It's not often you see thousands of people yelling at a team about the name of a seating area, but the Chicago White Sox appear to have found a way.
A number of White Sox fans harshly criticized their team on Wednesday when a fan named Tyrone Palmer tweeted a picture of a Guaranteed Rate Field seating area that used to be known as "Loretta's Lounge."
As Palmer explained it, the area was named after Loretta Micele, who worked as a White Sox concession worker with distinction for 60 years. In 2005, during the team's first World Series win in 87 years, the White Sox named the seating area after Micele, who was 85 years old at the time. Micele died in 2014.
The reason why White Sox fans were angry was "Loretta's Lounge" suddenly had a new name: "La Russa's Lounge," named after the team's new (and old) manager Tony La Russa.
Removing the name of a beloved concession worker who spent nearly her entire life serving White Sox fans for a manager whose hire was widely questioned by fans ended up being quite the recipe for a vocal backlash.
In addition to White Sox fans, voices around the country as well as Chicago spoke out: "Gross. Just ... gross." "This is just awful." "Egregious. Fix it now." "This is shameful." "The Tony La Russa era is fast becoming a national embarrassment."
There was also the matter of Micele's family. Her great grandson was also on Twitter, per the Chicago Sun Times. He complained that the team didn't even give his great grandmother's sign to the family, despite his mother still working there.
Per the Sun Times, the plaque dedicated to Micele is still in place at the seating area, and a White Sox spokesperson reportedly noted that a different area had been named after La Russa for many seasons. Re-hiring the manager was apparently cause for an upgrade at Micele's expense.
The spokesperson reportedly said the team is considering other ways to honor her memory:
“Loretta Micele has always been a treasured member of the White Sox family and a plaque in her honor remains in the space to honor her memory despite the name change,” a spokesperson said. “As we say in the plaque, Loretta was a dedicated concession stand staff member known for her service with a smile attitude.”
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