Category Archives: chicago white sox

Ballparks for the Chicago White Sox.

Wrigley Field and Comiskey Park in One Day

Wrigley Field and Comiskey Park in One Day, Chicago, IL

April 19, 2002, afternoon:  Cubs 5, Reds 2
April 19, 2002, night:  Tigers 8, White Sox 2

When I saw I had a shot to attend baseball games in two different ballparks in the same day, I figured, hey, this is something I absolutely have to do, and if you’re reading this, you may be wondering if you can do it your own self.  Well, here’s a bit of advice.

The places you have a chance to do this (Mets/Yankees, Cubs/White Sox, Angels/Dodgers, A’s/Giants) historically have never had their teams at home at the same time.  Since the advent of interleague play, however, there are one or two weekends a year when they’re at home simultaneously, and if you pick a day when one plays an afternoon game and the other a night game, you can pull it off.

I’d highly advise you to check the weather report first, if at all possible!  April 19, 2002, the day I did the multi-stadium doubleheader, was about 40 degrees in Chicago, and dipped lower at night.  So either do your doubleheader in LA or be ready to dress in many, many layers.  I was pretty stupid–had to spend $33 on a sweatshirt at Wrigley Field.  There were people around me who were in shorts and halters!  They didn’t last long.

Have a contingency plan for rain delays or extra innings.  Which game are you willing to miss the end of or to be late to, if it comes to that?

Anyway, my April 19, while cold, provides me with a rare opportunity to compare Wrigley Field and Comiskey Park, as well as Cub fans and Sox fans.  I will now offend everyone in Chicago with the following observations:

Observation Wrigley Comiskey
Adjustments to my first impression of the ballparks: I may have been a little hard on Wrigley Field in my original review of it.  I liked it a little better the second time around.  Even though the ivy hadn’t flowered yet, making the outfield walls dingy brown, I noticed that I didn’t have a single advertisement in front of my eyes when I looked around the field.  That’s amazingly refreshing.  (But I will not adjust my ranking due to my observations of fans under “Fans” below.) When I first went to Comiskey Park in 1993, it was my favorite ballpark I’d ever been to.  Man, have I ever matured in my tastes.
Location: Trendy sports bars, but otherwise a basic neighborhood, with hardware stores and fast food…nice because it’s so mundane. I didn’t take the time to took around.  And I never will.
Scalpers: The rudest, most intrusive, aggressive scalpers I’ve ever encountered–they will not only approach you, they will ridicule you if you refuse (“Yeah, whatever, sit in the upper bowl, then.”) Scalpers at Comiskey?  You’re more likely to find scalpers at a local spelling bee.
Fans: Here’s where I get into trouble:  The fans at Wrigley do not care about baseball.  They are there to be seen.  That’s what I said–A good chunk of Cub fans at Wrigley DO NOT CARE ABOUT BASEBALL.  They mostly couldn’t tell you a single Cub besides Sammy.  This makes the Cubs’ historic lack of success irrelevant. Fans at Comiskey care about baseball because it gives them an excuse for their deep-seated anger issues.  This makes the White Sox’s historic lack of success absolutely essential to their surly personalities.
Arrival/Depature times: Cub fans arrive late and leave as soon as they realize it’s too cold. Very few White Sox fans ever show up to begin with.
How to get there: The Red Line has a stop a block from Wrigley Field.  Take the Red Line. The Red Line has a stop a block from Comiskey Park.  Take a cab.
Batting Practice: You will be treated to the screams of pre-pubescent girls scrambling for batting-practice balls that Cincinnati Reds’ players throw their way when the kids chant “Reds!  Reds!  Reds!”  (How do pre-pubescent girls perfect that ear-piercing crystal-clear insanely-high-pitched sound?) If you get a ball, get moving before the fisticuffs start. And I’m pretty sure children, at least those from the same neighborhoods as the ones below, are never taken to Comiskey by their parents.

Fifth grade girl and friends show off the ball that their intolerably piercing screams brought their way.

Fans and school:

Cub fans miss school to enjoy afternoon ballgames.

White Sox fans have never attended a school.

Fans removing shirts in windy  40-degree weather:

At Wrigley, drunken college guys remove their shirts.  At least I think they’re college guys–the guys on the right look like they’re in about junior high.  Reasonable people wonder exactly what kind of moron would even consider such an insanely stupid act.  (See below.)

At Comiskey, fans wait until the temperature drops down below 35 degrees and there’s a downpour.  Then, they remove their shirts and holler.  These fans include my cousin and his buddy–answering the question posed at Wrigley.  (See below.)

Shirtless Cub fans, probably missing their ninth-grade classes.

paulandsteve

Shirtless White Sox Fans--my cousin Steve (center) and his buddy. Both are elementary school teachers who sincerely hope the school board does not discover this web page. Note that I am wearing FIVE layers of clothing, including both a rain jacket and a winter jacket.

Response to routine fly ball to shallow left by the visiting team:

Cubs fans shout with incredible glee, as if they are on a loop-de-loop rollercoaster at Mardi Gras.

White Sox fans shout “COME AAAHHHNNN!!!” as if certain something disastrous is about to happen.  (They react this way regardless of the situation, actually.)

Wearing opposing colors:

Wear opposing colors–whatever you want.

Wear opposing colors, but accessorize with a flak jacket.

Result of game and fan reaction:

Who cares?  We were just here to be seen anyway.

The Sox lost, again, because they’re out to keep us miserable.

BASEBALL STUFF I SAW ON THIS DAY:

Matt Clement struck out 12 Reds.  Steve Sparks took care of the White Sox’s bats.

(Written April 2002.)
Observation Wrigley Comiskey
Adjustments to my first impression of the ballparks: I may have been a little hard on Wrigley Field in my original review of it.  I liked it a little better the second time around.  Even though the ivy hadn’t flowered yet, making the outfield walls dingy brown, I noticed that I didn’t have a single advertisement in front of my eyes when I looked around the field.  That’s amazingly refreshing.  (But I will not adjust my ranking due to my observations of fans under “Fans” below.) When I first went to Comiskey Park in 1993, it was my favorite ballpark I’d ever been to.  Man, have I ever matured in my tastes.
Location: Trendy sports bars, but otherwise a basic neighborhood, with hardware stores and fast food…nice because it’s so mundane. I didn’t take the time to took around.  And I never will.
Scalpers: The rudest, most intrusive, aggressive scalpers I’ve ever encountered–they will not only approach you, they will ridicule you if you refuse (“Yeah, whatever, sit in the upper bowl, then.”) Scalpers at Comiskey?  You’re more likely to find scalpers at a local spelling bee.
Fans: Here’s where I get into trouble:  The fans at Wrigley do not care about baseball.  They are there to be seen.  That’s what I said–A good chunk of Cub fans at Wrigley DO NOT CARE ABOUT BASEBALL.  They mostly couldn’t tell you a single Cub besides Sammy.  This makes the Cubs’ historic lack of success irrelevant. Fans at Comiskey care about baseball because it gives them an excuse for their deep-seated anger issues.  This makes the White Sox’s historic lack of success absolutely essential to their surly personalities.
Arrival/Depature times: Cub fans arrive late and leave as soon as they realize it’s too cold. Very few White Sox fans ever show up to begin with.
How to get there: The Red Line has a stop a block from Wrigley Field.  Take the Red Line. The Red Line has a stop a block from Comiskey Park.  Take a cab.
Batting Practice: You will be treated to the screams of pre-pubescent girls scrambling for batting-practice balls that Cincinnati Reds’ players throw their way when the kids chant “Reds!  Reds!  Reds!”  (How do pre-pubescent girls perfect that ear-piercing crystal-clear insanely-high-pitched sound?) If you get a ball, get moving before the fisticuffs start. And I’m pretty sure children, at least those from the same neighborhoods as the ones below, are never taken to Comiskey by their parents.

[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.)