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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

Cubune cries over Sox Success!
by Hal Vickery

I really would have liked to have written about something other than the media in general and the Chicago Cubune in particular, but I guess it just isn’t to be. As the Sox magic number continued to drop, the Cubune still found ways to rain on our parade.

This time it was Dave van Dyck doing the raining. It came in Wednesday’s Cubune under the headline, “Sox scratch heads as fans stay away.” Apparently Ozzie Guillen and the players had trouble understanding why only 14,571 fans attended Tuesday night’s game against the Royals.

Readers of this column for the past several years already know the reason, but on the off chance that Mr. van Dyck occasionally comes to WSI, this might be an education to him and all the other Chicago media types who either are slow learners or who are just plain malicious when it comes to writing about the Sox. The funny thing is, all it would take is a quick glance at a few Sox media guides for them to figure this out.

So once again, really slow now for the sports “journalists” in this city. This is how Sox attendance works.

1) The Sox market to “families.”

2) “Families” often contain something called “children.” You might have been one of those yourself at one time. Try to think back.

3) “Children” go to something called “school.” You might remember that, too. That’s where you used to go every day to sleep for about six or seven hours, waking up only for lunch, and after you spent eight or nine years there, you’d have to wake up to go to a different room every forty-five or fifty minutes.

4) “School” for most children starts in late August or early September. Remember when some of you had to go to Boston or watch an extra game on TV that wasn’t on the original schedule? That’s called Labor Day. You might know it as Jerry Lewis Day. In the city, “children” start “school” the day after that. You know: Tuesday, September 6 this year. The day Mr. van Dyck was writing about. Suburban kids had already been in “school” for as much as two weeks.

5) As a result of this marketing to “families” with “children,” the Sox have created an area of their park called FUNdamentals. As Sox Vice President for Communications Scott Reifert noted in his blog last week, FUNdamentals was nearly empty Tuesday night. This is an indication that there were few “families” with “children” in the ballpark because it would be irresponsible for “parents” to keep their “child” out late on a “school” night.

6) If you consult your media guides for the last decade or so, you would find that Sox attendance picks up after Memorial Day (a holiday that comes near the end of May) and falls off again after Jerry Lewis Day. Coincidentally, “school” is out of session between those days.

7) You might also want to “read” something in Scott Reifert’s blog for September 7. He points out there that the Sox season ticket base also is a reason for low attendance before Memorial Day and after Jerry Lewis Day. Even with a walk-up crowd of 4,000, as they had Tuesday night, the Sox would need a season ticket base of 18,000 to get what you sports “journalists” would consider to be respectable attendance in those months. They don’t, at least not yet.

8) It seems like the only people in the country who actually care about Sox attendance are Sox players and management (the players for the level of support they feel, management for the profits they can earn, sports “journalists” and Cub fans (both of whom seem to gloat over the fact that the Cubs draw lemmings to The Shrine to watch them choke every year.

Chicago sports reporters, whether or not you work for the Cubune Co., please feel free to email me using the link below if you’re having trouble comprehending this. I’ll be glad to tutor you on “cause and effect” for the low fee of $20.00 (U.S.) per hour.

I’ll throw in this brief lesson for free. The Kansas City Royals stink. Following that series the Angels, Indians, and Twins are on the schedule. If you’re ordering your ticket package and you are looking for a couple of September dates, I guarantee you I’m picking those three teams over the Royals.

As it turns out that seems to be exactly what happened. Even van Dyck had to note that the only remaining game with pre-sales under 20,000 was a Tuesday (“school” night) game against the Indians on September 20. If any of those games appears to be the one in which the Sox will clinch the division championship, expect ticket sales for that game to soar.

It’s quite possible that no sports “journalists” will bother to read this. After all, this column is written by an amateur with no “journalistic credentials.” Therefore my “research” is probably inferior since it means it was taken from several media guides, and it is unlikely that any members of the media even open them, let alone save them from year to year because they contain things like “facts,” something that Chicago sports “journalists” seem to avoid like the plague.

-------------------

Speaking of Scott Reifert, a couple of notes of thanks have to go out to him.

First of all, it was Scott Reifert who sent me copies of the original articles from the Daily Southtown that served as a major source of material for last week’s column in response to an email asking him for facts regarding the so-called “falling concrete.”

Second, it was Reifert who had the idea for the “Core of the Core” patio party last Thursday. Special thanks also go out to Brooks Boyer, who ran with the idea and sent emails to me and a Sox Talk representative asking if we thought people would like the idea, and to Kurt Hasenbalg who made sure a flyer was sent out and that everyone got their tickets (and who knows what else).

Over 200 members of the WSI and Sox Talk web sites attended. Several non-attendees were unable to attend because they are “students” and go to “school.”

We promise that unlike the mainstream sports media, we will keep this in mind when we schedule another such event for the 2006 season.

Personally this event let me know that there are at least three of you out there who read this thing every week. It is my personal goal to get that number up to six by next year’s party.


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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