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Ten Foot Mailbag: The Best Thing About Being A Chicago Sports Fan

By Tim Baffoe-

(CBS) BREAKING: Derrick Rose feels better! After a long, arduous road to recovery from the knee injury that ended his and ultimately the Bulls' 2012 playoff run, it looks like the star guard is ready to give a giant boost to the 2013 playoff team.

Tom Thibodeau said Rose's speed and explosiveness are back to where the former MVP feels like himself again. Hear that, Miami Heat? I don't mean to look past the Brooklyn Nets, but one has to figure a Bulls/Heat second round matchup is inevitable and certainly desired by any true basketball fan.

"Watching the way he's moving now, there's a confidence," Thibodeau said. "(Reporters) may not have been able to see the total work he was putting in. But he was putting in an enormous amount of work each and every day. He just never got to the explosiveness he was comfortable with. I think he's there now. He feels great, and that's the most important thing."

Suddenly the 2013 NBA Playoffs just got a hell of a lot more interesting!

Weekend. Don't be prejudiced.

On to your correspondence.

It's never boring. Right now the Blackhawks have obviously been able to keep the heart rates of fans in Chicago going, but even when a team isn't in contention at a given time, Chicago sports is always interesting.

The same could be said about other sports towns that have a team in all four majors, but what separates Chicago is an accepted amount of silliness in it all, and that is awesome. New Yorkers and Bostonians for the most part treat it all as life and death. There is no room for levity when discussing their favorite teams. You either win or you should be run through a gauntlet of cheese graters. Other towns like Los Angeles will largely accept ennui or ignore sports when they're going bad.

Chicago has dealt with enough awfulness that I feel we have more fans in this town that "get it;" "it" being, yeah, losing sucks, but I don't have to look at this as just a black and white, did they win or did they lose issue. Chicago utilizes a lot of gallows and self-deprecating humor in order to swallow what is largely a disappointing fan existence.

Sometimes that even entails mocking New Yorkers or even fellow Chicagoans that take this stuff too seriously. How can anyone without a great sense of humor not be a great Chicago baseball fan? That's 90% of my social media life and a significant part of many columns I write—how can I laugh about all this to keep from crying? It keeps me sane at least. So does reading your fine MMA writing over at Yahoo, Maggie.

Here's the gross misunderstanding about me saying this:

It's that word "typing." I was very careful to use it so as not to make people think I was saying not to pray. But this is the Internet, and people are stupid, so it was read by many as just that anyway. My response here to your question will even be read that way. Turning to a higher power to intervene in tragic events is one thing. Going to social media to proclaim that you (not referring to you specifically, @TSpeeps) are doing so is another.

It's self-serving, not selfless. It's "Hey, look at me and how I'm contributing!" Because when mass destruction occurs somewhere else, at least you can feel good about yourself, right? Would you stand on your front porch and tell everyone who walked by "Excuse me, but I just wanted to make you aware that I'm praying for those people in another part of the world whose lives have been ruined"? The looks in response that you'd get for the most part would be of the "I don't want this person near me" variety. Essentially, tweeting that you're doing so is the same thing.

Jesus himself said in Matthew 6:5-6 that advertising one's own praying is garbage. "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." So get mad at Jesus for hating on your dumbass tweets, too.

And I'm pretty sure that all established religions would agree that if you have the means to do so, giving of your money, blood, or time to help somebody is far greater than merely praying. Praying is fine. Just don't make it the only thing if you can help otherwise.

The Hustler is one of the best films ever made. Paul Newman absolutely kills in it, and I feel it's his best work. Throw in George C. Scott and Jackie Gleason, and we're talking desert island film list territory here. The Color of Money is a good flick with Tom Cruise before he got all weird and full of himself, very early John Turturro and Forest Whitaker (and an Iggy Pop cameo!), and the Academy gave Newman a mea culpa Best Actor, but it's nowhere near the original story of Fast Eddie Felson's rise, fall, and self-redemption. The only thing Martin Scorsese's film wins at in this matchup is Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio over Piper Laurie.

ESPN doesn't care about hockey because they have no broadcast rights to it and there are less fans of it than other major sports. Boston in the Final, though, presents an interesting twist. The network is notably East Coast biased, which is because that's where ratings and, thus, money lie, not an attempt to anger the rest of the country, so in that sense I guess they would prefer the Bruins winning the Stanley Cup.

And on that note, people need to stop complaining that ESPN isn't covering hockey. If you know that already, why are you looking to them for such coverage? Go somewhere else instead of being conditioned to only get your sports stuff from The Leader. If you want a steak do you go to a restaurant known for not having a decent steak?

That said, they can't not discuss this series, try as they might, but they won't blatantly suggest viewers should be Boston fans. They might go the lame route of exploiting the Boston bombings in some of their coverage, but in the end I doubt Bristol really cares about it all.

And here's your Angry Penn State Fan of the Week:

From: KJ
To: Me

Wow, you are just a vile, delusional piece of garbage aren't' you? Good lord, do you even understand the fact, and yes, it is a proven fact, that there is no evidence of any wrong doing at Penn State. Period. This is a fact. Penn State is the gold standard.

Thanks for emailing, tweeting, and reading. If your question did not get answered this time, that does not necessarily mean I am ignoring it. It may be saved for the next mailbag. Hopefully you're a slightly better person now than you were ten minutes ago. If not, your loss.

Want your questions answered in a future Mailbag? Email them to or tweet them to @TimBaffoe with the hashtag #TFMB. No question, sports or otherwise, is off limits (with certain logistical exceptions, e.g. lots of naughty words or you type in Portuguese or you solicit my death). If you email, please include a signature.

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