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But Was His Press Conference on TV?

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Nov 21, 2007 3:16PM

2007_11_sports_mcdonough.jpgIn a surprising move, John McDonough resigned as Cubs president on Tuesday to become president for the Blackhawks. Isn't that like if Da Mere were to resign so that he could fill a vacancy on the water reclamation district board of trustees?

McDonough had spent nearly 25 years with the Cubs organization, working his way up the marketing org chart before landing atop the front office when Andy MacPhail resigned following the 2006 season. McDonough's marketing savvy is widely credited with helping turning Wrigley Field from a half-empty decrepit ballpark with a shitty team into baseball's top shrine, that people pack nightly in spite of the shitty team.

Which could be exactly why the Blackhawks lured him away from the Cubs.

The Blackhawks have a tremendous uphill battle to try and win back fans in this town. Between the decades of anti-fan policies enacted by the Wirtz clan and the labor dispute that wiped out the entire 2004 season, NHL hockey is someplace between pro lacrosse and competitive eating on the local sports radar.

Following the death of tyrant Bill Wirtz, his sons have tried to undo much of the damage done by their father to the franchise. They've even begun putting home games back on TV! But there are still plenty of empty seats in the United Center -- kind of like Wrigley about 25 years ago.

Given the uncertainly of his continued employment with the Cubs given that the team's for sale, maybe he saw the top job with the 'Hawks as a opportunity to avoid getting canned once the new owership takes over the team. Or, maybe he wants to see if he can return another Chicago sports franchise to glory. Think he can do it?

In taking over an NHL franchise that's occasionally outdrawn by a suburban minor league hockey team, there is no place but up for the Blackhawks to go under McDonough. He doesn't quite have the retro real estate working in his favor this time, so without the "friendly confines" to market when the teams suck he'll need to ensure that the Blackhawks can actually put a competitive team on the ice. With young stars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, he's starting off on the right foot.

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