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  #16  
Old 11-28-2008, 05:19 PM
soxrepublican soxrepublican is offline
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Originally Posted by skobabe8 View Post
You and I know the place is open everyday, but we are in the vast minority. The one time I went there on a non-game day, I had to be privately escorted up the elevator, and the place had to be unlocked for me. Plus, the woman who brought me up there sat and waited for me to buy something because she had to lock it back up when I was done and escort me back down. Not exactly the best set-up for a place of business.
Yea, they are *******s sometimes. And they need to advertise it more, and improve it
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  #17  
Old 11-28-2008, 05:43 PM
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Yea, they are *******s sometimes. And they need to advertise it more, and improve it
Dude I'm not calling anyone an *******. The lady in my case was just doing what she was supposed to do. It's the situation that isnt good. Hence my original opinion that we need a nice, large team store to be built in the parking lot.
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  #18  
Old 11-28-2008, 06:12 PM
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Strictly from a practical assessment of which ramps improve access and egress from the ballpark, the logical set of Gate 5 ramps to remove would be the WEST ramps, not the east ones. This is because the overwhelming majority of fans using Gate 5 are the ones crossing Wentworth Avenue from the adjacent Red Line and Green Line stops northeast of the ballpark.

But the Sox are tearing down the EAST ramps which certainly opens up space near Wentworth Avenue that previously was partially taken up with these ramps. This same general area also fronts the Dan Ryan Expressway; This is prime real estate, immediately adjacent to the 35th Street exit ramp off southbound I-90/94. In fact it's so important, the Sox have their main digital signage on this precise corner.

The smart money guesses this Gate 5 renovation is simply the first step in a two- or three-step process to use the northwest corner of 35th and Wentworth for something of greater value to the Sox than an extra set of ramps.

Speculate all you want what it might be... suffice to say whatever it is, it will be a vast improvement.
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  #19  
Old 11-28-2008, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by PaleHoseGeorge View Post
Strictly from a practical assessment of which ramps improve access and egress from the ballpark, the logical set of Gate 5 ramps to remove would be the WEST ramps, not the east ones. This is because the overwhelming majority of fans using Gate 5 are the ones crossing Wentworth Avenue from the adjacent Red Line and Green Line stops northeast of the ballpark.
They better let people use those escalators to exit the ballpark (even if they don't turn them on considering it a safety hazard). If they don't, everyone on that side of the ballpark would use that 1 ramp they'd have left, causing a complete cluster****. That could turn into a nightmare.
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  #20  
Old 11-28-2008, 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by chisoxfanatic View Post
They better let people use those escalators to exit the ballpark (even if they don't turn them on considering it a safety hazard). If they don't, everyone on that side of the ballpark would use that 1 ramp they'd have left, causing a complete cluster****. That could turn into a nightmare.
Maybe I'm wrong, but in my experience the Gate 5 north ramps aren't very crowded compared to the ones west (Gate 3) and south (Gate 2) of the ballpark. The biggest joke are the Gate 6 ramps, just south and east of Gate 5 near 35th in the left-field corner. You could roll a bowling bowl down that one and never hit a soul.

Maybe that's why half of Gate 5 is going bye-bye?
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  #21  
Old 11-28-2008, 07:59 PM
soxrepublican soxrepublican is offline
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Originally Posted by skobabe8 View Post
Dude I'm not calling anyone an *******. The lady in my case was just doing what she was supposed to do. It's the situation that isnt good. Hence my original opinion that we need a nice, large team store to be built in the parking lot.
I misspoke. I ment to say that the system is screwed up. But the lot isnt the best thing ether in my opinion. Crime could be one of many problems. So I belive if they expand the existing one, advertise it, make it convient, that would be cool. Make it a whole big deal. Let people walk around. Have tours. Throw on some dogs. Sell tix, in fact, let people choose seats for games and season tix. Make it cool, and let it be known. So, skobabe, we agree that the shop should be fixed, and lets let it be known!
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  #22  
Old 11-28-2008, 08:26 PM
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I would also hasten to note that the #1 target audience for any sort of Sox restaurant/bar or gift shop would be all that foot traffic streaming back and forth along 35th Street to and from the Red Line and Green Line stops.

These fans especially have time to kill waiting for whatever train they choose to take, whether fighting through sweaty crowds on an early train, or spending a few more bucks at 35th & Wentworth, drinks, novelties or food... it's all extra revenue for the Sox. It's remote location (away from the Bridgeport neighborhood) is a plus, too... a near-perfect location for milking a captive audience.

35th & Wentworth is also ideal for everyday automobile-driving Sox Fans, too. It's visible from the Dan Ryan and the southbound exit ramp literally runs right past the corner.

This makes perfect sense to me. I say tear down some more ramps and make every exit go right past 35th & Wentworth.
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  #23  
Old 11-28-2008, 09:21 PM
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They could have had this since day one but they were venal and shortsighted. I still think they should have ponied up to move McCuddy's to the North side of 35th. Well, maybe they will put some outside tables under the trees that are now in the lee of the East end of gate 5 and used to be by the advance ticket window on 35th street in the old park.

I give them credit for doing it, but it's amazing how they didn't think of it before. Setting up the park as a suburban-type venue, in an ocean of parking lots didn't make any sense in 1989-1990 either, and it was commented on at the time. That was back in the days when management still had fantasies about what the Sox potential market demographic was. It added to the problems inherent in the original design of the ballpark itself. Now that they have pretty much fixed the actual ballpark, these changes will add to the attractiveness of the park holistically. It certainly will make use of its urban setting to much greater advantage. Taking advantage of the local geography was a large factor in creating the goldmine on the North side - a venue that traditionally drew far fewer fans than the Sox in the 50s, 60s, and 70s.

Living fairly close by, I know I will be at that bar fairly often pre and perhaps post-game. It will be a great place to meet up with folks before games.

It should also produce revenue off-season as well.

Again, I give management credit for finally figuring it out. But why did it take almost 20 years?
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  #24  
Old 11-29-2008, 02:17 PM
soxrepublican soxrepublican is offline
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They could have had this since day one but they were venal and shortsighted. I still think they should have ponied up to move McCuddy's to the North side of 35th. Well, maybe they will put some outside tables under the trees that are now in the lee of the East end of gate 5 and used to be by the advance ticket window on 35th street in the old park.

I give them credit for doing it, but it's amazing how they didn't think of it before. Setting up the park as a suburban-type venue, in an ocean of parking lots didn't make any sense in 1989-1990 either, and it was commented on at the time. That was back in the days when management still had fantasies about what the Sox potential market demographic was. It added to the problems inherent in the original design of the ballpark itself. Now that they have pretty much fixed the actual ballpark, these changes will add to the attractiveness of the park holistically. It certainly will make use of its urban setting to much greater advantage. Taking advantage of the local geography was a large factor in creating the goldmine on the North side - a venue that traditionally drew far fewer fans than the Sox in the 50s, 60s, and 70s.

Living fairly close by, I know I will be at that bar fairly often pre and perhaps post-game. It will be a great place to meet up with folks before games.

It should also produce revenue off-season as well.

Again, I give management credit for finally figuring it out. But why did it take almost 20 years?

Interesting. Good post.
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  #25  
Old 11-29-2008, 04:49 PM
JNS JNS is offline
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Wrigley had its infrastructure built-in. North side, lots of bars, clubs, and restaurants already there. However, North Lakeview, now known as Wrigleyville wasn't all that viable till the 80s - its gentrification coincided with the Trib buying the Cubs. Till the 80s North Lakeview was a fairly tough area, with a large Hispanic population, and a few vestages of the German working class folks who lived there since the late 1800s. As the area gentrified (smart people at the Trib probably were aware that it was bound to happen) - decent housing stock, close to the lake, close to "Boystown" on Halstead, and to Lincoln Park/Newtown that ran from about Armitage up to Roscoe or Cornielia. So all they had to do was to start marketing the ballpark (the Wrigley Field experience) and everything took off all at once - it became a money machine, and - and this is very important when talking about the Cubs - IT DIDN'T MATTER THAT THE TEAM WAS NO GOOD. It was all about the experience. Getting night baseball in 1989 was the dessert. Either way, you go to the game, then eat and drink, capping the night off at some club or another. A yuppie's garden of Eden.

The infrastructure wasn't there on the South side. Just McCuddy's, a picturesque dump that sold Dog Style in plastic cups.

There was the Ryan, the big projects on the other side of it, and some low-rise projects running between 36th street and Pershing Road. Parking lots and a few industrial-type buildings housing various businesses. To the West was the railroad viaduct, and beyond that, and to the North was Bridgeport.

But when management extorted the new ballpark out of the taxpayers by threatening to move to St. Pete in the late 80s, there was a chance to change all that and develop the area, which was pretty fallow. The low-rise projects to the South were raised, as were the industrial buildings on or near the perimeter of the ballpark area. But management didn't want to bring in private development, because that would mean someone besides them would be selling beer and food. And they wanted every single penny from every mug of Bud or Falstaff or whatever swill they were selling then, and from every tube of ratmeat and every peanut.

In fairness, the concept of integrated development; ballpark, retail, food and booze, wasn't all that well developed in the late 80s, but by the time the new park was finished it was the 90s (OK, the very early 90s, but still...) and if they had any marketing savvy or a well thought out concept of how they were going to draw folks to the area they would have come up with something. The Robert Taylor Homes across the Ryan were a problem, but the Ryan was and is a good barrier - they didn't have to wait till the projects were torn down.

This development will allow the Sox to compete with the Cubs on the level of something like "the White Sox baseball and entertainment experience." The next step is to encourage private development so that folks will have choices. When I was a kid, people would go to the Stock Yard Inn for dinner after a day game. Of course its been gone for decades, but the area and a legion of would-be Sox fans are waiting for more stuff to do in the immediate area. Given the economy as it now stands it might take a while, but this is a good start - better late than never!

Last edited by JNS; 11-29-2008 at 08:16 PM.
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  #26  
Old 11-29-2008, 06:16 PM
soxrepublican soxrepublican is offline
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Originally Posted by JNS View Post
Wrigley had its infrastructure built-in. North side, lots of bars, clubs, and restaurants already there. However, North Lakeview, now known as Wrigleyville wasn't all that viable till the 80s - its gentrification coincided with the Trib buying the Cubs. Till the 80s North Lakeview was a fairly tough area, with a large Hispanic population, and a few vestages of the German working class folks who lived there since the late 1800s. As the area gentrified (smart people at the Trib probably were aware that it was bound to happen) - decent housing stock, close to the lake, close to "Boystown" on Halstead, and to Lincoln Park/Newtown that ran from about Armitage up to Roscoe or Cornielia. So all they had to do was to start marketing the ballpark (the Wrigley Field experience) and everything took off all at once - it became a money machine, and - and this is very important when talking about the Cubs - IT DIDN'T MATTER THAT THE TEAM WAS NO GOOD. It was all about the experience. Getting night baseball in 1989 was the dessert. Either way, you go to the game, then eat and drink, capping the night off at some club or another. A yuppie's garden of Eden.

The infrastructure wasn't there on the South side. Just McCuddy's, a picturesque dump that sold Dog Style in plastic cups.

There was the Ryan, the big projects on the other side of it, and some low-rise projects running between 36th street and Pershing Road. Parking lots and a few industrial-type buildings housing various businesses. To the West was the railroad viaduct, and beyond that, and to the North was Bridgeport.

But when management extorted the new ballpark out of the taxpayers by threatening to move to St. Pete in the late 80s, there was a chance to change all that and develop the area, which was pretty fallow. The low-rise projects to the South were raised, as were the industrial buildings on or near the perimeter of the ballpark area. But management didn't want to bring in private development, because that would mean someone besides them would be selling beer and food. And they wanted every single penny from every mug of Bud or Falstaff or whatever swill they were selling then, and from every tube of ratmeat and every peanut.

In fairness, the concept of integrated development; ballpark, retail, food and booze, wasn't all that well developed in the late 80s, but by the time the new park was finished it was the 90s (OK, the very early 90s, but still...) and if they had any marketing savvy or a well thought out concept of how they were going to draw folks to the area they would have come up with something. The Robert Taylor Homes across the Ryan were a problem, but the Ryan was and is a good barrier - they didn't have to wait till the projects were torn down.

This development will allow the Sox to compete with the Cubs on the level of something like "the White Sox baseball and entertainment experience." The next step is to encourage private development so that folks will have choices. When I was a kid, people would go to the Stock Yard Inn for dinner after a day game. Of course its been gone for decades, but the area and a legion of would-be Sox fans are waiting for more stuff to do in the immediate area. Given the economy as it now stands it might take a while, but this is a good start - just 18 years late!

Wow. Your like my second mouth. In a good way.
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  #27  
Old 11-29-2008, 07:14 PM
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....

This development will allow the Sox to compete with the Cubs on the level of something like "the White Sox baseball and entertainment experience." The next step is to encourage private development so that folks will have choices. When I was a kid, people would go to the Stock Yard Inn for dinner after a day game. Of course its been gone for decades, but the area and a legion of would-be Sox fans are waiting for more stuff to do in the immediate area. Given the economy as it now stands it might take a while, but this is a good start - just 18 years late!
I feel your assessment sums up neatly the problems the Sox have faced both prior to building New Comiskey and the design failures spotlighted afterwards, too.

It's just my opinion but I believe the reason the Sox stumbled so badly through this period (roughly 1985 - 2000) is because nobody in the front office really had much of a clue how to market the ballclub or how to successfully sell the product to their own fanbase. Their blunders are recounted all over WSI...

It's amazing how much progress the ballclub began to make earlier this decade to market the ballclub better and winning a world championship has brought a virtual sea change in the attitude of the average Sox Fan.

Rather than declare "18 years late", I would prefer to note "Better late than never."
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  #28  
Old 11-29-2008, 08:03 PM
soxrepublican soxrepublican is offline
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I feel your assessment sums up neatly the problems the Sox have faced both prior to building New Comiskey and the design failures spotlighted afterwards, too.

It's just my opinion but I believe the reason the Sox stumbled so badly through this period (roughly 1985 - 2000) is because nobody in the front office really had much of a clue how to market the ballclub or how to successfully sell the product to their own fanbase. Their blunders are recounted all over WSI...

It's amazing how much progress the ballclub began to make earlier this decade to market the ballclub better and winning a world championship has brought a virtual sea change in the attitude of the average Sox Fan.

Rather than declare "18 years late", I would prefer to note "Better late than never."

Yes, the big part of the problem was the front office being clueless, but the winning squads we have had on the field the past few years has been about 70% of the reason we are finally filling up good ol Comiskey, the other 30% is the renovations etc.
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  #29  
Old 11-29-2008, 08:14 PM
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It's just my opinion but I believe the reason the Sox stumbled so badly through this period (roughly 1985 - 2000) is because nobody in the front office really had much of a clue how to market the ballclub or how to successfully sell the product to their own fanbase. Their blunders are recounted all over WSI...

It's amazing how much progress the ballclub began to make earlier this decade to market the ballclub better and winning a world championship has brought a virtual sea change in the attitude of the average Sox Fan.

Rather than declare "18 years late", I would prefer to note "Better late than never."
I agree - and sure I'll adjust "18 years late" to "Better late than never."

As much as selling the naming rights was a drag, the dough has made a tremendous difference. And folks call the park what they want to - I noticed you called it White Sox Park in an earlier post - a name (if I'm not mistaken) that the old park had for a few years during the Allyn regime. I tend to call it Comiskey, not out of some pique at the re-naming of it, but out of habit.

Anyhow, I see the hand of Boyer in all this stuff - he's really good. There are lots of marketing pros out there, none of whom worked for the Sox until they brought Brooks across town, but he certainly was the right choice. I can't think of a single new facility or change in the "look and feel" of the place that I disagree with. He turned a lousy ballpark into a really nice one - I know a lot of people, including a few Cubs fans, who find it much more comfortable and fan-friendly than Wrigley.

So now he's going to work on the environs.

One of the interesting aspects of this is the changing face of Bridgeport. I think the bad economy and the even worse housing market will to some extent stunt the growth of the developments East of the Ryan, but over the past ten years, Bridgeport has gotten a lot more diverse and upscale. My kid plays soccer with kids from Bridgeport whose parents are lawyers and bankers. The housing stock is OK, it's super-cheap compared to Hyde Park, South Loop/Burnham Park or anywhere North of the river, and access to downtown is fantastic with the Orange Line and arterial streets like Archer.

Irony is not dead - Sox ownership lamented the proletarian nature of the Sox fan base for years, and now it may come to pass (if we aren't slipping into Great Depression II) that those upscale fans and younger, fairly affluent types they so wanted to attract back in the day may be infiltrating into that most working class of communities, Bridgeport!

I'm curious. How do the ISA and their tenant - the Sox - interact on these sorts of external projects? I mean, I'm blaming Sox management for not going in this direction earlier, but the ISA is the landlord after all, and guys like Peter Byno - I think he still runs it - are supposed to be smart too. What if any is their role in the development of the facility and its outside amenities?
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  #30  
Old 11-29-2008, 08:23 PM
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Yes, the big part of the problem was the front office being clueless, but the winning squads we have had on the field the past few years has been about 70% of the reason we are finally filling up good ol Comiskey, the other 30% is the renovations etc.
Absolutely. Boyer took the fairly bold step of reducing seating capacity to make the place better. And it worked. Sometimes less is more!
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