Father’s Day and a Ballgame
Becoming a Sox Fan
We do a lot of polling with our fans, from on-line polls during the offseason to in-park surveys and focus groups during the season. We want to know what our fans think and how we can respond and improve the ballpark experience for our fans.
One of the unique things we have learned — and year after year our research reinforces this — is that our fans become White Sox fans largely because of the influence of a parent or grandparent. Most Sox fans, according to what we have been told, learn to love the game (and their Sox) from dad, mom, grandpa or even grandma. It seems like an appropriate point to make on a special day like Father’s Day.
There is something unique about the baseball experience, about spending a day at the ballpark with your family. The pace of the game allows for conversation. The history of the game allows for comparisons and fun arguments. Being a Sox fan is generational. It literally is in the blood. We find many fans who now might live in the northwest or west suburbs who still think of themselves as south siders and as Sox fans. One polling company came to us after completing a survey amazed at how strong the connection was between our fans (no matter where they now lived, what they did for a living and how many games they attended) and the work ethic of Chicago. It was an ethic that had been passed down through generations, just like being a Sox fan.
Our fans tell us they attend games in groups that often include extended family … grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. When compared to data for all MLB teams, our fans attend in larger groups, reflecting this mix. It is a chance for fans of all ages to share something special together at the ballpark, and we have tried to tailor the U.S. Cellular Field experience to appeal across generations.
Fans often have learned the game from a parent or grandparent. It may be how to keep score. It may be stories of past stars or great teams. It may be memories or playing catch in the backyard. It may be Mayor Daley bringing his kids to a Sox game, or it may be Jon Garland bouncing sinkers off his mom’s shins in the backyard in California 15 years ago.
I’m sure every baseball fan has his or her own special memories about baseball and a parent. Obviously, I am biased, but this special connection across generations is something that baseball can boast over any other sport. Father’s Day reminds me of that special relationship baseball fans can enjoy with their parents or grandparents, and of course, their favorite team.
White, Not Black Stockings
Our 1959 throwback uniforms from last night seemed to receive rave reviews. Prior to the game, Rich King of WGN-TV asked pitcher Bob Shaw about the 1959 team’s wearing white socks for the World Series. It seems the club wore black socks during the 1959 regular season (with red and white stripes), just like the team wore last night. According to Shaw, for the World Series, owner Bill Veeck was concerned about comparisons to the 1919 "Black Sox" and had the American League champions switch to white. "They didn’t really match the uniforms, but we wore them," Shaw said.