2005-05-17 - 7:03 p.m.
-The Cubs are by far the more popular baseball team, while the White Sox are less popular but their fans have a reputation of knowing more about baseball.* I've been hearing a lot of media types (yes, I'm talking to you, Fred Huebner) talk about how the Cubs' attendance is so amazing, but only since the mid-'80s has it been more about being a cool place to go than about baseball. Entirely untrue. In Bill Veeck's autobiography (read it. It rocks.), he talks about how the Cubs were selling tickets using "beautiful Wrigley Field" as a marketing scheme in the '30s. And how hard it was for him to deal with that when he later owned the Sox. The Cubs have marketed their team better, it's as simple as that.
Marketing, sadly, has more impact on sports than many people think. Just ask my other favorite sport, hockey, how it's doing in Florida (or anywhere right now, really). America's pastime is (has already?) shifted from baseball to football. People will often say it's because baseball is boring due to all the down time, but no. It's because football markets itself better. The time between pitches is just as long as the time it takes for huge, lumbering offensive linemen to move from the huddle to the line of scrimmage. Football, however, appeals to the masses in a way that baseball has forgotten how. Sixteen games makes for a sense of urgency surrounding every game. Whereas the timelessness of baseball (one would think SO NECESSARY in our rushed and harried lives right now) has become boring. I have a t-shirt that reads, "Baseball isn't boring, you are," and while I love it because it's true, it makes me sad. Because fans are leaving the sport that I love, one that can't be measured by time and that requires concentration and thought, for a sport that is measured in pounds and seconds and telestrators.
*I dispute that ALL of their fans know more about baseball. An example: I live six blocks from Comiskey and so I like to go to games now and then even though I'm not a Sox fan. I'm first a Cubs fan and second a Tigers fan (what with the growing up in Michigan and all), so when the Tigers come to Comiskey I try to go. I'm all in favor of some good-natured heckling when I got to an opposing stadium wearing my team's stuff. I wear my Tigers hat to Sox games and my Red Wings jersey to Blackhawks games, so I expect people to make comments. It's part of the fun. I don't, however, expect them to be idiots. Which is what I encountered while standing in line for tickets to a Sox/Tigers game at Comiskey last summer.
We all know the Drunk Cubs Fan Frat Boy stereotype. Let's analyze how this incident measures up.
Scene: My husband and I standing in line outside the park waiting to get tickets about 15 minutes before the start of the Sox/Tigers game. I was wearing a Tigers hat (and therefore expecting to get some ribbing), he was wearing something nondescript.
Random Twenty-Something Drunk White Guy: Hey! You! Go back to 8 Mile!
Me: *snickers, doesn't respond*
RT-SDWG: (getting louder) Hey! HEY! HEEEYYY! GO BACK TO 8 MILE! (repeats ad nauseum)
Me: *smirking, ignoring*
My Husband: (getting somewhat annoyed) You know, we probably live a lot closer to this park than you do, buddy.
RT-SDWG: Whatever, jerk. I live in the south suburbs!
Husband: Well, we live 6 blocks away.
RT-SDWG: Your team sucks, though.
Husband: (feeling absolutely horrible about using this line since he gets it ALL THE TIME being a Cubs fan, but the guy was really starting to piss him off) Really? When did you guys last win a World Series?
RT-SDWG: Well, neither of us were around in the 30s!
Me: (head jerks around) Huh?
Husband: What are you talking about? The Tigers won in '84. And '68. And '45.
RT-SDWG: (turns to his friends) When did we win last? (Friends, looking embarrassed: 1917, dude) Well, whatever. Screw you!
It was great. And then, the guy was in our section a few rows down from us, so we were able to observe his drunken idiocy at close range.
Disclaimer: I don't hate all Sox fans by any means. I do, however, hate ALL drunken idiot fans of any team. And if you're going to heckle someone? Be sure to know more about your own team than they do.
So, Steven at Chicago Media Monitor mentioned my rant yesterday about team loyalty. So all of you male readers clicked on over and were probably traumatized for life by my PMS-laden antics. Sorry about that. I promise I'm not usually so estrogen-soaked. But hi!
Why so short?
All, I usually don't write terribly short entries. Today, however, I have an extremely important engagement. Ahem, I mean a homebrewing club meeting 1 1/2 block from my house. Far better to drink homebrew with good company than to write, don't you agree? I'll have a little for each of you.
For the beer lovers among you: if you're available on May 26th, run -- don't walk -- to your nearest telephone. Call Rock Bottom Brewery at Grand & State in Chicago, and buy your tickets for the Brewers Dinner. Just trust me on this. $35 for a 5 course meal, beer pairings for each course, and unlimited refills on any beers you want. *drools*
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