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WSI News - Season Features

May, 2000.  WSI welcomes returning Sox Fans back to Comiskey Park and offers some advice to the city's bandwagon jumpers.

Making Believers of Chicago's Fans

by George Bova

Welcome back, Sox Fans!  Sox attendance has been slowly building throughout the first two months of the 2000 season.  Not that it has been building fast enough for all the deep thinkers who write for Chicago's newspapers or draw a paycheck talking into a microphone at the sports talk radio stations.  If the Sox win a game at Comiskey, you can be sure the very next breath will be wasted telling us how few Sox fans showed up for the game.  I suppose it's better that the team would suck and the fans still showed up -- like they do at Wrigley Field.  Ninety-two years of incompetence on the north side and now everybody is in the hip pocket of the Tribune's twisted way of looking at things -- namely profits for the bottom-line. 

Please remind these self-righteous grandstanders that baseball attendance is measured by tickets sold, not actual attendance.  The Cubs attendance is getting artificially inflated by all the season ticket that were sold last winter, while the Sox are struggling to rebuild a season ticket base badly depleted since the early-90's glory years.  While Cubs fans and their friends in the media pound their chest about alleged loyalty to the Cubs, check out the number of empty seats around the park for all those announced 30,000+ crowds.  Somebody is taking a bath for unused seats and the somebodies are the ticket brokers (i.e. scalpers) who have used Cubs seats as a profitable commodity in which to speculate.  They're taking a bath this year; don't expect nearly as large a season-ticket base at Wrigley next year.  Either that or the Tribune is going to have to really crank up the hype machine to stir interest in yet another last-place team.  "Come see the Cubs -- a third fewer victories than a regular big league team!"

A division title run this season will result in far greater Sox attendance next year because those seats count as sold whether anyone bothers to show up or not -- just like the Cubs.  In the meantime, the Sox front office is left to talk up the record size of day of game walk up sales the team has achieved.  Many of these new fans haven't been to the park since the owners and players pulled the plug on the '94 season.  Here are a few important points to remember as you return to watch REAL baseball played by Chicago's REAL baseball team...

1. The food is edible.  You can find almost anything your heart desires, including fried chicken dinners, corned beef sandwiches, corn elotes, burritos and steak fajitas, funnel cakes, chocolate pecan turtles, and a whole lot more.  It's the most complete menu in the major leagues.  Bring your appetite! 

2. The washrooms don't smell.  It's funny how all those tourists who rave about their visit to Wrigley Field never mention the god-awful piss holes the Tribune calls restrooms.  (Yes ladies, many of the gents trying to pick you up between innings have been known to go in the sinks at Wrigley -- ick!).  No need to hold it through nine innings at Comiskey Park.  In fact, the ladies' restrooms are larger and more numerous than the men's.  Sinks on the south side are strictly used for washing hands.

3. The organist is clever.  Nancy Faust is a civic treasure and a  long-time icon for Sox Fans.  Some genius in the front office still wastes far too much time cranking rock'n roll, largely limiting Nancy's organ time to the visiting team's half of the inning.  Pay attention and get the added treat of guessing the connection between each organ ditty and the player at-bat or the play just completed.  Comiskey is the only big league ballpark you'll ever hear In La Gadda Da Vida.

4. The picnic area is now in right field.  Bill Veeck created baseball's first ever field-level dining area by knocking out holes in the left field wall at Old Comiskey Park.  For some dumb reason, the new Comiskey Park has it in right field and closed to fans before the game begins.  The Sox front office also made it exclusively for group dining.  Thankfully, they now make tickets to dining at the all you can eat buffet available to all fans whether they belong to a group or not.

5. Visit the Bullpen Bar.  It is a great place to gather before and after the game.  For a ballpark less than ten years old, the Sox have had to do a lot of retrofitting to overcome obvious mistakes in the park's design.  Happily, this watering hole located in the right field corner is one of the nicest improvements they have made.  It features a glass wall looking into the visitors' bullpen and tons of Sox memorabilia.  Live radio remotes are common, too.  Get your picture taken next to a life-sized poster of Carlton Fisk!

6. Don't screw around with Sox Security.  Many of these guys are off-duty Chicago cops.  Unlike their counterparts at Wrigley, they aren't drawing a pension or AARP benefits either.  Sox Security would have provided the Los Angeles Dodgers plenty of support subduing drunken idiots wearing floppy hats.  Had any Sox fan managed to grab a player's cap, his skull likely would have a close encounter with the Chicago phone directory stashed somewhere near the holding room deep inside Comiskey Park.  A lot of us wish we could administer the treatment personally. 

7. Don't throw back the opposition's home run ball!  On Chicago's south side, Losing Ain't Cute!  Rather than glorify the fact your team just took a step towards blowing a ballgame, show some class and give the ball to a kid.  If no kids are nearby, put it in the trash going home.  If you're a baseball fan and you have a brain in your head, reflect on how you've just beaten incredible odds to catch such a meaningful momento.  Whatever you do, understand we take the game seriously at Comiskey Park.  Cute shit doesn't fly.


George Bova is editor and founder of White Sox Interactive.


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