North: White Sox taking a hit over traffic issues
Throughout my 25-year broadcasting career, certain storylines would crop up almost every year. They are debated endlessly, but are seldom resolved.
One of those ongoing stories is the White Sox attendance woes.
Last Friday, I went to my first Sox game in a couple years, and it was against the Cleveland Indians at Guaranteed Rate Field. The game began at 7:10 p.m., so my wife and I left our home in Park Ridge about 4:30, yet didn't arrive in our seats until 6:40.
As everyone knows, the traffic is a challenge when driving downtown on a Friday night during rush hour.
But should it take two hours to drive 17 miles on an expressway? I went about 10 miles an hour, sometimes coming to complete stops during the drive.
I have said in the past that this was a White Sox problem because it affects their fan base and their business a great deal.
The White Sox, however, certainly are not the cause of problem.
Fortunately, once we got to the stadium, parking and going through the metal detectors were a nonissue. We sat in a wonderful 100-level suite directly behind home plate. It was a perfect night weatherwise and the park really sparkled.
While we had a terrific time, several people arrived late and were conflicted by brutal traffic.
The city needs to take the blame here. Back in the 1960s, Mayor Richard J. Daley wanted to put in a crosstown expressway because he had the foresight to see traffic problems were on the horizon. But the concept has continually been shelved over the years, and seems a dead issue.
I enjoyed the game but the travel time is horrendous and attending a game today has to be considered an "all-day experience."
Yes, I could have taken public transportation, but I prefer to drive, probably like most people.
I have a suggestion for owner Jerry Reinsdorf and the White Sox. Why not consider some 3 p.m. start times or even a 7:30 start time, especially on a Friday?
The later start time would give fans a better chance to get to the game before it starts. I would actually prefer the 3 p.m. because the game would be over early and fans would be on their way and may be home by 7 or 8 p.m.
News flash: day baseball isn't a bad thing!
Let me remind everyone that the Cubs built a dynasty of fans around day baseball.
Why don't the White Sox play more day games in the summer and into September when the weather is beautiful?
Like I said, the White Sox should not take the blame, but since the problem isn't going away, they need to make some adjustments. The stadium, the service and their numerous amenities are all A-1, but when it comes to accessibility and travel times, the Sox and the city finish dead last.
• Follow Mike on Twitter @north2north. Check out his podcast Monday-Friday at mikenorthpodcast.com. His column appears Fridays in the Daily Herald. For more, visit northtonorth.com.