Wednesday, October 12, 2005

A response to Rob

I get the impression that the Chisox faithful really aren't that faithful; the team has a perennially hard time selling itself. They're in a bad part of town, so bad that they had to change the park because the sightlines outside it led to views of some real urban nightmares.

I may be misinterpreting, but let me chime in here. Bear in mind, I got to roughly 10-12 Sox games per year, give or take.

First, the area where Commiskey is really isn't that bad, especially with the Robert Taylor homes coming down. The Bridgeport neighborhood, especially just north and west of the park has some really nice homes. Now, these are adjacent to some rough neighborhoods, but the park itself is in a pretty decent neighborhood. As my Sox friends will point out, the last person killed outside a stadium in Chicago was at Wrigley.

Second, I don't know what you mean by "Change the park". The view since the projects came down is fine. You pretty much look out over IIT (Illinois Institute of Technology) and the Dan Ryan. What they didn't do, but should have done, is rotate the park about 100 degrees to the north to show the skyline. I assume they didn't do this because of the sun or something, but walking out of the upper deck on the third base side on a clear day or night, you'll see one of the best views of the skyline in town. Why they didn't take advantage of this, I don't know. Personally, I still prefer Commiskey to Wrigley. To me, it's a major league stadium. I grew up going to monolithic ballparks surrounded by parking lots, so it feels more like home to me, and really is a lot like Dodger Stadium, which I still love despite despising the Dodgers.

Third, Sox fans are exactly the opposite of what you describe. They are fiercely faithful. There just aren't that many. In many ways, they're like the Angels pre 2002. They don't draw wonderfully, but they're never under 15,000 or 20,000 per game, much like the Angels in the old days. I've often said, any asshole in Chicago can claim to be a Cubs fan. But if you say you're a White Sox fan, chances are you're REALLY a White Sox fan. No one claims to be a Sox fan just to be cool. You can replace "Chicago", "Cubs", and "White Sox" in that last sentence with "Los Angeles", "Dodgers", and "Angels" respectively, and apply it to pre-2002, and I think it fits both towns.

In my experience, on a per capita basis, Sox fans tend to me more pure baseball fans than Cubs fans. This isn't a surprise to anyone, I'm sure, but if there's one thing I would not accuse Sox fans of, it's a lack of devotion. As to why they seemed deflated last night, I'm not sure. There's a certain sense of defeatism among Sox fans, one that regular readers of this blog are familiar with from yours truly. Plus, I never got the sense that they were totally out of the game. They got pretty load when they got guys on. But remember, they had a hard time getting anything resembling a real rally going in the latter innings because of bad baserunning and poor execution. I suspect that tonight will be different.

*update*: In the comments, anonymous writes: "Major League Rulebook, 1.04 "... It is desirable that the line from home base through the pitchers plate to second base shall run East Northeast...."

A fine point. However, the current orientation of the Cell is southeast. Old Commiskey ran Northeast. In this satellite photo, you can see the orientation of the Cell. If you look in the parking lot directly north of current home plate, you'll see a small white circle with a line extending directly north toward the small park. That's the old home plate and third base line. Also, check this page from the baseball almanac. There's really no rhyme or reason to ballpark orientations. Rule 1.04 doesn't appear to be well followed.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Major League Rulebook, 1.04 "... It is desirable that the line from home base through the pitchers plate to second base shall run East Northeast...."

Sean said...

I second pretty much all of your observations about Comiskey and Sox fans. I haven't been there since the Taylor Homes went down, but even when they were up they were all the way across the Dan Ryan and didn't really make going to the ballpark dangerous as long as you knew where you were going. The United Center (they still call it that, right?) is in a much worse area. However, the neighborhood around Comiskey undeniably lacks the neighborhood feel of Wrigley, and suffers for it.

I also agree that, fan for fan, Sox fans tend to be more committed to their team. They pretty much have to be, since there's no Wrigley (or Wrigleyville) to attract casual fans. The down side is that the half-full stadium tends to encourage the drunks at Comiskey to imagine that everyone is the surrounding sections is interested in their opinions, which they'll share at the top of their lungs regardless of decorum, accuracy, the presence of small children nearby, etc.

Upshot: in my opinion and experience, at Wrigley you're surrounded by clueless idiots. At Comiskey you'll be near some screaming drunk asshole. Pick your poison.

FatMan said...

"Personally, I still prefer Commiskey to Wrigley. To me, it's a major league stadium. I grew up going to monolithic ballparks surrounded by parking lots, so it feels more like home to me, and really is a lot like Dodger Stadium, which I still love despite despising the Dodgers."

Man, you can take the boy out of California... I have never heard anybody express a similar sentiment. For a man who drinks as often as you do, you'd think you'd like a neighborhood bar to visit on your way to and from the park. If I'm meeting people at a game, I much prefer "I'll meet you at the Kilmarnock (great old punk dive around the corner from Fenway) at 6" to "I'll meet you at lamppost 5D at 6."

For some strange reason the AL seems to follow the orientation rule more closely. Among the older parks NY is the lone exception. Pittsburg was right to turn the ballpark, the view out over center is great. Ditto, the Giants, Cards and Tigers. Philly tried to do a similar thing, showcase the skyline, but it's five miles away, so the first thing you see is your beloved parking lots.

FatMan said...

Oh, I forgot to commend you on your use of "In this satellite photo, you can see..."

How awesome is the internet?

FatMan said...

Wazit... you used to be an Eddings apologist?

Friday, April 08, 2005
DOUG EDDINGS IS A FOOL
HOW DO YOU THINK THE CATCHER'S MITT GOT KNOCKED TO THE GROUND? DO YOU THINK HE THREW IT WHILE TRYING TO CATCH THE BALL?????????

WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?????????


// posted by The Chronicler @ 8:42 PM
Comments:
He singaled out. He called it. It's that simple.

# posted by Seitz : 8:49 PM

Seitz said...

Wierd thing about that last comment. I thought I was commenting on the post he wrote last night. Somehow I got to the post he wrote months ago and left me comment there, but that comment was left last night.

And I think this was one of my better entries. And I particularly like the use of the satellite photo.