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Monday, December 4

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« A (New) League of Their Own Sox Offense Continues Fast Start, How Good Will They Be? »

Baseball Mon Apr 07 2008

Baseball...A Game of Waiting in Lines

I always thought waiting in line was a universally despised experience. However, I realized the fault in my belief at this Saturday's Cubs v. Astros game (Yes, a White Sox fan attended Wrigley. I explain the treason later. Promise!) On the first beautiful day of spring, I joined over 40,000 sport fans to watch professional athletes wait in elaborate lines for a piece of unpredictable, sporadic action. I understand this is not the preferred Oxford definition of baseball, but please continue reading.

As always, the game commenced with batting practice. Batting practice consists of waiting in line for a chance to wait for the perfect pitch to refine your stroke for a productive game. After batting and fielding practice, back to the end of the line for more waiting. Imagine you are Kosuke Fukudome (YouTube welcome video) and have to wait behind four other batters or Houston's (former White Sox) Carlos Lee waiting to make an error in left field. Either way, there is a whole lotta standing, sitting, and gum chewing required in baseball.

The waiting is not exclusive to the players either. Prior to the game, I endured an excessive amount of line waiting involved in attending a sporting event. First the Red Line, next for a beer at Harry Caray's Tavern, even for a spot in the men's room after four beers, and finally to enter the stadium. A frustrating situation, especially for someone accustomed to the immediacy of life on the Internet. Reaching my seat was definitely a relief, until I realized the waiting had just begun.

What did I learn from this experience? Obviously, people generally enjoy waiting in line when excitement is a reward for their patience. I also learned I have a severe, Internet induced attention problem. More importantly, however, is the lesson in marketing provided by a trip to Wrigley. Watching a game at Wrigley is entertaining regardless of lulls in athletic action. I not only consumed a game between professional athletes, but I also noticed a girl intentionally dumping beers onto a lower level fan. I caused a father to earmuff his young child's ears, blocking my occasional profane outbursts. I also watched hesitant pitchers warm-up in poorly positioned bullpens, fearful the player in protective gear was daydreaming instead of stopping foul balls.

My lesson to the beloved White Sox after a trip through enemy territory: Remove around 20,000 seats from The Cell, condense the space between seats, sell lower quality beer for higher prices, and create a steeper incline so the audience feels on top of the field. Seems possible, probably more likely than the Cubs winning a World Series. Read a more informative recap of the game from an ESPN reporter not obsessed with lines here.

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