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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

Kansas City Blues

Championship greedy Sox Fans?

by
Guy Bacci

Watching your team win its first World Series in 88 years is enough to bring out the philosopher in anybody. Chat with a few Sox fans or peruse the WSI message boards and you’re bound to unearth some deep introspection, such as, “Will I die happy now?” or, “Is one World Series enough for my lifetime?” You may even stumble across a few folks who are wrestling with the idea of Jerry Reinsdorf being the city’s best owner (gasp!) or Kenny Williams becoming the best GM in Chicago history (oh the humanity!).

Older Sox fans are undoubtedly experiencing a great sense of relief, while younger Sox fans are exuberant and glowing with expectations for the future. Those of us somewhere in the middle are trying to balance a combination of the two emotions. On the one hand, a sweet sorrow comes with knowing that the greatest event of our sports-spectating lifetimes has finally come and quickly gone. But there's also an inner-peace involved, vanquishing the demons of unfulfilled dreams that rise within us every spring.

No matter your age, baseball is bound to take on a different meaning for Sox fans. Suddenly, it’s simply a game to be enjoyed, not fretted over. Just look at the calm way (most) Red Sox fans handled their departure from the ’05 playoffs. There were no freak-outs, panic attacks or bitter conversations about a silly curse. Boston fans have an inner-peace that should last a long, long time—for some of them, maybe even the rest of their lives. White Sox fans now share that feeling.

That doesn’t mean the passion will be missing. If anything, 2006 should be a hell of a ride, as Sox fans across the country pile into stadiums to see their defending world champions. U.S. Cellular should be buzzing nearly every game, and even on the road, Sox fans are likely to show in high numbers, just as they did throughout the playoffs. Tucson should see a spike in attendance as well. It’s a celebration that should last at least a year, no matter what jealous Northsiders may tell you.

And now, Sox fans can get a little greedy. You don’t get many chances to put together a team with such strong pitching, so if ever the Southsiders are going to go on a title streak, now is the time. As much as the ’85 Bears persist in our memories, there’s a nagging feeling of a lost opportunity. How could that crew not have won at least two Super Bowls? If Williams can keep his pitchers in the fold, he should be able to sneak in another pennant or two before his time is up.

But regardless of the future, 2005 will mean more to Sox fans than any year to come. There’s nothing like your first time, so they say. It’s hard to imagine ever seeing a grand-slam more meaningful than the one Paul Konerko blasted into the cold, rainy evening on Sunday, October 23. It’s hard to imagine a walk-off homer more magical than Scott Podsednik’s unlikely shot just a few innings later. Those were the greatest times of your Sox-fan life, and they always will be.

And let’s stop to give kudos to the men who made it possible. Can Jerry Reinsdorf really be considered evil anymore? The man did it his way—he ran a business to make a profit and still won a championship. In this day and age, that’s pretty damn impressive. Has he made bone-headed decisions? Yes. His destructive move to SportsChannel was clearly a mistake, but also proved to be ahead of its time. His participation in the ’94 strike was unfortunate, but he wasn’t the only bad guy involved. And maybe he was trying to what he thought was right for the game by getting player salaries under control. The most unfortunate thing about 1994, in my humble opinion, is that the owners eventually caved after being bold enough to cancel a World Series. I have a feeling Reinsdorf was not one of the owners who caved.

But enough about ’94—those demons, along with the rest of them, are slayed for good. Jayson Stark of ESPN was kind enough to rip Reinsdorf for ’94 just days after the 2005 World Series was over. It appears a world championship hasn’t done much to win over any friends in the national media. ESPN decided the Cleveland Indians deserved to be atop the early 2006 power rankings. The voters also did their share of dissing. Ozzie Guillen’s Manager of the Year award was the only extra hardware given to the Pale Hose, further proving those awards shouldn’t be voted on until after the playoffs.

It’s yet to be seen what kind of love Kenny Williams will receive. Maybe Michael Lewis will write a book on how Williams re-shaped the method of building a World Series champion in the post-steroid era. It’s the least he can do after turning Williams into Billy Beane’s whipping boy in Moneyball. Let’s see, has Beane won a World Series? At the very least, Williams won’t have to worry about an angry Stephy come SoxFest.

As for those philosophical questions, there’s no telling if a World Series title will allow you die with a smile on your face. If it does, then more power to you. Is one World Series enough for your lifetime? That probably depends on how much of your lifetime is left. But if we’re still celebrating the ’85 Super Bowl 20 years later, I’m guessing the answer is yes.


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.

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