March 31, 2008

The Cubs Own Chicago; The White Sox Just Rent There: One team finally brings a World Series championship to Chicago, a much-maligned, double-jeopardy Charlie Brown of major league baseball. The other team "celebrates" 100 years since their last championship. So why are the White Sox the city's second-class citizen?

posted by dyams to baseball at 11:49 AM - 12 comments

Mariotti is a hack and I suppose this article was largely intended to tweak Ozzie, as there is no love lost between them. The Cubs are more popular than the Sox not because of how the organizations are run; if anything, the Sox have been better run over the past 10 or so years than the Cubs. The Cubs have the advantage of the long-suffering fan base and the lovable losers aspect that attracts fair weather fans in addition to lifers, a great stadium with a lot of character in the middle of a residential neighborhood that packs them in for its outdoor beer garden aspect regardless of the product on the field, and near-national television coverage on basic cable that has historically made for a lot of fans in non-Chicago markets. The Cubs are just now coming around to constructing and managing the team better, but that is more the result of having money to spend than good management principles.

posted by holden at 02:40 PM on March 31, 2008

I don read nothing tha Mairyotti rye. Da guy don know nothing bow beisbol.

posted by THX-1138 at 03:08 PM on March 31, 2008

It is a bit strange, though, when you really think about it. It's not like New York where the Yankees have been around decades and decades longer than the Mets. I really do think it's basically what holden said about Wrigley, the neighborhood, and, to a lesser extent, the "loveable loser" stuff. If it was the losing that attracts the fair-weather fans, nothing else, then could we expect a drop in support a year or so after the team (dreaming here, at this point) wins a World Series? And I'm no big Mariotti fan, but I doubt he's the only one who doesn't get along well with Guillen. He's got one of the quickest mouths in the game. Come to think of it, the "mouth" thing is something he and Mariotti have in common. Maybe that's why they have the dislike for each other; they both run their mouths too much.

posted by dyams at 03:35 PM on March 31, 2008

It's a money thing. Not the teams, but the fans. Cubs are north side, Sox are south. I'd bet the per capita income difference between them heavily favors the Cubs. Before anyone accuses me of class warfare, I used to live on the south side and earned an income commensurate with that demographic. I lived in Pilsen, about 20 blocks from Comiskey or whatever they call it these days, and one of the city's poorest neighborhoods. I wasn't a huge fan of either team, but generally preferred the Sox.

posted by drumdance at 05:59 PM on March 31, 2008

Holden is right, they're now just focusing on winning because of the loss of fair weather fans across town to the White Sox. The Cubs back in the early 80s had attendances around 10-15,000 a season, and now I believe this is the first season in a while they haven't sold out every ticket before the season started. Drumdance, remarkable there was a study done that compared them, and they came out about even.

posted by bnlfanmatt at 08:59 PM on March 31, 2008

The Cubs back in the early 80s had attendances around 10-15,000 a season. You might want to recheck those figures. That would indicate an average of about 123 to 185 fans per game.

posted by tommybiden at 09:24 PM on March 31, 2008

I should've stated "average game attendances around 10-15,000 every season"...

posted by bnlfanmatt at 02:40 AM on April 01, 2008

Trusting Mariotti to give you the honest scoop about Chicago's baseball dynamics is like trusting George Bush to give you the honest scoop about Iraq.

posted by Brett at 10:45 AM on April 01, 2008

Two words: Wrigley Field. The friendly confines oozes magic; Big Corporate Box field on the south side has no soul.

posted by sic at 02:25 PM on April 01, 2008

Big Corporate Box field on the south side has no soul. Agreed, though some of the fratboy fans in the bleachers at Wrigley can ruin the experience. I went to the new Comiskey in the first year it opened and thought I'd made a wrong turn and was at a shopping mall. Plus, watch your step in that 45 degree angle upper deck.

posted by drumdance at 03:51 PM on April 01, 2008

The Cubs have been sucking the fans of Chicago dry, and it's about time they finally started sinking some money into the team in an effort to win something. Seriously, 100 years without a championship? That's inexcusable for a team in a small market, let alone in one of the biggest cities in the US. A quaint stadium and neighborhood is enough to make their "fans" comfortable with losing? Some teams take crap for spending too much money, but the Cubs roll in cash and develop a history of not putting in back in the team. I was reminded watching yesterdays opener from Wrigley how the people who have the buildings outside the stadium have to give the club 17 percent of everything they take in from their properties. And whether or not Mariotti is a dick really has nothing to do with whether the premise of the story is true. I don't really think he's the only ego-maniac writer who doesn't see eye to eye with a franchise in the city they write for.

posted by dyams at 04:56 PM on April 01, 2008

If Mariotti being a dick has nothing to do with the premise, why link to his rantings rather than those of apparently countless others who characterize the White Sox, falsely, as the "second-class citizen" of Chicago? BNLfanmatt cited a survey that had the two teams even, and that's nearly correct; as of last summer's report the Sox had edged ahead of the Cubs in terms of overall fan popularity, behind only the Bears. That's sure to flip again this summer, as 90 losses tend to be a buzzkill, but nonethless it's remarkable that, at present, a yearly, blind, cross-sports, "scientific" survey posits that the White Sox are more popular than the Cubbies, the team in town that's an interest of the entity that controls the balance of sports media (owns WGN-TV and radio, Tribune, CLTV, partial owners of Comcast). If you think that's just windmill tilting, explain how it is that in 2005 and 2006, the season the White Sox won the first World Series in Chicago in 88 years and the season they won 90 games as reigning champions, the Tribune published 1,400 more stories mentioning the Cubs than the White Sox? Point to WGN's nationwide broadcasts, day baseball, Harry Caray, or the (laughable) soul of the ballpark all you want, but the media shapes opinions and designates exposure, for good and bad. It doesn't mean the ballpark isn't nice, the neighborhood isn't lively, or the team isn't good, but the Cubbies' popularity directly correlates to Tribune ownership. The spike in attendance and perception started once the area's (and one of the country's) most powerful media entity took over. Period.

posted by Brett at 04:34 PM on April 02, 2008

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