Tuesday, April 04, 2006

A Fantastic Poster

I recently attended a poster show at the Chicago Cultural Center. They did a great job of renovating that building and the exhibition was very interesting.

The curator focused on some famous times in Chicago poster history - particularly the North Shore / South Shore train line posters in the 1920's and the World's Fair posters from 1933.

I think that the Chicago White Sox 2005 poster campaign was under-rated. I'll admit that when I first saw the "grinder ball" campaign I was underwhelmed. However, as the magical 2005 Sox season continued, the posters seemed to make more and more sense, and then this poster, which I received in the mail with my season tickets, really made me sit back and think

"Now THAT is a great poster!"

I am not a poster "expert" but I'd say that the point of a poster is to get something across in the simplest and most effective way possible. The challenge - summarize the entire White Sox post-season, which include a series against Boston (3 games), California (5 games) and Houston (4 games) in a simple, and compelling manner.

There are three "frames" on this poster, as follows:
1) In game 3 against the Boston Red Sox (who were, at the time, world champions) Orlando Hernandez took the mound in the 6th inning with the bases loaded an no outs. I remember this inning very distinctly - all of Chicago was on the edge of their seats as Marte walked batters and the Sox were at risk of losing their lead and perhaps momentum in the series. This amazing poster sequence summarizes EVERY pitch that Hernandez made and the outcome as he was able to escape the inning without allowing a run, ending with a bang as he points in exultation upon getting the final out. Another more subtle point to this is that Guillen was under some pressure to put McCarthy on the roster instead of Hernandez, because the rookie came through in some clutch games late in the season. But Guillen went with Hernandez, instead, and it really paid off
2) the second "frame" shows the series against the Angels where (after losing game one) the White Sox amazed the league with FOUR back to back complete games hurled by Buehrle, Garland, Garcia and Contreras. In an era of specialized middle relievers and closers complete games are rare, complete games in the playoffs are even rarer, and 4 in a row are just amazing
3) the third "frame" shows the heroes of each victory - against Boston, against California, and against the Astros.

My only (minor) nits would be that if they were extra-genius (is that a word) they would have found a way to fit in A.J.'s famous dropped third strike that allowed him to "steal" first. That was an absolutely pivotal moment in the series, with the White Sox having lost game one and trying to win the second game to avoid getting swept in their home city (and likely losing the series). Another moment would be to find a way to show Uribe's amazing leap into the stands in the 9th inning against Houston with the Sox clinging to a lead and not getting much offense - he fearlessly dove right into the stands and snagged the ball - no Bartman incident here.

I first saw this poster in the newspaper and literally stared at it for 15 minutes, just taking it all in. I was going to mount it up but it is hard to get newspaper to look good, so I was estatic when it showed up in the mail in a format suitable for framing.

If the goal of a poster is to get its message across, and a complex message at that, with the minimum of elements, this poster should stand up there with the great ones of all time.

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PS Indy From Hobart said...

Dear Carl:

I guess that poster came in handy in losing two games to the Indians. It probably gave you something to look at while the Indians made the White Sox look like the Bad News Bears

Carl from Chicago said...

Don't we have some kind of screen for comments like this :)

Dan from Madison said...

Yes we do have comment moderation (me) but I am a Brewer fan so you are on your own, Carl.