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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

 

Chicago Proud
for Our Sox!

by George Bova

Man Up, Sox!

by George Bova

Chicago's 2008 baseball season isn't a lost cause, but only thanks to our Sox!

Nothing -- and Sox Fans know this too well, NOTHING -- has been won so far.  Chasing off the false pennant aspirations of Detroit and Cleveland is hardly what we Sox Fans had in mind last February when pitchers and catchers reported,.  Nor did Sox Fans have in mind these past six months to force Minnesota to start crying crocodile tears over losing a coin toss after nothing more consequential than giving up a cheapie 161-foot bomb to Jim Thome to throttle Twins playoff hopes in Game 163 either.

And nobody in Chicago -- or at least not any Sox Fan -- would ever believe racking up an impressive number of regular season wins would somehow make our team entitled to post-season victories, up to and including a trip to the World Series.  Nothing is "gonna to happen" until somebody will man up for the job that needs to be done.

Chicago, meet your team that will man up.  Meet your 2008 Chicago White Sox!

The Sox faced elimination if they couldn't finish off Cleveland last Sunday.  They faced elimination the following day if they couldn't beat Detroit.  As if to underscore the point, Tigers manager Jim Leyland was bringing starting pitchers in from the bullpen for this do-or-die affair. 

And of course the Sox needed to play and win an extra game to finally clinch the division over Minnesota.  It was the aforementioned dead-centerfield drive that cleared the batters' eye that delivered to the Sox the winning difference.

Hell, by the time the Sox reached St. Pete, they had lived through three life and death experiences.  The pressure of performing well in best-of-five playoff games seems positively easy by comparison.

Is taking such a hard path into the post-season such a bad thing?  Hardly.

Maybe there is a lesson here for Sox Fans, the ones who don't remember the 2000 season very well.  Most of us remember it too well for in many ways it laid the foundation for what ultimately became the glorious drive for what any of us only ever wanted just five years later:  A Sox world championship, won fighting and clawing the entire month of September.  The subsequent 11-1 record in October was hardly more than a triumphal march to glory.

The lessons of 2005 Sox championship glory were learned in 2000.

The 2000 White Sox dominated the American League like no Sox team in at least 17 years.  They led the Central Division from April 19 right until the end of the season piling up a league-best 95 wins.  They throttled the very best teams in the league in what WSI remembers as Seven Glorious Days in June.  They entered post-season with home-field advantage assured all the way through Game 7 of the World Series.  It simply doesn't get any better in the regular season.

None of it meant crap and no Sox Fan needs to reminded of it.  The '00 Sox lost three straight games to the wild-card Seattle Mariners and exited the playoffs before any other post-season team.  It's my personal memories of that October as the most painful, dark and empty after any Sox season, easily eclipsing the hurt of seasons like 1989 (last-place for five straight months) and 1997 (pulling the plug on a playoff quest while only trailing by 2-1/2 games in July).

Losing always sucks, but it sucks even worse when it happens in the post-season.  Chicago's winner baseball fans know it too well.  Sox Fans need no lessons about any of this.

The lesson to be learned is only amongst Chicago's fans who still believed losing was lovable back in 2000, the very same ones waving their "W" flags today.  All that chirping last June about the inevitable nature of their future success only makes their October death all the darker.  The worse part of winning all those games in June is the inevitable reality that it won't mean jack unless your team can replicate the same success months from now -- and the opposition starts with the same 0-0 record your team gets.  June counts for jack.

You simply can't grasp championship glory in June, nor July, and not even in August either.  It's only October that matters.  Sox Fans know it like only a champion knows it.

Having beaten the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday night in their fourth do-or-die game in a week, our Sox still face not less than two more do-or-die games if their season is to advance to the American League Championship Series.  Not every member of this team has manned up when it counted, but enough of them have delivered when in counted to make the Chicago's baseball fans proud... at least the ones who truly know and truly appreciate what supporting a true champion is truly about.

The 2008 White Sox truly have the heart of champions.  Can they deliver the results expected of champions? 

Wear black, yell loud, and never settle for anything less than complete and total victory.  That's the White Sox way.

Man up for our Sox and make Chicago proud!


George Bova is editor and founder of White Sox Interactive.  You can write George at george@whitesoxinteractive.com

More features from George Bova here!

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Man Up, Sox?

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