Monday, December 8, 2008

Top Ten Chicago athletes who burned their bridges

Over the past 10 years there have been several Chicago athletes that have caused some sort of ruckus off the field or just flat-out poor play that not only led to their demise in Chicago, but a natural dislike by fans. Below are the top ten.

10. Nick Swisher
What a total disappointment. The Sox sent two top-ten prospects to Oakland in exchange for a guy who was supposed to be a master at the dish. While he did draw over 80 walks, he struck out 135 and hit .219. Once he stopped getting his "burn," many rumors reported he gave up on the team and stopped paying attention to any instruction. This spot could have been filled by either him or the crybaby shortstop Orlando Cabrera.

9. Javy Vazquez
Javy was supposed to be the ace of the staff. Part of the ace's job is to be a big-game pitcher. It is pretty clear he is not. Ozzie called him out before the three-game series in Minnesota as a way to motivate Vazquez. Not only did he get shelled but he did not react to the comments at all the way Sox fans were looking for him to. ''You know what? It's not going to [change a lot of opinions] because I'm really the type of guy that when I retire, I'm going to be home in Puerto Rico with my family.'' That clearly did not sit well with management as he was shipped to Atlanta last week.

8. Muhsin Muhammad
While it is true Muhammad never did really have a great quarterback throwing him the ball, (he never caught more than 65 balls in three seasons) it was unnecessary to refer to the Bears as the team "wide receivers go to die." The organization did not care for the comment, and fans haven't either.

7. Albert Belle
Belle went out, signed a $55 million deal with the Sox in 1997, and while he had a very solid two-year stretch on paper, he hit a lot of meaningless homers and quickly became a clubhouse cancer. Because of some odd clause in his contract, Belle was allowed to ask for more money, something he had no problem doing. When the Sox refused to pay him he quickly started causing more problems, quickly contemplated retirement, and ultimately became a free agent. Once again, this was a very odd contract, but was handled in the worst possible way.

6. Ben Wallace
Ben Wallace was supposed to anchor the Bulls defensively and become a leader. But neither occurred. His rebounding and blocks numbers dropped and he and Scott Skiles ran into issues, twice including problems about his headband. His $60 million wound up being a total waste, especially because the Bulls are stuck with Larry Hughes as a way to rid the huge contract.

5. Chris Chelios
Hockey is not my forte, but from what I heard Chris Chelios vowed to never play in Detroit. After he was traded to the Wings in 1999, Hawks fans were expecting the Chicago native to willingly return once his initial contract expired. But Chris has not only not come back, but he has stayed in Detroit, where he has been a key defender on multiple Stanley Cup Championship teams.

4. Frank Thomas
Frank Thomas is arguably the greatest player in franchise history. But Thomas openly shared his displeasure towards the organization when he found out he was not going to be resigned after the 2005 season. He felt Reinsdorf should have personally informed him. Unhappy about being released for his "diminished skills" clause, he blasted Kenny Williams. Williams responded by calling him an "idiot."

3. Cedric Benson
Benson's 2008 off-season can be described in one word; train wreck. After two DUI charges and on-the-field skills diminishing, Benson was sent packing. The fourth overall pick was just a horrid bust. He questioned Lovie on multiple accounts. But he is now playing for the only team in the NFL that off-field incidents are not looked down upon in Cincinnati. He should not have been partying with his Mom on a boat. Nothing good ever happens.

2. Eddy Curry
The fourth overall pick in the 2000 draft never panned out to much of anything in Chicago. After refusing to take a heart exam to see if he is physically able to play, he was sent to the Bulls B-team in the Knicks. (They are happy to take any bad Bull off their hand.) He can't score, run, or even rebound for a 6' 11" forward. He has really just let down the city on multiple occasions.

1. Sammy Sosa
Since the Jordan era, nobody has fit the bill for Chicago's iconic athletic figure better than Sammy Sosa. From 1998 to 2002 he had the city in the palm of his hand. People were fascinated by the home run chase. Things started to decline for Sosa in 2003 for him however. In June was the corked bat incident, and then two months later came the sneezing injury that put him on the DL. While he did redeem himself a little in the '03 playoffs, he left the ballpark early on the last game of the 2004 season, which left the organization to trade him to Baltimore in the off-season.

If I were to do this list a year from now, Rex Grossman or Fukudome could be a top-five guys on this list, as sad as it sounds, his days in Chicago were numbered as soon as he fumbled his second snap in the Super Bowl. Also, if this included non-athletes, Jerry Krause, Bill Wirtz, Dusty Baker and Jay Mariotti might have found a spot on here too.


BobbyStompy said...

Mariotti might have found a spot?! Might?!

Matthew Olsen said...

Um, I really hope you don't consider Jay Mariotti an athlete.

That is, unless you know something we don't.

Nick said...

Among your not athletes, and as long as you mentioned Jerry Krause, how about Phil Jackson for his lack of gratitude toward the Bull's organization who picked him out of coaching obscurity and gave him the opportunity to coach perhaps the greatest players ever put on a NBA uniform.

Anonymous said...

You missed Michael Jordan. He didn't know when enough was enough ... alright, so maybe he didn't burn a bridge; he certainly continued to build one to no where.

Anonymous said...

I'd also include those Bear fans who continue to talk about the SuperBowl Bears as if it just happened.

Anonymous said...

How about the 69 Cub fan?

Ron said...

Sammy Sosa...definitely number 1!