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WSI News - WSI Spotlight


Sox Fans and the Cubune

by George Bova

If this is August, then it must be time for contemplating the end of summer and the bitter fate of another Sox season.  Yes, our Sox still have an outside chance at making something of this season.  However the season-ending injuries to both Frank Thomas and Magglio Ordonez reminds Sox Fans of a certain age of the fateful seasons of 1972 and 1973.  It was those two consecutive seasons the Sox missed the services of either Bill Melton or Dick Allen, two of the most feared power hitters of their day, turning the rump of those two Sox teams into also-rans.

As humorist and (Sox Fan) Jean Shepherd once noted, only Sox Fans measure success in terms of defeat.  Over thirty years later and we're still here talking about the great could-have-been teams of '72-'73.  Sox Fans, perhaps 2004 is destined for similar notoriety?

If not for the play of our Sox, 2004 may well be remembered as the year the folks running the Chicago Tribune newspaper finally came unhinged and revealed to the entire world what petty vindictive corporate sycophants they truly are, something we Sox Fans have known for a long, long time.  Cubune editor Ann Marie Lipinski and wonder-boy reporter Gary Washburn have chosen to continue their little pissing match with City Hall.  All evidence to the contrary, Ann Marie and Gary took offense when the mayor of Chicago, Richard Daley, merely noted that the outfit she runs (and Gary works for) has no credibility reporting scandal at their sister division's main office, the dump known as Wrigley Field.

Oh, they protest!  When a fan is murdered crossing the street at Clark & Addison, just hours after attending a Flubbie game, the location becomes the Cubby Bear Lounge, not Wrigley Field.   The rest of Chicago's media reports it as the main story and feature headline.  Ann Marie and Gary bury it in Metro, below the fold. 

Ann Marie and Gary say they aren't biased.

While urine smell reeks from ungodly crevices beneath Wrigley's grandstand, chunks of concrete begin raining down from the upper deck onto the seating of the lower grandstand.  Corporate shill Andy MacPhail claims "the concrete isn't structural" and his counterpart, the corporate shill Gary Washburn, dutifully reports the lie in his front page story in the Cubune -- not a single follow-up question for Andy about what sort of non-structural ornamental concrete might be caving in the skulls of Cubs fans attending games at the Urinal this summer.

While the rest of Chicago's media pastes the story on Page 1, Ann Marie and Gary fail to cover the story at all, opting instead to create a Metro headline (below the fold, again) about one of Ann Marie and Gary's pet issues, unproven allegations of city contract scandals. 

Ann Marie and Gary think the mayor is the one ducking the story.  Oh, really?

Ann Marie and Gary think the Cubune is persecuted as owner of a high-profile property, the Cubs.  Oh, really?

Ann Marie and Gary think the Cubune is clean for filing city permits, never mind the satellite dish they now admit their company installed without the necessary city permits.  Come on!

Ann Marie and Gary think getting building permit records for City Hall maintenance will reveal the mayor's hypocrisy.  Gary himself even signed the request form, filed under the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act.  Did he or Ann Marie bother to check with the head of the Cubune's building management services department at Cubune Tower?  For their sake let's hope so because a phalanx of city inspectors is about to march through the hallways at 435 N. Michigan Avenue.  

Ah, what a lovely pissing match this has become, eh Sox Fans?  What pillars of unbiased journalistic integrity Ann Marie and Gary are to stand up to the mayor!  Yeah, sure...

Obstinate children who hold their breath and stomp their feet are likely to be sent to bed without their dinner.  However when the obstinate children aren't children but the main editor of the Cubune newspaper (second only to the publisher himself) and her wonder-boy reporter, they are more likely to be sent home without their paychecks and stock options. 

Oh, wouldn't this be simply delightful!  Here's why.

The gray hairs sitting on the board of the Cubune are the ones running the show, not Ann Marie or her creature, Gary.  The mess their scurrilous editor and her stooge have created is not good for the public face or the business of the Cubune.  You can easily imagine how much tighter their starched collars feel around their necks as they discuss the day's business over lunch in their North Shore private clubs.  Certainly the subject comes up.  After all, everyone in the dining room gets the same news delivered right to their doorstep every morning.  Ann Marie and Gary have become the news themselves.  That's a bit too disturbing for these gray hairs... a real bite in the tailored shorts that was completely avoidable if not for two things, both of them within their control to fix.

The Cubune is taking the hit.  It's time to fix the problem.

The more rational of the gray hairs must now know the Cubune has made a mistake owning the Flubs, if not trusting Ann Marie and Gary to avoid such obvious journalistic indiscretions.  The Cubune must sell the Flubs or the Cubune must fire Ann Marie.  Probably both.

Whatever... it's August and this Sox Fan is taking a vacation away from the daily soap opera Ann Marie and Gary deliver to my home's doorstep.  I'm confident the mayor won't condemn Cubune Tower or announce plans for building a marina along Boule Mich on its former site... at least not until I get back. 

What a lovely summer this might be.  Enjoy what's left of it, Sox Fans.  I am. 

George Bova is editor and founder of White Sox Interactive.  You can write George at

More features from George Bova here!

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