The Crosstown Comparison: Wrigley Field vs US Cellular
Another series in the Crosstown Classic between the Cubs and White Sox is underway, this time at the home of the White Sox, U.S. Cellular Field. For both of the teams having their stadiums so close to each other, there are quite a few differences. What makes Wrigley Field better than “The Cell” or visa versa? Who has more annoying fans? Lets take a (semi)unbiased look into two Chicago landmarks.
Let’s take a look at Wrigley Field first. It’s been recognized as one of the most important places in all of Chicago, and people by the busloads visit the park every year. Now if those people are actually coming to watch a baseball game is another story, but the charm of the park that has stood since 1914 keeps bringing in the visitors from around the world.
The neighborhood is, of course, awesome. Plenty of bars, kitchens, etc. all around to visit once the game is done. Even if you don’t get tickets to the game, standing outside can be just as fun when a home run lands in your hands… or maybe on your head depending if you’re paying attention or not.
As for the field itself, it’s kind of a tossup. The ground rules in the park are some of the most absurd in the league. Seeing Alfonso Soriano throwing his hands up in defeat because he can’t find the ball in the ivy covering the outfield walls is one of the most ridiculous images painted in the minds of baseball fans. The baskets in the outfield have also come under fire in the past, as they’re thought to corral many a home run.
However, like we’ll see with the Cell, it is a hitter’s park, and we all know that ball will fly out like no other on a truly blustery day. The fans that attend the game are different story entirely, though. On any given, sold-out day, you’ll see the yuppie girls in their tank tops with beers in their hands as they hold on to the arms of their muscle head beaus… but when you ask them the score of the game, they can’t even give an estimation, much less find the scoreboard. And it is a shame as there are plenty of true blue Cubs fans that have to set next to these bandwagon fans.
But as we look across the dividing line at Madison Street, we see the Cell, formerly known as Comiskey Park. Since it’s opening in the early 90’s, the park has gone through extreme renovations, including hacking off the rows of terrible nosebleed seats, adding a fan deck, a fundamentals deck for kids and a lot more.
The place feels like a real ballpark now as opposed to the somewhat stale atmosphere when it first opened. The area surrounding the park has started to get better in recent years, with a new bar popping up outside the stadium, and other little mom and pop places getting more business as the neighborhood has become much safer.
The field itself is gorgeous, and a lot of that goes to the grounds keeping crew as they’ve developed one of the best drainage systems in the league, allowing a quick start to play after a rain delay. Since this is Chicago, the Cell is certainly a hitter’s ballpark like Wrigley, and the White Sox seem to take advantage of that every year as the team is consistently in the top ten of the league in home runs year after year.
When we take a look at the fans, we see that… well, there aren’t many that attend games now-a-days. This could be for a variety of reasons, but one that comes up a lot is that more Sox fans are “blue-collar workers,” making it harder for them to get to games.
That is surely no excuse, but what you’ll find at a Sox game are more people interested in actively watching the game, and less people going simply to spend the evening drinking and exploring other parts of the ballpark. Not to say that the rest of the park isn’t interesting, but Sox fans can rally behind their team like it’s nobody’s business, making the park into one of the loudest in baseball.
Through all the pros and cons of each park, one important notion remains, and that’s the fact Chicago is one of the best places to take in an afternoon or evening watching America’s past time.
It doesn’t matter if you’re going to the Northside or the Southside. Any way you look at it, you’re getting your money’s worth for an excellent day out.
This is a guest post by Nick LaBanca from MidwayMadness.com. Midway Madness is a site dedicated to Chicago sports. It is written by Chicago sports fans, for Chicago sports fans. Nick LaBanca is a Columbia College graduate who grew up in Chicago and is an avid Chicago Bulls and White Sox fan. Wanna read more from Nick? Click here.
Photo Credit: Scimitar12