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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

Beat the Cubs!

2004 Edition for WSI's Totally Biased Sox Fans

by George Bova

When it comes to being a persecuted minority, can there be any group of fans in professional sports to compare to the wretched plight of Sox Fans in Chicago?  Of course not.  Recent events underscore this ugly truth and doubtlessly events to come this week will underscore it again.  It's time for the annual series with the Lovable Losers!

For over 100 years America's Second City has made a home in the South Armour neighborhood for its American League baseball franchise.  Founder Charles Comiskey started his franchise there in 1900, playing at 39th and Princeton in an abandoned cricket ground.  Sox Fans have been making a pilgrimage to this same neighborhood for over a century, an unparalleled experience in all of American professional sports.  Go ahead and try to name another professional sports franchise to have roots as deep as our Sox bound into its South Side turf?  There aren't any.

In fact the rooting interests of Sox Fans bound to the South Side is far closer to that of collegiate sports fans.  Like college fans, our allegiance is deep and strong precisely because it is an interest that transcends mere fashion.  Illinois' Fighting Illini might be the most popular team across the entire Land of Lincoln, but just cross the Mississippi and find out what the folks in Iowa and Missouri think about them.  Sox Fans might live far from the "campus" at 35th & Shields, but we all know damned well where Ground Zero for our team is.  There isn't another pro team that even comes close to it.

The Sox and Sox Fans are an anomaly in the world of professional sports.  We're devoted and we're parochial.  We're prideful and we're obstinate, too.  If our team was carpetbagging from one town to the next, or jumping from one ballpark to another across the city, maybe our allegiance wouldn't be so strong and our purpose in supporting its cause less central to a Sox Fan's very being.

Make no mistake about Sox Fans who have survived the 23 years of missteps by current ownership, and the missteps of the previous 63 years by prior owners, too.  We have a central purpose, and it is very much in keeping with collegiate fans with narrow parochial interests in their team, too.

Like those collegiate boosters, we Sox Fans seek the reflected glory only our team can bring us through winning it all.  On autumn Saturady afternoons across America, football stadiums on college campuses across the country are filled with fans who share the exact same passion Sox Fans have:  winning the big game against a team they simply cannot stand. 

Michigan want to kill Ohio State. 
Nebraska wants to lay the pipe on Oklahoma.
Purdue wants to embarrass Indiana.

And dammit, the Sox want to humiliate those frauds, those cheats, those slothful pigs peeing in the sinks and calling it a "shrine", the Lovable Losers from the North Side.

Does the Chicago media understand this?  Gimme a break!  They don't get it.  Half of them couldn't have found their way from O'hare to downtown if the cabbie wasn't there to drive them to their hotel on their first trip to the city.  As for the handful of native Chicagoans in the local media, they long ago surrendered whatever understanding they had of the South Side (if they had any to begin with) simply to sell more newspapers, or build a half-point share increase in their listening audience.  Sox Fans, they're in this for themselves, so forget about them treating you fairly.

Fake traditions sell what Chicago's media needs to move off the showroom floor.

:: Throw back fake home run balls?  The media will never reveal the charade.
:: Serve lousy food?  The media will still call it the best.
:: Keep alive a dead man's 7th inning shtick with an endless list of B-grade celebrities?  Everyone from Iowa wishes they could catch their show back in Des Moines.
:: Pee in the sinks?  The media will overlook the stench of urine and Pine Sol throughout the concourse.
:: Fan murdered across the street from the "shrine?"  Bury the story in the metro section and truncate the coverage with a picture of giant snails.

Sox Fans, this isn't our town to be treated fairly by the media.  Deal with it.  Being prideful is something they simply don't understand.  They whine over a new Sox TV commercial that highlights the difference between "us vs. them" and never comprehend that the message was never intended for their amusement.  The Sox speak to us, and we're the only ones who matter. 

Would Michigan fans in Columbus, Ohio ever have such comprehension problems as do Chicago's local media for Sox Fans?  Of course not.  Instead the media will whine plenty more about the Sox this weekend because whining about the Sox is what sells their newspapers and increases their listening audience. 

Imagine Ohio State's Buckeyes playing their home games in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  Have you got a vivid picture inside your head?  Good!  Now you know what it's like to be a Sox Fan in Chicago.

The best way to deal with this persecution is to root our team on to victory.  Beat the Cubs over and over and over again.  They glorify losing, even naming their team Lovable Losers, something Sox Fans would never do.  They embarrass all of Chicago with their silly belief in curses and childish traditions.  We'll make no accommodation for their way of thinking because we find it abhorrent.  If we have no local media to back us up like the one in Columbus does for the Buckeyes, then dammit we'll play our "home" games in the middle of the North Sider's turf and humiliate them even more.

The Chicago media loves the Lovable Losers, but Sox Fans love the Sox.  If beating their team makes them hate us even more, so much the better.  We hate them right back.

Us vs. them?  It goes way beyond the playing field.

Chicagoans who believe in winning instinctively know which team to root for this weekend.  Being cute and glorifying losing is a poor reflection on our city.  They're proud of the Sox because Chicago is a proud city. 

Losing ain't cute, especially in Chicago.  Proud Chicagoans are proud of the Sox -- and they don't even have to be from the South Side to know why. 

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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