Another curse for the picking

first_imgCHICAGO — Shoeless Joe Jackson was roaming the outfield, Woodrow Wilson was in the White House and World War I was raging the last time the Chicago White Sox won a World Series. When those Pale Hose of 1917 beat the New York Giants in six games, winning the clincher at the Polo Grounds, who knew it would be the last championship for the team from Chicago’s South Side? Now the White Sox have a chance to undo a long history of frustration, just as the Boston Red Sox did a year ago when they foiled the “Curse of the Bambino’ and won their first World Series since 1918. “They didn’t go out there saying, /\x27/Let’s find a way to end the 86-year curse.” It’s a good story line, but it doesn’t carry over between the lines,” Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said. But if the Red Sox could finally break through they were nearly on their way out before winning eight straight to beat the Yankees in the ALCS and then the Cardinals in the World Series why not the White Sox, who led the AL with 99 wins this season? AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 “It would be comparable,” Chicago first baseman Paul Konerko said Monday as the teams got ready for Tuesday’s best-of-5 opener at U.S. Cellular Field. “They’ve been there, they’ve got experience and they know what it’s all about,” Chicago infielder Willie Harris added. “They won it last year, why can’t we win it this year?” But Konerko, a native of Rhode Island, is well aware of the historical perspective surrounding the Red Sox. “I don’t know if any team ever overcame so much baggage and so much bad stuff and also with their main rival winning so much in the meantime. What those guys did last year, without question in my mind, is the best story, got to be one of the best teams ever to overcome all the stuff they had to overcome,” Konerko said. “It would be comparable if we could ever pull this thing off, it would be a lot of parallel lines to what they have done,” he said. center_img Red Sox center fielder Johnny Damon characterized his teammates last season as a “bunch of idiots’ for the way various clubhouse characters and personalities meshed and won a championship. Damon also sees some similarities between the two Soxes. “They remind me of us last year,” he said. “They’re crazy, happy-go-lucky guys who got each others’ backs.” The Red Sox won the AL wild card Sunday and they got help from the team they must now beat to advance the White Sox, who swept three in Cleveland and finished the season with eight wins in their last 10 games, stopping a slide that had seen their once 15-game lead evaporate to 1. They led the Central wire-to-wire. Boston’s explosive lineup features Damon at the top and the powerful 3-4 combination of David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez, who combined for five homers in the seven games against the White Sox. Boston won the season series 4-3, but little of that matters and manager Terry Francona isn’t sure how much a factor experience will be. “This time last year we hadn’t won anything, so basically we’re in the same position,” Francona said. “We sold out every game. Everywhere we went was craziness. It feels as if we played 162 playoff games.” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said he understands why the Red Sox are favored going into the opener, with Jose Contreras facing Boston’s Matt Clement in Game 1. Mark Buehrle opposes David Wells on Wednesday before the series shifts to Fenway Park. “We have to compete against the world champions. We never did as a White Sox organization in the last 80 years or whatever it is, we never did anything to earn that respect,” Guillen said. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Midway crash puts focus on short runways

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals Safety experts say such airports can guard against accidents by instead using beds of crushable concrete that can slow an aircraft if it slides off the end of a runway. The concrete beds – called engineered material arresting systems, or EMAS – are in place at the end of 18 runways at 14 airports. They have stopped three dangerous overruns three times since May 1999 at Kennedy Airport in New York. “Certainly Midway Airport officials should have already been trying to come up with something similar to this,” said Jim Hall, NTSB chairman from 1993 to 2001. “There’s really no margin for error at the end of that runway.” Hall said the lack of a 1,000-foot overrun area and the absence of an EMAS system would probably be a key focus of the investigation. “The bottom line is you have an increasing frequency of flights on a runway with an inadequate margin for error,” he said. “It’s a tragedy that did not have to occur.” CHICAGO – A deadly accident in which a Boeing 737 slid off the end of a snowy runway brought renewed demands Friday for buffer zones or other safety measures at hundreds of airports around the nation, to give pilots a wider margin for error. In Thursday night’s tragedy at Midway Airport, a Southwest Airlines jet making a landing plowed through a fence and into a street, killing a 6-year-old boy in a car. Ten other people, most of them on the ground, were injured. The National Transportation Safety Board said the cause of the accident was still under investigation, and the plane’s voice and data recorders were sent to Washington for analysis. But much of the attention focused on the 6,500-foot runway. Like nearly 300 other U.S. commercial airports, Midway lacks 1,000-foot buffer zones at the ends of its runways. Midway, a compact one-mile square, was built in 1923 during the propeller era and has shorter runways than most major airports, with no room to extend them because it is hemmed in by houses and businesses. Chicago Department of Aviation spokeswoman Wendy Abrams could not immediately say whether an arresting system had been considered at Midway. Though the airport had about 7 inches of snow, aviation officials said conditions at the time were acceptable. And the plane did not appear to have any maintenance problems and had undergone a service check Wednesday in Phoenix, Southwest chief executive Gary Kelly said. Southwest said the 59-year-old captain has been with the airline for more than 10 years, and the 35-year-old first officer has flown with Southwest for 2 years. It was the first fatal crash in Southwest’s 35-year history. NTSB member Ellen Engleman Conners said air traffic controllers had rated the braking condition of the runway at the time of accident as “fair” for most of the pavement and “poor” at the end. Investigators have not yet determined the exact spot where the plane touched down because it continued to snow after the accident. “We can’t say X marks the spot physically, but we will be able to determine that through a simulation,” she said. The plane hit the fence 32 seconds after it touched down. The jet’s ground speed was 152 mph as it landed. It hit the fence at about 46 mph, Conners said. Earlier, Conners stressed that a variety of factors need to be looked at before any cause is determined, including questions about the crew’s performance, how the aircraft handled and air traffic control. “Often, the first guess is not correct,” Conners said. “So, we’re not going to guess. We’re going to focus on facts and science and data.” The plane could be moved out of the street and into a hangar today, and the streets and runway might reopen by Sunday, Conners said. Interviews with the pilot, flight attendants and a witness were also planned for today, she said. A recently passed federal law seeks to encourage more airports to build EMAS systems or extend their runway barriers by requiring them to do one or the other by 2015. There are 284 such airports with neither feature, according to the FAA. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., sponsored the measure after several runway overruns at his home state’s Teterboro Airport, near New York. Last February, a corporate plane carrying 11 people ran off the end of the Teterboro runway during an aborted takeoff, sped across a busy road and hit a warehouse. Twenty people were injured. “My bill, which was signed into law last week by the president, will finally force these airports and the FAA to make these runways safer,” he said Friday. In June 1999, an American Airlines jetliner slid past the end of the runway in Little Rock, Ark., killing 11 passengers and injuring 86. And it was only the remarkable speed of the passengers’ evacuation – less than two minutes – that prevented serious injury or death when an Air France Airbus skidded off the runway in Toronto and burst into flames in August. Hall was NTSB chairman when a Southwest Airlines 737 overran a runway at Burbank Airport, stopping within feet of a gas station. Burbank’s runway is even shorter than Midway’s at 5,800 feet. Victor Gill, a spokesman at what is now Bob Hope Airport, said Friday that he was confident the cushion-like pavement installed at the end of a runway would prevent a plane from rolling through a fence and onto Hollywood Way. The collapsible surface, which covers 230 feet of the 6,032-foot Runway 8, cost $4.5 million. “That airplane on our runway … would not have gotten off the airfield because of this special paving we installed here,” Gill said. “It’s a very, very effective way of containing any airplane that is tending to run long.” But other safety experts said the length of the runway should not be used as a scapegoat in overrun accidents. “It is not the runway length that’s the issue,” said Bernard Loeb, who was director of aviation safety at the NTSB during the mid-1990s. “Runways are either adequate or they’re not.” Some pilots acknowledged that relatively short runways such as Midway’s pose a challenge in icy or snowy weather, forcing them to touch down as close as possible to the beginning of the runway to allow more braking time. “The shorter the runway, the quicker you want to get it on the ground, especially landing on ice and snow,” said Bert Yetman, a retired Southwest captain. “If you’re not down in the first 1,000 feet or so, take it around and try it again.” Paul Czysz, professor emeritus of aerospace engineering at Saint Louis University, likened landing at Midway in bad weather to landing on an aircraft carrier. “You’ve got to stick it and brake like heck,” Czysz said. “But poor visibility and any wind shear can make that tough to do.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. 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