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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

Sox Credibility!

Time to Prove Themselves! 

It is a long-time problem Jerry Reinsdorf has had with many White Sox fans.  His supporters point to the New Comiskey Park and United Center as accomplishments from a man who can get things done.  His supporters jump up and down that he truly wants to win, and that he is competitor/businessman who has been misunderstood.  And hasn’t he done better than financially strapped Bill Veeck and the inept Allyn brothers? 

However, fans remember the hiring of Ken Harrelson as GM, the long and painful rebuilding of the late 1980’s, the 1994 strike, the 1997 White Flag Trade, and the constant harping about a limited budget.  The ever-recurring youth movements have brought some success, but the elusive World Series appearance remains elusive.  Instead of winning over fans, Reinsdorf has helped feed into the cynical nature of the Sox faithful, many of who are tired of waiting for young players to develop into all-stars. 

The Colon/Koch acquisitions are truly great deals.  As one talk show host on the Score pointed out, both ends of the Sox pitching staff have helped out tremendously.  Todd Ritchie has been replaced with a 20-game winner, and Sox fans don’t have to wonder if Keith Choke will return to his 2000 regular season form.  I also won’t lose any sleep over the potential of Rocky Biddle.  I want to win now; the Rockmeister can develop elsewhere. 

Does the addition of these two pitchers make the Sox division contenders?  In my view, it certainly does.  Do they make the Sox World Series contenders?  Yes, they help, but I still think the Sox have a little ways to go to prove they belong in the class of the Yankees, Mariners and A’s. 

By the start of August the White Sox should be in striking distance of first if not occupying first.  By then the non-contending teams will be looking to unload veteran players.  It will be interesting to see if the Sox make some bold moves to put themselves in real contention for a real championship, not just first place in a water-downed division. 

The condescending Chicago sports media will no doubt lecture fans about the difficulty of making trades and will probably also point out that any late pick-up won’t help anyway.  In the past, the Sox have been hesitant to interrupt any number of their endless rebuilding projects to pick up veterans late in the season.  We fans should not concern ourselves with the media or another round of hope springs eternal logic.  2003 will mark nine years since the strike and six since the White Flag Trade.  We’ve waited long enough. 

Hopefully, the White Sox already sense that they have to do this.  These trades seem to indicate that the club knew it had to do something.  It couldn’t come off the disappointment of 2002 with the same cast of characters and expect fans to flock to Comiskey.  Maybe they may even realize you have to spend money to make money.

Some fans who have posted on WSI dream about a dynasty if the Sox just continue to develop young players and be patient.  But before you can have a dynasty, you have to win a championship first.  I say, save the dreams for another time. 

We shouldn’t act like gullible Cub fans who swoon at the sight of Sammy Sosa and go nuts over a two-game winning streak.   Only one World Series appearance since the Black Sox scandal is a joke.  If Jerry Reinsdorf wants fans to believe in him, he has to show a commitment to winning now. 

No more promises.  Just do it already.

Editor's Note:  Dan Helpingstine is a free lance writer living in Highland, Indiana.  In the early 80's, he worked as a stringer for The Times, then based in Hammond, Indiana, covering business-labor news.  For six years, he worked as a part-time sportswriter for the Merrillville Herald, a weekly that was a part of a chain of weeklies in Lake and Porter Counties.  He covered high school football and basketball.  In 1995, Helpingstine had a short story published in a murder mystery anthology entitled Murder Is My Business.  He also has had articles on the JFK murder published in the Post-Tribune of Gary.  His new book is titled "Through Hope and Despair."  It is the story of one fan's roller coaster ride with the luckless White Sox.

More features from Dan Helpingstine here!

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