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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

Sox Jeopardy! 

Where the answer always is a question!
(Editor's Note: Some of you might have noticed a reference to the game show "Jeopardy" in Tribune's columnist Rick Morrissey's story on the White Sox pitching staff dated March 10th. WSI assures its readers that Mark Liptak's column was sent to WSI on February 24th. The similarities between the two stories is purely coincidental.)

Announcer cue: Live from our studio in Chicago, it's time for White Sox Jeopardy! Here's your host Mark Liptak.....

Thank you Bill Melton. Hi again everybody and thanks for watching the game show that's sweeping Chicago, at least the South Side, White Sox Jeopardy. We've got three contestants here today all affiliated with the Sox. We'll meet them in a minute but first the rules. Actually our show has only one rule. your answer MUST always be in the form of a question. I'm sure when our game is done you'll see that with these Sox, there are a LOT of questions!
Now let's meet our players.
First, he's a man you love to hate. His resume includes threatening to leave Chicago, extorting a drab concrete ballpark, playing an active part in shooting his own team in the foot in 1994 and the "White Flag" of 1997. Let's give a warm round of applause to Jerry Reinsdorf!
Our second contestant was a flop as a major league player. He spent his life after playing involved in the Sox minor league organization. After doing nothing to distinguish himself, he got the job of General Manager based on the fact that management wouldn't pay for anybody good. "Controversy" has been his middle name. Give it up for Kenny Williams!
And finally our last contestant is used to being last. He's from the South Side, has been a Sox fan for life and is used to getting abused. All he wants out of life is to see the Sox in a World Series. A big hand for Joe Sixpack!
O.K. players you know the rules and...
"Excuse me""
Yes, Jerry...
"I don't like the fact that your studio audience isn't completely sold out. I see empty seats in your upper deck. I didn't like the reception either so I'm going back to Arizona."
(With that Jerry leaves the set. A moment later Kenny Williams gets up as well.)
Kenny are you leaving too?
"Yes Mark. I always do what I'm told and besides our payroll is pretty stretched so I have take the next flight out of O'Hare on business. I'm flying coach of course, and if I miss the flight, we can't afford to book another ticket. It's the fans fault of course."
Well Joe that leaves you. Can you play by yourself?
"Sure Mark. I think I can handle it"
Well we're going to change the game because of these circumstances. We'll just have one round and a final jeopardy question. You'll be playing against the clock to try to answer as many questions as you can. Here's our categories: PITCHING, INFIELDERS, OUTFIELDERS, OTHERS AND INTANGIBLES.
"I'd like PITCHING please."
Fine, we'll go in order from 100 dollars up to 500 dollars. Here's pitching for 100 dollars.....The "ace" of the staff only has a year and a half in the big leagues... "Who is Mark Buehrle"
Correct, I'll just keep going and stop you if you are wrong...pitching for 200 dollars....the answer is Todd Ritchie. "Who had an ERA of over 4.00 in the National League. A league that doesn't have the DH!"
Pitching for 300 dollars, the question is... the #3 starter, he's coming off shoulder surgery and has had trouble going deep into games..."Who is Jim Parque"
Pitching for 400 dollars...He's been in the big leagues longer then the "ace" yet still hasn't done much. He's the #4 starter... "Who is Jon Garland"
and finally pitching for 500 dollars. The answer is a question mark!...  "Who is the Sox 5th starter"
Correct, you're doing great Joe. Let's go to infielders now. For 100 bucks... he's had three terrible years out of the last four, missed most of last season and is a "Big" pain in the rear... "Who is Frank Thomas."
Infielders for 200 bucks, the answer is..."Can't seem to catch a cold. Thinks he's a power hitter when he's not... "Who is Ray Durham."
Our 300 dollar question for infielders is.....Royce Clayton...."Who is the best Sox shortstop since Ron Hansen but can't seem to get along with anyone."
Infielders for 400 shows..."With him at 3rd base, fans behind the first base bag better watch the field AT ALL TIMES..."Who is Jose Valentin."
and finally for 500 dollars...He's probably the best overall Sox infielder yet even he's not a gazelle around the bag..."Who is Paul Konerko."
All right! Perfect so far Joe. We'll start on outfielders for 100...His nickname is "The Butcher" and he turns every flyball into an adventure...'Who is Carlos Lee"
Outfielders for 200 bucks. Here's your question...He couldn't get a job anywhere else. Was injured last season, is 34 and is supposed to be the "savior"..."Who is Kenny Lofton.
Outfielders for 300 dollars and the question is, you don't have to answer it in a question!..."Who is Magglio Ordonez, the only Sox player without a question next to his name."
On we go to outfielders for 400 dollars. The answer is who are the next "can't miss kids", who either will or leave the team eventually and star for the Yankees..."Who are Aaron Rowland and Joe Bouchard."
and our last outfielder question for 500 dollars Dr. Strangeglove, wherever he plays..."Who is Jeff Liefer."
Now we move on to others, for 100 dollars. Sandy Alomar Jr..."Who is supposedly our starting catcher, yet he can't hit, can't run and has bad legs."
Great answer! Here's others for 200...Mr. Versatility according to his manager because he screws up on the bases, behind the plate and in the field..."Who is Josh Paul."
Others for 300...Mark Johnson..."Who is the guy left off the playoff roster in 2000 and can't hit a lick."
As we move along to others for 400 dollars we see...One of the best closers in the game as long as his team is leading..."That MUST be who is Keith Foulke."
and finally under others for 500 dollars....Lorenzo Barcelo, Kelly Wunsch, Antonio Osuna..."Who are members of the best bullpen in baseball IF they stay healthy. If not, it's M*A*S*H The Sequel"
O.K. our last category is intangibles for 100 dollars...You never know what he'll do in a fit of childish anger; see 1994, and 1997..."Who is Jerry Reinsdorf"
We go to intangibles for 200 dollars, some say he's a master of players. Yet he can't seem to teach fundamentals and worse doesn't seem to care....."Who is Jerry Manuel, otherwise known as Manager Gandhi."
Intangibles for 300 bucks asks.....the author of "Shouldergate", trading for a wrong guy with the Dodgers, saying the media is against the team and that the Sox are about to go broke..."You must mean our intrepid General Manager Kenny Williams."
Two questions left, here's 400 dollars worth of intagibles...Playoff caliber teams the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies. "Who the Sox play this year instead of patsies like the Brewers, Pirates and Reds."
Here's the last question on the board, intangibles for 500 dollars.... 27-11 "What is the record last year against the Tigers and Royals. 33 PERCENT of last year's total wins!!! Can those teams be as bad again?"
Joe, you got everyone right. What a fan!!! Are you ready now for White Sox Final Jeopardy?????
"Sure, I'm ready to go."
O.K. your final jeopardy category is World Series....the final White Sox jeopardy question is.....what is that? You've got 30 seconds.....(Jeopardy theme song plays while Joe looks ashen, he finally tosses aside his pen in disgust as time runs out!)
Joe, why didn't you write an answer to the final White Sox jeopardy question?
"Because I've never seen one in Chicago in my lifetime!!!!!"
Fans no other club in baseball calls itself a "contender" yet has as many questions as the White Sox. From injured players trying to come back, to "can't miss kids" who have to perform, to a manager that seems to defy logic with his moves, to a management team that is inexperienced and seems to be obsessively concerned with the size of the payroll. That isn't to say the Sox can't win the division. If everything goes right they can win 93 games.....but if just one of two things go wrong, they can bottom out to another poor season (say 78-83 wins). For those of you out there "dreaming" of a World Series, should the Sox make the playoffs.....don't hold your breath.

All comments, questions and thoughts are always welcome. Contact me at

Editor's Note:  Mark Liptak is an experienced sports journalist, holding several awards for both his electronic and print media work.  He has held numerous sports reporting positions for various TV and newspaper organizations, including Director of Sports for KNOE-TV (Monroe, Louisiana) and KPVI-TV (Pocatello, Idaho), and sports writer for the Idaho Falls Free Press, where his column "Lip Service" has appeared for for a number of years.  "Lip", his wife, and cats presently live in Chubbuck, Idaho, where they collectively comprise 100 percent of the Pocatello River Valley's long-time Sox Fan population.  

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