It’s Opening Day here in Chicago. The White Sox are hosting the Indians at 1:05 p.m., while the Cubs are in Atlanta. That means it’s time to look at a phenomenon that has been torturing Cubs Nation for an entire century: why Sox fans are better politicians than Cub fans.
It all started with the greatest Chicago politician of them all, Richard J. Daley, who lived in a bungalow just a few blocks from Sox Park, as it was called then, and still is, regardless of how much U.S. Cellular paid for the naming rights.
“He likes White Sox games, fishing and parades,” Mike Royko once wrote of the mayor’s greatest joys in life.
Daley was a busy man, so he often bonded with his sons in the box seats, asking them about their schoolwork between pitches. When the Sox won the pennant in 1959, Daley’s fire commissioner sounded the city’s air raid sirens.
Richard M. Daley has proudly carried on the family tradition of White Sox fandom. A season ticket holder, he posed for a magazine cover in a Sox hat, and even appeared in a team ad, holding up a “bunt” sign from his seat.
Barack Obama is a Sox fan, too. During the presidential campaign, he followed games on his BlackBerry, and he wore a Sox jersey with his baggy jeans when he threw out the first pitch at last year’s All-Star game. He even called Mark Buehrle last summer to congratulate the pitcher on his perfect game. In the tradition of the fan who brought a “Yuppie Scum Go Back to Wrigley” sign to Sox Park, Obama trashed the Cubs’ dilettante fans and their toy ballpark.
“You go to Wrigley Field, you have a beer, beautiful people up there,'“ Obama told ESPN. “People aren’t watching the game. It’s not serious. White Sox, that’s baseball. South Side.”
Attorney General Lisa Madigan had a go at Obama over that, promising that Cub fans would have “the last laugh.” As a state senator, Madigan represented Wrigley Field. But her father, House Speaker Michael Madigan, is the real power in that family, and as a Southwest Sider, he’s a White Sox fan, with primo seats at the Cell.
If you need any more proof that Sox fans rule in politics, just look at Rod Blagojevich and Pat Quinn. During Blagojevich’s first year as a Cub-fan governor, he declared he would never offer executive clemency to Steve Bartman, and offered to get the pennant-wrecker into the witness protection program. Blago once told The Sporting News he wouldn’t wear a Sox hat “even if they won the World Series.”
On the other hand, Blagojevich tried to order the Illinois Financing Authority to withhold any help from the Cubs unless the team’s then-owners, the Chicago Tribune, fired writers who were editorializing for his impeachment. That was one of the charges leveled against Blagojevich by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. As a result, Blagojevich was impeached, and replaced by Lt. Gov. Quinn -- a White Sox fan.
Sox win! Sox win! Sox win!
(We won’t even talk about Sen. Dick Durbin. He grew up in East St. Louis, as a Cardinals fan. Cubs vs. Cards -- that’s an argument for Central Illinois.)