In Which Skiles got Scrooged

Today’s, post Christmas, blog is brought to you by Madhouse52, a popular poster here at Jay the Joke.

In the Charles Dickens classic, “A Christmas Carol” a mistake that people often make is forgetting the end of the story.  As we know, Ebenezer Scrooge is depicted as a evil, uncaring, and miserly man who spurns even the needs of the weakest amongst us.  He often addresses the needs of the kind and poor with a surly “bah humbug”. 

This morning Jay Mariotti wants us to view the Chicago Bulls as exactly the same type of person as Scrooge.  His* evidence is a summary of the timing of the firing of recent Bulls’ coaches whose time may have been nigh.  He writes:

What kind of heartless, gutless organization fires a coach on Christmas Eve? Actually, what kind of heartless, gutless organization agrees to let three coaches go at Christmas and Thanksgiving over a seven-year period? Oh, maybe the same suspect organization that demoralizes two of its self-proclaimed young cornerstones by refusing to negotiate in good faith—as exposed this week in Gilbert Arenas’ blog, of all places.

Aside from the categorical flaw of citing Gilbert Arenas, one which Mariotti acknowledges at the end of this drivel, Mariotti forgets the true meaning of Scrooge.  Let me take Mariotti on a visit of the Bulls’ past, present, and future. 

Six championships in eight years.  That’s the Bull’s past.  General Manager John Paxson was a part of that, and his decision making is based on that portion of the Bulls’ past.  Much like what made Ebenezer Scrooge a bitter miser (being abandoned by his father), winning championships is what make Paxson who he is today.  That is his goal, drive, and ambition---to win, and it is also what someone like Mariotti once mocked the organization for getting away from, in ending the Jordan era too soon.

The present Bulls team is made up of underachieving overachievers.  This Bulls team is greater than the sum of its parts.  They may not be the Celtics, the Spurs, the Suns, or the Mavericks…hell, right now, they’re not even the Indiana Pacers.  But, they should be better than what they’re playing, and they’re not.  Even as I write this, Paxson is on WSCR the score, and lamenting the hustle, the rotation, and the playing time.  He didn’t like what he was seeing, and neither were we.  We griped and complained about it, while Paxson was in a position to do something about it. He addressed it with Skiles, Skiles disagreed, and Paxson reached the following conclusion:  Scott Skiles was a point A to point B coach, but it doesn’t mean he was the point B to point C coach. 

The future Bulls team what Paxson is seeking to change.  This team is sub-.500 and sinking fast.  If this team had the talent to win, and has proven that in the past, they should at least be that or better this year.  The team was uninspired, Paxson was not happy about how the team was going about their business, and a change was necessary.  The only way you can alter the future is to amend the present.  The old adage in sports goes, “if you can’t fire the players, fire the coach”.  This was a shake up that was necessary, even if many believe debatable.  There is no quick fix, but the future was dimming before our eyes and something needed to be done. 

This morning the MDF uses his* bully pulpit, not to really address what the decision of the Bulls means to the future of the franchise, because that’s not important to him*.  He* uses this opportunity to lambaste owner Jerry Reinsdorf and cast him as a bitter, evil, miser, and forgets what Scrooge did in the end:

Forget Donald Trump. Forget Simon Cowell. As S.O.Bs. go, there’s a new leader in the boardroom.

Donald Trump has made the mediocre meteoric.  Simon Cowell has turned that school girl, or waitress, or night club singer into America’s Idol.  Jerry Reinsdorf brought this city 6 NBA championships, it’s only World Series in nearly a century, and John Paxson who turned Jerry Krause’s mess into respectability with lofty expectations.  The expectations weren’t being met, and the person with the ability to do something did something.

Once Scrooge visited his past, his present, and his future, he became a model of generosity and kindness.  The Bulls want to be a model NBA franchise, and ultimately a champion again.  Paxson has said on multiple occasions since Skiles’ firing that the players are next if they don’t perform.  We believed in him when he made the moves to clean up Krause’s garbage.  He may not have made all of the moves that we wanted him to make, but I still trust Paxson.  As Scrooge made a turn around, so can this Bulls team. 

As for Mariotti, I wonder what his* response would have been if Reinsdorf and Kenny Williams had fired Ozzie Guillen on Christmas Eve.  To quote Tiny Tim from Dickens’ classic, I can just picture Jay standing alone in the bunker saying, “God bless us every one!”

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