Thanks for all the responses to our question: What's the hardest part of being a Sox fan? Some of you didn't heed my call to be brief, and thus we're not including your long and windy e-mails, no matter how heartfelt. Anyway, here's the best and briefest of the bunch. We'll return to your regularly scheduled complaints next time:
The hardest part about being a Sox fan? It's like being Cassandra. You know you're right, you know you're telling the truth when you talk about what a great team it is and how more people should head to the games, but then nobody will listen to you. It's a Greek tragedy. --Claire Zulkey, Evanston
The hardest part of being a White Sox fan is the hardest part of being a Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks and Cubs fan. Chicago has the most knowledgeable, most hungry (quite literally) fans in the U.S.A. and absolutely the worst ownership in every major sports team. It's amazing. --Joe Farrell, Rio Rancho, N.M.
There's nothing "hard" at all about being a Sox fan. This 40-year-old die-hard enjoys every season (some more than others), whether there are 4,000 or 40,000 people in the stands. I would think true fans, and students of baseball, feel the same way. --John Novotny, Lombard
Hardest part of being a Sox fan? Trying to explain why you're a Sox fan to out-of-towners--"How can you not like the Cubs?"--and at some point in the discussion realizing you are now trying to defend Reinsdorf and "new" Comiskey park. --Steve Shaw, Sausalito, Calif.
The hardest part of being a White Sox fan? I've been a fan since I was four years old and wore a Sox uniform (I am now 73) and I remember being able to watch all the home games on WGN, with some road games thrown in. I have retired to Kentucky and, if I'm lucky, get to watch one game a week. I sure miss the WGN coverage of the White Sox. --Rick Jordan, Bowling Green, Ky.
The toughest part about being a White Sox fan is being a perennial good, not great team. It's like knowing Cindy Crawford will look at you, just not go out on a date. --Chip Ramsey, Birmingham, Ala.
The hardest part of being a Sox fan, obviously, is putting up with Cubs fans. No matter how good the Sox are and how bad the Cubs are the Cubs are still the darlings. Seeing the Ivy and a Sosa homer in a losing cause is more appealing than seeing the Sox win as a team? But it must be in me to be in the "correct minority." I use a Macintosh, I'm pro-life, and I'm a Sox fan. Better to be right than in the majority! --Shawn Viland, Aurora
Living in the New York area this is what I find hardest about being a Sox fan: When asked who my favorite team in baseball is I proudly say the White Sox. The follow-up question from the New York snobs is invariably "Who?" The other hardest thing is that this team HASN'T WON A BLEEPIN' WORLD SERIES IN ABOUT 200YEARS! --Harvey Schatz, Teaneck, N.J.
The hardest part about being a Sox fan is all of the flak you take from other people. Growing up in the north suburbs, I was continually harassed by Cubs fans who wondered why I would ever want to be a Sox fan. It's hard to stay a good fan outside of Chicago when the effort is greater to keep up with the stories and the current players and when watching a game live means making the effort to get tickets when the Mariners host the Sox. During the 2000 playoffs, it was especially difficult to be a Sox fan in Seattle when the M's swept the Sox and that's all anyone could talk about. All of these fair-weather M's fans fell out of the woodwork and you just have to take it. --Erin Abrahams, Tacoma, Wash.
The hardest part of being a sox fan is listening to the Cub fans say "at least we fill our stadium." Little do they know, the more they spend at the ballpark the less likely the Tribune Company is going to put a winning team on the field. As long as the Tribune is making money by having fans in the seats, there really is no reason to improve the team. If the Cub fans were smart, they would stop going to the games and force the Tribune to put a winner on the field to bring back the fans. Think about that my friends. Go Sox! --Terry Goins, Milwaukee
Three Words: Hawk, Wimpy and Fiesty. --Andy Baker, Houston
The hardest part about being a Sox fan is being all alone in a quiet stadium...until the playoffs when 45,000+ show just how electric Comiskey really can be. --Jamie Schwab, Chicago
As far as I am concerned there is nothing hard about being a White Sox fan. I love the White Sox and could care less what anyone else thinks about the team, ballpark etc. I stick with my team no matter what. --Gina Locasto, Lockport
Jerry Reinsdorf --Bob O'Connell, Norwalk, Conn.
I've been a Sox fan since I first started following them as an eight year old in 1960. They went to the World Series in 1959 and haven't been back since. Baseball has become a game of haves and have-nots when it comes to money. Teams like the Yankees, Braves, Mets, etc. will buy the missing pieces they need when they've got championship potential. Our White Sox under Reinsdorf won't. --Peter Mark, Dallas
The hardest part about being a Sox fan is watching Sammy Sosa hit 60 homers knowing that George Bell is somewhere pumping gas. --Dewayne Hankins, Lockport
What is the hardest part of being a White Sox fan? Jay Mariotti, Chicago Sun-Times. The guy is a shrieking, sneering Sox-hater who never gets tired of talking out of both sides of his mouth. One side: the neighborhood is scary, the park is ugly. The other side: Why don't the fans come? Enough already. He needs to get a real job where he has to exercise his brain and write a real sports column, not recycle the same old idiocy. --Barb Medley, Clarendon Hills
The hardest part about being a Sox Fan like myself is having to explain to the Cubs fans that there is no use in fighting over who is better. The Sox's season will prove it well enough! --Shawna O'Hara, Chicago
The hardest part about being a Sox fan is getting other people to believe that you actually exist. "What's a White Sox fan?? I thought the Cubs were Chicago's baseball team!" --Aarif Shaikh, Ithaca, N.Y.
What's the hardest part of being a White Sox fan?? That's easy: Reinsdorf, Einhorn, Comiskey Park II, Jerry Dybzinski, West Coast road trips, crowds of 13,000 on weekday nights, dealing with snotty Cubs fans who only care about attendance, fan apathy, playoff batting averages and the month of October. --Jeff Copeland, San Diego
The hardest part about being a Sox fan is that we actually care whether the team wins or loses. We don't shrug off disastrous trades or lunk-head owners or lost free agents by pretending all we want to do is sit in a cute ballpark and cheer for hapless losers. We're more open to ridicule when our team attracts so little interest that it has to be sponsored by chicken farms (John Allyn era) or plays home games in Milwaukee or threatens to move to St. Pete or gives up in the middle of August or goes on strike when they are in first place. It's embarrassing to have our owner call us a small-market team and still be out managed by Oakland and Minnesota and Seattle. Forty years of this? --Michael Katz, Santa Monica, Calif.
The hardest part of being a Sox fan is that pinstripes don't make me feel slimmer. --Justin Kessl, Downers Grove
The hardest part about being a White Sox fan is having to share a city with a whole load of Cubs fans that love to tell you how great their team is, even when they have a sub-.500 record! --John Crane, Chicago
The hardest part of being a Sox fan for the past 41 years is knowing that no matter how good things look at any given time, somehow, someway our management will find some way to screw things up. All you need do is see that it's been 84 years since the last World Championship and 42 years since a World Series appearance. --Mark Liptak, Chubbuck, Idaho
The hardest part to being a Sox fan is having to constantly listen to ignorant, Cubs fans (redundant, I know) claim they are the more knowledgeable baseball fans and that the attendance difference between the two teams has nothing to do with the location of the ballparks. A close second would be having Jerry Reinsdorf as an owner. Third would be sitting in the cold on the South Side this October watching the Sox playing in the World Series. --John Avery, Farmington, Mich.
The worst thing about being a Sox fan is living with the underlying concern that the team will eventually move. This dates back to my formative years as a Sox fan, in the late 1960s, when they were always on the cusp of heading to Milwaukee, Seattle or someplace else. The ballpark's location and continued attendance problems will keep this a concern for years to come, at least until someone is able to work out a deal to put them where they should have gone in the first place--the still-vacant site of the old Grand Central Station, just to the east of the Post Office. Now, that's a place for a ballpark. --Michael Peregrine, Chicago
The hardest part of being a White Sox fan is...resisting the temptation of comparing the Sox with the Cubs rather than the Yankees, Mariners, Red Sox, Indians, A's ... teams truly worthy of comparison! --Dennis Doherty, Warsaw, Ind.
Hardest part of being a Sox fan is attending and/or defending their home park. Comiskey is ghastly and its surrounding neighborhood is awful. --Mike Ostrowski, Downers Grove
The hardest part about being a White Sox fan isn't the long record of futility, which exceeds even those of Boston and the Cubs. It isn't the sea of empty seats, in the bad ballpark, in the neighborhood that has seen better days. It isn't even the unfortunate uniforms of the late '70s. It's the fact that loving a team this bad doesn't even carry any ROMANTIC value -- not when it's the South Siders you love. The hardest part of being a White Sox fan is moving to California and telling someone you're from Chicago. They smile, nostalgic, and say, "Aw, I love the Cubbies." Then you explain, "Actually, I'm a Sox fan." They furrow their brow, confused for a moment, before their face lights up again. They ask, "Red Sox?" --Ben Wexler, Los Angeles
Having the best ballpark in the majors belong to your enemy. --Jerry Abejo, Wichita, Kan.
The hardest part of being a White Sox fan is that after Buehrle and Ritchie we better score at least seven runs a game. --Danny Ryan, East Meadow, N.Y.
The hardest part of being a Sox fan is the belief that in 1994 we had the best team and would have won the whole shooting match, in my opinion, if not for corporate greed run amuck. My father was still alive and our owners robbed him of a chance at the World Series Championship he and his WWII buddies longed for all their lives. It sucks knowing our owner was the ringleader of that shortsighted greedy group and no wonder a lot of fans never showed back up at his ballpark. What an opportunity lost. --Jim Nelligan, Lemont
The hardest part about being a Sox fan is--and has been for years--ownership more dedicated to making a killing than winning. The lousy stadium is second. The disrespect with which the club treated Old Comiskey Park and players like Fisk is third. The fourth is the resonance that remains from the Black Sox scandal and should be corrected through a ritual ceremony absolving the players of any responsibility. Shall I continue? --Paul Nelson, Auburb, Wash.
The most difficult part of being a White Sox fan is coming in fifth or sixth in the 1930s. Then maybe having only one star player and a no-name pitching staff. Possibly it was the booing at the ballpark or wanting Frank Thomas' head when he has been our only breath of fresh air until recently. Just think about cheering for a second division ball team the first 25 years of being a fan? Maybe having a management that cares about winning is the toughest. After all Bill V. entertained us and we were still losers at baseball. I could go on for yet another lifetime but does anyone care? --Marvin Moss, Chicago