Stadium Comparison: U.S. Cellular Field

Gillum Ferguson

On my extensive travels of the U.S. this summer on college visits, I was saved from having to suffer through yet another college tour when my family went to see a White Sox game at U.S. Cellular Field (called "the Cell") in Chicago's south side.

I had heard that the Cell was a hideous, dead-beat, waste-of-money stadium that ranked among the worst in the majors, but from what I experienced there it proved to be anything but. While I was there I took notes on comparing it to our own Nationals Park, and here's what I came up with.

Cons (of U.S. Cellular Field):
1. The only beer you can get on tap at the Cell is Miller Lite, end of story. If you want Bud, Heineken, or anything else, you can get it out of a can, for the same price of $7.50. The only time you see people drinking beer out of cans at a ball game is in the parking lot tailgating, not actually watching the game.

2. Watching a game at the Cell really made me appreciate the scoreboard we have here in Washington. The one at the Cell is tiny, didn't give any information, and had poor picture quality. But I guess when your team is winning, more people watch the actual game then sit with their eyes glued to the scoreboard waiting for the massacre to be over with.

Pros:
1.The food, or at least the pizza, gave much more bang for your buck: A full dollar cheaper and in the authentic, Chicago style deep-dish that all but a few of us pizza lovers drool over.

2. A little more food variety at the Cell, namely fruit salad and Mexican corn for those whose cholesterol levels won't permit them to savor a Ben's Chili Bowl.

3. I know this would be a hit in Washington: Margarita vendors walking through the stands with large packs on their backs waiting to sell you a margarita for a mere $8. With all the business executives, politicians, diplomats, and yuppies we attract at baseball games in Washington you'd think the Lerners would offer some fancier options in the stands than lowly beer.

4. Parking was extremely easy -- though about the same price at $22 -- mainly due to the dozens of attendants directing you through the streets of south side Chicago.

5. This is the biggest thing I noticed and something that Nationals Park lacks the most:
ENERGY. Granted the White Sox were playing their rivals the Detroit Tigers and actually win over half of their games, but it is something that we haven't seen in Washington since opening night. At home games there are bigger cheers when the away team makes a play than when the Nationals hit a home run.

I know it is hard to get excited about a losing team (I've only rooted for one my entire life) but when the fans get into the game it makes the whole experience that much more enjoyable. Hopefully in the coming years both the team and the fans will help make Nationals Park as fun a place as the Cell.

By Gillum Ferguson  |  August 22, 2008; 2:19 PM ET  | Category:  Gillum Ferguson
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They sell a fruit cup at the Dupont Deli in Nationals Park, which is located on the Scoreboard Walk level underneath the RF Terrace stands. It costs $7 or so, and I haven't tried it, but it's there. Dupont Deli also sells some large salads like a Chicken Caesar that I haven't tried either. Haven't seen any Mexican corn at Nationals Park though.

Posted by: Section 419+1 | August 22, 2008 3:09 PM

Went there once back when it was just Comiskey. I'd liek to say I either enjoyed or didn't enjoy but, but it rained so much that day that they never played the game.

Only Miller Lite on tap?! That's an outrage!

Posted by: EricS | August 22, 2008 3:29 PM

Energy? Seriously? Have you been to a Nats game? In the middle of a 12 game losing streak, the crowd still watched the game and had energy at appropriate times. If the Sox were in a 12 game losing streak and last place, that place would be a tomb.

Posted by: BrentwoodGuy | August 22, 2008 6:07 PM

Why is a 17 year old commenting on the beer and mixed drinks options at a baseball stadium?

Posted by: Shawn | August 23, 2008 10:43 AM

15 is the legal age to drink in Chicago.

Also, Comiskey, the original, had these great roast beef sandwiches. Oh so good. I miss them. And real potato chips!

Why does one need an HD board when at the game. I've always wondered this. You've got a high definition scoreboard and REAL DEFINITION GAME PLAY! No wonder it looks so life-like, it really is!

Posted by: Jarrod | August 26, 2008 9:08 AM

Guzman hits for the cycle last night and no blog entries? Are you guys all asleep at the switch?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 29, 2008 1:32 PM

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