Wednesday, May 26, 2010

When Did Joe West Make the 40-Man? This Game is NOT About You!

What happened in today's game was a joke. Hawk has never been more correct. Not only was it a joke, but Joe West is a joke. I won't even bother going into the first alleged balk because anyone with eyesight could see it clearly wasn't.

The problem here is that Joe West doesn't know how to control his emotions, and he's the epitome of an "attention whore."
Before I get into the depth of it, let me just say this. Joe West is an umpire. He is ALSO a country music writer and singer. For the sake of passing on information and to further prove my point that he's loves the spotlight, I'll share the following. I've been told by more than a few media writers in the industry that Joe West has his own personal PR Agent. The media constantly gets emails offering interviews with Joe and ways to promote his music career. The girl in me would like to equate this to the huge douche, Wes, on The Bachelorette. His actions to get his name out there are to be kept off the baseball diamond. Plain and simple.

West who has a contract with MLB through 2014 proved today why he needs to stop calling games all together. I never dog on Major League umpires. I'm aware of how hard it is to get to the bigs as an umpire- some would even say it's harder than making it as a player, and they get paid less than a league minimum player would (300k a year at the most). However there comes a time after 32 years when it's just simply time to stop calling balls and strikes. When you're blowing calls, taking vendetta's with managers out on mild-mannered pitchers, and being an all around side-show, it's time to retire.

I never go to the game excited to see the umpires. I'd venture to say that 99.9999999% of fans don't go in hopes of seeing a great call by the home plate umpire. However, ALL fans go to the game to see the players PLAY. He ejected Buehrle on a BS call (he didn't eject him for balking.. he ejected him for "throwing" his glove after the 2nd balk he called on the same pitcher who had only one balk called on him previously in the last 3 years. Buehrle also has one of the best pick-off moves in the AL and its the same move he's been using his entire career).

The problem here is as follows:

1) By ejecting Buehrle after 2.1 innings pitched, he forced the White Sox to tax their bullpen, going into the Tampa Bay series with tired arms.
2) He significantly could have altered the mood of play of the players to feel as though they had no control over the situation at hand with the game being ruled by overly pompous umpires.
3)He took his emotions out on a manager that he openly dislikes. He didn't call the balk on Buehrle, he called it on Ozzie who he had already ejected.
4)He made the game about himself, which is disgraceful, disrespectful, and wrong.
5)Buhrle never balked.

I'd like to concentrate on point 5. MLB outlines 13 different rules on what is and isn't a balk. Basically it's when a pitcher intentionally tries to deceive a base runner while pitching. There are 1000 different situations in which this can happen, but we'll concentrate on today's problem. Reviewing the clips, the main argument was whether Mark's right leg was taken too far back, crossing either the left leg planted on the rubber, or the plain of the pitching rubber on the mound. After clear review it is obvious that neither of these things happened. Mark's knee crossed his mounted leg, but his foot did not. After talking to fellow umpire, Michael Frain, there are also a few other points that could allow West to have called a balk the 2nd time, but both can be laid to rest by simple rules. They are as follows:

(Via Michael)
1. A left-handed pitcher should NOT be called for a balk for closing the front shoulder (only a RHP should be called on it)
2. The 1b umpire does not have the correct angle to judge a shoulder movement - that is completely and SOLELY the plate umpire's coverage

With that being said, I went tech-savvy and took frame by frame pictures of the series of events that lead to Mark's second called balk. Enjoy :) Because of the way this site is set up, I only included three frames, but if you want the rest, you can email me and I'll foward them to you.

You can cleary see where Buehrle's foot never crossed either his left leg or the rubber. Not a balk. Signed. Sealed. Delivered.

Now when is MLB going to do something about these umpires? This isn't the first time West has made sure he's been in the spotlight during a game. During the BoSox/Yankee's series West had to make sure everyone was listening when he complained about the pace of the game. I'm not sure when he thought we cared about his opinions outside of the ballpark, but it was completely unacceptable.

Any time a player, coach, manager, or umpire brings unrelated vendetta's into a ballgame and uses them to directly influence the outcome or put a team at a disadvantage he needs to be fined, suspended, and depending on repeated offenses and the circumstances, even forced to retire or fired.

When a player starts showing signs of depreciation or lack of respect in a disgraceful way he is sent down, traded, put on waivers, released, what have you. There is no system in place like that for umpires like Joe West. Talk about tainting the game. Whatever problems an ump has with someone on a team or in a franchise, it's his DUTY and JOB to to bypass such feelings and do his best to call a fair game. He has a responsibility to the fans, players, and everyone else in the MLB to do what's right, and if West isn't held accountable for his actions, then I've lost a little bit of respect for the MLB.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Homeless Man Takes Stroll Across Warning Track to Get Concessions

When one lives outside the confines of conventional society or woefully below
the poverty line, obeying accepted boundaries and respecting the niceties of
regular behavior just doesn't seem quite as important. Say, for example,
you're a homeless man sitting in the bleachers of a ballpark. You spy a
concession stand across the concourse.
Do you:

Make your way
from your seat to the concourse, joining the crowd of well-to-do attendees who
scorn you and heap disdain upon on your tragic plight?

Or, do you:

Hop the centerfield wall and meander through the outfield (Ed. Note:
Link goes to Busted
Coverage, which has some NSFW content.) in hopes of
stumbling across some food, before eventually being caught by security?

Whatever you chose doesn't matter. Because 24-year-old Tyrone R. Squires
already selected the latter last night at an Altoona (Pa.) Curve game.

[He] was described by police as being homeless and originally from
Massachusetts but with no permanent address. Sporting a thick, dark beard and
wearing an old-time military hat, Squires kept
his hands in his pockets as
he strolled at a very slow pace from left to right along the outfield wall on
the warning track. Ballpark security allowed him to keep walking until he exited
the field near the Curve bullpen down the right field line, where officials
detained him. About 20 minutes later, Logan Township police arrived on scene to
make an arrest.

Naturally, no talk of a fan trespassing on a baseball
field is complete without referencing the taser incident that occurred in
Philadelphia earlier this month. Cleveland Indians prospect and Akron Aeros
outfielder John Drennen, who was less than enthused by the delay, told the
Altoona Mirror, "There's no room for that. He should have gotten Tasered."
Fortunately for Squires, Altoona security officials don't carry Tasers. Problem
is, they don't lug around concession items either.

Link to the story

I mean, come on. This is just plain funny. A little ironic after the fan that got tased during the Red Sox game, and then another fan running onto the field during the Sox game, that some homeless guy would wander around the warning track looking for nachos and a ice cream ballcap. I could only imagine what was going on in these player's heads.

"I was in the stands charting and looked up to a guy just strolling threw the outfield with out a care in the world. I guess he was just trying to find out where the concession stand was. I'm just happy no one got hurt" Altoona Pitcher Rudy Owens told me this evening.

When asked about his opinion on the homeless man getting Tased, Rudy laughed, "At the time I was [for him getting Tased] but he wasn't trying to be stupid and get a laugh out of it. Now that I sit back and think about it probably not"

So what are you opinions on the matter? Is this another guy trying to get some attention? How out of hand is this "fans being on the field" thing getting? In my opinion, it's starting to get old and out of control. There's a reason why the guys on the field get paid $6mil to play the game and why we pay money to WATCH them. Let's make sure the guys getting paid the big bucks are the ones getting the TV time.

Today in Baseball History; May 20th

MAY 20

1919: Babe Ruth won a game on the mound and at the plate. He hit his first career grand slam as the Boston Red Sox beat the St. Louis Browns 6-4.

1932: Paul Waner of the Pittsburgh Pirates hit four doubles in one game.

1941: Lefty Grove of the Boston Red Sox won his 20th consecutive game at home, the longest home park streak in the major leagues. Boston beat the Detroit Tigers, 4-2.

1953: In the 13th game of the season, the Milwaukee Braves surpassed their 1952 attendance of 281,278, when they were in Boston.

1959: The Detroit Tigers beat the Yankees 13-6, placing New York in last place for the first time in 19 years.

1978: Willie Stargell hit a 535-foot homer off Montreal’s Wayne Twitchell, the longest home run in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium, highlighting the Pirates’ 6-0 victory. It was also Stargell’s 407th career homer, tying him with Duke Snider on the career list.

1984: Boston’s Roger Clemens earned his first major-league victory. The Red Sox beat the Minnesota Twins, 5-4.

1999: Robin Ventura became the first major leaguer to hit grand slams in both games of a doubleheader, leading the New York Mets to a sweep over Milwaukee, 11-10 and 10-1. He had two slams in a game for the Chicago White Sox on Sept. 4, 1995.

2001: Barry Bonds hit two homers in the San Francisco Giants’ 11-6 loss to the Atlanta Braves, giving him a total of five in two games, becoming the 23rd player in history to do so.

2006: Barry Bonds tied Babe Ruth for second place on the career home run list during San Francisco’s 4-2, 10-inning victory over the Oakland Athletics.

2009: Boston center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury tied a major-league record with 12 putouts by an outfielder in a nine-inning game, previously done by Earl Clark of the Boston Braves in 1929 and Lyman Bostock of the Minnesota Twins in 1977. He accomplished the feat in the Red Sox’s 8-3 win over Toronto.

Read more:

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Storen Gets First Major League Win, keeps ERA Full of Goose Eggs

Storen's stat line for tonight: .2IP 0H 0R 0ER 0SO 0BB 0.ooERA (W)

Storen came in the top of the 7th in tonight's game against the Mets. After Blanco singled on a line drive and Alex Cora advanced him on a sac bunt, Storen entered the game with the score 5-2, Washington.

The first batter he faced was Jose Reyes who lined out after 3 straight fastballs from Storen topping out at 95MPH. 1 on, 2 out.

Storen's favorite thing to do is count on the defense of the players behind him and that's exactly what he did tonight when he faced his next batter; Luis Castillo. Three fastballs (95, 93, 95), a slider, and another fastball later (94), Castillo grounded out to Ian Desmond.

Storen was then replaced by his friend and Former Yankee, Tyler Clippard. The Nat's went on to win it 5-3 and Storen recorded his first Major League win.

Congrats to Drew!

High School Pitcher Loses College Scholorship/QB Posistion- Seeks MLB Draft Instead

Utah quarterback recruit Tyler Shreve won't be attending classes in Salt Lake
City this fall after a scuffle with his high school baseball coach. The Utes
suspended his scholarship and said his status will be reevaluated in January.

Shreve acknowledged to The Press-Enterprise of Riverside, Calif., in
March that he wrestled Redlands East Valley High School baseball coach James
Cordes to the ground after being told he was kicked off the team.

He has
been charged with battery on a school employee and is scheduled for a pretrial
hearing May 27 in San Bernardino County (Calif.) Court.

It is possible
Shreve never plays for Utah. A talented pitcher, he could be selected highly in
the MLB draft this June and opt for professional baseball.

Link to story here

Can someone explain to me what team would want to draft a kid who attacked his baseball coach in HIGH SCHOOL? Anger issues anyone? Have fun dealing with that- I'll be anxious to see if any teams take him on after this. Utah has clearly made the right decision in signing another QB for the upcoming school year and if a team drafts Shreve, then they have a lot of anger issues to help this kid through. It reminds me of a young Bobby Jenks who allegedly got into arguments with Angel's minor league coaches and managers all the time.

Shreve, who is supposed to be one of the most talented high school players in the country, throws a 91-93 MPH fastball, cuts his curve at 89 MPH with late movement, and has a pitch that can be turned into a slider.

He says that he will forgo college if he's drafted high enough and the money is right.

His coach at Redlands East Valley dismissed him from the team because he wasn't attending class or showing respect to his coaches. Shreve said that he thought he was showing the coaches nothing but respect and cited the reason for the attack being that the coach was taking his dreams away from him. He said, "I'd worked so hard and if you were losing hundreds of thousands of dollars you wouldn't be too happy either"

Entitled much?

I'll tell you one thing, if I found out I had to play with this kid in the minor's, I'd stay away from him in the club house after a bad outing, that's for sure.

MLB And Welcome Back Veterans releases 2010 New Era Patriotic Caps

Major League Baseball will begin its third year of national fundraising and awareness initiatives for Welcome Back Veterans, a program which addresses the needs of returning American Veterans and their families. With the support of Major League Baseball and its Clubs, Welcome Back Veterans since 2008 has awarded $8.3 million in grants to 30 non-profit agencies across the country targeting veterans' greatest needs, including mental health and job training/placement.

At three key points of national reflection during the baseball season -- Memorial Day (May 31), Independence Day weekend (July 4) and Patriot Day (September 11) -- all Clubs will participate in a number of initiatives to support Welcome Back Veterans.

For games on Memorial Day, all Major League Baseball Clubs will wear special new "Stars & Stripes" caps. The caps will have the American flag etched into the team's logo and for the first time, will be off-white in color with red or blue brims (the Toronto Blue Jays hat will incorporate a Maple Leaf design instead of the "Stars & Stripes"). These MLB Authentic Collection caps, produced by New Era, are available for sale to the public at Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. will donate all of the proceeds it receives from the sale of the caps to Welcome Back Veterans. In addition, will donate an additional $1 to Welcome Back Veterans for each cap purchased through Pictured are the caps to be worn by the 2009 World Champion New York Yankees and National League Champion Philadelphia Phillies. Images of the caps for all 30 clubs are available at

Also on Memorial Day, Major League Baseball once again will participate in the National Moment of Remembrance, with all games in progress pausing at 3:00 p.m. ET to encourage all citizens to reflect on the sacrifices made by those who have served in the armed forces.

"As a social institution, Major League Baseball considers it a privilege to assist our troops in any way possible," said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. "We are proud to help Welcome Back Veterans provide funding to such worthy institutions helping our troops, and we ask our fans to join us on Memorial Day and beyond in this effort to raise awareness and support for this important cause."

"Helping our troops is a cause very close to my heart, and I'm glad to see Major League Baseball will once again pledge their support on Memorial Day and beyond," said San Francisco Giants pitcher and founder of Strikeouts For Troops, Barry Zito. "I'll wear my Stars & Stripes cap proudly that day, and I encourage all my fellow players to get involved, give back to those who give so much and show these brave men and women how much we care about them."

"We are honored to support those who have served our country and their families who have given so much," said David D. Hiller, president and CEO of the McCormick Foundation. "We are proud to join Major League Baseball in this effort and provide matching dollars to help our servicemen and women successfully return to life with their families and communities."

"Major League Baseball's powerful commitment to supporting our soldiers and their families is truly inspirational," said President and CEO of the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), Lisa Paulsen. "EIF is proud to join MLB and the fans of America's pastime in honoring and celebrating the lives of America's heroes." Welcome Back Veterans is an MLB Charities initiative in partnership with the McCormick Foundation and the Entertainment Industry Foundation. The program is supported by Major League Baseball Advanced Media and MLB Network. Welcome Back Veterans has awarded $8.3 million in grants to 30 non-profit agencies across the country targeting veterans' and their families greatest needs.

For additional information on Welcome Back Veterans, please go to

story courteousy of

I like the new caps as opposed to how they have been in the past- I enjoy the off white... I think it looks really nice and classy and I LOVE what they did was the Blue Jays caps. I think everyone should purchase a ballcap or even one of the equally as patriotic tshirts that a lot of the clubs have as well.
MLB Charities does a lot to help different organizations and Veterans. Don't forget that some of the greatest ballplayers in history are veterans as well! The American past time is entertwined so richly with American history and the Welcome Back Veterans Program is a great thing to help with while you buy your next ballcap!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Storen's Major League Debut

video courteousy of nationalstube on

Drew Storen: He May Be Numb, But His Career is On Fire

Monday night: It's the 7th inning, 1 out, and the Cardinals are leading the Nationals 4-2 at Busch Stadium. 22 year old Drew Storen sat in the Nat's bullpen and got the call. Warm-up.
This is the 2nd call Storen's gotton in the last three days. The last one came this past weekend after his game in AAA Syracuse, when he was pulled off to the side and told "congratulations, you're getting called up."

"Who did you tell first?" I asked Drew today. There was a pause, and then I could visibly hear the pride in his voice. "My dad," he responded "he was so excited. He's on cloud 9.... he's been on cloud 9!" His father, who Drew talks about with reverie every time he's brought up, used to come home and play catch with him in his suit after work with him when he was a little boy. It's no surprise that that's the first person he would call and tell when he finally got the news that his dream had come true: he was going to play in The Show.

When asked how he felt Drew responded with a laugh "I've been numb. I've been numb since it happened. I was numb when I found out, and excited, it was a flood of emotions." When asked about his most famous match-up in his very young major league career, Storen explained to me that he wasn't really nervous facing Matt Holliday.

"I was trying to challenge him, get him to put the ball in play. I threw him a slider and then he swung through it."

"God forbid you walk him" I joked back with him about his most dreaded stat: the walk.

Despite what Nat's broadcasters kept saying, Drew says his heart was not racing and he was not freaking out or scared during his outing on Monday night. He, in fact was as he described earlier "numb."

Storen's final stat line looked like this: .2IP 0H 0R 0ER 0BB 1SO 0.00 ERA. In the words of Hawk Harrelson, that's a lot of goose eggs on the board.

Drew dominated the minors at the beginning of the season, climbing the ladder steadily from AA Harrisburg to AAA Syracuse and leaving his minor league stats behind with a 1.08 ERA.

"He was just ready, there was nothing more that he could have done in the minors that he couldn't do for us in the majors" says Nat's GM Mike Rizzo.

Drew, who was in high spirits when I talked to him this afternoon, was packing up his gear and heading off to the field at around 1pm. He was as sweet as always on the phone, and I can't wait to go see him play the Brewers in July with some friends. If there is any guy in the minors who is deserving of a major league career, it's Drew.

I look forward to watching his career skyrocket, because if you ask me, baseball success really does come in the form of Karma. If there's one person who deserves all the success in the world, it's Drew Storen.

Iraqi Co-ed Team Gets Their First Taste of the American Pastime

Recently an Iraqi co-ed baseball team (from the article I'm guessing they were all teenagers) got to visit the US and their first actual ball club. They took spots on the field and got to see things from the player's perspective at a Washington National's game. This story really struck me... Usually I just post links to thinks like this on my twitter or facebook and call it a day but I felt compelled to actually write about this one.

The link to the full story can be found here and is well written by Nancy Youssef. These Iraqi children, don't even want their name mentioned for fear of backlash when they get home for talking so nicely about American baseball or even BEING in America.

The Iraq baseball federation doesn't give the team any money and hoardes balls and bats so the kids that want to play ball in Iraq can't do so very easily. The coach of the team talks about how they have enough money in the country but none of it is used for baseball, so instead they have to play on rocky, rough ground which causes a lot of injuries. He says in the article "we are rich enough to have something better but because of officials and corruption, we will never have it"

It literally pains me that there are children in the world who can't even play ball in their country because the country doesn't support it. I couldn't imagine growing up with baseball not being a huge part of my life.

We honestly live in a great, amazing country that makes it possible for us to sit at home on our couches and watch 5 games at once... Could you imagine living somewhere where the sport wasn't even supported? That's just awfull... We get jersey's and signed pictures and hot dogs at the game and fantasy baseball teams to participate in in America. In Iraq, the baseball life the way American's live it is just a fantasy.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Let's have some fun out here! This game is fun, okay? Fun Goddamnit!

Rivalries are one of the best parts of baseball. The whole point on the sport is to win. Everyone wants that championship ring, everyone wants to be in the dog pile, every fan wants to tell their friends and families over and over again for years exactly what they were doing when that last out was made in October.

If you don't want to win, then whats the point of playing?

Division rivalries are the best. Sox/Twins, Sox/Tigers, Sox/Indians.... hell, even Sox/Royals, but what a lot of people don't understand is Sox/Cubs.

And to be honest, the more I've grown up and matured, the more I don't get it either. I mean I understand the stereotypes. I understand the "Sox fans are jealous" and "Cub fans know nothing about baseball," and you know what? There are a lot of fans in both fan bases that feed into those stereotypes.

But why do we really have this Sox/Cubs rivalry? Before we even played in a Cross-Town Rivalry Series, what was the immense hatred and what did it stem from? Sox fans should have no reason to hate the Cubs, they aren't in our division. And Cub fans should have no reason to hate the Sox for the very same reason. However there's this loathing hatred that consumes the fans to the point of things getting plain ludicris.

So for those of you who grew up being told that if you were a Northside you had to hate the Boys in Black and if you were a Southsider then you better never be caught up by Clark and Addison, here's a post I think you might find interesting.

These are completely my opinions. I'm not a fan of Cub fans- but I have nothing against the team. I shouldn't because outside of the 6 games we play a year, it doesn't matter- the team just simply doesn't matter to me. But yet day after day I deal with their fans constantly throwing it in my face that the "Sox suck" and yada yada. Well guess what? I don't think too highly of their fans, or their stadium- and I have historical data to back up my reasoning.

The History

Charlie Comiskey, the owner of the Chicago White Sox helped directly organize and form the American League in 1899. Before this, the National League was the only running organized form of baseball in the US. The Chicago Cubs, who had jumped around town (they didn't even actually play on the Northside of town until 1916 and spent most of their time on the West Side and even some time on the Southside of Chicago) had been the only team in Chicago until Comiskey moved his minor league team to the city.

Ban Johnson, the owner of the Western League and good friend of Charlie Comiskey got wind of the fact that the National League was going to decrease in size and when they cut their teams from 12 to 8, Johnson swooped in and placed teams in Chicago and Cleveland.

At first there was an uproar with the Cubs franchise, as the owners didn't want to share the town with a team that would most likely become a part of Johnson's American League. However after negotiations it was determined by the National League that the newly formed AL would not be a threat to their organization and Comiskey was allowed to let his bring his team to Chicago as long as he didn't use the city in it's name. The White Sox were named The White Stockings and omitted "Chicago."

So as you can see, the original "rivalry" was an economic one between owners. The Cubs didn't want the Sox infringing on their "established" team in Chicago, and Comiskey wanted to take his minor league team and turn it into one of the first teams in the American League. The National League Cubs got salty when people started to pay attention to the White Stockings (Mostly because American League tickets/beer/food was cheaper at White Stocking's games and the Major Leagues hadn't been around long enough for people to be completely married to a team in Chicago yet), and the American League continued to push through with the annoying dominating attitude that was Ban Johnson and Charles Comiskey.

Now that the history is established, I'm going to break down the rivalry and stereotypes based solely on each specific stereotype. Hold onto your hats, this should be fun. Again, I'd like to make sure everyone knows that these are strictly my opinions.

Wrigley Field is a dump and US Cellular is ugly and too modern.

Alright. Wrigley Field is a dump. It just simply is. I wish I could say I'd never been there and I don't really know but unfortunately I have, and I prefer never going back.

This is what I don't get about Wrigley Field. All I ever hear is how "nostalgic" it is and how amazing of a place it is to be. However most Cub fans don't even know what Wheegman stadium started out as- and that was a cheaply built stadium that was intended for the Federal League's Chicago Whales. Today it holds true as a still cheaply built, crumbling, horrible smelling blight for Cub fans who, unless they sit in the bleachers, have a 25% chance of sitting with their view obstructed.

Look, Wrigley, cramped and old, and was never built to be the "Holy Shrine" of the Cubs. The Cubs managed to spin it into one after the Federal League failed in 1916 (for those of you wondering, the Federal league was a briefly lived attempt at major league expansion in the mid 1910's.)

The smell is horrendous. One fan referred to it as "taking a fantastic voyage inside a penis." It literally never ceases to smell like urine, and fortunately for me, I've never had to venture into the mens restrooms. However the one time I had to attempt to find the women's restroom (it took me a good 1/2 inning) by the time I walked in, I waited in line for 10 minutes, then finally managed to get into a stall where toilet paper was strewn around, the toilet didn't flush, and women had obviously assumed the toilet was where pee, poop, and whatever left over beer or Wrigley's poor excuse for a Mai Thai went, and the bathroom attendant smiled at me in my Sox gear like "poor little girl, you don't like the facilities at the Northside? Too bad!" Even when i attempted to find a soap dispenser that HAD soap in it, the attendant sat there smiling, completely aware of the fact that she worked in a dump, and found the hilarity in my attempt to wash my hands.

As far as a place to watch a game, I have my own opinion on good ole Wrigley Field. It's not the place where I'm going to pay $30-$40 to go watch a game. If I'm going to pay that kind of money and go up to Chicago to watch baseball I want the major league experience- otherwise I'll go down to my local minor league stadium, the gorgeous, beautiful, O'Brien Field and watch the Peoria Chiefs take on the Kane County Cougars or the ever exciting Tampa Bay Ray affiliates- The Bowling Green Hot Rods. I want the loud organ music, and the pre-game video on the huge screen, and the exploding scoreboard and the large seats where I can sprawl out. I want the bullpen to be a huge where all the guys can bring out cots and nap if they feel like it or take up residency and get their mail forwarded. Matt Thornton: US Cellular Field Bullpen. 35th and Shields, Chicago, IL.

I don't want to sit in an old stadium where roof might fall on me and crush my skull during the 5th- or where the stadium seating is so far back I feel disconnected from the game. I don't want to go to a small, old stadium. If I wanted to do that I would literally go to Burlington Iowa and watch the Royal's affiliate in the same stadium structure for $2 a ticket. The Mikes Hard Lemonades are also $1.50 there, not to mention the team plays with about the same amount of talent.

Alright... now here's where I have to TRY to be un-biased: My take on US Cellular Field.

I don't remember much about Old Comiskey because I spent most of my time at new (I was 5 when they built the new one) so I can't comment personally on how the stadium was prior to 1992.

The Sox were toying with the idea of moving in the late 80's and in order to stay in Chicago requested a new stadium (because Comiskey was... well.. old.) that mimicked Kaufman. The tax payers of Chicago shelled out for the new stadium in order to keep the franchise happy and in Chicago and what we got was a field that abruptly tore down neighborhoods, and turned Old Comiskey into a parking lot.

The new stadium that was supposed to be "family and neighborhood friendly" took upper deck seats clear up to Mt. Kilimanjaro that would give anyone vertigo in an attempt to find them. Even now if I ever dare venture up to the upper deck area (and there's really no reason to, as there's always plenty of empty seats) I have to keep looking at where I'm walking so I don't get nauseous and pass out from fear of falling to my death. I refuse to ever drink or get half way tipsy up there. In a hot second I'm falling over something and plummeting onto the field right in front of Paul Konerko and, well, I refuse to put my first baseman in a position where he can't make a decent infield pick.

US Cellular is also littered with statues around the outfield concourse. Personally I enjoy them and would rather have them inside my park on a huge outfield concourse instead of out in front of the stadium near traffic but, that's personal preference.

I've also heard so many complaints about the fact that the Sox are on the Southside of Chicago where the crime rate is "horrible." Funny thing is... I'm a 23 year old pretty small Irish country girl from Peoria, IL., and I've never had a problem with the area. I routinely leave my car, a 2007 Ford Focus parked over night in the parking lot of Schallers Pub on Halstead. I drive up there by myself or with my equally attractive and naive roommate, and neither one of us have been shanked, robbed, raped, or had any kind of weapon held to our heads for what little money we have. I've never been propositioned by a guy outside of the field, and I've never felt even slightly scared of the area. In fact, I've only ever been treated with respect and nicely- especially when I can't find where I'm trying to go. Amanda and I got lost once trying to get back on the interstate and drove around 37th street where the houses were gorgeous with big in ground pools in the backyard. I understand a lot of the Southside is not a great part of town but to me, it doesn't look any worse than Sterling Avenue in Peoria... and I've been more afraid out downtown here than I ever have up by US Cellular.

The Attendance record:

I saw probably my favorite anti-sox shirt ever at the Sox/Cubs series in 2007 at Wrigley Field. It was a picture of the scoreboard at Us Cellular and it said "US Never-Sell-Out Field." Clever.

In 2010 the White Sox pulled on average 22,842 fans a game at home. In contrast the Cubs, at home, pulled 38, 511 fans. Now here's an interesting little diddy. The Cubs, who pulled around 15,000 fans more per game at Wrigley than the Sox did at US Cellular, seemed to not have the same affect on the road. The Chicago Cubs only drew 27,620 at their respective counterpart's stadiums on average. Now, it could be said that the any team would have a dip in attendance on the road, but unfortunately, that's not entirely the case. The Cubs play the Cardinals, Reds, Pirates, and Brewers the most during the season. Only the St Louis Cardinals pulled more fans at home out of those teams in 2010 and they had a significantly lower dip in fans per game on the road. In fact, every other team that had a larger home attendance record than the Cubs in 2010 had a MUCH lower dip in fan away game attendance.

Which proves my point that Wrigley Field is a well marketed bar and of course they're going to sell out every night. Good for them! If my team played in the largest outdoor bar in the country I'd expect them to sell out every night as well. Unfortunately the Sox play the same as every other mediocre-average ball club in this country- they market according to their talents, not their liquor.

Look... take the minor leagues as an example. The Syracuse Chiefs are up out the ass in attendance right now. You wanna know why? Because Nationals First round pick's Strasburg and Storen are killing it. Just a few nights ago they pitched 8.1 innings all together allowing no runs .... Strasburg with a 0.00ERA and Storen with a 1.35ERA.

Teams sell out when the players are doing well. The Phillies had the number one attendance record in the major leagues last year... and before 2007 they weren't even in the top 10. The attendance has clearly skyrocketed with their ability to put talent on the field.

You know what's best about this whole argument? None of it matters. Because no matter how many fans you pull into a stadium on a nightly basis... if you suck, YOU STILL SUCK.

Cub Fans are college yuppies don't pay attention to the game, and Sox fans are White Trash

Chicago is just like any other city in the United States- there's a poor community, and a rich community. The Southside of Chicago is not the wealthiest and the Northside is surrounded by a higher socioeconomic class of people.

At any given time you can go to Wrigley and sit in the bleachers and be surrounded by a thousand college guys who are attempting to turn the right field bleachers into Sigma Chi. I wish I could say that I have seen all these white trash people littering section 127 at US Cellular Field but the fact is, I haven't. Have I seen white trash people there? Yes. Is there an over abundance? No. The stigma of stereotypes of Cub and Sox fans is unfortunately for Cub fans more true than it is for Sox fans.

Are there people who sit on their phone and get drunk and don't care about the game at US Cellular Field? Of course there are. There are in any stadium- but there's an over abundance of them at Wrigley.

I really believe that the "White Trash" stereotype stems strictly from where the Sox's stadium is located in Chicago. There are a lot of bad neighborhoods around the field and I've even been told that I can take a cab down to the field, but don't expect a cab to come pick me up after dark- which is true... it's a bitch trying to get a cab after a game.

It's just a simple fact that the "Southside" of any city is known to be riddin with poverty, crime, etc., and I truly believe that most people assume that because the field is located on the Southside of Chicago that those are the fan's who come to the games.

Here's my experience: The last three times I've been to US Cellular I have not had one problem with people. I sat in front of a group of lawyers and interns during a Twins/Sox games, behind a family (mother, father, son, daughter) and next to a group of old ladies in Sox hats and fans at an Angels/Sox game, and at a Mariners game I sat in front of two college boys (not a lot of people at that game as it was about 40 degrees and a straight through double header) who bought me a hot dog and a blanket.

No one I was around was White Trash, no one was annoying, no one was getting plastered and high fiving each other for no reason.... when I'm at Sox games I feel like I'm at home with the people who want to be at the stadium to watch the game- not to get drunk.

I'm not saying there aren't people like that at Wrigley... I met a very nice couple who was hanging out, taking score, and paying attention after I switched my seats 4 times at a Cub game. Unfortunately- the people I was around before that only solidified my annoyance for Cub fans in general. One of them wanted to start a poll to see if any one around us knew who the starting pitcher was (to prove to me that Cub fans know what's going on............) and another one turned to his friend and said "whoa! When did we score 7 runs???" (It was in fact, the 7th inning... there were only 3 runs on the board. 2-1 Cubs).

Again, all of this is based on my experiences at both stadiums. I know there are many many Cub fans who go to games to watch the team, are intelligent, and know what's going on. I'm not going to pretend like I think the fact that getting drunk that the game is bad- there's a reason I leave my car at a pub on the Southside and don't drive after games- I enjoy an over-priced Miller lite or margarita during the game or 5. I'm sure there are many many white trash or poor people at US Cellular but I'm not 100% sure where your economic status has any effect on the people around you at games-it shouldn't. The people who go to Wrigley for the sole purpose of getting drunk and hanging out, however, do effect my time at the ballpark as I, as a baseball fan, would prefer being able to watch the game instead of consistently asking the people in front of me to sit down, shut up, drink their beer, and stop... for the love of God.. STOP high-fiving each other every time they down another Old Style.

Sox Fans care more about the Cubs than they do their own team.

The Sox will always, no matter how many championships they win, be the second team in Chicago. They just simply will, and I've come to terms of that. But there's a real historical reason for that and it's not because the Cubs are "cooler" or a "better team" or "have always had more fans." They haven't always had more fans, they haven't always been the number one team in Chicago, but as far as our generation is concerned, we haven't known it any differently.

The Sox actually outdrew the Cubs in the 40s and 50s and even some years in the 60's. The Go-Go White Sox were one of the best teams in the 50's and Chicago packed Comiskey Field every day to see guys like Aparicio, Fox, and Appling play.

So what happened? Marketing, my friends. In the 1980's the Sox attempted to head off a service of Pay-TV called "On-TV." People who subscribed to this were able to watch Sox, Bulls, and Blackhawks games with use of what today looks like a cable box and "de-scrambled" the television frequencies so more people could watch games. The Sox were by far the more popular team in Chicago running off their previous decades of accomplishment and a pennant in 1959.

The Cubs, however, took a smarter route and signed with WGN. As one of the first completely nationally broad casted teams in the majors they were able to reach more fans around the country.

When the Cubs signed away their broadcasting rights to WGN, and WGN became a super station, People refused to pay the steep $30 a month for On-TV and the Sox had additional trouble selling their rights. Harry Caray who didn't want anything to do with pay-tv went straight over to the Northside and did more to promote that team than any other broadcaster had done in decades.

Even smarter than marketing rights, the Cubs were smart enough to sell their team based on a "love able loser" stigma in the 1970s. They figured if they couldn't pull attendance in the stands based on the product they put on the field (which was poor), then they would sell an experience- and that's exactly what they did. They marketed and promoted the "baseball experience" which today is known as the "bleacher bum" experience. Here in lies the beginning of "The Friendly Confines" and "Historic Wrigley Field." (As opposed to older and MORE historic Comiskey Park- as you remember from previously, Wrigley wasn't built until the mid 1910's)

Still in 2010 the marketing schemes are the same. The Cubs market their team based on the "Wrigleyville experience" and the Sox market their team based on the talent they put on the field. Historically the Cubs were smarter in their marketing ideas and the Sox, who catered to the success of their team, and failed to pull the same attendance as the Cubs.

It's really not a jab at Cub fans when Sox fans say that they would rather be at a stadium full of people who know what's going on then a stadium of people who are just there to get drunk. The Cubs and Sox have had clear and different marketing strategies and the Cubs were more successful in theirs. Don't get pissed when someone says something like that- because it's exactly what the Cubs want are are trying to sell- an experience, not a team.

With all that being said, you'd be suprised at how much I agree with the statement that the Sox care more about the Cubs than their own team. They do. It's sad. They really shouldn't but when you're a 50 year old man who has seen all that the Sox have had to offer over the last decades compared to the Cubs, and have watched the northsiders grow in popularity while even a World Series Championship couldn't bring the Sox up to the same popularity status, it sucks. Yes we're bitter and we have every right to be, damnit. So if you find one of us smiling while Baseball Tonight is on at a bar and we saw that the Cub's lost that day, just get over it. What little we have left is the fact that our team doesn't consistantly put a horrible product on the field, and yours does.

And Finally: Why does any of this matter anyways? We aren't even in the same divisions!

This whole thing is ridiculous. I've explained my reasons for why I don't like Wrigley, or most Cub fans- but I don't dislike the team. The rivalry is fun and of course I'm going to cheer for my team in the Cross-Town Classic. I'm going to be happy when they get the BP Cup- but do I think it's stupid? Absolutley. It brings out the worst in fans from both sides of the city and it simply doesn't matter. We might both be in Central divisions but at the end of the day, unless we're meeting eachother in the World Series, it doesn't matter how either one of the teams does. I've always been the first one to admit when my team isn't doing well- I dont accept mediocrity in any form and I refuse to claim that we're gonna win it all with a .500 record at the end of May (which is looking bleak for the Sox AND the Cubs at this point). There are so many things about the fans and the way people view the Cubs that bothers me and I think anyone from any team would be disengaged from being a Cub fan after seeing the way most fans treat the game. It's like a circus act- and to me, that's wrong.

The whole BP Cup has only fueled the fire for this season and come June when the teams meet, it's going to be embarassing if the winning teams are posing for pictures and in the paper for winning the cup because both teams are horrible this season. I just don't get it. To me, only one trophy matters and that's a World Series Trophy. If fans don't have their eye on that then they aren't true fans- and that is annoyance in any level for true baseball fans.