Monday, April 6, 2009

To Adam Pascarella, Managing Editor, Michigan Review, on Chicago White Sox

Chicago Monday AM, April 6, 2009

Dear Mr. Pascarella:

It was good to see your plump of the White Sox in the National Review symposium. I've been a Sox fan all my life, even my last 34 years here at 5100 North LSD. You may know 100 times more about Chicago than I do (your being a junior at the UM and managing editor of The Michigan Review are all I need to know that you know all sorts of other things better than I do, too) but your statement that the Sox play "a grinding style of baseball that appropriately represents the hard-working Irish population of south Chicago, puzzles me.

"South Chicago" (unlike "Wrigleyville") is one of Chicago's 76 US census recognized neighborhoods, and being on the south side of Chicago is certainly a very pro-Sox neighborhood. But it never was particularly Irish, and sure isn't now. Did you mean the Sox play "a grinding style of baseball that appropriately represents the hard-working Irish population of Bridgeport, the Chicago nabe where Comiskey park has been located since 1910?"

Bridgeport was where a big wave of Irish came in to help build the Illinois/Michigan canal in the 1840s, and many descendents remain (including two guys named Richard Daley (in spirit, at least.)) But thanks again for your fine writeup in National Review. I've been a subscriber for 50 years, and you sure fit right in.

Arnold H Nelson 5056 North Marine Drive Chicago 60640

PS Here is a little story also connecting National Review w/ the Sox I think you might like:

In 1999 I went on the NR Baltic cruise w/ WFBJr (and a few others.) One of the stops was Wurnemunde, Germany. I certainly had never been there, but the town especially intrigued me because it is a big seaside summer resort, like my home town of South Haven MI, but considerably larger. They have a main street paralleling the beach, but a few blocks in. It is a very wide street, maybe wider than South Haven's 10 widest streets put together (I guess that is an exaggeration, but they have a real wide main street.) I stood on the side watching a sea of "summer people" passing up and down, then saw, way on the other side, four guys, staring in wonder like me, and one of them was wearing... A Chicago White Sox warmup jacket!

Wow! I had to investigate. So I struggled thru the crowd, finally got to them, and they looked pretty scared. Turns out they were sailors from the Philippines, from a visiting freighter.

So I confronted the jacket guy: "Do you know who they are?" pointing to the jacket front. I think there was only one of the four who spoke English (I know The Philippines are the 2nd largest English speaking country in the world, but they have lots of people there, and some don't speak English.)

He gave me a relieved look, like he had worried I was going to arrest him, then blurted: "Chicago Sox!"

So I introduced myself, and the 5 of us talked for a few minutes, and I started to go back. But I had a brain storm, turned around, asked: "Do you know the song?" They looked at each other, shaking their heads 'no.'

So I started singing: "Nah nah nah naaaah, Nah nah nah naaaah, hey heeeeeeey, goodbye!" and explained how it was the most famous fight song in the majors.

They seemed to like it, but the one guy who seemed to know English pretty good asked: "That sounds like such a sad song... why would a baseball team use it?"

Me: "Sad?!? Only for the other pitcher, 'cuz he just got booted out of the game by the Sox!" I said the words a time or two more, then took off. I looked back and saw them singing, and could just barely hear them, too, over the crowd.

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