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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

A Different Winter
by Hal Vickery

It doesn’t seem like it was just a year ago that I was pinching myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. And I wasn’t the only one. The Sox had won their first pennant in eighty-eight years. It was hard to believe. It seemed like a dream.

Of course time passes, and all good things come to an end. The St. Louis Cardinals are now champions, and the glory that was 2005 is now only a memory.

Now comes the long winter, one like so many long winters before, but this one somehow is different. Unless you are in at least your mid-nineties, you had never seen a Sox championship until 2005. Now that we’ve seen the view from the mountaintop, anything else is a disappointment.

That was obvious in the attitude of Sox fans, both here at WSI and those who called sportsblab radio stations. The Sox were in the thick of the race until late September, but fans were upset and disappointed.

Why?

The reason is very simple. Once you’ve had that championship, one isn’t enough. You want more.

So Sox fans who during the tenures of Gene Lamont, Terry Bevington, or Jerry Manuel would have been satisfied with a ninety-win season now are outraged that the Sox were unable to repeat even a playoff trip with ninety wins.

Blame is being thrown around. “Solutions” abound. Brian Anderson didn’t hit his weight most of the season, so the Sox need to make a trade with the Phillies to bring back Aaron Rowand.

Juan Uribe had his career season in 2005 and must be sent elsewhere. His obvious replacement is seventy-nine year old Omar Vizquel…or is it Alex Rodriguez?

Mark Buehrle should be sent to St. Louis where he wants to be. Joe Crede should be dumped before his back gives out. Jose Contreras is seventy-three years old and should be sent packing since he’s obviously on a downhill skid.

And these solutions are nothing compared to the invective hurled at Neal Cotts, who in tandem with Cliff Politte cost the Sox any chance of repeating by using a gasoline pump instead of a fire hose when coming out of the bullpen last year.

There was a time, not all that long ago, on the WSI message boards when someone would ask the question, “Would you settle for a decade (or twenty-five years, or whatever) of last place finishes for one World Series championship?” Inevitably about ninety to ninety-five percent of the responses were, “Of course!”

Then some guy named TornLabrum would say, “That just shows you how much Chicago has adopted the attitude of losers! Can you see Yankees fans responding that way? Can you see them satisfied with anything less than a World Championship every year?

“I won’t settle for one championship,” he’d go on. I want a dynasty, and I won’t settle for anything less. The Yankees have won, what, twenty-six championships in the last eighty years or so? It seems to me that we’re entitled to no less than that.”

“Oh, no,” would come the response. “We’ll be happy with just one before we die.”

Now it seems that Sox fans really weren’t content with one championship before they died. It seems that they want more than ninety wins and third place finishes. They’re looking for ways to repeat the glory that was 2005. They’ve forgotten all about how they had felt before 2005.

Yes, 2005 changed everything for Sox fans. They found out just how great it was to be associated with a winner. They found out just how addictive that feeling can be. And besides, it gave them something to answer Cubs fans with when they started talking smack. It was good to be able to respond with, “Two words, buddy: World Champions!”

Being good isn’t enough anymore. Neither is being better than the Cubs. The feeling is so much better when you are better than anybody else, period. Sox fans want that feeling back. They want a dynasty.

It took one World Series championship, but Sox fans have finally come around to my way of thinking.

______________________________________________________________________

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.

More features from Hal Vickery here!

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