Kap's Corner

Chicago Sports Needs Some Personalities

While I consider Rick Morrissey a colleague and a friend, we usually disagree on most of the topics we discuss in the sports world. However, his column this morning in the Chicago Tribune was outstanding. For a world class city with the best sports fans in the world, we sure don't have much in the way of colorful personalities who are compelling enough for even the casual fan to pay attention. How big would Chad Ochocinco be on the national stage if he played in Chicago or New York? He would be a mega star.

Outside of Ozzie Guillen, name me one guy who you think really keeps it interesting, and is engaging not only with the media, but in the way he acts on the playing field. Let's examine the coaches and managers first, then we'll look at the players who call Chicago home.

Managers and Coaches

Ozzie Guillen

He may not be everybody's cup of tea, but I find him so entertaining to watch and to cover that he would probably the guy I'd hire if I owned a baseball team. Ozzie is honest to a fault, and he says what most fans are thinking even if his players don't like his frankness. His personality keeps the White Sox in the headlines even when his team may not be great. Plus, he has a World Series ring on his hand. So those who don't like him can't really argue much, because he accomplished something that no one else has done in this city in a very long time.
 
Lou Piniella

When Lou was hired by the Cubs, many fans and members of the media (myself included) expected a Mike Ditka-like presence in the Cubs dugout based on what we had seen of Sweet Lou during his time as the manager of the Seattle Mariners. However, with rare exception, we have seen a much more mellow Piniella, especially in 2009 when his lack of public anger frustrated many fans. When he shows his emotion, he is a colorful "Chicago type" personality. And that is what he needs to show in 2010.
 
Lovie Smith

While he may know his football, he is one of the most boring personalities we have seen on the Chicago sports scene in a long time. Smith is steady and unspectacular, but his lack of charisma drives fans who remember the days of Mike Ditka crazy, when every news conference and media moment was must-see TV. Smith is true to himself, but I believe that sometimes management forgets that professional sports are entertainment and you need to keep people watching even when you aren't going to the playoffs.

Joel Quenneville


Coach Q is very intense, and will flash a glimpse of his fiery personality from time to time behind the bench. But he does not usually show that side of himself away from game action. His news conferences are calm and informative, but he doesn't do much to garner attention.
 
Vinny Del Negro

Another of the modern day coaches who does not ever say anything to stir the pot. Del Negro is polished and concise in his comments, but like most of his Chicago counterparts he is not must-watch TV when he addresses the media.
Players

A.J. Pierzynski
Carlos Zambrano
Ryan Theriot
Ryan Dempster
Joakim Noah
Jay Cutler
Lance Briggs
Adam Burish


Others

Kenny Williams

By far, the most outspoken of the the GM's in Chicago. Williams tells it like it is. and he combines with Guillen to make the Sox the most honest duo in Chicago sports. He will show his anger when his team performs below his level of expectation, and he is not afraid to call out his team or a member of the media when he doesn't like what he is seeing or reading.
 
Hawk Harrelson


He is not for everyone, especially those who are not Sox fans. But I find Harrelson extremely entertaining, with his catch phrases and his unabashed passion for the White Sox. Does he think the umpires miss calls only against the White Sox? It sure sounds like it, but that is part of what makes him fun to listen to. If you're a Sox fan you feel like he does. And if you're not, you're amused at his loyalty to his team. From "Put it on the board" to "This ballgame is ovah" there are many who imitate him even if they won't admit it.
 
Ron Santo

Santo speaks as a Cubs fan, and from his groans to his cheers, he is the voice of the fan. Who can forget the raw emotion that he showed way back in 1998 with his famous "Oh no" call after Brant Brown dropped a fly ball that would have won a key game in Milwaukee late in the season?  Santo echoed what every Cubs fan was feeling. Santo is passionate, funny, and while he sometimes forgets a fact or two, he is without a doubt the current face of the franchise.

Kap's All Time Chicago Sports Personality Team
Ozzie and AJ.jpg

Both Ozzie Guillen and A.J. Pierzynski both make the All Chicago sports personality team.


Coach/Manager

Mike Ditka
Ozzie Guillen


Announcers

Harry Caray
Jimmy Piersall
Ron Santo
Hawk Harrelson
Dick Butkus
Johnny "Red" Kerr

Athletes

Mark Grace
Sammy Sosa

A.J. Pierzynski

Dick Butkus
Jim McMahon
Dan Hampton
Steve McMichael
Mike Singletary
Otis Wilson

Dennis Rodman
Michael Jordan
Norm Van Lier

Bobby Hull
Keith Magnuson
Jeremy Roenick

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4 Comments

gravedigger said:

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For the Cubs to win in 2010, they need Lou Piniella to show emotion.

Not to pitch, hit, or field well. But for Lou to show emotion.

Logic fail.

David Kaplan said:

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Hmm, where in the post did I EVER say that for the Cubs to win he needs to do that? Here is EXACTLY what I said: When he shows his emotion, he is a colorful "Chicago type" personality. And that is what he needs to show in 2010. I never talked about the Cubs winning. I was simply talking about the personalities in the Chicago sports world.

cubfan2323 said:

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Kap,

If Lou Piniella showing emotion has no effect on the Cubs winning/losing, than why does it matter?

cc002600 said:

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Kap,
Interesting topic.
I don't care as much about the players and coaches being entertainng as I do about announcers. I think an exciting announcer makes the game so much more enjoyable and riveting.

And #1 on your list is Harry. I could NOT agree more. He was the best, and I as cub fan do like Hawk. I think he's fun to listen to. Pat Hughes is awesome. and I'm sorry, but I find Len Kasper to be a real snooze. On the national level, I absolutely hate Joe Buck, he sounds so disinterested and snobby. He is sooooo boring to listen to, he never gets excited. I like Jon Miller and Bob Costas, both great baseball announcers with great passion.

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