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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

Stay Proud, Sox Fans.

It has been an interesting week to be a Sox Fan living anywhere near Chicago.  We're unquestionably the least understood minority of any group of professional sports fans in the city, and perhaps the entire country, too.  To hear the local media's talking heads tell it, none of us have any good reason for being Sox Fans unless we had the misfortune of being born with the affliction.  It makes it all the more understandable that most of them treat us like some sort of lepers, or perhaps carnival freaks.  Their underlying tone is unmistakable to any Sox Fan:  Who from Chicago wouldn't be a Cubs fan? 

Like dirt-farming yokels visiting the county fair, the media has suddenly arrived on our doorstep this week, not to find out who we are or what makes us tick, but get a gander at the bearded lady of Chicago sports, White Sox Fans.  As editor of this website, I was contacted by a reporter for one of the large Chicago newspapers.  They were interested in hearing what we Sox Fans think about the Cubs' season even as the last remains of ours swirls down the drain.  This website has been here six years and this is the first time I've ever been contacted in this manner.

Mind you--this is a great topic, and certainly deserving of coverage to the Chicago readership they both serve and cover as journalists.  But why ask these questions now?  Sox Fans are an interesting lot 24/7/365, aren't we?  Of course the answer is we're only interesting when talking about the Cubs--because isn't that where everything interesting springs from?  They don't get it, and they never will...

I returned the call, got no reply, sent an email, and received a polite response that the article had already run.  Sure enough, there it was on page one of the front page, continuing onto the back page, a collection of quotes from real-life Sox Fans attending the last Sox home game at U.S. Cellular Field this season.  A journalist is only as good as his quotes and these were very good, and perhaps even representative of how Sox Fans felt that afternoon.

But so what?

The real issue was not covered, and in fact has never been covered by Chicago's media.  That newspaper didn't get my quotes, but if they had, here's what they would have learned.

For the true Sox Fans (not Cubs haters), nothing compares to a Sox victory. That's where we derive true joy. However the Sox don't win nearly often enough. So in a pinch, a Cubs loss will do. To a Sox Fan's way of thinking, anyone who calls their team "lovable losers" deserves exactly what they get. That's the only reason we derive satisfaction from the Cubs losing. When they lose, everything is right in our universe--for truly they deserved it.

Winning is the point. That's why no Sox Fan ever called their team "lovable losers." It's also why we frown on people throwing back home run balls.  There is nothing cute about throwing back an opponent's home run ball--unless of course the ball was jokingly aimed at the offending pitcher's head. Sox Fans don't think losing is cute, and there is nothing cute about serving up home run balls.

Sox Fans are a minority in Chicago. Most of us feel hopelessly disenfranchised by the mainstream media in this town. Asking us questions about the Cubs' success only underscores how ignored we truly feel. It's as though we exist only to be the counterbalance to the giddy nonsense that passes for baseball during that summer-long Mardi Gras the Tribune holds at Clark & Addison every year. Your Cubs-centric questions to Sox Fans are the problem, not the solution. That's disappointing...

How do we get the Chicago media up to speed about Sox Fans?  Here are some ideas.  First, read this column by Ray Ratto published earlier this week in the San Francisco Chronicle.  This is the essential point he makes about Sox Fans that to my knowledge I've never read (or heard) anywhere in the Chicago or national media. (I'm guessing this is because the Chicago media is too busy fawning over the Cubs, while the national media is too busy fawning over the Red Sox.)

"Give me a White Sox fan any day. There's a team that has hosed its fans more completely than nearly any other, and that includes two terms under the best and most fan-friendly owner in history, Bill Veeck.

"Do you hear them whining endlessly about how God wants them to suffer? Do they bore you with tales of Shoeless Joe Jackson, or Luke Appling, or Wild Bill Dietrich, and how each one has cursed them from beyond the grave? Do they go on and on about Arnold Rothstein and Charlie Comiskey and Chick Gandil and how they robbed their great grandfather of a two-day bender back in '19?

"Of course not. They say, 'The Sox? They stink. Another beer over here, Hap.'  They don't long-suffer, and if they do, they don't do it loud enough for the rest of the neighborhood to hear. And they've known circles of hell you've never even driven through on your way to the company picnic."

I would further suggest reading White Sox Interactive's "Welcome Sox Fans" manifesto.  It was written over six years ago, and it's the essential point that drives the editorial content that has made WSI the largest and most successful independent Sox Fans website on the internet. I believe Ratto's west coast readers came closer to hearing this essential point about Chicago's Sox Fans than did the readers of that Chicago newspaper.  Typical Sox Fan luck, eh Sox Fans?

As we march forward into this coldest of winters, please remember, Sox Fans, that nobody can put the blame on you for any of this.  Whether it's misguided ownership, managerial incompetence, or an indifferent or even hostile local media, you only need to be true to your beliefs and soldier on bravely... keeping up the good fight for the Chicago baseball championship now 86+ years in the making.  Chicago is proud of our White Sox, because Chicago is proud of you.

Let's Go Go Go White Sox--Chicago's Proud of You!


George Bova is editor and founder of White Sox Interactive.  You can write George at george@whitesoxinteractive.com

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