Thursday, August 23, 2012

This Dead Horse Just Isn't Dead Enough


Before I get all Fire Joe Morgan on this column by Tim Baffoe I feel I must point out that I have nothing against Baffoe. I follow him on Twitter, he follows me, I think he's funny, I have no idea how he feels about me.

I also know how I feel about his column on CBSChicago.com about the White Sox and attendance. A topic I've discussed enough, and one of those old standbys for anybody with a column to write and nothing real to write it on.

"Let's see, the Sox are in first place. They're about to sweep the Yankees, so I can't write about the Royals anymore. Shit, they're playing well, Detroit's not really catching them, what can I write about? OH YEAH, ATTENDANCE. ATTENDANCE = WINNING."

So let's just get to it.

Some say it’s beating a dead horse.

And that's because it is. You're about to write nearly 700 words in which you try to say that the number of fans who show up to a game determines how good a team can be. And you actually have to convince yourself that you're right in the process. Something that's incredibly hard to do because you know you're full of shit.

Some take serious offense at the accusation.

If rolling my eyes is offense, then sure.

Some immediately unleash their Napoleon complexes and divert to an irrational comparison to a team about nine miles away.

Sorry, I'm not one of them.

Whatever the response to the pointing out of you not showing up to games may be, let’s face it. You’re cheap, White Sox fans.

/continues writing this post on his $1,200 computer and will watch Friday night's White Sox game from home on his $800 television while tweeting on his $1,100 laptop all the while maintaining a White Sox blog that he writes for free in his spare time

And you’re allowed to be cheap. 

Why thanks for your permission, kind sir! I was beginning to feel bad!

But if you’re cheap, you’re not allowed to complain.

Mitt Romney's writing about the White Sox, you guys!

Attendance so far for the series against the New York Yankees has been a joke. 

26,000 Sox fans walk into a bar....

Less than 28,000 for each of the first two games of the series and likely not much better for Wednesday night’s finale as the Sox look to sweep the boys from the Bronx.

Yet they're still managing to win the games!

The Yankees. Most historic franchise in American sports. Team with the best record in the American League. MLB hits leader Derek Jeter bearing gift baskets. You’ve heard of that team, right?

You mean the Yankees that are currently 9th in MLB attendance based on percentage of seats sold, behind teams like the Twins and Cubs? Those Yankees? Yeah, they were on national television seven times last week. Frankly I've heard and seen too much about them.

And the White Sox are in first place, if that wasn’t reason enough to fill seats with butts. But the butts remain in Barcaloungers. Doesn’t sound much like folks are appreciating the game.

You ever sat on my couch, bro? I'm appreciating the shit out of that couch. And I'm also watching every damned game on television. The White Sox told me to appreciate the game. They didn't say "appreciate the view from section 131." And if they had I'd have said, "no, I'm cool on my couch."

Oh, right.

Why that's Sun Times beat reporter Daryl Van Schouwen bringing up a valid point! Something you haven't actually done in this column yet. Better dismiss it right quick!

Jim Margalus over at SouthSideSox.com...

Oh thank god.

...points out that “… Charging small-market prices doesn’t mesh with the desire for big-market prestige (and the prestigious fans who buy much more than a ticket), so the Sox are forced to put the cart before the horse and wait for their vision to be realized.” Maybe that’s true, and maybe the Sox will have a “let them eat cake” attitude toward their peasant fans who already lack bread.

Wait, so are we peasants now too? Because if we're peasants then you really are being an asshole by telling us simple poor folk we need to spend what little money we have on baseball tickets instead of the bread we are severely lacking.

If so, though, you fans who constantly bemoan your favorite team’s often little brother status, both locally and nationally, need to shut up.

Can't talk! Too busy starving!

If you want the team to be treated like it is nationally relevant, you have to accept paying nationally relevant prices. You can’t have it both ways.

Relevance. There's that word again. I love when writers will bring up the relevance of a sports franchise as if that actually fucking matters, and do so while they're WRITING ABOUT THAT PARTICULAR FRANCHISE.

"This franchise is so irrelevant I felt the need to sit down and write a column about an irrelevant topic surrounding this irrelevant franchise! Irrelevant times irrelevant makes my drivel relevant! It's word math, bitches!"

You can also take in a game without all the typically American slobbery, too. 

Wait, so now America sucks too? Where the fuck you from?

When I hear the excuse “I can’t afford to spend $100 at a game,” I always respond that I’ve never sat in a $100 seat at U.S. Cellular Field.

So you're a peasant White Sox fan too?

The most expensive available seat on WhiteSox.com for Wednesday night’s tilt is $70, and that’s for a premium game.

And where was this seat located? This is an important factor in buying the seat. Because, if I did want to go to last night's game and I saw a $70 ticket right there by the White Sox dugout -- which is where you can get a seat for $74 against the Mariners on Friday, which is definitely not a premium game -- then my cheap, irrelevant, starving ass is buying that ticket because that's a great fucking deal. However, if that $70 seat is for a bleacher seat, you can go fuck yourself.

“But I need beer and junk food!” No, you don’t, but did you know that you can bring your own food and into the park?

So how many games you been to where you didn't eat or drink anything, Tim?

There’s also the option of eating while tailgating in the parking lot. 

Oh, so now I don't only have to go to the games, but you want me getting there a few hours early. For me, this isn't much of a problem as I tend to make my own hours. But for Johnny Nine-to-Five, I'm not sure this whole tailgating idea works.

So the concessions excuse isn’t a valid one.

Yeah, it is. You're the one who hasn't made a valid point yet. You've just thrown words and numbers out there and convinced yourself you're right.

You also don’t need souvenirs, grown-ass man who likes to wear jerseys. 

Now you're just taking cheap shots at people for no reason! This is pretty much the epitome of "oh shit I'm running out of things to say." Who the fuck said anything about needing to buy a jersey?

It’s a baseball game, not a carnival.

Again, thanks for this distinction. Not sure when anybody said it was a carnival, but it's important that we point this out in case there is some Sox fan out there who is a bit too self-conscious to ask the group if there will be rides.

And if a hot dog and pop inside the park for your kid breaks your bank account, you’ve made some bad life choices.

Yeah, you chose to put a roof over that kid's head instead, you selfish fucking asshole.

And don’t give me the parking prices complaint either. 

$23. So that $70 ticket you mentioned earlier becomes $93 before you've stepped foot in the park. OH, and let's not forget those Ticketmaster surcharges! Gotta pay Ticketmaster for the right to buy the ticket! But you've never bought a $100 ticket to US Cellular Field.

First, be happy the team provides parking. 

Thank you for giving me a place to give you more money like any franchise with a stadium built within the last half century! Your kindness is just too much, White Sox!

There’s also public transportation, ye who pride yourselves on a working-class reputation (which is actually inaccurate). 

Yes, and we all know that all White Sox fans -- poor, rich, starving, fat -- live within the city's borders and usually two blocks of the train. And who doesn't love getting on the train or bus with a cooler full of food to tailgate with like you told us to? Nobody doesn't, that's who!

And if you live in the suburbs, like millions of people do, why, ride your bikes to the games! Just chain them to a tree and you won't have to pay for parking either!

Excuses—stop making them.

Columns -- stop writing them.

Embrace your cheapness instead.

I've gone from cheap to starving to an American slob to blue collar to white collar and now back to cheap all within one pointless column.

You aren’t allowed to complain about the way Kenny Williams conducts business, though, if you and your wallet are boycotting games.

I really do love when people tell me what I am allowed and I'm not allowed to do. Also, do you know what boycotting means? Here's a quick definition from an online dictionary. Something you should have consulted here.

"to combine in abstaining from, or preventing dealings with, as a means of intimidation or coercion: to boycott a store."

Motherfucker choosing to watch the game at home instead of purchasing a ticket is called capitalism. Two products are being offered to me -- both by the White Sox by the way! -- and I'm choosing which one I want to buy. I'm not making a political statement by not going to the game, I'm merely choosing the option that suits me.

Williams has said that lack of attendance hinders his ability to put the best possible product on the field.

Yet every year when he's said this he's gone about and spent whatever money he's needed. Meanwhile, the other franchise owned by Jerry Reinsdorf, refuses to go over the luxury tax despite the fact it's been selling out games for roughly the last 20 years.

ATTENDANCE = SPENDING MONEY!

His ability to makes impactful deals this season that have greatly improved the team is even more a testament to his quality as a general manager since he’s hamstrung by his own fanbase’s unwillingness to get off the couch.

So now it's our fault that Boston was just giving Kevin Youkilis away and that the Houston Astros are selling anything that's already graduated from high school? By not going to White Sox games I'm killing Boston and Houston too?

And what about Minnesota? That team with the new stadium that their fans keep filling. Did they have to sell low on Liriano in a contract year because they're currently 11th in MLB in average attendance, one spot behind the Cubs? Because I'm pretty sure you've been telling me this entire time that attendance is what will lead us to heaven.

This is a first place team that’s 24th out of 30 in attendance. Twenty-first in 2011. Damn economy, right? That same economy that has an underachieving Philadelphia team with the best attendance in the game and the team in Detroit—America’s own cute little Beirut—seventh.

Well, Philadelphia and Detroit only have one team. And before you go saying I'm going little brother on you, read the next sentence carefully.

The Cubs are more popular, and I don't care. More people watch American Idol and Dancing With The Stars than they do Breaking Bad. You want to make your choices on what the majority of people do, that's your thing.

I'll just keep on choosing quality over quantity.

So go ahead and pinch your baseball pennies, White Sox fans. But then stop feeling persecuted and under-appreciated....

I feel none of these things! Again, you're just continuing to make straw man arguments here. Also, I put the hyphen between under and appreciated in that sentence for you. No need to thank me.

 ...and stop demanding management give you blood from a turnip year in and year out.

So now fans can't want their team to win.

Money talks. Cheapness whines.

Cliches talk, these you write.

Sorry if I seem a bit harsh on you here, Tim, but I truly feel this way about what you're saying. I don't think you're an idiot by any means, but I think what you wrote is idiotic.

I could easily make the counter argument that the Cubs have been selling out Wrigley Field for years and have not seen the team win anything because the franchise never felt any pressure to win. Why should they?

They knew they could put out an inferior product and still remain one of the most profitable franchises in the league.

Meanwhile the White Sox, are forced to try and win to earn fans.

Which strategy has worked better in your opinion? Or is that just my Napoleon complex peeking through?

4 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Outstanding piece!

    I pay my Directv bill and watch games from my sofa most weekends. During the week, since I work nights, I listen to games on WSCR. So capitalism works! I have chosen to follow the Sox on TV and listen to AM radio.

    Gahd Bless 'Merica.

    I'm also old enough to remember when drawing over 1 million fans was considered a good year and owners still made a profit. Times have changed though, salaries have exploded so attendance matters more.

    Chicago is a 2 team town, and I luv that about my city. Yes, the Cubs are more popular and I don't care. But each year about 5 million seats are sold to baseball games in Chicago, yet complaining about WSox attendance never stops. If 2 million tickets sold is not enough for the White Sox to function, then sell the team and end this argument forever.

    I'm sick of it.

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  3. Stands. Applauds.

    Tim Baffoe just writes what he believes is going to make Dan Bernstein happy.

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  4. A few observations to add to this excellent piece:

    1) One of the last times Fornelli and I attended the Cell was on Opening Day when, despite getting to the ball park well more than an hour ahead of the game, we didn't have a prepaid parking pass and so were routed to McCORMICK PLACE to park WITH NO TRANSPORTATION PROVIDED BACK. Once we got to the parking lot - passing by hundreds of disconsolate fans making the 45 minute+ trek to the Cell - we decided to keep driving and watch from home. Since then, I haven't exactly been jumping up and down begging to go to a game.

    2) "And if a hot dog and pop inside the park for your kid breaks your bank account, you’ve made some bad life choices." Wow. Just wow. Are you serious?

    At one of the last games we attended last season, Fornelli and I were sitting in front of a low-income mom and her three kids. She had broken the bank to bring them to the game and they were enthralled... by the food vendors. Every other fan around them was stuffing their faces with concession food and it was very clear she wasn't able to offer that to her distraught youngsters. But I guess they had it coming. After all, their mother made "bad life choices."

    Mister Baffoe, if you don't understand that a day at the park is a budget buster for any average family, well, dude, you either don't have a family or you are getting paid WAY too much money for your specious bloviating.

    3) "It's a baseball game, not a carnival." Try telling that to 3/4 of the assholes who ARE at the park. I'm lucky if 10% of the people around me are sitting in their seats at all during the game. When self-absorbed ass holes are posing, slogging down $7 beers like they're auditioning for Hangover 3, yelling, taking pictures when the count is 3-2, standing some more, talking about everything BUT the baseball game, excuse me if I'd rather have an unobstructed view of the action with Stony and Hawk for company.

    4) Um, Timmy, the White Sox make huge profits from souvenir and jersey sales. You're all "Kenny doesn't get enough money", then turn up your nose at one of the biggest money makers they have going? Dude, you really didn't think this article through.

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