IF THE SHOE FITS
People often ask me what its like to be a White Sox Fan, as if I have some kind of ugly step child syndrome or less graphic, the middle child syndrome where nobody pays attention to me. In this case, the shoe fits! I am the middle child in my house and just like the White Sox, prefer to fly under the radar in hopes of shocking the world, or in this city, point across town and say I told you so! It’s more of an “Aaaah Haaa,” as we listen to excuse after excuse of why the North Siders didn’t get it done… again.
Chicago is a Cubs town. As a Sox fan, I have accepted that, and cheer when the Sox are playing well, and make it known when the Cubs aren’t. I often become irritating to Cub fans who wonder why I can’t stand that side of town. The arrogance that comes from “upper class” (so they claim) side of town is so nauseating from an organization that has done nothing but lose or make excuses for the past 100 years. They claim their stadium is a landmark, the surrounding Wrigleyville area is amazing, and they sell out all the time. No one doubts the history of Wrigley Field as its one of the oldest stadiums in the league. No one doubts the Wrigleyville area as it’s filled with bars and babes. With the combination of both of those, the loveable losers sell out quite frequently. But when was baseball about meaningless attractions? I thought it was about wins, division titles and ultimately, World Series banners? The Sox accomplished those feats in 2005, just four years ago and if you talked a Sox fan recently, he would tell you if feels like 100 years ago, and they are hungry for another one.
Its 2009, we are more than halfway through April, the Sox are 8-7, as they look to repeat as AL Central Champions. They just took 3 out of 4 from the 2008 American League Champion Rays and once again flying under the radar. Is it disrespect or lack of likeability? Our manager is loud and obnoxious, but tells you like it is. Our catcher is the most hated player in baseball, but he’s smart, tough, and can handle a pitching staff with the best of them. Our captain might not win any “fastest man alive” contest, but he hit a grand slam when we needed him too. Our ace slides on tarps during rain delays, barely reaches 90 on the gun, but you want him on the mound for a big game. Our stadium might be named after a cell phone company, but it has parking, delicious food, and fans that bleed black and white. Our GM might carry his arrogance on his shoulder, but when you orchestrate a World Series team we stand behind him100%. So what is it about these guys that we love so much? They know what winning means to us and in this town. They know that long after their playing days are done, what it will mean to play for the White Sox, and drown out Cubby Blue, and that the Good Guys wear Black!
We are White Sox fans. We go unrecognized; we get overlooked but at the same time speak baseball and know our Sox. Joe Crede, Aaron Rowand, Geoff Blum, Scott Podsednik, Jon Garland, Ray Durham, Robin Ventura, Frank Thomas, and even Jose Valentine will always have seat at my dinner table. They might not have the flashy stats (other than Thomas) but we know what they’ve meant to us when they wore those black pinstripes. We remember “The Milkman” Herbert Perry help lead us to the 2000 AL Central division title. We know that Greg Norton is the greatest! We cherish El Duque’s one inning of magic. We remember Esteban Loaiza’s career year on the South Side in 2003. We remember Carlos Lee driving in 7 runs against the Cubs, at Wrigley (I was there on a date, the relationship didn’t last, she was a Cubs fan).
We remember all the thrills and moments. We pay attention to the expert’s opinions and predictions but they don’t know our Sox like we do. They counted us out in 2000, 2005, 2008 and even 2009… but we believe. If we don’t win, we don’t make excuses, point fingers, blame fans, goats, Babe Ruth, cats, or you’re best girl friend who said, “No body likes the Sox.” If we don’t win it’s just because… “We didn’t get it done.” And yes, I say we. I have invested time, money, sweat, and tears in the White Sox, along with my other die hard fans, have earned the right to say we.
Ignore us. Disrespect us. Bet against us. That’s when the White Sox seem to flourish. As cliché as it sounds, this team, this organization and these fans… never stop believing!
By Brian Gioia
> View all of the 2009 MLB team previews from Pro Baseball Fans