As the Bears were waking up after a Lovie Smith tongue lashing at the intermission, the White Sox and Cubs were playing out their final games of the regular season.
Coming into the schedule, both were thought to have a good chance to repeat last year's success and make the post season. It was not to be.
On the North side, after getting swept two years in a row in the first round of the playoffs, General Manager, Jim Hendry made a few moves to, supposedly, strengthen the team for another run at the playoffs. Moving Mark DeRosa, letting Kerry Wood go, and bringing in a left-handed outfielder, just didn't do the trick this season.
The signing of Milton Bradley looked like a bad one by many Cubs fans, as soon as it was finalized. Some thought Bradley would be just what the Cubs needed...a switch-hitting power guy who would help out against those tough right-handers. He was BRUTAL. On the field, and off, Bradley proved to be a team cancer.
No one yelled about letting Kerry Wood go, until Kevin Gregg stepped on the hill.
As for DeRosa, the Cubs thought that with Mike Fontenot and the acquisition of Aaron Miles, the teams would be okay. They were not.
Bright spots for the Cubs...Randy Wells, Derrek Lee, (when healthy...don't hit him in the head), and that's about it. I failed to mention the season Soriano had, and it was a season that he will hopefully forget as well.
As for the South Siders, they played spoiler a bit, taking two of three from the Tigers to finish the season and force Detroit to play Minnesota in a one game play-in for the right to play the Yankees.
The Sox just could not hit the ball the second half of the season. It wasn't Beckham, Podsednik or Ramirez that struggled in the second half, but it was the big guns. Quentin, Dye and Alex Rios were terrible. They left men on base to kill rallies nearly every day.
The pitching was good, but could have been better. The perfect game from Mark Buehrle is even most amazing when you take a look at his starts after that. He was getting lit up by everyone. Danks had some problems with the strike zone and with the Twins, while Floyd pitched well after a slow start.
If you are a fan of the South Siders, you have to be pumped about Jake Peavy for the next few seasons. Peavy was 3-0 to wrap up the year with a very impressive start last weekend versus Detroit.
And how great will it be to have Gordon Beckham for the entire season, at third base, (forget the thought of moving him). Ramirez will be better at shortstop, and I like what I saw from Chris Getz.
The bullpen will need to be tweaked. I know Bobby Jenks helped the Sox win in 2005, but he is not the same pitcher. Scott Linebrink was given a second chance with this team, and was almost as bad this season.
Now that the playoffs are about to begin, do you care? Will you watch?
I love baseball, and can't say we, as Chicago fans, have gotten spoiled. Heck, it was just one year where both made the playoffs.
It's a long off-season and one that will see much debate from both sides of town. Ozzie and Lou will both be back...and so will all of us.