Sox/Cubs Games at US Cellular Field SUCK!

All right, someone had to say it: Sox/Cubs games at US Cellular Field Suck!  The reason youdon’t realize this is that Sox and Cubs fans are “supposed” to have a stupid rivalry (we don’t) and Pud Selig sold everyone on why inter-league play is so great (it’s fine, but all the other leagues do it and don’t make a big deal about it)………..but these games blow…..

FIGHTS

I’ll admit, I enjoyed those backyard fighting videos of Kimbo Slice back in the day as much as the next guy, but what I don’t really enjoy is a fight breaking out every half inning between two knuckleheads that can’t handle their booze/got cuckold’d last weekend/were recently fired from their job……….whatever.  I’m here to enjoy a ball game, not watching a slap and tickle fight between idiots.  Fights not only cause a disturbance to those around the activity, but they also increase scrutiny from security and discourage people from being willing to bring their families…..

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Security don’t play.

OVER SERVED FANS

We in the 108 have been known to take down a beverage or two, but the Sox/Cubs games bring out the worst in people consuming………a few years back we had some rough looking fellows sitting a row back of us in the 108.  One of their party had a little too much fun and in the 2nd inning, had, what they call in the eating competitions, a “reversal of fortune”……….that was no fun………….in fact, the 108’ers had their own day in which they consumed too much Limoncello before the game…..BeefLoaf decided to remove himself from the ballpark in the 5th inning, not to be heard from until the next day.  It gets ugly.

Really, it’s amateur hour.  It’s the only thing that rivals St Patrick’s Day, because it has all the same elements as a St Patty’s Day bar at 10pm: there’s a fight, there’s a guy puking, there’s a girl crying, and for some unknown reason, people are in John Barleycorn’s.

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“Puke and rally beeeeeeeeotch!”

CROSSTOWN CUP

Shut the fuck up with this.

It is a fake rivarly……….we all know it…………..as much as the media has always tried to pin Sox fans vs Cubs fans, we really don’t hate each other, and we really couldn’t give a fuck about each others’ teams other than some good natured ball busting.  Most years, at least one of the teams is horrible, so the stakes are meh.  I remember watching Darin Erstad try to make a diving catch in CF and his career being over…….nobody wants to see that.  It is only exacerbated by the stupid BP Cup (which was extra fun after the oil spill)…….it’s Chicago baseball’s participation trophy.

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Ozzie showed up at Dugans with this. No one cared.

THE SOX WILL SWEEP

The Sox have shown their true colors and it is time for a tear down.  But you and I both know, they’ll sweep this series or at least win it and give people a false sense of hope.  And of course, this is right before the deadline.

– BeefLoaf and Chorizy-E

The 5 – Bobbleheads and Bo.

Growing up I remember teams, the 1989 “Flyin’ Illini”, 91-93 Bulls, ’85 Bears, but besides Jordan, Bo Jackson was one of the biggest sports figures in my life.  I loved Bo.  I have a huge card collection of only Bo’s.  I bought sets to just get Bo’s that I needed. Watching Bo go down in that football game was hard.  But when the Sox picked him up, I was over the moon.  My first White Sox game was his second game back, he homered.  I lost my shit.  I have the posters.  I have the shirts.  I have his book.

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Many years later, when Bo was gonna be at SoxFest, I was amped. I went home to get my “The Ball Player” poster for him to sign.  Then I found out that Bo doesn’t sign that picture, at all, anymore.  For those of you not familiar with SoxFest, most guys will sign anything you give them.  But Bo and Carlton Fisk have only been signing free pics that the Sox give out when they appear at SoxFest.  No outside items.  Seriously.  If you want Bo to sign a different item, he won’t.   I understand this for a couple reasons.

It’s how he makes his nut.

Bo’s career was short, he didn’t make a bunch of money from sports.  Endorsements?  Maybe.  But it’s a nice retirement package charging $100+ a signature.  I respect that.

People sell his stuff, why can’t he?

I get that too.  I would be pissed if I did something that commanded a certain value and I didn’t get my share.  It’s just the way it is.  I don’t fault him for that.

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Why are we talking about this? In case you missed it, the Sox released the first official Bo Jackson bobblehead.  It’s a beaut.  You can purchase it here from the Sox. Part of the money goes to charity, good cause. I bought a bunch at the game.  I have a pretty big bobble collection and collect mostly White Sox. I trade with other people and Bo is a huge figure in the bobble world.  In my limited experience with this bobble game, the cheapest the bobble will ever be is when it first comes out.  As time goes by the price goes up due to less being available.  That has been sorta skewed as more people are buying more to sell, so the market stays flooded longer than it had been a few years before.  I have written about bobbles before, you can read that here.

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Do I sell bobbles for profit?  Absolutely.  I take risks buying multiple tickets, multiple bobbles, all in the hopes it will go up in price.  Sometimes you cash in early, sometimes it takes time.  I usually hold onto stuff, most of the time it works, sometimes it doesn’t.  I have lost money, but I have also made enough money to make it worthwhile to take these calculated risks.  So yeah, I saw this Bo as chance to trade for some harder to get items and maybe sell a few.

The White Sox being the White Sox sold this online before they did at the park.  Which kinda sucks if you go to games.  I know the idea is to sell them, but don’t you want people at the park? I think that more people would make the trip over or in to pickup this bobble this weekend.  Sell it online after the first weekend it is available, but let us fans that go regularly get treated special.

If you don’t know, for people that check in with the MLB Ballpark App the Sox give out prizes when you show up.  The give you a free shirt for 1 check in, which is awesome.  Great to give the kids and adults something to bring home.  But as you get more and more check in’s,  the prizes get better.  For 50 games you get a Golden Chris Sale bobble head.  A few weeks ago, before the 50 home game mark, they gave out the bobbles to people that Tweeted something.  Seriously?  The guys making it to 50 games don’t get it first?  Just rubs me (and other collectors) the wrong way.  I don’t fault them, but it just feels like we got slighted in this case.

So yesterday, I posted some Bo’s online.  I posted them before I got them because, ‘Merica.  I was the first listed, and yep, it was listed at a high price.  If you don’t know about Ebay, listed prices are not selling prices.  Just because I listed it for $125, doesn’t mean I got that for it when (and if) it sold.  I have been selling stuff on Ebay for years, I buy stuff that way too.  I sold 1, for much less than my $125 asking price, but enough to make it worth my time.  Within hours more and more people listed for much less than me, but all still higher than the asking price from the Sox.  That’s business.  That’s how it works.

Thursday night, I got a text with an article about the Bo bobble.  Bo was quoted saying this-

He was not happy to see one for sale for $125 online Thursday morning. As a result, he said he won’t be signing them. “The thing that bothers me is we do this for a good cause but you have those hustlers out there that buy them and put them online,” he said.

My childhood hero, the guy who hawked stuff that I bought, called me a hustler in the Trib.  Fucking badass.  What is a hustler?  The FIRST definition is “an enterprising person determined to succeed; go-getter.”  Wow.  Bo Jackson recognizes my talent and he doesn’t even know me!  (Well, we’ve met once, but I doubt I made any impression on him.)  Other definitions are not as nice, but reselling something at a higher price than it is offered in other places isn’t illegal.  It shouldn’t even be looked down upon.  Just like professional athletes making as much money as they can, they should be a hustler too.  Get you some.  I am all for it.  We as fans shouldn’t bitch either, we support it.

What I don’t like is him using that as an excuse on why he won’t sign them when he wasn’t gonna sign them anyways.  Why was Bo on Ebay looking up his bobblehead? Why does he even care?  I think the author told him about it, but come on Bo, you wouldn’t have signed them anyways and I don’t fault you for that.  I know he has signed custom bobbles before, wasn’t happy about them, but he did it cause he was paid to do it.  So, maybe if you pay him he will still sign it for you.  But if he doesn’t and I ruined this for everyone, sorry guys.  But right now I am the silent fall guy for my childhood hero.  And that is fine, I will do that for you Bo.  I owe ya for all the years of entertainment.

MidSeason Grades from the 108

Midseason Grades
A couple of footnotes to the grades, Chorizy-E went with Pass/Fail as he believes that is how everything should be graded.  MSS offered up an “Incomplete” for Twitter, as he doesn’t believe much in Twittering.
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Beer Vendors
Over in the 108, this is easily the most important grade. We got this shit on lockdown.  Hell, BeefLoaf and Slumpbuster have our regular beer guys on speed dial so they don’t waste their precious time coming by till be get there.  Brian, James and Richard are top notch and take great care of us.  However, if you are sitting in the upper deck…it is a bad area….a wasteland if you will.  Easily lost multiple sales because they NEVER come around.  Sometimes we save money on tickets to buy beer folks, but if we don’t have the opportunity to purchase, well, yeah.  So treat the “up high guys” the same as the lowers.
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Fans (in stadium)
Wow.  We went from selling 100k tickets in a week, to listing 1000 tickets a day on StubHub.  The fans were awesome when we were winning, not so much when the drecks of the bad losing streak hit.  We don’t expect full houses anytime soon.  White Sox fans in the stadium actually know the game better than you might think, we like to think 99% of fans are just there to eat hot dogs and drink beer, which is mostly correct, but the 108’ers tend to run into people who actually have a clue and who are very social.  Especially opposing team fans, which is always questionable………unfortunately, too many of you still engage in the wave, which is the equivalent of having AOL as your internet provider or  asking someone to fax you some information.  The wave may have been fun/cool at some point, but that point is 20 years in our rear view, now its equal parts obnoxious and pointless.  If you don’t believe me, watch our video here.  Overall, White Sox fans are generally friendly and conversational, with the occasional fall down drunk (more occasional in the 108).
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White Sox Twitter
I’m a big fan of the White Sox Twitter community.  They’re very active and unlike most social media, I see people actually asking questions and getting solid answers.  This builds a more informed, more cohesive fan base.  Of course there are some complete lunatics, but it’s the internet, so that’s gonna happen.  But, White Sox Twitter also clearly suffers from bipolar disorder…….one minute, Sox are the best team in baseball, the next, they should get contracted Expos style………Tyler Saladino is the equivalent of the Bears backup QB, everyone knows he isn’t very good, but they still want him in the lineup at all costs, even at DH………..the group is very split on JB Shuck, the sane folks know he really sucks and shouldn’t play everyday, the unsane would like him out there at all costs……..in fairness, this is what you have to work with when you watch 162 baseball games of a mediocre team.  White Sox Twitter has been really on point with the fans’ feelings of the team, they make the game viewing experience very fun, even when the team sucks.  I think collectively, as a group, we need to work in Crying Jordan more, but that is just me.
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Robin Ventura
Like a wet luke warm towel in a locker room, RV is still around.  Is it luke warm cause it was recently pissed on?  Maybe.  Cause it wasn’t fully dry when it came out of the dryer?  Maybe.  Why are we talking about towels?  Cause they are far more interesting than RV and his managing style.  Just read this article to get the unabridged version of what we think of RV.
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Rick Hahn
We are fans of Rick Hahn, but trying to figure out “the Plan” is sort of like following the plot of True Detective 2, you think you sort of almost have it and then Jimmy Rollins and Mat Latos die and you are back to square one.  To his credit he has discarded his old and broken toys for other people’s old and broken toys……..ah, who are we kidding, if it weren’t for Tim Anderson, this team would be trending down towards the Twins, which is possibly what they need, but right now, we want to watch them play well.  There is so little depth on this team, someone has to take the blame for that.  If you lose the CF you picked up 30 seconds before the season started, the whole team should not fall to pieces, and we certainly should not have to watch JB Shuck.  Not to mention you rostered Jerry Sands for what seemed to be forever.  We think Hahn was in a weird spot this year, between trying to compete and keep the White Sox 3 high draft picks………..think in that respect, he mostly did what he could, but again the team is in the dreggs of the middle class (we know, we know, the middle class is gone in the US).
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The Organization
Rough one.  They try so fucking hard. we are friends with many folks in the front office in all different areas. We would say overall, this year has been pretty smooth so far. We feel like they have had some solid giveaways.  The t-shirts have been bomb, wish it was a Monday not a Thursday, but whatevs.  Lots of folks are getting there to get them.  They have started doing special tickets for special bobbleheads too, which we love.  We also love that they discount the tickets.  We also love that MSS does make us go through the line a bunch of times to get extras. MSS really hope this continues and they offer this for the regular release bobbles too.  Even the red shirts have done a better job this year.   The organization hasn’t really pissed me off and they are clearly trying to make positive changes.
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Announcers
Jason Benetti is carrying this sorry group.  He is a breath of fresh air and he is already making the broadcast 100x better with new segments and fun interactive stuff for the fans (even if we realize that @ssspnoles and @cswear12 have the cheat code for #SoxMath).  He also allows Steve Stone to actually talk and they actually interact in a fun way.  Especially like the one inning a game where Jason really gets to break Stoney’s balls about how bad he did against certain hitters from his past.  We suspect that Benetti will get stolen by ESPN or MLB Network at some point, so we should really try to enjoy this while it lasts.  One negative point against Benetti, he dissed us with our welcome sign and never acknowledged it on TV.  That ain’t cool.
Steve Stone is still good, not as good as he used to be, but that is only because with the pervasiveness of advanced stats that help the average fan understand the game better.
Hawk is done, but we get so many insane quotes from him, we can deal with it for the rest of the year.  His main highlights of the year have been when he couldn’t see if a ground rule double (aka bounce home run) was a homer or a double and had to ask Stoney (mind you, he has a monitor 3 inches from him that he could look at) and when he left the booth for an inning to check on Todd Frazier when Frazier got hurt in Texas.  He’ll probably blame the umps for this bad rating we are giving him.
Farmio and DJ are a good listen if you think of them as an old married couple.  I think that’s what they’re going for, so I’ll pretend it’s on purpose……….however, if your intention was to actually know what is going on in the game they aren’t such a good listen………..when they actually do talk about the game, Farmio rarely knows wtf is going on and often gives incorrect information.  DJ would probably be better off with a better partner, because Farmio is slipping big time, but considering it is the White Sox, they’ll probably extend him for another 5 years.
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Technology
We love the ballpark app (except for the feature that allows you to order food, because that food shan’t arrive, EVAR). We love that they give you stuff for checking in.  Sadly, this year it has been mostly bullshit.  Last year we had free apps at ChiSox every weekend it seemed.  And those coupons were good till the end of the season.  Now they are only good for that game.  So if BigUns buys us all pretzels or something in the 8th, we still have to go get the free apps even if we aren’t that hungry for wings (which is rare, but can happen).  Yes, they lost a TON of money on that promo last year from the 108.  But guess what?  We also bought a TON of tall boy High Life’s at $7 each.  Seriously.  We can buy a case of High Life for $3 more.  A case! So give me some free fucking wings!
On another note, one of the goals of Ballpark App is at 50 check in’s, you get a Golden Chris Sale Bobblehead. Which is awesome.  What is not awesome is that they GAVE THE DAMN THINGS AWAY ON SOCIAL MEDIA NIGHT IN THE TWITTER VENDING MACHINE. So all the guys who have been going to every game  just got scooped by some douche that tweeted “Go Sox! 456789”  That was cold guys, especially since we are only in the 40’s for home games.  You could have waited, but in true Sox fashion, blew the load early.
New scoreboard is nice, but that’s about it.  They’re trying to do more with social media, but there is not much of interest there.  There is still not a way to use a credit card with vendors.  They do very little to go about seeing what their season ticket holders spend in the stadium or what they spend it on.  There are a lot of improvements to be made across the MLB in terms of in-stadium technology and you think they would lead the way since they have so many games as opposed to a sport like football.  But they do not.  Good news though, Comiskey Cash is still a thing, for some stupid reason.

Happy 69th Birthday Steve Stone!!!

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If you grew up in Chicago in the 80’s you have been watching and listening to Steve Stone your entire life.  He left baseball in 1981, but by 1983 he was full-time in the Cubs booth paired with the legendary Harry Caray……….one side note, I know this is a White Sox blog, but when you are my age, you didn’t have a lot of choice but to watch Cubs baseball as a kid even as a Sox fan…………the Cubs played predominantly day games (during the summer when we were kids, there was no internet, so this was the best thing to watch) and when they weren’t day games, they usually started at 6pm (road games in the old NL East).  Also, all games were televised on WGN……..so you could actually watch them………..the White Sox played predominantly night games, including a big chunk of games on the West Coast and a lot of those games, I could not watch, as I did not have Sportsvision……….but I digress…….

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Wherever or whenever you caught Stone doing a ball game, you were getting the best an analyst had to offer, someone who thought the game deeply and gave the fans an educational experience.  One of the most fun things about Stone is he liked to test his acumen against the actual events, by trying to predict what move or pitch would work best.  A fun game that fans generally enjoy.  He also pulled no punches, which is evidenced by him leaving the Cubs booth for good at the end of the 2004 season.  Nothing like an analyst that is willing to take some risk for his opinions (gfy ESPN analysts).

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Stone has also shared the booth with two legends of the business…….two play by play guys that had unique personalities (so to speak) and has managed to weather those storms and still provide the fans with top notch analyst work.

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So, happy birthday Steve Stone!!  Hope you are knocking back a stogie or two, possibly placing a wager on the ponies to enjoy your special day.

– BeefLoaf

All-Star Game: The Mid-Summer Atrocity

I usually start these with why I cannot totally hate something.  Not this time.  The All-Star Game is terrible in every aspect.  So let’s go through this before my head explodes.

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This One Counts

The whole point of the All-Star Game is to bring together the best players in the league, entertain the fans, and not get anyone injured.  So obviously, it should decide where game 7 of the World Series will be played, thanks Bud.  The fact that a manager might be tempted to get something extra out of the players on his team, makes the best players not want to show up.  This leads to phantom injuries to stay out of the game and 2nd tier stars being in the game.  So you’ve ruined 2 of the three right off the bat.  If you’ve watched in the past 5 years, you were not entertained, so there goes the third.

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The Fans Have Spoken

Major League Baseball has made two decisions here:

  1. Game decides home field advantage in the Series
  2. People we trust with no other decisions get to pick the starting lineup

And the fans never fail us.  Every year our picks are terrible (I include myself).  I know the Cubs are the greatest sports team since the 2015-16 Warriors, but they’ve got a few too many starters on this roster.  Here’s an example: Which of these SS should start for the NL?

Player G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB WAR
A 84 361 328 57 100 20 3 17 41 1 3 30 66 0.305 0.363 0.54 0.903 143 177 3.5
B 82 326 285 34 77 13 4 8 53 3 0 33 60 0.27 0.347 0.428 0.775 109 122 3.2
C 77 307 265 32 63 10 2 9 45 2 0 36 77 0.238 0.336 0.392 0.728 96 104 2
D 75 329 296 47 78 18 4 19 50 5 3 28 106 0.264 0.332 0.544 0.876 111 161 1.8

I assume you all chose Player C

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The Home Run Derby

Out of things that hurt about the All-Star Game, this hurts the most.  The Home Run Derby used to be the only saving grace of the All-Star Week.  But like most things in sports, ESPN got its hands on it, and crushed its neck like they were Lenny from Of Mice and Men.  Even if you somehow enjoy Chris Berman sweating profusely and chattering Back Back Back Back, you can’t possibly have enough time on your hands to watch this.  There is a commercial break every 7 pitches and a 24 part interview with David Ortiz about absolutely nothing.  Last year I watched all of the Star Wars movies instead, even the shitty prequels, and still caught the last half hour of the event.  Why did Todd Frazier fall apart in the second half last year?  Maybe it was because he stayed in the HR Derby for all 32 hours.

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The Game Itself

Let’s just be honest, you check the score the next day and that’s about it.  Somehow it still gets ratings, just like the Pro Bowl, but nobody is actually watching it.  At least I hope not, because it’s just not fit for television.

A man sleeps on the couch, with a TV remote control balancing on his protruding stomach.

So what should be done?

I’ll tell you what, the NHL All-Star game was legit and it was the furthest thing from hockey I’ve ever watched.  But so what, the whole point is to entertain the fans with the players they love.  And if they’re gonna keep letting us vote, we need to do some John Scott shit and make MLB really think about what they’re letting us do.  So here are a few ideas:

  • Undo the stupid “This game counts”
  • Return the HR Derby to its original glory
  • Have an old-timers HR Derby (Bonds, Canseco, McGwire, Sosa).  Yes, embrace your dirty roid-filled past!
  • Fastest pitch (Someone is going to blow out their arm, so let’s keep this to those bullpen arms nobody cares about)
  • Get rid of every team getting an All-Star – The Twins deserve 0 All-Stars because they have 0 All-Stars
  • Play a slow pitch softball game instead of the actual game
  • Or don’t even play the game and let two fans play MLB The Show to determine the winner

OAKLAND, CA - 1990: Jose Canseco #33 and Mark McGwire #25 of the Oakland Athletics celebrate during a 1990 MLB season game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, California. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Are some of these ideas stupid?  Definitely.  But anything is better than what we’ve got.  Have your own ideas?  Hit me up at @fromthe108 on Twitter #GFYASG

– Chorizy-E

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