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View from the south end of the Red Line

In case you missed this story from Natalia late last month, I'm posting it again. Interesting viewpoint:

I notice few of the posters here ride the Red Line south of Downtown.

Having ridden on the North Side for years, and now living on the South Side, I can tell you that the selection of "interesting" people changes dramatically once you get past downtown.

For example, black-market goods. You would not believe the selection in the morning. Candy, newspapers, cigarettes, blue squares (I didn't know what these were until I overheard some highschool kids on the #67 bus talking about them, it seems they are little bags of crack), scented oils, cds, dvds, and salvation.

Yeah, lots of soul saving going on in the South Side Red Line.

The other main difference is that no matter how well the Sox may do, they will never pack the train with uniformed fans like the Cubs.

Comments

That's because the fresh-off-the-bus-from-Kalamazoo fratboys and the Lexus-SUV-driving North Shore types prefer to hang out in Chicago's lily-white answer to Bourbon Street. After a few $6 Old Styles from HiTop O'Murphy's Cubbie Bar and Cantina, it's easy to forget how awful the Cubs are. Hey, if you're like most of the Trixies and Chads in attendance, you probably weren't even paying attention in the first place.

In order to be a Sox fan, one must be a Chicagoan (no, moving here 6 months ago with your sorority friends from Michigan State doesn't count) who is not afraid of Chicago, no matter how much the Tribune tries to assert that 95% of visitors to Bridgeport will be mugged and shot. If that means that it's easier to get a seat on the L, so be it.

I have to say, for the most part, when I get on the train at Jackson, the Sox fans that pack the trains going north are friendlier and more considerate ON AVERAGE than the Cubs fans that I encounter getting on at Addison. (There have been nights I've dealt with both in the same trip...)

The Sox fans can still be boisterous, but at least they seem to be aware of other people. Twice now I've had trains pull up at Jackson that were packed and had Sox fans not only make room without being asked, but when I seemed to be considering waiting for another, theoretically less crowded train, had someone verbally invite me onboard.

Cubs fans on the other hand seem to be COMPLETELY oblivious to anyone else. I can't count the times I've had to physically force my way off of the train at my stop. I've also witnessed far more incidents of Cubs fans obnoxiously cracking on other train riders who were minding their own business, probably at the end of a long workday.

Anyway, as for the south branch of the red line, I always kind of liked the vendors and performers and such. I can't think of anyone who was ever aggressive or got in my face. They just do their thing and move to the next car. Never bothered me in the least and while I've never bought anything, I've had a good time with performers. The bombastic preachers on the other hand do tend to grate on my nerves. Even then though, it's just a passing annoyance.

When I'm going south to the ballpark and it's after work, I tend to stand and let the people for whom this is their normal commute sit. I may have just gotten off work too, but I'm going to the ballpark! Yay! On the way home I tend to walk a little farther and get on the Green Line--it's easy to switch to the Ravenswood downtown instead of taking the Redline all the way to Fullerton.

It's also kind of funny when two vendors pass each other. The CD guy passed the scented oils guy and make a crack about the other's hair. Oils guy did kind of need a brush.

Been a Cub fan since I was 6, and the nature of the fan base changed dramatically during the 80's. It became the see - and - be - seen crowd, filled with tourists, drunken idiots, etc. Hardly any serious fans go to the games anymore, that's how obnoxious the experience has become. And I say this having lived less than two miles away from the ballpark for the last 15 years. Hate to admit it, but Sox fans are the real deal.

Yeah, the Sox fans are the real deal... all 12,000 of them at the park every day for a first place team. Bra-vo.

Don't blame the fans because Sox management can't market a first place team while the Trib can market the Wrigley Field Experience to the gullible. Most of my Cubs fan friends haven't stepped foot in Wrigley in years for the same reasons Dmac listed.

The Sox play baseball, and their fans come to see baseball games. The Cubs are outdoor party, and too many of their fans don't know anything about baseball.

The change did come in the '80s, with the big change being '88. It's not the night games that started that made the difference. It was all the news coverage they got.

Wriggly Field is a show in itself. It's appeared in a lot of movies. It even provided Elwood Blues with an address for his drivers license.

As a typical Cubs "fan" what the address of Wriggly Field is, and they'll know it. Ask them what the Cubs' record was last year, they won't have any idea. It's just the oposite with the typical Sox fan.

It's nicer to ride the train with the Sox fans because they're interested in more than just a party. Baseball ediquette is more polite than frat party ediquette (Kenny Rogers, aside.) On the other hand, it's usually easier to find a hot chick in a bunch of Cubs fans.

I agree, those people who go to Cubs games are (for the most part) not really fans. They are tourists. I am thinking that even those Michigan State frat boys (and sorority sisters) are tourists because their stay in Chicago is only temporary. Soon Chad will marry Trixie and then they will leave for the western suburbs.

Hey Podsednik,
Welcome to the bandwagon. I know you are a bandwagon jumper because Big Frank has been the class of a crappy organization for over a decade and you chose the name of a first year outfielder.

Cheryl, how does one "market" a first place team? Usually when teams win, their fanhs show up to the game. There is no marketing necessary. The quality on the field sells itself. If Sox fans are not showing up, they ought to have the grace to allow the team to move to Vegas, where people will come to the games.

All that being said, the people who go to Wrigley now are so obnoxious that I stopped going to games. I went to my first game when I was four. Now I go to less than one game a year. Stupid hick clowns.

I don't like either team particularly, or their fans. I make sure I'm not riding immediately before or after games so I don't have to deal with them.

Rick Morrissey of the Trib had an interesting column yesterday, where he lamented the circus atmosphere of Wrigley in his discussion of Gene Wojciechowski's book about the Cubs' 2004 season entitled "Cubs Nation: 162 Games, 162 Stories, 1 Addiction.". He wrote, "Listen to what Harold Rothstein, managing partner of Hi-Tops bar on Sheffield, had to say in the book: 'The reality is that Wrigleyville is the biggest beer garden in the world. And if you turned the seats the other way in Wrigley Field, it'd still sell out.' " Sad.

The Sox are only drawing 12K per game? Sadly, no.

I went to my first Sox game since '92 and it was great (July 10th v. the A's....we baked like a potato chip). I've always favored the Sox over the Cubs mostly because the Sox fans are genuine Chicagoans and I hated Sosa's cockiness. The one thing that the Sox have over the Cubs is the tailgating.

My favorites: Northwestern kids and people from the northern burbs who gawk out the windows at Argyle, Berwyn, etc. and make comments about what a 'ghetto' the neighborhood is. I've also seen Sox fans do this in Lincoln Park, saying it so everybody could hear them. "Jeez, dey sher live an toppa wunadudder up over by here dontchatink?"

The Sox are only drawing 12K per game? Sadly, no.

Exactly. Have you seen the totals for the upcoming home stand? As of FRIDAY morning, 82,000 tickets have been sold for the Detroit series (27,333 per game) and 128,600 for the Boston series (32,150 per game). Again, this was as of only Friday morning. I imagine 5 or 6 of the 7 games will be sellouts.

Hey, I've been a SOX fan my whole life, and I do honestly believe our fans are at the very least more hospitable, okay I grant you in the 70's it was different, some scary people came to the park then, but now it's families and no not the Legues either and they were getting drunk at a Cub game before they even came to the Sox game and ran on the field like dopes! Also, Sox fans have more heart, and I think whoever said we draw 12,000 a game hasn't been watching them cuz it's been a good crowd over 25,000 and alot more on weekends, and sorry to say but we rely on REAL BASEBALL FANS to come watch our team, NOT SOME OVERWEIGHT people from Iowa or Nebraska that come in by the GIANT BUS LOAD, and that's how you fill Wrigley! That's all and GO GO WHITE SOX

They're such genuine fans that they're 18th in attendance despite having the best record in baseball. If you measure attendance by percent of capacity, the Cubs are number one (98.2%), and the Sox are 15th (65.3%).

Has it ever occured to you that in addition to having more fans overall, more Cubs fans have to take the train because there's very little parking at Wrigley?

In addition to becomming more and more cynical about public transportation, many of the people here don't even bother to think about the statistics involved and prefer to complain about the CTA than make recommendations about improving it. I recommend you get cars so you don't have to deal with the riff-raff anymore.

e_five:
I think the point many here, and elsewhere, seem to be making is that Cubs fans are frequently not CUBS fans but WRIGLEY/HARRY CARRAY/PARTY fans. It's the same dynamic as people at a club who go for the music and resent the latecomers who show up to be seen. If people want to go to a game, talk on a cell phone and get drunk, it's their right. Just don't expect any credibility when BASEBALL fans are being tallied, because sorry, they just don't count no matter what attendance figures may suggest.

While I may be a Sox partisan, I have nothing against Cubs fans that actually care about the GAME. You know, the families, the die hards, the folks that would "root, root, root for the home team" even if the taps went dry, the bars closed up, the cameras turned off and the cell phones lost their signal. Even more importantly to me, as someone who lives six blocks from the park, I never complain about the people who respect those who LIVE in the area and don't like having their courtyards buried in trash and smelling like stale beer and piss. Those folks who drive calmly away from the area chatting to one another about the great game they just saw instead of yelling asinine come ons out of the window and driving like loons are quite fine in my book. Even still more germane to this blog, I have nothing bad to say about the folks who can have the slightest consideration for people on the El or bus going about their daily lives, by being careful to avoid yelling to one another at the top of their lungs, blocking the doors and getting in people's faces.

Lastly, as for your comment about Tattler readers not considering the big picture and not involving themselves in making things better, I'd challenge you to back it up. Can you? I doubt you know me or anyone else who frequents this site, so I fail to see how you can possess the knowledge to condemn anyone. For all you know, a Tattler poster could be tapping out a letter to their congressman on CTA funding or to the mayor's office on CTA management. In any case, just like omnidirectional whiners aren't going to improve the state of the CTA, neither will apologists who forgive them all of their failings.

Regarding selling stuff on the train, I wonder why the CTA and/or the police is not putting an end to this. Pirated CDs and DVDs, untaxed out-of-state cigs, sunflower seeds and candy whose remains will end up the train floors, etc. Does anyone have an explanation (or excuse) why this seems to be tolerated?

Ah, yes... it appears that even on this usually well-written and generally witty blog, we can't get past the mainstream media's two-bit stereotype of Cub fans.

It took for the 18th comment for someone to inject the not-insignificant little fact that most Sox fans drive to the park (perhaps those "real Chicagoans" didn't notice those gigantic parking lots surrounding Your-Cellphone-Company's-Name-Here Stadium?), whereas most Cub fans and Wrigley visitors have to take public transit. Hence, you'll have a larger number of folks (and with any major sporting event, that means a larger number of drunken fools) to deal with on the Red Line.

To revert back to the sloppy generalizations that have characterized this thread, folks might feel a bit differently about Sox fans on the Red Line if they had to deal with the hammered Mancow fans from Berwyn or Marrionette Park after the game, instead of the small fraction of the already small fraction of folks that actually go to White Sox games.

Right on, jk1!!!

As a former employee of the Cubs, and life long fan. I disagree with a lot of what has been said over the last few years about Cub fans.

Out of a 1000 people, in an aisle, you may have a handful, 5,10,20 that are loud and boisterous and/or not caring about the game. All in all, the vast majority of people at the game are there to watch the game. They know whats going on, and the are true Cubs and Baseball fans.

However, the loud and obnoxious ones are the ones that everyone notices. If you are in a movie theater and someone is yelling at the screen, you will notice that person and not the other 500 who are just there to watch the movie.

Anyway , I just had to get that out.

Norm:
Actually, most Cubs fans do not take transit. Granted the percentage is probably higher than for Sox fans, due to the noted lack of parking. However, I would submit that:

A: There is more parking around Wrigley than you might guess. People park all the way out to the lakefront, inland to Ashland, and south to Diversey.

B: Given that I live a block north of Irving Park, I see (and am frequently almost run over by) the dozens of charter buses that park along Irving out to Clark Street.

C: A large number of Cubs fans take special CTA shuttles out to their cars. I wish more all of those inclined to act like fools could take this route since they are out of circulation until they get to their cars.

D: A lot of people live in the area and walk to the park.

E: Personally, I don't begrudge Cubs fans taking the CTA. I hope no one else does either. That's what it's there for! I only hold them accountable for their frequently aggressively boorish conduct. Like I said in my post above, I've riden packed trains full of fans from both teams. A packed train is a packed train. It doesn't matter what the percentage of transit users out of the overall attendance is. I'm comparing like units, and in my experience, the cars packed with Cubs fans are generally more of a pain to be on.

They're such genuine fans that they're 18th in attendance despite having the best record in baseball. If you measure attendance by percent of capacity, the Cubs are number one (98.2%), and the Sox are 15th (65.3%).

Is the question which team is more popular? That'd be the Cubs. It wasn't always so, and it won't necessarily remain this way forever. (Wrigley Field won't be there forever, to cite just one example of how things can change. Conversely, there may yet come to be a "desirable" neighborhood cozying right up to the Cell as gentrification continues its southward pace -- and team management may see the value in selling off part of the current parking north of the park in order to develop some bars, restaurants, etc. adjacent to the park.)

As with most Sox fans, the numbers that mean the most to me as of this typing are .678 (our winning percentage) and 12 games (our lead over the Twins). Keep your crowds; I don't go to the ballpark to ogle girls or piss in a trough.

As for the CTA connection...living within a Jerry Hairston, Jr., throw of Irving Park Road, I wish even *fewer* of their fans would drive to the games instead of making Northcenter a parking lot 81 days per year. But they were here before me, so I cope.

For the people who were making a big deal of my 12k attendance comment.. that was sarcasm, folks, but if you want the cold numbers, here they are: an average of 24,000 fans per game in a stadium that seats 40,600. For a first-place team. A team that's not in first-place every year, mind you (so you can't use the Atlanta Braves excuse).

And for the record, I agree that Cubs games are a big party and full of "fans" more interested in boozing and people-watching. But that's the price you pay for having a more popular team: the fan base gets diluted. I'm sure the few thousand fans who watch Devil Ray games are pretty hardcore; who else would bother to go? But if they ever got good, the knowledge of their fans would go down the tubes.

To the Goof who said the Sox "fill in your cell phone company name here" ballpark...........I'll do that right after I chew a stick of WRIGLEY'S SPERAMINT GUM you clown, they were the inventor's of product pitching! DOH

Trish, the only difference with the "Wrigley" name is that the Wrigley family owed the team and the stadium and changed the name to honor William Wrigley Jr., the founder of the company.

The naming rights were not sold to the highest bidder.

Wow, how articulate, Trish.

Wrigley Field is actually named (okay, re-named) after P.K. Wrigley, though, not the company. Common practice in those days (yo, Comiskey...)

Interesting how many "real Chicagoans" don't know their own city's history.

And jk1 makes a good point, there are a lot of Cub fans who (rather stupidly, IMO) drive to the park, creating all kinds of traffic nightmares for North side residents, even those who don't live anywhere near the park (like me). Still, I highly doubt that the parking in all those Wrigleyville nooks and crannies comes close to adding up to the ocean-sized lots off 35th.

I'm a Cub fan who attends probably 10 games per year at Wrigley and two or three Sox games per year (no, not just Cub games... I'll go to a ballgame anywhere). I always either walk or take the L to the games at both parks. And I've never really been on a very crowded or packed L car heading to Sox Park for a game, not since the mid-80s at least. While packed-like-sardines L cars are routine heading up to Cub games. To discount this factor as a source of some folks' annoyance I think would be less than completely honest.

One other thing: I'll grant that the Cubs, with their national fan base, have a higher percentage of out-of-town fans than the Sox, which leads to a lot more CTA-newbie tourist-types on the L every summer. And as was discussed on this blog during the Taste, there can be nothing more frustrating than tourist newbies on the L, particularly drunk ones. (I remember someone's tale of the "cute tourist chick" leaving Taste...)

not originally from the Chi, live in LP like all (er, most) yuppies and i love the sox, and basically hate the cubs.

sox games = great baseball

cubs games = great party

it matters what you're looking for, and quite frankly it's pretty sweet to have both in one city.

chicago, you gotta understand it's a blessing having two teams, and this debate/war of words is something that very few cities are able to enjoy.

regarding the names, hey, at least us cellular is a local, midwest company and they probably aren't going anywhere soon... so the name might stick around for a decade.

on an unrelated note, this past saturday i was drunk at wrigley trying to scalp a ticket and i ran into ronnie woo-woo. woo! it was sweet, and i'm glad that he's no longer lost.

Okay to Dwight and Norm um, I do know my history! You mean to tell me with a straight face that if the Wrigley's didn't own a COMPANY that they would have named the park something else, Wrigley changed the name of the park (Weeghman Park) when he bought the team, granted Comiskey did use his name, but the marketing machine was in full swing....and thanks for the compliment! Boris I'm sorry I can't stomach most Cub Fans.....with their holier than thou.....attitude about their team being the baseball gods NOT....oh yeah weren't the Cubs originally the White Stockings anyway! Hmmmmm

I don't care what team you support--if you get on the train drunk off your ass at 5:45 PM and proceed to slobber and sing and punctuate every shouted sentence with an ear-splitting "WOOOOO HOOOOOO!"...you are an Asshole Fan.

You are even MORE of an Asshole Fan if you do this in my train car as I am coming home from work after a long day of corporate abuse, and I hope that one day the white-hot fury of my hatred will ignite the alcohol fumes that surround you and cause you to erupt into a screaming ball of fire.

And then I hope you run in the opposite direction from me, because....screaming ball of fire, you know?

gladys:
Excellent, and vivid, post. Summarizes the issue far more effectively than anything I typed and with far fewer characters...-g-

jk1 and gladys: Thanks for the imaginitive phrases! "omnidirectional whiners" and "the white hot fury of my hatred will ignite the alcohol fumes that surround you". Brilliant! (and I hope both of you find the time, energy, and desire to write for more fulfilling outlets such as books or magazines or lyrics or film.)

gladys....you're my best friend.

Btw, this is a HUGE city. For anyone to know Chicago's entire history of every building that was ever built, bought and sold, demolished, then built again has to much time on their hands. What I know about the ball parks: The cubs play at Wrigley Field with that nasty Ivy (I've always wanted to go there and pour some weed-be-gone on it) and I will always say the Sox play at Comiskey Park.

The fact that the two major newspapers in this town went on a frantic search for Ronnie "Woo Woo" Wicker's unexplained "disappearance" basically proves my point. And do we really need to revisit the asinine spectacle of Harry Carey's blowing up of the "Bartman Ball" not too long ago? How Bush League can you get?

Wait a minute - I take that last comment back. Not fair to the actual Minor Leagues in this country.

Yeah, Dmac, because "Bring Your Pooch" Night at the Cell is so-very-major-league, as is the weekly Pepsi can promotion, which the Sox still need to do to draw their so-called "real baseball fans" to the park despite having the best record in baseball...

The Bartman Ball thing was a *publicity stunt* by a *restaurant.* How you blame the Cubs for that is beyond me... you probably paid more attention to it than most Cub fans did.

Yeah, Boris, you're an objective source on what the two ballparks are about...gimme a break.

Hey Norm -

I'm not saying that the Sox don't do silly promos as well, but the reasons why they still don't draw the crowds they used to goes back to the "White Flag Trade" back in the 90's. If you'll recall, Reinsdorf traded away some of their best players in the middle of a very competitive race one year - and the Sox were drawing substantial crowds during the years preceding that season. Sox fans still haven't forgiven the ownership on that one, as confirmed by the team's own internal marketing surveys.

And yes, the baseball blow - up was featured in the WSJ, NYT and the major news networks, and the Cubs promoted the event on their web site, not to mention the Tribune...

Seems like the Sox will have to win the whole thing before everyone comes back - sounds like intelligent fans to me.

I am a habitual Red-Liner...and a "Cubs Fan" (never been to a game...just like the Cubbies.) but, I have never been on the Red Line south of the Loop. I'll have to try it sometime...if anyone I ever know ever moves ever of the loop...ever.

"Regarding selling stuff on the train, I wonder why the CTA and/or the police is not putting an end to this. Pirated CDs and DVDs, untaxed out-of-state cigs, sunflower seeds and candy whose remains will end up the train floors, etc. Does anyone have an explanation (or excuse) why this seems to be tolerated?"

Simple: There are no conductors on L trains. If the riders don't complain to the driver, who's going to know to bust anybody? And South Side Red Line riders don't complain to the driver about the peddlers and hustlers. They're just another part of life on the South Side.

"There are no conductors on L trains. If the riders don't complain to the driver, who's going to know to bust anybody? And South Side Red Line riders don't complain to the driver about the peddlers and hustlers. They're just another part of life on the South Side"

I couldnt agree more. That's a major part of the problem with CTA service on the South Side. It's why peddlers get away with standing not only on the L trains, but blocking the entrance to the stations shouting, "CD'S! DVD'S!! LOOSE SQUARES!!!" It's why there are only about 4 bus routes on the South Side that actually run on time. It's why bus drivers get away with driving right past stops where there are people waiting for a ride. Riders will chat away all day on their cell phones, ranting their pointless conversations, but they dont have sense enough to use that same cell phone to call the TOLL FREE NUMBER the CTA provides for complaints. All too often, people would rather complain amongst themselves than complain to the people who can actually do something about it. It sickens me, really. I and my friends have called that number so much that they practically know us on a first-name basis. We were considering making flyers to post on bus stops, advertising the complaint number. So, if you see colorful pieces of paper with catchy slogans that basically mean "stop being an idiot, bug CTA about CTA's problems!" popping up at or near your local bus/train stop, remember that you were given a heads-up here first. ^_^

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