Day 3 of the trip was still in Chicago. There was some more sightseeing, and at night I was going here:
U.S. Cellular Field, home of the Chicago White Sox. As I do with any new stadium, I was taking a trip around to see the atmosphere, what the stadium looked like, and anything else that might catch my eye. It was also incredibly hot today, but there was a ton of wind so it felt good. Also in the future, if anyone plans to take the CTA to the game like I did, the “Sox – 35th” station is closed for repairs. So, you have to get off at the “35th – Bronzeville” stop and walk a few extra blocks. No big deal. I continued approaching the stadium:
As you can see, it was just buzzing. To the right is some sort of Chicago sports bar, but I walked right past it. I walked past the ticket windows:
As I passed that, a guy and his wife/girlfriend walked by wearing a “30 stadiums – conquer the dream” shirt. He was hitting all 30 this year. That takes a lot of time, money, and effort, so good for them. I also noticed that they put up the starting lineup outside, similar to Citi Field:
After that, I continued my way around to an area called Champions Plaza (even though the White Sox have 1 championship in the last 89 years, but I digress – ):
And of course, I was excited to knock off another stadium:
I made my way around to the first base side of the stadium:
…and to be honest, I wasn’t wowed by the place. I mean, yea, it was nice… but maybe because I did Wrigley first over this park, I was so used to the awesomeness of Wrigley that this just couldn’t compare. Who knows? Everyone in town was telling me that the Cell was beautiful, but I just didn’t really think it was that great. I wrapped around the park past the stadium club:
And wound up here:
I wanted to keep going, but really couldn’t see where or how to get around. I saw a little passageway to my right, but there was a line of people waiting to use a port-o-potty. I wasn’t using one, so I walked past them, and then got stopped by 2 security guards. They told me I couldn’t walk all the way around. Whatever. I’ve never seen a stadium where you couldn’t walk all the way around, until now. Instead, I posted up here:
Gates were opening in about 30 minutes. The White Sox are one of those teams that does the 90 minutes prior to game time opening, which is stupid because by the time I got inside, the White Sox were already done hitting. How is that fun for the hometown fans?
Here were my options:
Either go right, to the bullpen sports bar, have limited room to run but be right up on the fence, or try my luck in the seated areas behind. I chose to go left, up the ramp, and when the gates opened I did about 3 quick flights of ramps and ran down to the right field seats. When I got there, I was greeted by this guy:
Hooray for Easter eggs. I was 30 seconds inside, and I was on the board. Which is always great. It takes the pressure off my streak having to continue, now I could just enjoy being there and whatever else happened, happened. About 45 seconds later, Jacoby Ellsbury lined one deep into right center, and it slammed into the seats. I was trying to look for it, and an usher placing All-Star Game voting pamphlets helped me look, as well. I combed the rows twice over, and eventually found the ball. Here is where it was:
Here was my view of the field, the Red Sox were just kinda hanging around:
And to give you an idea of what I was up against, here was my view to the right:
That guy in the picture was probably the most annoying ballhawk I’ve encountered. He wasn’t giving anyone space, and he was only there for BP and then was going home. Every time I looked, he was right on me. Here’s a look at the space between the seats and the outfield wall:
You can use a glove trick, if you have it. I had mine, but there wasn’t a single ball to retrieve. I moved over to straightaway right field, in this area:
…where I missed not one, not two, but THREE homers. One fell short, the second bounced on the pavement, up towards me, and bounced off a railing (I missed this one because I let a kid have a chance at it), and the last one just missed my outstretched glove and someone behind me got it. If only I was taller….
Here’s a shot of me during the rest of BP:
(I’m in the grey and red.)
I tried a little longer for a toss up from John Lackey and Ryan Dempster, but got nowhere. After BP, Jon Lester was warming up in the right field corner, and I was there:
Here’s a good shot Natalie got of Lester:
See the bullpen catcher, Martinez? Has anyone else had a tough time with him? You talk to him and he acts like you don’t exist. Not just me, little 7-year olds, too. He also walks around like he thinks his you-know-what-don’t-stink. You’re a bullpen catcher, dude. Get off your high horse.
Here’s a better look at the bullpen sports bar:
You don’t need a ticket for here. It’s first come first serve. As it should be.
And the retired numbers (they used to have homages on the outfield walls, but those are gone now):
All the pregame ballhawking was done, so it was time to explore. Just a reminder, you need a 100 level ticket to even get down there for BP. They have guys checking tickets at the ramps before you even see the concourse. We headed up the ramp to the top of the stadium:
…looking out over lovely Chicago:
…until I got to the top:
And my panoramic photo (you know the routine by now):
Then I moved over to the furthest seat away at the top of the left field corner for a better view:
Looking down on some batting cages and fan friendly areas which weren’t getting used at all:
I did, however, like this shot:
But this is how I felt so far:
…not impressed. Seems I’m not the only one who was dissatisfied with this area, check it out:
…it wasn’t me, I swear.
Take a look at how crowded the concourse up there was:
So now that you can see how crowded it was, the usher guarding the left field corner ramps refused to let us down. I needed a ticket. When I asked for what, he just said “Sir, you need a ticket.” I don’t get it. So we had to walk all the way back around back to behind home plate, where we got greeted by another guard on the ramp checking 100 level tickets. Sheeeez.
On the way to our seats, we passed the “Social Media Center,” or whatever it was called, which was just a room of people on their phones, and this dog, who looked like a pig and was passed out on the floor:
…your guess is as good as mine.
We stopped to snap a shot with Frank Thomas:
…and to visit the old Comiskey Park shower:
Apparently it’s an old stall from the old Comiskey Park, and you can shower with cold water on hot days. I was sweaty, but didn’t feel like sitting in wet clothes all night.
Heres the concourse behind the batters eye:
It’s… different.. from other parks I’ve been to at least. Usually the scoreboards are just up on the wall above the seats. Interesting design. I passed some more statues:
And on the way to our seats, Adam Dunn hit a 3-run homer right where we were sitting. Awesome. Eventually, we got to our seats:
…and later moved here because of people who literally got up every half inning. Honestly, did you go to the game to do a 12 course meal sampling or to watch a ballgame? I’ll never understand it. I hate to miss an inning. Worst part was, the people were rude. Whatever. I took an artistic shot:
And in the top of the 9th, I squeaked my way down here:
And after Addison Reed got the final out for the save I was in the front row:
…and got ignored by all of the players, umpires, and coaching staff.
And here I am with my “stadium sign” photo:
Number 11, sweet. As you can see, I have a death grip on the sign. The wind was picking up fiercely, and the tarp was being rolled onto the field. When we left the stadium, the thunder started rumbling, and as we looked back at the cell, you could literally see the wall of rain rolling towards us in the lights, and it started raining on us. Definitely good timing. I also forgot to take a picture of the balls afterwards. On to Milwaukee!
- 2 balls at this game
- 103 career balls
- 24 straight MLB games with a ball