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WSI News - News Watch

Cubune choking on Sox success?

filed by George Bova

September 29. 2005

For the second time in as many days, the editors in charge of writing the sports headlines at the Chicago Tribune are having trouble getting their facts straight about the White Sox, the local baseball club that doesn't glorify losing like their sister division does. The September 28 edition screamed "Choke Hold" in huge typeface after the Sox successfully retained their leads for both the division and wild card standings. The September 29 edition uses a near-equally large type face declaring "Close but no cigars."

How could an outfit claiming to be this unbiased so obviously be this confused?

Earlier Cubune headline and feature stories compared the 2005 Sox to the 1964 Phillies a team that tanked an ungodly number of games in September. The Sox record in September? 15 wins, 12 losses. Only in the fertile imagination of the Cubune editors could that be construed as a "choke."

So why does the Cubune keep using the term "choke" when it wasn't even a valid assertion in the first place? Might Cleveland's 18-7 record over the same period have something to do with the shrinking lead -- a lead that still stands and now gets bigger as Cleveland's losses pile up? The Cubune isn't saying.

Does the Cubune think Cleveland is "choking" for having lost 3 in a row -- all of them to last-place teams from Kansas City and Tampa Bay? The Cubune isn't saying.

Why are the Sox "choking" but not Cleveland? Who is on the verge of missing the playoffs, the Sox or Cleveland? The Cubune isn't saying.

That's a lot of questions to raise about the September 28 headline claiming the Sox are choking. But what about September 29's "Close but no cigar"?

How about this: it's a bald-faced lie. Entering game action the evening of September 28, there was NO WAY for the White Sox to clinch anything, wild card or division title. To the contrary, the White Sox successfully moved a full-game ahead in the running for securing both of these playoff spots. That's the absolute maximum the Sox could achieve the evening of September 28.

Did the Cubune expect the Sox to clinch last night? The Cubune isn't saying.

Did the Cubune think the Sox somehow did less than the absolute maximum to secure their playoff spot last night? The Cubune isn't saying.

So just to help the Cubune editors get their facts straight for the first time all week long, we at White Sox Interactive are pleased to note the following:

1.) The Sox need only one more win (or Cleveland loss) to clinch the Central Division title. Both the Sox and Cleveland have four games left to play for this one win (or loss) to occur.

2.) The Sox lead over Cleveland has GROWN by 1.5 games since bottoming out last Friday night. (We'll let the Cubune editors decide who is "choking" over that space of time.)

3.) The Sox own the best record in the American League, and with Boston playing New York three times this weekend, the Sox will almost certainly retain this title they've earned going all the way back to last April -- not that anyone reading the Cubune would have ever known about it.

If Terry Pluto in writing in Akron, or the talking heads mediots in ESPN's Connecticut studios wish to sell the Chicago White Sox short, that's their prerogative. After all they never claimed to be "Chicago's very own." So what excuse can be made for the Cubune's editors?

Circulation is down at the Cubune, and they only succeed in pissing off more and more potential readers. Now who is doing the choking?


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