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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

Bechtel's Blooper!
by Hal Vickery

Lots has been made of last week’s blog by Mark Bechtel at Sports Illustrated’s web site. In case you were out of the universe the past few days, here’s the story.

Bechtel was going to write an article about Mark Buehrle for his blog, but when he turned on his television, there was no Sox game to be found. So he decided to write an article about the five worst teams to root for. Naturally the Sox occupied the number one spot.

Here is what Bechtel had to say:

“Though they haven't won the World Series since 1917 -- a drought almost as long as the Cubs' -- the Sox can't win for losing.”

He is right that the Sox drought World Series drought is almost as long as the Cubs, if you think 88 is close to 97. That nine year difference would probably matter only to centenarians and people who have long since been buried. It is not a point of pride to Sox fans that the drought has lasted so long. Cubs fans wallow in it.

Bechtel fails to consider that although it has been nearly ninety years since the Sox have won a World Series, at least they have been able to put together back-to-back winning seasons a whole lot more than once since the Nixon’s first term.

“The Cubs are lovable, the Sox are overlooked.”

Sox fans don’t think losing is lovable. They leave that to people who really are losers. You know the type: people who need to feel that way because otherwise they would have no self esteem. You know: people who need to make themselves seen on camera waving while telling the person they are talking to on the cell phone, “See me? Don’t I look cool here waving like an idiot?”

As for being overlooked, we’ve been pointing out for years that Chicago’s so-called baseball experts seem content to follow the lead of the Chicago Tribune which just happens to own the other ball club in town. Sox fans don’t overlook their club, but you writers sure do.

“The Cubs have Wrigley, the Sox have a character-less barn.”

So, Mark, when exactly was the last time you were at our “character-less barn,” 1995? The renovations over the past four or five years have changed the character of The Cell completely. Of course you wouldn’t know that if you haven’t been there. Perhaps you are relying on descriptions provided by Jay Mariotti. (If you’re reading this, Jay, the mere fact that we mention your name here on occasion doesn’t mean we love you.)

As for Wrigley, I never cared much for the smell of urine mixed with hot dogs.

“The Cubs had Harry Caray, the Sox have Ken Harrelson. (He makes the Yankees' Michael Kay look like the picture of dignity and restraint.) Put it on the boarrrrrrddddd ... YESSSSSSS! Grab some bench! Come on. Every White Sox out is a screamer, every opponent's hit is a bleeder with eyes. Ken, it's not radio. We can see it. And don't get me started on the nicknames. When Sammy Sosa was with the Sox, Harrelson called him ‘The Panther,’ for crying out loud.”

Well, FYI, Mark, the Sox had Caray before the Cubs did. You may be surprised to learn that the “Cubs” tradition of singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” started at old Comiskey Park. Were you the guy I saw at The Cell a couple of years ago who said after the seventh-inning stretch, “Oh, yeah, real original”?

I’ll also say I have to agree with WMVP’s Dan McNeil, who when commenting Thursday on this blog pointed out that if you think Hawk is bad, you should listen to some of the people who do TV for other clubs who shouldn’t even be in the broadcasting business.

Of course it was your inability to see Hawk’s telecast Tuesday night that led to this little hissy fit in the first place, wasn’t it Mark?

“And I don't buy this year's fast start. Their lineup just doesn't seem that good, and Ozzie Guillen looks like he needs to take a deep breath

We won’t know for several weeks whether this year’s fast start is for real. Interestingly enough, that’s why they play the games. Otherwise, if the local scribes were to be believed, the Cubs would be World Champions every year.

As for Ozzie, he’s always been that way. Are you saying you want him to turn into Jerry Manuel, the guy the local media got all over because he seemed to be dozing on the bench?

“Mitigating factor: Eight Men Out was a pretty good movie.”

I’m sure the working press loved that movie since it contained the about the same number of factual errors that appear in the average report of a Sox game in most of the local rags.

Here’s a hint for Mr. Bechtel. The next time you decide to settle in to watch a night game from the west coast in Chicago, do yourself a favor, one that radio and TV stations have been recommending for decades: “Check your local listings.”

Maybe then the rest of us will be spared from your mindless ranting.


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
Bechtel's Blooper?
You Can Put it on the Board -- Yes!



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