Community  

 
 Message Boards  

 WSI Photo Gallery  

Post of the Week  

 Chat  

 

 

  2013 White Sox  

 Season Schedule  

 

2005 Championship

 

WSI Extras  

 WSI Interviews

  Audio Memories

  2002 Disaster!

2001 Season Fun!

2000 Champions!

Fun & Games

History & Glory

Sox Greats
Sox Quotables
Sox Fight Songs
Old Comiskey Park

     

   
WSI News - WSI Spotlight

Kansas City Blues

Win or Die Trying?

by
Guy Bacci

Suddenly, Iíve got a really bad feeling.

Maybe this is what happens after youíve been a Sox fan for 20 years. April rolls around and the optimism you had in late February slowly dwindles. A friend of mine recently reminded me that this is the 20th anniversary of my Sox fandom, which caused me to do three things: 1) Marvel at how fast 20 years can fly by; 2) Get depressed about how old I am; 3) Reflect on the Sox accomplishments during my tenure as a fan.

Accomplishments is putting it nicely, because in reality, our Pale Hose havenít accomplished a whole hell of a lot during the time Iíve been rooting for them. As a matter of fact, if I had to sum up the past 20 years in a few words, Iíd probably choose ďmediocrityĒ or ďfailed expectations.Ē From 1985 to 2004, the Sox regular-season record is 1618-1551, a winning percentage of .511.

Even more painful is the fact that the Sox have finished in second place nine times over the past 20 seasons. Talk about coming up short. And Iím not even including the stunningly disappointing Ď84 campaign, which came before my consciousness as a fan. After making a shocking run at the juiced-up Oakland Aís in 1990, the Sox underachieved for two agonizing years before finally winning the division in 1993. But that group of players only got one shot in the post-season, as the subsequent strike forced the Sox into a youth movement by the end of the Ď90s. Another astonishing run in 2000 was followed by three more disappointing seasons. At least you can say the organization has been consistent Ö consistently frustrating.

I suppose cheering on a .500 team is better than rooting for a team that completely sucks. Sox fans can take solace in the fact that they enter each season with a reasonable amount of hope, which is more than can be said for fans of the Pirates or Brewers or Royals. But itís also a far cry from the 13-straight division titles won by the Atlanta Braves. Imagine that for a moment Ö13 consecutive titles, 13 years in a row of playoff baseball. Sox fans would chop off their left arms for such a run, which would result in a drastic lack of clapping at U.S. Cellular Field, but at least the park would be full.

Granted, the Braves are an abnormality, and an optimist would say Sox fans should be grateful that they havenít had to root for a lousy team in a long, long time. The last truly terrible team on the Southside was the í89 club, which finished in seventh place with 69 wins. But somehow, watching a team that doesnít play up to its potential is more aggravating than cheering on a team that doesnít have a prayer.

Which brings me back to that bad feeling. I canít help but see another 83-win season on the horizon, especially with Freddie Garcia looking disinterested and Jose Contreras looking like Dan Wright. Unlike most experts, Iím not as concerned about the loss of Carlos Lee and Magglio Ordonez. I still believe the offense will be able to hold its own. I praised Kenny Williams all winter and Iím not about to stop now. I think the media is underestimating the benefit of plugging the gaping holes at catcher and second base.

But I can see Garcia, Contreras, Orlando Hernandez and Jon Garland getting pummeled in the wind tunnel of The Cell. The Sox will only go as far as the pitching staff takes them. A decline from Shingo Takatsu is possible, and a rude welcome to the American League could be awaiting Luis Vizcaino and Dustin Hermanson.

This is what itís like to be a Sox fan. You come to expect the worst. You come to expect 83 wins, even though you know the talent on the field has the potential to win 93. Twenty years of mediocrity will do that to you.

Not to say there havenít been great memories during those 20 years. Just having a chance to watch Carlton Fisk was worth all the frustration. Iíll never forget staying up past my bedtime, huddled under the covers with a small black-and-white TV, watching Pudge bark at Deion Sanders, or tag out two Yankees at home plate on the same play. Likewise, Frank Thomas has been amazing to witness. His uncanny patience and power to all fields, especially during the early years of his career, were mesmerizing.

And even though the magical seasons have been few and far between, they were magical nonetheless. I clung to every pitch of the 1990 campaign, from the emergence of Jack McDowell (who couldnít hold Dave Stewartís jock), to the save record for Bobby Thigpen, to the final days of Old Comiskey Park. Bo Jacksonís 1993 division-clinching homer still induces chills. And the brawl with Detroit that set the tone for a wild 2000 season was classic.

But fans across Chicago are aching for more, especially after watching what Boston indulged in last year. Williams certainly deserves credit for taking an admirable shot at glory each and every season. Yet despite all his efforts, heís managed to do nothing more than those before him. Win or die trying? Please, spare us. Mediocrity has been the mantra for 20 long years.

And I fear for at least one more.


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!

Have a Thought about
Win or Die Trying?

You Can Put it on the Board -- Yes!



1 to 1 of 1

Search For:
Search in:
And in:
Any Words All Words

News Categories

Totally biased Sox news from White Sox Interactive!

EXCLUSIVE Sox features from WSI.

Full Sox coverage featuring the unique WSI slant!

The Totally Biased Game Recap, another WSI EXCLUSIVE!

YOUR chance to be featured at White Sox Interactive!

The funniest and most-noteworthy posts from the Sox Clubhouse message board.

The internet's largest FREE Sox news database, sorted by month.

The internet's largest FREE Sox news database, sorted by day.


WSI Spotlight

72 Sox Celebration Recap

72 Sox Where Are They Now

Ears and Appendices

Sox & the A-word

Part 2: Sox and the Media

Sox and the Media

A Second City Trophy

In Defense of Sox Hitting

Sox Quest

On the Brink

WSI News System Page Views: 23,574,663