Jim & Bob's Palatial Baseball Blog

Friday, February 09, 2007

Compare and Contrast

Is the Chicago Tribune biased? This week’s news provides us an easy opportunity to find out.

Both the Cubs and the White Sox…errr…I mean, White Sox and Cubs (don’t want to show any bias) both raised their ticket prices. How would the stalwarts at the Tower report these earth-shattering events?

Here are the opening paragraphs of both stories. See if you can detect any difference in tone or style that might indicate one team is held in higher esteem than the other.

First, Sully’s report on the Cubs:

It was so much simpler 25 years ago, when almost every Cubs game aired on WGN-TV, a bleacher seat cost $2 and the Cubs were coming off a season in which they finished with the worst record in the National League.

With a new owner, Tribune Co., a combustible broadcast duo in Harry Caray and Milo Hamilton, and a new, no-nonsense manager in Lee Elia, 1982 was billed as the start of a new era: "Building a New Tradition."

To buy tickets in advance, you would drive to Wrigley Field and buy them, or just send a check or money order to the ballpark. If you had a group of 25 or more, you could order tickets by phone. Bleacher tickets and general admission seats, of course, were available only on the day of the game, and tickets ranged from $2 for the bleachers or general admission for children 13 or younger to $6.50 for a box seat.

Fast-forward to the "Buying a New Tradition" era of interim President John McDonough.

Once again trying to right themselves after a disastrous season, the Cubs currently have 16 different ticket designations with a three-tiered pricing system. Prices range from $8 for an upper-deck reserved outfield seat for one of the seven "value" dates in April and September to $255 for a premium dugout box for one of the 46 "prime" dates from April through August.

As expected, the Cubs announced Tuesday a $2 across-the-board increase in prices for the majority of individual tickets, which go on sale at Wrigley at 8 a.m. Feb. 23, and through phone and Internet outlets at 10 a.m. that day. Ticket prices for the two premium seating areas—the bullpen boxes and the dugout boxes—rose $5. The Cubs have yet to announce when those and the bleacher boxes (up $2) will go on sale.

And now Mark Gonzalez’ hatchet job on the Sox:

After winning the 2005 World Series, the White Sox were one of the hottest tickets in the majors in 2006.

But it will cost a few dollars more in 2007 to see what could be the Mark Buehrle/ Jermaine Dye farewell season, especially if you want to sit close at U.S. Cellular Field.

Individual tickets, which go on sale to the general public on Feb. 16, will increase from $2 in the upper deck sections to $3 in the lower box sections.

The increase comes one year after the Sox won 90 games but finished third in the competitive American League Central. Despite falling short of the postseason, the Sox drew a franchise-record 2,957,411 fans.

They ranked third in the league in home attendance—their highest finish since 1993 when they won the AL West.The Sox also set a franchise record with 52 sellouts, including 22 consecutive full houses from July 5-Aug. 17. The Sox drew 75 home crowds of 30,000 or larger.

It’s a tough call, I know.


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