CHICAGO (CBS) — At Guaranteed Rate Field, some White Sox fans and a family of a longtime employee have been left surprised by a move made inside the ballpark.
As CBS 2’s Jermont Terry reported Wednesday night, some are going as far as to call it disrespectful.READ MORE: Annette Nance-Holt Confirmed As Chicago's First Black Female Fire Commissioner
Lou Soto and Nick Johnston are cousins, and they have fond memories of their great grandmother, Loretta Micele.
Micele spent 70 of her 95 years working concession for the Chicago White Sox – going back to when Guaranteed Rate Field was called U.S. Cellular Field and New Comiskey Park, and at old Comiskey Park across the street before that.
“She was like the heart of why we’re all diehard Sox fans too,” Johnston said.
So it was an honor when the team surprised her in 2005 in the first game of the World Series – the one the White Sox won that year – with her own lounge.
The family would take pictures with Grandma Loretta every game, and even after her passing in 2014, the tradition continued.
“‘Give them your ticket, and you headed to grandma’s lounge,” Johnston said. “That’s what we did every time. It was like the family meeting spot.”
Yet this year, Loretta’s Lounge abruptly changed its name to La Russa’s lounge, after manager Tony La Russa. Loretta’s sign was not only taken down, but also, Soto said, “The word we got from the White Sox it that, you know was thrown out; it was disposed of.”READ MORE: Red Cross Seeking Donations As Blood Shortage Worsens
And that left the family with a bad feeling for the team they love – and many White Sox fans were with them.
“Once we realized there was so much other support out there other than our family – she touched a lot of lives,” Johnston said, “and that’s why everybody was either upset or saddened.”
The family knew the name would change someday, but they at least would have liked some advance notice.
“For them to not even notify us, you know, it’s a shame,” Soto said.
The team said Grandma Loretta remains a treasured member of the Sox family – and while her sign is gone, a plaque in her honor remains at the lounge. But her family still feels slighted.
“We would have loved to have the sign in our family, you know, and keep it on our family,” Soto said.
The team said La Russa always had a lounge area, and they just moved his to where Grandma Loretta’s area was in left field. They reiterated that the plaque remains.MORE NEWS: CTU: Layoffs Will Hit Hardest Schools On South, West Sides
On Thursday, the White Sox also said Micele’s family will receive a replica of the sign.