Saturday, June 18, 2005
Patrick's Saturday Six -- White Sox and Cubs Play Yankees and Dodgers Edition
US Cellular Field Sox Park New Comiskey
Every year around this time there is a renewed discussion about why Wrigley Field is filled to capacity when the Cubs can't buy a win, but Sox Park [The Cell, or New Comiskey -- not ComiNskey by the way] is only half full, even though this year they have the best record in baseball.
Here's the deal. WGN owns the Cubs. They have a SuperStation that reaches the whole country pretty much. When the Cubs are playing you know you can watch the game on WGN. Or listen to it on WGN-radio. Anywhere in the country. No matter where you are, you can always find the Cubs game.
Also Wrigley is smack dab in the middle of a hefty amount of neighborhood restaurants and bars, not to mention it's located where a huge chunk of young singles live. They even call the neighborhood Wrigleyville. How's that for marketing?
I grew up on the southside of Chicago. Northsiders followed the Cubs. Southsiders followed the White Sox. After Bill Veeck died, the new owner of the White Sox had an attack of the stupids. He gave the local TV rights to an obscure cable channel, when no one had cable. So you couldn't find a White Sox game to save your life. That meant most Sox fans were SOL when it came to following their team. To this day I can't tell you what TV or radio station carries their games.
That was strike one. Also strike two. Strike three was when they took down Comiskey Park and all the neighborhood places around it. So there was no place to go before or after, like there is in "Wrigleyville." "Cellular-ville" just doesn't have the same cache.
One ofthe local TV anchors here suggested that the White Sox take over part of the parking lot at The Cell and have southside restaurants pitch tents and bring the party to the park on game nights. Great idea. They haven't done it.
Actually, if you're a fan, The Cell is great for watching baseball. The hotdogs are better than Wrigley. You can leave your seat and still watch the game while you get food. There's a great promenade. And a place to cool off under an outdoor shower on a hot day -- hey it's fun. You can walk from the EL just like you can walk from the elevated at Wrigley. The stop for The Cell is actually closer than the one at Wrigley.
But when you leave your fan base to fend for themselves -- and they can't find the game on TV, and have to hunt for it on the radio, they start watching the other team, because they can find the game. That's how I became a Cubs fan, too. I'll never abandon the Sox. But they sure don't make it easy.
TIME FOR THE SIX
1. Do you do a yearly "spring cleaning" in your home? If so, have you done this year's version, yet?
Have you ever heard of spring carpet bombing?
2. Have you ever been blindfolded and asked to identify which of two drinks is Pepsi or Coke? If you haven't, do you think you could tell the difference?
I did the Pepsi/Coke test outside the building where I worked years ago. Pepsi is sweeter. I can tell every time.
3. You find out that you're going to have a child: what baby names will you choose?
Something minority sounding. Like a woman I know whose name is Juanita Dougherty. Her mother just liked the song "Juanita." She is about as Hispanic as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. But she gets the PC nod anyway.
So, I'd go with something like Enrique or Tanaka or Soonyi or Omeka. What? You have a problem with that? Do you know how hard it is to get your kid into college these days? Schools want diversity. And I'm plain whitebread with no crust. So you have to give your kids something to help them get an edge. And my only option is to get creative with names.
You think it doesn't matter? I have a friend with the family name Euphemia. There was a St. Euphemia somewhere in the middle ages. So she could be Catholic. But she isn't. However, she is convinced that she got into law school because the admissions people thought she was a member of a minority thanks to her name.
Apparently the confusion has happened to her before. And when there's no ethnic box to check, people tend to make assumptions about your name. Rightly or wrongly. Might as well make it work for you.
Relax, I couldn't have a baby now without divine intervention. And even then it would take a miracle.
4. You must become one of the Brady Bunch kids for a single day: which one would you choose to become and why?
Do I look like I watched the Brady Bunch?
5. Where are you going for summer vacation this year?
If I have time, I want to get to London to visit my younger daughter. And see how Camilla is settling in as Chuck's trophy wife.
6. What is the most religious thing you do on a day-to-day basis?
Every time I drive onthe Chicago freeways I get religion.