U.S. Cellular Field on opening day 2013 (Getty Images)
Have a baseball road trip coming up? Well, in a bid to help you with your upcoming journeys, Big League Stew has solicited the help of the locals. Over the next month or so, we'll be hitting up our usual guest blogger crew to feature 10 tips for enjoying each of the 30 ballparks like the locals do. Have a suggestion in addition to the ones listed here? Make sure to list it in the comments below.
My good friend Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star likes to compare big league ballparks to supermodels. You might have your favorites, he says, but none of them are ugly.
It's a sentiment I really like, especially because I like to judge each of the 30 ballparks on their own merits. I'm the writer who once found 10 reasons to like Tropicana Field as a World Series site and I'm among the most vehement defenders of U.S. Cellular Field, the South Side home of the Chicago White Sox. "The Cell," as it's known by locals, is often derided for not being Wrigley Field or like any members of the avalanche of retro ballparks that followed The Cell's opening in 1991. It's a somewhat understandable reaction. Any honest White Sox fan will admit they'd love to go back in time to convince Jerry Reinsdorf to adopt the retro Armour Square plan that presumably would have beat Camden Yards to market by a season.
At the very least, they'd like to flog him with a wet noodle for not making sure The Cell faced Chicago's magnificent skyline instead of the since-demolished housing projects across the Dan Ryan Expressway.
But crying over those missteps over 20 years later takes energy and time away from touting what has become a very good place to watch a baseball game since some big renovations early last decade. The elimination of several rows of nose-bleed seats, the addition of a roof and presence of some underrated traditions make The Cell a cozy must-visit when you're in Chicago for a midsummer trip.
Once you get past that it's not Wrigley Field — something that should be an easy task for any true baseball fan — you'll find that U.S. Cellular Field brings a unique Chicago baseball experience in its own way. Here are 10 tips for maximizing your trip to the only place in town that has played host to a Windy City World Series winner.
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