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June 2014

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COMMENTS

3 Passes the White Sox Get that the Cubs Would Not

Written by , Posted in General

My first experience with White Sox fans were Jamie McCauley and his dad Ed who lived down the street from me.  Jamie was a borderline friend/bully, and his dad was just kind of a bully.  He would actually call me “Chrissy” instead of Chris…an in genius method of questioning my 6 year old manhood I suppose…and this was a grown man talking to a very young boy.  He used the same method when disparaging my Cubs…calling them the Cubbies and using a woman’s voice to do it.  When this is your first impression of a fandom…and you are only 6…it leaves a lasting impression on your little brain.

The next neighborhood was not much different…Sox fans were bullies and blowhards…and once again I was outnumbered and always defending my Cubs.  Now, almost 40 years later, I really have evolved and grown up as a baseball fan.  I don’t automatically hate everything about the White Sox.  As a baseball fan, I watch them occasionally, and I respect some of their players and I love listening to new GM Rick Hahn (an especially bright fellow).  I no longer have to deal with any White Sox bullies…and I know longer live and die with the results of the crosstown classic. Therefore my position on the White Sox has softened in my old(er) age.

However, even with this new evolved stance on the South Siders; I still have some problems with the White Sox and how they are compared and contrasted with the Cubs.  The first being the air of supremacy that Sox fans display; they assume they are “smarter baseball fans” and they quickly shout “2005!” in response to any current criticism. My psychology background tells me they have a huge inferiority complex and are overcompensating for it. Sox fans also seem to feel/think that they have been a much better organization historically.

The second is that since the Cubs have the image as the lovable losers/cursed team/bumbling organization of Chicago, the Sox have benefitted by having some historic blunders of their own get swept under the rug.  While Cubs’ mistakes have been magnified and rehashed over and over again, little is ever said about Sox mistakes that are equally as substantial or behavior or performance that is equally as bad.  Let’s take a look at examples that fall under these two categories:

1.     The History of the Teams.

When comparing the Cubs and White Sox, Sox fans assume their team has been so much more successful than the “loser” Cubs. When the White Sox won the World Series in 2005 it was their first title since 1917.  So assuming neither team wins a title this year (about as safe a bet as the sun coming up tomorrow) it will mean the Sox have 1 title in the last 97 years.  Obviously, I credit them greatly for winning recently in 2005…but 1 for 97 is just marginally better than 0 for the last 106. (But it’s still 1!!!! 2005! 2005!) Aside from World Series titles, let’s compare the teams from the date of the Cubs last title in 1908:

W.S. TITLES  W.S. APP.    POSTSEASON PLAY-OFFS SINCE ‘69(DIVISION PLAY BEGINS)

SOX                2                      4                      8                      5                                 

CUBS              0                      10                   16                   6

Once again, the 2005 World Series title trumps much of this…but I really expected to see a closer picture here…or even White Sox dominance. (Yes…I know…2005!)

While the Cubs’ have been historically inept at winning a World Series title, the White Sox have been equally incompetent in making the post-season. If the Cubs are “106 year losers”…the White Sox haven’t exactly had a century of glory.  Not even mentioning the fact (…yet) that the White Sox threw the 1919 World Series, which almost was almost the death knell for Major League Baseball.

It may at times appear the Cubs are trying to lose on purpose…but at least they have never been put on trial for it.

2.     Historical Blunders

As I wrote in my book, the Cubs have been mercifully crucified for the trade of Lou Brock for Ernie Broglio for over 50 years.  It was a bad trade, and the Cubs have made many others (…see my book). Yet the South Side Squad as just as many historical blunders that are not mentioned near as frequently.

–         the aforementioned 1917 Black Sox scandal…most baseball fans have seen the film Eight Men Out…and it’s still debatable which players were in on it, and who’s to blame…cheapskate owner Charles Commisky or the mobsters behind the scenes? It really doesn’t matter…the Sox were involved in one of the biggest sports scandals ever, and had Babe Ruth not come around…baseball may have died.

–         letting Harry Caray leave to the Cubs…You young bucks probably only think of Harry with the Cubs, but I was more accustomed to him as a White Sox announcer as a youngster.  Let’s play Back to the Future for a minute and assume this never happened…Cubs’ history would be altered for the worse. A Cubs’ history without Harry Caray would be quite dim. Other than the 1984 season, Harry Caray is the single biggest reason for the Cubs(and the neighborhoods) 20 year boom.  The Sox let a valuable asset go to their crosstown competitors, who helped them assert economic dominance over them for the next 2 decades.

–         firing Tony LaRussa…Hey…young managers get fired all of the time, and on many occasions their second stints are much more successful.  Therefore I am not criticizing the Sox for firing LaRussa…but can you imagine if the Cubs had down this? It would be Brock for Broglio all over again. If Ryno wins a World Series as a manager in the next few years…how do you think that will go over?

–         Trading Sosa for Bell…As an old fella’, with perspective, I can honestly say that I was stunned when I heard about this deal.  George Bell had been an absolute dog for the Cubs, and I can remember trying to convince giddy Sox fans about how poor of a trade this would turn out to be.  Sosa may or may not have been cheating…but he hit a ton of home runs and made the Cubs a sh#t-load of money.  What Harry Caray did for the Cubs in the ‘80s, Sosa did for the team in the ‘90s.  Thank you White Sox.

If the Cubs had been guilty of any of the above infractions, they would still be constantly referenced among the teams many failures…for some reason, the Sox have gotten a pass.

3.     Hawk Harrelson and his “chip on their shoulders” brethren

I can do a very good Hawk Harrelson impersonation, although it won’t translate as well in print. Here goes:

Start with about 47 seconds of silence, then say in Hawks’ voice with no emotion; “…and that’s a record setting 6th triple play turned by the Royals today” or “and that’s an 8-8 double cycle for Joe Mauer”

Hawk amazes me…I’m sorry…but he is a 72 year old baby.  While professional announcers endure the challenge of keeping the game interesting for the fan…no matter how the home team is doing…Hawk blames umps, talks about his own greatness, or just sits quietly and pouts.  While Len Kasper espouses how lucky he is to have a job millions of people would want, Hawk acts like we are the privileged ones to listen to his pathetic stories of Yaz.

Over the last few years, I have noticed that others in the Sox organization share this certain bit of curmudgeon-dry with Hawk.   Radio announcer Ed Farmer can be just as grumpy, self-serving and condescending as Harrelson.  Studio-analyst Bill Melton will be short and rage-filled after a Sox loss. The finest pitching coach in the universe (at least that’s the way he is perceived for some reason) Don Cooper treats every question like a personal affront during his morning radio appearances. No one knows pitching like Cooper…and he is not afraid to tell that to anyone who will listen. Every one of these White Sox contributors comes off as joy-less, humor-free, and a downright a##-hole.

Back to my Psychology background, I attribute this to the fact that the Sox have been the 2nd team in the city for quite some time, and since most of these men are White sox-lifers…I guess those “shoulder chips” are deeply implanted.

I really didn’t want this piece to come off as a guy who just hates the White Sox. I just wanted to point out that as Chicago losers go, the Cubs are only a rung or two below the Sox.  I could never root for them as I do the Cubs, but I could at least be indifferent towards them if it weren’t for Hawk and the things mentioned above.

It is often forgotten now, but the White Sox were oh so close to moving back in the late 80’s. Jerry Reinsdorf was able to get public assistance in building the perfect 1980’s ballpark as the Orioles were making history with the cutting edge Camden Yards.  It may have been an outdated “new” stadium…but Reinsdorf got it, and the Sox stayed.

Can you imagine the outcry if the Cubs ever asked for public assistance for their park?

  • PLCB3

    I can imagine the outcry because it’s real. Ricketts did ask for public money in 2012. Now Tunney is against the renovations because he’s a white sox fan.

  • AC0000000

    I can imagine the outcry because it’s real. Ricketts did ask for public money in 2012. Now Tunney is against the renovations because he’s a white sox fan.

  • PLCB3

    When JR said he was going to move to Tampa the city should have said go ahead and move them to Tampa. Another White Sox blunder, they passed on drafting Barry Bonds. Can you imagine a lineup with Sosa Bonds and Frank Thomas?

  • AC0000000

    When JR said he was going to move to Tampa the city should have said go ahead and move them to Tampa. Another White Sox blunder, they passed on drafting Barry Bonds. Can you imagine a lineup with Sosa, Bonds, Robin Ventura, and Frank Thomas?

  • Mark_from_Toronto

    Since I’ve never actually lived in Chicago, I can’t comment on growing up with White Sox bullies around. The times I have been in Chicago wearing my Cubs gear, I’ve actually had a few conversations with White Sox fans and oddly enough most have been pleasant and knowledgable on baseball, although you are right that most seem to be very quick to bring up 2005. I do agree on Hawk Harrelson being a great reason to hate the White Sox as I cringe every time I have to watch one of the crosstown classic games that is being broadcast by him and his cohorts.

    • Noah_I

      I never dealt with White Sox bully fans, but I’d say there is an unfair reputation that many White Sox fans in Chicago hold that all Cubs fans are just fair weather fans who only go to the games for Wrigley, and as far as they are concerned Wrigley is a dump. Which I just find to be a stupid argument because (a) there are just as many fair weather White Sox fans as a percentage of total fans; and (b) it tends to be those casual or fair weather fans who say disparaging things about Cub fans.

      The big thing I’ve noticed, though, is that the more die hard and knowledgeable a fan is, the less likely they are to be jerks to another teams’ fans. I have Cardinal fan friends, and we joke around, but also have serious discussions about the teams and, yes, the most knowledgeable Cardinal fans I know do think the Cubs are on the doorstep of their longest run of competitiveness in many decades. Same thing with the most knowledgeable White Sox fans I know. When I tell people the Cubs are better set for 2-5 years out timeframe, they think I’m being a typical jerk other side of town fan, until I explain that I love what Hahn is doing, but the weakness of the farm system he was given means it’s going to take some time for him to build a legitimate year in and year out competitor. Then they’re typically more receptive.

      When you live out of the geographic area for the team, though, the people who are fans tend to be pretty serious about it, so you run into less jerks.

  • Mark_from_Toronto

    Since I’ve never actually lived in Chicago, I can’t comment on growing up with White Sox bullies around. The times I have been in Chicago wearing my Cubs gear, I’ve actually had a few conversations with White Sox fans and oddly enough most have been pleasant and knowledgable on baseball, although you are right that most seem to be very quick to bring up 2005. I do agree on Hawk Harrelson being a great reason to hate the White Sox as I cringe every time I have to watch one of the crosstown classic games that is being broadcast by him and his cohorts.

    • Noah_I

      I never dealt with White Sox bully fans, but I’d say there is an unfair reputation that many White Sox fans in Chicago hold that all Cubs fans are just fair weather fans who only go to the games for Wrigley, and as far as they are concerned Wrigley is a dump. Which I just find to be a stupid argument because (a) there are just as many fair weather White Sox fans as a percentage of total fans; and (b) it tends to be those casual or fair weather fans who say disparaging things about Cub fans.

      The big thing I’ve noticed, though, is that the more die hard and knowledgeable a fan is, the less likely they are to be jerks to another teams’ fans. I have Cardinal fan friends, and we joke around, but also have serious discussions about the teams and, yes, the most knowledgeable Cardinal fans I know do think the Cubs are on the doorstep of their longest run of competitiveness in many decades. Same thing with the most knowledgeable White Sox fans I know. When I tell people the Cubs are better set for 2-5 years out timeframe, they think I’m being a typical jerk other side of town fan, until I explain that I love what Hahn is doing, but the weakness of the farm system he was given means it’s going to take some time for him to build a legitimate year in and year out competitor. Then they’re typically more receptive.

      When you live out of the geographic area for the team, though, the people who are fans tend to be pretty serious about it, so you run into less jerks.

  • Doc Raker

    Good stuff- you should write a book. I agree with the inferiority complex that shrouds the Sox organization and fans and increases their as##ole factor greatly.

    Harry Caray made a wise choice to move to the Cubs. The Sox broadcasts were planning on leaving the UHF TV channel (which we received very fuzzy) and moving to ON TV. Remember ON TV, the first pay per view I can remember. It was a single channel movie and White Sox network. We never got it so I don’t know how long it lasted but Riensdorf was selling Harry on it as a 50,000 house hold broadcast. Only 50,000 ON TV’s in a metropolis of 10 million. Harry split to the Cubs and the free broadcast on megastation WGN. When WGN went national on cable networks the Cubs boomed, people all over the nation that had cable would watch the Cubs and become Cubs fans. That’s when Wrigleyville became a tourist destination. Harry was certainly one of the most entertaining broadcasters in the game of baseball to date but I think the Cubs economic boom of the 80’s has a lot to do with it’s national cable presence and of course having such a great broadcast team like Harry and Stoner.

    The Cubs were grooming Milo Hamilton to replace Jack Brickhouse for the Cubs broadcast. Milo was in the booth and was expecting to be in the Cubs booth a very long time. Milo was visibly upset at the press conference that announced the hiring of Harry. Milo has since bashed Harry publicly and always seemed bitter about the non hire.

    Oh how I miss a great broadcasting team in the Cubs booth. Please sign my petition, Fire Len Kasper.

    • Eddie Von White

      I remember the White Sox were on UHF Channel 32 in Chicago. The day Harry signed with the Cubs he said it was the happiest day of his life. They just got happier after that with the help of Budweiser. I have a brother who is a life long WS fan, he insists it’s the Cub fans who have an attitude. He is not the sharpest crayon in the box.

      • Doc Raker

        Remember when Harry was with the WS he would say my 2 favorite teams are the White Sox and whoever plays the Cubs. Harry always new where his bread was buttered.

        Milo Hamilton went on to broadcast the Houston Astro’s. What a demotion, from Wrigley Field to the Astrodome where the foul smell of the circus that inhabited the dome during Astro road trips was palpable upon the Astro’s return. The new Astro’s park looks pretty cool but baseball in the Astrodome was hideous.

      • Eddie Von White

        I remember people standing under the booth at Comisky shouting “Harry…Harry” during the whole game. They were the only fans in the ball park making noise.

      • Doc Raker

        And Harry beer of choice to shill withe the WS was Falstaff. Remember Falstaff?

    • BBCG: 105 Reasons

      ON TV, only one family by us had it…but it allowed us to tape Caddyshack before u could rent movies…damn I am getting old

      • Doc Raker

        Caddyshack- a classic for sure! CAPS was a lifeguard at the Caddyshack country club before his noble calling of providing insurance to the people.

      • PLCB3

        I still haven’t seen that movie. Only the scene where they drain the pool and it’s a candy bar. My first year lifeguarding, at least 4x a week someone would do their business in the pool. That’s when I learned of caddyshack.

      • Doc Raker

        Do not pass go until you watch Caddyshack. Immediately you must watch Cadcyshack, and que up STRIPES after Caddyshack. Jeez you are a mess CAPS.

      • Doc Raker

        Do not pass go until you watch Caddyshack. Immediately you must watch Cadcyshack, and que up STRIPES after Caddyshack. Jeez you are a mess CAPS.

  • Doc Raker

    Good stuff- you should write a book. I agree with the inferiority complex that shrouds the Sox organization and fans and increases their as##ole factor greatly.

    Harry Caray made a wise choice to move to the Cubs. The Sox broadcasts were planning on leaving the UHF TV channel (which we received very fuzzy) and moving to ON TV. Remember ON TV, the first pay per view I can remember. It was a single channel movie and White Sox network. We never got it so I don’t know how long it lasted but Riensdorf was selling Harry on it as a 50,000 house hold broadcast. Only 50,000 ON TV’s in a metropolis of 10 million. Harry split to the Cubs and the free broadcast on megastation WGN. When WGN went national on cable networks the Cubs boomed, people all over the nation that had cable would watch the Cubs and become Cubs fans. That’s when Wrigleyville became a tourist destination. Harry was certainly one of the most entertaining broadcasters in the game of baseball to date but I think the Cubs economic boom of the 80’s has a lot to do with it’s national cable presence and of course having such a great broadcast team like Harry and Stoner.

    The Cubs were grooming Milo Hamilton to replace Jack Brickhouse for the Cubs broadcast. Milo was in the booth and was expecting to be in the Cubs booth a very long time. Milo was visibly upset at the press conference that announced the hiring of Harry. Milo has since bashed Harry publicly and always seemed bitter about the non hire.

    Oh how I miss a great broadcasting team in the Cubs booth. Please sign my petition, Fire Len Kasper.

    • Eddie Von White

      I remember the White Sox were on UHF Channel 32 in Chicago. The day Harry signed with the Cubs he said it was the happiest day of his life. They just got happier after that with the help of Budweiser. I have a brother who is a life long WS fan, he insists it’s the Cub fans who have an attitude. He is not the sharpest crayon in the box.

      • Doc Raker

        Remember when Harry was with the WS he would say my 2 favorite teams are the White Sox and whoever plays the Cubs. Harry always new where his bread was buttered.

        Milo Hamilton went on to broadcast the Houston Astro’s. What a demotion, from Wrigley Field to the Astrodome where the foul smell of the circus that inhabited the dome during Astro road trips was palpable upon the Astro’s return. The new Astro’s park looks pretty cool but baseball in the Astrodome was hideous.

      • Eddie Von White

        I remember people standing under the booth at Comisky shouting “Harry…Harry” during the whole game. They were the only fans in the ball park making noise.

    • BBCG: 105 Reasons

      ON TV, only one family by us had it…but it allowed us to tape Caddyshack before u could rent movies…damn I am getting old

      • Doc Raker

        Caddyshack- a classic for sure! CAPS was a lifeguard at the Caddyshack country club before his noble calling of providing insurance to the people.

  • PLCB3

    White Sox fans are the dumbest fans in sports, and they comprise 70% of the dumbest fanbase in the NFL.

    • I think you mean Trash fans.

      • PLCB3

        Can’t we just blame Stupid Auto Correct!

  • AC0000000

    White Sox fans are the dumbest fans in sports, and they comprise 70% of the dumbest fanbase in the NFL.

    • I think you mean Trash fans.

      • AC0000000

        Can’t we just blame Stupid Auto Correct!

  • Doug S.

    Though I love the city in summer I’ve never lived in Chicago either. Records aside, I’ve always felt that the WS were the poor relative. Met several WS fans, mostly visitors here. Most were nice people, only a couple demonstrated the limited 2 word WS vocabulary (cubs suck)

  • Doug S.

    Though I love the city in summer I’ve never lived in Chicago either. Records aside, I’ve always felt that the WS were the poor relative. Met several WS fans, mostly visitors here. Most were nice people, only a couple demonstrated the limited 2 word WS vocabulary (cubs suck)

  • PLCB3

    trash fans hang onto 2005 the way bears fans hang onto 1985. 2005 was 9 years ago! I hope we win our 5th championship before they win their 4th.

  • AC0000000

    trash fans hang onto 2005 the way bears fans hang onto 1985. 2005 was 9 years ago! I hope we win our 5th championship before they win their 4th.

  • lifepainter

    I’ll add one to the list. The White Sox traded Tommy John to the Dodgers for Dick Allen. Allen won the MVP but was a trouble maker from the start while John is immoralized because of the surgery named after him and his comeback to pitch several more years.

  • lifepainter

    I’ll add one to the list. The White Sox traded Tommy John to the Dodgers for Dick Allen. Allen won the MVP but was a trouble maker from the start while John is immoralized because of the surgery named after him and his comeback to pitch several more years.