Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Were the White Sox just six some decades ahead of the pack with sirens?

Sept. 22, 1959 is regarded by some sports-minded fans as a day of infamy.
Could anyone outside Soldier Field hear the sirens?
That’s the date the Chicago White Sox managed to clinch an American League championship with a victory over the Indians in Cleveland. Back in Chicago, city Fire Commissioner Robert J. Quinn acknowledged the achievement by ordering the city’s air raid sirens to blast away.

FOR FIVE MINUTES, the warning sign of some alien attack or coming tornado rang out, scaring much of the populace who either were Cubs fans clueless as to the championship won that day – or else just overly paranoid and willing to believe the worst was coming.

There may even have been some who thought it natural – that the White Sox winning a championship of any sorts was evidence of the End of the World as We Know It.

To this day, Quinn’s reputation takes a knock from people who say he grossly over-reacted. Even though technically, he was merely acting in reaction to a City Council-approved ordinance that said, “there shall be whistles and sirens blowing and there shall be great happiness when the White Sox win the pennant.”

So what should we think of the Chicago Bears; who on Sunday beat the Green Bay Packers and included amongst the revelry at Soldier Field an air raid siren blasting away.
Lost to Indianapolis, of all cities

THE BEARS, AFTER all, are NFC North Division Champions!!!!!! They’re going to the playoffs for the first time in oh so many years. The hard-core of gridiron fandom in Chicago likely is already dreaming of the Super Bowl victory party to be held in Millennium Park.

All the more reason for pandemonium to run amok, and for us to have “whistles and sirens blowing” and “great happiness” even if it is for the Bears – because we honestly don’t have a clue when again the White Sox will give us occasion for such celebration.

Now I’ll admit this was merely a sound effect within the stadium. The rest of Chicago (many of whom likely watched the game on television) didn’t get woken up out of a deep sleep and scared into believing that disaster was impending.
The original siren blarers

And the Chicago Tribune managed to find a few fans who were offended by the ringing out of sirens, although team officials insist the sirens are merely part of the overall effects offered up at modern stadiums to try to get the crowd all excited.

HENCE, WE’RE LIKELY going to keep getting the sirens blared at future games as the Bears try to work their way through the various rounds of the playoffs toward a Super Bowl.

If anything, that’s the reason I can’t get quite too excited about the Bears phenomenon of 2018.

Literally half of the National Football League manages to qualify for a playoff spot each season. The real issue at stake isn’t whether the Bears are good enough to win the whole deal this year.

It’s really one more of how could they have been so god-awful pathetic that they couldn’t even qualify for a playoff spot in recent years. Not even one of those one game and done early in January.

AS FOR USE of a blaring siren, I can’t help but think it’s become a cliché, similar to shooting off fireworks in the sky to celebrate a sporting something.
Ultimate deities of Chicago sporting scene
What was considered outlandish some 59 years ago is now routine. An air raid siren ringing out to the skies to let people know something extraordinary has just happened.

Just as those ’59 White Sox ultimately lost the World Series that year, I wonder what it will feel like if the Bears can’t quite make it to the big game (to be played Feb. 3 in Atlanta)?

Will the air raid gesture seem like overkill? Instead of a victory party, will Bears fandom wind up holding the equivalent of a funeral procession for the team? And will the ’85 Bears (the ones who beat New England in the Super Bowl) be elevated even further in the pantheon of Chicago sporting history?


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