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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

South Sider!
Matt Malec

World's Greatest Newspaper?

by Matt Malec

Ah, “The World’s Greatest Newspaper” (and seriously, it used to claim that on the front page), how we yearn for thee. Since the 1830’s, Chicagoans have been treated to this special form of journalism. From its early support of the rising German Nationalist Party (we called them “Nazis”) to its historical and hysterical “Dewey beats Truman” headline, the Chicago Tribune has never let those pesky little facts get in the way of a good story.

For example, ever since the Tribune Corporation purchased those lovable losers the Cubs in 1981, the marketing of its product has been constant. We’ve been told repeatedly by the shills of its numerous local media outlets (WGN-TV, WGN Radio, CLTV, The Cubune, and numerous internet venues) that its incredibly inept team was in fact the toast of the town. Why, Chicago’s a “Cubs Town”, we’ve been told……again and again and again. We’ve also been told that Comiskey Park (aka “the Cell” by Tribune Corporation paycheck-cashers) is just a terrible place to watch a ballgame and very inaccessible, located in a dangerous South Side neighborhood. Sox fans are all drunken hooligans with a tendency to jump onto the field and pummel visiting coaches without provocation. Poor Tom Gamboa has never been the same, you know. By the way, have you heard about that horrible BLACK SOX SCANDAL? No? Don’t worry, for if the Cubune doesn’t cover that breaking story at length every third day, WGN-TV will pick up the slack by running a “documentary” on the shame of Shoeless Joe’s lifetime ban or a rerun of “Eight Men Out”. Occasional pictures of famed cheater (notice I didn’t say future hall-of-famer) Sammy Sosa meanwhile depict him in a Baltimore uniform to reflect his long and storied career there.

Ever-desperate to cling to its self-perceived ownership of Chicago baseball fans, the Cubune is quick to point out the Cubs’ 20-year reign as Chicago attendance “champion”, quickly glossing over its 98-year dominance in the “Urinating on My Leg” category. For those curious as to the beginning of the Cubs’ greatly-improved-attendance phase, please visit Baseball The “we CAN draw flies” era began in 1982 when our beloved drunk and former Sox announcer Harry Caray moved to the North Side to get closer to the bars and hookers. I know that last statement was a little harsh, though I once sat one bar stool over from Uncle Harry at the Hange Uppe in 1982 and witnessed him having a warm and loving family visit with his twin Swedish nieces. He was quite a guy that night, and I’ve always wondered why the statue memorializing him in front of The Shrine doesn’t depict him drooling onto his microphone…….”Hey-y-y!!!! Lemme hear ‘ya!!!”

The Cubune waxes poetic on “Friendly Confines” and the many virtues of cute little “Wrigleyville”, burying the avalanche of arrests for DUIs, public intoxication and disorderly conduct in its “police beat” as unrelated. Here, the Wrigley Field area is a clear winner, beating the Bridgeport neighborhood nearly 3:1 in alcohol-related arrests. I must admit that the lawns in Wrigleyville are a tad greener than those in Bridgeport, though, thanks in large part to the wave of public urination that hits them each summer. You should see their flowers grow! While families of Sox fans barbecue and bring throngs of kids eager to visit Fun-Damentals, Cubs fans shoot each other and play a little game called “water the lawn”.

Meanwhile on the “dangerous” South Side, the past dangers of the vanishing Robert Taylor Homes public housing project have been replaced by soaring property values and the gentrification of Bronzeville. If you can walk three blocks without seeing another new home development, then you’re miles from Comiskey. Here the Cubune was not alone in its ignorance, though. Last summer’s Wall Street Journal article on our Sox was undoubtedly written from the relative safety of a desk in Manhattan. I hear the author once actually set foot in Chicago, while catching a connecting flight at O’Hare.

As demonstrated by Rick Morrissey’s comical recent column in which he doubts Chicago will ever be a “White Sox Town”, the Cubune Corporation has a product to peddle in addition to its crappy little paper and rapidly-falling stock. The Cubbies are its best performing product, though obviously not on the field. The real star is Wrigley Field, whose charming vines planted by Bill Veeck overshadow the occasionally bothersome raining chunks of concrete, and continues to draw the tourists from Omaha. Last summer, some of those tourists were treated to NASCAR star Jeff Gordon’s 7th-inning singing audition at venerable “Wrigley Stadium”. Quick Jeff, which one is the team from Chicago? Call Master Card… that’s priceless.

Ah, Cubune…..keep up the good work. Good luck selling the Cubbies. I hear they’re the toast of the town. Is it too early to say, “Wait ‘til next year”?

Matt Malec is a life-long Sox Fan and Sox season ticketholder. You can reach Matt at

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