Tag Archive | rivalry

Fan complex over attendance?

Clearly, I have been highly neglectful of my blog.  Why?  Because of being busy at work doing stuff and watching baseball.  In any event, I have to talk about a few things that bugged me this past season in baseball and there were a few.  Sorry if the next few posts will be about old things, but once I get those out of the way, I hope to have new opinions and perspectives on things.  So much has gone in the world of sports, so I need to get caught up so I can stay on top of the sports happenings.

The week of August 9th was interesting. My White Sox began a 6 day home stand against our biggest division rivals: the Minnesota Twins and the Detroit Tigers. These series were both huge in terms of standings. The White Sox had gone on a tear in early June and by the All-Star break were in first place. After the break, they continued playing relatively well and winning games. At the start of the current home stand however, they had fallen into a tie for 1st place with the Twins because of the Twins having a hot streak and the White Sox losing 3 of 4 to the Baltimore Orioles, the WORST team in baseball. The O’s however, had gotten a new manager, Buck Showalter and had been playing their best ball of the entire season.

In any event, during the 3 game set against the Twins, a curious thing happened.  Instead of people talking about how 2 teams were battling it out for first place and focusing on the baseball, were more into discussing the lousy attendance at the games.  Truth be told, the sad attendance we had at those games was appalling to me, especially since I attend most games and the more fans that are there, the more fun games CAN be at times.  In listening to sports talk radio (which probably is not good for my sanity), I heard lots of interesting excuses for why fans were not going to the games.  These ranged from: the only seats available are in the upper deck and those seats are horrible, the tickets cost too much, the team is bad, food and drink costs too much, there is nothing to do around the park after the game, etc.  I will be the first person to NOT argue with a person who does not feel a need to spend the extra income they may have on a baseball game.  In this economy, the money spent for a ticket and food / drink could easily pay for a meal for a family.  Not to mention, there are many who don’t even have a job to think about going to a game.
To the fans who complain about the bad seats, I would guess those are people who have not been to US Cellular field since the renovations in 2003.  Before the renovations and the ball park was a pitcher’s park, the upper deck was not a great place to see a game.  The area was very steep (although, not steep like Soldier Field where the Chicago Bears play) and you felt very far away from the game.  Now, however, it is not nearly as steep, unless you are in the very top rows, and that only happens for sold out games.  I have heard some complain about the price that is charged for tickets in the upper deck.  When people complain about that who say they would go, except for the amount of those tickets and they can’t sit in the lower deck, I don’t feel bad.  Make no mistake that I am complaining of how people are spending money.  This irritation is directed at those who would go, but for inability to sit in the lower deck.  First of all, there are no bad seats in the upper deck.  In fact, I think you have a BETTER view of the game because you can see everything happening on the field.  You also get a better read on balls hit so you know whether it will be a home run or not.  I’ve sat all over the ball park and really the only bad seats are in the LOWER DECK near the foul poles because you have an obstructed view there. I know some like sitting there because you are “closer to the action” and I don’t begrudge that, but don’t say you won’t go to games because you think the upper deck is so bad, especially if you haven’t sat there since before 2002.
As for ticket prices keeping you away, well, the cubs actually cost more.  I recently went to a cubs game (because I am an awesome friend) and purchasing tickets for the 400 level was nearly $55 dollars going through the cubs website.  Luckily I saved a lot of money because I went on stubhub to get the tickets for at least $25 less.  In any event, I do think it is ok for people to say “i prefer to watch the game at a bar or in my living room than going to the ball park” rather than coming up with some excuse that when really examined is just lame.  Own up to real reason for not going to the games.  If the sox can only draw 20,000 fans regularly, so be it.  Eventually they will find a way to draw more fans and sell out when there are huge series against a division rival when the division lead is on the line.  Maybe not while things are bad, but eventually.  at least i can hope.

Interleague Play

This weekend begins the annual fest of AL teams playing NL teams. There was one Interleague Series Weekend in late May, but the real “fun” begins today. Frankly, I hate it. This could be because I live in Chicago and the White Sox play the Cubs in 2 series. When Interleague started, it was to help drum interest in the game because attendance was down and fans were going to the park. In cities that do not have 2 teams, it is a good way to see how the other league plays ball. If you live in a city with 2 teams or teams that are very close that are in different leagues (San Francisco, Oakland), you can easily see how the other league plays if you are inclined to watch.

Personally, I think this doesn’t work because if I see an NL team playing at US Cellular Field against the White Sox, I don’t really see how that team REALLY plays. I see an NL team attempting to play the AL game. This is not interesting to me. Additionally, I really do not like seeing the white sox cubs series (aka the crosstown classic). The games are horrible to go to because passions run so ridiculously high and the fans are beyond ridiculous behaving. Behavior is so bad that the games are generally during the day, except the last couple of years, ESPN has taken a few games and this year, FOX is taking one of the games for primetime as well as ESPN taking a game for the sunday night broadcast. The last of these games I went to was in 2006 and it was the game when AJ Pierzynski got into a fight with Michael Barrett. It was bad and then I decided the best use of my tickets for those games was to sell them.

Another reason I hate interleague is because of effect it has on the schedule and potential playoff implications because of the number of wins a eam will get. Because the powers that be think these so-called “natural geographic rivalries” (mets-yankees; cubs-whitesox; dodgers-angels; giants-a’s) need to see each other so much, it forces other teams to play teams that they probably shouldn’t. For instance, the Philadelphia Phillies might end up playing the Baltimore Orioles 6 times. No offense to the Orioles, but they are a bad team and it would result in 6 relatively easy wins for Philadelphia. However, the Atlanta Braves might have to play the Boston Red Sox 6 times as well. This could result in 6 losses for Atlanta. Obviously, those 6 losses would have a huge effect since the Phillies and Braves are in the SAME DIVISION. And the Braves might not get to play an opponent that many times resulting in 6 easy wins to balance things out due to the way scheduling is in baseball where it is division weighted (i.e., playing the teams in your division more than in other divisions). If it came down to the end of the season that those 6 wins / losses respectively made a difference, how is that really fair? (and I know life is not fair). I can’t say I have an answer for this, but it is something that at times can be annoying. Not to mention that for the 5th straight year, I have to see a White Sox – Pirates game and no offense, bu the Pirates are a bad team and I don’t need more bad piled on more bad. The White Sox are terrible now.

If MLB really feels the need to keep interleague around, then the least they could do is change the rules so that the game is played with the visiting team’s league rules. Then you would really see how an NL team plays baseball instead of watching them try to play with AL rules. I’m not the only one who’d like to see this. Bob Costas and Alyssa Milano would also like to see interleague played this way as well. Not to mention, it would be fun to see an AL team playing NL ball and not just when it is in an NL ballpark for the World Series (i don’t count the all-star game because i have issues with the all-star game; another post for another day).