Tuesday, July 31, 2007

US Cellular Field review

US Cellular Field is one of those places that gets forgotten about on ballpark tours. The reasons being are 1)Wrigley Field is also in Chicago 2)US Cellular was built before Camden Yards changed how ballparks were built, and 3)For the most part the White Sox (besides 2005) have been a forgettable team. Also, there isn't anything very distinctive about the ballpark. However, before I get into my review as always below is Jim Caple's review:


Scalping/Ticket Prices: C: Caple wrote "The only saving grace is the availability of scalpers. I got a $29 seat for $10 within 10 steps of the El station." in his article that was last updated on June 23rd, 2006. Well, I can say that a little over a year after that article was written things have definitely changed. My friend and I walked from the El to US Cellular and even into the next streets over looking for scalpers. We found 1 scalper off the El and one possible scalper who we chased down only to find out that he had 2 tickets when we needed 3. While, you couldn't turn around outside Wrigley without seeing a scalper at US Cellular you couldn't turn around outside without seeing a cop. My friend and I finally gave up and went to the ticket counter to try and figure out the below pricing:


There are 45 different options (9 types of seats times 5 types of games) of ticket prices to try and confuse the average fan. While my law school friend and I are trying to figure out what ticket we want to buy, we get approached by a scalper. Thankfully he came up to us and sold us $44 tickets for $21 each. We only needed three, but he gave us the forth one for free. Anyway, the guy saved us from really expensive tickets. If someone could guarantee that a guy would come up and give you tickets for half off when you got to the ticket counter, I would give this ticket buying experiance an A. However, I feel like this was an exception as we were about 2 minutes away from purchasing really overpriced seats. Seriously where were the scalpers?

Aesthetic Appeal: C: Like most things in the park this is average. There really isn't much to say about the outside or the inside. It looks like a normal park with very few things that stand out. There are the pinwheels on top of the scoreboard as well as a special Pontiac Fundamentals section in left field. One thing that helps with the aesthetics is that when a White Sox player hits a home run no matter what time of the day or night, they shoot off fireworks behind the bleachers.

Thing(s) I wish I would have done: I walked around the stadium and even went to the upper deck. I didn't do the Pontiac Fundamentals activities (baseball clinics, batting cages, baserunning and practice pitching areas), but that was for kids. I guess if had to pick something I wish I would have done, would be I wish I would have seen the sculpture's of famous White Sox players/owners (Carlton Fisk, Minnie Minoso, Charles Comisky, Luis Aparicio, and Nellis Fox) in center field.

Fans: C+: Being a Twins fan, I don't like White Sox fans and the only thing worse than them are Tigers fans. The game was between the Tigers and the White Sox, so everyone at the park was rooting for either of those teams except for me. Overall though I have to say White Sox fans are better than Tigers fans. Tigers fans seem to be a little too excited for anything good that happens to their team. Calm down Le Tigres. You don't want your team to choke like they did last year by getting swept by the Royals at home to lose the Division. Anyway, on a serious note the White Sox fans seemed knowledgeable. There was one guy who started screaming a reliever. I looked up the reliever and it is Dewon Day, who has given up 15 earned runs in 12 innings for a 11.25 ERA. Based on that I can understand why that guy was heckling him, even if he was on the home team. However, I am subtracting points due to the fact that Dewon Day was born in Jackson, MS.

Buzz: B: For a Monday night game for a team (the White Sox) that is out of the division race, there was more buzz than expected. Maybe that was because 15% of the fans were Tigers fans and the Tigers are having a very good year. Overall, I preferred the atmosphere at Wrigley and Miller Park much better than US Cellular.

Food: A-: While offering the standard concession fare, there were a few exceptions and tweaks to favorites. I got a bratwurst filled with cheese (I think it is called a cheddarwurst) and chili. While, this was messy, it was way above average. Also, I got a cheese quesadilla (vegetarian friendly) with guacamole for a little over $3 and was very impressed with that. My friends also remarked thier food was pretty good. Also, something that is mentioned in Caple's article is the fact that concessions are named after former White Sox. This is definitely something I found interesting and I wish the Metrodome would duplicate.

Fun things to do beside the game: C+: As I mentioned before if you are a kid you could go the Pontiac Fundamentals. For adults there isn't much besides the game. You can always view the scoreboard which has various things like the kiss-cam as well as the longest running scoreboard messages. (I looked this up and you can get a message on the scoreboard for $46: http://chicago.whitesox.mlb.com/cws/fan_forum/scoreboard.jsp). Laurie really liked the scoreboard (she was used to Wrigley) and because of that I will bump up the grade.

Overall Impression: C-: This is by all means an average to below-average park. The seats in the lower club aren't bad except for the fact that the one that I was in didn't face home plate. This was really annoying as I found myself having to twist my body to try and face home plate. The seats in the upper club might be the worst seats in all of baseball. You can't move down (because of two fans who attacked a first base coach), so if you get those seats then you are in tough luck. Also, the face value of the tickets were expensive and scalpers were tough to find. The food was good and the experience itself wasn't bad. It is worth going once (preferably with good friends), but overall I think that a team like the White Sox deserves such an average park at US Cellular.

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