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The Stale Princes of 35th & Shields

In a South Side Sox exclusive, we preview the upcoming documentary that tells the story of the ill-fated NBC Sports Chicago tweet

[NARRATOR]: Hustle. Determination. Energetic. Competitive.

These are words that describe the 2021 AL Central Division Champion Chicago White Sox.

[NARRATOR]: A team that went wire-to-wire in first place, displaying a never-say-die attitude that was defined in a series-saving Game 3 victory in the ALDS.

[NARRATOR]: And despite their playoff dreams falling short, the 2022 White Sox returned with their young, exciting core intact, healthy and ready to run away with the AL Central title.

[faintly, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme begins to play]

[NARRATOR]: But what if I told you ... that even with all that talent ...

[NARRATOR]: ... and the promises of multiple parades ...

[“The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” theme music fades, silence]

[NARRATOR walks into frame, lit by a single light bulb over his head; it is JOHN CUSACK]: ... is all undone, by a simple, hubristic Twitter account and its cocksure declaration of unearned accomplishment through the use of a simple meme of Will Smith, standing alone in an empty room, with a caption hanging over his head like the Sword of Damocles ...

[suddenly, the White Sox Talk tweet comes on screen, the infamous Inception sound effect plays]

[CUSACK] Well, wonder no more. My name is John Cusack. This is “35 for 35: The Stale Princes of the 35th and Shields.”


[CUSACK]: Welcome back. On May 20, 1996, the final episode of the six-year run of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air premiered on NBC. The touching final scene shows a silent Willard “Will” Smith, standing in the empty living room of the place he called home, expansive rug under his feet. Reflecting on his years, growing up from a troubled youth in the hard streets of Philadelphia to the mature young man under a golden California sun.

It’s a poignant moment, the silence fills the room, allowing for the audience to imagine with Will all the memories that took place here.

[pause; the screen freezes on the image of Will’s full body in frame, swallowed by the expansive room; CUSACK appears]

[CUSACK]: And 22 years later, that iconic image would be used in what can only be described as the biggest example of hubris since Alexander the Great, by a Twitter account run under the direction of the Chicago White Sox themselves: @NBCSWhiteSox ...

[CUSACK clears throat]: “Us wondering if the rest of the division is going to show up this year”

Undoubtedly, were it not for Will Smith slapping Chris Rock in the face at the Oscars, this would most certainly been the most atrocious display of his career. However, Mr. Smith is truly innocent in this, ultimately. No, this dubious honor goes to the as-yet-anonymous social media writer of @NBCSWhiteSox, who surely must have eaten two whole bowls of Wheaties followed by copious amounts of chutzpah edibles to declare the 2022 season over before it even began.

Tonight, we have an exclusive interview with the very person who crafted this cursed tweet. For his protection, we have obscured his identity and altered his voice. A pseudonym has been used as well.

[cut to a dimly-lit room, a sole figure outlined in shadow sits in frame, the name “Guck Charfein” appears at the bottom of the screen]

[“GUCK CHARFEIN”]: Look. I wrote the tweet, OK? Big Jerry, the one at the top? He put out the order to announce to the rest of the division that the White Sox had this in the bag and they may as well just stay home. I WAS JUST FOLLOWING ORDERS [unintelligible sobbing] ... HOW WAS I SUPPOSED TO KNOW?! I JUST ASKED MY NEPHEW FOR A QUIPPY MEME TO USE. BLAME HIM! [sobbing intensifies, slowly fades out]

[CUSACK]: Stay tuned for more, when we return to The Stale Princes of 35th and Shields.


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