Hey Astros, I can actually see my silver jacket (just a dot in the crowd) in that last photo. That was a great game to be at. I thought it could go either way, and then Bobby came in and shut em down. I actually sat next to an Astros fan who couldn't have been nicer; huge Astros fan and drove all the way from Houston. Great memories! Thanks for posting those.
Well this White Sox fan appreciates a Cub fan who can be honest and objective. Thanks for the nice words about the Cell. I respect Wrigley's age and history...let's face it...when you play in a stadium that's over 90 years old, there's bound to be some happenings there from time to time. What bothers me is that (at least the popular perception is) there's the sense that the Cubs' brass seem to care more about preserving the park instead of putting a good team on the field. I was growing up during the times when WGN TV was turning from a local independent station to a national superstation, and I saw for myself the "World's Largest Beer Garden" attitude fester at that place over and over again. I can tell you of countless times when I'd see a large crowd at Wrigley at the start of a game, and half of that crowd leaving after Harry Caray sang the 7th inning stretch. And from what I've seen, heard, experienced, and talk about with Cubs fans and sports media alike...many of the people who attend Wrigley are there for the social status of it. In other words, while there are tons and tons of legitimate Cubs fans here in Chicago and around the country, there are many who'll go to Wrigley because...
A) It's a tourist attraction. Wrigley Field is marketed like a lot of other Chicago-based attractions like the Sears Tower, Navy Pier, and Michigan Avenue. The Cubs' exposure on WGN-TV's Superstation give a lot of transplanted Chicagoans a taste of home every afternoon. That was one of the biggest reasons why so many people from across the country would become Cubs despite their own city having a team.
B) There's no ballpark like it in their hometown. Granted, when other cities' "retro" parks were popping up like tumbleweeds, people appreciated the "real retro" parks like Wrigley and Fenway Park. People come from miles around to see a "classic" ballpark like Wrigley because there's a "retro-looking" place in their city.
C) The neighborhood party scene. There was a time when East Lakeview (the neighborhood that's now known as "Wrigleyville") wasn't as trendy as it is now. But with events starting in the early-80's, from the Cubs' national exposure on WGN's new Superstation, Harry Caray's rise to popularity, to the Cubs' 1984 National League Eastern Division championship, to the gentrification of the surrounding neighborhood, Wrigleyville became "the place to be" for baseball and non-baseball fans alike. That's why so many other teams are building "retro" ballparks with neighborhoods nearby...they want to recreate that Wrigleyville experience in their city. At times, the area can be fun. But, there have been a LOT of situations where crowds, unruly people, and other vices that would turn an otherwise "fun" place to be into a spot to be careful in, if not avoid. I'm not trying to insult any Cubs fans here, but even the most ardent Cubbie lover knows that when there's a lot of drunk people walking around before or after a game at Wrigley, you best be aware of your surroundings.
Hmmm...I have a question for PleaseWinAWorldSeriesCubs. Maybe other posters can answer this as well. No funny business, though...I'm being serious.
This is a 2-part question. First, when you say you "never felt a good atmosphere", what exactly do you mean? I'm not trying to be sarcastic here...I'd really like to know. Other than, "it's not like Wrigley", what are you looking for? And secondly, what's going on that you can't get interested in?From all the times I've been there, and I've been there 20+ times, I never really felt a good atmosphere when watching a game. The stadium itself seems so bland but when I'm there and watching the game, I just can't find myself interested in whats going on.
I'm thinking that "Loveable Losers" tag is really wearing thin at Wrigley. 20 years ago, there was a time when the "let's have a good time at the ballpark regardless of whether the Cubs win or lose" attitude was running rampant. Harry Caray was in full swing, Murphy's Bleachers (a bar across the street from the Waveland and Sheffield Avenue scoreboard) was buzzing, and it was all about having fun. Times HAVE changed. The Cubs not winning a World Series in now their 100th straight season has a lot of fans on edge. Not to mention, seeing the White Sox win Chicago's first baseball championship in 88 years also makes a lot of Cubs fans upset. I've heard people compare and complain about that...the Cubs have a larger fanbase, their ballpark is more historic, the team is better marketed, etc. However, we Sox fans both in Chicago and across the country have been saying for years that it's about how the team is assembled, not about off-the-field hijinks like "goat curses", manual scoreboards, bars across the street, ivy on the wall, and other stuff that can detract from the game.
Like I've said before...I respect Wrigley's history and it's "classicness", but we both know the Cubs are selling away that "classicness" little by little (i.e., ads on the outfield wall doors, ads behind home plate, the new outfield bleachers sponsored by Bud Light, the small L.E.D. ribbonboards either under the scoreboard or under the upper deck facades, etc.), and there isn't much to show for it. And as long as we keep seeing sellout crowd after sellout crowd at Clark and Addison, we know the Cubs will make money hand over fist, and there won't be much incentive to build a winner. That is...unless the fans...the TRUE Cubs fans (those who vow to stay away from Wrigley unless the Cubs build a winner) demand it with their wallets and their absence. The tourists will come, but fans have to keep voicing their disgust with "all-things-Cub" until things change.
The only time, in my experience, anyone cared about what was happening on the field was when Latroy Hawkins started warming up, and then people started hurling insults at him. Within earshot.
For one, probably because I have no interest in the Cubs. Other reasons include:
their lousy organ and sound system--not that I need to be blasted w sounds every second either. (noone can beat Nancy Faust on the organ at Comiskey anyway)
the terrible bathrooms.
the cramped conditions.
awful parking situation.
that stupid basket near the top of the outfield wall.
It's just blah to me anyway. I've enjoyed County Stadium & Petco much more than any trip i've made to Wrigley.
Last edited by soxnut67; 10-30-2007 at 12:39 PM.
Yes...the Cubs may have been more aggressive than the White Sox in pursuing free agents, but that should be expected considering who owns the Cubs (Tribune Company), and that there has been lots of money the team could've spent. Remember...one of the BIGGEST complaints Cubs fans would have about the Tribune Company was that they would NOT spend money on free agents when they had the chance. They almost had to get Soriano considering all the pressure there was for the team to win. Zambrano has been with the team for the past 5 years, and he's been growing into the team's ace pitcher. Still, with the Cubs spending over $300 million last off-season to build a roster that performed like it did last year in a less-than-stellar division, and the team being up for sale, there isn't much room for the team to get better.
The White Sox have been historically cheap. They're not owned by any major media company, so they don't have a ton of money to spend on high-priced free agents. They made news this past season with the resigning of players like Mark Buehrle, Jermaine Dye, and A.J. Pierzynski...and there's debate here on whether or not Joe Crede will stay with the team or not now that's fully recovered from his back surgery. If the Sox had as much money as the Cubs to spend on free agents, I know they'd be going after big names on a constant basis. But as the 2005 season proved, it's not HOW MUCH money a team spends, it's HOW WELL the money is spent. The White Sox' payroll that year was just over $78 million, and they ended up winning the World Series.
My only objection to the ads behind the plate is when they put up the green screens and have ads that can only be seen on TV, not at the park. To me, that's manufactured and phony. Fans may dislike ads behind the plate in general, and they have a legitimate point of view, but if they must be there then I want them to be real ads that can be seen when you're in the ballpark, not technological gewgaws.
"I'm Rick Harrison, and this is my pawn shop."
I don't necessarily have a problem with these changes either. If anything, my bone of contention is that over the years, the Cubs have often sold themselves to the public as a team that "wouldn't resort to such tactics" to "keep up with the Joneses". They promoted themselves as a team and franchise that says it keeps the "classic" and "traditional" aspects of the game while the other teams go with all the modern stuff.
Not to mention, there has been over the last few years a sort of snobbish attitude among many Cubs fans here in Chicago that comes from their ballpark's popularity. In other words, while U.S. Cellular Field and other places use ads on the wall and other modern "bells and whistles", Wrigley's been keeping with its "traditional baseball theme" while incorporating "modern vices" like those I've mentioned. In fact, Wrigley's traditionalism is such a big deal here, that when Under Armour bought the rights to put its logo on the outfield doors, there was a sense of angst and aghast among some of the Cubbie faithful. It was like, "how dare they sell out Wrigley's tradition to put some ads on the wall?!?!?!?!?" Or..."how dare they even think about rebuilding the bleachers", or "how dare they add new seats to the bleachers or behind home plate?!?!?!?!?" It's as if any kind of change is met with such angst that its front page news. That's why the Under Armour story and the recent news of Wrigley's field renovation are such big items here.
I can also understand how you feel about those "TV only ads" that Fox and ESPN use in their broadcasts. They can be annoying, especially if you're watching games in HD. However, I understand it's all about generating revenue. So I don't let it bother me. The game itself doesn't depend on sponsors...the networks, teams, and league do. Someone has to pay for all those super-high salaries, don't they?
But enough about Wrigley...let's go back to the Cell, shall we?
Last edited by hsnterprize; 11-03-2007 at 04:56 AM.
You put up some great pictures. Not to mention, I'm glad you enjoyed your time at the Cell despite the cold weather and the Astros' loss. To tell you the truth, we White Sox fans often talk about how loud the ballpark was when Paul Konerko hit that grand slam. I think it was the loudest it's ever been at that place...and you can credit that new roof for keeping a lot of the volume in.
And just for the record...I believe Jermaine Dye caught a break when he fouled off that pitch prior to Konerko's homer, and was sent to first because the umpire thought he was hit. At full speed at the time, we all thought Dye was hit, but after a while, we realized he wasn't. He didn't act like a hitter who was hit in the hand with a pitch on a cold and wet night. But has Chad Qualls recovered from the granny yet? Heck...has Brad Lidge recovered from the walk off he gave up to Scott Podsednik??? I think he was still in a trance from giving up that long ball to Albert Pujols in the NLCS that year. In fact, I just read a report from NASA that says that ball he hit is just about ready to return from orbit.
Anyway, you said something that really caught my attention...you said, "I had heard so many detractions from other fans but it was really great to see it for myself." Well, join the club of folks who were in the same boat...only to find out the detractions were false at best. Sure, U.S. Cellular Field isn't like any other place, and it's not supposed to be. Thanks for giving it a fair chance. It'll be even better if and when you come back.
One more thing...you ought to start a thread about Minute Maid Park. Write about from an Astros fan's perspective. From what I've seen, it looks really neat, and an improvement from the Astrodome...not that the Astrodome was a bad place, but Minute Maid Park is a nice baseball place.
Thanks for the comments. I actually took a very funny and interesting photo of a couple of fans on the concourse who had their faces painted. I stopped to see if I could take their picture so they posed. What I didn't see at the time because the concourse was so packed was that a dad and his son were walking right behind these two fans and he gave the ol' "we're number 1" signal with the middle finger. His son appears in the photo looking horrified at what his dad is doing. It is a very funny photo but I'm not sure if I can post it here.
U.S. Cellular Field was very nice. I especially liked seeing the Old Comiskey site from the Club Concourse behind the home plate area. There is a large model of Old Comiskey Park and lots of historical artifacts/photos from the franchise. It was good to see that while the White Sox moved on from a ballpark standpoint, they didn't lose sight of their team history along the way.
I probably will start a thread on Minute Maid Park to show all the different angles and areas around the ballpark. It is a great ballpark.
That's a great photograph! I love ballpark photos that show some of the neighboring buildings, so that you get a feel for what type of area it's located in. (I'd have preferred that the Senior Citizen home just beyond the scoreboard wasn't cut off at the edge, but that's just me.)
It would have been interesting to see that same angle with the housing projects there.
"I'm Rick Harrison, and this is my pawn shop."
A better "neighborhood" photo of the Cell would've been if it were taken west of the ballpark. Chicago's Bridgeport neighborhood is a very nice area, with new housing developments (i.e., town homes, condos, single-family homes) pricing as much as $1 million. It's not a "trendy" neighborhood like Lakeview is around Wrigley Field, but it's a good, clean area with good people and places to eat and hang around before/after White Sox games. Not to mention, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley grew up there near the intersection of 35th Street and Lowe Avenue, which is only about 4 block west of the ballpark.
Hey there guys!
Long time viewer of this website...first time poster.
I am a huge Chicago White Sox fan living in NJ (hence the Rutgers reference in my username).
My question is....I REALLY love what the ChiSox have done with their ballpark. I go every Summer and really, IMO, it's a great ball field.
Any Chicagoans or Sox fanatics out there that feel like I do? The Cell used to get such a bad rap (probably deserved), but the renovations have made it such a great place to watch a game.
Also, can anyone post recent photos of US Cellular here? I have no idea how to upload pics so any help is most appreciated!