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31 October, 2005

Final Thoughts

There are rumors circulating that an outfielder for a MLB playoff team has tested positive for steroids. As I am about to write a brief but glowing final comment on the 2005 Sox, this has me nervous.
As a Sox fan (in exile), the World Series championship was a personal dream that at long last came true and will most certainly make the upcoming winter warmer and sunnier-if only figuratively.
Strange and perhaps unique to Chicago, this Sox championship will impact another team and its fans for a while to come-the Chicago Cubs. As much as I have tried to ignore the northsiders, I find myself recounting their run in 2003 and the future of the organization. Petty, no doubt, yet in doing so I've discovered what made this Sox team so darned special and unusual in pro sports. Whereas the Cubs followed up their near World Series birth with an obscene level of arrogance and an assumption of destiny (leading to their demise), this season saw a White Sox team that was quiet and measured. The Sox avoided episodes of individual selfishness and instead played as a unit, save for the bizarre departure of Damaso Marte at one point during the season. Not even Frank Thomas, who today played the first card in the game that will see his contract destroyed, made a peep about money, something he has too often found necessary to discuss while still in uniform.
If the regular season was calm, the post-season veered only slightly from the theme. To be sure, there was some jawing and gamesmanship (dropped third strike anyone?), but the players never were seen puffing out their chests or lending the impression that they weren't anything but grateful and fortunate to be playing so well against their competition. Which, in hindsight, is really something to be thankful for in an era of off-the-field nonsense, bloated payrolls, steroids and apathy. I no doubt start each morning with a glass of White Sox Kool Aid, but I make this assessment honestly. The lowest rated Series ever, by definition, had the fewest viewers, but I am certain those who bothered were pleased with the professionalism they witnessed (umpires notwithstanding). I would still have been happy had a bunch of jackasses in black won it all, but the way this team presented itself to the public was truly outstanding and will lead to some fond memories for years to come.

Bear down? There aren't enough favorable calls in the cosmos to make that happen.

Posted by JP

27 October, 2005


It seems strangely appropriate that a White Sox World Series celebration should include former Journey frontman Steve Perry. As a kid, Journey glory chords and heavenly Perry vocals were commonplace in the video arcades and primered muscle cars of my west suburban environs. Insofar as the Sox are so often derided for their working class fans with bad haircuts and clothing, who better than a mulleted 80's rockstar to sing them to victory and take part in the celebration?
I have long embraced my White Sox heritage, accepting both the good and bad. A number of my fellow fans are poorly educated, occasionally racist and sometimes violent. But they are also not unlike the people I grew up around. I don't applaud them when they act like jackasses, but I also find no reason to make jokes at their expense for having bad "chicago" accents and dressing in clothing that is no longer fashionable, if ever it was. They are who they are, and I feel especially pleased at this time to share this with them, flaws and all.
The players, no doubt, feel overwhelmed on a personal level, as well they should. Though they may never fully understand, their achievment means so much more. For people in places like Bridgeport and Dalton and South Holland and Pilsen and Summit and Gary and Back of the Yards, this is a source of unbelievable pride. This is awesome, wonderful and worth every heartache that preceded it. This is for the fans, for Harry Caray, for Jimmy, for Bill Veeck, for Nancy, for the Daley's, for Venezuela, for Japan and for every place people get chills when they hear Na Na Na Na. This is even for me. I am happy and melancholy and relieved all at once. I am looking forward to having it sink in more and sharing the realization with fellow long-sufferers.

Posted by JP

26 October, 2005

Empty tank

'Round about the 10th inning my roommate had to go to sleep and/or had about enough of my psychotic, surly attitude. I stayed/remain awake.
Maintaining an unhealthy following for a baseball team can be pretty stressful under normal circumstances. When your team takes a tie game into the 14th inning of game three in the World Series, nerves reach levels your body is not accustomed to experiencing. Inning after inning I watched as the supposed dregs of the White Sox bench got into the most ridiculous of jams on the mound, only to wiggle out in breathtaking fashion. The Astros failed to score with what seemed like men on base in every inning and Sox pitchers famous for floundering managed to hold on.
On the other side of the innings the bats of the pale hose I've grown to expect miracles from fell silent or were put on base in a strategy indicative of a National league park. Those who made it on base seemed to be involved in unbelievable double plays on the part of the Astros. Had Houston won I would not be this charitable, but what they managed to pull off until the end was a defensive clinic. As much can be said about their pitchers save for the last-Astacio I think, who Geoff Blum tagged for the game winning homer. This is the same Geoff Blum who I heard interviewed earlier in the day on the radio. The host cautioned Blum to be ready for anything, that the World Series is known to crown unlikely heroes. Indeed, indeed it does. Who would have imagined how prescient that advice was to be. Cursing the double play that preceeded the homerun as I braced myself for another half inning of shutout ball, it certainly wasn't me. How wonderfully wrongheaded my cynicism was.
So now it's nearly 2:00 a.m. but it feels like quittin' time on a Friday afternoon. The celebration ale (PBR) is flowing and sports radio is taking calls from happy, if tired fans. As a faithful Chicago baseball fan I will assume the Astros can come back and win four straight, but I have to admit to feeling slightly more at ease for now. Holy shit, one game away. Holy shit

Posted by JP

17 October, 2005


Posted by JP

13 October, 2005

Who's to Blame?

If you haven't seen or heard about this you probably don't watch too much baseball and likely don't want to read further. The White Sox beat the Angels last night following what the homeplate umpire ruled a dropped third strike. I was watching the game and saw all of the replays, which at first weren't fine enough to tell anything one way or another. This didn't stop the ass-clowns calling the game for Fox from judging the pitch as being caught. Which is funny, since we were all watching the same images, me with my perfect vision and the aging announcers (Joe Buck [jackass] being young in years only) with their glasses on.
When the producers went in tight and slowed the replay down considerably, it appeared to me that the ball changed course suddenly at the end. It looked like the ball hit the ground before the glove. But it's a moot point. Like an NBA player flailing to elicit a foul call, or a wide receiver begging for the pass interference, Pierzynski ran to first with nothing to lose and everything to gain. The umpire bit like a fish, botched the call, and AJ was aboard. Whether or not the ball ever hit the ground was unimportant as the umpire became unglued and confused.
The Sox went on to win the game and now, along with their fans, are paying for it in the media. The assumption by too many writers is not simply that the ump's screwed up, but that the Sox did something illegal. Which is like saying Michael Jordan misbehaved by flopping to the ground from a supposed charge. Even more humiliating is the widespread assumption that the Angels had the game stolen from them. Sure, they might have won in the end, but too many writers seem to be under the impression that the Angels were ahead when the call occured.
So now the playoffs will continue and the White Sox will be even less popular. They will be accused of cheating and the poor poor Angels who had to travel like mad (because they had a rainout and played a Game 5) will be the emotional favorites. The Sox, having done nothing more than sweep Boston and try every last way to win at home, will be viewed as villains for taking a break any other team would have been happy to have. It's unfair, and neither the White Sox players nor their fans deserve to be painted as undeserving or guilty of a crime. Shame on those who use their influence to spread such bullshit.

Posted by JP

06 October, 2005

Ooooo So Hot!

For a few years now the gaunt, emaciated look for women (and sadly, girls) has been in. It HAS never, and WILL never be sexy. Take this photo, ripped from Sports Illustrated's latest "Swimsuit Issue." When I was a kid in Catholic school we used to go door to door collecting money in a plastic loaf of bread for people that looked like this. Now I'm supposed to find it sexy!? The only things missing are the flies resting on her nose and lips. Airbrushing, I guess. Call me superficial, but no thanks hon-ay. I'd be surprised to learn someone actually wanted to get busy with this coat rack. And perhaps no one will, which might one day lead to Catholic school kids going door to door with plastic dildos collecting money for male prostitutes to pleasure the walking skeletons we have created for our own "pleasure." Wake me when this trend is over.

Posted by JP |

04 October, 2005

Make the Angels Laugh

In the words of Mork (from Ork), "Sighs, heavy sighs." Nipsey Russell has passed and with him a million laughs. I had no idea he was 80 but I'm only familiar with that portion of his career taking place during my early youth. I guess I just assumed he didn't exist before I was born. A funny guy.

Posted by JP |


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