Less booze at SoxFest 2018 than at CubsFest

Less booze at SoxFest 2018 than at CubsFest

We skipped the CubsFest this year because the Cubs went from Lovable Losers to difficult to speak with World Series ego maniacs. I hope they keep winning, cuz maybe they’ll start to get back to their lovable selves one day. In the meantime, we decided to go to the SoxFest at the Hilton where the city’s lovable loser White Sox players gather. And honestly, those Sox players were great — except for Bo Jackson and Carlton Fisk. But who’s counting?

By Ray Hanania

I was looking at White Sox souvenirs at the Sox Convention this weekend at the Conrad Hilton Hotel when I overheard one of the baseball memorabilia vendors talking to another person, maybe a customer or another vendor.

The guy was bemoaning the fact that it’s easier to sell baseball paraphernalia at the Cubs convention rather than the Sox convention because Cubs fans were “better educated,” were “Yuppies,” and had more recreational money to spend.

Wow I thought. Cubs fans have sure come a long way. But then I started to remember the reality of Cubs’ celebrations.

White Sox pitcher Lucas Giolito stopped for everyone to autograph baseballs. He loves the fans.

Two years ago at the Cub’s convention after winning their first World Series in 108 years, all I remember was the stench of dried beer that wafted through the lobby at the Sheraton hotel, and wadding through emptied, smashed beer cans on the lobby floor. It was like that every year, and not because the Cubs had finally won the World Series. Cubs fans and booze are redundant.

The Cubs Fest was more like the aftermath of the South Side St. Patrick’s Day Parade, filled with a lot of celebration, booze, strewn beer cans and booze bottles, and a lot of four letter words drowning out the Sheraton Hotel’s piped in ceiling or ambiance music.

The Sox Fest, on the other hand, seemed so much more civil. I saw a few people pull in wagons of beer into the Hilton’s lobby, but not even coming close to the hundreds of Cubs fans streaming into the Sheraton trailed by cases of Budweiser.

White Sox 2nd baseman Yoan Moncada at White SoxFest 2018

Most of the Sox players were courteous to everyone, something I recall the Cubs players being before their 2016 World Series victory sent their egos into the stratosphere. Before the World Series victory, the Cubs were the “loveable losers.” They were humble. Respectful. And happy that anyone really cared about them or thought they had a chance to win anything big.

After the World Series, they turned into snobs. Anthony Rizzo, who before the World Series was such a great guy, wouldn’t even stop to give young fans autographs, like he did before winning.

Winning sure screws up a team.

The White Sox players were mostly nice people. There were only a few exceptions of rudeness and mumbles among fans about what jerks they really were: Carlton Fisk, Bo Jackson. These were players who seemed to wish they didn’t have to be with the “fans.” They wouldn’t stop for anyone.

White Sox player and former football player Bo Jackson autographed at the scheduled stages but pretty much didn’t want to waste his time with the fans much afterwards

The rest of the Sox were great, like Third Baseman Nicky Delmonico who made his debut with the Sox last season. Delmonico was typical of most Sox players, stopping to give autographs to everyone.

Some said, well, he’s new. But I thought, hey! This is a convention to celebrate not only the baseball team, but the loyal fans who spent hundreds of dollars to attend and hundreds more at the fest.

If you are a baseball player for the Cubs at the Cubs Fest or for the Sox at Sox Fest, if there is one time where you are SUPPOSED to give autographs, it’s at that festival gathering.

White Sox Festival 2018 at the Conrad Hilton Hotel

Sure, when you’re at dinner spending your millions contemplating the purchase of a third or fourth mansion with your trophy wife in a white mink coat, I can understand you not wanting to be bothered by fans, who definitely can be rude. But if you attend the Fests, you should be ready to act like someone who appreciates fan support.

OK. I’m not a big sports authority. I listen to the writings and rantings of Jeff Vorva if I really want to understand sports of any kind. But come on folks. Seriously. Sox players go to SoxFest and refuse to give autographs?

Politics is the sport I really love the most. And certainly, politics has more scandal, corruption, and booze and empty beer cans than sports.

I just expected more from athletes than from politicians, I guess. Although, maybe I shouldn’t.

Lines at the SoxFest 2018 were packed but there was a lot of time to meet the players who wanted to be met.

My son Aaron has produced a video of clips from the interviews with the Sox baseball players answering questions that you might want to check out at his Youtube channel at www.Aaron411.com.

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award-winning columnist, author & former Chicago City Hall reporter (1977-1992). A veteran who served during the Vietnam War and the recipient of four SPJ Peter Lisagor Awards for column writing, Hanania writes weekly opinion columns on mainstream American & Chicagoland topics for the Southwest News-Herald, Des Plaines Valley News, the Regional News, The Reporter Newspapers, and Suburban Chicagoland.  

Hanania also writes about Middle East issues for the Arab News, and The Arab Daily News criticizing government policies in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A critic of mainstream news media bias, Hanania advocates for peace & justice for Israel & Palestine, & the empowerment of Arabs in America. 

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

Click Here to LISTEN to Hanania's live radio show on 2nd Friday every month 7 AM CST. Click here to listen to Ray's Podcasts. 

His columns are archived here. Hanania was named "Best Ethnic American Columnist" by the New America Media in November 2007, and is the 2009 recipient of the SPJ National Sigma Delta Chi Award for column writing.

Email Ray Hanania at rghanania@gmail.com.

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