On the White Sox

Today on Slate someone wrote about the pain of being a Chicago White Sox fan.

Or not. I didn’t realize the White Sox had fans. 😉

The White Sox are doing fantastically well this year. Best record in the American League. Comfortably sitting atop the American League Central. Barring unforeseen calamities, the White Sox will be playing well into October this year. Sadly, my beloved Cubs will not.

I’ve been a Cubs fan for so long that thoughts of the other Chicago baseball team never cross my mind. When I grew up in Chicago I remember that the neighbors went to a White Sox game one night. But I don’t remember any passion for the White Sox. The Cubs. The Bears. They provoke passion. The White Sox? Well, they had really cool uniforms in the mid-80s.

Mike DeBonis writes in his essay on White Sox fandom:

There also isn’t a bard who makes a cottage industry out of the team’s sad-sack ways. Maybe in a few years Ron Kittle’s Tales from the White Sox Dugout will become classic literature. But for now, the only noteworthy Sox lit is Veeck—As In Wreck, former owner Bill Veeck’s ghostwritten account of his decades of wacky hucksterism.

So not true. The White Sox had a bard. His name was Ring Lardner, and his stories of Jack Keefe, hapless pitcher for the Sox in the 1910s, stand as a literary monument to the Sox. In DeBonis’ defense, I’m a Lardner fan, and there’s probably not one person in twenty who’s heard of Lardner near a century later.

I wish the White Sox well. If the Baseball Gods could shine blessings on the Red Sox (and curses on the Yankees) last year, surely they can forgive the White Sox for those terrible events of 1919. Perhaps they can even forgive the injustice done to Buck Weaver, the Ginger Kid, banished from baseball for a scandal in which he had no part. (Shoeless Joe, though, he was guilty. Don’t tell me otherwise.)

Or maybe, just maybe, what Jack Brickhouse said of the Cubs applies just as well to their crosstown rivals–“Anyone can have a bad century.”

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