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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

Chicago Proud
for Our Sox!

by George Bova

South Side Tourism

by George Bova

If the wind chill is in the 20's, it must be time for the Sox to start the new season!

The White Sox enter their third week of the young season. What the talk around Chicago reveals about the Sox is far, far less than what it reveals about those who are doing the talking.

It's too damned cold. The people who run baseball are idiots.

The pitching sucks. The Sox are cheap and the Baseball Prospectus's Bozo-puter was spot-on when it predicted just 72 Sox wins.

Ozzie Guillen is in over his head. Brian Anderson would have won the game in Oakland with his great defense.

Omigod... can we all stop sucking our thumbs already?

It's a well-known and quite true adage that nobody wins a championship in April, but it is definitely possible to lose one in April. Sox Fans need only remember the 2005 season when a quick start by our Sox combined with a lousy one by Cleveland, provided the Sox with plenty of wins to clinch the division even before sweeping the Tribe in Cleveland the final three dates of the season. Yep, Chicago's first-in-88- years Championship Express got rolling in earnest right inside Jacobs Field. Sucks to be a Cleveland fan...

If the proper meaning of April wins isn't clear enough with the example of 2005, then certainly even the youngest Sox Fans can remember 2006, when a franchise-best 17-7 April by the Sox appeared to put them in line for another triumphal march to October, but it was nearly matched nearly win for win by an upstart bunch from Detroit under Jim Leyland. The Sox soon fell off the Tigers' pace, eventually being caught from behind by Minnesota, too. Winning all those games last April was cold comfort for Sox Fans by October.

Sure, April games count but this isn't the NFL where the whole season hinges on the outcome of 16 measly games. Is it too much to ask for a bit of perspective?

So before you drive yourself and your Buick straight over the cliff into the Thornton quarry, please consider that the Sox are right in the middle of what is (so far) shaping up as a four-team race for the Central Division title. There are well in excess of 140 games left to be played, and all that has been decided so far is that the Sox are keeping very good company with several talented ballclubs.

What more could we Sox Fans want? Apparently the answer for some Sox Fans is one more win in Oakland. Too funny... October won't get here even one minute quicker by fretting over Brian Anderson not hitting over .400, not stealing any bases, not leading the team in runs scored, and not being sent in for late-inning defense. And while on this subject, please stop insisting the likes of Mike Squires make great firstbasemen for their defense, too. This is a uniquely Sox Fan affliction, thinking glovework is a substitute for strong pitching. There is no substitute.

Give it up already. Scott Podsednik figures to win far more games with his bat and his speed than he'll ever lose with his throwing arm. If the equation ever reverses itself, Ozzie Guillen has Brian Anderson waiting for his chance to make a difference -- the difference he never made in 2006.

While the outcome of this season remains over five months away, let's instead focus on what nearly all Sox Fans can agree upon.

1.) Cleveland's fans are first-class idiots for booing Jim Thome. As someone who lived in Ohio back in the mid-90's when the Indians were the absolute terror of the American League, I can tell you how remarkably passionate this same bunch of fans were for all their "heroes" inside jam-packed Jacobs Field -- including Jim Thome. In retrospect I now realize what really drove their passion was the absence of professional football, the uncontrolled rage focused upon Art Modell for pulling the Browns out of town, and the complete absence of anything besides the Indians to make themselves feel good about living alongside a river of sludge that once burned. Booing Jim Thome is perfectly in keeping with their TRUE nature. Complete idiots...

2.) Sox Marketing has improved 100 percent under the direction of Brook Boyer and his staff. The hapless efforts of his predecessor have been well-documented through the years at White Sox Interactive, but the most recent series of television ads -- specifically The South Side Chicago Bureau of Tourism -- are pure genius for speaking directly to the core beliefs of the Sox' target audience: Chicago's contrarian baseball fans. The message is simple. It's not "hip" to be a South Sider, but there is definitely something exciting happening on that "other" side of town -- if only the viewer is willing to laugh and accept the invitation. Yes, your cellphone will work at Sox Park. Yes, the exchange rate is $1 North Side equals $1 South Side. You can be shallow, vain, frivolous and embody everything the quintessential resident of Roscoe Village represents -- but you'll have a great time at Sox Park anyway! It's pure genius... non-Sox Fans get the message to be un-hip and support the Sox, while the core of Sox Fans simply laugh at what we all believe about all those who don't accept the invitation. They're stereotypically shallow and stupid... the "fans" we've come to know and loathe. For example...

Question: "Is the Southside in a different time zone? You know, like Michigan is? -- Jill, Lakeview

Answer: Contrary to popular perception, the Southside is most assuredly not in a different time zone. Central Daylight Time is adhered to as rigidly down here as it is in the rest of Chicago. Regional anomalies, such as having a winning baseball team, have lead to a perception that the Southside is much further away than it actually is. The Red Line elevated train, for example, actually runs all the way to U.S. Cellular® Field. A fact that continues to astound some Chicagoans.

3.) Cold weather in April is not unique in Chicago. Yes, it has snowed in April before, and it has snowed in May (and even June) in Chicago, too! Dress for the elements and don't kid yourself into thinking using too much lighter fluid on your barbeque, or operating a gasoline-powered lawnmower, or popping open a can of PAM aerosol cooking spray in the backyard, is going to change things for the better anytime soon.

You don't like the cold in April? Move. It's not changing anytime soon.

But while you're still here, support the Sox. They're not hip, but they're definitely exciting.

Thank you.

George Bova is editor and founder of White Sox Interactive. You can write George at

More features from George Bova here!

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