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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

Kansas City Blues

Escape from Cubbie Carnival!

by
Guy Bacci

So the ball is gone. The supposed symbol of Cubsí cursedom blown to smithereens.

If only it were that easy.

The curse is still very much alive, and talk of the curse will swell to an intolerable level as the 2004 season progresses. Prepare yourselves, Southside faithful. The video of the ballís destruction will be replayed thousands of times. Can you imagine if the Cubs reach October? Fox will cut away to clips of the Bartman Ball Bash after every pitch. It could even rival the number of times they cut away for a close-up of Kerry Woodís wife. And heaven forbid the Cubs fail in October again, weíll be seeing The Ball footage for years to come.

The Ball -- may it rest in peace -- has undoubtedly had an impact on the future fans of Chicago. Young, impressionable observers are either entranced by the hoopla, or utterly disgusted. It doesnít take a rocket scientist to figure out which of those swing-voters will become Cub fans and which will become Sox fans.

Itís times like these when the Sox Band of Brothers is spiritually connected. We canít comprehend Cubsí fans obsessions with events off the field. We donít understand how one foul ball could be a national phenomenon, nor do we care. The sign that was seen behind the hosts of the Today Show was the clever idea of one bold Sox fan, but it spoke for us all: ďGET OVER IT, GO TO A SOX GAME.Ē

Believe it or not, someone is listening. Out there somewhere is a young Chicagoan, most likely wise beyond his (or her) years, who is tired of the absurdity of it all. Heís looking for an escape from the carnival that is the Cubs. Heís looking to root for a team that doesnít talk about curses or goats or babes in bikinis. Heís wanting to distance himself from obnoxious celebrities like Bill Murray, Jim Belushi, Billy Crogan, et al. Heís hoping to someday hear the Seventh Inning Stretch sung in harmony.

So whereís he gonna turn? Welcome aboard, young brother! Thereís plenty of room on this Sox bandwagon. Many of us were in your shoes at one point in our lives.

Keep in mind, though, this bandwagon isnít for everyone. Undoubtedly, there are many young fans being enchanted by the Cubsí publicity. They want to run with the popular crowd; they donít want to be taunted at school. They think itís cool that America has fallen for the sappy Cubs storyline. They prefer bleachers over fireworks, ivy over night games. Thatís fine. They can make their own choices. We donít want Ďem anyway.

Weíll take the few recruits who show up on the Sox doorstep because the Bartman Ball Bash put them over the edge. We know theyíre out there. Hopefully theyíre bold enough to step forward.

If they need some coaxing, just consider this comment from the man who organized the destruction of The Ball: ďIt sends a message: If anybody wants to interfere with the Cubs going to the World Series in the future, they can just look at what's left of this ball.Ē

Ummmmmm... what does that mean, exactly? If Roger Clemens defeats the Cubs in Game Seven of the NLCS, are they going to stuff him into a wood-chipper a la Fargo? I guess we should be grateful they only pulverized the ball instead of lynching Steve Bartman.

Okay, so thatís a little unfair. Iím crossing the line and I donít need to. After all, the prospective recruit doesnít care about the Cubsí deficiencies anyway. He wants to know whatís in it for him. He wants to make sure that joining the Sox Army isnít a death sentence.

Sorry, I canít guarantee it wonít be.

Itís never a smooth ride on the Southside. We suffer. More than Cub fans, because we donít turn our suffering into some sort of celebrated hardship. Joining our ranks is not easy. It takes courage, fortitude, and loyalty. If youíre up to the task, you may find it to be rewarding. Otherwise, youíll likely crumble under the pressure.

Youíve noticed the Cubs signing Kerry Wood and Derrek Lee to long-term deals, and you recognize the Cubs are finally starting to act like a major franchise in a large market. Donít be expecting such behavior on the Southside. White Sox baseball is not for those with weak stomachs.

But consider this: In 1984, the buzz around town was all about the Sox, especially after reaching the ALCS in í83 and acquiring Tom Seaver in the off-season. Now 20 years later, the roles are reversed. Greg Maddux has joined the Cubs, and theyíre a supposed lock for the NL Central. Of course you know what happened in í84 -- the Cubs came from nowhere to win the division, while the Sox and Tom Seaver collapsed.

Imagine the sweetness of the Sox reaching the post-season in 2004 and the Cubs narrowly missing. (I know, it takes a wild imagination, but if you try really hard, you can see it...)

Now donít you want to be a part of that? Or do you want to spend another season glamorizing a curse and a billy goat?

Donít wait any longer. Operators are standing by to reserve your seat on the Ozzie Express. Donít hedge now, young brother. If youíre sick of Cub mania, the cure is just a few miles south.


Guy Bacci is from the north suburbs of Chicago, where he couldn't avoid growing up as a pampered and snotty Cubs fan. Luckily, he saw the light in 1985 and never looked back.† He loved the hard-working, old-school tactics of Carlton Fisk, who would become his all-time favorite player.† His most memorable moment was going to a Sox double-header with his grandfather, who insisted on staying all nine hours (including a long rain delay).† Guy is a journalism grad from Northwestern, currently residing in Seattle, where he works as a computer programmer and freelance writer. He can be reached at guybacci@yahoo.com.

More features from Guy Bacci here!

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