White Sox season outlook: causes for optimism?

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Last preseason held very high hopes for the Chicago White Sox. In 2011, most publications ranked them in the top 10, often top 5 in MLB power rankings entering the year. This year, you’ll see them in the high 20s across the board in pretty much all publications. ESPN picked them dead last, and Sports Illustrated predicted they’ll lose 95 games. The offseason saw the departure of long time ace of the staff Mark Buerhle and face of the franchise Ozzie Guillen.

And while the 2011 offseason was about addition, the 2012 edition was about subtraction. Therefore, not a lot of people are high on this club entering the year. But there’s always some cause for optimism somewhere right?

White Sox V.P. of Marketing Brooks Boyer has some:

The following Boyer quote from our conference call with him this spring gives food for thought:

When you think of last year and the whole “All In” campaign and the signing of Adam Dunn, bringing back Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski, Ozzie getting the extension, all the momentum we had in the offseason last year, it’s a little bit of an opposite effect this year. What I think is important is for us to understand where we are in the eyes of our fanbase and hope that when the guys get out on the field come March, people look at it and say “Wait a second…That’s Konerko at first and Beckham at second. Ramirez at short and Brent Morel at third and Pierzynski’s behind the plate? That’s a pretty darn solid infield.

You know who our outfielders are, you know who our DH is gonna be, you can see what our rotation is gonna look like, and what the bullpen is gonna look like”. Let’s look at this division and it looked like last year the White Sox on paper were gonna run away with this. How does this mean that the Tigers are going to run away with it? So hopefully we can get out of the gate a little stronger and people still like coming to the ballpark. There’s always something unique about coming to the ballpark.

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He makes a lot of good points; of course he didn’t bring up the pitching staff or the outfield. But remember this is an optimistic post, not a pessimistic one. Winning percentage may not be the strongest reason to come see this team play this year. So other than the weather and the play of the team, what are some other factors that affect ticket sales?

Boyer’s response:

Sometimes pitching matchups. Promotional giveaways can make an impact. Night of the week, school in versus school out. I’m curious to see that MLB took away some of our Saturday night games because they’re going to have the Fox games moved to prime time. I’m curious to see what impact that has on us since Saturday night fireworks are always big nights for us. We’ve moved a lot of our fireworks nights to Fridays. We’ve tried to upgrade the promotional items so that when the families come out we want them to say “It would be nice to go get an Alexei Ramirez bobblehead doll or a chest protector”. We’ve really tried to upgrade our giveaway days and we’re bring back Bat Day so hopefully those all have a positive impact.

Transcript provided by South Side Sox

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports

A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too

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