Chicagoist's Top Stories Of 2012: The Year In Chicago Sports; Or, The Year Of Disappointments
By Amy Cavanaugh in News on Dec 29, 2012 4:00PM
How to sum up Chicago sports in 2012? The Cubs lost 101 games. The White Sox imploded in September and missed the playoffs. The Bulls lost Derrick Rose, but are just a half game behind the Indiana Pacers in their division. The Bears had a terrific start, slid midway through the season, and are hanging on for dear life as the regular season heads into the final week. The Blackhawks don't even have a season.
While not everything to come out of the sports world was bad, this has been one of the more disappointing years in recent memory, so let's take a look back at our year of disappointments—and our favorite Chicago sports memes, obviously.
Cubs: The Demolition
It was a "rebuilding year," we suppose, but that doesn't make the Cubs' 2012 season any less depressing. It was the first year that Theo Epstein was in charge, and fans hoped that the man who saved the Red Sox would work his magic on the Cubs. But instead of magic, we got a season of 61 wins and 101 losses. What else stood out in 2012? Alfonso Soriano had a solid season, Anthony Rizzo lived up to the hype, and Matt Garza got injured.
And things won't likely get much better next season—in a postseason press conference, Epstein said, "I'm not going to sit here and say, 'Don't worry about 101 losses because we have a magic plan to win the World Series in 2013, (that) it's gonna happen, so be there now. That's not the case. There is a plan, there is a vision. It might be a little bit longer turn than we all want it to be, but that we're committed to it and that there is a great reward at the end."
White Sox: The SurprisesThe Sox season was one of surprises. The South Siders were expected to finish with a record below .500, but they eked out an 85-77 record, and narrowly missed the playoffs by finishing three games behind the Detroit Tigers after an epic September collapse. In that sense it's a disappointment, but
Adam Dunn rebounded this season and hit 41 home runs, Alex Rios hit .304 with 25 homers, A.J. Pierzynski hit 27 homers and had a .278 average. On the pitching side, Chris Sale lived up to the hype and went 17-8 and Jake Peavy stayed healthy and made 32 starts. It was a solid season until September—the White Sox had a three-game advantage over the Detroit Tigers on September 18. On September 25, the two teams were tied top the AL central. Then the Sox lost four of their next five and finished the season three games behind the Tigers. As for next year, A.J. Pierzynski's gone to Texas, Kevin Youkilis is gone to the Yankees, but the Sox re-signed pitchers Jake Peavy and Gavin Floyd, so we've got our fingers crossed for another strong year.
Bulls: The Injury
We can sum up the 2012 Bulls in three words: Derrick Rose's ACL. When Rose went down during the playoffs last spring, it not only meant he'd miss the rest of the season (which was short, since the Bulls lost the series against the 8th seeded 76ers), it meant the Bulls wouldn't have their star to start the 2012-13 season. While his return date is still not set, the Bulls are 15-12 and sitting a half game behind the Pacers in the Central Division, which is better than you'd expect, given that Richard Hamilton has missed the last 12 games with a torn plantar fascia in his left foot, and there's little help off the bench. Luol Deng has anchored the offense, with an average of 17.7 points per game—but he sprained his ankle during the disastrous Christmas Day game against Houston. But, optimism! Both Hamilton and Deng could play tonight against the Washington Wizards. And not all is lost when these exist in the world—some great photo memes came out of the depressing injury.
Bears: There's Still Hope!
After a 7-1 start to the 2012-13 season, the Bears currently sit at 9-6 with one game left in the regular season. But the second half losses haven't dashed their playoff hopes entirely—if they beat Detroit on Sunday and the Green Bay Packers beat the Arizona Cardinals, the Bears will head to the playoffs! In other news, while Brian Urlacher practiced today for the first time since injuring his hamstring, Lovie Smith did not sound optimistic about him playing on Sunday.
Also, let's revisit the Smokin' Jay Cutler tumblr.
Blackhawks: The Non-Starters
The Blackhawks finished last season by losing in the first round of the playoffs. This season? What season? The NHL is currently locked out and games are cancelled through at least January 14, which means more than half of the season is gone. While we were left with no pro hockey to watch, Patrick Kane headed to play in Switzerland (with his mom in tow), Jonathan Toews says he's recovered from his concussion, and Marian Hossa got cleared to play and has been working out and spending time in Florida. Also, the lockout has been hurting Chicago small businesses, so let's get this taken care of.
Now go have a drink and start readying yourself to cheer on the Bears—and Packers—tomorrow.