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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

Cubdom Exposed!

This is a Cubs town.  That is what we have been told, and it is something that is truly hard to dispute.  The Cubbies draw nearly three million every year though they haven’t had back to back winning seasons in over 30 years.  Meanwhile the White Sox can’t break the two million mark when they win their division with the best record in the American League. 

Yet with the Sox winning both series in cross-town play, the lovable losers have been exposed as not so being lovable and just another losing team in a long line of losing teams.  But even before the Sox humbled them (not the first time either), the franchise was slowly being exposed for the paper lion it has always been.  Here are some reasons: 

*Sammy Sosa.  The mention of his name is enough. 

*The Tribune Company’s battle with the rooftop owners.  Suddenly, the Cubs thought someone was stealing their product.  It just so happened that this battle began as the team was feuding with the Wrigleyville neighborhood over proposed renovations of the friendly confines.  So management puts up covers to block the view of rooftop fans.  It makes their cherished ballpark look dumb and the Cub organization petty.  Yes, the rooftop owners are greedy and opportunistic.  They’d make great baseball owners, wouldn’t they? 

*Premium ticket sales.  All major league sports owners will tell you how much they hate ticket scalpers.  Again it is an example of someone stealing their product.  So what does the Cub ownership do?  In effect, it goes into the scalping business.  The rooftop owners are opportunistic? 

Of course the Cubs have been also exposed by the White Sox.  At this writing, the Cubbies are barely over .500, their overall record puts them in the bottom half of National League, and they don’t look anything like real contenders.  There is just nothing special about this team. 

All of this gives the White Sox a great chance to make some inroads into this Cubbie fantasyland.  The Sox have played with a real intensity against the Cubs; something that had been missing since the season began.  Now they need to carry that over to the rest of the season.  Sox players need to look at their American League opposition and imagine them wearing Cub uniforms.  That intensity will pay off. 

Jerry Manuel stated that the wins over the Cubs could be a springboard to really turning the season around.   Kenny Williams rationalized fans’ anger to Manuel as passion.  For once, Sox management sound forward thinking.  As great as the wins over the Cubs are, in itself they do not make a season.  Additionally, this is no time for another round of the Sox telling their fans “I told you so.”  If the Sox are really in a position to make a move, Williams should be looking to make some kind of trade and Manuel should keep the team motivated.  That is how the team will demonstrate to its fans that it is truly serious about winning. 

The White Sox finally need to understand the difference between Cub and Sox fans.  While Cub fans pay through the nose to sit in seats that are not even in the ballpark, we Sox fans are pissed about the upper deck.  While Cub fans give Sammy standing ovations, we Sox fans get mad about Frank Thomas’ whining.  While Cub fans seem to revel in a century long pursuit of a World Championship, we Sox fans will tune out any lecture about “patience.” 

Yes, we Sox fans appear to be a bunch of nasty, unlovable people.  But the truth is we are very lovable.  The White Sox should love us for who we are.  Hell, we might show our feminine side and love them back.  Meanwhile, it would be great to see baseball in October on the South Side while Cub fans can cry in their Old Style about another failed season orchestrated by a very unlovable organization.

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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