10.22.2005

baseball

The World Series starts today, with the Chicago White Sox meeting the Houston Astros. I watched very little of the playoffs, for the first time in a good 20 years, but Allan and I are both back on board for the October Classic.

I generally can't watch a series without some sort of rooting interest, and this one's an easy choice.

The White Sox are an original American League team, born in 1901. (The Astros are a relatively young team, born the same year as me.)

I am one of the few people who likes the new Comiskey Park (now called by a corporate name, but Comiskey to me). I thoroughly enjoyed the ballpark experience there, full of quirks and odd traditions. Plus, Mariano Rivera signed my cap there. Say no more.

They wear pinstripes. And even though I've traded my pinstripes for citizenship in the Nation, I cheered for pinstripes for about 30 years. They're imprinted in my heart.

They are the team of the great Bill Veeck (rhymes with wreck), one of the most creative (and strangest) team owners in baseball history, and the first person to sign an African-American player to an American League team (Larry Doby, Cleveland, 1947).

The White Sox haven't won a World Series since 1917. Standard longest-championship-drought cliches always focused on the Red Sox (1918... 2004) and the Cubs (1908). The White Sox were the forgotten losers. They haven't even been in a World Series since 1959.

The White Sox's manager and general manager are both people of color, in a game in which management is still too uniformly white.

So that's enough for me. But come on, they're playing a team from Texas! This makes it a total no-brainer. Let's see, Chicago vs. Houston...

Chicago: blues
Houston: anyone ever hear of any Houston music? Whitney?

Chicago: north of the Mason-Dixon line, a place of freedom
Texas: slave state, stolen from Mexico

Chicago: deep-dish pizza, soul food, world famous restaurants
Houston: yeah, right

Chicago: ER, Chicago Hope, many other good TV shows set in this great city
Houston: the closest I could come was Dallas

Chicago: Louis Sullivan and the birthplace of the skyscraper
Houston: ugly faceless oil headquarters

Texas: executions
Illinois: exonerations

Texas: George W. Bush
Illinois: anyone else

Houston: First World Series ever (first pennant in their history!), and no one should win their first time out. (Curse those Diamondbacks! I'll never get over it.)
Chicago: It's about time. Let's see all those drought stories rewritten - first Boston, now the White Sox, and next the Cubs.

This promises to be a great series, with awesome pitching on both sides. First pitch, 7:50 p.m.

14 comments:

Mr X said...

This might sound silly, but how does a person tell the difference between the Canadian and American accents?

Please reply at my blog.

redsock said...

First World Series ever (first pennant in their history!), and no one should win their first time out.

The 1903 Red Sox disagree. :>)

G said...

I have to admit I don't really follow either team, but the Sox have the historical background, which makes them easy to cheer for.

And I have to say, I like Ozzie Guillen as manager - he brings an NL style of management (more stolen bases, bunts, & squeeze plays) which brings an excitement not seen in the powerball-obsessed traditional AL style of management (which is no doubt due to the influence of the DH position). The Sox are exciting to watch as a result - so different from other AL teams. Hopefully, there will be a few copycats ... in the Canadian market which is basically Jays' broadcasts, there is nothing close to the NL style save for playoff coverage. Nice to see an AL team at least reminiscent of the more exciting small-ball style.

The only disappointment is Frank Thomas (The Big Hurt has long been one of my favorite hitters in baseball) has been out basically all year - for a guy who's given so much to the Sox organization, it's a shame he will be unable to play in the Series, especially considering that IF he plays next year, it very likely won't be in Chicago.

L-girl said...

I really like Frank Thomas, too. It's definitely sad that he's out for the team's big show.

I like Guillen a lot, and I detest the relentless emphasis on the home run. But I see no evidence at all that the two leagues have different styles of play in terms of power-hitting vs manufacturing runs.

Everyone calls it NL-style and AL-style, but actually watching games and reviewing the numbers, you see that most teams in both leagues use a combination of both. The White Sox have some power hitters, as do all good teams, and the supposedly big-power teams like the Yankees do a large share of walking, stealing and sacrificing. Good baseball demands both.

L-girl said...

This might sound silly, but how does a person tell the difference between the Canadian and American accents?

The two sound very similar, but certain words will always give it away as one or the other. The stereotypical word is "about", but almost any word that has an "ow" or "oo" sound will do.

That, and a certain quality that I wouldn't know how to explain. How can one explain an accent in writing?

James said...

how does a person tell the difference between the Canadian and American accents?

The first thing to clear up is, which Canadian and which American accents? There are four Canadian ones -- Newfoundland, Maritime, Quebec, and Canadian (everybody else), with Newfoundland and Maritime being similar; and there are dozens of American ones.

The two sound very similar, but certain words will always give it away as one or the other. The stereotypical word is "about", but almost any word that has an "ow" or "oo" sound will do.

This is known as Canadian raising, but you'll find it in the US as well. It's common in Minnesota.

Wikipedia has an article on it.

L-girl said...

but you'll find it in the US as well. It's common in Minnesota.

We-ell, you can find it, but you'd have to really look. It's not really so common.

You don't hear a lot of regional accents in the US now. There are some, but people being so much more mobile now, and TV homogenizing speech patterns, they are dwindling.

James said...

Here's another view on the Sox, Red and White.

You don't hear a lot of regional accents in the US now.

I notice them when I'm down there. Some less subtle than others, like the Washington D.C. subway anouncement that "Doors be openin' on de lef'", which we loved.

L-girl said...

Here's another view on the Sox, Red and White.

Ack, the dreaded Dan Shaugnessey, known as CHB to Red Sox Nation. Ask me sometime.

I notice them when I'm down there.

I'm glad. Maybe it's not as bland as I think.

James said...

Ack, the dreaded Dan Shaugnessey, known as CHB to Red Sox Nation.

Any relation to Dilbert's PHB?

Someone posted it to a mailing list I'm on, so I just forwarded it. :)

RobfromAlberta said...

There are four Canadian ones -- Newfoundland, Maritime, Quebec, and Canadian (everybody else), with Newfoundland and Maritime being similar

Actually, it's even more complicated than that. In Nova Scotia, there are three or four distinct accents. A Cape Breton accent is quite different from a South Shore or Annapolis Valley accent. In Montreal, there is the West Island Anglo accent, the Jewish Anglo accent, the Italian Anglo accent. I would say there are probably several dozen regional/ethnic accents in Canada.

James said...

Actually, it's even more complicated than that.

Good point; those four are just very coarse divisions.

L-girl said...

I would say there are probably several dozen regional/ethnic accents in Canada.

Still, for all that is recognized within Canada, when someone outside Canada refers to a "Canadian accent" you know what he's talking about.

Same with UK and Australia - there are dozens of accents within the country, but we can still instantly say "England" or "Australia" when we hear one.

James said...

Still, for all that is recognized within Canada, when someone outside Canada refers to a "Canadian accent" you know what he's talking about.

I have read that the generic "Canadian accent" -- the one used outside Quebec, Newfoundland, and the Maritimes -- is considered to cover the largest geographical area covered by any single accent in the English language by linguists. The US accents are more regionalized, and cover less land each.