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Kansas City Blues

Sox DreamFest!

Guy Bacci

Here comes the SoxFest you’ve been waiting for. A three-day celebration of the World Series Champions that will feel nothing like the anxious, angst-ridden conventions of the past. Kenny Williams can cancel the body guards and pack away the fightin’ gloves. There will be no barbs, no trading blows, no unfair attacks. All is ultimately perfect in Soxville, with 20,000 season tickets being sold for the first him in team history and SoxFest having sold out ages ago. The weekend at the Hyatt is sure to be a merry ruckus. Maybe a few national media members should think about attending, because they don’t seem to get it.

While life is grand for Joe Sox Fan, there is work left to be done in 2006, and it’s all about gaining respect. While most Southsiders are content ignoring the moronic ramblings of the national media (and the moronic ramblings of certain local media), there’s no denying the influence the media has. It’s sad and unfortunate, but a lot of people believe what they hear. And what they’ve been hearing about the Sox lately has been utter garbage.

While on the Dan Patrick show, the always annoying Keith Olbermann took time to scoff at the AP’s selection of the Sox championship as the best sports story of 2005. Olbermann used his brilliant wit to state that “at least 100,000 people are excited” about the Sox title. And, of course, he added the White Sox triumph was “not even close” to the Boston championship from the year before.

Sox fans already know both statements are asinine. Apparently those 1.7 million fans that showed up for the championship parade don’t count for squat. And as for Boston’s title being so important, ask the average Californian about the last two World Series, and you’ll get as much disinterest in the Red Sox as you will the White Sox. For as popular as the Red Sox supposedly are, you’d be hard pressed to spot a Boston jersey anywhere on the West Coast.

Thankfully, White Sox fans have already proven Olbermann the fool by swarming for 2006 tickets. It’s starting to appear as if most of the season (if not the entire season) will be sold out. The payroll is approaching $100 million. All it took was one World Series and the White Sox are suddenly a major-market team again. That’s quite an accomplishment for a club with a fan base of 100,000.

And yet, the attacks keep coming. The absolute worst being a fifteen-minute tirade by ESPN Radio morning host Colin Cowherd. Several weeks ago, surrounding the hype of the Rose Bowl, listeners complained that Cowturd spent too much time talking about USC. Cowturd responded by saying it was his job to talk about subjects the public was most interested in. Somehow this led Cowturd onto the topic of the White Sox and his assessment of their World Series being the most insignificant sports championship of all time. Cowturd based his opinion on several factors: a) TV ratings, b) lack of paraphernalia seen throughout the country, and c) lack of celebrity support, hence no “cool” factor. Cowturd then used his astonishing cleverness to quip that the only people cheering when the Sox won the title were in prison.

Yes, my fellow Sox fans, when you get through puking in the nearest toilet, please return and continue reading…

There’s no point in even addressing the “prison” comment, because anyone above the age of six wouldn’t find it humorous anyway. So let’s start with TV ratings. Nobody will deny that a seven-game Yankees/Red Sox battle is great drama. But the White Sox were hurt in the ratings by having lackluster opponents in both the ALCS and World Series, and storming through the post-season without much of a threat. Let’s not forget the Yankees got lousy ratings in both 1999 and 2000—especially 2000 when the much-hyped Subway Series garnered all the excitement of an Arena Bowl championship.

Most importantly, with entertainment options continuing to expand, TV ratings aren’t what they used to be. When I was 12 years old, if I had the ability to turn on my Xbox or PlayStation and battle gamers online for hours on end, I probably wouldn’t have bothered tuning in for the Kirk Gibson homer off Dennis Eckersley, and what a shame that would have been. So if the nation missed Paul Konerko’s grand-slam heroics or Scott Podsednik’s walk-off miracle, too bad for them. But shouldn’t sports talk hosts be admonishing people for ignoring a great all-around team like the White Sox? Isn’t that what sports is all about? Or have we reached the point where star power is all that matters anymore?

As for paraphernalia, Cowturd must have forgotten that Sox gear sold through the roof in the early ‘90s, partly because the black-and-silver had become trendy in the world of gangster rap. At that time, Sox logos were all over the place, and since it was worn heavily by popular rap artists, the Sox had clearly achieved Cowturd’s idiotic “cool” requirement. But does that mean the Sox had more fans back then? Does that mean a World Series title in ’93 or ’94 would have been more significant?

Of course not.

Sox fans take pride in the fact that the World Series telecast wasn’t littered with cut-aways to Bill Murray or Jim Belushi. (Yes, Fox got their obligatory sitcom tie-in by sticking Bernie “Two-Faced” Mac in the stands, but hey, you can’t win ‘em all.) Here’s a thought for the average sports-radio big-mouth: Instead of perpetuating the disgusting celebrity-driven culture we live in, why not use your voice on the radio to challenge people away from the norm? The media certainly has the power to make the White Sox admired, respected, and even cool. Instead, they take the easy way out and make fun of them.

It’s as if passion and spirit count for nothing these days, and as a result, the talking heads have become mundane and lifeless. Cowturd’s claim that his job is to speak only about what’s popular smacks of a person without a soul. It’s like saying independent movies should no longer be reviewed because they’re not Hollywood blockbusters. Stop and think about a movie that has had a lasting effect on you. The type of movie that creeps into your mind and has you quoting lines for years to come. Chances are it wasn’t a mega blockbuster. Chances are it was more Napolean Dynamite than King Kong.

The battle seems fruitless, which is why so many Sox fans have decided to give up the fight and just stop listening. So this is what 2006 is all about: sticking it to the loud mouths. Show your Sox Pride every chance you get. Put all that money you spent on World Series clothing to good use. Next time you’re on an airplane, wear your Sox cap. And, of course, gobble up those single game tickets on February 17.

And get it all started by having a hell of a time at the Hyatt. That is, if you can manage to get out of prison before then.

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

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