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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

Kansas City Blues

Chicago's "Working" Media?

by
Guy Bacci

Allow me to do something I don’t normally do in this space, and that’s send a thanks to everyone who responded to the DreamFest column from two weeks ago. It clearly touched a nerve with a lot of Sox fans and I simply didn’t have the chance to respond to everyone who sent feedback. I’m certain all of us contributors at WSI are bolstered by your words of encouragement, especially since we do this on a volunteer basis.

Unfortunately, the theme from the DreamFest column must continue this week, as a new media member recently decided to martyr himself on the Cubbie cross. Inexplicably, Tribune columnist Rick Morrissey decided January 30, 2006, was a fine day to express his thoughts on how Chicago is still not a Sox town and probably never will be.

The column included such startlingly original thoughts as, “I'd say that for every Sox fan in town there are three Cubs fans,” or, “It has been proven over and over again that the Cubs can wallow in mediocrity and still attract fans,” or, my favorite little nugget, “If the Cubs were to win a title, it would make the Sox's parade look like the Oak Lawn 4th of July parade.”

Morrissey is simply doing what he does best, which is state the obvious in a rather dull and drab piece of writing. But the subject of his article is designed specifically to ruffle the feathers of Sox fans who are still basking in the glow of a World Series title. Morrissey isn’t usually a feather-ruffler, which is why the timing and tone of his column are so odd. In fact, he started to back-pedal in his online blog, suddenly heaping praise upon Sox fans, calling them “down-to-earth” and “hard-working.” (Note that his blog is titled Wake Up, Stupid, which makes me wonder if Morrissey is calling the rest of us stupid. I suppose that would fall in line with typical elite media snobbery.)

Morrissey’s biggest problem seems to be that he listens much too closely to the wild conspiracy theorists. He gets bombarded with emails saying the Tribune is all about hyping the Cubs and squashing the Sox. Then he goes on to defend his paper’s South Side coverage. “I'd like to point out that if we at the Chicago Tribune had gone any more out of our way to show Sox fans we were on their side during the playoffs, we would have had to run this kind of headline: ‘Cubs rotting in hell!’ As it is, we all but wrote in big, black letters, ‘We're throwing ourselves at the Sox!’”

Excuse me, Mr. Morrissey, but isn’t it your job to throw yourselves at a World Series champion? It’s interesting that you feel the need to pat yourself on the back for your coverage of the Sox. It seems the Tribune covered the Sox as any other major newspaper would cover a—let me repeat the words—World Series champion.

Instead of writing a column with a bunch of rehashed thoughts, why not venture into a school and interview a group of fifth graders and find out what kind of impact the World Series had on them? That would be a fascinating story. Did the Sox manage to win any young converts? Are kids still growing up brainwashed by their parents, or are they thinking for themselves? Does geography still play as big a role on which team kids grow up rooting for?

Oh, I forget, that kind of story would require some actual work. It would require “interviewing” and “planning” and “creativity.” If I lived in the area and had some free time, I’d love to do such a story for WSI. Or how about a story investigating the pressure Cub nation is feeling after a Sox title? How much do the fans care? How much does upper management care?

Instead, we get, “Chicago is still a Cubs town,” like a child sticking his tongue out and acting like a sore loser.

For the most part, Sox fans are laughing all the way to Cooperstown. As a matter of fact, many Sox fans don’t want me writing columns like this. They want to ignore the media rather than fuel the flames. In years past, I would have agreed. For the most part, I didn’t spend a lot of time worrying about what other people said. But I am appalled at the post-championship treatment. The desire to knock the Sox down off their perch after such a loyal fan base supported them through 88 years of futility is atrocious. I’m sick of watching the media perpetuate the false idea that a franchise that has been around for over 100 years has no more significance than the Florida Marlins.

But the beauty is, in just a couple months the talk can stop and the games can begin again. And I promise when that time comes, it’ll be all about baseball and not about what the talking heads are paid to say.


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.

More features from Guy Bacci here!

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