Take a moment and think back to the late 90s when the Cubs – White Sox crosstown classic was must see baseball. If you wanted to be in the ball park, you either had to get your tickets when they first went on sale in the winter or you had to pay big bucks to the scalpers the day of the game.
Now in Chicago, it seems like just another game for Cubs and White Sox fans alike. With a series on both sides of town this week, there are plenty of tickets available for both series.
The White Sox are still expecting 30,000 plus fans for both games at U.S. Cellular Field this week. But not the sellouts they once used to count on every year.
If you go to the Cubs website, you can still buy tickets in every section of Wrigley Field and even in the bleachers.
Part of the problem is that both teams are in the same predicament as they were in last year. The White Sox are trying to live up to expectations and the Cubs are still trying to find some type of identity.
I asked long time Cubs fan Matt Carter before the White Sox took on the Marlins today at U.S. Cellular Field on why this series just isn’t as big as it used to be.
“Seriously the crosstown classic for the past three years is kind of like a contest to find out who’s the tallest midget. Both teams are going no where and that’s why fewer fans are going to the games,” said Carter.
Legendary Chicago sportscaster Chet Coppock also blames both sides of town for decrease in fan appeal for the crosstown series.
“The so called Classic has lost its pop, its bounce, because the Cubs haven’t held up their end of the bargain. Check the numbers. During the Ricketts administration, the loveable losers have been a baseball bore, a harsh reminder of the futility in the early 1960’s. Meanwhile, White Sox box office continues to decrease to the point that they have nowhere close to the impact of the Blackhawks. The Sox scream small market,” Coppock said.
In my opinion, the problem is two folds. First, inter-league play has lost the appeal it had ten years ago. It’s been there done that type of thing for most fans. Second and most importantly is that both sides of town aren’t going to be playing late into October. When both sides of town start winning again, fans will come back.