White Sox fans ready to ‘appreciate the game’
BY STEVE METSCH email@example.com April 12, 2012 9:36PM
Shon Canty, of Chicago’s South Side, wants to wear a new Sox jersey to Saturday’s game, the first one ever that his son, Zachary, plans to attend. | STEVE METSCH~SUN-TIMES MEDIA
Updated: May 14, 2012 8:17AM
A White Sox team that used a take-no-prisoners “All In” as its battle cry one year ago now sounds like it’s taking tips from Dr. Phil.
The new slogan, “Appreciate the Game,” has some Sox fans scratching their heads.
“We appreciate if you show up and buy tickets? We need to pay our bills? This Ferrari isn’t getting any cheaper?” Frank Castro said.
Although the slogan may be confusing, Sox fever ran high in Chicago’s Bridgeport community on Thursday. Friday’s home opener vs. the first-place Detroit Tigers starts at 1:10 p.m. and the natives are restless after a mediocre 2011 season.
Castro hopes fans appreciate not only the game but the free rides to and from U.S. Cellular Field that Rocky’s Sports Restaurant, 234 W. 31st St., offers every game for the restaurant’s patrons.
Castro manages Rocky’s, which opens at 10 a.m. Friday and will host WMVP-AM (1000) from 2 to 6 p.m.
To attract more fans, Rocky’s has an ad on a bench strategically located across 35th Street from the ballpark.
“It does help get people in here,” Castro said.
They have “mixed reviews” of the 3-2 Sox, he said.
“I’ve heard from a lot of hopefuls. The team is showing a lot of promise,” he said, “but I’m a hopeful myself.”
Everybody is hopeful on Opening Day, said Pete Powers, who owns Grandstand, a sports souvenir store at 600 W. 35th St.
“This team is a lot better than people are giving it credit for. There is a sense of calm, especially with all that’s going on with Ozzie in Miami. People are saying, ‘Thank God it’s not our problem,’ ” Powers said, referring to former Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, whose praise of late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro earned him a five-game suspension from the Miami Marlins.
Baseball experts don’t expect much from Guillen’s former team. Sports Illustrated picks the Sox dead-last in their division. That’s OK with Powers.
“This can be a contending ballclub, no question about it. One thing I noticed, in the first five games, is we seem to have runners on base all the time. That jumped out at me. A.J. (Pierzynski) already has two homers. He hit his second on May 22 last year. I think the guys are more relaxed. Last year, it was ‘All In,’ and there was a lot of expectations on these guys,” said Powers, 52.
Perhaps Powers is on to something. As he spoke, Lady Gaga’s “The Edge of Glory” played on the store’s sound system.
Shon Canty, of Chicago’s South Side, stopped in to beat Friday’s crowds and shop for Sox gear for his family.
“Which one should I try, the white one or the black one? Pinstripes do make me look thinner,” said Canty, who bears a striking resemblance to retired Sox slugger Frank Thomas.
Canty bought a white jersey with black pinstripes, not the retro white and red jerseys the team will wear for Sunday home games.
No matter what he wears, Adam Dunn will have a better year, said Abel Tamez, 28, of Bridgeport.
“After the year he had last season, he can’t do any worse,” Tamez said.
Dunn, a big-money bopper, batted an anemic .159 with 11 homers last season.
As rare as a Dunn homer was something spotted at Morrie O’Malley’s Hot Dogs, 3501 S. Union Ave.: a Cubs fan in Sox territory. Sitting on a stool, wearing a Cubs hat and jacket, was Bill Reidy.
“Midlife crisis,” whispered friend Bob O’Malley, who wore a Sox hoodie.
Reidy lives in Bridgeport and grew up Sox fan. But Sox board chairman Jerry Reinsdorf angered Reidy in the 1980s by threatening to move the team to Florida unless a new ballpark was built. Reinsdorf got his wish, and Reidy got the Cubs.
“I was happy for the Sox in 2005,” he said of that year’s world champs.
Asked when his Cubs will do the same, he said, “Maybe they’ll win when Jesus comes.”
Friday’s game is sold out, but standing-room-only tickets still were available as of Thursday for $75.