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WSI News - WSI Spotlight


Chicago Proud
for Our Sox!

by George Bova

The Power of the Truth!

by George Bova

The end of summer is supposed to be when everyone disappears into the woods or off to the beach and nothing much happens until everyone returns after Labor Day.  Not this year.

Nearly lost in the multitude of stories this past week was the story inside the story regarding the resignation of one of Chicago's biggest sports mediots, the dope who used to earn a living as a feature writer at the Chicago Sun-Times.  You may recall he got canned from another local job he had spouting nonsense on the airwaves at WMVP sports radio so now he has finally crapped out of Chicago.  Hawk Harrelson made the mistake of giving this clown the publicity his ego craves during a very public spat three years ago.  It predictably did nothing more than give the mediot more publicity.  Eventually Hawk compared him to a singing bird that flies in an ever diminishing radius of concentric circles until it finally flies up its own rear end, thus the term "Heinybird".  The term sort of stuck, at least amongst Sox Fans.  At White Sox Interactive we've studiously avoided giving the Heinybird any credit or recognition.  He's gone -- ten years too late, but thankfully so just the same. 

While Sox Fans (and presumably Hawk Harrelson, too) all rejoice, there is plenty of news surrounding what exactly prompted the Heinybird's resignation.  As you might expect it had something to do with our Chicago White Sox.  As you might not expect, it also had to do with the race for President of the United States.  Delicious indeed!

We Sox Fans are used to having one of our own running the City of Chicago.  The long-deceased Mayor Daley and now his kid have been running city government as Sox Fans for most of the living memory of the average Sox Fan.  While Chicagoans know this local fact, it's obviously not a national story and rightfully remains unknown to outsiders.  So to a national audience it is a news story that one of the two leading finalists for becoming the next POTUS would be from Chicago and when asked an innocuous question about his baseball rooting interests, offers an answer that is different than what they would otherwise think he ought to say

Barack Obama told the wider world he supports our Sox to no great controversy.  What Obama also said is why he doesn't support the team everyone nationally would think he ought to support -- proud Chicagoan they know him to be.  He dissed Cubs fans.

What caused the Heinybird to quit wasn't the Sox or the presidential candidate.  And it certainly wasn't his lame excuse that "newspapers are dead" that he attempted to use to cover what else happened to set him off.  No, what set him off was his editor at the Sun-Times and the editor's policy of giving each feature columnist first choice of topic on alternating days.  The Heinybird wanted to write about Barack Obama's comments.  But purely by luck it was the other feature columnist's turn to choose his topic first and he chose to write about Barack Obama's comments.  It was Rick Telander's turn to pick first and that's why his column about Obama's comments appeared in the Sun-Times on August 27 and not the Heinybird's.

Given all the personal vitriol the Heinybird has poured out these past many years towards the Sox, Sox Fans, and most of all owner Jerry Reinsdorf -- the owner that has delivered seven of the last eight world championships the city has enjoyed these past 25 years -- you can understand why he would freak out. 

And so he quit and everyone is happy it happened, not just Sox Fans but his coworkers at the Sun-Times, and other members of the Chicago media fraternity including several who've been calling him the "windsock" for years.

And what, pray tell, did Barack Obama say that set off the Heinybird -- and a few other sports mediots like the pseudo-intellectual who spends his afternoons belittling his callers and listeners on sports blab radio?  Nothing but the obvious truth that any Sox Fan knows too well. 

'The Cubs ... they're nice. You go to Wrigley Field, you have a beer ... there are beautiful people out there, people aren't watching the game.  That's not serious. White Sox, that's baseball."

There isn't a Sox Fan reading this that doesn't know too well why Barack Obama -- a fellow Sox Fan -- would speak this truth.  We know his sentiments because we've lived with what only another Sox Fan would know from first-hand experience.  It's this nugget of truth that nobody besides a Sox Fan could ever understand or fully appreciate.

It makes no difference that the city had gone 80+ years without a baseball championship.  It makes no difference that only the Sox have delivered the city from this epic famine of baseball championships.  It makes no difference how many games the Sox win.  It makes no difference how much we explain ourselves as only wanting to see the Sox win.

When confronted with a rabid Cubs fan, we Sox Fans all know -- and quite-obviously Barack Obama knows it, too -- precisely where the conversation will turn:  Attendance. 

We've all heard it.  "At least we fill our ballpark."  It would be laughably funny if the sentiment wasn't delivered with such doe-eyed sincerity.  To a Cubs fan, every butt in a seat is a butt to be counted, no matter how big a clueless butt it might be.  What the Heinybird and the psuedo-intellectual sports blab radio dope fail to realize is that only Cubs fans uniquely trot out this pathetic defense of their rooting allegiance.  They have no other defense because the century-long futility of their ballclub offers them nothing else.  That's what makes them so uniquely pathetic!

Attracting tourists who believe the myths created by the Cubs organization has been central to the marketing of the ballclub for over 25 years.  Back in 1983 when Cubs manager Lee Elia went off on his profanity-laced tirade about "those 3,000 so-called fans showing up every day, ripping everything you do" many don't realize he meant it literally.  There really were only 3,000 fans there!  And now that the myths have taken hold, today they fill those empty seats with people fond of watching ivy grow, beer flow, and boobs giggle.  Oh, the truth hurts!  No wonder Cubs fans are so up in arms!

Every seat filled with an idle and vapid brain in this summer-long Mardi Gras is just one more "fan" in the 3 million reasons a Cubs fan finds validation for his uniquely pathetic rooting interest.  It's that simple.  It's precisely what Barack Obama was trying to say.

Yes, it surprises out of towners to find out a Chicagoan doesn't root for the Cubs.  Sox Fans know it and Barack Obama knows it, too.

Yes, it's annoying to Sox Fans because only we would ever have to defend why we support winning baseball, and not the other kind.  Sox Fans know it and Barack Obama knows it, too.

And yes,  like any other Sox Fan. Barack Obama needed to point out precisely what essential difference he draws between himself and the conventional wisdom about the state of baseball in America's Second City.   If you ever needed any more validation of Obama's sincere support of the Chicago White Sox, this ought to seal it.  He's one of us.

And now the Heinybird has flown off to the nether regions of the cable TV dial and internet blogosphere where his petty and vindictive nature can be swallowed whole by the wider world of dense and wild-eyed layabouts. 

He has found his natural habitat.  Predictably, his natural habitat has nothing to do with our White Sox.

A good thing.

George Bova is editor and founder of White Sox Interactive.  You can write George at

More features from George Bova here!

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