White Sox near bottom in attendance

Let me make this clear… I am a die-hard Cubs fan and always will be. I have never liked the White Sox and never will. Having said that, it still bothers me that the Sox can’t seem to draw fans for the life of themselves.

The Cubs, one of the 3 worst teams in baseball this year, are TENTH in attendance in the MLB. Being in tenth place in attendance is really not that great of an accomplishment for most teams. But when you are as bad as the Cubs are this year, being tenth in attendance is something to be proud of. The White Sox on the other hand, who, oh by the way are battling for their division title right now, are TWENTY-FOURTH in attendance. There is no way to sugar-coat that statistic whatsoever. It is flat out pathetic.

Living in the Chicago suburbs as I do, I often hear some of the reasons as to why Sox fans don’t go to White Sox games. They don’t like battling the traffic to get down there, they don’t like the location of the park seeing as how it’s on the south side (the area around the park is actually very safe nowadays), etc. Actually, some people dislike the Sox’ owner, Jerry Reinsdorf, and the policies that he has put in place at U.S. Cellular Field, which has turned them away from attending games.

Whether it is the traffic that you don’t like, the ballpark’s surrounding area, or the team’s owner, White Sox fans should be putting all of that aside right now and selling out every single home game at this time of year. Your team had been in first place for over half the season, and you didn’t show up! Your attendance is good for twenty-fourth place out of 30 teams. And now, with the regular season coming to an end and the Sox one game out of first, there is not a more important time to sell out every home game. I bet if you ask the players on the White Sox, they would unanimously agree that having a sold-out home stadium really helps them on the field. By not showing up, as has been then case all year, Sox fans are sending the message to the players that they really aren’t interested in the team or what they are doing on the field.

The one thing that prompted me to write this blog today is something that I saw while briefly watching the Sox game last night on TV. Apparently, it was “bring your dog to the park” night at the Cell. Now to me, that is about as low as any team can get in trying to lure fans into the stadium. I mean seriously. You’re in the middle of a heated battle for the division lead, and you have to implement this kind of promotional night to try and get fans to show up? That’s a disgrace.

The Sox are playing their final home series of the regular season this weekend against the Rays. You can bet I’ll be checking the attendance for each game of that series. For the sake of the White Sox players, I hope that some fans do decided to show up this weekend.

Updated U.S. Cellular Field Critique

Prior to this past weekend, I hadn’t been to the Cell in almost 10 years or so. During that gap in time, U.S. Cellular Field endured some renovation projects that really did make the park a lot nicer to look at. Before going down to the game this weekend, I didn’t think very highly of the park based on what I had seen when I was there in the past. Now, I have some new and similar opinions compared to the ones that I had before this past weekend.

The outside of the stadium looks pretty cool. I’m not a huge fan of concrete exteriors, but it doesn’t look all that bad on the Cell. Walking up to the stadium from the east you get a cool view of the park from beyond the left field bleachers. You’re also walking over the Dan Ryan expressway at the same time. When you get up to the stadium on the north side of the park, there is a really cool Chicago sports store that sells merchandise for the Sox, Cubs, Bulls, Bears, and Blackhawks. I would recommend checking this place out. On the second floor of the store, you can actually have your game ticket scanned and then walk over a bridge (over 35th street) and into the park. The store and stadium are connected by this walkway/bridge.

My seat was in the upper deck for this game. Apparently at U.S. Cellular Field, if your seat is not in the first level, you are not allowed to walk around the park on the main level. You are restricted to whichever level your seat is on. If you have read any of my past write-ups on MLB stadiums, you know by now that one of my favorite things to do is walk around each park that I go to. Well, since I was restricted this past weekend to only the upper level of the park, I couldn’t walk around the whole stadium. This really hacked me off. No other park in baseball that I have been to (17 of them) has had this “rule.” So since I wasn’t able to walk around the lower level of the park, I got a good look at the upper level concourse.

The concourse on the upper level was actually pretty spacious, considering the stadium was built in 1991. The playing field is not visible while walking around the concourse, but that’s the way that every upper deck in baseball is. Along the field-side of the concourse, the wall was lined with old pictures from the White Sox’ history. This was a nice touch and provided something interesting to look at/read while walking along the concourse. The food seemed to be pretty decent. I had a pulled pork sandwich, which wasn’t great nor bad.

The playing field itself is not the most attractive in baseball, but it’s not terrible either. When the park was first built, the big “wall” behind the outfield stands used to be made up of white pillars. Since the renovations were done on the park, those pillars holding up the advertisements have now been painted black, which looks a lot better than the white did. The original seats that were put into the park were blue, but have since been switched to a dark green color. Again, the dark green looks a lot better than the blue. Also, a small deck/patio area was built above and behind the left field bleachers during renovations. They call it the “Fundamentals” area where kids can get some quick baseball tips and lessons I believe. Don’t quote me on that. The scoreboard in dead center field is nothing great. They carried over from the old Comiskey Park the lollipop-looking circles that sit atop the scoreboard. Aside from that, there’s nothing too interesting about it. The screen on the scoreboard that shows replays and videos is pretty small in comparison to other parks. This screen also provides statistics about each player during the game, and give the score of the game obviously. Behind the right field bleachers is another screen that gives more statistics as well as the batting order for each team. Just beyond the center field wall there is a black platform that is covered in green ivy which looks pretty nice. It acts as the batter’s eye.

Going back outside the park, the surrounding area is a lot nicer and safer than what it used to be. There is about a 3-4 block perimeter surrounding the park that has been nicely redone and is now much safer to walk around than it used to be. Just don’t stray too far outside that area…

That’s pretty much all I can write about regarding this park for now. Maybe in the future I’ll get to access the lower level. Even with the renovations, however, I am not ranking this park any higher than I previously had it.

For my other MLB stadium rankings, click here.