White Sox fans are very communal. They’re different from Cubs fans. Cubs fans wear the air of entitlement that North Siders feel is their birthright. Their team resides on the North Side of Chicago, the land of the Gold Coast, North Shore, and Northwestern. Their ivy-covered walls suggest Ivy League. If you’re a Chicagoan on whatever side of the North Side vs. South Side debate, you know exactly what I mean.
Wrigley is a smaller stadium, and as such tickets are more expensive. The fan base itself skews to a more affluent set, so you won’t typically find single moms taking their three young kids to a ball game. You’ll see that all over the place at a Sox game. At Wri,gley you’ll see professionals stumbling around drunk, at Sox games you’re more likely to see couples double dating. It’s just the way the demographics of each fan base in the context of each stadium environment plays out.
South Siders are different. Their team sits in a more industrial area. Their fan base is composed of families and neighborhoods, ethnic communities and commonality as opposed to exclusivity. If you have a family or grew up watching baseball games in Chicago, chances are you went to more Sox games than Cubs games. The fans too are more industrial and blue collar, and that shows in how they support their team.
Once I began rooting for Fulmer, my 17-year-old daughter Zelda became charmed. She is a tremendous Sox fan like myself – she’d better be – and she can name every member of the starting lineup without my coaching. But she doesn’t have a favorite player yet, so I began playfully pushing for her to join me in cheering Fulmer on. My wife joined in the fun too, and soon playful ribbing began to emerge between the three of us.
At one point and as a friendly wager, I challenged the two that I would create a Fulmer shrine in my mancave downstairs. I already had several Fulmer collectible items in the autographed balls from the Futures Game and his first Major League game, but I wanted something bigger and more personal.
I declared that I’d get an authentic White Sox jersey, get him to autograph it, and get pictures of me with him doing it. I not only wanted the provenance for the inscribed item, I wanted the experience. I literally bet my family that this was not only my goal, but I wouldn’t give up until I achieved it.