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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

This Old Sox Fan
by Hal Vickery

This weekend as I celebrate my fifty-sixth birthday and the start of my fifty-second season as a Sox fan, Iíd like to share a few thoughts. Around these parts Iím considered an old-timer (or OF as some of us like to say), so unless youíre around my age, consider these thoughts and reflections to be pearls of wisdom. Those of you old enough to know better: please donít blow my cover.

ē When I was growing up, Chicago was a White Sox town. The Sox consistently drew over a million fans every year while the Cubs would draw 750,000 in a good year. Nobody even gave the Cubs a thought until the Sox imploded at the end of the 1967 season just as the Cubs put together a string of winning seasons, their first such string in thirty years. If the Sox find a way to get back to the playoffs, and deep into the playoffs, this year, the worm just might turn again.

ē I used to say Iíd die happy if the Sox ever won the World Series. Now that that has actually happened, Iíve gotten greedy. I canít die happy now until we win another one. I guess that first thought was incompatible with my other one: that I wanted to see a Sox dynasty. Consider the first thought officially abandoned.

ē It is a travesty that Minnie Minoso was again rejected by the Hall of Fame. Minnie was philosophical about it last year, though. When asked about his possible election at a fan luncheon, MInoso said, ďIf I get in the Hall of fame, Iíll be happy. But if I donít make it, Iíll be happy, too.Ē Minnie knows what he did during his career. Itís too bad the morons who elect players to the hall donít.

ē I heard Budlight the other night during the World Baseball Classic tell Jon Miller that he didnít know whether baseball would conduct their own investigation into Barry Bondsí alleged steroid use. Unless he is somehow forced to do so, you can bet nothing will happen. Selig was complicit in the rampant steroid use during the Ď90s. He knows that if he investigates Bonds, other names will come up. His only strategy is to hope it blows over and that Bonds canít play on his bad knees. The fact that Bonds is even at spring training is ludicrous.

ē Tadahito Iguchi is the best number two hitter Iíve seen in a Sox uniform since Nellie Fox. Leave it to the Sox to experiment putting him deeper in the batting order. Was there anybody surprised when moving deeper caused Iguchi to screw up his swing?

ē I still have trouble believing the Sox won the 2005 World Series. Am I the only person still pinching himself to make sure heís awake? The last time the Sox were even in the World Series, I watched it on a 17-inch black and white Sylvania television (with the halo light). Jack Brickhouse and Vin Scully did the play-by-play for NBC, and the Series was simulcast on Channel 9, who televised all Sox daytime home games back then. And network types think todayís arrangement is better? That Joe Buck and Tim McCarver should do the broadcasts instead of the guys who actually followed the teams all season?

ē Continuing along the same line of thought, the first couple of World Series I remember were the Yankees and Dodgers. That meant that Mel Allen and Red Barber were in the TV booth. Imagine them having to give up their seats to Buck and Capt. Obvious. I shudder just thinking about it.

ē Dustin Hermansonís back worries me. Anything that disrupts the bullpen rotation worries me. Iím not worried enough yet to become what WSI refers to as a ďdark cloud.Ē Letís just say Iím concerned until things shake themselves out in the pen.

ē It actually happened Thursday. Pitcher Luis Ayala blew out his arm pitching in the World Baseball Classic as Budlight looked on. Ayala will miss the entire 2006 season because of this misbegotten attempt to juice up spring training. Letís hope this is the last such injury and that this causes baseball to stop the madness.

ē Iíve seen some pretty bad commissioners in my lifetime. There was Ford Frick with his asterisk for Roger Maris to protect Babe Ruth. There was Gen. William Eckert, aka the wrong general. There was Bowie ďBest Interests of BaseballĒ Kuhn. There was Fay Vincent, who should have stayed in the movie business. But no one has been worse than Budlight. He came this close to reinstating Pete Rose, until Rose chose profit over repentance. He presided over the steroid-induced home run chases of the past decade. And now he is endangering playersí careers with the WBC. Maybe Bonds shouldnít be investigated. Maybe it should be the Commissionerís office that should be investigated.

ē Less than two weeks before opening night. It canít come too soon!


Editor's Note: Hal Vickery has been a White Sox fan since 1955 when he was five years old. For much of that time he also had a secondary rooting interest in the Cubs, which he has shown the good sense to abandon. When not cheering for or writing about the Sox, Hal teachers chemistry and physics at North Boone High School, in Poplar Grove, IL. Hal commutes there daily from Joliet, where he lives with his wife Lee, and their dog, Buster T. Beagle. Hal's opinions are not necessarily those of North Boone High School, his wife, or Buster T. Beagle. You can write Hal at hvickery@svs.com.

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