By Tim Baffoe-
(CBS) Ho, ho, ho! Baffoe Claus here. I’m way better than Ditka Claus because I don’t smell like cigars, I haven’t been compromised by endorsement commitments (yet), and children are genuinely happy when I show up to their homes bearing gifts (pizza is the greatest gift of all; wine for children, not so much).
Today I bring more than just heart disease, though. I have a list of who has been naughty and who has been nice in 2013 in Chicago sports. Some of our gladiators have been very good little boys and girls and deserving of praise and riches, and some have been oh so coal-worthy.
So here I unroll my parchment. I am not checking it twice because that’s Sam Zuba’s job for only the next few days, and I’m going to give him as much work as possible until he’s gone and really push for getting sued if possible as a parting gift.
Paul Konerko: one of the greatest White Sox ever. Revered by fan and owner alike as darn near a relative. A true leader and bringer of the city’s only World Series title in almost all of our lifetimes.
But he needs to retire and won’t. He’s hamstringing Rick Hahn and log-jamming first base and the DH and hindering the progression into a new era for the Sox.
Verdict: Naughty. Gift: Retirementology by Gregory Salisbury, Ph. D.
Rick Hahn: speaking of the Sox GM, he has had a very solid 2013 despite that Hindenburg of a season that really wasn’t his fault. He certainly doesn’t want Konerko back, but that was likely a mandate from above his office. Despite inheriting one of baseball’s worst farm systems, Hahn has niftily amassed a little MLB-ready core of highly-regarded prospects in Jose Abreu, Matt Davidson, Adam Eaton and Avisail Garcia. None of those guys are a given to be stars, but while the Sox looked for a while to be in the middle of a pretty big desert for years to come, Hahn has shown he’s working to win ASAP.
Verdict: Nice. Gift: a restraining order on talking player analysis with Hawk Harrelson
Henry Melton: only recently added to my list. While he was arrested for allegedly punching a Texas bar employee and being intoxicated in public, more than one person has said Melton didn’t do anything wrong. Also, with the public intox charge it conjures up the Ron White comedic but logical observation of being removed from a bar and then being charged with being drunk in public. Also, I haven’t gone through an ACL tear, but I would think that even if I were drunk I’d be cognizant that I have just one knee and probably don’t stand much of a chance in a fight. (And might even be wearing a brace?)
Verdict: Nice, as I’m betting charges get dropped. Gift: an ice pack and a lawyer that will sue the hell out of that place.
Derrick Rose’s body: [insert any number of curse words here]
Verdict: Naughty. Gift: tons of junk food. Rose’s old diet of pure sugar only resulted in ulcers, not torn things. Have all of the candy canes you want, Derrick.
Jeff Keppinger: had a -2.0 WAR.
Death… I mean, naughty. Gift: a cozy spot on the bench over there far away from Robin Ventura
The Chicago Blackhawks: they won the Stanley Cup, and this time it was even without most of the debauchery of 2010, save for Corey Crawford having a well-deserved cathartic episode at the championship rally.
Verdict: Duh. Gift: keys to the city and creepy adults following them around whenever they make a public appearance
Josh McCown: filled in admirably after Jay Cutler went down with an injury. Kept the Bears afloat in the playoff race. Divided the city into Civil War of a quarterback controversy that isn’t.
Verdict: He’s like the nicest guy ever. Gift: a bunch of those “Hello My Name Is” name tags because for some reason nobody can say his name correctly
Brian Urlacher: he cannot stop taking shots at the Bears, mostly Cutler. He needs to understand that the Bears will willingly throw money at him to be some sort of ambassador if he just shuts the hell up. I respect his position and honesty as a member of the media now, but he comes off as salty rather than analytical.
Local college football: it predominantly sucked. Northwestern and Notre Dame greatly underachieved, and Illinois was a dumpster fire. Even Northern Illinois, an otherwise pleasant story with a Heisman candidate QB, lost in their conference championship after dominating all season.
Verdict: Naughty. Gift: not giving any because then the NCAA will punish them because the NCAA is the worst organization on earth
Starlin Castro: had a miserable 2013, and now he’s being taken to the bank by some banks.
Verdict: Naughty. Gift: one of those Men in Black memory eraser things to start 2014 fresh and get his head right
Matt Forte: with all the hoopla regarding some of his teammates, he’s quietly having a career-best year. In a revamped offense, he’s a threat whether getting a handoff or catching a pass, especially when the quarterback needs to check down.
Verdict: Nice. Gift: how about some more national exposure, huh?
Cubs front office: they’re going young, but they’ve also been boring as hell during Hot Stove season. They’ve also had a second consecutive year of seemingly bungling trade talks, at least from a PR perspective. It’s beginning to appear that the expectations of an impactful 2015 team may have been a pipe dream.
Verdict: Naughty. Gift: a basket for all the eggs they’ve gathered for Masahiro Tanaka
Tim Baffoe: I wrote some good stuff this year, as you of course know, but then I went and wrote a holiday-themed list column that smacks of mailing it in.
Verdict: Naughty. Gift: a book on the best sportswriting edited by Michael Wilbon, because if anyone knows good sportswriting, it’s Wilbon
Maybe I forgot a few people on here, but it’s egg nog season, so forgive me. I’m sure you’ll share your additions in the comments below and on 670 The Score’s Facebook page, all of which I always meticulously read.
Merry Christmas, everybody.