Chat with Wayne Drehs
Drehs is an Emmy-winning senior writer for ESPN.com, where he has spent the past eight years as part of the Web site's features and enterprise team. His work has been honored by the Football Writer's Association and appeared in the Best American Sports Writing. He is a 2000 graduate of the University of Iowa.
Send your questions now and join Drehs on Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET/1 p.m. CT!
Wayne Drehs (2:02 PM)
Hey everyone ... greetings from cold and cloudy Chicago. We're going to talk all things Chicago sports for the next half hour or so. Let's get started.
Ok, why Chicago?
Wayne Drehs (2:04 PM)
Because not everything can be all about New York Joe, right? Colleague Scoop Jackson tackled this topic in his introductory column http://espn.go.com/chicago/story?columnist=jackson_scoop&id=4054014. Scoop touches on a lot of great points. I think the answer is pretty simple. I would argue there is no more passionate sports city in the country.
Shamari Fayetteville, Ar
Is Derrick Rose the next Chicago Great?
Wayne Drehs (2:06 PM)
It's either him or Koyie Hill. Kidding. Of course he is. The way he seems to take over late in games is impressive for a rookie. But even more impressive is the way Rose carries himself off the floor and the standard by which he judges his play. I saw a couple weeks ago that he would grade his rookie season a B-. Scary thought.
How depressing can it be to be a Chicago fan?
Wayne Drehs (2:07 PM)
You're killing me, Paul. Depressing? Hardly. Especially right now. The Cubs and Sox are coming off division championships. The Bulls and Blackhawks are in the playoffs. And the Bears just made the most significant off-season addition of any team in the NFL. Not a whole lot to be depressed about there.
OK, Alexi Ramirez.....why is he batting 8th?
Wayne Drehs (2:08 PM)
I have no idea. And it drives me nuts because I've got the guy on my fantasy team. Of course, his .160 average isn't really helping the argument to move him up.
Joe (St. Louis)
Some say passionate, others would over the top, and just plain mean to fans from other teams. There's a line between a little razzing and abuse, and some fans, especially at Bears games, have crossed that line.
Wayne Drehs (2:10 PM)
I hear you, Joe. There are always a few bad apples in the bunch. Somebody gets a couple beers in them and they think it gives them the right to belittle anyone cheering for the other team. But don't judge all Chicago fans based on a couple idiots.
How do you expect Jay Cutler to do in Chicago?
Wayne Drehs (2:12 PM)
I would say he'll be solid. Not great, not terrible. Solid. The first year is going to be a learning process. And look, he is going to have a white hot spotlight on him from the moment he steps on the practice field. How he handles that pressure will play a big part in how he performs on the field.
What is your favorite color?
Wayne Drehs (2:12 PM)
Ummm ... blue. Cubs blue.
Why should we let a U of Iowa grad be teh spokesman for ESPNChicago? What are your Chicago credentials?
Wayne Drehs (2:14 PM)
Well let's see ... born and raised in Chicago. Lived here all my life. Love the Cubs, the Bears, the Bulls, the Hawks. And don't necessarily hate the Sox. Go read my first blog entry on ESPNChicago.com and I think that will answer your question.
Chicago fans more passionate than NY fans? That's laughable. We have a franchise with 26 WS, you have one with NONE in 100 years.
Wayne Drehs (2:16 PM)
That's great and all, Kev, but success has nothing to do with passion. Just because the Yankees have won doesn't mean their fans are more passionate. Using that logic, you would say that Devil Rays fans had more passion than Red Sox fans last year. And that's nonsense.
Is it just me, or are the bulls finally playing some decent basketball? Maybe Vinny Del Negro is starting to get the hang of coaching. I wasn't a big fan of him in the beginning, but I'm starting to reconsider.
Wayne Drehs (2:17 PM)
The Bulls are definitely playing well at the right time of year, Paul. With Vinny, I mean, he's never done this before. It's been a work in progress. But with each game he and his young team get more and more experience.
Matt R (Wisconsin)
even tho i hate the cubs Kev, that has NOTHING to do with passionate fans.
Kenny (Newport KY)
26 WS doens't make you passionate...it makes your team GOOD
Wayne Drehs (2:18 PM)
My point exactly. And I'm not saying Yankee fans aren't passionate. Of course they are.
Grace Lee (Chicago)
So hey baby, what are you wearing?
Wayne Drehs (2:19 PM)
Ummm ... jeans and a Cubs fleece. Does that help my credentials at all?
How do you feel about the Cubs going with the righty-lefty lineup? Seems like it would make sense to put Theriot 2nd and Ramirez 4th?
Wayne Drehs (2:20 PM)
I actually like it ... I like Fukudome in the two-hole, especially if he continues to work counts like he did in the first half of last year and so far this year. I love putting Milton between D-Lee and Aramis, although if it was me I might flip flop those two in the three and five hole.
Christian, Downers Grove IL
Hey Wayne, what direction do you think the Bears would be better off going in the draft with their first selection? WR or S?
Wayne Drehs (2:22 PM)
That's a tough one. I don't want to cop out, but I think the answer is either. The reality is this -- because they don't have a first round pick, whoever they take in the second round HAS to stick. They can't afford a Dan Bauzine. So in my opinion, take the guy who is going to make it, the one is closer to being a "sure thing," regardless of whether or not he's a WR or S.
Devil Rays? You owe the Rays some money for that one.
Wayne Drehs (2:23 PM)
Uh oh. Totally forgot about that. Maybe it doesn't apply to chats?
T.J. (Urbana, IL)
You stated in your opening salvo that Soriano is not a leadoff hitter, and I couldn't agree more. Would you care to share your ideal Cubs lineup with us, given the current personnel?
Wayne Drehs (2:24 PM)
Well, given the current personnel I'd actually leave Sori in the one hole. I don't think they have a great lead-off hitter on the roster. But here's my lineup: LF Soriano CF Fukudome 3B Ramirez RF Bradley 1B Lee C Soto 2B Fontenot SS Theriot
Vic (North Side)
Wouldn't it make sense to move the White Sox out of Chicago?
Wayne Drehs (2:25 PM)
Come on now. Of course not. The White Sox are good for baseball, they're good for this city. I actually like a lot of the guys on that team. It's a great clubhouse. AJ, believe it or not, is one of my favorites.
What are the odds the Bears get Torry Holt?
Wayne Drehs (2:26 PM)
Slim to none.
Is it me, or are Cubs getting less and less interested about the regular season? I watched just about every game in 2007 and 2008. This year, I am just waiting for the playoffs.
Wayne Drehs (2:27 PM)
I don't think the players are less and less interested, but I think the fans are certainly going to be a bit more cautious before pouring themselves into a team only to get their hopes crushed three games into October. I know I've had a hard time getting 100-percent back "on board" this year.
Ed Tempe, Az
What do think the effect of the hot start that San Diego has on Peavy coming to the Cubs?
Wayne Drehs (2:28 PM)
I don't think it has any bearing whatsoever. Look, it's great that the Padres have gotten off to a nice start and all. But it simply won't last. They don't have the horses.
if bradley remains injury prone which we expect he will this year, why dont the cubs make a move to aquire mr. ray durham to lead off like they did in '03 when they got kenny lofton?
Wayne Drehs (2:28 PM)
Boy I hope not.
Tim (Castle Rock, CO)
Wayne, love the site! Thanks for bringing a little home to Colorado. Do you think the Bears make a run at a free agent WR? I love our TE's and Devin but it won't hurt to give Jay another target.
Wayne Drehs (2:29 PM)
Thanks Tim ... I doubt it, to be honest. I think they're going to go with what they have and get a receiver in the draft and count on Cutler making the receivers better. Earl Bennett, obviously, is key.
Well when it's within everyone's sense to not deny the fact that NY is the meccah of the sports world, media included...Why does ESPN give a Chicago site and let Bill all pro Boston Simmons before NY gets any love...Don't forget, Chicago...Jordan was born in Brooklyn!
Wayne Drehs (2:31 PM)
Well, it's a conspiracy Kev. You see, despite the entire country being convinced that ESPN has a massive East Coast bias, the reality is there is a giant conspiracy to frustrate New York fans. I'm kidding. Look, if ESPN Chicago is a success and so far people seem to love it, I wouldn't be surprised to see similar sites in cities like New York.
Hey Kev in NYC
Jordan was born in North Carolina.
Wayne Drehs (2:32 PM)
No. He was born in Brooklyn. Grew up in Carolina.
Why not? We know that season won't go the whole way without one of the outfielders/middle infielders getting hurt. This way soriano moves down in the lineup and we have a bonefide lead off hitter?
Wayne Drehs (2:33 PM)
I'm not sure Ray Durham is quite the lead off hitter you're looking for. With Reed Johnson, Gaithright and Hoffpauir, they've already got some OF depth.
No hating on Chicago, great city...lots of sports fans...I'm just spreading some love for all.
Wayne Drehs (2:34 PM)
It's all good, Kev. This is sports. Sometimes I think people take it a bit too seriously.
Jon (OK City)
Aren't you morally bound to make a Ditka joke in this chat?
Wayne Drehs (2:34 PM)
Perhaps ... know a good one?
is Fontenot the real deal? he seems great at the plate and good defensively too
Wayne Drehs (2:35 PM)
That's a great question, Connor. You look at the guy and you're like, "no way. Not a Major League baseball player." But the ball just jumps off his bat. Even yesterday, he hit a couple foul balls that were like, "how does that little guy do that?" I think this season is a big test for him. Pitchers are going to make their adjustments. He is going to go in a couple slumps. And it will be interesting to see whether or not he is able to adjust.
So, who would win a fight to the death, Kev from NYC or DITKA?
Wayne Drehs (2:36 PM)
There are a lot of tough guys in NY. No doubt about it. But c'mon, this is the coach. Ditka in about four minutes.
Zach (Fort Wayne, IN)
Wayne, do you think that the Cubs have enough to make it to the World Series this year? If not, what do you think they need to do?
Wayne Drehs (2:38 PM)
I'm skeptical, Zach. But, sadly enough, that's the nature of most Cub fans now. I worry about Bradley and Harden staying healthy. I worry about Gregg as a closer, I worry that they don't have the same depth, enough pitching, Dempster can't repeat what he did, what happens if Zambrano gets hurt? I'm a glass half full guy but seem to be glass half empty when it comes to the Cubs.
Wayne Drehs (2:39 PM)
However, this 5-2 start despite the injuries and questionable bullpen has me more optimistic than I was 10 days ago.
Re: Ditka Joke One day Favre dies (go bears). He goes up to Heaven and finds out his house is a nice ranch house...with a packers flag flying in the front lawn. Next door there is a 5 story mansion with a bears flag in every window, orange and navy siding, Bears EVERYTHING. Favre grabs the nearest angel and says, "excuse me...Not that I'm complaining, but how come Ditka gets a bigger house than me?" the Angel replies, "That's not Ditka's house...that's God's house" Go bears
Wayne Drehs (2:39 PM)
I actually laughed out loud at that one.
Still talking Chicago? What time does the Omaha chat start?
Wayne Drehs (2:40 PM)
I think they're taking Omaha Royals questions over on the ESPNOmaha page.
Do you think the Bulls have a chance against Boston or Orlando?
Wayne Drehs (2:41 PM)
A chance? Absolutely. Especially the way they've been playing lately. It's interesting -- the Bulls problem this year has been playing on the road and playing "down" to lesser competition so I'm curious to see how they handle the underdog role in the playoffs.
So here is a bet for you. I'll bet that starting today and ending on April 13, 2010, the Mets, Yankees, Giants, Rangers, and Knicks will win more games (including playoff games) than the Cubs, White Sox, Bears, Hawks, and Bulls. Want to take that one?
Wayne Drehs (2:42 PM)
Boy that's tempting. But I'm still not sure it has anything to do with passion.
Should we as cubs fans be worried by the cardinals?
Wayne Drehs (2:43 PM)
Absolutely. Carpenter appears to be back to his normal self which is a huge boost. If LaRussa can just get his bullpen situated (remember, they lost several games last year because the bullpen coughed up late leads), I could see a Cubs/Cardinals race to the finish.
How miserabley wonderful was the 39 degree splendor of rainy Wrigley that we unknowingly shared yesterday, Wayne?
Wayne Drehs (2:45 PM)
I actually thought the press box was quite comfortable. Maybe a bit warm, if anything, but it was cozy. I did walk around the park for about an hour before the game and it was brutal. I was quite glad to be working yesterday and not sitting in the stands with my hands stuffed into my parka.
I don't want to hear another word about Chicago's passion. Get 3 million people to show up to a Championship parade, and then we'll talk.
Wayne Drehs (2:46 PM)
We need the Cubs to win a championship first, Mike. I think a couple folks might show up for that parade.
I'll give Chicago the Cubs, but the rest of the teams don't get much support unless they are doing very well. And, up until the last year or 2, how many really cared about the Hawks? Not many, I would guess.
Wayne Drehs (2:48 PM)
I'll give you a half point, Joe. That's true about the White Sox for sure. But Bears fans come out no matter what. This is a Bears town. And even the post-Jordan Bulls drew pretty well with a terrible product on the court. The Hawks? Sure, when the team was down so was attendance. But they led the league in attendance this year. Hard to argue against that.
Jared (Cowden Illinois
Does Piniella have a closer dilemma?
Wayne Drehs (2:49 PM)
I hope not. I think Marmol is more valuable in the 7th and 8th when he an come in with runners on base and strike guys out. Gregg pitches more to contact so I like him better leading off an inning (like the 9th).
Wayne Drehs (2:50 PM)
I'm going to take a couple more and then I've gotta run ...
Tell Joe that those in glass houses. . . the Wings can't sell out playoff games.
Wayne Drehs (2:50 PM)
Really? They don't sell out playoff games?
Well perhaps you should have invited me up for a laugh or two. Did you happen to see Soriano hide from the weather in the left field nook when Lou took out Lilly is the sixth? It was somewhat comical but maybe it was just the beer/rain/cold/excitement/wet butt talking...
Wayne Drehs (2:51 PM)
I actually saw that, Mark. I mentioned it in my blog. Pretty entertaining watching Soriano huddle up against the dead ivy trying to get out of the wind.
Your refusal to accept Jon's bet confirms that NY fans are more passionate about their teams than Chicago fans.
Wayne Drehs (2:52 PM)
So let me get this straight ... passion is determined by how many championships your teams win and how often you gamble?
Wayne Drehs (2:52 PM)
Alright, everyone. That's all the time I've got for now. Thanks for the questions. Let's do this again soon. And go visit the new site, ESPNChicago.com.