Prepare For The Attendance Guilt Trip, Sox Fans
Whoever had February 6 in the "When Will Sox Brass First Whine About Attendance?" pool, congrats! You win! From ESPN Chicago via SSS comes The Chairman's first plea to the South Side. The message is clear: if we're "all in", you better be, too.
Jim had a great take on this over at SSS, maintaining that "there doesn't appear to be a direct correlation between perception of attendance and team spending". He also suggests that if the Sox really wanted to fill up the ballpark, they'd freeze their fourth-highest ticket prices and adopt a model similar to the one that made the Brewers the hottest ticket in Milwaukee.
For as grinding (buzzword!) as a maybe-billionaire attempting to squeeze every last dollar out of his fanbase in an economy as uninspiring as this one may appear to be, I'll channel my art school kid angst somewhere else for the day. Reinsdorf truly put his money where his heart is this off-season when things easily could have gone in the opposite direction. Because of it, we have a team here with legitimate aspirations. Give me a very real contender over prolonged rebuilding any day, particularly when our baseball apathy was nearly maxed out as is.
A fire-sale would have advanced TUP that much closer to becoming a two-team blog, even if my White Sox love will never, ever die. Instead, I can't remember the last time I've been so fired up about a baseball season. If it comes with a side of whine and cheese from the elite, so be it. Besides, the Sox pull this shit every year; this is the first time it happened in 2011, and it won't be the last. For a healthier head, chalk up JR's quotes this weekend as nothing more than the first glimpse of the inevitable.
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Also fun from the original ESPN report: another warming "JR <3's Paulie" story for the lonely and despondent.
"What I tried to do with Paul is take myself out of the equation. I can't allow my emotion and my feelings for this guy cause the White Sox to do something that's not smart," said Reinsdorf. "So I basically let [general manager] Kenny [Williams] and [assistant GM] Rick Hahn handle that part of it. What happened, at the end, was they were pretty much in agreement with Paulie's agent on dollars, but the issue was the third year. They were kind of reluctant to commit to the third year. And that's where I stuck my nose in and I said to 'go ahead you might as well give him the third year.'"Just send a dozen roses already.