Take Me Out To The Ballgame is a series of articles by Cubs DNA writers as they visit baseball experiences all over the world. Today's entry is a forbidden love....
In order to be a true Chicagoan you have to smile devilishly while telling an area newbie they should totally try a shot of Malort, you have to order your deep dish from Pequod’s because obviously the pizza there is way better than Lou Malnati’s or Giordano’s and you have to pick a favorite Chicago baseball team. You simply cannot be a fan of both the White Sox and the Cubs. It’s just not done.
So it’s with a bit of trepidation on this CUBS blog that I present my first forbidden love…..Guaranteed Rate Field (and the White Sox that play there).
Google photos tells me my first trip to the Cell (not yet renamed Guaranteed Rate!) was July 17, 2015 with my marathon group leader Chuck. Chuck has season tickets and often has an available seat when his wife can’t attend. Chuck’s seats happen to be part of the premium club level which has access to the members only restaurant. They have an a la carte menu as well as a buffet and it includes a new view of the field! I especially like this option on bad weather Chicago days!
Besides the premium club restaurant Guaranteed Rate has really good food!
Rueben from their deli!
Baked Potato bar - you pick your toppings!
My favorite thing to get I do not have a picture, but it's Merkt's cheese on a burger. Merkt's for the uninitiated is a brand of cheese spread from Wisconsin and its addition to a burger is delish and a great way to tweak the classic cheeseburger.
Now most non-Wrigley ballparks embrace theme nights with gusto and the White Sox are no exception. The giant video boards go all out for Star Wars, Superhero night, etc. What Sox fan wouldn’t want to see Tim Anderson as the Human Torch? Or Jose Abreu holding a light saber?
Both Superhero Night and Star Wars night included awesome bobblehead giveaways. BTW, just a tip about their high quality bobbleheads, many of them require a special ticket purchase. So that means you don’t have to get there extra early to pick up your bobblehead. At Wrigley I often got there an hour before gates opened to make sure I got my bobblehead. I appreciate that White Sox bobblehead collecting is low stress!
Besides the cool giveaways they also host things like #Selfie Sunday. On those days with a special ticket (it’s not extra you just have to use a code when paying) you are able to get into the park early and take selfies with a few players beforehand.
Here I am with Omar Narvaez. The Sunday I went we were able to take selfies with 3 players plus Southpaw the White Sox mascot. We entered behind the stadium in a special entrance and then walked right out into the outfield.
Seriously, what a special view!!!
That particular Sunday was during the beginning of the Pokemon Go phenomenon. The White Sox embraced that trend and had partnered with Pokemon Go to set the game up within the studio. So after we took our selfies with the players and because we were there so early we were allowed to roam around the stadium and catch the Pokemons. Honestly this was the first and only time I’ve ever played the game but it was a ton of fun. I remember catching one by Carlton Fisk statue.
Oh, and if you are at the game if you tag #SoxGameDay on Instagram you just might get on the video board yourself!
Overall I think that the White Sox have cultivated a fun family type atmosphere and they do a great job with fan interaction. I highly recommend a visit to Guaranteed Rate park if you are in Chicago. It's just a short red line train ride away from Wrigley and I think you will find it to be a fun time!
How cool to be able to parade in Star Wars costume around the field before the game!