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WSI News - Season Features

July, 2000.  Our first-place Sox visit the Baby Bears at Wrigley.  WSI's Hal Vickery gives his fellow Sox Fans advice on how to survive the Cubune's smelly mess of a ballpark.


by Hal Vickery

For many Sox fans this weekend will be your first visit to Chewing Gum Field, the "ivy-covered burial ground" of Chicago's minor league ballclub. As one who until just a few years ago actually rooted for that team, I thought that it might be appropriate for me to provide a kind of survival guide for Sox fans making the trip into enemy territory.

First of all, remember that if you are driving, do not expect to park in a convenient location without mortgaging your house. Parking lots have quaint names on the north side, names like "McDonald's," "Car Wash," and "my garage."

Parking at "McDonald's" or a similar location within walking distance of the ballpark will probably cost you something like $25.00 if you don't ask for "E-Z Out" and at least $30.00 if you do. Please note that "E-Z Out" means your car will not be surrounded on all sides by other cars so that you cannot leave unless every car in front of or behind you exits first. If you're not planning on waiting for three or four hours for the fans of the local team to return from the local watering holes, you might want to consider the "E-Z Exit" option.

If you are wearing White Sox regalia, expect to be chided by witty Cubs fans with such hilarious taunts as "Sox suck" and "How about the Big Skirt?" If you make mention of the fact that Cubs management has recently tried to get rid of their biggest star, expect such snappy comebacks as, "Oh, yeah?"

You cannot get real beer at Chewing Gum Field. The only beers available there taste either like water or like panther piss. The beer of choice is brewed by a company that thinks rice is something more than a good side dish with Chinese food or a bed on which to spread beef stroganoff. The natives believe that because Harry Caray advertised it, it must have been his beer of choice. White Sox fans realize that Harry even advertised that swill called Falstaff when he was broadcasting for the Sox and that his main connection with the brewery that makes beer with rice and Clydesdale urine had nothing to do with drinking beer.

Be prepared if you're not an imbiber to be told, "No Coke. Pepsi." This may not be important to you, but it is to me. If it doesn't taste like it could be used to pickle sheets of steel, it just ain't cola in my book.

Also be prepared for a more limited choice of foods. Don't expect such things as corned beef sandwiches, steak sandwiches, a variety of Tex-Mex offerings, or any standard Comiskey fair. About the most exotic food you'll get at Chewing Gum Field is an Italian beef sandwich. If you like hot dogs and hamburgers, you'll be fine.

Sox fans who remember old Comiskey Park will be used to obstructed views. There are plenty of those at Chewing Gum Field. Some seats are directly behind poles so that the person lucky enough to get one of those "obstructed view" seats has to straddle it with his or her legs. If you
have a neck like a giraffe, you will have no trouble seeing around these minor obstructions.

You might expect to be taunted if you're a Sox fan, especially by the bleacherites. The odds are that you won't be. The bleacherites will be too busy yelling back and forth across the center field evergreens such witticisms as "Left field sucks!" followed by "Right field sucks!" as the retort. Cubs fans are a stitch. They crack me up every time.

If you are male and have to avail yourselves of some of the facilities, Chewing Gum Field still has the old style (named after one of the beers they sell) troughs to use. However, if you want to fit in, and all spaces are taken, feel free to use a sink. It's a common practice among the natives.

However, if you have to do this during the game and you are not with friends who stayed behind, or if there are no other White Sox fans around, do not...I repeat, do NOT...ask one of the natives what happened in the game while you were gone. The native will simply give you a blank stare and say something like, "I don't know," or my favorite, "Game?" Of course some of the natives are more intelligent than others and can do things like operate electronic equipment. Those people will say something like, "I'm not sure. I was busy talking on my cell phone."

Also expect to be told such things about the White Sox and Comiskey Park as:

"I'd never go there. The neighborhood is too dangerous."

"Harry Caray started singing 'Take Me Out to the Ballgame' here at Wrigley Field after he came here from St. Louis. Why don't the Sux do something cool like that!"

"If the Sox are so good, why don't you draw as many people as the Cubs?"

And my personal favorite even though it's the most frequently used, "Burp!"

So Sox fans, show your contempt for the Cubs and everything they stand for! Copy these lyrics and take them with you to Wrigley Field this weekend! And when Gary Pressi or whatever that guy's name is strikes up the introduction for the seventh inning stretch on his Emenee Chord Organ, sing this song with gusto (and with permission of the author)!

Take me out to see Sammy!
Take me out with the crowd!
Buy me a jersey with Sammy's name!
I'll wear it proudly
But won't watch the game!

Let me root, root, root for the Cubbies
Although I don't know their names!
I'll drink twelve beers
And leave in the eighth
At the old Cubs game!

Lyrics copyright 2000 by Harold J. Vickery. All rights reserved.


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