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updated: 4/16/2014 11:21 PM

What's with all teams from Chicago?

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Well, that certainly didn't take long.

The Blackhawks lost natural rival Detroit to the NHL's other conference this season.

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Then, in no time flat, natural-rival-in-waiting St. Louis jumped up to fill the void left by the Red Wings.

An instinctive animosity will rear its pugnacious physicality beginning Thursday night when the Hawks and Blues face off in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

This is good. This is fun. This is the edgy way competitive athletics should be.

This also is pathetic.

The question that needs answering is, why should any declared regional rival of any Chicago sports team be able to believe it's worthy of rivaling a Chicago sports team?

Here's why: Too often this century, big brother has been cut down to size by little brother.

This is Chicago, the third-largest city in America and the capital of the Midwest. It towers over the region like a skyscraper over shanties.

The Hawks' rival was smaller Detroit and now St. Louis. The Bulls' rival most often was smaller Detroit. The Cubs' rival is St. Louis. The White Sox' rival is whoever is good in their division at the time, from smaller Cleveland to smaller Minnesota to smaller Detroit.

Then there are the Bears, the Monsters of the Midway. Their rival is Green Bay, barely a speck on the map.

Yet the Bears generally choke on the Packers' exhaust. The Cubs can't ever seem to catch the Cardinals. The Bulls get the better of the Pistons, but of the two Detroit has the most recent NBA title. The Sox have the most recent title out of the American League Central but usually are chasing somebody else in the division.

Only the Hawks finally figured out how to dominate their rivals -- and just about everyone else -- while winning two Stanley Cups in the past four years.

Over the next week to 10 days the Hawks will attempt to perpetuate their dominance. The mere possibility that they won't is, again, pathetic.

Look, all these St. Louises, Detroits, Clevelands, Minnesotas and even Green Bays are fine outposts inhabited by fine folks.

But none of them is Chicago. None has the natural resources Chicago teams have. None should have a more successful sports franchises than Chicago has.

Not unless ownership here has failed miserably. Draw your own conclusions.

The Bears should be Daniel Burnham, a team with no little plans. The Cubs should be Carl Sandburg, a team with big shoulders. The Bulls, Sox and Hawks should be teams that Billy Sunday couldn't shut down.

Chicago's sports teams should at least resemble New York's and Los Angeles'.

Even the mighty Red Sox consider the Yankees an evil empire. The entire NL West feared forever that the Dodgers would start spending money like they are now.

So, why didn't any of our teams grow into a mini-evil empire of this region? Why hasn't one of our franchise owners overspent major-market money to buy a series of championships?

Maybe the answer is that Chicago sports teams cling to conservative Midwestern values.

You know, cling to every dollar as if it were the last (unless you're an elected state official) and treat every opponent with respect (instead of trying to squash them like ants on a patio).

To heck with being conservative. A better strategy is to throw caution to the wind and dollars to the win.

Behave like big boys. Become teams that are unrivaled. Put all those satellite cities in their place.

Yes, yes, I know, there isn't much chance of that happening with the way our teams go about their business.

All that we can hope for today is that the Blackhawks continue their roll and relegate the Blues to status as unworthy rivals.

mimrem@dailyherald.com

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