Posts Tagged ‘Soxman’

Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank, NBC Chicago Street Team Being the Chicago White Sox #1 fan is more than a hobby- it’s hard work requiring discipline, dedication and adherence to a routine. “This guy is serious about his Sox,” yelled a random White Sox fan in the U.S. Cellular Field parking lot when Soxman and I approached the gate on the home opener holiday. He was obviously referring to Soxman, or as I call him “the Southside Dark Knight.” You may have seen our Caped Crusader on television or read his work in the Red Eye.

Because the wintry weather delayed White Sox opening day, the seat of Batboy (Soxman’s fellow season ticket holder and masked sidekick) opened up. Like Batman sending critical evidence to Commissioner Gordon, Soxman called upon me to join him for 2009 opening day. This event gave me a chance to witness what our superfan superhero experiences each game.soxsignal

I met him where the “Soxmobile” is parked, observed his pre-game rituals before he got into costume and walked with him along the covert route he takes to the stadium (this route keep’s the Soxmobile location clandestine) This was unprecedented “Sox-Access.”

“For five years, my routine as remained unchanged. Pregame meal at a local Bridgeport establishment, listening to Sox jams to get into the character “zone,” and NEVER leave my seats if we are losing or the game is tied. I didn’t waver for a second today,” Soxman said.

Countless fans seek getting their picture taken with him everywhere he goes in the park and our Sox superhero never turns anyone away.

“There are no greater fans in the City of Chicago, the United States, or even the world! I’ve said it 1000 times before. Brad Pitt is just another actor if the fans don’t buy tickets to his movies. The fans made Soxman and I’ll never forget that. It’s why it took us 1.5 hours to get to the Sox Mobile after the game,” Soxman said.

The Sox trailed for nearly the entire game, but beat the Royals 4-2 in highly dramatic fashion. Legend and former Baltimore Orioles manager Earl Weaver once said the key to winning baseball is “pitching, defense, and the three-run homer,” the exact formula the Sox implemented on opening day. My story with this superfan included a happy ending because the Southsiders: played errorless ball in the field, limited the Royals to 2 runs, and Jim Thome’s 3-run blast in the 8th inning. The storybook finish created a joyous atmosphere on our way out of the park.

“White Sox opening day is like a family reunion. There are so many fans that I have come to love with distinct personalities. Like your wacky uncle, girl-chasing younger brother, or grandma who likes to give hugs,” Soxman aptly described.

See more of Paul M. Banks’ work at the Washington Times and The Sports Bank

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Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank, NBC5 Street Team

Check it out! I’ll be guest hosting the Morning Break sports talk radio show on Friday, February 27th from 10am-noon AM 1240. Listen online, at work, or in your car and maybe call-in too 773 792 1240 http://www.morningbreak1240.com/.

We’ll be discussing Chicago sports, the beginning of baseball, the coming of March Madness, thesportsbank.net, maybe the Soxman and much more. Part of the reason we sports fans love watching our teams play is because we have plenty of people out there to discuss and debate the players and games that we find so compelling. So NBC and Sports Bank commenters, be sure to come on out and partake in the discussion on Friday!

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Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank, NBC Chicago Street Team

Last week, Baseball Prospectus predicted the Chicago White Sox to win just 73 games and finish dead last in the AL Central. Although the formula and prognostications of sabermetrician geeks sounds bleak, remember almost no one predicted the Sox to win the AL Central last season.

Back in the World Series year of 2005, most people predicted the pale hose to finish third! Lots of people forcasted the Sox to win the division in ’06 and ’07, yet they controlled the division for just 36 combined days during those two seasons. In summation, it’s wide open.

One guy with White Sox knowledge second to none is Soxman, who offered his spring prospectus.

Click here to read the rest of this post on nbcchicago.com.

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Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank, NBC Chicago Street Team Last weekend included St. Valentine’s Day, a time of year that more women than men look forward to quite frankly. But once it’s over, Major League Baseball pitchers and catchers begin reporting to spring training, which is to most guys what chocolate, jewelry and flowers are to women. Since we’re talking love, I consulted Soxman, the person who loves the White Sox more than any other individual on this Earth about what occurred in the offices on 35th and Shields this winter. You might recognize Soxman from…pretty much anywhere local media may roam.

On the Javier Vazquez trade:

“After his miserable play-off performance, almost every Sox fan would agree that Javy wore out his welcome on the Southside. The trade was crucial in rebuilding our anemic farm system as it yielded two of the top 20 prospects overall in the Braves system,” Soxman said.

2B/SS Brent Lillibridge is the player to watch in 2009. He’s expected to battle Chris Getz and Jason Nix for the starting job at second base. Kenny Williams believes he’s capable of stealing 40 bases if he gets 500 Abs.

Tyler Flowers could develop into the Sox next big slugger and 3B prospect Jon Gilmore has drawn comparisons to Scott Rolen.soxlogo

The Southside Dark Knight also opined on the signings of the so-called “Cuban Babe Ruth” Dayan Viciciedo and Bartolo Colon.

“Sox fans should not expect Viciedo to immediately perform like Alexei as he’s only 19,” the Soxed Crusader articulated. “There’s a ton to be excited about however. He slugged over .500 in two of the past three seasons in Cuba and was an All-Star in Cuba’s top league at age 16.

“Colon is exactly the type of pitcher I expected Williams to sign. The once awesome, aging pitcher plagued by injuries, trying to revive his career…at an ultra cheap price. In limited action with the Red Sox last season, he looked very good.”

In the case of Bobby Abreu and Jermaine Dye, we spent weeks listening about trade deals and prospective signings only to see no moves made. It kind of felt being stood up on a date. I asked the love interest of female Sox fans everywhere what he thought of the non-deals- the trades that didn’t happen.

“I was surprised the Sox did not go after Orlando Hudson as he still has not signed with a team, “ Soxman replied.

Finally, Soxman offered his predictions as to whether GM Kenny Williams has a major move or two left in him before the first pitch is thrown April 6th.

“With the economy it is pretty much a buyers market right now ,” Soxman said. “I think Kenny will see how the 2-3 position battles pan out and if any bargains fall his way, he’ll pounce.”

See more of Paul M. Banks’ work at the Washington Times and The Sports Bank

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Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank  As the back and forth of the White Sox AL Central race concludes this weekend, I’ve had more mood swings than Naomi Campbell and Lindsay Lohan combined. The “Hunt for Black October” roller coaster ride gives me so much tension and anxiety, that an outside observer might assume I was an AIG shareholder. On Thursday night, I left my house happy and confident with the Sox up 6-1 in the 5th inning. I attended the Stephanie Izard (Chicago Top Chef winner) Diva Series event at Madame Tartine downtown. It was a fun time partying with fellow Street Teamers Desiree Prieto and D.C. Crenshaw as well as hostess Sarah Vargo. But the party became a lot less fun (for myself anyway) when I found the television at the end of the bar and camped out to watch the Sox lose the biggest game of the season in extra innings at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. For some reason, following the game online with my brand new Smartphone made blown leads seem more calming. My text messaging back and forth with the Soxman fails to alleviate my anxiety. Getting into very mean sounding, but ultimately hilarious text message wars with the lead Twins writer of my site, Peter Christian is an enjoyable pastime, but it still doesn’t soothe my nerves.

On Friday night, I watched the Sox lose a home contest to the Cleveland Indians (and fail to recapture first place from the Twins who got blown out at home by the Kansas City Royals that same night) from the Press Box at U.S. Cellular Field. Coincidentally, there was a Tampa Bay Rays media guide laying near my seat in the press box. Given that Tampa is the team the Sox would most likely play in the postseason, I think this is more than serendipity. I think it’s a sign. Or at least I hope. In my next segment, I’ll tell you what manager Ozzie Guillen and the players themselves have to say about handling their pennant race stress.

For more Chicago Sports analysis and discussion click here.

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Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank

I know things seem bleak right now for the White Sox. Injuries -MVP front-runner Carlos Quentin, All-Star Joe Crede and #4 starter Jose Contreras are all lost for the year- and losing three of the last four at home have whittled the division lead down to one skinny game and a half. However, there is still plenty of reason for optimism. The Southside’s #1 superfan, the Soxman, gave an inspirational speech on my site this morning addressing Sox Nation. I’m going to complement his emotional plea by expanding on some logistical points that he brought up.

-Only one series against a contending team remains. That would be the HUGE series in Minnesota the 23rd-25th. Should the Sox maintain their current lead on the Twinkies before that series, the pressure will be on Minnesota, not Chicago. With at least that margin, the Sox would only need to win one game of three to retain first place. The Twins will have to sweep the series or remain in second place.

-The Twins have issues of their own. Minnesota’s bullpen has been utterly useless down the stretch and blew another one today. Plus the Metrodome residents have just as much trouble winning on the road and about the same number of road games as the Sox. They also have 7 games remaining versus the AL East. Their record versus the division is an awful 9-19.

-Tevye sang in “Fiddler on the Roof” about how everything comes down to “Tradition! TRADITION!” Winning the Central depends on “execution. EXECUTION!” In 2005, the Sox used “Ozzie Ball,” a.k.a. “Grinder Ball” to win by taking advantage of the other team’s mistakes. This style is a derivative of the popular “small ball” and is built around the principles stressed by the famous “Oriole Way,” which made the Orioles a dynasty in the 60s and 70s. Yes, Baltimore was once actually a powerhouse- I’m not making that up.

-The Sox have been plagued by a lack of ability to execute and manufacture runs, best illustrated in the 15 inning win over the Angels on Saturday night. They blew golden opportunities to win the game in the 9th, 10th, 12th and 14th innings. However, in the 6th inning last night we saw September call-up Jerry Owens execute a perfect suicide squeeze as less-than-fleet-of-foot catcher A.J. Pierzynski sprinted down the third base line. That sixth and final run was the crucial tipping point for a one run victory. If they keep doing little things like that…we’ll see them in October.

-Every time the White Sox have lost first place this season, they regained it within a couple days or so. There have been numerous ties and lead changes in the AL Central, but the 2008 Sox have constantly shown: when they are down, it’s never for long.

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