Jump to content

Chicago Baseball Discussion: Cubs & White Sox


BBTV
 Share

Recommended Posts

On the National level, it seems the cable TV boom of the 1980s played a role.  Suddenly the Cubs were on all over the country...it's what hooked a friend of mine here in Minnesota to being big Cub fan (my parents would not spring for cable, so I stuck with the Twins).  They were on during the day, which was great for grade-schooners home during summer vacation.  There was the romance of Wrigley Field, the character of Harry Carry, and the mystique of the lovable losers.

 

I suspect they became a national team for those reasons.

 

There is some irony though, that everyone knew about 1908 and 1918 while 1917 was hardly common knowledge.  Cubs/White Sox would have been the biggest "aggregate drought" series possible (not to mention intra-city), but everyone wanted Cubs/Red Sox.  Those two had the great ball parks, the terrible hard-luck stories, and a role in shaping the hopes of their cities.  The White Sox were more or less just another team for most of the country.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

51 minutes ago, the admiral said:

 

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.

Isn't Iowa home to the AAA team of the Cubs so it would make sense for that state to support them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 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. 

Not to ignore your other points, but the White Sox drought wasn't all that short.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, the admiral said:

Yeah, it's just kind of a running gag these days that Iowa is a land of 90-year-old grandmas who love the Cubs.

As someone who has lived in Iowa for years I can confirm this

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Cubs are a more attractive, romantic franchise for the casual viewer or new fan.  There was a lot of romance in their futility, and the sheer color splashed in their culture is much more eye-grabbing:  The green ivy on the burnt red brick of Wrigley Field, their vivid blue & red colors and simple vibrant C plopped on their cap & jerseys, all contrasting against either a blue sky or golden sunset painted over a cozy neighborhood ballpark.  There's not many teams in sports that can capitalize on imagery alone, and the Cubs have put on a clinic recently of how to not only further romanticize the Friendly Confines by doing construction to veil how it was a bit of a ruin, but kind of dared the uber-right heritage guardians to expand their comfort zones via a couple video boards and big-ass ads for Wintrust & Budweiser in the bleachers.  

 

Turned out that people don't tend to care too much about having a few giant corporate logos drilled into the stands when it means you can see some badass video replays and bring your franchise more money to invest in a better product on the field.

 

Either way, Ricketts and Theo spiritually followed the Rocky Wirtz path once new ownership was established & capitalized on existing romance of the brand while simultaneously bringing life and momentum back into the franchise by letting competent people run it for a change.

 

The Blackhawks/Cubs comparisons are obviously quite different when you grind details, but thematically are quite similar.  John McDonough likely deserves a mammoth amount of credit in how he shaped the current success of both teams.  The Bears & White Sox would kill to get a guy like McDonough in their grasp.

 

----

 

The White Sox, which I admit I don't know much about them beyond what what I read/hear in the news, has always come off to me as not fun.  Nothing about the White Sox radiates fun whatsoever.  Even as a kid I was like "why would anyone want to wear this ugly hat?" the first time I saw a relative wearing a Sox cap.  Their dreary uniforms looked so bland, especially at home at Comiskey - a ballpark with no real personality or uniqueness to it at all.  I wanted to like the Sox as a kid in addition to the Cubs, but watching their games was so ... blah.  

 

As years went on I learned to distance myself from the White Sox for more reasons beyond aesthetics:  Hawk Harrelson being a braying horse's ass on TV, Ed Farmer's WSCR call being utterly devoid of flavor, and even a guy like Paul Konerko just seemed like less of a baseball hero and more of a guy who helps my uncle repair garage doors.  I was obviously biased as a Cubs fan, but I have never disliked the White Sox either.  Simply never got the attraction to them.  Maybe there's something alluring about the everyman, lunchpail vibe they give off.  "We don't need no stinkin' ivy. We just got ballplayers."  Something like that.  TWTW.  Etc.

 

Admiral & others have mentioned that the WS have a really cool history, and while the two teams share Harry Caray (in addition to the Cardinals), it's the Cubs who ultimately claim him to their heritage the hardest, and do the finest job celebrating their past, 108 years and all.  White Sox seem quite indifferent to their legacy and their image.  It's currently being reflected heavily on their stupid-ass new ballpark branding.  Jerry Reinsdorf, whom I will let others more keen to his history discuss, seems like a curmudgeon of an owner who would rather do things his way and lose than somebody else's and win.  I don't get it.  


I just wish they were more fun.

 

----

 

 

I'd love to read about how Yankees/Mets fans deal with their dichotomy.  

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, the admiral said:

There are more White Sox fans within city limits than Cubs fans, 

 

You think?  You'd know better than me, but my experiences visiting the city (as well as a couple friends that lived there for a couple of years) would differ, but again that's a small sample size.

 

I didn't know about the WGN influence, because I never had it.  I didn't have cable until my senior year of high school, then when I went to college I wasn't sitting around watching Cubs or Braves games.  Hell, my local cable outlet at the time actually didn't carry WGN.

 

One thing that was mentioned but I think glossed over was the importance of maintaining a consistent brand.  The Cubs have been easily identifiable (at least at home) since 1937 (so through the entire TV era) while the White Sox literally looked like a different organization every 2 or 3 years up until the '90s.

 

  • What I'm gathering is that the TV deal, consistent branding, lure of Wrigley with the ivy, bleachers, big sign, etc., as well as just the dramatic way they've always lost seem to be the biggest factors nationally.  The ownership differences that have been discussed would certainly play a role locally, and I imagine have (though the 2-1 ratio that Admiral mentioned would contradict that.)
  • I wonder if it would be different if the Sox had basically their current uniforms for the last 80 years, and either maintained the decrepit erection that was Comiskey, or did a better job with the new one, and got more national exposure (and by more, I mean be visible in more than one or two GOTWs throughout the season.)  I understand that's like saying "I wonder if things would be different if my mom had balls and a :censored:", but still.

Seems like in the modern era, it's hard to have two teams in the same market that are on relatively equal footing.  The Yankees and Mets are the closest (with the Yankees obviously being the more "national" team with the bigger market share), maybe followed by Giants/Jets, but everywhere else there's more of a Sean Michaels (Lakers) / Marty Janetty (Clippers) relationship between one team and the other.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One thing in the Sox favor - this doesn't work with a Cubs hat.  Hard to kick it gangsta style with a red C on your cap, unless... you know.

"Spot him, got him as I pulls out my strap, got my chrome to the side of his Cubbies cap" just doesn't work.

Bvs204RCEAAI3xW.jpg

 

 

 

Also, I didn't see the movie but just read that in Straight OUtta Compton they put 1986 Eazy E in the white sox cap that didn't come out until 1990.  Guess he shouda been wearing Raiders or Kings.  This is what a White Sox hat would have looked like - again, not very gangsta.

CMqMJrlWsAAi7N7.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

^there were several anachronisms like that in that movie. It's obvious they just went and bought a White Sox hat off the rack because the one E was wearing also had the black underbill, puff embroidery, and batterman logo on it, all of which wouldn't have been on a White Sox hat at the time, in addition to the design that didn't come out until 3 or 4 years after the time when that scene took place. 

 

 

I was surprised to learn about many of my fellow Reds fans hating the Cubs. I've never had any animus towards them. In our divisional rival history they've never been good at the same time, we've never had to duke it out with them for playoff positioning like the Cardinals or the Pirates or even the Astros going way back. In our most recent good years they were trash and now that they're good we're trash. Plus, I grew up watching their games on WGN because they played other NL Central teams and I could watch Sammy Sosa in the summer of 98. Really, if I hadn't been a Reds fan I would probably be a Cubs fan. They have a lot of qualities that are endearing for kids. 

 

Now, next season when I go to GABP and there's 25,000 Cubs fans I might grow some disdain, but I've never felt that before. 

 

I like the White Sox because as I grew older I found myself attracted to counter cultures. You don't like the bright, cheery, drunk losers in the baseball amusement park where most people don't actually care about the game? Here's the exact opposite losers on the other side of town in a dreary, sterile, lifeless park that's as old as Camden Yards except it sucks, but over here we actually go to watch the game. When they built new Comiskey it almost felt like they made it as characterless as possible just to avoid doing anything that could be perceived as trying to be like the Cubs. 

 

comis202.jpg

 

The renovations did a great job to make it look more intimate. (I wouldn't know in person, never been to a game there)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 minutes ago, McCarthy said:

You don't like the bright, cheery, drunk losers in the baseball amusement park where most people don't actually care about the game?

 

This I believe is also a myth perpetuated by White Sox fans.  It was maybe true in the 70s/early 80s, but Lee Elia's rant doesn't make it true for all time.

 

It's one of those things where because Wrigley has never really had attendance problems most years, even when the team is at the bottom, the fans clearly must be drunk and casual idiots.  Or something.  I dunno.  It all comes out of a place of bitterness & contempt.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, CS85 said:

The Cubs are a more attractive, romantic franchise for the casual viewer or new fan.  There was a lot of romance in their futility, and the sheer color splashed in their culture is much more eye-grabbing:  The green ivy on the burnt red brick of Wrigley Field, their vivid blue & red colors and simple vibrant C plopped on their cap & jerseys, all contrasting against either a blue sky or golden sunset painted over a cozy neighborhood ballpark.  There's not many teams in sports that can capitalize on imagery alone, and the Cubs have put on a clinic recently of how to not only further romanticize the Friendly Confines by doing construction to veil how it was a bit of a ruin, but kind of dared the uber-right heritage guardians to expand their comfort zones via a couple video boards and big-ass ads for Wintrust & Budweiser in the bleachers.  

 

Turned out that people don't tend to care too much about having a few giant corporate logos drilled into the stands when it means you can see some badass video replays and bring your franchise more money to invest in a better product on the field.

 

Either way, Ricketts and Theo spiritually followed the Rocky Wirtz path once new ownership was established & capitalized on existing romance of the brand while simultaneously bringing life and momentum back into the franchise by letting competent people run it for a change.

 

The Blackhawks/Cubs comparisons are obviously quite different when you grind details, but thematically are quite similar.  John McDonough likely deserves a mammoth amount of credit in how he shaped the current success of both teams.  The Bears & White Sox would kill to get a guy like McDonough in their grasp.

 

----

 

The White Sox, which I admit I don't know much about them beyond what what I read/hear in the news, has always come off to me as not fun.  Nothing about the White Sox radiates fun whatsoever.  Even as a kid I was like "why would anyone want to wear this ugly hat?" the first time I saw a relative wearing a Sox cap.  Their dreary uniforms looked so bland, especially at home at Comiskey - a ballpark with no real personality or uniqueness to it at all.  I wanted to like the Sox as a kid in addition to the Cubs, but watching their games was so ... blah.  

 

As years went on I learned to distance myself from the White Sox for more reasons beyond aesthetics:  Hawk Harrelson being a braying horse's ass on TV, Ed Farmer's WSCR call being utterly devoid of flavor, and even a guy like Paul Konerko just seemed like less of a baseball hero and more of a guy who helps my uncle repair garage doors.  I was obviously biased as a Cubs fan, but I have never disliked the White Sox either.  Simply never got the attraction to them.  Maybe there's something alluring about the everyman, lunchpail vibe they give off.  "We don't need no stinkin' ivy. We just got ballplayers."  Something like that.  TWTW.  Etc.

 

Admiral & others have mentioned that the WS have a really cool history, and while the two teams share Harry Caray (in addition to the Cardinals), it's the Cubs who ultimately claim him to their heritage the hardest, and do the finest job celebrating their past, 108 years and all.  White Sox seem quite indifferent to their legacy and their image.  It's currently being reflected heavily on their stupid-ass new ballpark branding.  Jerry Reinsdorf, whom I will let others more keen to his history discuss, seems like a curmudgeon of an owner who would rather do things his way and lose than somebody else's and win.  I don't get it.  


I just wish they were more fun.

 

----

 

 

I'd love to read about how Yankees/Mets fans deal with their dichotomy.  

 

The Mets and Yankees dichotomy depends on which way the standings go. As the Yankees got older in the 60's and along came the Mets (albeit most were disgruntled Dodgers and Giants fans) it was split because the Yankees were still winning or making it to the Series. In 1969, when the lovable loser Mets won, that evened it out for a few years. The Yankees were terrible by now and the Mets made the Series in 1973. Than after Steinbrenner came along, the Yanks took over the town. The 80's it was strictly a Mets town, the 90's it was a Yanks town again and now the wheel goes round and round. Although , I never thought the Mets would be able to take back or get even in terms of fan dome here in the NJ/NY area. Its all about winning.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, CS85 said:

 

This I believe is also a myth perpetuated by White Sox fans.  It was maybe true in the 70s/early 80s, but Lee Elia's rant doesn't make it true for all time.

 

It's one of those things where because Wrigley has never really had attendance problems most years, even when the team is at the bottom, the fans clearly must be drunk and casual idiots.  Or something.  I dunno.  It all comes out of a place of bitterness & contempt.

There is probably not as much truth to this as some cynical folks may suggest but there may be some truth.  I have had a bit of this vibe in the form of some drunken buffoonery in the bleachers.  It is more fun at Wrigley and maybe more "baseball" at (Comiskey), which makes sense because what else you gonna do?

 

I actually sensed a bigger gap on a 2007 trip to the Bay Area.  The Giants park (which is beautiful) seemed like the place to be and hang out.  The hunk of concrete in Oakland had an enthused game-watching crowd.  It was college football like (save the tarpped seats).

 

My NYC experience (which includes all four parks) gave me no impression that the two were that different.

 

There is no question I enjoy an outing to Wrigley better than (Comiskey) but it is as a tourist.  If I were a Chicagoan with mixed family and friends, I wonder which way I'd have gone.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it says a lot when even all the way down here in Dallas every cubs game is shown on tv while the sox are barely even shown even a year or two ago when the sox were on the up and up and the cubs were last in the nl central  they still got more coverage

Link to comment
Share on other sites

19 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. 

Why were they so "lovable" ?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 minutes ago, Thomas said:

Why were they so "lovable" ?

They had a 108 year Championship drought. Why is it so hard for you to figure out why that would make them sympathetic to a large segment of the baseball-watching fanbase?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, joekono said:

The Mets and Yankees dichotomy depends on which way the standings go. As the Yankees got older in the 60's and along came the Mets (albeit most were disgruntled Dodgers and Giants fans) it was split because the Yankees were still winning or making it to the Series. In 1969, when the lovable loser Mets won, that evened it out for a few years. The Yankees were terrible by now and the Mets made the Series in 1973. Than after Steinbrenner came along, the Yanks took over the town. The 80's it was strictly a Mets town, the 90's it was a Yanks town again and now the wheel goes round and round. Although , I never thought the Mets would be able to take back or get even in terms of fan dome here in the NJ/NY area. Its all about winning.

Agree with that, though there is some geographical and ethnic divide as well.

 

The Mets fanbase is generally found on/in Long Island, Queens, and pockets of the Hudson River Valley. Brooklyn/SI/Bronx/Westchester/NJ/Fairfield County are practically all Yankees territory. Likewise with ethnic groups, the Yankees more or less have the Italian, African-American, and Hispanic (save for those nationalities with a large population in northern Queens) population under their belts, whereas if you go to a game at Citi Field the vast majority of people you're going to see are Irish or Jewish. Now yes, there's lots of Irish and Jewish Yankee fans too, but generally that's how the divide goes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 11/3/2016 at 10:03 PM, 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.

 

I'd just add that it probably didn't hurt that the Cubs were also in a lot of movies in the mid 80's. At the time, it seemed like every movie was set in Chicago and at least one character in those movies wore a Cubs jersey, went to Wrigley, etc. Those movies made being a Cubs fan look like fun.

 

EDIT: I also agree with everyone who said that the White Sox don't seem like much fun. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Ice_Cap said:

They had a 108 year Championship drought. Why is it so hard for you to figure out why that would make them sympathetic to a large segment of the baseball-watching fanbase?

Why would other baseball fans care about the Cubs, they have their own team to support. Besides, why would a long drought make them lovable,  for all we know they could have some real :censored:s + drug users on their teams through all those 100 years, who knows. White Sox should be just as lovable.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.