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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

Cubune Follies
by Hal Vickery

Odds and ends, bits and piecesÖ.

ē In case anybody didnít believe last weekís column about my two-season calendar, Iím pleased to report that weíve completed the major portion of our Christmas shopping. We still have to buy for our nieces and nephew and our son and his girlfriend, but other than that, weíre finished with shopping.

I have a day off Friday and hope to get at least part of that shopping done then. Have I mentioned that I canít stand Christmas shopping? Love the season, hate the process. Well, mostly I hate the crowds. So Iíve done my shopping so far online.

Itís one thing to have nearly forty thousand people in one place cheering for the Sox. Itís quite another to vie with a few thousand people in a shopping mall for space to breathe and look at possible gifts.

Iíll take the forty thousand anytime.

ē It has been interesting following the trials and tribulations of the Tribune Co. Last week the company announced that it had rejected all bids for a possible sale of the entire corporation. As usual, the corporate bigwigs in the Tower have a highly over-inflated view of the worth of their assets.

It has been reported that the now the company will attempt to sell off different units. Does this mean that the Cute and Cuddlies might be up for sale? And if thatís the case, rather than bidding for the services of the likes of Alex Rodriguez or Alfonso Soriano (or any of the other high-priced talent theyíve been rumored to be interested in), the Cubs may want to go cheap in order to make the sale more attractive to a potential buyer.

If thatís the case, new manager Lou Piniella may find himself in the exact same situation he found himself in while managing the Devil Rays.

The Tribune Co. needs a quick infusion of cash, and the Cubs are an attractive asset if they can keep their payroll on the low side. Things could get interesting in the next few weeks if the Cubs go on the block and Piniella doesnít get the veteran team he prefers.

ē One of the nice things about baseball is that even when there is no news (as is the case this week with the Sox), there is still something going on. In this case it isnít with the Sox, but with the other teams whose games I regularly attend, the Joliet Jackhammers and the Kane County Cougars.

Iíve held packages with both organizations for a few years now, and late October and early November is package-renewing time. Iíve already faxed in my order with the Jackhammers and will be doing so with the Cougars this week.

Sure, itís not the Sox. But still itís baseball, and I can now think ahead to the warm summer evenings, score book in hand, watching players trying to make their childhood dreams come true.

Unlike the Soxí Ozzie plan, the minor league packages specify certain game dates, thus guaranteeing the plan holder the same seats every game. After last yearís moving between the upper and lower deck from upper deck reserved to lower deck box to upper deck box, I see the advantage of that.

However, there are other problems when you have different leagues and different schedules. The two packages Iím buying have a couple of conflicting dates, so Iíll either have to get rid of some tickets or (get this) exchange them for another date! Imagine that!

The two teams have different policies, but both involve exchanging unused tickets. In the case of the Jackhammers, you can exchange the tickets for a reserved seat for any other game. The Cougars on the other hand have unused ticket exchange nights. In either case, you donít have to sell or eat your unused tickets.

The Jackhammers are also trying something new this year with flexible ticket plans. The idea is to buy vouchers for six or eight games and then choose your own dates. The advantage is that youíre not stuck with whatever number of seats youíve purchased for your package. Instead you can combine vouchers to purchase as many seats as you want for as many games as you want.

From the Jackhammersí literature it also appears that these plans will be available for purchase throughout the season. The only disadvantage compared to the regular plans is that you are not guaranteed a certain seat each game. Since Iím the type of guy who gets upset when somebody takes ďmyĒ parking place at work, I prefer the regular plans.

Based on the literature the Cougars have sent me, they will probably be offering similar flexible packages for the 2008 season. Thatís just too much like the Ozzie plan for me. I think Iíd rather at least be in the same section every game if I canít have the same seats.

ē So there you go. No real news from the Sox this week, so I get to babble on about ticket packages for minor league teams, Christmas shopping, and the North Side Perpetual Losers. Next week: ďBugs Bunny or the Roadrunner: Which Cartoons Are Funnier?Ē That is unless something of note happens in the baseball world.

______________________________________________________________________

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.

More features from Hal Vickery here!

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