Disconnect with Sox fans hurting attendance at Cell

Updated 7/1/2014 6:04 AM
  • Not enough White Sox fans -- young or old -- have been making a trip to the ballpark this year. The Sox rank 28th in attendance.

    Not enough White Sox fans -- young or old -- have been making a trip to the ballpark this year. The Sox rank 28th in attendance. Associated Press/April 2014 file

Two years ago I wrote about the dwindling White Sox fan base, and I suggested that if there wasn't some imagination, a different philosophy or a new plan in place they would continue to lose fans.

Unfortunately, it looks like that's exactly what is happening.

It seems the White Sox are more an afterthought in Chicago and are just existing. Right now their attendance average is 20,354, which puts them 28th in baseball. Only the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cleveland Indians trail them in attendance.

Of course, when the Indians were a winning team their park sold out, while even in the 2005 World Champion White Sox club averaged only 28,973, good for 17th overall that season and well below the 40,000 capacity.

Some Sox fans won't come out even when the team is winning.

White Sox fans must have a disconnect with the organization for some reason, and I can't fully explain it.

The North Side -- Cubs territory -- is more about thousands of fans within walking distance of Wrigley. The South Side -- pretty much Sox territory -- is one of the toughest parts of town, and maybe that reputation hinders the attendance.

But it doesn't seem to matter in New York. The Yankees play in the Bronx and have averaged 42,969 this season. And even though there are places to hang out after the game, people tend to leave afterward and go home.

Even more impressive is the second team in New York, the Mets. They have averaged 27,646 this year, and I'll bet the Sox would sign up for that right now.

Another example where safety around the park could be an issue is Comerica Park, the home of the Detroit Tigers. Visiting teams stay in the suburbs instead of the city, but still the Tigers' average is 34,022 this year.

Of course, they are very good. As the only baseball team in town, they are revered there.

I feel like the White Sox are being forgotten, and with studs such as Jose Abreu and Chris Sale, they are trying to build a competitive club.

While I believe they can draw 30,000 again, it's only going to happen with some imagination, improved marketing, a better team and reaching out to the fan base.

In 2005, the greatest year in White Sox history, they drew 2.34 million, and 16 other clubs drew more fans. Eight years later, they drew only 1.76 million fans. This year it appears they won't reach that level.

There are no excuses left. Make the fan base feel wanted and maybe they will come back.

Program notes:

Follow me on Twitter@ north2north, and listen to Fox Sports Daybreak with Andy Furman and myself from 5-8 a.m. Monday through Friday on Fox Sports radio, and check me out on iHeart radio or Foxsportsradio.com.

• Mike North's column appears each Tuesday and Friday in the Daily Herald, and his video commentary can be found Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at dailyherald.com. For more, visit northtonorth.com.

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