Today marked the 25th anniversary of Michael Jordan playing outfield in the Crosstown Classic at Wrigley Field. I turned on WGN-TV anticipating the Cubs would be on, but it was the White Sox. They were in the midst of this sensational highlight of MJ’s RBI double:
One of the coolest moments in Chicago sports history. Reliving it made my pulse race and my eyes well. Seeing that smile on Jordan’s face as he stands on 2nd base and tips his cap to the Sox dugout warmed my Chicago sports-loving soul.
Then the broadcast cut to the modern White Sox broadcast crew – Jason Benetti & Steve Stone. Benetti asked the veteran color analyst for his memories from that day and Stone went all negative. He doused the moment by diminishing Jordan’s accomplishment and mocking the pitcher who gave up two hits to MJ. Here was the guy who I grew up watching pissing all over a wonderful memory. Went from getting choked up seeing MJ smile to anger at the baseball guru of gurus. The guy who makes Tony Romo seem like blind dart thrower by predictive comparison. Stone taught me everything about baseball, while Harry taught me lessons about enjoying life. Kids today don’t get the same.
Point is: Only the White Sox can say that the greatest athlete/competitor/sports figure of all time suited up for them, even if it was an exhibition back in ’94. Guy hadn’t played baseball since little league and here he was getting hits against MLB/Triple-A quality pitching. The White Sox have long trailed the Cubs in popularity – but the cool factor rests decidedly on the South Side. From Bo Jackson & Michael Jordan to Dr. Dre and Chance the Rapper…some of the coolest figures in American history have worn black. Embrace and elevate the tradition. Bag the Jordan baseball criticism, Steve.