- Scott Powers, ESPN Staff Writer
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CHICAGO -- Pete Hand isn’t your average Chicago White Sox fan.
Hand would be better classified as a White Sox fanatic. He has season tickets. He’s full of White Sox information and is constantly gathering more. He even started tailgating at U.S. Cellular Field four hours prior to Saturday’s game.
While Hand does recognize he’s not your typical fan, he still has been disappointed in the support White Sox fans have been giving their team this season. The White Sox rank 26th in baseball with an average paid attendance of 21,311 fans heading into Saturday’s game.
“The thing quite honestly that ticks me off is Sox fans sit there and say, ‘You know, we want a winner,’” said Hand, who is from southwest side of Chicago. “‘You put a winning product out there, we’ll show up.’ Well, they’re in first place. Where the hell you at?”
The White Sox have had a small growth in support over the last week. Since returning to U.S. Cellular Field in first place in the American League Central on June 1, they’ve drawn an average of 23,269 fans over their last seven home games. They had more than 25,000 fans in three of those games and still have two more weekend games before departing again.
John Kokolus, who is from Mokena and has a weekend season package, believes White Sox’s fans are on their way.
“I think if they keep playing the way they are they will come,” Kokolus said. “There are a lot of doubters, which is sad. They’re proving it. We’re here.”
Hand thought last year’s struggles (the White Sox finished 16 games out of first place) turned fans off for this season.
“I think after last year with the ‘all in,’ the whole Ozzie [Guillen]-Kenny [Williams] soap opera thing going on too, people are like, ‘oh you told us you were all in, and we bought in,’ and now they’re like, ‘prove it,’” Hand said. “Has [Williams’] moves worked this year? Yes. But it’s wait-and-see with Kenny. He’s been hot and cold.”
It’s also how Hand and Kokolus said they felt about the upcoming Chicago Cubs-Sox series at U.S. Cellular Field. They didn’t even take much joy in sweeping the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
“I think it’s lost its luster,” Kokolus said. “It’s not as much fun, especially considering how awful [the Cubs] are playing.”
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19hRandy Jennings, Special to ESPN.com