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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

Chicago Proud
for Our Sox!

by George Bova

Winning -- it starts now!

by George Bova

This has been quite an off-season for Chicago's Sox Fans. Yes, quite an off-season like none this city has seen in at least 88 years. Did you spend your time enjoying their glorious ride and the triumphal twelve months that followed? Or did you spend your time whining and complaining about it, looking for reasons to be miserable? Maybe you even turned on your fellow Sox Fans because making yourself miserable -- even miserable towards your fellow Sox Fans! -- is the only way you know? Gosh, talk about stereotypical Sox Fan behavior...

Chicago hasn't wrapped its arms around a world champion baseball team in over four generations. That team is gone, the last vestige of its glorious triumph officially buried last September. We Sox Fans know too well how to handle years and years of defeat and humiliation. It's practically second nature. And for at least 88 years, how we Sox Fans dealt with all the losing became what defined us as unique inside a city filled with complete idiots throwing back opponents' homerun balls and trying to convince themselves -- and the wider world of idiots -- that somehow losing was lovable.

Sox Fans hate losing. Sox Fans never felt cursed. Becoming champions was the only reward we ever wanted from being Sox Fans. And after years of suffering in anonymity, we finally got it! But now our champion team is gone.

See? We haven't been in this predicament since the year President Woodrow Wilson had a stroke. A very unique place indeed...

Another First for Sox Fans

2006 buried the world champion White Sox. Yes, their legacy of making Sox Fans champions is alive and still breathing, but there is no mistaking that this new 2007 team taking the field this week no longer carries the championship title they rightly held just twelve months earlier. The title is gone and now it must be re-earned.

It's just the latest in a string of "firsts" we Sox Fans must learn to deal with. Knowing how to obstinately wait to be champion is second nature to all Sox Fans. (We wouldn't be Sox Fans if we couldn't be obstinate). Knowing how to revel in their championship was easy enough for most of us, too. Celebrating the twelve months they reigned as champs came easier to some of us than others. And now for the last six months we've been treading in some new, uncharted waters for every living Sox Fan: how to support a ballclub attempting to recapture the championship flag?

If we Sox Fans hoped to find guidance from the local sports media, there was nothing but the usual nonsense to misguide us. Pitchers with nine career wins were labeled "proven workhorses". Paraphrased nonsense about what our champion GM never said was instead palmed off as fact. They tossed around words like "despicable" to describe the team's management for its negotiating stance. And in typically clueless fashion, they failed to note that this very same negotiating stance was used by the club with the team's franchise player the winter before the Sox became Chicago's first baseball champions in the lifetime of any of the idiots writing about the team from an "expert" point of view.

This winter if you listened to the likes of Phil Rogers, Rick Morrissey, Dan McGrath, Mark Gonzales, or Dave van Dyck; or if you believed the mindless blathering of anyone writing for the city's other newspaper, but especially their windsock feature columnist -- then you can rightly feel completely confused about what this 2007 season is all about. This winter they offered Sox Fans no insights except wrong ones; What they described for us was not reality but their own pure fantasies -- if not outright lies.

Carol Burnett would know exactly what to do if Dave van Dyck had misquoted her the way he actually did misquote Kenny Williams this past winter. But I guess being the "world's greatest newspaper" means never having to say you're wrong... or even sorry.

The Insidious Danger to Sox Fans

The Sox spent the spring in Tucson looking to identify a #5 starter, get veterans ready to play, and sizing up their options for a handful of roster spots. Winning exhibition games wasn't high on the priority list, but getting a solid roster together was absolutely critical. With only one exception, they appear to have accomplished their primary task. Losing back up catcher Toby Hall to injury was a tough break, but certainly nothing of the magnitude that could ruin a whole season before it even started. Meanwhile defending A.L. champion Detroit is dealing with exactly this sort of critical problem now that starter Kenny Rogers is lost for an indefinite period with health problems... and let's not even waste time recounting the injury and roster problems the defending division champion Twins are dealing with.

For at least the first week of the season, the Sox are in good shape, though the continued health of everyone beyond this narrow window is strictly a crapshoot. Now it's simply a matter of executing, something this team has done before -- and is capable of doing magnificently.

Forget about all the crap of the last six months. It's meaningless. Winning -- it starts now!

This isn't a tough team to get behind. To the contrary, it's an easy team to get behind. We know their faces and what they're capable of. Any Sox Fan can cheer a winner.

The tough part for Sox Fans is more sinister. In fact it's so sinister and so insidious to the very being of the typical Sox Fan that many of us will become victims without even knowing it. For Sox Fan it will be tough not to confuse this championship-caliber ballclub with the string of also-ran ballclubs we supported for 88 of the last 89 years.

Don't be stupid. If you think the 2005 roster couldn't be improved upon, your grip on reality is weak because the 2006 additions to the roster delivered superior results in many facets of the game while many of the 2005 holdovers (especially in the starting rotation) slid backwards. If you think these new 2007 Sox who might be causing you so much angst this summer resemble too much the same misfits that stumbled through the 70's, 80's and 90's (not to mention the 50+ years before that, too), then you're actually taking the piss on Chicago's one and only champion-pedigree ballclub. Your intelligence is weak. Your foolishness is manifest.

Don't do it.

And finally, if you think the Sox Fan sitting beside you is too negative; if you find yourself driven to distraction listening to them; if you think you should muzzle them because you're too weak of mind to articulate why they're wrong, too short-tempered and miserable to not harm them, or just plain too dumb to not recognize what a stereotypical Sox Fan REALLY is... then go right ahead and make yourself into the stereotypically miserable Sox Fan you think isn't you. You'll become exactly what you say you aren't.

Meanwhile we'll be right here rooting for, swearing at, and otherwise indulging our passion with this bunch of Sox same as every other year. Isn't this what White Sox Interactive is all about? Well... isn't it?

We hope you enjoy the ride. Speaking for only myself, I know I will.

Godspeed to these new Sox! Now "Play Ball!"


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

More features from George Bova here!

Have a thought about
Winning -- it starts now?

You Can Put it on the Board -- Yes!



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