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WinningUgly!
01-26-2003, 11:03 PM
Nice job Lip. I enjoyed the article (http://www.whitesoxinteractive.com/rwas/index.php?category=2&id=2096), even though it's about a part of Sox history that I'd like to forget.

Lip Man 1
01-26-2003, 11:18 PM
Thanks, I did enjoy combing through the records to learn about the history of the Sox on TV in Chicago.

Like I said it was a good idea but at the wrong time and under the wrong circumstances (some of which were not the fault of the owners). Unfortunately the ramifications badly hurt the franchise in the ensuing twenty years.

Lip

TornLabrum
01-26-2003, 11:26 PM
Great article, Lip. Only one minor point of clarification. You give the impression that SportsVision started as a cableservice, or at least that's the impression I got from the article.

In fact, SportsVision was a pay service on a broadcast channel, I think Channel 60, which had the call letters WBBS (for Bulls, Blackhawks, and Sox). That lasted for a year, I think, or at most two. Then the Sox transferred the SportsVision operation to WSNS, Channel 44, which was already a pay service called OnTV. The Sox remained there for a couple of years at most.

The next brilliant move was to make SportsVision a premium cable channel a la HBO. By 1986 or so that had failed and SportsVision became part of SportsChannel, a basic cable service that is now Fox Sports Chicago.

I'm just going by memory, but I remember being able to adjust the fine tuning on an old b&w portable TV we had in our last apartment, so I could watch the Sox through the snow and without sound on channel 44. I know that when we got our basic cable service in 1985 when we moved into the house we live in now, we couldn't get SportsVision with our subscription, but we could by the next year, iirc.

Bmr31
01-26-2003, 11:29 PM
Originally posted by TornLabrum
Great article, Lip. Only one minor point of clarification. You give the impression that SportsVision started as a cableservice, or at least that's the impression I got from the article.

In fact, SportsVision was a pay service on a broadcast channel, I think Channel 60, which had the call letters WBBS (for Bulls, Blackhawks, and Sox). That lasted for a year, I think, or at most two. Then the Sox transferred the SportsVision operation to WSNS, Channel 44, which was already a pay service called OnTV. The Sox remained there for a couple of years at most.

The next brilliant move was to make SportsVision a premium cable channel a la HBO. By 1986 or so that had failed and SportsVision became part of SportsChannel, a basic cable service that is now Fox Sports Chicago.

I'm just going by memory, but I remember being able to adjust the fine tuning on an old b&w portable TV we had in our last apartment, so I could watch the Sox through the snow and without sound on channel 44. I know that when we got our basic cable service in 1985 when we moved into the house we live in now, we couldn't get SportsVision with our subscription, but we could by the next year, iirc.

Wow i am impressed. I only wish my memory was that good.

duke of dorwood
01-27-2003, 08:50 AM
Somewhere, someplace in another life, I had a pirate box, really cumbersome in the 80's for Sportsvision. Remember paying handsomely for it at the time, and was shortly after that it went basic.

Brian26
01-27-2003, 01:59 PM
Great article, Lip. It sort of leaves you wanting to know more about that whole time period. I've read "Who's On Third" and "Stealing First in a Two Team Town". Are there any other good books that cover that time period of Sox history? Would love to know more about Harry and Jimmy's departure and how Drysdale and Harrelson were picked as the new tv men.

Lip Man 1
01-27-2003, 02:23 PM
Bob Logan's book Miracle On 35th Street is a great read. It talks in detail about the 83 season as well as the controversies involving Caray and Sox ownership.

Lip

Dan H
01-27-2003, 02:28 PM
Originally posted by Lip Man 1
Thanks, I did enjoy combing through the records to learn about the history of the Sox on TV in Chicago.

Like I said it was a good idea but at the wrong time and under the wrong circumstances (some of which were not the fault of the owners). Unfortunately the ramifications badly hurt the franchise in the ensuing twenty years.

Lip

Real nice piece, Lip. It has always been my contention that many of the problems the Sox have have been a long time in the making. It isn't just the media or ungrateful fans.

On the TV end, one of the biggest mistakes the Sox made was going to Channel 32 beginning with the 1968 season. Many people didn't have that channel at that time and the market in Chicago really opened up to the Cubs. It also didn't help that the lifeless Sox hit only 71 home runs as a team in 1968 and fell from pennant contender to 8th place.(1968 was the last year of one divisional baseball.)

I don't know if the owners ever understood the backlash to their TV plans. I have a feeling they didn't, and I also have a feeling they still don't understand how fans think.

Brian26
01-27-2003, 02:29 PM
I'll try to find a copy. Would love to read more about that time period. I vividly recall listening to Joe McConnell and Early Wynn do the games on WMAQ that summer while trying to watch the games every once in awhile on scramblevision without the sound.
Piersall had a post-game call-in show on the same station that was always fun to listen to.

ode to veeck
01-27-2003, 04:05 PM
Some recollections from the early Reinsdorf era and Sportsvision. Most Sox fans were revolted by the fact they would have to pay to see most of the broadcast Sox games a la Sportsvision when this all came down.

The original ONTV boxes had the scrambling done by an IC on the PCB in your set top ONTV box. Unfortunately for Sportsvision, the nice brute force way to disable the scrambing on these early boxes (and get regular audio and video) of the Sox games was simply to take a drill and drill a hole through center of the scrambling IC (I think it was like a 12 or 18 pin DIP-dual inline package).

A couple of years later, when I was an electrical engineering student at UIC, and ONTV/Sportsvision had moved to slightly more sophisticated methods for deploying the scrambling, I remember one of more common senior projects in the department was designing and building descrambler boxes for Sportsvision ...

Bmr31
01-27-2003, 04:10 PM
Originally posted by Brian26
I'll try to find a copy. Would love to read more about that time period. I vividly recall listening to Joe McConnell and Early Wynn do the games on WMAQ that summer while trying to watch the games every once in awhile on scramblevision without the sound.
Piersall had a post-game call-in show on the same station that was always fun to listen to.

Oh man, i rember Early Winn. He was the guy who talked through his nose and called homeruns like 30 seconds after the crowd reacted. He was terrible, wasnt he?

Cheryl
01-27-2003, 04:18 PM
take a drill and drill a hole through center of the scrambling IC

My father taught me how to use a drill doing this.

Foulke You
01-27-2003, 05:25 PM
Nice article Lip. I can't believe Reinsy really said Harry Carey and Piersall were scum on the AIR after the '83 clinching game when he should have been celebrating his first division title. Talk about being petty and immature.

The point that the Sox being taken off free TV, I believe was one of the biggest turning points for the franchise. Not only was the economy bad as you pointed out, but Sox fans tend to be more of the blue collar workers on a fixed income who probably couldn't have afforded it in a strong economy. Reinsdorf and Einhorn were blissfully unaware of this.

Chisoxfn
01-27-2003, 06:03 PM
Thanks for writing that article Lip. You did a real good job.

It filled me in on some things I never knew of, and after reading it, I feel I know a whole lot more about the White Sox and now I understand why Caray left, as well as the whole JR feud and so many other things that I wouldn't know as a younger fan.

Lip Man 1
01-27-2003, 10:32 PM
Gang:

No problem! Glad you enjoyed the article. Feel free to e-mail me with suggestions for future historical pieces, my address is mliptak1@ida.net

You never know, your suggestion might be the next story!

and yes Uncle Jerry did make that little speech. (Have it on video...)

Dan H : Look through the archives (look for the WSI Interviews link on the main page) and re read the interview with Rich Lindberg. He specifically talks about the Sox leaving WGN and the disaster that happened afterwards (and why!)

and yes Early Wynn was very, VERY bad on the air! (had a chance to meet him down on the field before opening night 1983 in Arlington, Texas and he was very friendly)

Lip

VeeckAsInWreck
01-28-2003, 03:14 AM
Although I was a kid, I do remember a lot from that era. Thanks to SportsVision most of my childhood friends became sCrUB fans. In reading the article it is not so surprising that our Uncle Jerry would call Harry and Jimmy "scum". After all, he is the same man who in the year 2000 gloated to Sox fans about how he was right for making the "White Flag" trade.
As far as the other guy goes, Eddie Einhorn was interviewed in White Sox: A Visual History on VHS. In it Einhorn says that he wanted the Sox to be Chicago's American league team and not Chicago's South side team. Einhorn obviously doesn't know Chicago baseball fans very well. You cheer one or the other but not both. But I guess that is a whole other subject.

Either way, good article Lip!

Wsoxmike59
01-29-2003, 07:53 AM
Excellent article Lip, it was nicely done. My memories of Sportsvision was that right after I got married in Oct of '83 I had subscribed to SPECTRUM TV the competitor of ON-TV.

I discovered that when I hooked the SPECTRUM box to my old ancient B/W TV it also descrambled the ON-TV signal but without sound, enabling me to watch not only the White Sox, but the Blackhawks as well!! I was able to remedy that situation by turning on the radio and listening in.