at Clark & Addison.
I LOVE that the NHL is back and that the Blackhawks are off to a blistering start.
I HATE that I can’t really get that much enjoyment out of it. I’ve just never been much of an NHL fan. Simply didn’t grow up with the sport.
I LOVE that the Big Ten is reportedly done scheduling FCS football opponents in the future.
I HATE that I didn’t think an FCS opponent – Southern Illinois – may be the Fighting Illini’s only chance to win a game this coming season.
I LOVE the endless twists and turns of Chicago’s sports scene.
I HATE nothing about that statement.
And with that, have a Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone.
May there be a Rose in your near future – but only if he’s in full bloom.
If nothing else, Dave Wischnowsky is an Illinois boy. Raised in Bourbonnais, educated at the University of Illinois and bred on sports in the Land of Lincoln, he now resides on Chicago’s North Side, just blocks from Wrigley Field. Formerly a reporter and blogger for the Chicago Tribune, Dave currently writes a syndicated column, The Wisch List, which you can check out via his blog at http://www.wischlist.com. Follow him on Twitter @wischlist and read more of his CBS Chicago blog entries here.