CHICAGO | “I want to kiss it,” Chris Sale said of the Stanley Cup making a stop at U.S. Cellular Field on Wednesday as part of its endless tour around the city.
“I’ll take any good vibe we can get right now. Kissing that Cup, I hope it does.”
The last-place Sox might be beyond the Cup’s alleged charms. But its presence for the ceremony before the game with the Baltimore Orioles brought a good feeling to a ballpark that’s had a dark cloud over it since the last two weeks of September.
Hawks winger Patrick Sharp toted it onto the field from the Sox clubhouse along with teammate Brandon Bollig. Placing the Cup in front of the mound, righty Sharp and lefty Bollig threw out first pitches to John Danks. Then, both Hawks held the Cup high near the dugout.
Orland Park resident T.J. McFarland, an Orioles reliever, posed with Sharp. The lords of the pressbox, otherwise not easily impressed, whipped out camera phones to snap photos of the ceremony.
The Cup was then placed in front of Sharp and Bollig, who took their place in the line of Sox players and coaches at attention for the National Anthem. Bollig was entrusted to take it off the field, and its next destination.
The pre-holiday crowd witnessed a magic talisman that represents winning and more.
If players in all Chicago sports here pick up on its positive aura, then their front-office bosses at the least have to act enviously, in proverbially keeping up with the Joneses. At the best, the management of the White Sox, Cubs, Bears and Bulls would be fools not to emulate the Hawks’ style, top to bottom, because it has worked better than any other local franchise.
The Hawks’ story was so appealing and inspiring Sale rated the Game 7 of the Red Wings series he attended, completing the comeback from a 3-1 deficit, the “funnest” event he’s ever been at.
“Going to a hockey game completely changed my perspective to it,” Sale said after playing the game on Xbox. “You watch it on TV, it’s not as fast as you think it is. When you get there, those guys haul it, they’re moving. I think I have more respect for those guys, and what they go through (physically).”
Closer Addison Reed also was enchanted.
“Seventeen seconds where they scored those goals was one of the coolest things I’ve seen in sports,” he said. “Anything can happen.
“I’m going to definitely try to touch it and get a picture with it. How many chances you going to have to not only be in the same room with the Stanley Cup, but also be in the same city that won it? It’s awesome for them (the Hawks), and then it’s also awesome for the city. They wanted just as bad as the players did.”
Now, if only the other sports franchises in town could want it bad as the Hawks’ execs. Each team would visit the other with its hardware.
But, so far, only in our fondest dreams.
This column solely represents the writer’s opinion. Reach him at DGemsNet@aol.com.