Tuesday, May 26, 2009

US Cellular Field

Andy and I woke up Sunday morning and hopped on the L (Chicago's elevated subway) to catch a game on the South Side at US Cellular Field, home of the Chicago White Sox. This ballpark review will be shorter than most, because this is a way to recap my memorable experiences on the trip, and frankly, US Cellular didn't provide too many of them. Although the grievance airing will take up its fair share of space.

Grievance #1: Tickets. Most ballparks have an allotment of cheap tickets that they sell, which are usually under $10. It doesn't matter that these seats are way out in the outfield or high up. Just getting into the ballpark is enough for a lot of people (including, for example, people on a road trip who just want to see the park). Here, the cheapest seats, which are the seats that are behind the columns in the back of the upper deck, are $23.

Grievance #2: Speaking of people on a road trip who just want to see the ballpark....if you buy an upper-level ticket, you can't go down to the lower level. Not even to walk around. They check tickets on the ramps at the entrance to the lower level. There are even signs that reinforce the fact that if you don't have an upper level ticket, you are a 2nd-class citizen.

Grievance #3: The dude playing the Casio keyboard that's hooked up to the sound system. If you want to play "charge" between pitches, fine. If you want to play the "everybody clap your hands" song, I have no problem with that either. What I do have a problem with is whimsical fairy music or a sea shanty being played as the pitcher looks in for a sign. Honestly, it seemed as if the person in the booth was playing just to hear the sound of his own keyboard, which unfortunately, only alternated between "harpsichord" and "wind chime" settings.

Grievance #4: The poor attempt at ivy walls. C'mon, US Cellular, that's Wrigley's thing. Find something else, like gang fights in the outfield, or a concession stand that sells heroin.

Grievance #5: Robin Ventura deserves better than this.

Alright, now on to the good things:

Our seats had a pretty good view.

There's a nice view of Chicago from the upper-level concourse.

You don't have to wait in long lines to get food, especially not for the corn. Unfortunately though, you wouldn't actually want any of the food here.

The outfield concourse looks nice. Unfortunately, because I carried the leper's mark of the 500-level ticket, I was unable to go down there in person. 

The fans are kind of d-bags, but they're devoted. And good hecklers. Game 4 of the Blackhawks-Red Wings series was being played during the baseball game, thus leading to a fair share of both Chicago and Detroit jerseys in the ballpark, including a large contingent of people wearing Red Wings jerseys who were sitting right in front of us. The two Sox fans sitting behind us, who in previous innings had loudly recapped the entire plot of The Sandlot, decided to go into a rant directed at the Red Wings fans in front of us, including a hilarious part about Russians that I wouldn't be able accurately replicate here if I tried.

We didn't get stabbed on our way to or from the park.

Quick summary: For a team that's been around for as long as the White Sox have, their ballpark is severely lacking in character. Not allowing access to the lower concourse, even to walk around, for fans that have upper-concourse tickets is a huge negative. Overall, US Cellular is an incredibly underwhelming ballpark.

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