I set up this blog as a forum to discuss baseball in general, and specifically my team, the Chicago White Sox. I did it primarily in this format because I tend to get wordy in my views, and in making points in general, and hated that some places would limit the content of each post by character length…thus a perfect marriage was found: the vast blank canvas of the internet blog and my seemingly endless watercolors (sometimes more like crayon) of ideas and VERY STRONG (at times) opinions on my favorite sport.
Having a “pen name” is useful to maintain anonymity, but I always have found it more interesting knowing some details about the person doing the writing (at least for me it helps to make a connection with the author), so I will try to paint some broad strokes about who I am that may be helpful for future use if this site becomes a destination to visit more than once in your internet perusal of the future, so here goes…As a normal kid growing up in the traditional nuclear family in the suburbs of Chicago, I was raised as a White Sox fan from birth. My dad was born & raised in the city (roughly Division Street, and schooled at Wells High) and was in the minority in his allegiance for the South Side team among his own friends, which would explain how many years later due to his influence and example, that my fandom took a similar path in my circle of running buddies. The Cubs were never an option, to keep this as short as possible, and leave it at that. He was in the stands at old Comiskey to take in the ’59 Series, and still to this day can relay in vivid detail the sights and sounds of that magical “near miss” of a season & era of Chicago baseball. He knew each of the team members by name, and style of play and could recite a list of strengths and weaknesses for each that defined my level of interest and added to my overall baseball intellect from a very early age. I was born in the suburbs as the last of 4 kids in a modest home that remained our family home for more than 30 years. I didn’t have everything growing up, but was content to not have to miss anything that I never had, and in retrospect wouldn’t complain about any of it. What I did have, I had a sincere appreciation for, and this I gained in large part from my parents who did the best they could with what they had, and raised us with respect and care that little did we know at the time, shaped our lives in positive ways that we are all still today learning how well they had accomplished their most important goals. As a child of a solid (not broken) home, I recall only good times, and very few disturbances in the first 25 years of my life, which to me is an amazing thing. Baseball was always there, and a big part of it. I guess you can say (without being too melodramatic) that it was a back-bone of my life that still is as strong today, and something that as I now have children of my own, is becoming even more important than in the days that I played as a child, and eventually as a young man. It has just recently taken on a much greater importance, as I start to share the game with my little ones, and their curiosity is turning into a building-block approach for something that I will pass on to them (like my father did for me) for their future children (my grandchildren? yikes!) to learn from and enjoy…and so goes our national pastime.
From born & raised in the suburbs of Chicago, to a cross-country move South 1200 miles to Central Texas in the late 90’s continuing a family migration pattern, and besides the occasional “snow jones”…I feel like I took with me the best part of my years growing up where I did, and that was my passion for the White Sox. Now, with the power of the internet and the media-age we live in, I get to enjoy as much Sox baseball that I care to indulge in. And actually, I find it even more appealing , since I am not poisoned on a daily basis by the Chicago media and talk-radio abomination the city continues to employ. I know , I know, nobody ever forces you to listen or read anything, but it sure is nice to not even be tempted by the hacks that constitute beat-writers and nightly sports figures on air or boob-tube. I get to tune in to a game live on WGN or with whatever the latest cable or satellite package is most affordable to get my Hawk Harrelson fix, or choose to follow on the internet through mlb.com or some other creative way to stay involved on a daily basis. It is continually amazing to me just how much detail you are given that can make a game literally come to life on a pitch-by-pitch sequence, and just by re-creating a game’s events through a real-time box-score or gamecast…and when you catch the highlights, it is scary how similar the actual play is as it was created in your mind’s eye. Every now and again just out of curiosity (or for punishment), I’ll visit the Tribune or Sun-Times “coverage” of the Sox, or catch some video or audio from the local scene, and am quickly and vividly reminded that I am far better off not being subjected to such ridiculously moronic excuses for baseball discussion. I’ll remain content to stay on the proverbial “outside looking in”…I seem to be able to keep a much more objective view from that vantage point.
My most recent detour down a road never travelled however, was an experiment on the message (comment) boards of the White Sox website sponsored by MLB.com. I discovered it several months ago, and decided that I would give it a whirl to see if it could offer any additional insight or maybe a fresh angle on baseball fandom that I had yet to experience. So, I registered my “handle” and embarked as WhiteSoxLifer, into the sea of what I thought would be real White Sox, and baseball fans, just like me…big mistake. I’m not sure if it was my “bull in the china shop” approach to forwarding my opinions, and disagreeable nature toward anyone with a dissenting view of my own, but it quickly evolved into something so far from what I had hoped, that I had to pull the plug from the daily banter and debate in order to retain any semblance of interest in the site altogether. I found the information to be interesting and often entertaining, but admittedly I have very low expectations of news and the media in general. In my experience, if you read (as an example) 10 articles, maybe 1 will have any real news value, and an even smaller percentage will have any baseball “truth” to it. So, I guess with that as my compass, I continue to navigate around the murky waters of the internet in search of lighthouses of baseball truth (or at minimum, random squalls of worthwhile discussion of the topic). This blog is just a port that I’ll dock at from time to time to empty the bilge of my mind. My hope is that someone will not find it (my output) as offensive as most of the regularly members of that failed comment board experiment often did…but I had a bunch of fun, and had some epic rants with a occassional solid baseball observation if you could find it sifting through the rubble of random posts and attacks on the trolls that found me such a large and convenient target for their continuous pot-stirring to engage the casual fan into spending way too much time on their sites. So as not to waste the words, I think I’ll dedicate a future blog toward the salvage of some of my favorite posts as WhiteSoxLifer, who still remains as game and able as ever as a truly passionate White Sox fan, just temporarily in “dry-dock” emptying the tanks through Baseball Jones.