Wednesday, October 11, 2006
You may not know this, but I am not a fan of the Chicago White Sox baseball club. In fact, the White Sock is the natural blood enemy of the Chicago Cub - one of five blood enemies that the tiny creature of the North Side must contend with for survival. White Sox fans especially can be nasty critters, as I especially discovered during this past year, when said fans proved to be sore winners by lording their World Series triumph over their less fortunate cousins to the north.
Despite their dispositions, though, I sympathize with my baseball brethren over the increasing selling-out of the White Sox management. It was bad enough when they replaced the old Comiskey Park, one of the grande dames of baseball parks, with a new Comiskey that more resembled a strip mall than a place to play ball. Years later, that blight was made worse with the stripping of the time-honored Comiskey name in favor of a corporate logo, U.S. Cellular Field. For a few pieces of silver (actually, $68 million), one of the great names of both Chicago and baseball history was trashed, though many in the Chicagoland area have not gotten the memo and still refer to it as its Christian name. (Other call the ballpark "The Cell," a nickname that has more than one connotation if you've ever spent an April night there. A few even refer to the place as "The Joan," based on the fact that the lovingly quirky, Chicago-born actress Joan Cusack does their commercials. Never mind the fact that Joan and her brood are, for the most part, loyal Cubs fans. But I digress.)
Now comes the announcement that, starting with the 2007 season, all night games at New Comiskey will begin at 7:11 p.m. local time. This is a result of a new endorsement deal with, yes, the 7-Eleven convenience store chain, the idea being that every time the start time of the home games is announced, it's instant pub for the home of the Slurpee and Big Gulp. Now, on the surface, this isn't an entirely big deal. It's not like that's such a major shift from past history, when most White Sox games started at around 7:05 p.m. It's just so freakin' ridiculous. First of all, the price of this promotion is a mere $500,000, which won't buy a right-handed middle reliever with a sore arm these days. Second of all, it's another sign of how far sports entities will go to raise a few bucks. It's bad enough that so many stadiums have corporate names slapped onto them or that every aspect of the broadcast is sponsored. ("This crotch-scratching break is sponsored by Preparation H!") But this - this is just silly.
One wonders why the White Sox didn't take this idea all the way by having all day games start at 7:11 a.m. Maybe the idea of fathers waking up their sons at 4 in the morning to catch a ball game at The Joan was a bit too much.
Click the subject line to perpetuate the insanity.