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WSI's FLYINGSOCK.COM.  Chicago White Sox coverage with totally biased attitude!

Your 2001 Sox:
Still no respect
!

by George Bova

"Everyone talks about how good this team was last year; but I don't think this team gets any respect."

- Sox pitcher Cal Eldred

Welcome to the new season Sox Fans!  The 2000 season was great and we savored every minute of it with you right here, but frankly the ending left a lot to be desired.  As true Sox Fans, the ending is all we ever care about.  We might like our ballpark's food, we enjoy the fireworks, and we love our team's century-old history, but dammit we won't tolerate losing.  We never have and we're not starting now.

Losing three games in October hardly ruins a glorious six-month romp to 95 wins.  That division crown was no fluke; we won it beating up on the very teams everyone thought were better than us.  Cleveland was road kill, the Athletics were pot-bellied pretenders, and the Yankees--well, the citizens of Gotham won't soon forget that weekend last June when the Chicago White Sox came to town.

We owned the Seattle Mariners, too, winning seven times across twelve prior meetings.  Our young team learned the playoffs are not the same as the regular season and all of them are a year older and wiser for the experience.

Our White Sox were the U.S. Marines of baseball last year.  There was no hill they wouldn't take and no selfless act they weren't willing to sacrifice for each other.  They were supposed to be kids but manager Jerry Manuel had them ready for war and for six months they conquered every challenge they faced.  It was a glorious year to be a Sox Fan!

Now they're back and so are we, with unfinished business to scratch a championship itch over 83 years old  now.  For Sox Fans, it's how the season ends that really counts, and we've never been hungrier for that ultimate victory.

We believed the fairytale of 1983 and received nothing but heartache for being so naive.  We vowed to return after 1993 and kept our word--only to watch greed crush our 1994 hopes.  Bitterness was our only friend after throwing in the towel in 1997.  And when legions of our number stayed away from the ballpark in protest to the shabby treatment and disrespect shown for our one and only dream--to win a championship--we Sox Fans were confronted with one last slap.  This one didn't come from the team's owners or players, but from the nasty and vengeful media upset at our non-attendance.  

They were quick to place blame at our feet for the transgression of being the only fans in Chicago unwilling to accept mediocrity.  No local team's fans in any corner of America has ever received the sort of evil treatment this nest of vipers served to Sox Fans in the newspapers and on the airwaves of Chicago.  It was the cruelest cut of all.

After our team proved themselves champions across a marathon 162 game schedule, the media remains unconvinced.  As this new season begins we led to believe our team's season was some sort of fluke.  They claim we were weak in the second-half, conveniently forgetting that all our tough opponents were scheduled in the first-half when we routinely caved their skulls in. 

They talk about our lack of injuries and conveniently overlook that all three of our top starters had stints on the DL.  One Sox starter would have missed the entire second-half of the year if not for his willingness to have a five-inch screw inserted into his forearm--just to chase a dream of pitching in Major League Baseball's playoffs.  Some guts.

Most comically of all, they talk about career years amongst a team that was the youngest in baseball.  If they would do even the simplest of research, they would know only two veteran Sox players had significantly better performance than any prior season.  One was our #7 hitter, Herbert Perry, and the other was free agent catcher Charles Johnson who only played for us two months.  These alleged experts would strain to make the case either was the key force behind a Sox offense that was the most lethal in baseball.  They just don't get it.

So 2001 begins under yet another cloud the media has placed above our heads.  The Sox aren't for real.  A second-place finish is our destiny.  The media understands very little about the character of this Sox team.  They don't understand the focus Jerry Manuel gives this club to win each series, starting with winning the first game.  They don't understand the selflessness of players willing to risk serious injury to contribute down the stretch.  Most of all, they don't understand the warrior's mentality that Manuel instills in his team, that every pitch is a challenge, and every minute on the diamond is to be played to its fullest.

They don't understand the U.S. Marines, and they don't understand the Chicago White Sox. But we Sox Fans do.  We're proud to be in the foxhole with them, and we're not quitting until the ultimate victory is won.

Time to conquer the American League!


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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