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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

Chicago Proud
for Our Sox!

by George Bova

Sox Luck & Football Championships

by George Bova

For many Chicagoans, this week is the greatest moment in the city's sports history. Most of them are young, 25 years old or less. All of them are football fans, and certainly the Bears command a larger and wider following than any other single team in the city. The Bears deserve their crown to the city's sports affection. The Bears have been very good for a very, very long time. This is what happens when the guy who virtually founded the entire league -- the biggest and most successful league in all of sports -- also happens to be the founder of the hometown team. The George Halas family deserves everything they have coming their way. Let's hope his daughter spares something a bit more tangible than mere kind words for her brother Mugsy's kids, too. The old man intended for them to benefit financially, too. And they have as much claim to their grandfather's legacy as any McCaskey ever did.

Good luck to the Chicago Bears! You've overcome constant doubts and second-guessing from both within the fan base and the local media, too. You've delivered all but one victory to shut them all up. And making them all shut up is very satisfying, as any Sox Fan already knows. Just do it.

For this Sox Fan, spending the off-season watching the Bears keep winning football games straight into the Super Bowl can't help but highlight all the comparisons and contrasts in the city's baseball champions of 2005 versus the city's hopeful football champions less than two years later. It's as different as the sports themselves. Talk about luck...

In the more demented circles of Chicago baseball fandom, it has become something of a cause celebre to suggest the 2005 champion White Sox weren't all that good as much as they were just plain lucky. It's as if these people believe that if they just keep repeating the same nonsense long enough, everyone will be fooled into believing it. Not everyone is as baseball-dumb as your typical Cubs fan, but who can blame these folks from trying to fool the rest of us anyway? After all, they already have 3 million idiot head start as last year's Urinal attendance will attest!

Not all the idiots are necessarily Lovable Loser fans either. Who can forget a dope as large as Tim McCarver, getting paid to sit his flabby butt in the Fox Sports TV analyst chair while his tired brain tried to make sense of why a third-string catcher would be allowed to botch a play as badly as Josh Paul did for Mike Scioscia's team. If the '05 Sox were dismissed as "lucky" you can trace it all to that fateful night in Game 2 of the ALCS. For the remainder of the 2005 playoffs, the "lucky" talk never really subsided amongst those possessing even fewer brain cells than McCarver.

What was "lucky" about it?

The homeplate umpire was making a non-standard strike signal all night long. In fact he admitted he does this same confusing signal all the time -- including during the regular season. Regardless of what sign he gave, Li'l Josh Paul was standing in front of the umpire and couldn't have seen the confusing signal he gave, and it was Josh Paul and only Josh Paul who had the ball in his glove to make the biggest boneheaded play of the entire season. He tossed away a live ball!

Nobody ever disputed that the umpire never said "out" and even Mike Scioscia must know that the pitch that drove in the Sox winning run wasn't the one Josh Paul did or didn't catch. It was the hanging breaking ball that Joe Crede tomahawked into the left field corner to drive in Pablo Ozuna. And if Scioscia offers even a teaspoon's worth of honesty on the subject, he would surely admit his own culpability for forcing his pitcher to stand on the mound waiting an interminable amount of time while his manager was busy huffing and puffing trying to convince anyone who would listen why his third-string catcher wasn't the busher he hadn't already revealed himself to be. Who can really blame Kelvim Escobar for serving up a cookie after all that? Blame his manager who left him in the game.

If the Sox were "lucky", it was the luck of playing a do-or-die series against the likes of these incompetent boobs. All the Sox did was take advantage -- as any championship ballclub always does over competitors comprised of incompetent boobs.

Sure, I would expect Josh Paul's dad to say the Sox got lucky, but what excuse can we make for Tim McCarver, Joe Buck, and the legions of baseball numbskulls who would believe such nonsense, too? I'm not sure, but I'm guessing these same folks would believe the 2007 Chicago Bears are "lucky" too.

It sure wasn't luck that the 2005 White Sox won 99 regular season games. That's more than the equivalent number of wins the "perfect" 1972 Dolphins ever accomplished -- SEVEN TIMES MORE! And the '05 Sox weren't crowned champions of baseball until they chalked up eleven more post-season victories, too. That's three-times more than the "perfect" Dolphins ever needed. If the '05 Sox were "lucky" it was certainly less luck than was handed to those aging old men now standing on the sidelines rooting for their "perfect" record. Nick Buoniconti even offers champagne toasts to his luck of winning 17 games with the Dolphins. You don't get crowned "champions" of anything in baseball after 17 measly wins. At most 17 wins will make you a first-place team in your division in April -- with five more months and over 130 games still left to be played ahead of you!

It's a plain fact that becoming champions of football takes 1000-times more luck than anything noteworthy ever accomplished in baseball. How about a champagne toast to that one, Nick Buoniconti? The man can be dismissed as nothing but a hypocrite, if not a certified loser, too...

Still have doubts? You only need to consider the case of this season's Super Bowl representatives from the AFC, the Indianapolis Colts. Here is a team that will always be remembered as completing the greatest comeback in NFL playoff history, engineered by their star quarterback Peyton Manning. His spot in Canton has almost certainly been locked up for his 80-yard championship drive to beat New England in last week's conference championship game.

And yet, what was the key play of the Colts' winning drive? It was the interception that never happened -- but most certainly should have happened! Having already driven 43 yards down the field, Manning hit Reggie Wayne for what will be remembered as a 14 yard completion to the New England 34 yard line. What isn't remembered is that Wayne bobbled that pass while not one but two New England defenders were draped all over him. The bobbled football -- an oblong-shaped object known for taking all sorts of bizarre twists and turns both in the air and on the ground, too -- by fate went straight up into the air and by providence fell straight back into the hands of Wayne as he crumbled to the ground. That's how close The Drive -- the one that cemented Super Bowl-bound Peyton Manning into a surefire football hall-of-famer -- came to be Manning's crowning achievement rather than what would otherwise be held up today as just the latest pathetic example of how Peyton Manning "can never win the big ones."

When does an oblong football floating in the air behave like a perfectly round baseball? When two New England defenders just aren't having a very good day at the office.

Now that's luck!

So with that thought fresh in our minds, Sox Fans, let's settle back and watch the Super Bowl (and cheer the Bears if that's your team, too), and know that a new baseball season is waiting for us just on the other side of the new month. And let's also remember one more fact of the universe that all baseball and football fans of championship teams already know to be true: You never have to apologize for winning.

Go Bears!


George Bova is editor and founder of White Sox Interactive. You can write George at george@whitesoxinteractive.com

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