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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

Sox Pride!
by Hal Vickery

Odds and ends, bits and pieces…. 

The unofficial Ordoñez Watch continues.   

The biggest news in the print media came from Joe Cowley of the Daily Southtown who reported that Jon Heyman of New York’s Newsday did indeed get it wrong. 

Unfortunately this was a “good news-bad news situation.  The bad news was that, according to Cowley, Ordoñez and the Sox broke off negotiations early last week.  On the other had, Magglio himself has been quoted as saying that Cowley’s report is wrong and that negotiations continue. 

For those, and there are many making there opinions heard at WSI and elsewhere, who think that Ordoñez is replaceable, consider this.  Magglio hasn’t played a game in over two weeks, but through June 11, he was still second in RBI on this club and fifth in hits.  That’s going to be awfully hard to replace. 


There might be good news regarding Magglio’s recovery from arthroscopic surgery.  Word is that Ordoñez and the White Sox are hoping that he’ll be back in time for the Cubs series in less than two weeks.  There have been press reports that have quoted him as saying that there is little or no pain in the knee and that it feels good. 

A few high scoring games have served to mask the fact that the Sox offense has been sputtering since Ordoñez went on the DL in late May.  On their early-June trip to the west coast, the Sox averaged just 3.2 runs per game.   

Their best offense during the entire period has come during the rain-shortened Phillies series when the hot, humid weather made the games seem more like Home Run Derby than baseball. 


We can’t let this week go by without congratulating Brooks Boyer.  His new “Them vs. Us” commercial struck a chord with Sox fans.  The idea of “Sox Pride” expressed in the ad really hit home to most of us who have followed this club for any length of time. 

The timing was excellent.  The new commercial first aired last Tuesday, less than two-and-a-half weeks before the Cubs series at The Cell.  This makes it the first shot fired in the annual war between the two rival clubs.

 For those who pooh-pooh this rivalry because the clubs are in different leagues, consider that there are only a certain number of die-hard fans of each team.  This means that both clubs are competing for the dollars of the casual fan.  

The Cubs have been winning this battle for nearly a decade now, fueled in part by a marketing campaign aimed at twenty-somethings that promotes beer, babes, and (incidentally) baseball.   

Meanwhile the Sox have been marketing to families.  This is an admirable attempt to try to establish a fan base for the future.  However, as we’ve pointed out in past years, the Sox ticket pricing scheme doesn’t fit into that family image.  This year, after paying $16.00 to park the car, the cheapest seats in the ball park are $12.00 for upper deck seats beyond the infield.  So the cheapest a family of four can see a Sox game for is $64.00, and that’s before buying food and souvenirs. 

On the other hand the same family going to a minor league game in Gary, Geneva, Joliet, or Schaumburg can park for free and spend just $9.00 per seat for the best seats in the house.  The total price is $36.00 before food and souvenirs, a little more than half. 

Are the kids half as entertained?  Somehow I don’t think that kids are all that discriminating in evaluating the talent they see on the field. 


The thing that has really backfired in the half-price ticket strategy is not that it has failed to lure the families to the games, although we suspect that Kids Days have done a lot more in that regard.  The problem is the class of casual fan that has been attracted to the half-price games. 

The typical person sitting in the bleacher or upper deck seats at the games seems to be the leftovers from the twenty-somethings that the Cubs have been marketing to.  They seem to be lured by the half-price tickets because this enables them to buy a couple of more beers over and above the seventeen they would normally buy. 

A lot of those twenty-somethings also seem to be jerks even before they get tanked up.  The evidence is that a fairly decent percentage of them come to the ball park with blue caps with red Cs on the front or blue pinstriped jerseys. 

Numerous reports, both on WSI message boards and in the media, have indicated that many of the fights that break out at these games are the result of these morons and the drunken-moron element that exists among young Sox fans.   

This is a major problem that Brooks Boyer will have to address for next year.  The dilemma is that the fan behavior has led to more ridicule of the Sox and their fans in the media.  However, the large gate at these games is hard to give up. 


So far Boyer has come up with the perfect marketing phrase to reach the club’s fan base.  “Sox Pride” is catchy and it digs deep into our psyches.  Couple that with the new pre-game team introductions, and it serves to get the fans into the games more. 

The key now is to where that phrase will lead, and most importantly how he can translate that into more butts in the seats.

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

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