What Stinks About the Sox | Letters | Chicago Reader

What Stinks About the Sox 

To the editor:

So now the Sox players are starting to whine about the lack of fan support at Comiskey Park, as if that's the reason they can't put together any consistent string of wins when it really counts this season [Sports Section, September 6].

That kind of loser talk breaks my heart. It's the final act of a team with dying pennant hopes. I am a lifelong south sider/south suburbanite who against all rationality continues to be a White Sox fan--even to the point of taking my kids out a couple of times a year to the unwelcoming, unappealing new Comiskey. What keeps me coming is the aforementioned insane loyalty and the green sweep of the field, always a magic sight when one walks up the ramp in any natural-turf ballpark.

But I digress. There are simple reasons fans are not coming to the park, though some of the reasons are related in complicated ways:

1. The strike. The 1994 Sox were headed toward the division championship and World Series. After a couple of years of frustrating near misses, it was ours to lose with that great, truly exciting team that included Julio Franco, the continually, quietly amazing Lance Johnson, the Big Hurt, a hot Jason Bere, etc etc. Of all major league fans, Sox fans felt the most sense of betrayal by the strike. It was our year! To add insult to injury, when they finally get the strike settled, Reinsdorf breaks up that team. It's not been the same since.

2. The strike, II. Sox fans are true baseball fans. The ones who care most deeply about the game were the most hurt by the strike. I've talked to many guys I grew up with on the south side, grown men who say, and still say, through tears and clenched jaws, "I'll never pay money to see them again."

3. As David Peterson (Letters, September 13) says, Reinsdorf is a bum, leader of the strikebreakers and hard-liners among the owners. We know it. I think the players know it too, which may explain why a talented bunch can't seem to put out their top potential. Who among us kills ourself on the job when we've lost all respect for the boss?

4. The new Comiskey. Gallas and company should stop being defensive and admit and take steps to correct its shortcomings. The place is like a fortress, it is not warm, it is not welcoming, and they totally destroyed what was left of the neighborhood when they built it. We have to bite the bullet and eat the cost and reconfigure the upper deck. For every one person I know who says they'll never go to Comiskey again, there are five who say they will never, never sit in the upper deck again. These are tough guys too, south-side working stiffs; they're scared to sit up there.

Frank, Robin, Karko, Ozzie: we love you, man, but don't blame us. Blame your bosses and marketers, who persist in acting as if nothing is wrong and in treating us as if we're stupid.

Chris Anderson

Park Forest

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