If Mariotti being a dick has nothing to do with the premise, why link to his rantings rather than those of apparently countless others who characterize the White Sox, falsely, as the "second-class citizen" of Chicago? BNLfanmatt cited a survey that had the two teams even, and that's nearly correct; as of last summer's report the Sox had edged ahead of the Cubs in terms of overall fan popularity, behind only the Bears. That's sure to flip again this summer, as 90 losses tend to be a buzzkill, but nonethless it's remarkable that, at present, a yearly, blind, cross-sports, "scientific" survey posits that the White Sox are more popular than the Cubbies, the team in town that's an interest of the entity that controls the balance of sports media (owns WGN-TV and radio, Tribune, CLTV, partial owners of Comcast). If you think that's just windmill tilting, explain how it is that in 2005 and 2006, the season the White Sox won the first World Series in Chicago in 88 years and the season they won 90 games as reigning champions, the Tribune published 1,400 more stories mentioning the Cubs than the White Sox? Point to WGN's nationwide broadcasts, day baseball, Harry Caray, or the (laughable) soul of the ballpark all you want, but the media shapes opinions and designates exposure, for good and bad. It doesn't mean the ballpark isn't nice, the neighborhood isn't lively, or the team isn't good, but the Cubbies' popularity directly correlates to Tribune ownership. The spike in attendance and perception started once the area's (and one of the country's) most powerful media entity took over. Period.
posted by Brett at 04:34 PM on April 02
Trusting Mariotti to give you the honest scoop about Chicago's baseball dynamics is like trusting George Bush to give you the honest scoop about Iraq.
posted by Brett at 10:45 AM on April 01
Only two Texas batters even reached a three-ball count.
posted by Brett at 11:53 AM on April 19
While it should not be mentioned in the same breaths as many of the classics cited in this discussion (The Natural, Summer of 49, Veeck as in Wreck, and Baseball: A Literary Anthology are personal favorites), my new book is among those listed by USA Today: The Wit and Wisdom of Ozzie Guillen. So that I may beat you to the punch, [insert joke here] The book is actually as much as review of the 2005 White Sox season as it is an Ozzie compendium, but hey, he's a good hook.
posted by Brett at 11:14 AM on July 19
I believe Thomas, if healthy, will return to the White Sox. His option for 2006 was $10 million, which is a lot to pay for a 38-year-old DH even if he plays 150 games. With Carl Everett gone, Thomas is the team's first option at DH, assuming the two sides can agree on, say, two years for $10 mil and a mutual option or two. His brief time in 2005 after a year away from the game proved he still has a power stroke, and for the first time in his career Thomas can be considered an asset in terms of leadership. The White Sox will find a place for him.
posted by Brett at 03:32 PM on November 05
When the league launched, it boasted that franchises would cost only $1 (prospective owners needed to show some sort of line of credit, but even so, I can't fathom many suitors were turned away). I suspect the process is a bit tighter now, but any official league Web site that has a tab labeled "Reserve a Market" can't be too picky. On one of my earliest interviews with the ABA I was shown a flow chart of the league hierarchy and told that within a few years, I could replace the commissioner. I share that not to brag but to indicate further that, no, these fellas weren't/aren't too picky. The new Chicago team is called the Rockets. I offered to assist them before they kicked off play in 2006-07, but apparently--and I am not joking--they were more concerned with assembling their "spirit team."
posted by Brett at 03:25 PM on November 05
Let me beg your indulgence for a moment, compadres. I was there at the dawn of the new ABA. Back then it was the ABA 2000, which I told them right off was a really bad name. By about, oh, 2001, they agreed. I actually got to "break" the story that the ABA was reforming when word spilled out to me during an interview with old ABA Indiana Pacer Bob Netolicky. Of course, that first season--which included the 3-D rule, I believe--didn't make a very big impact. I was on the verge of moving to Indianapolis and officially becoming the Director of Communication for the league--only the league poohbahs decided at the last minute that they didn't need a Director of Communication. Based on the amount of success and exposure the league has had in its five years, that probably wasn't a very wise decision. My favorite ABA moment still comes from the very first game of that first season. There was a team in Chicago then, called the Skyliners (they played one season, moved to Las Vegas during the second season, there was a new Chicago team called the Soldiers last season that played about four games before folding, in part because their home "venue" was a south side gym that held perhaps a few hundred fans, and there's yet ANOTHER new Chicago team getting ready to play in 2006-07). The Skyliners played at Allstate Arena and that night's sports reports acutally ran "homemade" footage from the baselines of the game. I was really impressed. Then the sports anchor says, "We heard that the Skyliners were leading in the second half. We tried to get a final, but it seems that no one at Allstate Arena is picking up the phone." Uh-oh. An interesting decision made this season was naming divisions after ABA legends. That's a wonderful idea, at least as a temporary, NHLish way to honor your forebears. The problem is, Marvin Barnes--who played in the league for all of two seasons and is best known for his defiance of ABA team policies--is honored for one of the divisions. Spencer Haywood (one brilliant ABA season, but only one) is also honored. Moses Malone (about 120 career ABA games) is another. Meanwhile Artis Gilmore, Julius Erving, Dan Issel, James Silas, Bob Leonard, and easily a dozen others were not so honored. They actually went to the trouble of naming a Louie Dampier division, then pulled it for lack of teams. Dios mio. All this said, I do hope the ABA succeeds. It's a nice idea and could perhaps contribute one day to a true minor league for the NBA. I wish it was doing better service to the legacy of the original ABA, however.
posted by Brett at 11:04 AM on November 05
Speaking of the Mavs, their p. puffy piddy combs green alt jerseys are pretty odd. They look like something from the Women's Basketball League (Chicago Hustle, Milwaukee Does...) from 25 years ago. Not that there's anything wrong with that...
posted by Brett at 02:27 PM on October 31
Boy, melcarek69, I sure do hate it when the team I root for is "only good because of an awesome pitching staff." Roughly 28 other teams in baseball should be so lucky to have such problems. And regarding the hitting, uh, the Sox are averaging more runs than any other team in the postseason. I think it should be a great series. I haven't seen the pitching matchups yet, but I'm leaning (hoping...praying...) Sox in 6.
posted by Brett at 03:10 PM on October 20
I have been watching the NL series with only one eye but it seems as if every time Pujols comes to bat he smacks the stuffing out of the ball. Even his singles to left are scorched. He's got this Dick Allen clothesline screamer thing going that gives you goose bumps. I'm starting to root for the Cards to come here this weekend for the Series just to see what the White Sox pitchers can do with him. After cowering, of course. Nice catch on "scrappy," grum. The world never tires of complimenting the average-sized white guy. I bet if I wore eyeblack my editor might call me scrappy. Or at least "heady."
posted by Brett at 12:42 AM on October 18
Please pick against the White Sox again, Weedy! In fact, I don't think they could possibly win the pennant again in 2006, do you? :)
posted by Brett at 12:41 PM on October 17
The crux of my disagreement with you, justgary, is that you're calling the third-strike play an ump's mistake and I'm calling it Paul's mistake. Using my context, for me to compare the play to other player mistakes earlier in the game is perfectly reasonable. The Sox losing an out because the ump blew the call in the 7th/Crede wandered too far off of second is the same out that the Angels lost because the ump blew the call in the 9th/Paul casually assumed the ump saw him catch the ball cleanly. You can't pick and choose which close plays become player mistakes and which are umpire mistakes. Moreover, as others have said, you simply can't put a mistake like that on an umpire. Paul and even Escobar, at the minimum, could have avoided this by seeing the play through and closing any loopholes. A trapped or nearly-trapped ball in the outfield is raised immediately to sell the out. That's instinctive on the part of players. In fact, whenever a player doesn't raise the ball to sell it, the reaction I have is that it was a trap. I wouldn't be surprised if Paul had the same "wait a sec..." change of direction that AJ did; the problem was that if Paul did, it was too late, because he'd already taken himself out of the play by rolling the ball onto the field. Tim McCarver's sanctimonious ranting "a catcher knows when he caught the ball" makes little sense to me. Wouldn't an outfielder instictively "know" when he's caught the ball? A pitcher instinctively "know" when he's thrown a strike? A batter instictively "know" when he's checked his swing? I scrolled up and noted 10 writers pro-AJ, 11 pro-Paul, so neither side will cnvince the other. Honestly, if Paul was playing for my team, as much as I would be angry at a borderline play going against me, I would ultimately fault my player, whose brain cramp lost an out for my team. You can say the White Sox "caught" a break on this one, but you make your own breaks with guts and brains. I'll end just by repeating this earlier comment: Would any other player on the field who had his head into the game have NOT done what AJ did? Brett wrote: For those of you who think the White Sox got four outs in the 9th, even pretending the call was outright blown doesn't vastly alter the game landscape. Did the Sox only got two outs in the 7th when Crede was "doubled up"; did they only get two outs in the second when Rowand was thrown out at home? Justgary replied: Are you serious? One, it does change the landscape drastically. It's the difference between going to the 10th tied or losing in the 9th. Second, please tell me you're not comparing the blown call to player mistakes that cost their team outs. That's just bizarre.
posted by Brett at 05:16 AM on October 14
Throughout this series--aside from the pitching which has been even (brilliant)--the Angels have played with more desire. They wanted it more, and they were imposing their will on the Sox. A.J.'s reflex action--sprinting to first once he realized the ball had hit the ground (or come close) and not hearing the out call--was the first instance all series of the Sox imposing their will and wanting it more. Shouldn't we give AJ at least a little credit for keeping his head in the game, and staying WITHIN the game rather than pulling a typical major league prima donna move and slamming his helmet? In fact, we don't really know how often this play could occur because most major leaguers give up on the at bat once strike three is called. For those of you who think the White Sox got four outs in the 9th, even pretending the call was outright blown doesn't vastly alter the game landscape. Did the Sox only got two outs in the 7th when Crede was "doubled up"; did they only get two outs in the second when Rowand was thrown out at home? Rather than claim you were cheated, you have to look in the mirror and accept that, blown call or not, there's no way Crede should have made it close, nor Rowand. What about balls and strikes? Paul Konerko and Garrett Anderson both had at least one four-strike at-bat, and it's hard to deny there were stretches early in the game where the Angels batters had a narrow plate and later when the Sox batters walked up to a wide one. The nature of sports is to take what you're given. If AJ "willed" his way to first (please, this is an ump who had been combative with the White Sox all night), more power to him. Would any other player on the field who had his head into the game have NOT done what AJ did? No offense, but does every friggin' game played these days have to have some kind of asterisk because the losing team feels bad about losing?
posted by Brett at 01:58 PM on October 13
I guess this thread is starting to turn sour but I want to thank everyone on here for the kind words about my White Sox. Your graciousness is surprising given the world of sports and sports talk, with all the put downs and trash talk. It's tiring and ugly. When the M's put us to sleep in '00 I was upset with my team, a little stunned, but what could I do but tip my cap to Seattle? I appreciate what I read here and feel good that a few of you are impressed enough with this small-ego club to get behind the White Sox in their next series. I just hope we are lucky enough to bask in the same joy (and relief) you Red Sox fans did in 2004.
posted by Brett at 09:49 PM on October 07
BUTTERFINGERS! (Sorry, Operation commercial reference.) Well played, verfatma (re: known troublemakers) What's interesting to me is that this "crazy" guy actually has a lot of strong and positive--if inconsistent--things to say. He mentions "a pattern of things that have been said" by Kent, and while I hope it's nothing more than cracks about the game of LIFE, I fear there's more there. Of course, Bradley undermines his complaint by saying right afterward that he, Kent, and all the Dodgers joke about race and race is an issue with everything they do. Then what the hell is he making this into more than a single comment about a single play? Milton says that being African-American is the most important thing to him, more important than baseball--actually a very empowering statement. He also uses his latest (self-made?) soapbox to draw attention to African-Americans' 9% representation "in the game." One of Bradley's complaints is that after the incident, all the reporters went to talk to him, the African-American, first. Problem was, Kent hadn't arrived at his locker to talk to reporters yet. Oops. But this bias in the story was most interesting to me (my Chicago Tribune AP copy is a little different than the link posted): "[Bradley's] voice never went beyond his normal speaking level." Now this is either biased FOR Bradley, in that the writer was trying to downplay his anger and make this controversy appear to be a Bradley-initiated race-relations summit, or terribly biased AGAINST Bradley, in that the writer has so completely prejudged Bradley as a hothead that the fact that he spoke in a normal tone of voice was newsworthy. Frankly I find that nugget the most interesting part of this entire story. By the way, first it was Milton Bradley, then Coco Crisp. Was there a period of time, as Cleveland was winning the Central year after year with its eyes closed, where the team was just filing out its draft sheet with odd names? No wonder Marquis Grissom ended up playing there too.
posted by Brett at 11:09 AM on August 24
Sorry if my response to panteeze was sophomoric; I was responding to his Cliffs Notes crack. I'm also sorry that Weedy is being forced to comment on a debate that falls so clearly within his pyramid of suckitude. I'm curious as to what did bring such popularity to the Cubbies in the early 80s if my comment was so laughable, panteeze. Perhaps it's the Chicago Tribune ownership that is the true factor. In the 24 years of Chicago Tribune ownership, the Cubs have outdrawn the White Sox 18 times. That said, the White Sox held the all-time city attendance record for a season until 2003. In the 24 years prior to Tribune ownership, the Cubs outdrew the Sox 11 times. The Cubs went 14 consecutive seasons in the 1950s and 1960s without drawing one million fans. Coincidentally, in the 24 years of Chicago Tribune ownership, the Cubs have recorded more wins than the White Sox eight times, and finished higher in their division four. In the 24 years prior to that, the Cubs had more wins seven times, a better finish six times. Clearly there is no connection between winning and attendance when it comes to the Chicago Cubs. But in examining the pre-Tribune vs. post-Tribune, we can see that attendance has made huge gains in the past 24 years. Is "lovable losing" somehow more popular these days, or does having the city's most powerful--and only--media conglomerate behind you play a role? Much is made of the difference in atmospheres between Wrigley Field and U.S. Cellular. Most mention the bustling bars of Wrigleyville and the Wrigley's great view of the Chicago skyline. But that only scratches the surface: Visit both parks and you'll have distinctly different experiences. If you're 23 years old and fond of snapping bleacher bikini tops on your cellphone, then want to jaw on the phone about those shots to your friend sitting 200 feet away in the grandstand, you'll have an immesaurably better experience at Wrigley. However, if sightlines, cleanliness, interactivity, value, parking, fan behavior, and safety--not to mention a traditionally superior product on the field--mean anything to you, you'll want to visit the south side. Cubs fans. bless their hearts, respect their "shrine" so much they watch anything but the game and throw their beer cups on the field after every precious and rare win--how about THAT for "tradition?" Cheebus, you are aware that the kid who ran out to tackle KC's first base coach had spent the day earlier drinking at Wrigley, drove home, then went to that night's Sox game, right? You also recall the fan who ran onto the field and tackled Randy Myers on the pitcher's mound, and the brawl with the Dodgers' bullpen precipitated by fan contact with the players? Domo arigato for that highlight, gbert72. I still insist the karma of Sox fan Bernie Mac infiltrating Wrigley to sing the 7th inning stretch precipitated the Bartman meltdown that occured the next inning.
posted by Brett at 03:26 PM on August 18
Elements of this article are tired and derivative; anyone who continues to call the ballpark "bland" or "cavernous" hasn't set foot inside, certainly not in the last five years. The nonsense about the upper deck is laughable; Yankee Stadium and Coors Field, among others, have upper decks just as steep and "distant." And calling St. Louis' "midget" a cool trick and dissing Veeck's Sox regime as having only provided baseball with short pants is ludicrous. However, the piece is done well, if sluggishly, in that it at least attempts to differentiate among the Red Sox, Cubs, and White Sox. The two Sox teams had much more in common in their futility prior to last season; both are traditionally competitive, "winning" teams. The Sox were traditionally No. 1 in the town dating back to Bill Veeck's first run (where his fan-friendly gestures were a stark contrast to the stone-slab Wrigley ownership); only the dawn of Superstation WGN/acquisition of Harry Caray and a burgeoning Wrigleyville area swung popularity toward the Cubs in the 80s and 00s. The big difference between the Cubs and Sox is that fans of the former seem to embrace losing, celebrating the team as "lovable losers"; Sox fans despise such a notion. However, the truest piece of information in all of this comes from clever respondent panteeze: "I am a Cubs fan and I had to use the dictionary several times while reading the article." There's a shocker.
posted by Brett at 10:01 AM on August 18
Relatively speaking, this is an extraordinary decision. New Jersey is a team that not a couple seasons ago inked Jason Kidd to a max deal, which will pay him what, $15 million at age 37 (I'm guessing on both counts) and traded for notorious pouter and knee-creaky Vinsanity (another max deal, although at least Vince is younger than Kidd), but won't take this absolute bargain in Shareef (willing to sign for less than half the max deal rate). The one player who HASN'T missed major time with a knee injury in his NBA career is the one the Nets decide not to add to the roster--again, at a bargain rate. From a team called the Nets that sports a rim with no net in their logo, I suppose this is to be expected. And am I the only one who wonders why Atlanta needs to trade two first-rounders AND Boris Diaw just to get Joe Johnson into the fold? Not that I believe that is Belkin's real objection to the deal--his own GM, Billy Knight, has stepped out to say Belkin has instructed him to work on the cheap--but why in the world would you pay such a ransom for Johnson when he's basically talked himself out of Phoenix already? If you only trade a first-rounder for Johnson, is Phoenix suddenly going to match and keep a guy who is choosing ATLANTA over title-contending Phoenix?
posted by Brett at 05:53 PM on August 09
OK, this discussion continues to get creepier, but I think the important distinction between, say, "Giants" and "Redskins" is that, to most eyes, "Giants" is not tied to one ethnicity while "Redskins" is. And that a Giants mascot certainly doesn't roam the crowd clubbing fans of the other team, or do anything much but stand around, while Indian mascots beat war drums, ride around on horses, do war dances, and who could possibly forget, tomahawk chop. Gregy606, if the Indians were named in "honor" of anyone, why do they use a racist, cartoonish logo of Chief Wahoo on their caps? That's one odd "honor." At least the Chief got the 1950s crook out of his nose that made for an even worse caricature. "Just a team name." I wonder if you would feel the same if your lineage was almost completely wiped out. Thank goodness we can just trace all the complaints to our litigious, whiny society. I love that any semblance of sensitivity today is automatically demonized as "PC" by the cavemen of our country. Doing the right thing may be nice, but isn't it more important to honor the "PC-phobia" of the most ignorant in our society? I know this is an argument that's hard to win, so I'll inject a moment of levity re: Lady Knights. My wife went to Pius HS in Milwaukee, where the boys' teams were the Popes. The girls weren't Nuns, or any sort of logical extension (whatever those logical extensions are)...they were just the Lady Popes.
posted by Brett at 08:03 AM on July 18
This discussion is nausea inducing. To lump changing the Redskins nickname in as just another move made by the "PC police" is so sad. Forget for a second that Redskin is a genocidal term out of the ugliest, unforgivable chapter in our nation's history. To name a sports team after the color of skin (or, perhaps worse, to have your race depicted in a truly racist or cartoonish manner like Chief Wahoo) is wrong. There's no debate. It's despicable. Having a Bible Belt debate about "Blue Devils" is incomparable to a debate about naming sports teams after races or colors of people. Shame on any such team's fan who, after hearing legitimate objections voiced by the people who are marginalized, can continue to root for that team in good conscience--much less spit on the objectors, as evidently happened routinely outside of RFK. Schools like St. John's, Miami, and Marquette are to be commended for making a change; they are institutes of higher learning, after all. (The exception: Florida State and the Seminoles seem to have some deal worked out which seemingly keeps the tribe happy and proud...it's nice that FSU bothered to check with them, if the school did.) Even a name like "Blackhawks" purports to pay tribute; "Braves" and "Warriors" CAN be used generically enough to honor, I suppose; but a nickname based in murder and massacre? Sickening. P.S. Based on the charged debate surrounding the future of the Illni nickname, as well as the retirement of Chief Illiniwek (whose halftime war dance purported to "honor" the tribe), I'd say the assumption that "Illini" is a term of honor is not universally shared.
posted by Brett at 03:06 PM on July 17
I would never have felt any differently about Carl than any of you had I not witnessed how genuninely sweet he was to a couple of young fans before a game earlier this year. My impression of him was as a complete and total lunkhead, and granted, some of his words in Maxim I completely agree with (steroids/war) and completely disagree with (uh, using the Bible as your frame of reference for 2005). But I have to say, for all his reputation as a hothead caveman jackass, he completely stupified me in his five minutes spent pregame with an honororary team batboy and friend. While other White Sox went through the motions of a photo op and basic chatter, Carl was horsing around, trying to make a very shy kid open up, joking, talking with his parents. It went totally against how he's cast. Perhaps it was a full moon. I'm not defending or condemming him, but I will say that the minute you think you have someone pegged, he does a 180 on you. Maybe there's hope for Carl yet. Perhaps when he retires he'll let his face grow long, and start up a House of David traveling team.
posted by Brett at 06:26 PM on June 18
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