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SportsMondayTuesday: Go South, Young Ones

How are we going to convince the good-time sports fans in this town to put a little more discretion in their discretionary spending?

Because something must be done. When the competitive and scorching hot White Sox draw all of 21-, 27- and 22,000 fans Friday through Sunday for big games against their division-leading rival and then the Flubs return home having capped off a 12-game losing streak with a remarkable run of ineptitude in Pittsburgh to find 38,000 waiting for them for a matinee with the stinky Padres on Memorial Day, well, that is just unacceptable.

I have said before that I believe there are some number of 10s off thousands of true blue Cubs fans in the Chicago area, myself included. Most of us became fans thanks to a familial connection or, in my case, geography, and are stuck. Then there are a few fewer 10s of thousands of White Sox fans.

And then there are at least, what, 100,000 party people, i.e. the folks who are just looking for a good time? And they can't seem to get out of the rut of wasting their money on the mess that is the current Cubs.

And oh, what a mess. Let's examine the idea that this is a rebuilding year and that it doesn't really matter if the Cubs are winning or losing because they are in transition.

Even if one accepts the premise that the roster must be turned over completely and that that takes considerable time, when the team is this bad it is problematic in a variety of ways.

Don't worry about it, a Cubs apologist might say, they've brought in some young players who are gaining valuable experience. And what kind of experience are they gaining? Let's just focus on Starlin Castro and the fact that he entered the weekend having drawn all of four walks in his first 200 plate appearance this season. Four walks!

In other words, at the plate Castro was not fulfilling ever larger portions of potential during the first two months of the season. He was regressing.

Well, the top of the rotation is in decent shape, what with Ryan Dempster still mowing 'em down and Matt Garza at least getting the job done at home. But there was Garza sucking it up again over the weekend on the road, losing to the terrible-hitting Pirates and adding more fuel to the fiery argument that Garza isn't really an elite starting pitcher. Most would probably say the Cubs would be better off dumping Garza for youngsters but his trade value ain't so hot at this point, to say the least.

The bullpen is now closer-by-Shawn-Camp-and-committee and Cubs' new No. 3 hitter is Joe Mather.

Attend that? Never!

So how are we going to convince a larger portion of the post-frat boy crowd to hop on the Red Line and head south instead of north?

Let me provide some persuasive details and hope that somehow the pertinent information will get through to a few of the folks and some momentum will start to build.

Even if you spend 90 percent of your baseball-watching time on the Cubs, you must know that after a White Sox hitter launches a home run at the Cell, the team sets off fireworks.

The problem is that when slugger Adam Dunn seems like he is striking out two out of every three times up, posting personal-worst home run numbers (like he did last year) and dragging the team down in the process (like he did last year), well, the powder in the pyrotechnics stays inert.

This year Dunn (a league runner-up 16 home runs after a two-run blast provided all the offense during a 2-1 win at Tampa on Monday) has led a White Sox power brigade that launched an awesome 11 home runs in the final four games of the home stand that ended Sunday with a 12-6 victory over the Indians that capped off the sweep and pulled the Sox to within a half-game of the Central Division lead.

In other words, there were fireworks galore on the South Side. And you know you love fireworks.

Meanwhile, Paul Konerko is flirting with .400 and Chris Sale just struck out 15 Tampa Bay Rays.

Also, you probably know that the food is much better at the Cell than Wrigley. But did you know the Sox are offering craft beers (including selections from Cleveland's awesome Great Lakes brewery) this summer at reasonable prices? I know it is tough to put down that Old Style that just cost you eight bucks, but dude, come on.

Please share this important information far and wide. Think of it as a public service in a town that has to do everything it can to fill up the many hours that still stand between us and the opening of Bears training camp later this summer.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

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