Thursday, August 23, 2012


now old friend
I walk on cement
and carpet
and sit in cars
I miss dancing on
looking at sky
for clouds
to daydream with
wind to judge
friend or foe
immense blue sky
of the mind of God
Dan Quisenberry, "A Day at the Park"

Short posts ain't my style, which I understand puts me on the outs with an ever-increasing portion of the readership, folks (not any of you bright persons, of course) who think of polysyllabism as a venereal disease.

There are a few angles to take on this recent, latest, tedious, unnecessary debate over Chicago White Sox attendance. But lucky for me, they've almost all been made in Tom Fornelli's brilliant call-and-response answer (indeed, it won't be long before "going FJM" on bad writing makes its way into the AP Stylebook) to the sheer idiocy Tim Baffoe posted over at CBSChicago.

No, I'm not going to link to Baffoe. You can get there through Fornelli, who probably already dirtied himself having to link to Baffoe. But if you're going to thrash a fella that hard, guilt alone oughta compel you to link.

Anyway, I'd already addressed the argument in my own thrashing last week of favored piñata Dan McGrath, so feel free to check it out.

Fornelli doesn't care if more fans show up to Wrigley, in light of all else being a White Sox fan accords him. I imagine most White Sox fans feel that way.

But that said, it's important not to underestimate the impact of some 28 years of the most powerful media entity in Chicago owning one baseball team, and not the other. And that holds true even if the decision-makers at Tribune sports—or likely, the whole of the Tower itself—chose only the most subtle of ways in highlighting their team and downplaying the White Sox.

We all know the Tribune didn't choose the most subtle means of bias, not when pot-smoking in the U.S. Cellular neighborhood graces the front page of the paper on the day of Game 1 of the ALDS in 2005. 

But I digress. For the sake of argument, imagine what 28 years of such subtle bias—some 10,000 days—could accomplish.

Could it earn you 11,000 more fans per game? Fucking well right, it could.

And look at how things continue to break against the White Sox in terms of coverage. The holdover bias from the actual Tribune newspaper/site is hardly notable any longer (at least as far as I've bothered to follow). But look at the discrepancies in the broadcast schedule (as laid out before the season) and dare to tell me that there's no lingering bias in the way things wring out:

White Sox

 *apparently eight is the customary and traditional (contractual?) WCIU max for the Cubbies each season.

The national games are added just to get to 162, but all that's concerning here are local broadcasts. The only possible head-to-head broadcast disadvantage the Cubbies have is with two extra, where-the-hell-are-they-oh-it's-the-number-of-the beast-on-DirecTV CSN+ games. The Cubbies have more than twice the number of national broadcasts (63-30) via WGN, while the White Sox have more than three times the number of please-no-not-more-Family-Guy-promos WCIU games, and if that's not the equivalent of black sheeping a team, what is?

The White Sox getting some 23 more CSN games is meh epitomized. Perhaps that provides a nice bonus for viewers, in that you can enjoy some pre- and/or postgame coverage you wouldn't normally—but then for White Sox fans, that also requires heavy doses of Chuck, Beltin' and Big Hurt, and sometimes even the insufferable pointlessness of PGL Interactive.

Anyway, this post was supposed to be short, merely praising Fornelli's fangs and then dropping the mic. Oops.

Well, as the credits roll here, I'll add that the normally-incisive and entertaining Jon Greenberg weighed in on the attendance topic yesterday in a surprisingly pedestrian manner. Oddly enough, the other writer to address attendance was not another city columnist but Sun-Times beat Daryl Van Schouwen, who likewise didn't take much of a stand but did incorporate some tweets and addressed the prohibitive pricing that makes a weeknight game against anyone more exception than rule.

Plus, Daryl included this typically kickass Ken Williams gem:
“I know there at least 2 million of our fans rooting and watching every day in their own way. We met them all one day on LaSalle Street [at the 2005 World Series parade], and I’m pretty sure they haven’t moved."
Bravo to the GM for showing some restraint vis-a-vis fanbase blame and sort of getting off the nut of that hopeless fight.

Some of the other writers in town should take his cue.

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