Go Sox

Well, the Chicago White Sox are on the brink of Chicago’s first World Series victory since 1917, which is certainly historic. They are also doing it with typical gritty grubby work and everyday players rather than superstars, and they are managing to make it compelling drama as well. It seems like every game is being one by a home run off the bat of someone who never hit a home run before. It’s like a kid’s backyard fantasy come true.

What does historic preservation have to do with this? Well, the Sox play at a new stadium built in 1988-90. I was involved in the effort to save the old Comiskey Park in the late 1980s. It was the oldest park in baseball at that time, dating to 1910, two years older than Fenway and four years older than Wrigley. We failed of course, because the owners were holding the city and state hostage as they always do, looking for a handout which they got in the form of a publically financed stadium.

We all learned our lesson then. The public has not spent hundreds of millions on a stadium for a private sports team since. Except for the United Center. And Soldier Field.

Interestingly, the Sox last World Series victory was in an even newer stadium – Comiskey was only 7 in 1917, whereas the Cell (I always preferred the Joan after US Cellular’s top pitchperson) is already 15 and has even undergone a major rehab to relieve the nasal congestion of the upper deck nosebleed seats. I went to a game there this summer with the kids and it was good, even if it faces the wrong direction (why do you think they were called southpaws?) and has that shopping-mall-in-an-airport feel that most modern stadiums have.

I miss the old Stadium and old Comiskey and even old Soldier Field. They didn’t have gourmet nachos and dessert carts. They smelled like urine, and there was a gritty reality that is lacking in the upper middle class stadiums of today. The White Sox represent the old blue collar tradition of Chicago, even if their average fan is a 45-year old white guy who makes 80 grand. I like their scrappy play – it is enough to make you forget the sanitized stadiums of today.

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One Response to “Go Sox”

  1. officer not-so-friendly Says:

    I went to my first White Sox game at Comisky Park in 1971. I went with my Mom, Dad and older brother Bill. We sat about 15 rows behind the White Sox dugout. I got Minnie Minoso’s autograph. I was hooked. The lights, the crowd, the exploding scoreboard, the smells of hot dogs and beer and smoke, oh and you could throw your peanut shells right on the ground…. Heaven.

    I have followed the Sox every season since then. I have had my heart broken time and time again, but I love those guys. The “shorts” uniform, the collared jersey shirts, Bill Veeck, Disco Demolition Night, Andy the Clown, Belly Dance Night. I saw unbelievable sights at old Comisky and at the new (and in my humble opinion, sterile) Cell.

    Tonight I watched My Chicago White Sox win the World Series in a four game sweep with my wife and eight year old daughter. After the last out in the ninth my wife, daughter and I all jumping around the kitchen yelling and laughing and high fiving each other, my daughter said, “ I’ve been waiting my whole life for this…Yesssss!!!!”

    I know just how she feels.

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