Ever read posts by Sox fans on Twitter or Facebook? It's about as pleasurable as diving headfirst into a swimming pool full of hypodermic needles. "Haw haw, losers. We finally let you win one" and so forth. How these people manage to go flame online, watch semi-legal Guatemalan pornography, and avoid the watchful gaze of the public librarian is completely beyond me. But one thing that comes up time and again is the concept of "real" baseball fandom.
The story, as you've no doubt heard repeated by everyone from the asshole kid down the block to the fucking President of the United States, is that Cubs fans are just going to party and get drunk, and act obnoxious. The day Sox fans are able to throw stones on that last count is the day I'll step in front of the morning Purple Line express. Sox fans, they say between bites of Hot Pockets and scratches at Instant Lotto games, are the real Chicago baseball fans. Loyal, smart, and die-hard (diabetes notwithstanding). But are they? Let's take a look at the 2012 attendance numbers so far. We'll start with the home ones.
Chicago Cubs - 33 home games; 37,914 average attendance (7th in MLB); 1,251,184 total attendance (7th in MLB); 92.1 percent of seats sold (5th in MLB).
Chicago White Sox - 35; 21,670 (27th); 758,463 (23rd); 53.4 (28th)
The Cubs have almost half a million more fans through the gate than the White Sox. Before the All Star break. In this of all terrible, terrible years. Being a Sox fan and screaming about how you hate my team doesn't make you one with Chicago baseball - it makes you an outlier. And kind of an asshole. There are plenty of good Sox fans, the bad ones just seem to be chirping a lot louder this year. Anything to not have to actually attend a game, I suppose.
So thinking about Chicago, then considering the predilections of downstaters, I've come to the conclusion that the White Sox aren't only the least favorite team in their city, they're only third most popular in Illinois. Any arguments with that? I thought not.
Just to rub it in, let's see how many people outside Chicago give a shit about the Boys in Blue versus the South Side ... something or others. If people won't come see them at home, maybe on the road?
CHC - 34 road games; 35,224 average attendance (1st); 85.1 percent of seats sold in road stadiums (1st)
CHW - 32; 28,506 (25th); 65.3 (28th)
The bad joke here is that opposing fans are coming out to see a sure win. I made it so you don't have to hear it from Bubba McFuckstain in his "Cuck the Fubs" t-shirt. But the truth is that we're one of the most popular franchises in baseball. We rank directly above the goddam Yankees in both of those categories. And if anyone has a giant front-running national fanbase, it's the Yankees. And what do you know, the White Sox do draw better on the road. But only enough to make it really, really sad.
Take both home and road numbers, and the Cubs are 4th in baseball in road attendance and 2nd in percent of seats sold. The Sox are 29th in road attendance and 27th in percentage. Admittedly there's some variance on the quality of competition, but just like the Sox get both Cleveland and Detroit in the spectrum, we also travel to both St. Louis and Houston.
For the Cubs, this is after coming off a down year - Hendry's final swirl around the drain, impatience with the new ownership's lack of changes, a team that finished 71-91. We slipped to 9th in total and average attendance, and 5th in percentage. Usually we're good for around 7th during a bad year, and 3-4-5 in percentage. The White Sox - with their larger stadium number - reached a peak of 10th in baseball during the post-World Series honeymoon and have been slipping notch by notch since, hitting 20th during 2011.
So remember, White Sox fans, the next time you feel like acting shitty instead of supporting your team and enjoying baseball for baseball's sake, think twice. We'll use NERD STATS on you. Any port in a storm, right?