The latest ballpark to undergo a name change, dumping the harmless U.S. Cellular (which did provide a pretty good nickname, the Cell) to the ridiculous Guaranteed Rate Field, complete with its downward trending arrow. G-Rate Field, as absolutely nobody calls it, is the closest thing to a home park in MLB I have now, though I’d actually tab the U.S. Steel Yard in Gary as my true local diamond.
Whatever you call this field, it’s one of the odd ducks of major league stadia. It’s of similar vintage as many of today’s ballparks, but it was constructed just before Camden Yards ushered in the retro park craze. Thus, it sits somewhat alone in the ballpark design era, not as old as the true relics Fenway/Wrigley, nor even the middle-aged holdovers such as Kauffman Stadium and Autry Field, and with a different feel than the retros. Having attended more games there than any other extant facility, I think it’s a better park than its reputation.
The Sox have long played second fiddle in Chicago, and nowhere is that more evident than in the names of the two parks. As Wrigley predictably held serve in our exercise, this is an opportunity for the Sox to close the gap on their favored brothers to the north.
Whatever name we choose, I’m absolutely certain that my White Sox-loving father-in-law will continue to call it nothing but Sox Park.
Name: Comiskey Park (1991-2003), U.S. Cellular Field (2003-2017), Guaranteed Rate Field (2017-present)
Other ballparks used by club in its current city: South Side Park 1900-1910), Comiskey Park 1 (1910-1990).
Distinctive Features: Pinwheel-topped scoreboard in center, a holdover from the previous park; chain link fences in some portions of outfield; numerous sculptures of White Sox greats near-greats and not very close to great; vertigo-inducing cant to the upper deck, .
In 2002, proving once again that nothing brings father and son together like baseball, William Ligue and son Bill Jr. rushed the field to attack Royals first base coach Tom Gamboa in a noble attempt to protect us from guys who collect batting gloves and warn base runners, “Hey, this guy’s got a good move.”
In Game 2 of the 2005 ALCS, A.J. Pierzynski used his black magic on inept home plate umpire Doug Eddings to steal first after striking out with two down in the bottom of the ninth. A.J.’s pinch runner would go on to score the winning run, and the Sox wouldn’t lose again that season en route to the club’s first World Series title since 1917.
On Sept. 30, 2008, Jim Thome’s massive home run to center was the only run in a 1-0 victory over the Twins. The victory in the season-ending Blackout Game earned the Sox the AL Central title.
In 2009, DeWayne Wise made one of the season’s best catches, a fence-climbing, ball juggling grab in center to rob Gabe Kapler of a home run and preserve Mark Buehrle’s perfect game against the visiting Rays.
On Sept. 24, 2018, Hawk Harrelson be gone.