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View Full Version : Sox misteps and perceptions


Fenway
05-23-2005, 01:55 PM
After the game at Fenway Park yesterday I had the chance to speak to a couple of well known baseball media types about the ongoing debate on why the White Sox have become a perceived distant second to the Cubs in Chicago.

Atlanta announcer Chip Caray said he had a long talk with his grandfather some 10 years ago long before he had any idea that he would replace him as Cubs lead announcer. Harry believed that the White Sox simply had no fans outside of Chicagoland and he thought the Cubs took hold of downstate Illinois because of the St. Louis Cardinals. He said downstate Illinois was like Connecticut where someone is a fan of either Boston or the Yankees (but not the Mets) and the same held true in places like Peoria and Springfield. You were either St. Louis or Cubs. Harry also told Chip that 1983 was a marketing disaster for the White Sox as the bulk of the TV games were seen by maybe 10,000 people on SportsVision.
http://www.chicagotelevision.com/ontvlogo2.jpg (http://www.chicagotelevision.com/pay3.htm)




Chip added he thinks that Cubs being beamed nationwide starting in 1979 created fans in a way that people overlooked. The Cubs developed a national following of youngsters who could watch the afternoon games in their entirety which they could not do as easily with all the other teams playing at night. He also thinks that the Cubs got a huge boost from a teen movie in the 80’s Ferris Bueller, where of course part of his adventure was at Wrigley Field.
http://www.wttw.com/chicagostories/images/arnieheadphone.jpg
I also think a lot of the “credit” has to go to the late Arne Harris of WGN-TV who was able to make Wrigley Field look magical on the small screen. For all of the warts Wrigley has, it does produce great beauty shots for television.


Concerning WFLD-TV and their taking over the games in 1968. The truth is it seemed like a good idea at the time but everything went wrong at once. You can talk about the signal but having a 0-10 start plus losing your home opener 9-0 is not going to make people run down to Radio Shack to buy a converter. The Cubs didn’t start off much better, but got better as the season went along, the White Sox did not.

Plus, I think a lot of casual fans were simply afraid of coming into Chicago at night in 1968. Don’t forget we had in short order


April 4, 1968 Martin Luther King shot and killed and major unrest begins on South and west Side.

June 4, 1968 Bobby Kennedy shot and killed. More unrest in the city.

August 28, 1968 Chicago Police takes action during Democratic Convention.


http://images.google.com/images?q=tbn:UxT1QDuTbkIJ:www.chicagotelevision.co m/Wfld32.jpg (http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.chicagotelevision.com/Wfld32.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.chicagotelevision.com/whatson.htm&h=150&w=200&sz=9&tbnid=UxT1QDuTbkIJ:&tbnh=74&tbnw=99&hl=en&start=5&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dwfld%2B32%26hl%3Den%26lr%3D)


The signal of WFLD was just fine when the White Sox inked the deal but soon would become horrible as the John Hancock Center rose above the transmitter height of Marina City. The Hancock caused the UHF signal to bounce back south causing huge ghosting problems that are worse on UHF. WGN-TV transmitter was a little further south of the Hancock on the Prudential Building and wasn’t affected as much.

The other person I spoke with is beloved here at WSI and it may surprise you to learn that he has the site bookmarked and looks at it every day. He also says he has posted but he wouldn’t tell me as whom. ( I know his name at SoSH).

His take is that the Chicago White Sox continue to survive in spite of bad ownership, bad karma and other factors.

He points to the following


Being assigned to the AL West in 1969 which took them away from long time rivals Cleveland and Detroit, plus Boston and New York. Chicago baseball fans always tilted to the east which is why the Cubs got their way in 1969 staying in the East while Atlanta and Cincinnati went west. Then when Washington moved to Texas somehow MLB decided that MILWAUKEE not Chicago would move to the east.
The strike of 1994. While he thinks Cleveland would have wound up winning that year the truth is we will never know. In any event White Sox fans felt betrayed.
White Flag of 1997.
http://www.bostonphoenix.com/boston/music/other_stories/images/03501763.gif

But you know if the White Sox have a great season, a year from now people will be compaining here that they can't get good seats at the Cell.

Iwritecode
05-23-2005, 02:12 PM
Yep, that pretty much covers everything except the WFT of 1997...

Fenway
05-23-2005, 02:59 PM
I wanted to put this in What's The Score? (http://www.whitesoxinteractive.com/vbulletin/forumdisplay.php?f=18)



I believe if the White Sox can win the pennant and win the series they will own Chicago

let the Cubs keep downstate and Iowa

[/url][url="http://media.bonnint.net/apimage/STS14510280359.jpg"] (http://media.bonnint.net/apimage/STS14510280359.jpg)

Fenway
05-24-2005, 03:19 PM
This is an interesting letter to the editor that appear it some editions of the Tribune on Sunday

OTHER VIEWS THE READERS HAVE THEIR SAY


Sox should blame selves

John McHugh
Published May 21, 2005


GREEN OAKS, Ill. -- Your three Sunday stories failed to identify the real reasons for the Cubs-Sox popularity disparity, and they missed a couple of points regarding media coverage.

Looking back over a long and unfulfilling period of following what passes for major-league baseball in Chicago, I've identified some decisions that caused the eventual transition in Chicago fan support from the Sox to the Cubs. Unlike most fans, my experience was the opposite. After two decades as a Cubs fan, the South Side Hit Men sparked a slow but permanent shift in my interest to the White Sox. I'm still miserable, but the parking's better.

Until the early '80s, the White Sox were more popular. A gradual change, however, had begun years earlier when Sox owner Arthur Allyn moved TV games from Channel 9 to Channel 32 where a poor signal, amateurish production and limited reception capabilities hurt viewership. That was the beginning of a long slide.

Next was the Disco Demolition fiasco. I never thought of Bill Veeck as naive, but he should have known this was a blockhead idea. Despite his denials, I always suspected that Steve Dahl knew exactly what would happen.

The decision by Jerry Reinsdorf and Eddie Einhorn to put Sox games on pay television was the third nail in the coffin. Another critical factor was the introduction of night games at Wrigley Field.

The most damning moment, however, was the departure of Harry Caray. For years a mean-spirited and miserable grump on Sox telecasts, Caray reinvented himself as the lovable Grampa of Yuppieland, and suddenly it was trendy to be a Cubs fan.

Some people believe the new Sox Park is part of the problem, but that really isn't true. Yes, the upper deck is steep, but you acclimate in about five minutes.

And while the vast majority of seats at The Cell provide a magnificent view of the game, several media types continued to moan and groan for years about insignificant shortcomings.

But the fans ignored them, packing the park until the 1994 strike. Fairly or unfairly, they blamed Reinsdorf, and many never returned.

As a Sox fan I have no complaints about the fairness of the on-the-field media coverage. The Cubs do have two related advantages, however.

First, they seem to be immune to extended negative publicity. I recall a Cubs fan running onto the field to attack relief pitcher Randy Myers, as well as the Dodgers going into the stands after unruly Cubs fans. Maybe they were escaping falling concrete. There was even a homicide outside Wrigley Field. Yes, there was some unwelcome coverage, but it all seemed to blow away after a few days. The William Ligue situation, meanwhile, has been TV news fodder for years. I fully expect him to marry that runaway bride from Georgia during the current sweeps period while MaryAnn Ahern of Channel 5 breathlessly does play-by-play.

The other situation is far more subtle, and it's one where Sox management could help themselves. Maybe it's just the chip on my shoulder blocking my view, but it seems that crowd shots at Wrigley Field usually focus in on an attractive young adult, a red-cheeked kid or a nun. There is no shortage of the very same types of people at 35th and Shields, but the camera people can't seem to find them. If they ever do a close up of a nun at Sox Park, you can bet she'll have a tattoo.

The most baffling point of all concerns the White Sox officials responsible for creating a positive image. Still trying to recover from the Ligue mess, they actually scheduled a promotion later this summer honoring mullet hairdos.

If there's one thing I've learned following baseball all these years, it's that sometimes the White Sox can be their own worst enemy.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/chi-0505210212may21,1,6462465.story?ctrack=1&cset=true

daveeym
05-24-2005, 03:34 PM
The other person I spoke with is beloved here at WSI and it may surprise you to learn that he has the site bookmarked and looks at it every day. He also says he has posted but he wouldn’t tell me as whom. ( I know his name at SoSH).


FIxed it for ya.

SOXintheBURGH
05-24-2005, 03:42 PM
So wait...


:boston = ChiSoxTony!?!?

jackbrohamer
05-24-2005, 03:53 PM
Being assigned to the AL West in 1969 which took them away from long time rivals Cleveland and Detroit, plus Boston and New York. Chicago baseball fans always tilted to the east which is why the Cubs got their way in 1969 staying in the East while Atlanta and Cincinnati went west. Then when Washington moved to Texas somehow MLB decided that MILWAUKEE not Chicago would move to the east.

This was also big because it put the Sox in the same division as the great Oakland A's teams of the early 1970s, at a time when the AL East was pretty weak.

skobabe8
05-24-2005, 04:21 PM
Good work, Fenway. :gulp: