Monday, May 3, 2010

US Cellular


Yes, ladies and gents, with some help from my good ol' friend procrastination, I am actually making three stadium posts today.  Unfortunately, there's not a movie I want to quote here, so you're just gonna have to deal with a real solid stadium review.

I went to US Cellular on the south side of Chicago today with Keshav Rajagopalan, his great fiancee Chelsea Fosse, and my father.  A BIG thank you to Keshav and Chelsea for coming out.  Most of my friends reading this blog know Kesh and/or Chelsea, who will be living in Chicago together once Keshav graduates from UT.  5 years to graduate, Kesh, seriously? Who does that?

Location:  US Cellular, formerly New Comiskey, is located on the south side of Chicago and a short subway ride from downtown.  My dad and I walked to the Red Line for about 20 minutes (should have been ten, but we got lost), and took a seven-stop or 15/20-minute subway ride to the Sox/35th stop.  Real easy and eerily similar to a ride from Times Square on Manhattan to Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.  You are even underground for most of the ride and come above ground right before you get to the stadium (if you're taking the 4/6 in NYC).

Anyway, we only walked from the subway stop to the stadium and back, so I didn't have a chance to check out the neighborhood.  From what I gather, it isn't Wrigleyville.  I could be wrong, though. It was easy to get there and you don't have to dabble in the surrounding area.  Would have been cool to have had a similar experience to Wrigley, but it isn't necessary.

The sign. I like it because if you wanted to get really picky, you can't see any sort of logo and you can pretty much have been a world champion at anything in 2005. If you aren't an Astros fan, then I should tell you the White Sox beat the Astros in the 2005 World Series.

Comiskey Park namesake. Must have been a pretty cool dude. In the Hall of Fame as an exec, even amidst the Black Sox Scandal described below.

Ballpark: The park is really a good ballpark, especially for one built in 1991.  New Comiskey replaced the old Comiskey park then, but US Cellular bought the naming rights to the stadium for $68mm over a twenty-year period starting in 2003.  This brought on an interesting discussion on naming rights.  If you want to prorate it simply, it's roughly $3.4mm per year out of US Cellular's advertising budget.  I wonder if it's worth it, but by the time I finish this post it will probably have been mentioned 25 times and I will have a brand new US Cellular mobile phone.

The park is pretty standard, and it reminds me a lot of Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.  It seats 47,000+, and after having gone to Wrigley yesterday, looks expansive and massive.  It looks pretty cool from the outside, minus the huge sign hanging outside of it that is in the picture I showed above.

Its dimensions are pretty standard as far as I'm concerned, and they have some ivy out in centerfield but not on the walls.  They also have some statues of ChiSox greats out on centerfield, but none of "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, who was an amazing player but forbidden from the Hall of Fame for his role in the Black Sox gambling scandal during the 1919 World Series.  Eight members from the White Sox team that season were given baseball's version of the death penalty and banned from the game for life.

Actually, when I made the name of this website "Joltin' Joe" I must have still been in some sort of Yankee haze because "Shoeless Joe" really would have been a much cooler name for this blog.  I'm pretty disappointed in myself.

View from the seats
Cool scoreboard that showed the scores from other games

Regular scoreboard, center field ivy in the bottom right

Great behind-the-plate shot

Great view from center

Food: Food was pretty standard - hamburgers hot dogs, brats, polish sausage, italian sausage, garden burgers, turkey burgers, Sauza Cantina, an Asian stand that sold "Asian buns" that looked like large dumplings, and a dessert place called "Winning Ugly is Sweet."  I thought that was kind of funny.  I had a sliced steak sandwich that was essentially unseasoned flank steak + cheese + grilled onions on a hoagie.  It was good but a dressed Chicago dog probably would have been better.  My dad tried some local fare, which was some spiced corn OFF the cob.  It had some butter, red pepper, I wanna say some sort of shredded parmesan, and was off the cob because they don't want people throwing the cobs onto the field.  I don't understand why MLB is worried about a cornless cob when some drunk idiot could throw a full bottle of beer at someone.  Regardless of whether the bottle is plastic or glass, a full  bottle of beer is going to hurt some sunofagun real badly.

The SCPI at US Cellular was $12.50 ($5 for the dog and $7.50 for the beer).  I'm beginning to think this is kind of average, maybe a little above average.  Once I hit my 15th park I'll try to get you a mean, median, max, min, and maybe even a standard deviation for you super nerds.

Sliced steak sandwich. Needed some Salt Lick BBQ sauce, if you ask me.

Game: The game was pretty stellar.  I didn't want to tell anyone, but Jake Peavy had a no-hitter through the 5th inning.  He was pitching a gem and I was really excited to see him because he is on two of my three fantasy teams this season.  To say I was high on him to start the season would be an understatement.  I would have bet a lot of money on his winning the AL Cy Young.  The ChiSox ended up winning 5-1 against the Royals, whom I have now seen lose twice. Suckers.

Our seats were on the back row of the left field bleachers.  It was a pretty good seat in my opinion, but you'd have to ask Kesh, Chelsea, and my dad what they thought about them.  Since Kesh is engaged and my dad is obviously happily married, I had the good fortune of being around a group of college-aged females that seemed to be enjoying themselves. It helped the game atmosphere for sure, even though it was already a good game to begin with.

 Mr. Peavy, pitching ace

Summary: Good seats, good friends and family, and WONDERFUL weather made for a great experience at my second baseball stadium in Chicago.  It was great to see Keshav and Chelsea again.  The jersey shirt I walked away with tonight was a white one of MLB home-run leader Paul Konerko.  We'll see if he can keep up his insane pace.  I had a great time in Chicago and will definitely think about attending graduate school here in the future. Let's just hope Northwestern will take me!

Kesh, me, Chelsea
My dad and me!

This HAS to be a pretty good restaurant. I mean, c'mon.

This is probably where Richard Kimble made his first appearance in Chicago in "The Fugitive."

Cool view of the river and some of the skyline from a restaurant patio at our hotel

Location: 7.5
Ballpark: 8.0
Food: 7
Game: 7.5
Overall: 7.5

Record: 7-4 (3-game winning streak)
Giveaways: Hasn't changed. The A's Snuggie still wins. Someone would have to give me a bar of solid gold to change places with the Snuggie.


Conrad said...

-1 point for no picture with the co-eds.

Kelly W said...

Trying to get in touch with you about your blog. I am doing a project with all the stadiums and have a few questions. If you are still current with this blog please respond. Thanks-