SOX PARK — A seating area at Guaranteed Rate Field named for a concession worker who hawked hot dogs, peanuts and beers for the White Sox for 60 years was unceremoniously renamed this season for manager Tony La Russa, drawing the condemnation of fans on social media and bewilderment from the worker’s family.
“Loretta’s Lounge,” in the 100 section of the stadium, was dedicated to Loretta Micele before Game 1 of the 2005 World Series to commemorate her 60th year working for the team.
But it’s now “La Russa’s Lounge.”
Micele was a die-hard White Sox fan who began working for the team in 1945, said her great-grandson, Lou Soto. The lifelong Bridgeport resident died in 2014.
Soto said Micele’s family was not notified the section named for his great-grandmother was renamed for La Russa. They realized it when his sister attended a game this season and saw the sign had been changed.
“They never called us at all,” Soto said.
Soto’s family reached out to the White Sox to ask for the “Loretta’s Lounge” sign to hang in a family bar but was told the team disposed of it.
“They told my mother that they threw the sign out,” Soto said. “It was really disheartening. It meant a lot to our family. Every time we’d go to a game we’d take a picture in front of it.”
Soto said he was also disappointed because La Russa, the White Sox’s Hall of Fame manager, has many accolades and already had a section at the ballpark in his honor.
In a statement, the White Sox said, “A space that had been named after La Russa for many seasons was relocated to the current area on the 100 level.
“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. As we say in the plaque, Loretta was a dedicated concession stand staff member known for her service with a smile attitude.”
On Wednesday, White Sox fan Tyrone Palmer posted about it on Twitter, saying, “This legit pissed me off … . She gave so much to the organization and replacing her name to that of TLR is shameful.”
As of Thursday morning, Palmer’s Tweet had received more than 27,000 likes and 2,200 retweets.
Palmer, who lives in North Center, said he noticed the sign change Wednesday while attending the White Sox game. He often sits in the area where it was.
“I was at the game today and I saw that the sign said ‘La Russa’s Lounge’ and said, ‘That’s not right,'” he said. “I love the team. I love the players. But I’ve fallen out of love with a lot of the things the organization does.”
Many on social media also took issue with naming a lounge for La Russa, but Soto said he doesn’t have a problem with the team’s manager.
“I’m a fan of his, I just think they could have handled this better,” he said. “I’m a die-hard fan. They’ve treated my family so well throughout the years, this is one little hiccup that I hope they’ll rectify. I’m sure they’ll do the right thing.”
Subscribe to Block Club Chicago. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.
Listen to “It’s All Good: A Block Club Chicago Podcast” here: