I meant to write this about a year ago; I didn’t have a blog.
Early in this 2010 season, I watched a Cub game from one of the rooftop bleacher facilities outside Wrigley Field, on Sheffield Ave. I met some cool new people, saw the Cubs win, ate like a fiend to get my money’s worth, and generally had a good time. It also reminded me of a newspaper article, and the ensuing response of a *die-hard White Sox fan, from last year that served to rile me considerably. I would normally fear misquoting him, but his scathing words are so ingrained in my heart that I remember them as if reading it yesterday.
* die-hard White Sox fan, or DHWSF, refers to those fans on the South Side who say they root for the Pale Hose, but actually derive more pleasure from ripping on the Cubs than they do from cheering for their own team. Yes, I know, not all White Sox fans are like that. But we North Siders can make rash generalizations too, ya know.
The article in question was by a reporter who had also attended a Cub game from one of the rooftop facilities. I personally have not read it, though in my lame attempt at researching this post, did manage to find it on-line. At least I think I found the same piece; I still didn’t feel like reading it. The writer’s intention of the story was to point out that many of the people he interacted with had no clue what was going on over in the ballpark. Didn’t know the score, the inning. Probably didn’t know which team was in town. I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they knew one of the teams was the Cubs.
Our reader had a field day with this! He went on and on about what “typical” Cubs fans these were, just there to drink and party and have a good time, oblivious to the professional baseball game being played across the street. I read his letter angrily, wishing I could pick his car out of the dozen or so regularly parked at US Cellular Field for Sox games, and stuff a banana in his tailpipe. But it was his last point that really got me going: “This would never happen at Comiskey”!
Oh, here we GO!! Where do I start? How about…The obvious.
1. Yes sir, you are right. This could, indeed, never happen at Comiskey. Because, of course, Comiskey has no rooftop bleachers! So i guess there’s no arguing with you there. And yet, I shall go on.
2. Like every major venue in every major sport, The Cell has luxury boxes. You’ve all seen the beer commercial I’m sure, where the security guard from Greendale Community College walks into a luxury suite at an unnamed ballpark. He asks some people in natty business attire “Who can tell me what inning we’re in”? Crickets. Stares. Cluelessness. Instant adult beverage removal. Why? Because in the beer truck driver’s mind, these people don’t deserve to drink his product. That should go to the real fans. Those sitting out in the elements, smelling the grass, burning their faces. You see, what our reader didn’t know (or simply wouldn’t admit, because, again, he’s a DHWSF) is that everyone knows those luxury boxes are mostly for corporate functions. A booth at McDonald’s wouldn’t be much fun to invite clients to, so they take them out to a ballgame, wine ’em and dine ’em, and hope they’ll sign a deal to buy your paper products for the next 3 years. Simply because you took them to the game. Is our reader really trying to convince me that only DHWSF sit in the corporate suites at Comiskey?
3. A job I used to have took me into the nether-regions of all 3 of Chicagoland’s Major League stadiums. (Sorry Milwaukee, I just made you our suburb.) At the Cell, I wasn’t allowed into the seating area, but I could walk 360 degrees around the inner tunnel. Anyone know what’s located underneath the right field stands? Yes, it’s the MILLER LITE BULLPEN SPORTS BAR. I wandered in there once to watch the last couple innings of the game. Guess what I saw! People playing pool, drinking alcohol, talking to friends, having a good time. Enjoying themselves. Were these DHWSF? Could be, I don’t know. This was before I had read our reader’s letter, so I just figured they went to the ballgame, maybe got a little bit bored with the game, and went inside. At the time, I didn’t think this made them bad fans. Apparently, I should have realized this makes them bad people!
Ok, I think I’ve made my point. I would be remiss, however, if I didn’t relay my own experience in the rooftop bleachers. When you pay for your ticket, all food and drink is included. So of course, lots of people do their best to get their money’s worth; I had 3 sandwiches (and yes, one social beer; is that so wrong?), but I honestly saw no one who I felt had taken too much advantage of the free alcohol. Also, many of the group I was with had never met before, so there was a good deal of chatting and socializing, but not enough to disrupt others’ viewing. And, most importantly, many fans found seating on the stairs lining the bleachers, since there weren’t enough seats for everyone, in order to be able to watch the game. All in all, a great experience. And definitely a baseball crowd, save for a few peeks over our collective shoulders to see the Blackhawks game on the neighboring roof’s tv.
So there you have it. I’ve tried to temper my feelings a little bit, but I wanted that reader to know that I am a DHCF! For life! And I get annoyed when people feel the need to rip on the Cubs for no other reason than that they aren’t fans. Who knows, the way 2010 has gone so far, we might all be Brewers fans soon.
Oh yeah, there’s one more thing. Our reader ended his rant with this: “This is why I have no time for the Cubs and their fans!” Really? Well then a) Why did you read the article? and b) Why did you take the time to write a response to it? Just sayin’… 😉