My summer trip this year took me to the Windy City. Strangely, I was going to see the Cubs only as I found some nice ticket prices on vividseats.com. It wasn't until my family asked "if you're going to see the Cubs, why don't you see the White Sox too?" Well, that made a whole lot of sense! So I realized we were in Chicago as the White Sox were in town and chose to take in a Sunday afternoon game so I was able to mark two ballparks off my list. Of course, I was excited as can be. So here are my blogs about my two visits to the South Side and the North Side
I got my tickets for a White Sox Sunday game and was fortunate it was Family Sunday. Ticket prices for most seating spots were $15 on lower level so I got 4 left field corner tickets. When we got there and parked, the attendant said that parking prices were half off (so I only paid $10) and parked right by the stadium so that was awesome. We got out of the car and saw White Sox fans already tailgating for what seemed like a few hours. We walked around the park and couldn't believe how neat, clean, and homely the place was. I remembered as a kid when it first opened that many people said the polar opposite of this park. One of the neater bits was seeing a monument dedicated to the 2005 world champions outside. When we got in, I couldn't believe how better it got.
Since it was family day, the concourses had things lined up such as autographs from White Sox players, announcers (Steve Stone only), balloon animals for the kids, caricature drawings, meet Southpaw, etc. They really pulled out all the stops. The best part was, it was all free. So my family got a caricature drawing and my kids got balloon animals. After all of that, we got to get our food (hot dogs for the kids, chicken sandwich for the wife, and I tried the Italian beef sandwich) and headed for our seats. Everybody who was working at the park was very friendly, warming and welcoming. And they even pointed out that we were sitting in the "K-Zone for Sale" Section where we got free t-shirts of Chris Sale and K signs whenever he struck somebody out (he pitched that day). And we had the famed grand slam sundae (where you had a full-sized helmet full of ice cream). I ended up eating most of it because my son was asleep, my wife was holding him as he did, and my daughter was full after 4 bites. Tasted great though
When we got to our seats, they were magnificent. Seats were comfortable, enough leg room, cup holders, and the sightlines were magnificent (though I was seated by the foul pole). The atmosphere was something else as while the ballpark isn't "old" by today's standards, you felt like you took a step back with the constant playing of the organ, the smell of dogs and sausages dominating the wide, clean concourses, and the fact it is the White Sox. The fans, where I heard they were rowdy and obnoxious, were the opposite. They were very friendly, courteous, and respectful. The stadium itself, I thought while it didn't have a "defining" feature, was still a neat looking park. I guess with a lot of parks going by the way of "let's have the backdrop of the skyline" bit this stands out as different and I am okay with different. It was also neat, clean and did have that modern, retro feel to it (thanks by renovations over the last few years).
My ONLY gripe about the park was the scoreboards. The out of town one wasn't working correctly, the main color screen in CF was not showing who was up at the right times, and the black-and-white scoreboard didn't put any stats of the hitter up on a consistent basis. Besides that, this park was way better than I ever imagined. I did like the board lighting up when the White Sox either homered or won the game.
WHAT I LOVED ABOUT US CELLULAR FIELD:
ATMOSPHERE: Seemed like everybody went out of their way so you could have a great experience. Probably a different story if you are a Tigers fan like myself and Detroit is in town, but I was seeing Padres/White Sox.
FANS: Great set of fans I've seen around on my trips.
EXTERIOR: Not a brick exterior, but it was very clean and warming.
SEATS: Sightlines were great (though I know upper level might be a different argument), and the seats were comfy.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE ABOUT US CELLULAR FIELD:
SCOREBOARD: Just seemed like an off-day for all of the technology it seemed. Exploding scoreboard would be neater I bet if it was a night game.
Overall, I gave the Cell a 92%, the highest out of any of my MLB park visits. Might be a little high, but I think this is definitely a great ballpark who probably have gotten a bad rap for numerous things in its past, partly because of the time it was built right after SkyDome and before Camden Yards. I think if it was built at any other time and also not sharing the same city that has Wrigley Field, this place would be a better known park.