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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

Chicago Proud
for Our Sox!

by George Bova

Where Credit is Due: the '08 Sox

by George Bova

Another season of White Sox baseball is now upon us. Snow covers the ground throughout Chicago this Easter and the grounds of many neighborhood park district fields are either too muddy or too frozen to allow the beginning of the spring 16-inch softball season. Daylight Savings Time is a joke for not a blade of green grass can be found anywhere north of St. Louis. Go mow your brown lawn after work? Not a chance. But look on the bright side... it was pitch-black outside when the alarm went off at 6:00 in the morning... just like back in January. Spring in Chicago; You can keep it.

It doesn't look much like spring and it is hard to believe the Sox will be taking the field at Sox Park in less than two weeks. It is spring however and the Sox most definitely are coming north from Arizona to begin another campaign as Chicago fans' standard-bearers for winning baseball. Winning is all it has ever been about for any of us following the Sox, the only team in town that ever took the task seriously for years and years and years.

God Bless these White Sox.

We were with them when they sucked. We were with them when they made the entire city Baseball Championship Proud, too. We're still with them. Some things never change!

This isn't to imply that all Sox Fans have handled the transition from loser to champion back to loser as smoothly as they might otherwise. While all Sox Fans care deeply about winning, some confuse this passion with indulging whatever neuroses cloud their judgment. Some believe Sox ballplayers who won are now expendable. Others believe washed up Sox ballplayers deserve as many chances as it takes to prove their worthy of the uniform. Some Sox ballplayers have a fan club for no reason at all. In spite of 89 years of empirical data to the contrary, some believe the front office that fielded Chicago's one and only world champion team is now inhabited by idiots.

Yes, life gets plenty confusing when all you ever want is a second world championship trophy. It's especially bad for Chicago fans since even Sox Fans have but one world championship to serve as an up-close example to find the right answers. As for championship experience, there certainly are nothing but wrong answers and general comedy to be found on the other side of town.

Fairytales are for somebody else. Sox Fans are realists; Such a crime in Chicago!

This 2008 squad is not the ideal team to set a Sox Fan to dreaming about championship glory. Certain ballplayers will have to step up. Others need to reach down deep and pull out one more gem of a season. Some need to produce where they've never produced before. Numerous are the questions but answers still months away from knowing. Ozzie Guillen has placed large importance upon getting off to a fast start so perhaps we haven't too long to wait before knowing this team's fate. There is certainly a aura of "do or die" amongst this bunch.

I recently caught up with a long-time business associate. It had been a few years since we had a chance to talk at length. As happens so often when two Sox Fans share a conversation, every discussion inevitably turns to the Sox. Not the stupid "this is our year" conversation. Not the vapid "my buddies and I are going to opening day and party like animals" conversation either. Baseball fans of a different stripe have those conversations. Instead our was the "what's new in your world as a Sox Fan" conversation. This one was different.

I hadn't crossed paths with this guy in over three years. And when the conversation turned to the Sox, there was this palatable sense that we were happy, happy in a way we couldn't have fathomed before October 26, 2005.

"They won. I can die happy." The funny thing is each of us knew exactly what the other one was trying to say. What price can you put on that?

I want lots of Sox championships. I want 26 more of them so New York Yankees fans envy me... and Boston Red Sox fans finally realize just how irrelevant they truly are. I want as many trophies as the Sox can cart off before I go on to my great reward.

Greed is good but I'll go on to the next world happy because the rooting quest I spent most of the first-half of my life hoping (doubting?) I would see has already come to pass. My Sox Fan friend and I know it deep in our hearts.

Some people deserve credit for this. The first of these is Jerry Reinsdorf. It took 25 years and the path traveled was significantly longer and circuitous and than anyone ever expected to be. It was a cruel path, too. The Sox very nearly left town in that period, a World Series was cancelled, and Sox Fans like me -- those of us who sincerely wanted to believe the return of Robin Ventura to the every day lineup meant a real chance to overtake first-place Cleveland with two month left in the 1997 season -- we were called "crazy" for believing it. It was some kind of ugly being a Sox Fan in the late-90's. And I started White Sox Interactive as a result... devoted to the FANS of the Chicago White Sox.

From all of this finally came a champion. The talk about Ron Schueler's "Point C" didn't deliver the trophy. Neither did the talk about playing "the kids" who came from White Flagging the 1997 season. What finally drove this bus across the finish line was an undying devotion to fielding a winning team now. Not tomorrow. Not some future date.

The here and now of championship baseball is what made the Sox Chicago's baseball champions.

Don't ever forget the path you've traveled to get this far, Sox Fans. It's a route unlike any other in professional sports and for that your rooting devotion is unique and noteworthy. The dopes at the Sun Times and the Tribune don't understand. (They only want your letters-to-the-editor submissions to better make fools of you.) The stream of consciousness screed that passes for sports talk won't ever acknowledge your unique place either. Their gentlemen's club advertisers enjoy better business when the sportsblab airwaves are filled with vapid nonsense -- no time for talking Sox baseball.

Did anyone seriously believe these goofs would ever cover Sox baseball for its passion to win? Of course not. And yet you, me and every other Sox Fan stands here ready to go to battle just the same.

The 2008 Sox are here because we're too stubborn to let the true followers of "Second City" mediocrity ever be good enough for us.

We need another world championship. One is enough, but we Sox Fans live for nothing if not the chase.

The rest of mediocre Chicago is welcome to join us... if any of them have the stones to keep up with us.

Go Sox!


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

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