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.

2 Comments

I took my kids there for Father’s Day. I think we spent the first 3 innings up on the FUNdamentals area. My son could spend all day taking grounders and catching pop-ups. This is a great addition to the park. I take my kids to a lot of Sunday games, and they can’t wait to race Podsednik, hit the catcher, take grounders, spend time in the cages, etc. Then it’s off to the top row in the upper deck – they love the high perch. If the Sox sell out some Sunday, they’ll be disappointed to have to sit in their regular seats!

By the way, WS management team, the retro ’59 unis were TREMENDOUS – they gave the team a good bit more color that came across on TV (the cream and red accents really warm the uniforms up) and address one of the issues I know some people have with the greyscale unis we have now. Let’s repeat! Or let’s go back to an updated version full time…

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