Monday, October 24, 2005


According to someone who was at a concert by the Chicago Philharmonic at Northwestern University on the night of the second World Series Game, all the male members of the orchestra were wearing very formal attire -- tie and tails -- until you checked out their socks.  They were white. And the conductor began the evening by turning to the audience and saying, "Go Sox!"

Slugger's is a diehard Cubs hangout on the north side across from Wrigley Field. There are also several diehard White Sox hangouts on the south side near The Cell like Schaller's and Jimbo's.

But guess which place is getting all the publicity on TV during the World Series?  Slugger's. Apparently the northside sports bars have been empty. So in a moment of marketing genius, dammit, the owners of Slugger's hired Sox legend, Minnie Minoso, to host parties at their place during the World Series.

This morning the local NBC affiliate featured a remote broadcast from Slugger's with a bunch of Cubs fans and Minoso singing a Sox theme song -- NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA Hey Heeey, Good bye.  

Harry Carey was the voice of the Cubs for years. He used to lead the fans singing Take Me Out To The Ballgame during the seventh inning stretch. It has become a big part of the experience of going to Wrigley, continuing with celebrities leading the singing since Harry died.

People forget he was the voice of the Sox for eleven years before that and started the seventh inning tradition when he was broadcasting from Comiskey Park.  That should give you an idea of how uninspired the Sox marketing department has been in recent years. At least, since White Sox owner and promotional guru, Bill Veeck, passed away. Veeck owned the Cubs at one time, too. He was the guy who had the ivy planted on the brick walls at Wrigley. There's been lots of incest between the teams for years.    

The United Center, which is where the Bulls play, has invited Chicago to watch the fourth and fifth games on their Jumbotron, while the Sox are down in Houston. Just $15 a ticket. It's a nice gesture to all the folks who can't afford the Donald Trump prices at The Cell. Of course, those tickets will probably get scalped, too. It is worth noting that Jerry Reinsdorf, who owns the White Sox, also owns the Bulls.

The general manager of the Astros grew up in a south Chicago suburb. There is a picture of him and his wife at their wedding reception with Sox banners.  

After spending the first ten years of my life growing up on the south side of Chicago and becoming a White Sox fan, my family moved to the north side, specifically the northern suburbs. Up to that point I had only watched the Sox on TV, so I was beside myself with little kid joy, when our new neighbors had an extra ticket to see a ballgame and invited me to join them. It was going to be my first time ever at Comiskey Park, and I spent the whole week looking forward to it, at least until we were actually on the road and I said how excited I was to be going to a White Sox game for the first time. Silence. "We're going to a Cubs game." The disappointment on my face was so apparent, they actually apologized to me for going to see the Cubs, instead of the Sox.

I was watching the second World Series game last night with my cousin from LA at a great old White Sox hangout in Chicagp's Loop, Miller's Pub.  The place has roots back to Bill Veeck, so it was good place to be if you couldn't be at the park. When Konerko came to bat in the seventh with the bases loaded, I was asking my cousin to get out his camera and take a picture of us with the bottle of his dad 's ashes. He said, "Right after Konerko hits a grand slam."  Cosmic.

When Paulie hit the grand slam the place erupted and I screamed so loudly that I got hoarse. My throat still hurts. But I noticed that the guy next to me at the bar was not cheering, just sitting there. When things quieted down I asked him if he was an Astros' fan.  "I'm British."

It turns out he knew as much about baseball as I know about cricket. But I did my best to explain what I could. Nothing I told him seemed to make sense, however. Even to me. He wanted to know if the batters had to swing and miss three times to strike out. And I tried to explain foul balls and how the umpire can also call a batter out on strikes, even if he doesn't swing. Sheesh. His eyes glazed over. So did mine.

He did say that they get the World Series live on cable over in London, which means that my daughter living over there might be watching, too. Assuming she was up in the middle of the night with food poisoning or something.

Some Astros' fans showed up behind us. We could tell by the cheering when the game got tied up in the ninth. I was wearing a dark navy baseball cap with a big "C" on it. I turned around to give the Stros' fans a hard time and they accused me of being a Cubs' fan. No, baseball breath, this is a Bears hat.  

I have to say it hasn't been safe or comfortable for me to wear anything with a White Sox logo in public, living as far north as I do. But for the first time in years I have seen brave people around my neighborhood wearing White Sox paraphernalia outside their homes   Even putting stickers on their cars. And humming na na na na na na na na. . .

After the game my cousin and another Sox fan started a conversation that sounded like "Can You Top This?"  Who had been a fan longer. Who knew more names of players from the fifties. Who had their father's ashes in a little bottle in their pocket. That kind of stuff. I was waiting patiently for them to finish when the guy talking to my cousin stopped and introduced hmself. He heard my name and repeated it like it sounded it familiar. I asked if he was an attorney. Yes he was. I said my ex had been president of the Chicago Bar Assn at one time. He said, yes, I know him.

Seven milliion people in Metro Chicago and this guy was on the swim team with my ex in high school. Cosmic moment II.

A young artist who is a Yankee fan has been comimissioned by the MLB to paint this World Series. Apparently he has painted several other World Series games, too. Hehas seen all the recent ones with the Yankees and said that last night's White Sox Astros game was the best World Series game he's ever watched. He's right, of course. He even said GO SOX on the air.

All right, I'll give it a rest.

1 comment:

bosoxblue6993w said...

if only Jean Shepherd were alive to comment on this World Serious.

he is a hero of mine.