February 26, 2012

Baseball - 6 Reasons Redux

In honor of the coming baseball season, which seems to be lurching and inching and stalling and taking its ever loving sweet time getting here alfreakinready, I am re-posting my 6 Reasons We're Cooler Than You story from a long ago blog.

The Chicago White Sox, my team you see, are often the redheaded stepchild of Chicago sports. Pushed aside by the vast majority of Chicago baseball fans, who cheer for the Flubs, we evermore seem to be the side show of a side show. And it has ever been thus.

In time diehard fans have learned to relish the marginalization. We wallow in the subculture. The Cubs on the rich north side never fail to sell out, never fail to blow it, never fail to use that continual century of failure as the draw... "just imagine how good you're going to feel when they finally win a World Series." Cough. Coughcoughcough.


The South Side team, always the working class Irish team, the guys that played near the Union Stockyards, the park in the rough neighborhoods, the team in Mayor Daley's part of town (either one), have always been somewhere below the Bears, Cubs, Bulls, and even Blackhawks. The main difference between Cubs and Sox fans has always been; when the Cubs suck and you tell a Cub fan this, you will have excuses thrown your way why anyone can have a bad century. When the Sox suck, it's probably a Sox fan who is telling YOU that. Cub fans show up just to look at the ivy. If the Sox aren't doing well, we'd rather go to a bar and throw darts.

So anyway here's the redux. Wishing they'd start already, even though I have no idea what the hell the Sox think they're doing this year.

White Sox - 6 Reasons Why We're Cooler Than You

I was born and raised in Chicago and am a fan of a team known as the White Sox. And, I hate to tell you, but we're just cooler than y'all, and here's 6 reasons why.

1. We're Not The Cubs. I should stop here but I won't. The Sox have always been Chicago's red-headed step child in local sports. Always. The difference between the Cubs and Sox has always been the fact that Cub fans are perceived as the "yuppie" crowd with a minimal understanding of baseball's intricacies and more of an interest in who is calling them on their cell phone. The Sox played just this side of the Union Stockyards where we killed all your beef critters and have been looked on locally as the working class team. It's supposed to be rougher at our games and we were the guys for which they coined the phrase "I went to see a fight and a ballgame broke out!" Well, those are really characterizations that don't make as much sense anymore even if they were truer at one point. But the plain fact is that the only time the two Chicago teams faced each other in the Series the White Sox, then known as the Hitless Wonders, beat the Cubs who had won 116 games that season, in 1906. The last time the Cubs won a World Series was 1908. 102 years since and the Cubs still suck. Jesus... in 102 years even the Red Sox have won more than one World Series. But this has always been a Cub town. In 2005 when the Sox won the Series I will always remember a semblance of the headline in the sports section of the Chicago Tribune in September of that year... in big bold letters across the top of the page"CUBS SNAP FOUR GAME LOSING STREAK" and at the bottom right, in letters half the size "White Sox Clinch Division." Yeah. And Cub uniforms look like pajamas. So there.

2. We're Worse Bad Asses Than You Could Even Ever Imagine. Our guys took money from gamblers and threw the world series of 1919. Fuck the national past time, just gimmee money. The legendary miscreant Arnold Rothstien shows up in the book "The Great Gatsby" and it was his money behind the deal. The conspirators had names like Chick and Hap and Swede and Lefty, and Shoeless Joe, who threw away an entire career with a meal ticket to the Hall of Fame. The kid comes up to him and says "say it ain't so, Joe. Say it ain't so." We're talking the stuff of special legend. I don't care what historical stuff your team has, you don't have this. Only we have this. And for years and years it was an embarrassment to diehard Sox fans but now, with a new take on everything, this kind of criminal behavior is beyond acceptable cool. And the fact that our guys had the balls to do it, and yours ain't, is all you need to know.

3. If You Have It, We Probably Invented It. Those names on the backs of your hero's jersey... no matter what sport you may be talking about? The fireworks that go off when your guy hits a homerun? The effort to improve the food at your local sports venue? Singing "Nana-nana Nana-nana Hey-ey-ey Good-bye" (which pre-dates "We will We will rock you" by at least a decade) when a pitcher from the other team gets pulled after getting the crap knocked out of him? All that came from here and was invented here. We did them first. Each one a product that emerged from the cold old, now torn down, Comiskey Park. The White Sox put the names on the jerseys, had an exploding scoreboard, were the first to widely vary the possibilities and quality of ballpark food, and sang the opposing pitcher off the field while you were still clapping hands in unison to the Mexican Jumping Bean Dance or whatever the hell that was. You sing Hey-ey ey Goodbye all the time now. We did it first. It came from here. We're even PISSED when we hear you do it because it's OURS. End of story.

4. We Still Think Disco Sucks. Disco Demolition Night was a promotion that saw hundreds of people bring their disco records to the park to blow them up in a great big bonfire in the middle of the field between the games of a twilight/night double header (which you don't do anymore either). It turned into basically a riot and we forfeited the second game because they couldn't bring the crowd under control. Not a good memory for a lot of the old school Sox fans but a matter of principle for the rest of us. Disco music, it's clothes, the entire era and everything it stood for SUCKED BIG ELEPHANT BALLS and we were the only ones who were willing to surrender a game in return for saving the world from a fate worse than DEATH. You should kiss us in odd places in gratitude for our ability to hold principle above a mere ballgame. You don't have this either.

5. Bill God Damn Veeck, Sucker. We'll let the folks old enough from Cleveland and St. Louis join in this one, but we had him and the rest of you didn't. See #3 (above) if you want to know who came up with a good portion of that stuff. That was this guy... Bill Veeck, one of the guys who owned the White Sox in our history. Yes that's a wooden leg that's replacing his original leg which he lost in WWII fighting in the Pacific. Yes he had an ashtray carved in his wooden leg with a sliding cover on it. Yes he was the guy who sent the midget up to the plate in St. Louis. Yes the baseball establishment hated him. Yes he's the guy who staged the 10,000 Free Eskimo Pie Night... with the catch that there was 1 winner, and he was promptly given 10,000 Eskimo pies RIGHT THEN AND THERE in the middle of the game. Bill Veeck sold the Sox to the current ownership and spent the rest of his days in the center field bleachers at Wrigley Field, where he worked as a boy and from which he took me to Murphy's after a game and plied me with beer after beer while he talked about philosophy and I can't remember what. Bill Veeck was a friend of mine. Somebody I knew face to face. But that wasn't unusual. There were 10,000 other guys just like me. Oh, there's one more thing Bill did in his life.... he's the guy who planted the famous vines in Wrigley Field. Nothing much.

And Number 6? Sox Fans. We're just more interesting is all. The White Sox have me... some guy named Barack... you know... just... fans.

Good guys wear black. It works this way.

See if it don't.


Petunia said...

If you build it, they will come. God bless baseball.

B.E. Earl said...

Why would you ever want the player's name on the back of the uniform? Real fans don't need that. ;)

sybil law said...

I had no idea you were a Cubs fan!


RW said...

Petunia- I don't suppose they have baseball in Switzerland, though.

earl- well if my team had $220,000,000 to spend on any players they wanted year after year after year I wouldn't care about that either. But since the Yankees, for example, don't win every year with that kind of resource base one can only assume they're being run by idiots. So I wouldn't be too proud if I were you, especially since it's so easy to be a fan of the Evil Empire. Why bother with merit when the game is slanted in your favor eh?

sybil - grr.