- 333 W. 35th Street
- Chicago, IL 60616
- (312) 674-1000
Most guys use their bachelor party as an excuse to go to a strip club. Most of my friends fit into that generalization as well. Strip clubs aren’t really my thing, so when my brother asked what I wanted to do for my bachelor party, I didn’t hesitate and said I wanted to go to a White Sox game.
US Celluar Field is on West 35th Street on Chicago’s south side. No one I know actually calls the place US Celluar Field. Most people refer to it simply as “The Cell.” The old timers still call it “Comiskey” (the original name was Comiskey Park named after the old park and owner Charles Comiskey). The Chicago media likes to use the name “US Comiskular” (combining US Cellular and Comiksey).
The “new” Comiskey Park was opened in 1991. They were a year too early. New Comiskey was built as the ball park of the future. It had clean lines. A symmetrical shape and it was quite sterile. There was really no character. One year later, when Camden Yards opened, Comiskey’s futuristic styling was already a thing of the past. The retro look is what actually took off and every ballpark since then has been designed after the success of Camden….not Comiskey.
The owners of Comiskey scrambled to retro fit the ballpark. The steep upper deck was cut down and decorated. The seats were changed from blue to green. The batter’s eye was turned into a party deck with ivy hanging down. The bullpens were turned and the 10 foot gap between the outfield wall and the seats were elminated to put the fans closer to the action.
Still, even with the sterile environment, US Cellular Field has a lot of good qualities. There’s the big bonus of the sight lines. The old Comiskey Park had a lot of obstructed seats. None of that at the new park. The concourse areas are huge and easy to navigate.
The best feature from old Comiskey was brought over to the new park. The exploding scoreboard. Of course, the scoreboard doesn’t actually explode, but from most seats in the park, it looks like the fireworks that are shot off after every home run are actually coming out of the pinwheel’s atop the scoreboard.
Our day started in the parking lot. There are a lot of surface lots around the park that are operated by the White Sox. Unlike Detroit, there are no public lots, so they have a monopoly on parking. That means, it’s going to cost a lot more. When we were in Detroit in July, we paid $10. In Chicago, we paid $23 which included a city and county tax. The good thing is, because it’s a private lot, we were able to tailgate. We had just gotten wings at Wings Around the World and we had beer. Others around us had Cornhole games, grills, and all sorts of food. It was sort of a football atmosphere which is pretty common at Sox games.
After we stuffed ourselves with chicken, we headed in. When you enter The Cell, you have to walk up stairs or take an escalator. The concourse level is above street level, so you have to go up then go back down to your seats. To solve the problem of people having to cross 35th Street to get in to the park, they built entrances on the north side of the street then connect to the stadium with sky bridges. Once you cross 35th Street, you’re at concrouse level.
Something that was put into effect a while ago, that I think really sucks, if you have an upper deck ticket, you can’t go to the main concourse. They actually check your tickets at the concourse level and if you don’t have a 100 level ticket, they won’t let you in. We had 100 level tickets, so we made our way to the concourse to find our seats in the outfield.
Like I mentioned, I took my family to a Tigers game back in July. We paid $19/ticket for outfield tickets. The only lower level tickets my brother was able to get for this game was outfield tickets…and he paid $48/ticket for them….and our tickets in Detroit were actually better seats. The White Sox have a tiered ticket system based on who they’re playing and what day it is. Since the Red Sox were in town and it was a Saturday, the tickets were at the top tier. I can remember when we paid $6/ticket for similar seats when the place opened in ’91.
The concourse level from foul pole to foul pole is completely covered. It almost feels like you’re indoors. Once you get to the outfield, it’s completely open. There are no upper deck seats in the outfield and there are vendors all the way around. There is a party deck on the batter’s eye that you used to be able to go up to and watch the game with a regular ticket. Now, you have to rent the whole space for a party. Since there were only six guys in my bachelor party, we didn’t qualify for any discounts are party areas. We did drink a lot of beer though…at $6.75 a bottle. Good thing is they were bottles which means the beer vendor didn’t have to pour. I’ve seen too many guys get handed a beer that was all head over the years…no more of that at The Cell.
The game was really good. Gavin Floyd was perfect through 5 2/3 and only gave up three base runners all day (3 hits, 1 HR, no walks). Fortunately, the Sox won. My brother’s been to five games this year and that was the first that they won.
The White Sox do a lot of in game promotions that remind me more of a minor league club than a major league….and I don’t mean that as a slam. They play a lot of games in between innings with and without contestants. The Sox have always been some of the best promoters in Major League Baseball and I was happy to see the MiLB atmosphere at a MLB game.
The Cell is still a great place to watch a game. I will never understand why most Chicagoans want to go to a park on the northside with no parking, horrible sight lines, and a team that hasn’t won a World Series in a hundred years. I love going to US Cellular Field. The prices are getting higher all the time which sucks, but it’s still a good place to watch a ball game.