Friday May 20th, 2005

Most everybody is familiar with the famous phrase from the Bible, Book of Eccliasticus: "Let us now praise famous men."

It's later on in that chapter we get to the part less well known: "But of others there is no memory; they have perished as though they had never existed; they have become as though they had never been born."

As surely you recognize, now we are talking about the Chicago White Sox.

Other losing teams, notably their uptown brethren, the sainted Cubbies, are beloved for their failure. The ChiSox, who have not won a World Series since 1917, losing two in that long interval -- one haplessly, one on purpose --are, at best, damned with faint praise. Their most famous ancient champions were dismissed as "The Hitless Wonders." Their best team of recent vintage, the '83 Division Champs, had, as their lovely battle cry: "Winning Ugly." That's uplifting. And, of course, the SadSox are responsible for the gloomiest, most depressing utterance in all of sport: "Say it ain't so, Joe, say it ain't so."

But you know the one thing the WoeSox do have? They own the best alternative nickname in sport. Pale Hose. Let it drip off your tongue. Pale Hose. I can only suppose that once, sometime long ago, some headline poet of the sports pages, searching desperately for a shorter synonym for white stockings, came up with that truly magnificent ... Pale Hose. Even now, though, I don't think any human being has ever actually said: Pale Hose. It is strictly a newspaper term to be printed, like: feted, tabbed, tiff, melee, as follows, Sino, nuptials, garner, Senior Circuit and GOP. Nobody ever actually speaks those words. Nobody ever actually says Pale Hose.

Alternative nicknames for teams are very rare, too. The Bronx Bombers are surely the most famous. America's Team might have stuck for the Cowboys, but is employed only facetiously now. Monsters of The Midway for the Bears has gone the way of the Gas House Gang and the Purple People Eaters and Dem Bums, when the Dodgers were in Brooklyn. The Rangers are still the Broadway Blues, whenever again they might play hockey, and the Canadiens are the Habs, which is short for habitants, a French term used, in the local vernacular, to denote the farmers of Quebec. That's the most obscure alternative nickname. However, most of them are pretty obvious. The Bucs for the Pirates, the Tribe for the Indians, the Fish for the Dolphins, the Flock for the Orioles, the Birds for the Orioles and Cardinals. Big Birds, like the Eagles and the Falcons and Hawks are never just called Birds. I don't think the Lions have ever been called the Pride either. The Angels are sometimes the Halos, and the Chargers become the Bolts. I think that's a good one. I like the Bolts. But nothing approaches ... Pale Hose.

And now, of all things, the Pale Hose are on fire -- leading the Central Division. So now, America, let us make up for our past neglect. Let us have pity on the unfamous men, the WhoSox. Let us all, to our dear hearts, take the Pale Hose.

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