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The Sports Section

The early years of baseball’s so-called “modern era,” after 1900, used to be part of the dark ages, as far as visions of the athletes went. Their stories existed, for the most part, in the form of statistics. The few photographs that remained in circulation were like the woodcuts peppered sparsely through old novels. Only […]

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The Sports Section

The screaming and shouting began at the end of the Canadian national anthem and of course didn’t let up until the end of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” If it wasn’t quite as loud as we remembered it, it was just as delighted with itself, just as determined to intimidate the opposing team–on this night the Edmonton […]

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The Sports Section

For the Bears’ last home game of the season–a frigid, icy affair against the Detroit Lions–head coach Dave Wannstedt wore a watch cap tilted across his forehead under his headphones. With its jaunty slant, the cap made him look as if his nickname ought to be “Frenchy,” and silly as it seemed there was something […]

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The Sports Section

Early in the game against Green Bay two Sundays ago–during the Packers’ first drive, in fact–middle linebacker Dante Jones stepped in front of a Brett Favre pass at the Bears’ 14-yard line and returned the interception to the 20. In the grip of a Green Bay tackler, he handed the ball off to cornerback Jeremy […]

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The Sports Section

Along about midway through the season–on November 7, against the Los Angeles Raiders, to be exact–the Bears fell into a routine. They would fall behind early, make adjustments on defense to stem the tide, kick a couple of field goals to get back in the game, and then try to steal a victory in the […]

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The Sports Section

It was like that moment in The Natural when Roy Hobbs hits one up in the lights and sparks come raining down on the fans, except that it wasn’t overblown movie bathos but real life. Michael Jordan walked out from the end of the floor, cast in a spotlight against a background of darkness, camera […]

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The Sports Section

Anyone who doubts that sport reflects the society at large hasn’t examined the Bears of late. The Bears embody almost everything that’s good–and that’s disappointing–about the 90s so far, especially compared with the 80s. There’s an air of political correctness about the Bears this season, with Dave Wannstedt as head coach. The Bears played the […]

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The Sports Section

The main arteries leading to Bill Veeck Stadium were clogged with traffic before the start of game one of the American League Championship Series. Cars inched their way toward parking lots that were already filled. Ticket holders who had managed to ditch their cars somewhere along the route strutted past the traffic in a way […]

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The Sports Section

The regular season began and ended at Bill Veeck Stadium with a Bo Jackson home run. Once a Sox fan accepted the idea of a man with an artificial hip playing baseball at all–much less hitting home runs–there was something neat and tidy and almost foreordained about that, which is pretty much how the White […]

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The Sports Section

Chicago fans aren’t comfortable unless they’re worried. Remember the Bulls’ first-game loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1991 NBA finals, or their seven-game slugfest with the New York Knicks in 1992, or losing the first two games to the Knicks last spring, or even the feeling everyone in Chicago shared as the Phoenix […]

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The Sports Section

Something there is that loves a loser. Fans of the Cubs feel compelled to deny that, especially when the White Sox are in first and the Cubs are muddling through another mediocre season, but, really, who are we kidding? Losers put no pressure on the audience. A fan feels entitled to take the game on […]

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The Sports Section

It was impossible to look at James Jordan and not smile–inwardly at the very least. Here was the fellow who had won the lottery, the working stiff who would never have to work another day in his life. Except for one thing: unlike most lottery winners, James Jordan could claim to have in some way […]

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The Sports Section

At game time last Saturday evening, Bill Veeck Stadium was about half full–if that. Here the White Sox were, in first place by three and a half games on the first weekend in August, trying to end a three-game losing streak, with their charismatic ace, Jack McDowell, on the mound, and most Sox fans couldn’t […]

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The Sports Section

There’s a curious stillness about Bill Veeck Stadium these days. It looks as if the White Sox are going to lead the American League West going into August, as they led at the All-Star break, yet the crowds have been moderate–in both size and temperament. A solid ring of fans surrounds the field, in the […]

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The Sports Section

As a spectator sport, baseball is a game that exists in the creases between plays, something I couldn’t help noticing as I returned to it following the Bulls’ long playoff run. Sure, there’s the impression Cal Ripken makes with the fluid way he fields a grounder and throws to first. Yet baseball comes to life […]