Going to a White Sox night game with one week left in the season, and the Sox 1.5 games from first place is an interesting experience. The fans were attentive to the game, but quiet. When they introduced a US Army solider in the 4th inning, he got more applause and people standing than when the White Sox tied up the score 1-1 in the 4th and 2-2 in the 5th.
Contrast that with the fan at Wrigley field who never looked at home plate the entire game. The last time I was inside Wrigley Field, we sat behind a guy a whose back was turned away from home plate towards his friends. He never looked at home plate the entire game. To try to get him to at least glance at home plate, my brother and I yelled things like, “I can’t believe what Starlin Castro is doing at home plate!” “Did you see that strikeout at home plate! Wow!” Clearly he wasn’t interested in baseball. But this fan was eating a giant pretzel. We thought maybe he would be interested in pretzel-related topics, so we yelled, “OMG there is a giant pretzel on home plate!” He didn’t even flinch at us.
Despite many Cubs fans not paying attention, the ones who do watch the game cheer loudly when their team does well. Maybe because the Cubs fans don’t have much to cheer about?
The Sox fans should have plenty to cheer about their team is in the playoffs, yet their fans sit quietly. I would dare say the Sox fans are extremely polite. Why would they be so quiet? With one week left in the season their team was 1.5 games out of first place. The temps were in the 60s, so it wasn’t too cold. You would think that the fans who love their team and watch the play would cheer for them.
Aside from the lack of cheering, it was really nice to see the audience at the game be so racially diverse. Perhaps it helps having the ballpark be close to the part of the red line that would attact a wider range of fans. At Cubs games, it’s mostly white surburban people and white young kids from Lakeview.
Even though I’m a white north-sider Cubs fan, I felt more at home with the racially diverse crowd. It makes me uneasy when a big event has everyone with the same ethnicity. It also made me more comfortable to be in the cheap-o upper deck seats. My friend got the tickets for free from Comcast. The original price of the seats were twenty to twenty-five dollars. Vendors outside the ballpark were selling upper deck seats for five bucks.
Five bucks. That’s how much a game should cost. I liked being around people who didn’t spend $100 a ticket. Even if they didn’t cheer much for their team. But maybe that’s even nice too, because they weren’t being obnoxious.
I used to not like the Cell’s upper deck, because they don’t let you go down to the rest of the ballpark. But you know what? That’s fine with me. I don’t want to hang out with stupid people who pay too much for tickets. When you pay too much for tickets a few things happen. You want to over-live the experience. You over-cheer. You buy more food. Fans who pay a lot for tickets can be big spenders and they want to have the “full experience.” I say that’s the stupid wasteful experience. It’s a ballgame. You don’t have to hang on every single pitch like it’s the end of your life. The team doesn’t absolutely have to win. You don’t have to always have three beers, a hot dog, pretzel, and nacho chips.
Sure there are things I don’t like about the Cell. Tshirt cannons, fan cams while the game is happening (uh, shouldn’t we be watching the game and not to see if we are featured on the big screen?), the White Sox, the ugly serif font on the roof of the visitors dugout. But I like the simplicity of the upper deck in the Cell.