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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

Kansas City Blues

Good Grief! More Media Rips!

by
Guy Bacci

Not long ago, the White Sox were seemingly the darlings of the league. Fans and media alike were eager to discover the mysterious ways of Kenny Williams and Ozzie Guillen. Everyone had a theory as to why the Sox were doing so well, and everyone was anxious to tell you about it.

But popularity breeds critics and success breeds naysayers. The latest trend is to bash the best team in baseball at every opportunity. Now the media is anxious to tell you exactly why the Sox will fail miserably in October, and they all seem to take pleasure in doing so. Probably to help them feel better about their lousy preseason predictionsómany of which had the Sox falling to third or fourth in the Central Division.

One of the more vicious and close-minded attacks came recently from Erik Kuselias of ESPN Radio, who derived a few unflattering conclusions about the White Sox after allegedly attending a 3-0 loss to Boston on July 23. According to Kuselias, U.S. Cellular Field is an awful ballpark, Sox fans lack energy and baseball intelligence, and the team has no chance in the playoffs.

Letís examine these one by one. Iím going to say a few things that wonít be popular among Sox fans, specifically regarding The Cell. I visited the park last month for the first time in years, and while I appreciate the recent upgrades, I was surprised at how spoiled Iíve become by Safeco Field in Seattle. Not much can be done about the lousy location of U.S. Cellular, but itís still a bummer that the gorgeous Chicago skyline is nowhere to be seen from inside the park. I was also shocked at the sub-par state of the concession stands, compared to the variety and quality Iíve experienced recently in other parks.

My biggest issue is with the scoreboards, or lack thereof. The new fan deck in center field yields the main scoreboard below the Jumbotron useless. As a result, fans can no longer get all the necessary information in one central location. I found my eyes darting all around the park to accumulate the data I needed. The electronic ads that now dominate the rim below the upper deck have pushed the secondary scoreboards behind the foul poles in left and right fieldóincredibly inconvenient locations. Thereís only one radar gun, way out in right field. Thereís only one inning-by-inning scoreboard, way out in left. Maybe after a few games, fans get used to all these awkward locations, but I can attest that the park as a whole doesnít do much to impress a newcomer.

But none of that matters much, because itís still the home of the Sox, and it still beats the ancient piece of crap on the Northside. Who cares what outsiders think anyway.

Itís the other comments by Kuselias that were so egregious. He claims to have asked Sox fans seated in his area why the team was having such a successful season, and the fans responded, ďI donít know.Ē This is his reasoning behind labeling the majority of Sox fans as baseball morons. Presumably heís never taken a look at one of the best fan websites in the country, where lively baseball banter takes place on a daily basis. Presumably a few remarks from a small sampling of people are enough to gauge the collective IQ of those in attendance. Simply put, you can sit in any ballpark in any city and find smart baseball fans and ignorant baseball fans. But thereís no explaining that to Kuselias.

Likewise, when the home team loses a game 3-0, thereís not going to be a lot of energy in the building. Especially when that home team is already 12 games up in the division. Itís not like any of the remaining games on the Sox schedule have a heck of a lot of urgency to them.

Kuselias also made a point to rip on Sox fans for allowing so many visiting fans to creep inside the stadium. Maybe Kuselias hasnít noticed that BoSox fans, celebrating their status as defending champs, are invading every park in the league. Apparently, White Sox fans get zero credit when they storm into other stadiums. Remember how Sox fans dominated the Colorado series last June? Or the rowdy Pale House contingent in the stands at Skydome last May?

Itís almost not even worth acknowledging the attacks against the Sox as a team, just as it wasnít much worth acknowledging all those ingenious ESPN analysts who had Minnesota winning the World Series out of spring training. Supposedly the Soxís 60-odd wins just came out of thin air.

No matter if Williams pulls off a deal Sunday or not, itís not as if any team is going to drastically improve at the trade deadline. And the Sox have already shown they can hang with everybody, with the arguable exception of Oakland. As much as Sox fans are crushed by the realization that Frank Thomas wonít get to swing the bat in October, itís more of a personal disappointment than a panic-attack. Sox fans simply want the best player in franchise history to be a part of this historic season. But in no way are the Sox worse off without Thomas. In a strange way, they seem to play better without him. Itís as if the more theyíre doubted, the better they perform.

So please, oh brilliantly biased media, keep up the good workóand the Sox may just turn out to be your darlings once again.


Guy Bacci is from the north suburbs of Chicago, where he couldn't avoid growing up as a pampered and snotty Cubs fan. Luckily, he saw the light in 1985 and never looked back. He loved the hard-working, old-school tactics of Carlton Fisk, who would become his all-time favorite player. His most memorable moment was going to a Sox double-header with his grandfather, who insisted on staying all nine hours (including a long rain delay). Guy is a journalism grad from Northwestern, currently residing in Seattle, where he works as a computer programmer and freelance writer. He can be reached at guybacci@yahoo.com.

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