I’m a White Sox fan. I know that’s not the popular choice in the city of Chicago. Unlike the Northsiders, we don’t have a world-famous ballpark and we don’t have the “lovable losers” tag (2016 might have killed that), but the Sox are the baseball team I’ve supported my whole life. I’m not going to talk about the team so much in this post. This is about the stadium and the baseball experience on the South Side of Chicago.
History of Guaranteed Rate Field
The Sox play at Guaranteed Rate Field (formerly US Cellular Field), which was built in 1991. It replaced the oldest baseball stadium in use at the time, Comiskey Park, which was built in 1910. The new park was named Comiskey Park as well but was renamed in 2003.
Luckily, I was able to go to some games at the old Comiskey Park when I was a kid. It’s now a parking lot, but the site of where home plate used to be is marked.
The architects of Guaranteed Rate Field missed the boat. It was built just before the era of the state-of-the-art stadiums that started popping up, such as parks in Baltimore and Cleveland. Millions of dollars in renovations have taken place upgrading the park and it’s become more acceptable to me. It’s night and day if you compare how the park looked when it opened in 1991 to today. Stores, fan zones, statues, a better color scheme, a new batter’s eye, a new roof, upgraded entrances, and new HD scoreboards are just some of the improvements that have been made. The experience has gotten better but it’s still not as good as what the newer parks offer.
Guaranteed Rate Field has a capacity of just over 40,000. It’s 330 feet to left field, 400 to dead center, and 335 to right. The “exploding” scoreboard is a feature brought over from the old stadium, originally implemented by former team owner Bill Veeck in 1960. The pinwheels rotate and fireworks are shot from behind them after each White Sox home run or victory.
An outfield promenade is the location of several statues of White Sox greats, including Carlton Fisk, Frank Thomas, Paul Konerko, Billy Pierce, Nellie Fox, Luis Aparicio, Minnie Miñoso, Harold Baines, and team founder Charles Comiskey.
Guaranteed Rate Field is known to have arguably the best food in all of baseball. Polish sausage, bratwurst, Italian sausage, Vienna Beef hot dogs, churros, nachos, Italian beef, and more can be found on the concourse. If you get up to the luxury boxes and Stadium Club, you’re in for even more of a treat.
I’ve been lucky to have attended some of the most memorable games at Guaranteed Rate Field. At the top of the list is Game 2 of the 2005 World Series. I was able to see Paul Konerko hit a grand slam to take a 6-4 lead over the Houston Astros, and Scott Podsednik hitting an improbable walk-off home run in the bottom of the 9th to win it.
I was also there for the banner ceremony at Opening Day in 2006, and at the one game playoff in 2008 agains the Minnesota Twins. Jim Thome hit a blast to center field to win that game 1-0. It was called the “Black Out Game” because all fans were asked to wear black in support of the team.
Take the Red Line or Green Line to 35th Street to get to Guaranteed Rate Field. Tickets can be found easily. Games rarely sell out.