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BringBackTheVet

Chicago Baseball Discussion: Cubs & White Sox

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Why are the White Sox seemingly irrelevant?  They have very little (if any) national following, and seem to be a "local" team even within Chicago, with the Cubs being "Chicagoland's team".

 

Nationally, there doesn't seem to be any difference between the White Sox and Pirates, despite the White Sox having their own century of futility, but the Cubs are on a whole different level when it comes to fandom.

 

Is it the stadium?  Location within Chicago?  Harry Carey?  Uniforms?

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1 hour ago, BringBackTheVet said:

Why are the White Sox seemingly irrelevant?  They have very little (if any) national following, and seem to be a "local" team even within Chicago, with the Cubs being "Chicagoland's team".

 

Nationally, there doesn't seem to be any difference between the White Sox and Pirates, despite the White Sox having their own century of futility, but the Cubs are on a whole different level when it comes to fandom.

 

Is it the stadium?  Location within Chicago?  Harry Carey?  Uniforms?

 

The Cubs were on WGN-TV in the '80s when it gained superstation status. Meanwhile, Jerry Reinsdorf took the White Sox off WGN and put them on a UHF station that required a special decoder box to watch. (The channel also aired The Erotic Adventures of Hercules-type softcore porn,) The Sox made money off their TV deal, but Harry Caray didn't like the idea of broadcasting to a smaller audience and bolted for the Cubs. The Cubs had a better flair for marketing at the time than the White Sox did (after being fun and countercultural under Veeck, the early Reinsdorf years seemed dedicated to actively alienating everybody. Come to think of it, so do the recent ones), and Harry and Wrigley Field became national stars. The stadium issues contribute a little, in that while the Cubs marketed Wrigley's bugs as features, the Sox let Old Comiskey rot, whined about it, and threatened to move to what's now the Trop in what by all accounts was a pretty unpleasant chapter of history. Even if New Comiskey is a fine place to watch a game, they never quite figured out how to out-market Wrigley as a fun place to sit outside and hang out. And honestly, that's what a lot of going to baseball is. I'm a miserable joyless sports fan, as you all know, but even I think some Sox fans get a little too up their own asses about what scholars of the game they are and how they demand excellence and allow themselves no fun. 

 

Also, the north side and the suburbs that fan out from it have always been more populous (and on average, wealthier) than the south. The Cubs and Sox went back and forth for a while as the more popular team, but you get the feeling that from here on out the Sox are pretty much cemented as the #2 team, a lot of it by their own doing.

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1 hour ago, the admiral said:

 

The Cubs were on WGN-TV in the '80s when it gained superstation status. Meanwhile, Jerry Reinsdorf took the White Sox off WGN and put them on a UHF station that required a special decoder box to watch. (The channel also aired The Erotic Adventures of Hercules-type softcore porn,) The Sox made money off their TV deal, but Harry Caray didn't like the idea of broadcasting to a smaller audience and bolted for the Cubs. The Cubs had a better flair for marketing at the time than the White Sox did (after being fun and countercultural under Veeck, the early Reinsdorf years seemed dedicated to actively alienating everybody. Come to think of it, so do the recent ones), and Harry and Wrigley Field became national stars. The stadium issues contribute a little, in that while the Cubs marketed Wrigley's bugs as features, the Sox let Old Comiskey rot, whined about it, and threatened to move to what's now the Trop in what by all accounts was a pretty unpleasant chapter of history. Even if New Comiskey is a fine place to watch a game, they never quite figured out how to out-market Wrigley as a fun place to sit outside and hang out. And honestly, that's what a lot of going to baseball is. I'm a miserable joyless sports fan, as you all know, but even I think some Sox fans get a little too up their own asses about what scholars of the game they are and how they demand excellence and allow themselves no fun. 

 

Also, the north side and the suburbs that fan out from it have always been more populous (and on average, wealthier) than the south. The Cubs and Sox went back and forth for a while as the more popular team, but you get the feeling that from here on out the Sox are pretty much cemented as the #2 team, a lot of it by their own doing.

So it's as recent as the 80s that the Cubs started distancing themselves?  I guess Cousin Larry wearing the jersey in the opening of Perfect Strangers meant a lot more than I thought it did back then.

 

I just assumed that it was always Cubs (well at least since the Banks years.)  Around here, lots of kids had cubs caps in the 80s (mostly due to Ryne Sandberg I guess) but as a catcher in little league, I always loved it when I could watch the White Sox on the Saturday game of the week so I could see Fisk.

 

I've been to Chicago many times, and it's easily my favorite American city (of course I've never been there in winter.)  One time my idiot friend booked a place on the South Side, and while it didn't seem that far removed from things, there was police in the parking lot every night and yeah I guess I can see why people wouldn't want to go out of their way to go there for a game, unlike Wrigley which just has a fantastic atmosphere (though I would imagine as a Cubs fan it would be annoying to see so many visiting road-trippers every game.)

 

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Yeah, he used to do the games with Jimmy Piersall, I'm told they were some pretty fun telecasts. Piersall beat the crap out of a beat reporter one time or something. Weirder still, Reinsdorf replaced Harry with, of all people, Don Drysdale (and Hawk Harrelson, who I think left and came back a few times).

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13 hours ago, BringBackTheVet said:

Why are the White Sox seemingly irrelevant?  They have very little (if any) national following, and seem to be a "local" team even within Chicago, with the Cubs being "Chicagoland's team".

 

Nationally, there doesn't seem to be any difference between the White Sox and Pirates, despite the White Sox having their own century of futility, but the Cubs are on a whole different level when it comes to fandom.

 

Is it the stadium?  Location within Chicago?  Harry Carey?  Uniforms?

 

In times like these, I miss The Old Roman and would love to get his spin on this.

 

Many Sox fans have written about this and while Admiral's synopsis is on point, I'll just add two more for context.

 

- Currently, I would consider the divide to be something close to how certain fans of the WWE complain about the product being more about "sports entertainment" than "wrestling." Everything within a five mile radius of Wrigley has been, or will be, gentrified beyond belief to fill the need of doe-eyed hopefuls from Big Ten colleges coming to the "big city" and wanting to spend their party years barhopping and be close to wherever the action is. Since these neighborhoods are more attractive to new citizens of our democratic republic, they give people more incentive to check out the stadium and the surrounding areas, so even though the city probably has the same amount of diehards for either side, the Cubs have a humongous lure for the casual and relocated fans. If you took those things away and had the Cubs be in a new modern facility somewhere near O'Hare, I would be extremely skeptical the same lure would be there. Could the Sox do something similar and build a 'Soxtown' of sorts near IIT? Maybe, but because it's in the 'ghetto' - i.e. close to black people - the white flight will help keep the Sox from ever really being able to challenge the Cubs in their mythology and popularity.

- One of the ongoing points of trash talk I get from meatheads in blue and red is how they would never go to Bridgeport because they'd 'get shot.' What's funny is Bridgeport is a city worker and cop haven and tends to be in the low range of violent crimes. Compare that to the recent uptick in violence off the Belmont and Addison Red Line stops and the illusion of Lakeview being this idyllic neighborhood gets some tear around the edges. Also throw into the mix Bridgeport is one of the top five neighborhoods in terms of racial diversity and the illusion takes another hit. 

     What I'd argue is more of a factor is how Reinsdorf is similar in many ways to good ol' Dollar Bill, never really going all in on a full rebuild so the Sox could stay competitive for 5-10 years, but rather going after bigger free agents that were supposed to help, ultimately gutting the farm system. They could've been in the 2nd WC spot in 2006 and if they would've made a deep run then, along with their appearance in 2008, maybe the Sox have a little more lure for displaced UIC kids from University Village and the ever gentrifying Pilsen. But unless things changed in a pretty drastic socio-economic way, the Cubs will firmly remain the golden child in Chicago baseball.

 

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2 hours ago, Alex Houston said:

 

In times like these, I miss The Old Roman and would love to get his spin on this.

 

Many Sox fans have written about this and while Admiral's synopsis is on point, I'll just add two more for context.

 

- Currently, I would consider the divide to be something close to how certain fans of the WWE complain about the product being more about "sports entertainment" than "wrestling." Everything within a five mile radius of Wrigley has been, or will be, gentrified beyond belief to fill the need of doe-eyed hopefuls from Big Ten colleges coming to the "big city" and wanting to spend their party years barhopping and be close to wherever the action is. Since these neighborhoods are more attractive to new citizens of our democratic republic, they give people more incentive to check out the stadium and the surrounding areas, so even though the city probably has the same amount of diehards for either side, the Cubs have a humongous lure for the casual and relocated fans. If you took those things away and had the Cubs be in a new modern facility somewhere near O'Hare, I would be extremely skeptical the same lure would be there. Could the Sox do something similar and build a 'Soxtown' of sorts near IIT? Maybe, but because it's in the 'ghetto' - i.e. close to black people - the white flight will help keep the Sox from ever really being able to challenge the Cubs in their mythology and popularity.

- One of the ongoing points of trash talk I get from meatheads in blue and red is how they would never go to Bridgeport because they'd 'get shot.' What's funny is Bridgeport is a city worker and cop haven and tends to be in the low range of violent crimes. Compare that to the recent uptick in violence off the Belmont and Addison Red Line stops and the illusion of Lakeview being this idyllic neighborhood gets some tear around the edges. Also throw into the mix Bridgeport is one of the top five neighborhoods in terms of racial diversity and the illusion takes another hit. 

     What I'd argue is more of a factor is how Reinsdorf is similar in many ways to good ol' Dollar Bill, never really going all in on a full rebuild so the Sox could stay competitive for 5-10 years, but rather going after bigger free agents that were supposed to help, ultimately gutting the farm system. They could've been in the 2nd WC spot in 2006 and if they would've made a deep run then, along with their appearance in 2008, maybe the Sox have a little more lure for displaced UIC kids from University Village and the ever gentrifying Pilsen. But unless things changed in a pretty drastic socio-economic way, the Cubs will firmly remain the golden child in Chicago baseball.

 

 

The Cubs moving to Rosemont, as Fake Ted Cruz threatened to do, absolutely would have killed Cubs fandom as we know it. A land of airport hotels, outlet malls, midrise office buildings, convention centers, and a giant airport is not a place people want to go, it's a place people have to go. While I have a weird sentimental attachment to the far northwest side (Jefferson Park and thereabouts always felt like The Realest Chicago to me), the O'Hare area is a total bummer. It would have been Sox-sized crowds and suburbanites kidding themselves that MB Financial Park or whatever is Actually Better than being in a major global metropolis because they validate parking. I think the Rickettses knew it, too, and the whole thing was never meant to be taken seriously.

 

I'd argue that more in the way of developing an area around Comiskey is the philosophy of controlling all ancillary gameday revenue. Comiskey was designed as sort of a walled garden where you pay to park, pay to get in, pay to eat, pay for a shirt, and when there's nothing left to pay for, go home. They didn't want what Wrigley had because none of that stuff around there directly made the Cubs any money. And now the Cubs don't like it themselves because they see the whole milieu that made their games such a destination in the first place as nothing but a bunch of freeloaders. Both teams are wrong.

 

I've been to Bridgeport now and then and not been shot, though one time some guy did call me a sex-F-wording gay-F-word for wearing a Cubs hat. Admittedly, I made a conscious decision to wear the hat that day.

 

As for drafting/development, the White Sox under Kenny Williams have always been about eschewing statistical analysis and fetishizing athleticism to a fault, because Kenny Williams himself was a really good athlete. It's a weird parallel to Billy Beane, who was hyped for his athletic gifts, turned out to suck at baseball, and devoted his career to never making the mistakes that everyone made with him. Williams just doubled down on his own experience for better or worse, and if you say "but there's a new Smart Guy GM, Kenny got kicked upstairs," well, look at the Bulls and remember who you're dealing with. I don't buy the big Baseball Prospectus books anymore (in fact, I don't think they even print 'em now), but the White Sox were always near the bottom in pipeline rankings, and I doubt that's changed since. There's never been a premium on building from the ground up like there's been with the Twins, Indians, A's, Braves, or Cardinals, and the Cubs themselves only started caring in the last five years.

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2 hours ago, Alex Houston said:

In times like these, I miss The Old Roman and would love to get his spin on this.

 

Miss?  O_O  Where'd he go?

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I was just wondering why it seems there is a lot more coverage of the Cubs winning the World Series than what the White Sox got in 2005.  About ten years seemed to separate them as far as series appearances go and a few years between winning the World Series. I'm from the northeast so I have no idea if Chicago is a 80 percent Cubs, 20 percent White Sox but it seems that way. Thanks for any feedback.

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4 minutes ago, joekono said:

I was just wondering why it seems there is a lot more coverage of the Cubs winning the World Series than what the White Sox got in 2005.  About ten years seemed to separate them as far as series appearances go and a few years between winning the World Series. I'm from the northeast so I have no idea if Chicago is a 80 percent Cubs, 20 percent White Sox but it seems that way. Thanks for any feedback.

 

I don't think the percentage is that bad, but there is more Cubs support.

 

Things to also keep in mind: the Cubs' long-running presence on WGN and were owned by the Chicago Tribune from 1981-2008 and the Tribune made a lot of effort to build up the Cubs' fanbase.

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.Did we have Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat or IPhones in 2005? That's what I thought.

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Because the Cubs just ended a 108-year championship doubt and put to bed one of the most famous and storied "curses" in sports history. Because the Cubs were branded as "lovable losers" for so long, and now they've finally won. 

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4 hours ago, officeglenn said:

Because the Cubs just ended a 108-year championship doubt and put to bed one of the most famous and storied "curses" in sports history. Because the Cubs were branded as "lovable losers" for so long, and now they've finally won. 

 

Because, basically, the White Sox were and have been a terrible franchise for much of their history, and had a drought longer than even the Red Sox did, yet, somehow, they even found a way to lose for losing because the only team that did losing better than the White Sox were, of course, the Cubs.

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All of that and that there is much more prominence with cubs lore compared to the sox (billy goat curse,Steve bartman,etc)

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25 minutes ago, Rj0498 said:

All of that and that there is much more prominence with cubs lore compared to the sox (billy goat curse,Steve bartman,etc)

Yeah, but the White Sox have the mob and gambling.

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Can a mod merge my posts on this subject (and the great replies) in the 2017 playoff thread into this one and rename it to something useful?  I think it's a good discussion to have.

 

Thanks in advance for your cooperation.

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26 minutes ago, Ice_Cap said:

Yeah, but the White Sox have the mob and gambling.

True but something tells me that broadcasts are not talk about that as often as say a quirky story involving a man and his billy goat

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1 hour ago, BringBackTheVet said:

Can a mod merge my posts on this subject (and the great replies) in the 2017 playoff thread into this one and rename it to something useful?  I think it's a good discussion to have.

 

Thanks in advance for your cooperation.

Done and done.

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7 hours ago, joekono said:

I was just wondering why it seems there is a lot more coverage of the Cubs winning the World Series than what the White Sox got in 2005.  About ten years seemed to separate them as far as series appearances go and a few years between winning the World Series. I'm from the northeast so I have no idea if Chicago is a 80 percent Cubs, 20 percent White Sox but it seems that way. Thanks for any feedback.

 

The ratio is probably close to 2:1 Cubs if you take, like, the entire near-Chicago Midwest into account. There are more White Sox fans within city limits than Cubs fans, but the north and northwest suburbs lean overwhelmingly Cubs. The North Shore generally leans Cubs but has a big Sox contingent because Jews who aren't Steve Goodman often favor the Sox, probably due to family roots in once-Jewish south-side neighborhoods (or maybe Jewish ownership vis-a-vis the Tribune's old ur-WASP Republican ownership, I dunno). The western suburbs are a 50-50 split in DuPage County until you start getting out into the cornfields and exurbs of Kane County where it swings hard Cubs. South/southwest suburbs/Northwest Indiana lean overwhelmingly Sox until you hit rural and it goes back to the Cubs again as far south as Bloomington-Normal and thereabouts, where the Cardinals fans start seeping in. Far southeastern Wisconsin splits between the Cubs and Brewers with virtually no White Sox presence at all. Iowa belongs to the Cubs, for whatever that's worth.

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