CHICAGO – As Chicago sports fans, it’s easy to grumble. It’s easy to nitpick. It’s easy to scan the baseball standings and wonder what life is like in other, happier sports cities.
Does the sun shine brighter in the Sunshine State? If everything is bigger in Texas, how big must their smiles be? Does your GPS system know the way to San Jose?
But the truth is that we’re lucky.
Sure, the Cubs are about as exciting to watch as a highway construction project. Instead of orange cones, Theo Epstein and his front-office staff have lined up veterans on short-term deals until younger reinforcements are ready.
And, yeah, the White Sox are kind of like that room in your house that somehow becomes more of a mess with each passing day. You would clean it up if you had two weeks and a bulldozer, but it’s easier to close the door and pretend it doesn’t exist.
But we really are lucky.
Less than a week ago, millions of sports fans filled the streets of downtown and packed Grant Park for the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup championship parade and rally. Three years before that, millions lined Michigan Avenue for the same purpose.
Since 2010, do you know how many U.S. cities have celebrated more major professional sports championships than Chicago? Here’s a hint: It’s less than one.
See your lawn? The grass is greener than all but three cities – Miami, San Francisco, and Los Angeles – which have matched Chicago with two titles during the decade.
Let’s turn back the clock even further, all the way to 2000, when gas cost less than $2 a gallon and hanging chads were a dime a dozen. If you put down one end of a tape measure on Jan. 1, 2000, and counted your steps before placing the opposite end of the tape measure down on today, Chicago still would be a city of champions.
Unless you’re from Cleveland, you might enjoy this list of sports titles since 2000.
Top tier: Los Angeles (8), Boston (7), New York (4), Miami (4)
Considering how passé most Southern California sports fans seem to be, it’s amusing that Los Angeles leads the millennium in championships. The Lakers have won five titles, while the Kings, Angels and Ducks have chipped in with one apiece. If you’re looking for the most well rounded modern sports city, that would be Boston, which has celebrated championships in the NFL (3), MLB (2), NBA (1) and NHL (1).
Second tier: Chicago (3), Pittsburgh (3), Detroit (3), San Antonio (3)
Not bad, right? The Hawks’ two Stanley Cup titles, combined with the White Sox World Series title in 2005, means Chicago is tied for fifth place in a narrow race for 21st century championships. The San Antonio Spurs whiffed on a chance to push their one-team town up the list, while – this is crazy to write – the Pittsburgh Pirates might have a better shot than the Detroit Tigers to win this year’s World Series.
Third tier: Baltimore (2), San Francisco (2), St. Louis (2), Tampa (2), New Jersey (2)
A mere eight days ago, Chicago was part of the two-title group. The next city to become three-time winners could be San Francisco, where the 49ers are looking to throw a Super Bowl party much like the Giants enjoyed World Series parties in 2010 and 2012. Baltimore could have another title shot with the Ravens or Orioles, while the St. Louis Cardinals – this is crazy to write – are almost as good as the Pirates.
• Shaw Media sports columnist Tom Musick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @tcmusick.