Champions of the World
I realize that allot of people don't care about sports and find the emphasis silly. I figure it is no more silly than being into Opera or Viewing art installations. Baseball is a great vice and I know allot of poets for which baseball in their primary vice. I will watch other sports but no sport has the combination of poetry, history and sheer pace as Baseball.
I came to baseball via literature when I was in Jr High I read Bernard Malamud's The Natural and then I read the Thrill of the Grass by WP Kinsella. This lead to a deep reading on the subject and a love for the game that in my life is only surpassed by my love for Poetry, Latin America, Italy and the Church. And all these things share something in common, Nostalgia, rich imagery, long interesting histories, paradox of sin and holyness and great visual imagery. Plus I l0ve to watch a really great 1-0 game like the last game of the World Series.
Allot of people think that life is without order or purpose. I don't believe that. I recently moved back to Chicago and I cannot help but believe that it all has a purpose. Could it be coincidence that my first book was published after I returned to Chicago? Could it be a coincidence that being back in Chicago that I have come into contact with some of the most interesting writers?
In the end it is only a game but what a game! If you wanted to script a World Series to fit our city you could not have done better. Look at the Names and personalities. Everyone in Chicago has a friend like Jermaine Dye; someone who was great once but has gone into decline... but who in the end has great achievements. Everyone in Chicago knows an AJ Pierzynski, a real ass kicker who would rather put a fork in your eye than lose and who is tough and opinionated, the AJ I know is Mark Tardi (poor Cub fan), everyone here knows a Paul Konerko someone who is magisterial but working class and someone that everyone wants to be around for poets in Chicago that person is William Fuller- in the end the White Sox respresented what we are about as a city, elegant, well crafted, solid like a brick bungalow, real like a tavern not a ' theme' bar.
Chicago is a real place.
So many outsiders view the Cubs and their neighborhood as "Chicago" when really that neighbor hood, apart form the ballpark, can be found in any number of places like Dallas, Boston, or Milwaukee, Yuppie neighborhoods are everywhere... and they do not have anything to do with their cities if you want to feel the northside of chicago go to jefferson park or humboldt park not Lake view (the real name for Wrigleyville) .
but just look at the parade the Sox completed Friday...
the route that the White Sox took on friday.... by the way none of these names were created by a marketing agency in the 1970's they are organic places
Bridgeport, Chicago's political cockpit and the home of Irish Chicago, Pilsen the largest Mexican city outside of the Southwest, Chinatown the only Chinatown between New York and San Francisco, Little Italy, Bronzeville the birthplace of Nat King Cole and Sarah Vaughn and Gwendolyn Brooks and so much of African American Chicago, and finally a party with 2 million of their fans in the loop. In the New York Times there was great picture of the teams coming into the loop under the L tracks what a perfect image for Chicago. Oh and by the way there were no incidents, all of Chicago celebrated, no one was drunk, and everything went well.
The White Sox won the World Series.
Some great writers have written about the White Sox, Studs Terkel called them Chicago's real team, Jean Shepard who is remembered today only for The Christmas Story but who was a diehard Sox fan said that to be a Sox fan was to know only pain... well I want to add my voice
to all of this.
Baseball season is over winter is here and I won't be thinking about the Sox over the off season too much but I am filled and content for the first time in my life as Sox fan that began on June 6, 1977 when my Dad took me to old Comiskey Park to see the SouthSide Hitmen play the Royals, they lost by the way to George Brett... I am filled with gratitude for great play and a great season and the fact that for the next year at least my White Sox the ignored brother are
Champions of the Baseball World....