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Chicago Proud
for Our Sox!

by George Bova

TEN YEARS AT WSI!

by George Bova


The original WSI flying sock debuted in 1998.

Thanksgiving isn't the normal holiday anyone ever associates with baseball.  Memorial Day, Fourth of July and certainly the holiest of holies, Opening Day, spark sunny memories spent at the ballpark, but hardly ever would a Thanksgiving feast conjure up such imagery.  Yet it was upon a Thanksgiving that White Sox Interactive launched back on November 26, 1998.  As it turns out a unique Thanksgiving launch would be only the first of many unique events these past ten years -- all of them what has made WSI a place apart on the internet for Sox Fans across Chicago and across the wider world to celebrate our team's successes, grouse about their defeats, but most of all to call uniquely our own.

Who would have believed it way back on Thanksgiving in 1998?  Certainly not me. 

I just wanted to build a website and learn a new skill -- like so many others for anyone over age 25 -- a skill too important not to learn.  Publishing material on the world wide web was far more complicated back then and most 'net users never attempted it.  Publishing material was a significantly greater feat than it is in today's world of instant blog software and set-up packages.  The notion of painlessly building a "facebook" type community was utterly beyond the pale, too.  Facebook didn't exist.  The world has changed and certainly for the better.

The point is that White Sox Interactive was never meant to merely be a "community" and it wasn't ever meant to be an endless stream-of-conscious blog posts for anyone's self-aggrandizement either.  From it's very start ten years ago, White Sox Interactive has always been a website.  More specifically, White Sox Interactive has always been what our very first masthead proclaimed exactly ten years ago: 

A Website Devoted To The Fans of the Chicago White Sox
Click above to see our very first home page, circa 1998

There was exactly one person assisting me in the hours following the Bova family Thanksgiving feast that evening back in 1998:  My daughter.  Sweetpea was just two years-old.  Since her infant brother Pants was still too young to share her crayons or toys, she watched and waited turns to play with her dad the hot new computer game of the time:   Reader Rabbit Pre-School.

I've never kept count but I believe White Sox Interactive has benefited from the contributions of not less than 100 other Sox Fans over the past ten years.  It's a very big number.  None of us pay for this privilege.  Everything you see has been created strictly on a voluntary basis.  Again WSI is unique, but that all came later.

My first goals for WSI were modest but significant.  In the mid-90's there weren't any websites of any consequence maintained by Sox Fans.  Typical of the time was "Bill's White Sox Page" that consisted of hardly more than a few pictures of old Sox baseball cards.  Given all the negativity surrounding the ballclub in that "White Flag" era, the lack of a significant White Sox fan site only helped perpetuate the nonsensical conventional Chicago media stereotype that Sox Fans didn't care about their team.  I have -- along with most others contributing at WSI -- taken special glee these past ten years poking my thumb into the eye of the city's sports mediots for vainly-attempting to keep their myths alive.  Some of them still have Chicago media jobs, but most of them don't and their numbers are shrinking rapidly.  Yes, the world has changed and definitely for the better.

My modest goal to add one new feature to WSI each week quickly led to more content than could be contained on WSI's front page as the 1999 home page clearly illustrates:

Totally Biased.  Utterly Petty.  Completely Unobjective.
Click above to see WSI's home page, circa 1999


Today's flying sock first took flight at Rivals in 2000.

White Sox Interactive has undergone several permutations these past ten years.  For example not less than five different host providers have served WSI's pages to the world wide web.  Most famously (or would "infamously" be the better word?) were the years of 2000-01 when I signed White Sox Interactive to a publishing agreement with the old Rivals.com sports network.  Their network collapsed under its own weight but WSI emerged as one of only a few survivors.  A good idea is timeless. 

Obviously there is plenty more to this story and you can find little pieces of it all through the thousands of pages that now comprise White Sox Interactive.  It was five years ago this fifth anniversary tribute summed up the early history of White Sox Interactive quite neatly.  If you've never heard this story, it's worth the read.  Suffice to say the last five years at WSI have been filled with far more glory than those first five years.

Yes, the world has changed and definitely for the better.  My old column space entitled "Eighty Years and Waiting" back when WSI was new, was given a glorious send-off back in October, 2005 after the Sox became world champions of baseball.  It's been my privilege to now write about the glory and pride of Sox Fandom on behalf of the wider Chicago community in this new space ever since.  Yes, I still get a kick from it.

I'm flattered, too.  I'm flattered because I have been blessed with the sincerest form of flattery.  White Sox Interactive launched ten years ago as a one-of-a-kind website devoted to fans of of the Chicago White Sox but it isn't any longer.  I would never have presumed to be qualified enough to begin building such a website devoted to Sox Fans from a far-off state or from another country either because I'm just silly enough to believe understanding what makes Sox Fans unique can't be fully appreciated from a place so far from where the beating heart of Sox Fandom lives.  If I had started WSI from my old home in Ohio, I would have considered myself a pretender.  Others see it differently. 

The winning formula seems simple enough to replicate, and many have set up shop for themselves through the years to nick a bit of what they first found right here at White Sox Interactive.  Yes, a good idea is timeless.  With few exceptions the essential ingredient remains beyond their grasp to replicate.  Many of them suffer from an embarrassing lack of Sox content.  The unanswered question is why they even bother keeping up the charade of being a site for Sox fans.  I might suggest the most-obvious answer:  Homesickness.

White Sox Interactive is here for all White Sox Fans to enjoy.  As long as I remain webmaster, it will remain just that. 

My sincere thanks to the 100 or more Sox Fans who've seen fit to contribute to the success of this website through these past ten years.  And as always, WELCOME to all Sox Fans.  Your home is here.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Top-Ten Features from
White Sox Interactive's first ten years

as selected by WSI editor and founder
George Bova

Test your WSI knowledge taking the 10th Annivesary WSI Trivia Quiz.  Some questions are easy and others are hard but all of them are true to our purpose:  The original website devoted to the FANS of the Chicago White Sox!


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


Our Webmaster
1998 - present

 

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