Column: A busy May in Chicago includes Craig Counsell’s return to Milwaukee, 2 draft lotteries — and no break from the Bears

If you’ve suffered from Chicago Bears fatigue the last three months and thought the conclusion of the NFL draft would put them on the backburner for a while, think again.

There is no rest for the weary when it comes to Beardom.

May has arrived, and instead of focusing on our two baseball teams this month, Bears news will be front and center again, from stadium updates to rookie camp to the release of the NFL schedule.

Chicago’s sports calendar is packed this month, and here’s what to expect from our local teams.

May 3-5: Craig Counsell vs. the Brewers

Cubs manager Craig Counsell’s first series against the Milwaukee Brewers, his former team, begins Friday at Wrigley Field. Counsell will pronounce it’s no big deal and just another series against another National League Central contender. He’s not a nostalgic kind of guy. Cheeseheads beg to differ.

May 4: Lance Lynn vs. the White Sox

The former Sox starter contributed heavily to the losing in 2023 and to the clubhouse culture controversy as well. A ringleader in the splintered Sox clubhouse that led to the rebuild, Lynn is off to a good start with the St. Louis Cardinals (2.64 ERA) after his postseason debacle with the Los Angeles Dodgers, in which he served up a postseason-record four home runs in one inning in a loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks. He’ll face Sox ace Erick Fedde on Saturday at Busch Stadium in a game that means … well, not much. Can the Sox win this one for manager Pedro Grifol?

May 7: NHL draft lottery

Last year the Blackhawks had an 11.5% probability of getting the No. 1 pick but beat the odds to earn the right to choose franchise-changing forward Connor Bedard. While Bedard lived up to the hype, the Hawks rebuild did not. After finishing with the second-worst record this season, they have a 13.5% chance of getting the top pick again and a shot at Boston University center Macklin Celebrini. “Good karma and good things happen, and that’s what happened for us last year,” coach Luke Richardson said. The Hawks can’t possibly be that lucky, can they?

May ??: NFL schedule release

In its infinite wisdom, the NFL doesn’t reveal the date of its schedule release until a few days beforehand, though most project it will be either May 9 or May 16. Will the first Caleb Williams-Jordan Love matchup be in Green Bay or at Soldier Field? Will the Bears play the Lions in Detroit on Thanksgiving? We can hardly wait for the first schedule leaks from Danny Parkins.

May 10-13: Bears rookie camp

Forget about Williams and No. 9 pick Rome Odunze. Everyone will be clamoring to see new punter Tory Taylor and his magic foot.

May 11: White Sox quarter-zip giveaway night

Sure the season is already over, but that doesn’t mean Sox fans can’t come out and get some free stuff. A crowd of more than 28,000 turned out last week for a Sox hockey jersey, and this nifty windbreaker with the late 1980s logo should attract an even bigger crowd. Now if the Sox can only schedule Campfire Milkshake giveaway night.

May 12: NBA draft lottery

The Bulls finished out of the playoffs for a second straight year and have a 2% chance of getting the top pick and a 9.4% chance of getting one of the top four. Because they’ll probably remain at No. 11, the Bulls could always pick Bronny James and then try to persuade LeBron James to decline his $51 million option with the Los Angeles Lakers and play with his son in Chicago. Bronny isn’t first-round material, but the possibility of the combo package would be worth the risk.

May 17-19: White Sox at Yankees

The high point of the Sox rebuild was Tim Anderson’s game-winning home run into the cornfield against the New York Yankees in the 2021 Field of Dreams game in Dyersville, Iowa. Who could have dreamed it would turn into this nightmare in less than three years? Either way, Sox-Yankees in the Bronx is always good theater and rekindles memories of a once-great rivalry that included Babe Ruth’s walk-off grand slam in a 1925 game that the New York Times declared: “Ruth is stranger than fiction.”

May 25: Sky home opener

No, Caitlin Clark and the Indiana Fever won’t play in Chicago until June 23. But Sky fans will get their first chance to see rookies Kamilla Cardoso and Angel Reese play a regular-season home game when the Connecticut Sun visit Wintrust Arena. Anthony Whaley, the Sky’s vice president of ticket sales, said in a statement that “fans are wanting to watch more women’s basketball and the growth in our ticket sales has reflected that.” Will the Sky outdraw the Sox this summer? Do they make milkshakes at Wintrust?

May 27-30: Counsell vs. Brewers, Part 2

Second verse, same as the first, though this time Counsell ventures back to his old stomping grounds, the ballpark formerly known as Miller Park, for a four-game series. Will the loud booing of Brewers fans overmatch the cheers of road-tripping Cubs fans? Will the Brewers close the roof during play again? Something strange always happens in Milwaukee, including that 11-inning affair last Fourth of July that Cubs pitcher Justin Steele dubbed the “drunk game.” Counsell switching uniforms only adds to the usual drama.