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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm one of those rare Chicagoans who really is a Cub and a Sox fan, with a slight edge to the Cubs (but a soft spot for the Sox as being the underdog).

Nobody who knows MLB would translate the Sox fantastic start this season into a championship season of any sort. Reality check: this is still mid-May.

That said, the Sox start got me thinking about the relative position of the two franchises. The Sox rise has been spiked by the Cubs lack of success this season.

This weekend, more than any other, we're getting a glimpse of what type of support the Sox will have this season: 100,000+ advanced sales went in for the 4 game Sox-O's series. That was pretty impressive.

What effect would a most successful Sox season have in closing the preceived gap between the two teams? Could the playing field literally be leveled?

And a related issue: Many people view the North Side as the dominant, power side of town. Chicago gentrification, rampant on the North Side for an eternity, has spread to the South and West. The South Side is redeveloping in a way similiar to the North and the area around the Cell will probably be more like the area around Wrigley. I think people downplay the degree of North Side/South Side on the Cubs/Sox relationship. The growth of the South Side, the increase in disposable income, could affect relative popularity.

Do you think that a South Side developing along the lines of the North, with more young folks, larger disposable incomes, etc., could create a new fan base for the Sox and make it more like the Cubs in time

One disclaimer here: I am not, in any way, suggesting that the South Side renovation is going the way it should. I don't want to see the South Side become a clone of the North. Meanwhile, Chicago still graples with issues of race and, even more so, economic diversity, often with a noted lack of success. I don't have to be happy with the direction of South Side gentrification to be aware that it could have a positive effect on Sox attendance and support.
 

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"What effect would a most successful Sox season have in closing the preceived gap between the two teams? Could the playing field literally be leveled?"

Edsg, as an enormous sports fan, let me give you my stance on the Cubs/Sox issue: I am a huge Cubs fan. I hate it when I see other Cubs fans who are hell bent on agonizing or making fun of the White Sox. In fact, that is one of the telling traits of a poser Cubs fan (other people I can't stand). The reality is your hatred as a Cubs fan should be reserved for the St. Louis Cardinals, the Reds, or the Astros (Milwaukee and Pittsburgh are harlmess, even with the Brewers recent success in Wrigley Field). Whatever the White Sox do or don't do has nothing to do with the Cubs and vice versa. I am not a White Sox fan. Do I hate the White Sox? Not really....I dislike them and they annoy me for 6 interleague games per season. I am always in favor of the White Sox having a good season, because in my opinion, it greatly improves the baseball landscape in Chicago. You have people from both sides of town calling into the score and talking baseball. Questions like "who would be on the all-city team" become more heated and relevant.

I think the "gap" you are talking about here between the two clubs comes in the area of visibility and national exposure. That translates into the Cubs having a higher payroll resembling a major market team, while the Sox will look more like a mid-market team in that area. To that end, the Cubs have a very big advantage being owned by the Tribune company, and being the center of a virtual adult playland that is Wrigleyville. I love Wrigleyville. Who doesn't? It is the magnet that draws in new transplants from Toledo to like the Cubs and become default Cubs fans (that annoys me also). That is why the Cubs fan base is always growing. The Sox will never be able to compete with that. They shouldn't try and don't have to.

One thing I noticed last year during interleague was that the White Sox, to a degree, have capitalized on something of a "counter culture" to the Cubs. They are brilliant to take this angle. People were wearing Sox hats during the Cubs / Sox series last year as if to say "hey, look at me. I'm not like everyone else. I'm original." And this was coming with a big popularity hike for the Sox...if you remember, when they handed it to the Cubs at Comiskey last year, they were on a major tear AND traded for Freddy Garcia right after the last game of that series.

"Do you think that a South Side developing along the lines of the North, with more young folks, larger disposable incomes, etc., could create a new fan base for the Sox and make it more like the Cubs in time"

Possibly, but I wonder how many people moving into the new South Side are actually from there? If there are a lot of North Side people with Cubs roots, then maybe not. Again, I don't think anyone is going to switch allegances if they move south of Roosevelt. No matter what the development is on the South Side, I highly doubt that it will ever be approaching the level of Wrigleyville entertainment. Why does that matter? Because that's what brings transplants or "free agent" fans to the Cubs. That's what draws them in. The Sox do not compete for these fans like the Cubs do. They are more of a team that gets passed down to you from your dad.
 

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First things first, I think a decent number of the ticket sales were spurred by actually Cubs fans hoping to see Sammy come back to Chicago. After viewing a few threads on whitesoxinteractive.com, this is apparently by comments of Cubs fans at the game.

Second thing is, that historically, the actual city of Chicago has fluctuated for their favorite Chicago team. Since 1901, while the Cubs have had the clear advantage winning the attendace war 59 times, the White Sox have stood their ground, winning 45 times. It should be noted however that the Cubs have won every year since 1992, meaning that before that year the difference was only 47-42.

Wrigley gets a lot of its larger share of fans for three reasons. One, WGN TV showed every single Cubs game across the nation since the station first showed up on cable until about the late 1990s. This created a "Cubs Nation" (to steal the term from Boston), where you are likely to see a Cubs fan anywhere in the country. This gives the Cubs their so-called National Appeal which is a key issue to be discussed as well.

Secondly, the Tribune Co. was able to take advantage of Old Comiskey being torn down and marketing Wrigley as the premiere historical ballpark. We all love Wrigley of course, it's a beautiful ballpark. But without the proper marketing, who knows just how many people would buy into that concept. A lot of people from across the country who are not even Cubs fans take a baseball pilgrimage to the Friendly Confines to soak up the atmosphere. This helps their summer attendance big time. Often times, during the same trip, a visit to the Cell is not even thought of.

Thirdly, a combination of these two factors causes the overall trend of the city to drift towards the Cubs. Why? Because its trendy. How could you not be a Cubs fan if you are in your twenties, working in the Loop for your first time ever, renting an appartment in Lakeview or Lincoln Park, being a so-called "Yuppie". You can't tell me that an average baseball fan with money , working for a major consulting firm downtown is going to move to Bridgeport and become a Sox fan. It just doesn't happen. That person will more likely take the day off, get drunk and tanned in the bleachers and have a good time. (It should be noted that not all Cubs fans are like this perceived stereotype of Cubs fans, for one I am not. Just like not all Sox fans are from the hood and beat up people during the game)

So what are the Sox to do? The Cubs have the favor of the city in general, the monument ballpark, the trendy neighborhood, the national appeal. The key here is to market to their stregnths. So what are the Sox stregnths?

Location is a big stregnth for the Sox suprisingly. While location on the Northside gentrified areas benefits the Cubs, a location right off the highway helps the Sox fans. The key here is to target the more fickle suburbanites. The ones who will goto the ballpark and take their family. The Sox have been doing this for years with their halfprice and family nights. Who wants to hastle with driving down Addison street through tons of rush hour traffic, paying $20 for parking a mile away from the ballpark all to catch one of the Cubs rare 20-something home night games or 40 something weekend day games? For someone without a strong alliegence (and from living in the burbs, this is my observation), it is much more likely to take their kids to a ballpark right off the highway, with ample (yet still expensive) parking, with quality concessions and amenities (no peeing in the Wrigley troughs). This has been the Sox key demographic for awhile.

Unfortunately, that is one of their only marketing stregnths. They key to getting the city turned around would be a combination of gentrification of the Bridgeport neighborhood and winning. The Cubs will always have the national appeal, so we can drop that argument and concentrate on the local appeal. If you turn Bridgeport into Lakeview II, combined with a few dominant seasons, there is strong reason to believe that the Sox can turn the tide of the city. I don't know tons about Bridgeport, so I will stop here, but the key question I will ask is, does Bridgeport want to be the next Yuppietown? Or are Sox fans strangely happy with their position and underdog status?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I think both of you guys brought up some excellent points with which I very much agree:

• JB, you are right about the fact that there is nothing "wrong" with the Sox; in a sense they are at a disadvantage only in the sense they share the city with one of the few truly "national" teams. You're right when you say the Sox can ignore this fact. The Sox can shape up well with most of the major league teams. In that sense, it is a similiar situation the Mets have in NY where they can still be highly successful even in a town where the Yankees rule.

• DeMa, absolutely correct about Ryan location and access to the suburbs. That is something the Cubs cannot offer. You're also right about the fact that each team has had its ups and downs in regard to the other over the years.
 

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edsg25 said:
I think both of you guys brought up some excellent points with which I very much agree:

• JB, you are right about the fact that there is nothing "wrong" with the Sox; in a sense they are at a disadvantage only in the sense they share the city with one of the few truly "national" teams. You're right when you say the Sox can ignore this fact. The Sox can shape up well with most of the major league teams. In that sense, it is a similiar situation the Mets have in NY where they can still be highly successful even in a town where the Yankees rule.

• DeMa, absolutely correct about Ryan location and access to the suburbs. That is something the Cubs cannot offer. You're also right about the fact that each team has had its ups and downs in regard to the other over the years.
I do want to say some things about the location of U.S. Cellular Field:

First of all, it doesn't matter how easy or difficult it is to get to Wrigley Field. People will go there no matter what, so it doesn't matter if the Cubs are not right off the highway like the White Sox are.

Secondly, if you ever hear Jerry Riensdorf talk about this issue, he always says the location of Comiskey is a major disadvantage. As he puts it: "if you draw a circle with a 30 mile radius from Comiskey park, half of that circle is in Lake Michigan. We're just not as easy to access for many fans." That's what he thinks...and it makes sense (same is true for the Cubs, but like I've stated, it doesn't matter where the Cubs are). If you think about it, in the late 1980's before the New Comiskey Park was built, the Sox were strongly considering a move to Addison, Illinois in order to be more accessible to the vast majority of their fans. I think that if you would ask the Chicago White Sox front office if they think their location is a weakness or a strength, they would without question say it is a weakness.
 

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I think that WGN has a huge influence on the Cubs popularity. As a child, I spent all my summers in Mexico and almost all the people in my remote area of Jalisco state had cable tv and access to WGN. Oddly enough, even w/o understanding the language they found Harry Caray hilarious. And a large percentage of people in Mexico wore Cubs paraphenalia and followed the team because it was the only team they could really follow on a day-to-day basis.

On the issue of south side gentrification having an effect, I doubt this will do much to boost numbers. Simply having more people on the south side will not necessarily translate into more Sox fans. I read an article a year or two ago in which this was studied, and they noted that while the north side gives 90%+ support for the Cubs, the south side is nearly 50%/50% split between the two. I myself have lived almost all my life in the south side or south suburbs, and I''d say easily all of my friends and aquaintences in the area are split with a slight edge for the Cubs. So I don't buy the idea that the south side is Sox domain. It's just where their fans have their highest concentration and yet remain a slight minority.
 

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edsg25 said:
I'm one of those rare Chicagoans who really is a Cub and a Sox fan, with a slight edge to the Cubs (but a soft spot for the Sox as being the underdog).
i wouldn't say that i'm a fan of both, because i am a HUGE cubs fan, but i don't actively dislike the white sox. my mom's a northsider and my dad a southsider, so growing up i had pulled allegiances.

why am i mentioning this? i went to comiskular last night and had a lot of fun cheering on the sox. the improvements made to that place have been spectacular in my opinion. it really is a great facility to take in a ball game.
 

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"Do I hate the White Sox? Not really....I dislike them and they annoy me for 6 interleague games per season. I am always in favor of the White Sox having a good season, because in my opinion, it greatly improves the baseball landscape in Chicago."

Yeah, I think this is fairly typical of the emotions of the crosstown rivalry. Pressed to explain how I felt by an out-of-towner, I said that I felt about the White Sox that way that I would feel about someone who did something bad to me a very long time ago: mostly indifferent but still able to take pleasure from their shortcomings. Yes, I like it when the Sox do well, because it does make things more interesting, but only so long as the Cubs are doing better.
 

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oshkeoto said:
Yeah, I think this is fairly typical of the emotions of the crosstown rivalry. Pressed to explain how I felt by an out-of-towner, I said that I felt about the White Sox that way that I would feel about someone who did something bad to me a very long time ago: mostly indifferent but still able to take pleasure from their shortcomings.
The Germans have a word for this (they would, wouldn't they?)... it's schadenfreude. (Schade = shame, Freude = happiness/pleasure)

I'm a White Sox fan. I enjoy it when the White Sox win and have a good season. I enjoy when the Cubs melt down and get themselves mathematically eliminated in July. I despise the media coverage that pumps up the Cubs and ignores the White Sox. I enjoy being able to remind friends that are Cubs fans that I root for the better team (and to do this, the Cubs must lose).

So yeah, I root pretty hard against the Cubs. I'd say that my three most disliked teams in major league baseball are, in this order, the New York Yankees, Minnesota Twins, and Chicago Cubs. After that it's basically all the Florida teams, because I hate all Florida teams in every sport, college or pro (actually, I just hate the state of Florida).
 

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^ Yeah, Sox fans generally are more anti-Cub than Cub fans are anti-Sox. Because, well, Sox fans have more to be bitter about.

My number one hated sports group? North Side Sox fans. When I find them up in Evanston, I have to clench my jaw. No, I want to say to them, you're *still* not cool, or even lower-middle-class, no matter how much Sox paraphernalia you put on yourself.

Number two is any team from Florida in any sport. I think the other 49 states (NONE of whom like Florida) should get together and beat Florida up.
 

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oshkeoto said:
^ Yeah, Sox fans generally are more anti-Cub than Cub fans are anti-Sox. Because, well, Sox fans have more to be bitter about.

My number one hated sports group? North Side Sox fans. When I find them up in Evanston, I have to clench my jaw. No, I want to say to them, you're *still* not cool, or even lower-middle-class, no matter how much Sox paraphernalia you put on yourself.

Number two is any team from Florida in any sport. I think the other 49 states (NONE of whom like Florida) should get together and beat Florida up.

Why would Sox fans be more bitter? The White Sox are always in contention. The same can't be said for the lovable losers. The only negative thing on the South Side is Reinsdorf. The mayor is a White Sox fan. :)
 

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sox fans are more bitter, because no matter how well their team does, they still can't win the heart of the city. i mean jesus christ, they got the best record in baseball and they only got ~16,000 to come out to last night's game. that's just fucking embarassing. sox fans simply don't support their team, and i would imagine that is another thing that makes the hard-core sox fans bitter as well. the sox get no media coverage and no fan support despite playing excellent baseball. it's a sad state of affairs down on the southside.
 

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sharptent said:
sox fans are more bitter, because no matter how well their team does, they still can't win the heart of the city. i mean jesus christ, they got the best record in baseball and they only got ~16,000 to come out to last night's game. that's just fucking embarassing. sox fans simply don't support their team, and i would imagine that is another thing that makes the hard-core sox fans bitter as well. the sox get no media coverage and no fan support despite playing excellent baseball. it's a sad state of affairs down on the southside.
first off, you don't even know when the game was. It was a day game, you might want to get your facts straight before you open your mouth old timer. ;) Sox fans aren't filthy rich like the Lincoln Park Cub fans are. We actually have jobs during the day and can't afford to party during the day like the drunkard cub fans.

Gee, I wonder why we don't jump to put money in Reinsdorf pockets...

Could it be that he's all about screwing the union over back when the strike hit? Could it be that he threatened to move the team out of the city??? Could it have been the white flag trade???

The Sox are all over the media. Open your eyes. Everytime one of their starters improves to 7-1 or 8-0 CNNSI, ESPN, YahooSports, CBS, ect. are all over the White Sox. They're the best team in baseball, what do you expect?

The Cubs are cursed and are the laughing stock of the league. Everyone loves to take their shots at them. I'm a Sox fan and I can tell you I would have started Rusch in place of Dempster and I would of started Dubois in place of that terrible LF Hollandsworth. How many young pitchers' careers does Dusty have to ruin before he gets fired?

:cheers:
 

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i was actually talking about the game that i attended on monday night, but i incorrectly referred to it as "last night's game".

as for the rest of that diatribe, i think that it more than adequately proves my point.
 

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sharptent said:
i was actually talking about the game that i attended on monday night, but i incorrectly referred to it as "last night's game".

as for the rest of that diatribe, i think that it more than adequately proves my point.
You must be a politician talking like that. Who can trust anything that comes out of your mouth? You'll just reiterate the fact that you were incorrect and the events you spoke about with such conviction actually happened on another day. Get your head right if you are going to be making blatant accusations like you did.

Your web is too tangled for me to get involved. Monday had nearly 30,000 White Sox fans. Again, get your facts straight before you open your mouth. hehe. :cheers:
 

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LMAO, its hilarious how the tensions flare when White Sox fans start talking about Cubs fans.

In contention every year? Sure if you mean you finished in second because the rest of your division sucks

9 games out last year
4 in 2003
13.5 in 2002

Get back to me when you win a playoff series, which I believe you haven't done since 1917. The Cubs did it last in 2003 in case you didn't remember.

Any why call out Cubs fans for being rich Lincoln Park Snobs that get 'plastered'. Thats just as bad as the other poster who was calling all Sox fans lower middle class. It's a stereotype, and every sane poster here would tell you that not all Sox fans are lower class and not all Cubs fans are yuppies.

Regardless Sox fans need to get over your preoccupation with the Cubs fans. I post at a Cubs message board and lurk at a Sox message board. In the Cubs message board, we don't even mention the Sox until the Crosstown Classic comes around. At the Sox message board, there is an entire forum dedicated to ripping on the Cubs. I don't understand the hostility....I can understand indifference but not pure hatred for no reason. '

As for the media coverage, that is pure crap, this town has been all over the White Sox this month. Why blame them, the White Sox are in first. Last year the Cubs had World series aspirations and got all the pub. Yes the White Sox started out well, but did you really think that team, as it was composed was going to win a World Series? Just like in real life, the news decided to cover the more exciting team. If a robery occured in Evanston, and a robery occured in Garfield Park, which one do you think the news reports? Its not fair, but the Evanston robery is more exciting for the news to show and they do.

And as for the poster that ripped on the Cubs fans because of their managerial moves, umm....we knew that too. Dusty Baker is a moron.

Bottom line is: If the Sox win this weekend, their fans will celebrate like they just won the World Series. If Sox lose this weekend, their hearts will be crushed, they may not show up to work on Monday. In either case, if the Cubs win or lose, they will either be excited or disapointed about 3 wins/losses against a interleague first place team

BTW, I am not being a hypocrite on my steretype thougths here, I have really never met a Sox fan in this city and for the most part out of the city that wasn't absolutely over infatuated over the Cubs. Prove me wrong please, because there needs to be more like you
 

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Get back to me when you win the world series. Nobody has a longer drought than the Cubs. Tensions flared because I am tired of sharptent's snide comments.

Whose division sucks? The NL Central is a joke. The terrible Cubs are making your favorite player, Carlos Lee, and the Brewers look like world beaters. The NL Central is the weakest division in baseball. The Detroit Tigers would easily finish 2nd in that crappy division.

It's not a stereotype, it's a fact. To live on the North Side where many Cub fans do (ie Lincoln Park) you have to be rich. To live in such a prestigious area, it goes hand and hand.

On the Cubs board, you wouldn't mention the Sox if you had any sense in you. It's obvious who has the better ball club. It would be a futile effort on your part.

If you know Dusty is a moron, why don't you do something about it? Sox fans would boo him off the field if he ruined our best pitcher's arm.

The only reason people go to Wrigley field is because they want to visit a museum and get drunk at the same time. You know the Cubs aren't going to win so fans of the lovable losers have to drown their sorrows away in alcohol. If someobody wants to see Chicago win, they'll come to the cell.
 

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Get back to me when you win the world series. Nobody has a longer drought than the Cubs. Tensions flared because I am tired of sharptent's snide comments.

I'm going to take a stab in the dark....Neither of us has seen our team win a World Series. Am I correct? Good, that point doesn't matter

Whose division sucks? The NL Central is a joke. The terrible Cubs are making your favorite player, Carlos Lee, and the Brewers look like world beaters. The NL Central is the weakest division in baseball. The Detroit Tigers would easily finish 2nd in that crappy division.

Reread my last post, I was not talking about this year. The AL Central is OK this year, and better then the NL Central. Here, have a cookie.

It's not a stereotype, it's a fact. To live on the North Side where many Cub fans do (ie Lincoln Park) you have to be rich. To live in such a prestigious area, it goes hand and hand.

There are Cubs and Sox fans everywhere. Yes the biggest concentration is on the Northside, but there are many Sox fans in well to do suburbs, and as I mentioned in a previous post, seem to get a good deal of their attendance from those folks.

On the Cubs board, you wouldn't mention the Sox if you had any sense in you. It's obvious who has the better ball club. It would be a futile effort on your part.

Again, I'm not talking about just this year again. In 2003-2004, we weren't obsessing over how the Sox did to make our days better. We already have a rival, the Cardinals, remember? And games against them usually count much more whether we are in last or first.

If you know Dusty is a moron, why don't you do something about it? Sox fans would boo him off the field if he ruined our best pitcher's arm.\

Great fans you got there. Anyways, in the last homestand our "yuppie drunken fans" started a "Dusty sucks" chant and booed him off the field when he came to take out the pitcher. The mantra of Cubs fans has changed a bit

edit:

The only reason people go to Wrigley field is because they want to visit a museum and get drunk at the same time. You know the Cubs aren't going to win so fans of the lovable losers have to drown their sorrows away in alcohol. If someobody wants to see Chicago win, they'll come to the cell.


Great way to finish your post. You really won me over there
 
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