Column: ’06 White Sox fans: Hanging by a moment

By Majesh Abraham

If the MLB regular season had ended Monday, the defending-champion Chicago White Sox would be watching the post-season action from their living room couches, not from the dugout.

A couple of weeks ago, this scenario would have seemed implausible, as the White Sox were running away with the wild card and were on the heels of the division-leading Detroit Tigers.

As of Monday morning, the White Sox find themselves a half-game behind the Minnesota Twins in the wild card and 5« behind the Tigers.

So, what if the White Sox don’t make the playoffs? How big of a disappointment would that be? This was a team that was considered a lock to win the division, with an offense solidified by the addition of slugger Jim Thome (who is playing better than any White Sox fan could have hoped for), in addition to their great starting rotation.

But of course, nobody expected the Tigers to tear up the entire league.

Likewise, the Twins have come out of nowhere after their horrendous start to the season, fueled by their two un-hittable lefty Cy Young candidates. Meanwhile, the Sox have underperformed, especially Mark Buehrle, who has been caught napping since the All-Star Break (a nap that he is finally starting to wake up from).

Would it be that heartbreaking for Sox fans if they didn’t make the playoffs this year? Probably not, considering that they have the equalizer of all equalizers: The White Sox are and will forever be the 2005 World Series champions. After waiting 88 years for a championship, one year of missing the playoffs shouldn’t hurt that bad.

Which leads us to this question: How long before a team’s championship glory wears off? Even as terrible as the Bulls were during the rebuilding years, we were buffered by the memories of No. 23 and his domination of the basketball world during the 90’s. Even the disappointment of blowing a 2-0 lead to the Washington Wizards in the playoffs two years ago isn’t something that can’t be neutralized by a Jordan XI commercial or popping in the UN-STOPA-BULLS DVD.

But unlike the Bulls, the White Sox have only one championship, and thus, fewer memories to get you through the pain of losing. A better comparison would be the Bears, who as of last year passed the all-important 20-year anniversary of their last championship.

Even Da Coach, Mike Ditka, couldn’t use his legendary status in Chicago to keep the Bears job seven years after the Super Bowl run. After suffering through the torture of Dave Wannstedt, Dick Jauron and 20 years separated from Super Bowl glory, Bears fans are ready to bench Rex Grossman, release Cedric Benson and run Jerry Angelo out of town if it means another Super Bowl run.

In the end, 10 years seems like the benchmark for championship glory wearing off. After 10 years, you start to become frustrated. After 20 years, you become angry. And after 98 years of frustration, anger and perpetual heartache, you have the convoluted psyche of a Cubs fan.

Majesh Abraham is a junior in molecular and cellular biology. He can be reached at [email protected]