Destination G-Rate Field?

Posted: January 14, 2019 by Daniel Kupres in sports
Tags: , , , ,

In 1981, Bill Veeck sold the Chicago White Sox to Jerry Reinsdorf and Eddie Einhorn. Shortly after they commissioned studies on renovations to Old Comiskey Park or build a new stadium. What I found most interesting was that the City of Chicago, offers up land by the Chicago River to build a 50,000 seat stadium. I’m still researching but would love to sees where that plot of land is/was and why it was turned down by Reinsdorf.

Around 1991, the White Sox felt the remodeling the park to give it a more retro look would attract more fans. To me this statement doesn’t necessarily to attract more White Sox fans but baseball fans in general. To be honest, this is where they completely failed. I live in the Chicagoland Area, am a Cubs fan but as far south as I am, Sox games are easier to get to and much more affordable these days. But I try to put my self in the mindset of a fan from out of state and is GRate Field high on the priority list. A few years back on Derek Jeter’s farewell tour, there was tons of Yankees fans but, it’s the Yankees and it was Jeter’s last trip to Chicago. Last season, I attended a game against the A’s. If it were not for Sean Manea’s friends and family, there wouldn’t have been that many people besides me in A’s gear.

When the Sox had a nationally televised game last year, the commentators got on the topic of why the stadium faces the Dan Ryan Expressway and not the City Skyline. That really got me thinking. When you enter the ballpark and head up to the top bowl, as they call it, and once you reach the top of the ramp, you get this beautiful shot of the Skyline. Everybody including locals stops, admires and takes pix.

Why didn’t the build the park that way? Does it have to do with the sun? Wind conditions? Does it give the White Sox an advantage? Why?

If I were a billionaire and was able to pry the White Sox away from Reinsdorf, I would immediately build a new stadium and try to redevelop the surrounding area. By no means would I make it anything live Wrigleyville.

Now of course this is fantasy land but humor me for a moment and try to visualize. My new stadium would be a retractable dome the likes of Chase Field in Phoenix or Miller Park in Milwaukee.

At new Comiskey, the walls in left field would have to be clear so that in April, with 30-40 degree cold rainy 6:50 start, everyone is inside in a cool, comfortable 75 degrees, our background would be a spectacular backdrop of the City skyline that visiting teams and national broadcasters would rave about. And With clear dome panels, we would maintain the infamous fireworks scoreboard but our new scoreboard would be the largest video board in the MLB blasting off fireworks every Friday night as well as every Sox home run, no matter the weather.

Bullpens would be moved, opening up both left and right field. Bleacher seating would remain from foul pole to the center field batters eye. However, the right field patio would extend from the foul pole to the batters eye. In left field, the five rows would be the premium bleacher seats with bar top tables with app enabled food and drink ordering.

The bullpens would be moved underground with access to the dugouts allowing relief pitchers to sit in the dugout but quickly able to get warmed up. This would even align with Rob Manfred’s Pace of Play initiative. I was one of those “Old School” baseball guys who was not happy/excited about the Cubs moving the bullpens off the field and out of sight. At the time, if it were up to me, every ballpark would be set up that way. After the move at Wrigley, I can see that removing the bullpen from out sight, it doesn’t take away from the game but enhances the fan experience.

From foul pole to foul pole including the premium scout seats behind home plate, overall would have the same appearance.

GRate Field would be torn down as soon as New Comiskey is open and turned into a parking garage. The entire side facing 35th Street would be available for commercial use, ideally for bars and food in hopes to create an area fans would love to be at before and after games. Of course, we would have to keep the outside parking lot for tailgating and would make it even more tailgate friendly.

What I envision, would benefit the City and the team but most importantly the experience for the fans with the anticipation that the new stadium would attract more fans from around the country from all teams.

Hopefully, I’ve implanted some sort of vision for the future of the White Sox and their stadium but unfortunately, none of this can take place until after 2029 and/or they finally get new owners.

Go check out Ball Parks of Baseball. It’s a must!

Dan The Man

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