I like your article a lot, except you misunderstand some of the Sox fan’s disgust. I cannot deny as larger crowds ascend on the Cell that what you described as “The standard boilerplate complaints about Wrigley and Cubs fans are becoming the reality on the South Side” are not a reality. That’s pretty standard when you get 40,000 people together, not everyone will be paying attention.
This is not new as we drew over 3,000,000 fans in 2006 after winning the World Series, but what didn’t happen is a continued draw when we did not produce and that’s the rub.
You’ll never hear this Sox fan proudly say the following, “You may have won the World Series, but we had a larger attendance;” that very statement was said to me in 2005 by more than one Cubs’ fan. Really?
My disgust comes from the double-rainbow world that a lot of Cubs’ fans live in, which is “it’s all going to be fine, we’re going to win this year.” In the past, they have blindly sold out Wrigley Field before the season, even though there were no signs of improvement.
This year, the story has changed a lot as attendance is at it’s lowest mark in nine years, so the Cubs’ fans are finally using the only real voice a fan has… not buying tickets to games.
Sox fans have chosen to use their voice year after year, and proceed into each season with cautious optimism, so while the “standard boilerplate complaints about Wrigley and Cubs fans” are normally the price fans of a team have to suffer for winning and putting a good product on the field, except the Cubs had the same result in years past without either of those two things.
Even with fewer fans at Wrigley the same antics will exist, so nothing will really change. You’ll still have over half of a crowd that has no idea what is going on with their team or the game. You’ll get questions like Smitty received on Opening Day roughly four years ago, “who’s playing left?” Really? Alfonso Soriano, you may have heard of him.
The Cubs team that is currently 5-5 is a result of the fans and the fans alone. Your complaints are too late and are only going to damage your team more. What I mean by that is by not showing up at this point is not going to help. You’ve given Tom Ricketts no time to pull this thing together.
New ownership did not mean the Cubs would suddenly win overnight, but that goes back to the double-rainbow mentality that Cubs’ fans posses. It takes time to correct the years of mistakes the Tribune Company allowed to happen by not putting a team on the field that could win the whole thing (I’m not going to get into an argument about the 2003 team, the bottom line is they did not win; end of story.)
This new attitude of not going to games is going to back Ricketts into a corner, and force him to either act like the fan that he is or a businessman come 2012. While, the Cubs have a lot of heavy payroll leaving the team like Aramis Ramirez and Kosuke Fukudome, they will still be forced to lower team spending to make up for the financial losses of 2011.
What I’m saying is don’t stop now if you want this thing to turnaround sooner than later, go watch your team this year as you’ve done in years past or things will get really dark at Wrigley in 2012 because Tom Ricketts will act like a businessman.