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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

Sorry, No Curses Here!
by Hal Vickery

With one “curse” supposedly lifted in Boston, thoughts of the national media have turned to thoughts of who might be the likely victim of stories of other cursed teams.  Naturally their thoughts turned to Chicago.  Fortunately most thoughts turned to the Cubs who already have their own prefabricated “curses,” one involving a goat and the other involving a deflected baseball and a geek. 

A few writers did propose that the Sox might have some kind of curse involving the Black Sox scandal of 1919.  Those who bothered to ask for the opinions of Sox fans about the existence of such a curse were shot down immediately. 

In an Associated Press story by Anna Jackson, WSI founder George Bova stated the opinion of the vast majority of Sox fans about such nonsense.  Bova rightly notes that curses are “goofy” excuses and continues, "There were tangible reasons that our team wasn't good enough as opposed to cursed baseballs or Babe Ruth being traded.  Unlike a Cubs fan, we have never turned our losing into some sort of lovable attribute."  

The very same day, in the Kansas City Star, writer Kevin Kaduk, who describes himself as “a Chicago native who grew up going to Sox games,” wrote about the possibility of cursed Chicago teams.  In his article he rightly devoted most of the space to moronic Cubs fans bemoaning their fate. 

However, when it came time to discuss the opinions of Sox fans about curses, he also turned to WSI, quoting our “Fallen Arches” column from two weeks ago:

You don’t hear White Sox fans talking about a “Comiskey Curse.”  White Sox fans don’t talk about a “Black Sox Curse” or a “Curse of Buck Weaver” or a “Curse of Shoeless Joe.”   

Sox fans are quite aware of why they have made the post season only four times since 1919.  It has nothing to do with curses and everything to do with bad management and lack of talent.

Putting things in perspective, as only a Chicagoan can, Kazuk then noted that bad management in epidemic in Chicago, noting the futility of the Blackhawks, Bears, and Bulls over the years due to management ineptitude.

Some Sox fans posting on WSI message boards think that a manufactured curse would be good for the Sox.  They couldn’t be more wrong for two reasons.

First, if Sox fans started claiming a curse, they would be accused of being copycats since the Cubs laid claim to their curses first.  And they would be right.

Second, the thought of a “Black Sox Curse” or a “Curse of Shoeless Joe” is repugnant.  The Black Sox threw the World Series.  The first reaction of a lot of people would be that such a curse is well deserved.  The Black Sox perpetrated the greatest crime on the integrity of the game in the twentieth century.  Such a curse would make the Sox even less sympathetic.

No, it’s best to leave the thoughts of curses to the morons on the North Side who choose to wallow in them.  The best thing the Sox can do is win a World Series before the Cubs do. 

Of course that means that the Sox would have to overcome the curse of incompetent management.

--------

Another event on the North Side also involves a former Sox pitcher.  Steve Stone last week turned in his resignation to the North Siders.  Stone refused to comment on his reasons for resigning, and this has led to speculation that he was forced out by Cubs management at the behest of Dusty Baker.

Baker allowed his players to verbally attack Stone in front of the media and apparently did nothing to stop them.  Stone’s analysis often had him “first guessing” managerial decisions made by Baker during Cubs games, making the Cubs manager look as incompetent at game management as he really is.  This was too much for Baker, and his inaction when his players blamed him for their own poor play speaks volumes about what he thought of Stone.

There has been a lot of speculation that Stone was asked to resign, despite the fact that the Cubs offered to renew Stone’s contract for 2005.  It’s just possible that Stone gave a clue to the reason he resigned in a statement he made just after the flap with Baker near season’s end.

Stone said that he learned broadcasting under Harry Caray, and that Caray taught him to be honest in his evaluations.  He went on to say that as long as his job description was that of analyst, he would continue to do the same things he has always done.

It seems logical that with a new play-by-play announcer coming in whose name isn’t Caray, that perhaps the Cubs told stone that they were re-evaluating his job description.  Stone had already telegraphed that he would not consider changing his style, and the implication from that is that he would quit rather than do so.

So what happened this week?  Stone quit.  Perhaps he didn’t need to give an explanation because he had already done so.

--------

I’ll conclude this week’s column with what I hope is a rare personal note.  I’ll be taking a break for at least a couple of weeks from writing these columns due to some major events going on in my real life.

My son Jeff has suffered from scoliosis (spinal curature) since he was a young child.  He’ll be going in for surgery to correct the curvature on November 8.  He has a very severe curve, which makes the process more complicated than normal.  In fact his corrective surgery will occur in two steps.

On November 8 he will have some discs removed to give his spine more flexibility for the actual corrective surgery.  Then he will be in traction for a week before the surgeons go in again on November 15 to put in the rods that will correct the curve as much as possible.

If all goes well, he’ll be laid up for several weeks and will have to wear a back brace for about six months.

Needless to say, until he gets through the surgeries, I won’t be thinking much about baseball or the Sox.  Heck, it will be hard enough to do my job, let alone write a column.  This is the same guy who sat amidst the “bleacher creatures” at Yankee Stadium during the Sox series there wearing his Sox gear, so we know he has the guts to make it. 

At any rate, I’d like to ask you to keep Jeff in your thoughts over the next few weeks.  If all goes well, he’ll be back at The Cell cheering for the Sox next summer. 


Editor's Note: Hal Vickery has been a White Sox fan since 1955 when he was five years old. For much of that time he also had a secondary rooting interest in the Cubs, which he has shown the good sense to abandon. When not cheering for or writing about the Sox, Hal teachers chemistry and physics at North Boone High School, in Poplar Grove, IL. Hal commutes there daily from Joliet, where he lives with his wife Lee, and their dog, Buster T. Beagle. Hal's opinions are not necessarily those of North Boone High School, his wife, or Buster T. Beagle. You can write Hal at hvickery@svs.com.

More features from Hal Vickery here!

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