[New] Comiskey Park

[New] Comiskey Park, Chicago, IL

Number of Games:  2
First Game:  July 1, 1993 (Orioles 1, White Sox 0)
Most Recent Game:  April 19, 2002 (Tigers 8, White Sox 2)

Comiskey Park was renamed US Cellular Field in February 2003.

I got off the train for my weekend in Chicago, leaving my Subaru to rest a week or two at Shelly’s house in Ohio, and followed my main rule the whole week:  I always chat with

cabdrivers. After buying Chris and Rebecca’s wedding gift (which I would give them before accompanying them to Milwaukee County Stadium), I enjoyed the company of Innocent Okele, who talked about life with his five wives.  He looked at my uncertain expression in the rear-view mirror and laughed a high-pitched, gleeful, semi-evil mischievous laugh.  “I’m just keeding.  I don’t have five wives.”  Pause.  “I have TWO wives.”  I decide to play his straight man, asking for their names (Josephine and Aisha), what they do with their time (both are very good cooks) and even the sleeping arrangements (Innocent’s room is between the rooms of the two wives, who visit his bed based on a pre-set schedule.)  We laughed very hard, so much that I shook his hand at the end of the ride.  “Good and Innocent, that me,” he said.  “You must visit Lagos.  A young man like you, you could have fifty wives.”  Quite the ride. I heard his laughter echoing through the hotel parking garage as he drove away.

Staying in Chicago alone…well, I was stood up by the family who had promised me a floor.  I was bumped for Oliver Stone, who (I guess) was going to be in their house at some unannounced point that weekend.  No word on whether he would be sleeping on the floor.  So I stayed alone at the Quality Inn for two nights, going way over budget and into credit card debt, getting lonely enough to call the ex-girlfriend whose breakup had caused me to flee to all of these stadiums in the first place.  Clearly the time with Shelly wasn’t quite the tonic I would have liked.  Man, was I ever a mess. The ex-girlfriend told me about her new cat;  she had named him a name clearly inspired or suggested by her new boyfriend.  This may sound weird, but that damn cat’s name was as hard to handle as anything in the breakup.  Made a new rule–if one wishes to call an ex-girlfriend, do not do it alone in hotel rooms in strange cities.  I blame all of this on Oliver Stone.  Indeed, I cursed him that day.  It was effective–he hasn’t made a good film since.

Back to a cabdriver going to Comiskey.  I’ve heard stories about cabbies taking fares deep into Scaryville, then demanding extra money or else they’ll throw the passenger out there with no clue where they are.  But the

cabbie going down to the ballpark was a nice, nice guy…named Amanbir, I think, a bit of a baseball fan.

The park itself, located in downtown Scaryville, isn’t so bad.  It gets a bad rap as the worst new stadium, but I actually quite liked it.  An uncool statement, I know, but I like the blue seats (too many of which are empty), and the exterior is quite nice-looking.  I think, in retrospect, it appeared better than it is–it was the first new stadium I’d ever visited, and it was a relief to be in a place with at least trace elements of character after seeing four losers in a row:  Busch, Three Rivers, Veterans, and Cleveland Municipal. Plus, the game I saw was easily the best of the 12-game Erotic Love and Baseball Stadium Tour.

By the way, since interleague play, there are one or two weekends a year when the Sox and Cubs are at home simultaneously, so it’s possible to attend ballgames in two different major league parks in the same day.  It was quite an experience, and seeing Wrigley and Comiskey back to back gave me an opportunity to make some comparisons.  Read about the two-Chicago-parks-in-one-day saga here.

So Comiskey gets a bad rap, I think.  It surely isn’t as nice as the other new parks I’ve since visited, but it ain’t bad.  I even got a cab to take me safely home in the middle of the night.

BASEBALL STUFF I’VE SEEN HERE:

Jack McDowell pitches a 3-hitter for the Sox, retiring the last 20 batters he faces.  He loses! Jamie Moyer and Gregg Olson combine for a 5-hitter.  The Sox get a guy on first in the bottom of the ninth, and pinch-hitter Robin Ventura absolutely RIPS a ball down the first base line…would have tied the score, but David Segui catches it and the game ends.

I saw the first home game for Chicago after Carlton Fisk’s unceremonious release.  A few lonely fans shout out his name.  Fans are unkind to his replacement, Rick Wrona, who still manages to throw the bat at the ball for a weak base hit.  The Baseball Encyclopedia informs me it’s his only hit of 1993.

(Written August 2001.  Updated April 2003.)

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