That’s Mr. Jimbo to You!

Two Sundays ago, in its 2005 baseball preview section, the New York Times took a look to Chicago’s forgotten team, the White Sox. Long cast in the shadows of the more popular Cubs, the team has suffered a losing streak almost as long as their cross-town rivals (the White Sox last won the World Series in 1917, while the Cubs have been championship-free since 1908.)

Without the Red Sox to pick on any more, the Times naturally picks up the angle of, as the title says, “A Legacy of Losing in Anonymity”:

The standing of the two franchises is evident all over Chicago. In Niketown, a multistory sports-apparel store in the heart of Michigan Avenue, Cubs and White Sox jerseys, T-shirts and caps are displayed. There are three times as many displays for the Cubs’ gear.

The Wrigleyville neighborhood surrounding cozy Wrigley Field is active with numerous restaurants and bars: the Cubby Bear, Bernie’s Tap and Grill, Casey Moran’s, Murphy’s.

For 80 years beginning in 1910, the White Sox played at Comiskey Park, the kind of quaint, quirky ballpark that modern retro designs try to emulate. But in 1991, the White Sox replaced Comiskey with a large modern stadium now called U.S. Cellular Field. The Bridgeport neighborhood enveloping the ballpark, which sits next to a busy expressway, has gone through a slow renaissance. But there are no restaurants or bars nearby. Vacant lots are common. [Italics added.]

The Times is only half right. “Wrigleyville” has one of the biggest bar scenes in the city and is popular even in the winter, while the area around Comiskey Park is rather desolate. But as the Chicago Tribune’s John Kass, points out today, just because the Comiskey-area establishments aren’t popular doesn’t mean they don’t exist, as the Times contends. Kass reports, “Jimbo’s tavern sits at 3258 S. Princeton Ave., which in baseball distance is a [White Sox first baseman Paul] Konerko, a [designated hitter Frank] Thomas and an [second baseman Tadahito] Iguchi from the edge of Sox park.”

Kass asked Jimbo’s proprietor Jimbo Levato about the Times piece. Levato responded, “”We’re right here. What kind of respect is that?”

Evidently, the type of respect you get from the newspaper of record for serving fans of a team that hasn’t won in nearly 90 years.

Thomas Lang

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Thomas Lang was a writer at CJR Daily.