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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

Arizona Heat
by Pascal Marco

Do the Sox still Believe?

by Pascal Marco

SOX NEED TO DO THEIR ENERGY WORK THIS SPRING

"All year we had to listen to people out there…telling us we didn't have the team to do this.
I'm trying to think in my mind what would make people think we're a good team.
The only thing I could come up with is: maybe we will have to do this one more time next year."

-- Paul Konerko, October 28, 2005

If you’re like me, when Paul Konerko spoke those words just before he took the World Series final-out baseball from his pocket and handed it to Jerry Reinsdorf, you may have felt that this was one of the most emotional moments of the entire celebration of the first World Series Championship in Chicago in four generations.

I watched this event on WGN-TV from my home in Arizona, wishing I could have been on the side-streets of the greatest city in the world, shoulder-to-shoulder with the multitudes that day as fans and team celebrated this triumph. How I wished to be back in my hometown and savor it all with my fellow White Sox fans.

And, once again if you were like me, you truly believed Konerko as he spoke those above words on the dais after the marvelous parade before more than a million Chicagoans who poured out their thankfulness and joy to their conquering heroes.

But, alas, Paulie’s seemingly innocuous choice of words may have unconsciously been the defining point in why we did not have another spectacular celebration similar to that in 2006 as we finished in third place, 6 games back of the Detroit Tigers who eventually went in our place to the World Series.

Maybe we will have to do this one more time next year.”

Did he say, “Maybe?” Maybe he meant to say possibly? Or perhaps?

Did he mean: not with certainty?

Maybe I’m checking one of my favorite players too hard to the boards on his phrasing but when I looked at it closely I was reminded of the tried-and-true cliché: “The game is 95% mental.” If this oft-used (and many times over-used) maxim is true, then I respectfully submit that the word “maybe” and all its synonyms and what they connote, do not belong anywhere in any White Sox player’s language.

We hear all the time of clubs going to camp with one goal in mind such as “to win it all this year” or to work on “coming together as a team,” or to “make it all happen.” I, perhaps like you, would like to know what changed mentally for the Sox between their arrivals in spring camp in 2006 versus 2005. The obvious answer, besides the fact that they were defending World Champs, is that, as Konerko correctly stated for the 2005 campaign, possibly the expectations weren’t really there in 2006. Critics and experts didn’t believe the 2005 club had what it took to win it all. Could that same thinking have been true in 2006? Perhaps. Were the Sox truly expected to repeat? Maybe. Did they believe they could win it all again as their fans did? Possibly.

So, just exactly what did happen in 2006 to the club’s group psyche? Other than for a few newcomers, they were still the same core as the 2005 World Champs. What were the players thinking? Perhaps we can do it again? Maybe we can win back-to-back titles? Possibly we will break the franchise streak of never going to the post-season two years in a row since the Sox helped form the American League way back in 1901?

Whatever it was, in a baseball world full of clichés here’s one more: that was then and this is now. As I report for the first time for www.whitesoxinteractive.com on Spring Training 2007, my first question to Captain Konerko and to all of his fellow teammates will be: do you believe you will win it all this year?

Annually, some people spend many, many thousands of dollars to come to Arizona to visit sites here called vortexes to do what’s called in this New Age archetype as “energy work.” Known for their healing and inspirational powers, these energy hotspots are used by so-called “intuitives” to raise their awareness of their inner power and their connection to everything in the universe. Mind over matter, you are what you think, kind of stuff. These people believe that it’s not 95% mental but 100%.

The Sox are fortunate. Jerry Reinsdorf picks up the tab for the players to come to Arizona to do their own form of energy work called Spring Training. Simultaneously, White Sox fans spend their energy all winter not only on how to keep warm but on their own form of inspirational work talking about how they can’t wait for baseball to start and to see the team they believe in win it all again. And, as die-hard believers, we just don’t think it; we know it and believe it.

But, alas, we don’t play the game. The players do. Now we want to hear you guys say you know the same thing we do and that you believe you are ready to reclaim the crown you so rightly deserve. To use Paulie’s words, “the only thing I can come up with is” that we Sox fans want you guys to go out there, throw your chests out, believe you are the best, and take back your World Series title.

You are World Champs. Don’t stop believin’.

Go Sox!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Pascal Marco is a free-lance writer who splits his time between Scottsdale, Arizona (where he formed the Arizona Sox Posse in 2005) and Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Born and raised on Chicago’s South Side, he has been a Sox fan since the unforgettable Go-Go White Sox days and has contributed to White Sox fan web sites such as www.whitesoxinteractive.com. He can be reached at reply85254@aol.com.

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