A bartender in Milwaukee told our group that Sox fans are “much more polite” than Cubs fans. We smiled collectively at this, images of frayed cargo shorts, popped-collar polo shirts and backwards “1968”-emblazoned hats worn by dudes born in 1982 filling our heads, collectively giggling at the idea of all those Cub fans showing up for totally bro-tastic Cubs-Brewers showdowns and asking the kindly Wisconsonites how to get to, like, Cubby Bear Way, Way North or something.
In the reported crowd of 44,100 at Saturday’s game, it wouldn’t be a stretch to guess at least 20,000 Sox fans were on hand, a guess evidenced by the White Sox faithful clad in the expected gear: Ventura, Thomas, Buehrle, Konerko, even Loaiza and Cubs Suck jerseys to complete the experience. We booed Dewayne Wise in harmony when he performed his live staple, “Strike out as a pinch hitter.” We rose as one to cheer Jose Contreras as he went eight mighty innings. We belted out “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” after Manny Parra’s unceremonious departure in the second inning.
After the game, we watched two lovely young ladies decked out in Sox gear rip each other’s hair out while one fan’s gentleman escort used the upper deck staircase as an aid to kicking another fan in the head. Obscenities flew, hilarious drunken threats were issued and it all very quickly degenerated into a recreation of every clumsy brawl that ever took place at Comiskey.
I have no reason to assume that, minus the outcome, Friday night’s game went any differently. Perhaps the crowd behaved a bit more civilly, but my gut says they didn’t, because even in Saturday’s sloppy showing I understood why that bartender had such relatively nice things to say about us. Cub fans show up to pick fights with Brewers fans; Sox fans just pick fights with other Sox fans. Self-contained crowd violence, it seems, is the way to make a good impression at other ballparks. Or maybe Brewers fans just have a really weird definition of “polite.”