Imrem: Chicago doesn't need the NFL's circus

  • Cris Carter, left, and Michael Irvin, right, interview Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon during introductions at a pre-draft rally of 2015 NFL Draft prospects, and various league legends Wednesday in Chicago.

    Cris Carter, left, and Michael Irvin, right, interview Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon during introductions at a pre-draft rally of 2015 NFL Draft prospects, and various league legends Wednesday in Chicago. Associated Press

 
 
Posted4/30/2015 5:30 AM

Baseball and football have it backward this week.

The White Sox played a game before a paid attendance of zero Wednesday afternoon and the NFL draft will be conducted before a crowd of too many tonight.

 

The Sox-Orioles game from Baltimore looked eerie thanks to all those empty seats. The draft from the Auditorium Theater will look creepy thanks to Chris Berman.

Baseball should be played before at least 20,000 fans, but recent riots in Baltimore left no option but to lock the gates to Camden Yards.

Meanwhile, the NFL draft should be conducted in privacy. The draft came to Chicago this week for the first time in a half-century and with trumpets blaring.

The mindsets are so different: MLB believes a game is a game regardless; the NFL believes the only thing better than big is bigger.

If the NFL brought the circus to town, each elephant would be the size of a Mariano's and the clown's shoes would stretch a city block.

A capacity crowd will fill the Auditorium Theater tonight and millions more will watch on television.

Some fans will wear Bears' colors and embarrass themselves on national TV by mugging for the cameras like Jets and Giants fans do when the draft in New York.

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Ugh!

The city turned itself over to the NFL. My goodness, does this league have to get everything it wants, every time it wants it?

Chicago, one of the world's great cities, looks like Hooterville in this arrangement.

The city should have all the leverage. Show the league what you have and tell them to take it or leave it.

Instead, streets have been closed down, Grant Park has been overrun and folks have been inconvenienced … all because of a football draft.

Anything else we can do for you, Commissioner Goodell? How about a police escort to the men's room?

Hooterville, indeed.

We don't need no stinking draft here when we have the museum campus, great universities and Superdawg.

Look, Chicago will remain a great town -- my kind of town in fact -- with or without the NFL draft.

The city didn't get the Olympics and still is doing OK. The city won't get a Super Bowl and still will do OK. The Big Ten basketball tournament is here only every other year now and somehow the city still is OK.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The draft is a bloated exercise that probably should take place in dark, smoke-filled hotel rooms with scouts chomping on cigars and their stubby fingers cutting cards for the draft rights to players.

Even NFL types admit that they are only guessing whether a prospect will become Walter Payton or Curtis Enis.

Sports writers? Top prospects are brought to draft headquarters and propped up on a tee for journalists from around the country.

In the old days you had to hunt down quotes from Bears' head coach Abe Gibron, who weighed a couple tons, in Bookbinder's restaurant in Philadelphia or from Payton in the head coach's office at Jackson State.

Newspaper, TV and radio journalists spend months concocting cockamamie mock drafts knowing that they have little chance to be correct.

So, how did the draft get to this point? How did it get so obese and obscene? How did it get the right to turn Chicago into Hooterville?

As usual, fairly or not, blame everything on ESPN.

Seriously, baseball in its most backward moment never turns a city into Hooterville even during the World Series.

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