Baker: Chicago Messed Up With Soldier Field
By Ryan Baker-
With the PGA Tour and NASCAR “playoffs” in town, along with the Bears at Soldier Field on Sunday, the Illini along the lakefront the day before, Northwestern under the lights in Evanston, the Stanley Cup Champs camping in South Bend…oh…and a couple of bad baseball teams playing out the string, this may be the most action packed sports weekend this toddlin’ town has ever seen.
While this flurry of athletic activity in and around our fair city is great for my business, not to mention the tax dollars being collected throughout Cook, Lake, and Will counties, I can’t help but be frustrated by all of the money Chicago has left on the table by being so shortsighted.
Clearly, the PGA and NASCAR recognize the benefit of staging one of their big-ticket events in the country’s third largest TV market. The revenue they’ll generate over the next 3-4 days is chump change compared to the haul our economically challenged region could profit from, say if we hosted a Final Four, or dare I say, the Super Bowl. I don’t feel so bad if the Big Apple can host the the biggest spectacle in sports, but the worm has definitely turned when big small towns like Indianapolis, Jacksonville, and Detroit can boast being a Super Bowl city.
Didn’t Motown just file for bankruptcy? That’s not just the Tears of a Clown, it’s a crying shame. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why the suits and shot-callers thought it was a good idea to make Soldier Field the NFL’s second smallest stadium, as opposed to building a multi-purpose venue with a retractable roof equipped to entertain the masses.
The news of Tokyo landing the 2020 Olympics only poured wasabi into the wounds of getting snubbed for the 2016 summer games. It’d be easy to blame it on Rio, but I’m sure our city’s international perception of being “Chi-raq” didn’t help matters. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of being the Second City when it comes to hosting big time sporting events.
When is it going to stop being “Breaking News” that college athletes at high-profile programs like Oklahoma State are getting paid under the table. News Flash – the $100 handshakes have been going on forever and won’t stop any time soon…even if the money-making “student-athletes” are fairly and deservedly compensated by the hypocritical NCAA for the billions of dollars they bring in.
There will always be the renegade booster who wants to reward a kid or buy some influence, and it’s impossible to police their shady dealings 24 hours a day. Unfortunately, most young people can’t process the regret of compromising their integrity. The coaches and conferences all getting rich right in front of their eyes aren’t really setting much of an example for them though.
I’m not on a crusade to convert fans to the WNBA, but if you haven’t paid attention to Elena Delle Donne, you’re missing something special. Delle Donne has that “you know it when you see it” star quality, and has single handedly made the playoff-bound Chicago Sky remotely relevant with her spectacular play. And, how can you not like saying that name?
Which win over Cincinnati was more surprising? Illinois’ or the Bears’? I was gladly wrong about a Bengals win, but I definitely didn’t see the Orange Krush this past Saturday in Champaign coming. Kudos to Tim Beckman and his staff – they finally deserve some credit for coaching up the kids who were clearly ready to play.
Adrian Peterson has been a Monster on the Midway, but with a turnover prone QB , there isn’t much to Ponder. Bears 28, Vikings 21
I know it’s Freaky Friday the 13th, but I’ll try to keep my twerking to a Miley minimum.
Ryan Baker serves as CBS 2 Chicago′s lead sports anchor on the 5:00 PM, 6:00 PM and 10:00 PM weekday newscasts. He joined CBS 2 Chicago from WMAQ-TV in Chicago where he had worked as an anchor and reporter since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @RyanBakerSports, on Instagram @RyanBakerSports and on Facebook. You can read more of his CBS Chicago entries here.