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Philo-Sox-er
06-19-2004, 12:51 PM
I am writing this due to some of what I have been reading in the J-Hood thread; but I hope that starting it as a separate thread will focus the discussion. This may be a somewhat lengthy reply; but I hope that it will lead to a deeper understanding of what the issue being discussed there is--that is, this is in regards to the White Sox fans bashing on Cubs fans.



In short, the way this issue is couched in the media and also here at WSI is shallow. I am not trying to be insulting to anyone; I think we all get caught up in the maelstrom.



The issue of why Sox fans critique the Cubs fans runs very deep and it would be wise if everyone paid attention to the Sox fans. You see, the Cubs-Sox, North-South divide in the city is much more than about team loyalty and FANaticism. The entire history of this rivalry is rooted in the prevalent socio-political-economic-ideological divide within the city and our collective unconscious. In other words, it is no surprise to any person slightly familiar with Chicago that Cubs fans largely hail from the north, affluent part of the city; mostly populated by the wealthy, white and white collared population. Contrary to this fan-base, the White Sox have always been the laborer's team. That is, they are the South side of the city, populated largely by the blue collar, lower-middle class and more ethnically diverse part of the city. Hence, it isn't merely a dispute over which teams' colors one chooses to root for; this rivalry is grounded in the age-old battle between the rich, powerful elite and the work-ethic, pragmatic working class.



And, truth be told, each team, in many ways, has done much to remain representative of such a division. Take one look at Wrigley and this is extremely evident. To begin, the park itself is designed such to keep the poorer people separate from the richer people; that is, the bleachers are not connected to the rest of the ballpark. In this way, originally, before all of their fan-base became wealthy and it became hip to sit in the cheap seats, when the bleachers were still literally cheat seats, the poor people would not be allowed to mingle with the wealthy who sat in the box seating areas across the field. Old Sox Park and the newly renamed Cell have always been a melting pot of diverse peoples. At a White Sox game, everyone could and still can move around the park, speak to other White Sox fans of varying ethnicities, economic classes, political standpoints, etc., coming together over the things they hold in common: 1) their love and knowledge of baseball; and 2) their support of the White Sox. White Sox baseball has always been and remains true to the very nature of baseball: it builds democratic community in a pluralistic society. The Cubs, on the other hand, revel in their myopic utopia. They like excluding everyone else—“You are either with us, or against us!” That is why they developed the stupid, insulting tradition of throwing back opposing teams' home run balls. It is disrespectful to the game, yet self-disclosive about the values the Cubs fans hold--they are selfish.



Cubs fans can afford to lose. They have everything else in life. They are generally well-to-do, as they say, and, hence, they lead a privileged life. As it has become trendy, too, to plead for pity (example: kids from the suburbs declaring how “hard” they had it and how “tough” their high school was, etc.; to such an extent that they are “gang bangers”…yeah, right!). These people who have it all, want something more on top of it: everyone’s pity! “Hey America, feel bad and sympathize with us. We left work at 11:00 am, came to Wrigley on a sunny Thursday, paid $70 for a bad seat from a broker (the Tribune), paid $50 to have my BMW looked after while I’m in the game, spent $5.50 per beer (drank roughly $200 worth), but the Cubs lost. Feel bad for us! We are the lovable losers!” Gee, I feel so bad for Bill Gates too. What a travesty. You’re team lost and now you have to go back to your suburban mansion and live your materialistically ideal life. Their condition is precisely why they don’t mind losing; they really didn’t lose anything!



Sox fans, on the other hand, have nothing to lose in the first place. They are invested in the team and the game of baseball. On the baseball field, everything is equal. It doesn’t matter if you are A-Rod making $25 million per year or Willie Harris and his relatively paltry salary—what matters in baseball is who scores the most runs. Thus, it is on the ball field that the team, symbolic representation of the blue collar working class, can win at a game that humbles everyone. And if they do, then the White Sox fan has gained a little something extra; they retain the ability to hope for justice in the world, if nowhere else but the baseball diamond.



Also, in this train of thought, there have been howls from the Cubs side and the media, even some “Sox fans” like J-Hood, who say the Sox fans shouldn’t focus any attention on the Cubs. This declaration is a red herring and misses two major essential points to this phenomenon. Firstly, as I have already expressed, these comments are not simply a result of loathing the Cubs as a rival baseball team. This is a battle between two philosophies, or worldviews. Secondly, and I think equally as insidious, is that what they are saying with this so-called “rebuttal” is that we should not critique the other. Democracy is founded upon the framework of dialogue—which involves criticism. If we criticize the Cubs for parading a token black man around, Charlie Woo Woo, then they should be able to respond rationally. They poke fun of our new mascot, Southpaw; their mascot is a poor, malnourished black man! What does that say?! I have seen how the white suburbanite 20/30 somethings, shellacked with a dozen Old Styles, treat Mr. Woo Woo. They laugh and point, make fun of his missing teeth and treat him like a slave forced to do a dance for his master. Isn’t it funny to see that black man degraded? Isn’t this inclusive to the ethos of baseball, family, community, and democracy? We get to go home to our nice homes; anybody ever ask where Mr. Woo Woo lives? I wonder?... Apologies for the tangent…



All of this is to say that, not only is it appropriate for Sox fans to aim criticism towards the Cubs, it is a moral imperative. What is happening is not merely Sox fans gone wild. It is expressive of something deeper in the psyche of Sox fans.



I could go on and on about this, and perhaps I will in response to this thread and others. Thanks for reading this far.

viagracat
06-19-2004, 01:09 PM
I actually met Ronnie Woo-Woo once, he seems like a nice guy. He's the most successful panhandler in Chicago. Give him credit for that. I don't think race is a factor there. Otherwise, I agree with your thoughts.

California Sox
06-19-2004, 01:18 PM
Yeah, the Sox-Cubs divide actually is even deeper than that. Historically it also has ethnic, religious, and political dimensions. Early in the twentieth century German and Anglo-Saxon Protestants expanded the city to the north in a type of "white flight" from rowdy Irish Catholic immigrants, whose population was growing and threatening their enclaves in the center of the city. (Check out the street names "Goethe" "Schiller" etc.) The then dominant Republican Party took a decidedly anti-immigrant, anti-Catholic stance as did its mouthpiece Col. McCormick's Tribune. My grandfather who was an Irish Catholic Westsider (eventually living on the North side) and a writer for the Democratic paper The Daily News, hated three things in life, all representatives to him of anti-Irish bias: The Republican Party, the Tribune, and the Cubs. Those prejudices were taught to me by my mother. I'm a Democrat. A Sox fan. And the Trib editorial policy makes me sick. (But at least they don't have Mariotti.)

The Cub/Sox rivalry is like Celtic vs. Ranger in Scottish soccer. Anyone who thinks it's just about baseball hasn't been paying attention.

That being said, it is so much easier to not care about the Cubs when you don't live in the city. I'm friends with a bunch of Chicagoans in LA. We're sort of an ex-pat community of sensible midwesterners in the weirdness of Hollywood. Most of them are Cub fans and I try to take a "why can't we all just get along?"-type attitude. And I do. Publicly. But I still can't root for the Cubs to make it to the series. And not just before we get there. I'm talking about ever. Family prejudices die hard.

Philo-Sox-er
06-19-2004, 01:24 PM
Thanks for the very informative post California Sox!

MRKARNO
06-19-2004, 02:10 PM
Two awesome posts by Philo-Sox-er and California Sox

Here's another thing too: Look around at Wrigley Field. You'll see very little racial diversity, expecially on a weekday day gme. Look around the cell. While it's not ideal, there's certainly a lot more racial diversity at White Sox games. This is way deeper than a baseball issue and the media doesnt want to look at it that way.

SoxFan76
06-19-2004, 02:33 PM
Two awesome posts by Philo-Sox-er and California Sox

Here's another thing too: Look around at Wrigley Field. You'll see very little racial diversity, expecially on a weekday day gme. Look around the cell. While it's not ideal, there's certainly a lot more racial diversity at White Sox games. This is way deeper than a baseball issue and the media doesnt want to look at it that way.
Basically from what I see, the biggest difference currently between the two ballparks, is that at the Cell, I can turn around and talk to ANYBODY, and they know what they are talking about from a baseball standpoint. Even an 8 year old kid could hold an inteligent conversation. Where as at Wrigley, well most of us have been there. Nobody has any idea that there is a baseball game going on.

1951Campbell
06-19-2004, 03:04 PM
The "culture war" aspect to Sox/Cubs relations is why the "Them/Us" campaign is so successful with Sox fans. IMO, members of the media who do not understand that either have a tin ear for cultural issues or are siding with the Cubs in some sort of attempt to bask in the reflected glory of the upper middle class playground that Wrigley is.

Viva Magglio
06-19-2004, 08:28 PM
Those are great posts, and they are historically accurate. In the old days, Catholics did indeed identify with the White Sox while Protestants identified with the Cubs. In fact, there is a higher than suspected concentration of White Sox fans in some North Side neighborhoods. Rogers Park is a perfect example because a large Irish Catholic population has lived there a long time. Cubs fans are probably still the majority, but the Sox fan portion of the population is notable.

Lip Man 1
06-19-2004, 11:34 PM
Michael Wilbon, a Chicago native, spoke a little about this to Rick Telander in a story in Sports Illustrated last April. Wilbon said his dad went to see Jackie Robinson play at Wrigley Field and was turned away. Wilbon said that his father felt it was racist and that from that day forward no one in the Wilbon household ever saw a Cub game, they all became Sox fans.


Lip

elrod
06-19-2004, 11:56 PM
I'm a Democrat. A Sox fan. And the Trib editorial policy makes me sick.
Amen to that. I'm neither Irish nor a Chicago native, though I am a staunch Democrat. And I bet a lot of Cub fans these days are Democrats too, though not working class Democrats (and a lot of Sox fans, especially in the southwest suburbs, are Republican). That said, the Cubs represent everything I hate about this city.

OurBitchinMinny
06-19-2004, 11:58 PM
Yeah, the Sox-Cubs divide actually is even deeper than that. Historically it also has ethnic, religious, and political dimensions. Early in the twentieth century German and Anglo-Saxon Protestants expanded the city to the north in a type of "white flight" from rowdy Irish Catholic immigrants, whose population was growing and threatening their enclaves in the center of the city. (Check out the street names "Goethe" "Schiller" etc.) The then dominant Republican Party took a decidedly anti-immigrant, anti-Catholic stance as did its mouthpiece Col. McCormick's Tribune. My grandfather who was an Irish Catholic Westsider (eventually living on the North side) and a writer for the Democratic paper The Daily News, hated three things in life, all representatives to him of anti-Irish bias: The Republican Party, the Tribune, and the Cubs. Those prejudices were taught to me by my mother. I'm a Democrat. A Sox fan. And the Trib editorial policy makes me sick. (But at least they don't have Mariotti.)

The Cub/Sox rivalry is like Celtic vs. Ranger in Scottish soccer. Anyone who thinks it's just about baseball hasn't been paying attention.

That being said, it is so much easier to not care about the Cubs when you don't live in the city. I'm friends with a bunch of Chicagoans in LA. We're sort of an ex-pat community of sensible midwesterners in the weirdness of Hollywood. Most of them are Cub fans and I try to take a "why can't we all just get along?"-type attitude. And I do. Publicly. But I still can't root for the Cubs to make it to the series. And not just before we get there. I'm talking about ever. Family prejudices die hard.Dont lump the f'ing cubs and republicans together. Poilitcs doesnt have a damn thing to do with baseball. About 90 percent of my family is republican. About 90 percent of my family is also white sox fans. I just dont understand your angle...and Im Irish Catholic too. Maybe in the earlier days, but not anymore. I hate the tribune and the cubs, but not the republicans in general. In fact I hate pretty much all politicians because both sides lie out their ass

OurBitchinMinny
06-19-2004, 11:59 PM
Michael Wilbon, a Chicago native, spoke a little about this to Rick Telander in a story in Sports Illustrated last April. Wilbon said his dad went to see Jackie Robinson play at Wrigley Field and was turned away. Wilbon said that his father felt it was racist and that from that day forward no one in the Wilbon household ever saw a Cub game, they all became Sox fans.


Lip

Why is wilbon such a cubby fan then? The guys wheres a cub jersey on PTI at least once a week.

beckett21
06-19-2004, 11:59 PM
Michael Wilbon, a Chicago native, spoke a little about this to Rick Telander in a story in Sports Illustrated last April. Wilbon said his dad went to see Jackie Robinson play at Wrigley Field and was turned away. Wilbon said that his father felt it was racist and that from that day forward no one in the Wilbon household ever saw a Cub game, they all became Sox fans.


Lip
That's a nice story, Lip. Except for the fact that every time I ever saw Wilbon on PTI or heard him with Kornheiser, they always seem to go out of their way to portray him as a huge Cub fan. Never heard boo about the Sox.

Doesn't pass my *smell* test, if you know what I mean.

beckett21
06-20-2004, 12:02 AM
Why is wilbon such a cubby fan then? The guys wheres a cub jersey on PTI at least once a week.
You beat me to the punch....the guy is a HUGE Cub fan. So basically he is full of crap. (Wilbon, not Lip, though some may argue...) :)

OurBitchinMinny
06-20-2004, 12:05 AM
I dont know which guy is more in love with himself, wilbon or kornheiser. Add mariotti to that and you have 3 gigantic egos

beckett21
06-20-2004, 12:07 AM
I dont know which guy is more in love with himself, wilbon or kornheiser. Add mariotti to that and you have 3 gigantic egos
For my money Dan Patrick is the most in love with himself. I used to like him, but he nauseates me now.

hsnterprize
06-20-2004, 12:12 AM
You know something...all these posts are very interesting indeed. In fact, one of the reasons why I became a Sox fan wasn't so much that the Sox were that much better than the Cubs on the field, but that the divide between the haves and have-nots was really starting to take shape in the mid to late 80's, when the idea of going to a Cubs game was starting to become more of a trend and less on going to a baseball game. By the time I was starting to understand the details of what Chicago baseball was about, the both the Sox and Cubs had won division titles...only to be bounced from their respective LCS'. However, when the Sox won in '83, it was treated well. When the Cubs won in '84...look out. All of a sudden, it wasn't just a local story, it was a NATIONAL story. I remember the music variety show "Solid Gold" back in the 80's. And the hosts of the show at the time were going through a monologue to introduce another lip-synching performer. Near the end of the intro, the woman speaking said something to the tune of "after so many years, the Cubs have finally done it." Now, why in the world would someone in LOS ANGELES care about a Chicago baseball team when the Dodgers were one of the top teams in the National League? If I knew then what I know now, I'd say that was part of the Cubunization of America as we know it today.

Anyway, my mother was a postal worker, and my dad was a union electrical worker (Local 134). They were working-class people who came to Chicago from Louisiana, and had lived on the south side of Chicago (east 69th street) before moving to west-suburban Broadview where I grew up. As I was growing up and getting interested in baseball, I'd watch Sox games with my dad at night on a local UHF channel (WSNS-TV 44 if you remember), as well as seeing the Cubs play in the daytime. It was fine...there was no "Sox vs. Cubs" mentality in my house, but the Sox seemed to be more appealing to dad and I since the Cubs were seemingly losing all the time. When the "trendiness factor" kicked in during the 80's, as evidenced by so many of the "in-crowd people" around me in high school being Cubs fans, I knew I wanted no part in that. That pretty much solidified my position as a White Sox fan. Through some wavering through the years, I'm now solidly backing the Sox...as it should be.

I've heard stories about how blacks were turned away from Wrigley and see pictures of 55,000 black people filling Comiskey Park to watch the Negro Leaguers play. My late grandfather on my dad's side of the family was a former Negro League-minor leaguer (if there was such a term back then). To tell you the truth, I never saw Wrigley Field in person until after I came home from the service over 10 years ago...yet I'd always drive past Comiskey Park when visiting relatives.

It just seems from my personal and professional perspective that the Sox were always the "working man's team". Now, that doesn't mean there aren't affluent Sox fans, nor are there working-class Cubs fans. It's just from what I see and hear day in and day out that many of us who work for a living and are looking for the occasional baseball break find more solace on the south side than the north. And I think that's something my colleagues in the press need to grasp on to.

hsnterprize
06-20-2004, 12:14 AM
That's a nice story, Lip. Except for the fact that every time I ever saw Wilbon on PTI or heard him with Kornheiser, they always seem to go out of their way to portray him as a huge Cub fan. Never heard boo about the Sox.

Doesn't pass my *smell* test, if you know what I mean.Is Wilbon one of those guys who says it's okay to cheer for "both teams"? I was while I was away from here. You notice how upset he was after the great choke of last fall?

beckett21
06-20-2004, 12:21 AM
Is Wilbon one of those guys who says it's okay to cheer for "both teams"? I was while I was away from here. You notice how upset he was after the great choke of last fall?
I'll be quite honest with you hsn, I have never heard him talk about the Sox. He may, but personally I have never heard it. The only references I have seen made with him center around the Cubs.

SOXintheBURGH
06-20-2004, 01:02 AM
You beat me to the punch....the guy is a HUGE Cub fan. So basically he is full of crap. (Wilbon, not Lip, though some may argue...) :)
Wilbon always says "I'm from the SOUTH SIDE OF CHICAGO!" with a tough guy voice and wears Cubs jerseys a lot. Weird eh? I read an interview with him and he was asked about this, and he said "Look, I like both teams. I grew up with the White Sox but a lot of Cub players were active in my community so I took a liking to them. So I like both teams."

Philo-Sox-er
06-20-2004, 10:01 AM
By his (Wilbon's) community, I take it he meant when he was going to Northwestern in Evanston?

alohafri
06-20-2004, 10:18 AM
I actually met Ronnie Woo-Woo once, he seems like a nice guy. He's the most successful panhandler in Chicago. Give him credit for that.
That's not exactly something I would want to have in my obituary.

Philo-Sox-er
06-20-2004, 10:51 AM
From ChisoxfaninMinny:

Dont lump the f'ing cubs and republicans together. Poilitcs doesnt have a damn thing to do with baseball. About 90 percent of my family is republican. About 90 percent of my family is also white sox fans. I just dont understand your angle...and Im Irish Catholic too. Maybe in the earlier days, but not anymore. I hate the tribune and the cubs, but not the republicans in general. In fact I hate pretty much all politicians because both sides lie out their ass



What I have put in bold type above from your reply is utterly false. Baseball has forever been intertwined with politics. A simple, cursory reading (or even watch Ken Burns' documentary) of the history of baseball readily demonstrates this point. Some examples are: the tradition of the President throwing out the first pitch on Opening Day; the integration of black baseball players into the Major Leagues thereby leading to major shifts in the Civil Rights movement; Curt Flood and the right for free agency--i.e., freedom from the indentured servitude of the extremely wealthy, etc., etc. The very essence of baseball is political: you have teams comprised of individuals attempting to achieve a common goal--the success of that particular community (team). That is why baseball is THE National Past-time. It is the only sport that fully embodies all the necessary virtues of a democratic society. I recommend reading A. Bartlett Giamatti's text "Take Time for Paradise: Americans and Their Games" to begin to have a deeper understanding of this.

The word "idiot" comes from the Greek "idiotes" which referred to anybody who was apolitical. That is, as social creatures, we have an obligation to be political. All of our actions result in our overall character and we should strive for internal consistency thereof. Cubs fans, in my opinion, are idiots. They want me to suspend my disbelief and have sympathy for them, as if they are suffering from something real. But they aren't. They are schizophrenic: on one hand they are the successful business men; on the other, they're the happless losers. You can't divorce your two halves.

I agree that there are affluent and poor fans on both sides, indeed. But we must always keep in mind in this discussion that these are symbolic representations. They do represent more than a simple team/club. Think about how readily all of the media has embraced the Yankees as "The Evil Empire." Why? Because they represent the ultra-powerful/rich who can buy championships. And what is everyone trying to have a dialogue about? Salary caps, revenue sharing, a means to prevent such abuses. That is the democratic discourse. When that ceases, then we have tyranny.

TornLabrum
06-20-2004, 11:30 AM
What I have put in bold type above from your reply is utterly false. Baseball has forever been intertwined with politics. A simple, cursory reading (or even watch Ken Burns' documentary) of the history of baseball readily demonstrates this point. Some examples are: the tradition of the President throwing out the first pitch on Opening Day; the integration of black baseball players into the Major Leagues thereby leading to major shifts in the Civil Rights movement; Curt Flood and the right for free agency--i.e., freedom from the indentured servitude of the extremely wealthy, etc., etc. The very essence of baseball is political: you have teams comprised of individuals attempting to achieve a common goal--the success of that particular community (team). That is why baseball is THE National Past-time. It is the only sport that fully embodies all the necessary virtues of a democratic society. I recommend reading A. Bartlett Giamatti's text "Take Time for Paradise: Americans and Their Games" to begin to have a deeper understanding of this.

The word "idiot" comes from the Greek "idiotes" which referred to anybody who was apolitical. That is, as social creatures, we have an obligation to be political. All of our actions result in our overall character and we should strive for internal consistency thereof. Cubs fans, in my opinion, are idiots. They want me to suspend my disbelief and have sympathy for them, as if they are suffering from something real. But they aren't. They are schizophrenic: on one hand they are the successful business men; on the other, they're the happless losers. You can't divorce your two halves.

I agree that there are affluent and poor fans on both sides, indeed. But we must always keep in mind in this discussion that these are symbolic representations. They do represent more than a simple team/club. Think about how readily all of the media has embraced the Yankees as "The Evil Empire." Why? Because they represent the ultra-powerful/rich who can buy championships. And what is everyone trying to have a dialogue about? Salary caps, revenue sharing, a means to prevent such abuses. That is the democratic discourse. When that ceases, then we have tyranny.Gee, and I thought I was just going to the games because I like the game itself. And here I've been making a political statement all along.

Philo-Sox-er
06-20-2004, 11:46 AM
Gee, and I thought I was just going to the games because I like the game itself. And here I've been making a political statement all along.



I thought I was just buying a pair of sneakers because I liked the way they looked and, by golly, I have been exploiting Indonesian 5 year old kids working for 10 cents a day so Phil Knight can makes millions.

I thought I was just buying a cool SUV and then I learn I am using up natural resources at an astounding rate and polluting the environment.

Man, this sucks! You can't do anything fun anymore!