Chicago Sun Times writer, Joe Cowley declared it this past Winter and we all laughed. But now that Spring has finally arrived, the signs are all pointing to it being true. The peculiar sights of empty seats at Wrigley Field juxtaposed against packed houses at U.S. Cellular Field confirm it—Chicago is clearly a Sox town.
It became obvious the pendulum had swung on Opening Day when I was able to walk up to Wrigley mere minutes before the first pitch and purchase a ticket without a problem. There really wasn’t even much of a line to speak of. What used to be the toughest ticket in town is now going for as little as $2.00 on StubHub. Meanwhile, business is booming as loud as the bats on the South Side. Opening Day was a complete sellout a full week prior to game day.
But this newfound popularity must be a bit unsettling for a fan base that has always prided itself on being the underdog, it’s second-class status, or, as my cohort so eloquently put it, being “the red-headed stepchild” of Chicago baseball. It has thrived on bitterness and anger towards a world that has rejected them for all these decades, possibly since the Black Sox Scandal of 1919. So now that that sense of rejection has been replaced by the warm embrace of the greatest baseball city in the world, there must be a void where that anger and venom once fueled the passionate and infamous “Sox Pride.” Without it, how do Sox fans define themselves in this South Side golden era?
Further complicating matters, those same annoying hipsters that once crowded the Friendly Confines are now flocking down to 35th and Shields, descending like a plague on the hot new place to see and be seen, creating long lines at concession stands and urinals throughout a once serene ballpark. Supply and demand will dictate higher ticket prices. Wasted douchebags on cellphones behind home plate are waving at the TV camera while hot chicks pop bubblegum and twirl their hair—all completely oblivious to the action on the field. The standard boilerplate complains about Wrigley and Cubs fans are becoming the reality on the South Side.
So you’ve got to face it, Sox fans—like Ronald Miller in the classic ’80s movie, Can’t Buy Me Love, you’re the popular kid in school now, that same popular kid you’ve loathed for all these years yet secretly wanted to be. So now that you’ve made it, how does it feel to look in the mirror and realize you’ve become the very thing you hate the most?