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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

More Do's & Don'ts!
by Hal Vickery

II asked for it. I got it! Last week’s column ended with a request for more examples of “dos and don’ts” that new “Sox fans” (i.e. bandwagon jumpers) and Cubs fans looking for a new place to hang out should be aware of when they make their first trip to The Cell. The response was overwhelming. I promise I’ll get to as many of them as possible in this column. Some have been slightly modified since this is a “family” column.

• Still Miss Ozzie picked up on one of the more annoying fan habits on the North Side: ” If your seats are in left field, do not attempt to organize the fans in your area to chant, ‘Right field sucks!’
If your seats are in right field, do not attempt to organize the fans in your area to chant, ‘Left field sucks!’"

• Heather in Bridgeport cited a Cubs fan behavior that occurs outside of The Shrine: “Don't [urinate] all over the surrounding neighborhood of Bridgeport following games…While [urinating] in the streets and on buildings may be proper on the northside, it is classified as highly unacceptable behavior eight miles south, and you will promptly be taken to task. Comiskey has PLENTY of restroom facilities (something that may be foreign to you, as a fan of "The Shrine") of which you may relieve yourself before exiting...Just remember to aim for the urinal or toilet. Nobody wants to slip in your [urine] and have to take a bath in Lysol when they return home.”

• Bob sent a laundry list of dos and don’ts. Here are some of the highlights that, among other things, emphasized some of the great things fans can do at The Cell: “Do give Frank Thomas a standing ovation under all circumstances, even a strike out…Don't budget 45 minutes to go to the bathroom. The lines are short. Do bring your kids; they will have a blast with the FUNDamentals deck, video games on the scoreboard, fireworks and great baseball. Don't wear your hardhat, not needed. Do park in the lots, they are cheaper than Wrigley's private lots and you can tailgate!”

• Frank also sent a long list from which we again will feature some highlights: “Get to the park early and see where all the stands are. Don't walk around a crowded concourse and come to a complete stop and just stand there because you don't know where you are going. Chances are, there are others that would like to get past you, and if you just keep walking, you'll find what you're looking for. Also, remember where your seats are, it should not be that hard to follow Section, Row, Seat #. Pretty simple stuff.

“If you MUST stand in the concourse, face the field and get as close to the game as possible. Don't stand in circles gabbing away with your back to the game while taking up 3/4 of the walking space of the concourse….

“If you have upper deck seats, sit in the upper deck.

“If you actually DO sit in a seat instead of standing around chatting all day, DON'T GET UP AND DOWN 25 TIMES DURING GAME-PLAY. If you have to get up, go to the aisle CLOSEST to you, don't make 43 people move when you're in seat 3. Also, go out and come in thru YOUR OWN ROW….

“Finally, sit in the damned seat you have a ticket for….”

Truly words to live by, and which a lot of North Side fans don’t comprehend.

• Jason picks up on this theme: “Do Not come to the game to just sit in your seats to drink beer and talk with your friends…Why waste a good seat on someone who doesn't care what's going on down on the field?

• Frank in Wicker Park (a different person from the one above) sends one that all fans, not just newcomers need to take to heart: “When someone gets up to get a beer/dog/churro or just to use the bathroom, do they HAVE to walk back to their seat as soon as they are done? “Whatever happened to waiting at the top/bottom of the aisle (depending on what level you are on) until the end of the half inning or at least for between batters? Baseball is a game of starts and stops, and you can see just fine for 5 minutes from the tunnel entrance/concourse - i mean the concourse was designed like that on purpose: so that you can see the game from it!”

Frank, this is a great point. Sox fans may hate the Metrodome, but at least the ushers there hold the fans at the top of the aisles until there is a natural break in the action.

• If the ushers can’t do that, then John has a suggestion: “[Don’t] get up to go to the bathroom or get food/drink during an inning. That should be done between innings.”

• Rob gets even more specific as to a solution, one that most Northsiders might comprehend: “Please respect those fans in the rows behind you by finding your seats before the game starts and sitting in those seats during the action on the field. Concessions can be obtained from vendors without leaving the seated position. There's plenty of time between each half-inning to stretch your legs.”

• Michael found a perfect way to blend in with the regulars: “Sing Na Na Na Na when Nancy plays it.”

• Guillen4Life13 also sent a long list, from which we present some highlights: “Eat the food…It's good! Don't talk on your cell phone unless it's an emergency. Know who is up and who's winning at all points in time. Don't get drunk to the point of belligerence. Don't cheer on pop ups. Pop ups aren't home runs--they're outs. Don't be obscene to Sox players. Support them, and boo if they don't put forth the effort... but don't be obscene and vulgar... to them. The other team's players... say what you please but don't push the wrong buttons on the wrong people. Treat security guards weith respect. If you have kids, check out Fundamentals. Try out the shower and the mist room.”

• Chitownhawkfan emphasizes the need to refrain from cell phone use, but takes it a step further in eliminating the annoyance: “Don’t talk on your cell phone during the game in your seat, and if you have seats that are visible on camera STOP WAVING.”

Thank you for mentioning that! The waving and calling attention to oneself is one of the most annoying things we have to put up with watching games on TV.

• Stroker Ace had a short list, part of which involved cell phones, and which offered perhaps the best solution for that problem: “Turn the phone OFF! Don't vandalize the statues. Know what you are talking about when you try to talk trash. Eat some churros.”

I’m suddenly hungry.

• Ol’ No. 2 provides a bit of instruction for northsiders who are not sure of what all of the facilities are for: “Sinks are for WASHING HANDS!!! Trash cans are for trash.”

Truly words to live by….

•Tom in Bolingbrook provided the following list that North Side fans may have difficulty with, based on their normal habits: “Watch the game. If you don't know what play just happened or why a move has been made, ask. Chances are good that there'll be a knowledgeable fan nearby who can answer your question. Give credit for effort, even to the visiting team. If a fielder makes a good play, it's appropriate to give polite applause and acknowledge it. Enjoy the food -- it's the best selection in MLB. Pay attention to the songs Nancy Faust plays on the organ -- they nearly always have an amusing significance…Remember that baseball is more fun and more satisfying if you feel like you're part of the game -- that's what makes White Sox baseball the better choice in town.”

• Nick from Rogers Park provided another list that seems mostly to be meant for Cubs fans who visit The Cell: “Stop by and say hello to Nancy. Do NOT run onto the field. Do NOT throw your garbage on the field, even if you're upset with a bad call or a poor play. Only Cubbie fans like to throw their garbage all over their "Shrine." Please respect the beautiful playing surface and keep it free of hotdog wrappers, beer cups, etc. Please remove your cap/hat and face Old Glory when the National Anthem is played.”

• Scott in the South Loop adds to the last item: “Also clam up your pie hole during the National Anthem!”

PLEASE!

LuvSox stresses respect to a major segment of the people to whom the Sox are marketing: “Look around, see who is seated near you. Any kids? If so, keep the swearing to yourself.”

• Mike in Chicago points out an acute problem afflicting commuters to The Cell from the North Side: “For starters, people, PLEASE put enough money for your return fare on your card if you take the El. It's $1.75 per ride, so $3.50 is necessary to get you there and back. Further, if you don't have enough money on your card, please move expeditiously back toward the fare machines, apologizing to those who had to wait while you kept re-inserting your card with less than $1.75 on it. Finally, once on the El platform, please move as far down as possible. The transit employees aren't standing there yelling this just to hear themselves. It improves the flow of people and gets everyone home more quickly.”

• SoxFanTillDeath, a true jeopardy whiz, puts his suggestion in the form of a question: “How about a little respect for the people working at the park?”

Put another way, the purchase of a ticket does not give you the right to be abusive to ballpark staff.

•C-Dawg points to another distinguishing feature that sets the regulars apart from the bandwagon jumpers: “If you're seated in the leftfield corner, or near the Sox bullpen, that friendly guy wearing #59 who signs autographs, poses for pictures, and smiles and waves at everyone, is bullpen catcher Man Soo Lee. No, he's not a player, but he's there for every game and always is as friendly as he seems. It is amazing how many times I've seen people go down to get his autograph before the game, only to wonder ‘Who the hell was that guy? I've never heard of him.’ C'mon, this isn't the Cubs - our fans know the whole team and not just three or four guys.”

• If more people followed MarySwiss’s advice, there would be fewer ballpark fights: “Please do not cop an attitude if somebody jumps up--caught up in the excitement--and spills some beer on you. Unless you're a Wicked Witch, you probably won't melt.”

• We conclude with a suggestion that is dear to my heart, submitted by Fungo: “Please don't chant ‘Cubbies suck’ on the ramps on the way out of the park. I know they suck, you know they suck, we all know they suck, but there is no need for the chant especially when we are not playing them. How about ‘Whoever we just beat sucks’?”

There you have it. Sox fans have spoken. Thanks to all of you. I think I used most of the suggestions that weren’t repeats from the original column. Some of your examples were great, but this column is already double the length of a normal column, so I had to omit them. However, I read and enjoyed them all.

Thanks for your emails and message board posts. If the newbies take heed, everyone in the huge crowds at The Cell will have an enjoyable time.


Editor's Note: Hal Vickery has been a White Sox fan since 1955 when he was five years old. For much of that time he also had a secondary rooting interest in the Cubs, which he has shown the good sense to abandon. When not cheering for or writing about the Sox, Hal teachers chemistry and physics at North Boone High School, in Poplar Grove, IL. Hal commutes there daily from Joliet, where he lives with his wife Lee, and their dog, Buster T. Beagle. Hal's opinions are not necessarily those of North Boone High School, his wife, or Buster T. Beagle. You can write Hal at hvickery@svs.com.

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