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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

Missing Nancy!
by Hal Vickery

It still amazes me how little respect the Sox get from the national media. You would think that after sweeping the Astros in the World Series some of these guys would take a second look at the Sox and admit that they are a power that will have to be reckoned with. Perhaps that day will come, but it hasn’t arrived yet.

All one has to do is listen to the so-called experts expound on anything that has to do with baseball, and their ignorance of anything west of the Hudson River shows through. I guess some of these “experts” have heard of Johan Santana because he is often mentioned as a Cy Young candidate.

But when is the last time you heard anyone mention Mark Buehrle as one of the top pitchers in the game. Granted, Buehrle has a long way to go to compare to the Curt Schillings and Randy Johnsons of the world, but to mention Johan Santana without even a nod in Buehrle’s direction shows abysmal ignorance, especially following Friday night’s head-to-head match-up.

Both pitchers were phenomenal. Both pretty much dominated their opponents. Both made one mistake resulting in a home run, but it was Buehrle who came out on top because Santana gopher ball to Jim Thome came with a man on base while Buehrle only gave up a solo shot.

The match-up was a classic. Hawk Harrelson mentioned that it was similar to Koufax-Gibson or Drysdale-Marichal. I might add that it was something akin to Billy Pierce vs. Whitey Ford. And like a typical Pierce-Ford head-to-head, it came out with the pitcher who was ignored by the media on top.

Perhaps the ignorance of the “experts” when it comes to Southside baseball is understandable. After all, in their minds, the Sox are still the second team in the second city despite that World Series trophy. They still think the Sox were lucky to beat the Angels in the ALCS last year.

One media type who has seen the light is former Mets general manager Steve Phillips. He actually went out on a limb last week on ESPN Radio’s “Mike and Mike” show, and said that he wouldn’t make the same mistake he made last year about the Sox. He then predicted that the Sox would finish the 2006 season with the best record in the American League.

Still when it came to handing out awards, the names Phillips mentioned as Cy Young candidates were Curt Schilling and (you guessed it) Johan Santana. I wonder if last Friday night’s game might cause a readjustment in his thinking.

While I haven’t been to a night game yet other than opening night, listening to the Sox broadcasts and watching their telecasts, I can still detect something missing. That something is Nancy Faust. I won’t be attending a night game until May 6, so that will be when the full impact of her absence finally hits, but it’s already obvious that she is missed.

Granted, it was Nancy’s idea to cut back to only day games, and you have to respect her decision to do this, but you don’t have to like it. The White Sox experience for thirty-six years included Nancy Faust at the organ, and that is now missing except for day games. As far as I can tell, and from what people have posted here on the WSI message boards, the organ has been replaced by canned music piped in loud enough to cause the ears to bleed.

I’d like to consider this a message to Brooks Boyer, Nancy Faust, the White Sox DJ, and anyone else involved with programming what goes on in the ball park.

First, to Brooks Boyer and the Sox DJ: Part of the ballpark experience is to be able to talk to the people around you about the game going on, baseball in general, and anything else that comes up. The pacing of the game allows for that, and people like to take advantage of that. To do that, the volume knob has to be set somewhere below 11. The music is too loud. Turn it down.

Second, to Brooks Boyer and Nancy Faust: This year’s contract was a mistake, at least from the point of view of Sox fans. Nancy, if you want to cut back, could you cut back a little less? Brooks, could you just tear up the contract and start over? A good time to do that would be during the current road trip.

Third, to Brooks Boyer: One of the regulars on the WSI message board had a great idea. In Milwaukee, the Brewers took a survey of the fans to find out whether they wanted organ music. They did. Now that Nancy has been away for several night games, it might be a good time to take a survey to find out if the fans would prefer having her back for those games.

I may have a lot more to say after I actually get to a night game, so this will probably be continued after May 6.


Editor's Note: Hal Vickery has been a White Sox fan since 1955 when he was five years old. For much of that time he also had a secondary rooting interest in the Cubs, which he has shown the good sense to abandon. When not cheering for or writing about the Sox, Hal teachers chemistry and physics at North Boone High School, in Poplar Grove, IL. Hal commutes there daily from Joliet, where he lives with his wife Lee, and their dog, Buster T. Beagle. Hal's opinions are not necessarily those of North Boone High School, his wife, or Buster T. Beagle. You can write Hal at hvickery@svs.com.

More features from Hal Vickery here!

Have a Thought about
Missing Nancy?
You Can Put it on the Board -- Yes!



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