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Sox & Cubs: 2001 Special Edition

Chicago-proud for our Sox!

Chicago's Perverted Notion of Baseball

White Sox Interactive was started in 1998 as nothing but a hobby site for frustrated Sox fans, tired of the bashing (real or imagined) suffered at the hands of a cynical local press and indifferent national media.  Back then it was easy to forget Chicago had two major league baseball teams, or how it was "the other team" that provided the city its last division crown, league pennant, and world championship.  Across America, casual fans thought of Chicago as nothing more than the home of an ivy-covered baseball shrine and baseball fans with a perverted notion that losing was cute.  

Sure, Cubs fans want to win, but losing is okay too if the sun is hot, the beer cold, and the bikini tops full.  To the rest of America, baseball in Chicago was packaged and sold as nothing more than a pleasurable way to waste an afternoon; winning was strictly secondary.  Busloads of tourists from Iowa debarking at Clark & Addison were testament to the effectiveness of this marketing ploy.

Back in 1998 Chicago's media did its level best to ignore the Chicago White Sox and the team's fans.  Local stories about the team's players mostly revolved around surly comments by Albert Belle, pouting by Frank Thomas, and incredible ineptitude by Jaime Navarro.  However that was hardly the worst Chicago's media dealt the Sox and their fans.

Feature stories centered on empty seats, fan apathy, and the idle speculation Chicago sportswriters indulge in on slow days: the dark future of the Sox franchise.  No local TV station could begin their fifteen seconds of Sox video highlights without the perfunctory shot of two or three forlorn Sox Fans sitting in the middle of a sea of bright blue seats inside "empty" Comiskey Park.  Makes you proud to be a Sox Fan, huh?

"The Medium is the Message"

Let's give Channel Seven's Mark Giangreco his props.  He with the throbbing temples is obviously a student of Marhall McLuhan.  Giangreco knows those bright blue seats offer a high-contrast video image next to gray images of seated Sox fans.  Empty dark-green seats inside Wrigley Field haven't near the visual impact.  Thanks to Giangreco, Chicagoans know Comiskey is empty in graphic detail.  Meanwhile empty seats about Wrigley Field are hidden or ignored.

So in 1998 Chicago's White Sox fans found themselves in a place totally foreign to any other city's fans anywhere in America, outcasts even amongst the scribes and talking heads in their own town's media.

Did the fans of the Saint Louis Browns get this treatment from the Post-Dispatch?  Did the fans of the Boston Braves get it from the Globe?  Or the  fans of the Washington Senators from the Post?

Here is why so many in the Chicago media are despised by Sox Fans--they have made war on us.

Jumping on the Bandwagon

The Chicago media had a sea change in 1999.  More precisely, the dolts changed their tune on June 13, 1999 when Mike Caruso's piddly Little League homerun landed in the right field basket at Wrigley Field completing Sox Fans' Glorious Sweep of the Cubs.  The Flubbies immediately swooned and the Chicago media was reluctantly forced to cover the Sox's triumphant championship march that started that day and culminated fifteen months later in September, 2000.  It all began that afternoon when the Sox took their first step over the corpse of "Losing is Cute" baseball.  Now Chicago has another division crown, the first since back-to-back ones in 1993 and 1994--also earned by Chicago's White Sox.  Suddenly feature stories praising Sox Fans' persistence and intelligence began to appear.  It had been years since we received a measure of respect.  

Sox Fans got that respect in spite of the Chicago media, not because of it.  We haven't forgotten how we were treated.  Most of us haven't forgiven the bandwagon jumpers either.  They are still out there.

Apathy?  My Arse!

It's easy for non-Chicagoans to buy the nonsense cranked out by media dolts like Mark Giangreco, Eric Zorn, Paul Sullivan, Skip Bayless, and Jay Mariotti.  Namely, that Sox Fans are apathetic or mean-spirited--only interested in seeing the Cubs lose.  Wrong!  Wrong!! Wrong!!!

Sox Fans want winning baseball--nothing more.  We noticed every other city in America has won a baseball world championship more recently than Chicago and we've chosen to cast our lot with the only local nine that seems to give a damn about winning another one.  

We know (and freely admit) when our team sucks.  Every Sox Fan knows our team is 84 years removed from a championship; we are realists.  We are simply too determined or too obstinate to tolerate anything less than total victory.  If we draw any satisfaction from a Cubs defeat, it is only because we know their fans willingly accept failure, even glorifying it.  We derive satisfaction knowing Cubs fans get what they deserve.  If that make us mean-spirited, so be it.  

No Sox Fan ever called their team "Lovable Losers".  No true Sox Fan ever tried to make cute throwing back a homerun ball either.  Sox Fans know their pitcher just made a big mistake that might well cost us winning the ballgame--it's no time for jokes.  Throwing back homerun baseballs is making light of mediocrity and no true Sox Fan will have any part of it.  We would wait an eternity before we join with these imbeciles thinking losing is cute.

"Go Sox!" -- our first article of faith

Don't tell a Sox Fan the Cubs' final score--we don't care!  Tell us if our Sox won, for here is where true joy is derived.  If the Sox lost (and they ultimately have for 83 years), tell us the Cubs lost too, simply to salve our wounds.  Nothing compares to a Sox win--but a Cubs loss will do in a pinch.

How can Sox Fans bent on seeing a winner hold out so long rooting for a loser?  It's a question seemingly without an answer.  We certainly are a minority.  Sanity dictates abandoning such a lost cause as hoping for a White Sox world championship.  The bashing of our cause amongst the Chicago media's dolts make it hard to attract new followers, too.  Of course supporting an organization owned by a man obviously tone deaf to marketing and public relations doesn't help either.  

We at White Sox Interactive know one thing for sure:  Sox Fans give a damn.  With no publicity at all, you've found us in growing numbers now exceeding 50,000 hits daily.  We're your one unabashed "totally biased" voice amongst the nabobs of negativity.  

Perhaps the late-humorist (and Sox Fan) Jean Shepherd summed it up best:

If I was ever ordered to storm a pillbox, going to shear, sudden, and utterly certain death, and told to pick my platoon, I would pick White Sox fans.  I would pick Sox Fans because they have known death every day of their lives--and it holds no terror for them anymore.

Godspeed to you, all Sox Fans.

Strike a blow for excellence.  Strike a blow against mediocrity.  Strike a blow for all the dead Sox Fans who didn't live long enough to ever share the glory of the Sox world championship, the one and only quest for which we pick up their torch and carry forward the good fight.

Chase glory, Sox Fans-- it starts beating the Cubs. 

Go Go White Sox--Chicago's Proud of You!  (click it to hear it!)

George Bova is editor and founder of White Sox Interactive.


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