Sportswriting Sharknado: Sun-Times John McDonough Column

Sportswriting Sharknado: Sun-Times John McDonough Column

There has been a lot of terribly obsequious coverage of Chicago Blackhawks Vice President John McDonough recently. We’ve also seen interest in the Chicago White Sox reach nadir this summer.

And I’m always one to point out when people are gushing too much over John McDonough, and the Waylon Smithers to his Mr. Burns, Jay Blunk. Therefore, Dan McGrath’s Sun-Times column July 8th suggesting the White Sox hire McDonough to turn them around was quite possibly the perfect storm or horrific writing. Coincidentally a movie about a monster storm, and sharks flying around in it, took Twitter, yes you guessed it "by storm" last night.

If this column about McDonough taking over the Sox were a movie, it would be right down there with “SharkNado,” “Leonard Part 6,” “Ishtar,” “Howard the Duck,” “Water World,” “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter: and “Dude, Where’s My Car?”

In this write-up, McGrath is to missing the point what Tara Reid is to drinking.


We’ll take some excerpts and break down them down, starting with:

“Deafening silence was the response to this suggestion when it was put forth a year ago. It is offered again because the need is more acute.”

Uhm, yeah and why do you think you heard crickets chirp a year ago? Because it’s a horrible idea!

Brooks Boyer isn’t the issue; the problem is bigger than him. Yes, the White Sox are less relevant than ever, but that doesn’t mean John McDonough is a panacea. This is a wholistic baseball problem.

“It’s an odd time for the Sox to invite irrelevance. They should be making inroads into the hearts and minds of Chicago baseball followers, in particular the newcomers and the undecideds. Instead, they plod along ineffectually, with no discernible sense of direction.”

True, the White Sox haven’t made public what policy they will implement towards rebuilding. They should burn it all down and start from scratch like the Cubs. However, why would you think the Sox should now be making inroads with baseball neophytes and bandwagon idiots? Give us one good reason. To have a large beer garden on 35th street? To watch Adam Dunn steal the Sox money? To watch AAA level talent starting everyday at numerous positions? Boring, yawn and we’ll pass thanks.

Like Sharknado, I couldn't finish this column.


This is the most logical time for the White Sox to become irrelevant! It’s partially a Sox problem, but more so a baseball problem. Bill Simmons spelled it out on “The Colbert Report” a few years ago when hawking his “Book of Basketball.” The main sponsor you see today for baseball telecasts? Erectile Dysfunction drugs! Yes, baseball is the new golf.

Sure, there are some young adults who like it too, but it is THE sport of choice for the “hey you kids, get off my lawn” crowd. Sure, the premier brands of baseball, the most well known franchises: Cubs, Cardinals, Dodgers, Yankees and Red Sox aren’t hurting. And probably won’t be hurting for awhile. However, the middle tier and lesser known franchises are fading. You can feel the extreme apathy for baseball in the younger generations, and only the most popular teams, those with popularity that transcends wins and losses, will retain their appeal.

Who better to orchestrate it than McDonough? His status as the city’s No. 1 sports executive is unrivaled now that the Blackhawks have reprised their 2010 Stanley Cup success with a thoroughly revamped roster. They are on a four-year streak of sellouts at the United Center, where every game is a crowd-pleasing spectacle. ­

Okay, time for basic Chicago hockey history 101. The main reason the Blackhawks were so obscure for so long: Bill Wirtz and his anachronistic policy of not televising home games. The only reason that changed and the Hawks became a zillion times more popular: Bill died and his son Rocky Wirtz took over. Rocky quickly fixed that mistake.

The man who built the 2010 Champion Blackhawks: Former GM Dale Tallon. Who John McDonough turned around and fired soon after he assumed his position with the Hawks. The Blackhawks won again a couple weeks ago with the SAME EXACT CORE of forwards and defensemen that Tallon drafted/acquired and Stan Bowman maintained/tweaked. What's "thoroughly revamped" about keeping the same exact nucleus in place?

And let’s not deem Stan Bowman Supreme Genius Overlord of the Universe either. He made the right adjustments to keep the core in tact. Let's give him credit for making the right transactions regarding role players, in order to keep the stars here under the salary cap limitations. He's done a great job. However, he's not infallible. Just like we shouldn’t appoint John McDonough Fortune 500 Business Executive of the Century. He’s no Warren Buffet or Jack Welch.

Yes, John McDonough presided over two Stanley Cups. Just like Trent Dilfer and Jeff Hostetler won Super Bowls. So you’re there when something good happens; it doesn’t mean you made it happen. Correlation does not always imply causation.


“Not since the late ’90s, when Terry Bevington’s grumpy dugout presence was an affront to baseball, has their ballpark been less lively.”

If you thought the White Sox were getting irrelevant…wow a Boom-Boom Bevington reference! McGrath does make a point that the White Sox were awful and boring when managed by Schneider from “One Day at a Time.”


However, John McDonough can’t solve the White Sox issues, Major League Baseball needs to figure that out. Right now The Cell is to packing the place what Tara Reid is to acting. (I know do we really need that many Tara Reid references? Well, yes, did you see how much Sharknado took over Twitter last night?)

Currently, the White Sox should be happy for any and all publicity they can get. From any media outlet. Period. They’re going to be very bad at baseball for a very long while. And the fans and media will not care that much about them. John McDonough can’t fix all that. Neither can Pat Harrington, despite his massive array of tools.

Oh and that opening paragraph from McGrath, about McDonough playing baseball?

Tara Reid could write a better introduction.

Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports (“Quasi-endorsed” by Philadelphia Eagles Coach Chip Kelly) He’s also an author who contributes regularly to MSN, Fox Sports , Chicago Now, Walter and Yardbarker

Banks has appeared on the History Channel, as well as ESPN and CBS radio all over the world. The NFL, NBA expert does a weekly spot for 95.7 The Fan. President Barack Obama follows him on Twitter (@PaulMBanks), like him on Facebook

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