The Cell (US Cellular Field) –
I need to divide this post into 3 parts. 1) Our awful seats, innings 1-3 2) The Bullpen Bar, innings 4-6 3) Upper deck behind home plate, innings 7-9.
1) Our awful seats, innings 1-3
We came in with extremely low expectations from hearing very poor reviews on the stadium. The outside was nicer than we had thought, and the front of the stadium reads Chicago White Sox/ World Champions/ 1906-1917-2005. For some reason- that made me laugh. I am just not sure that I would have made the choice to brag about that.
We got inside to watch the game, which was a matchup between two pretty poor teams, but we got the best possible pitching match: Buehrle vs. Meche. (and no Buehrle isn’t Pines.)
We had awful seats, out in right field. These were terrible. In truth, the seating is very bad in the stadium. There are basically only two tiers, a field level and an upper deck. There is no loge or mezzanine level; everything in between are luxury boxes. Additionally, the first row of the upper deck starts where the last row of the field level ends. There really are no close seats outside of field level.
In our awful section, there were two groups seated. One was some Jewish shul-type group. The other was a minority rehab group. Kudos to whoever put this together.
2) The Bullpen Bar, innings 4-6
Behind the Royals bullpen, past the right field homerun fence, there is a bar that you can hang in. It’s a great, spacious bar but it’s basically a regular sports bar. You can look into, but can’t hear the stadium from inside the bar. There are other sports games on the televisions. We didn’t even see the homerun in the sixth. Av and Hal played a few innings of 2K7. (It was Mets vs. Yankees – you can imagine how this ended)
As I mentioned, though, you can see into the stadium. We sat for two innings right behind the Royals bullpen on ground level, staring into the stadium. Firstly, that is a great view of the game; I’ve never before seen the dirt kicked up as play ensued. The other great thing was that Scott Podsednik hit a fifth inning homerun into the bullpen, directly in front of us. If not for a plexi-glass window, we could have caught it. Well not Abie, he’s not very athletic.
3) Upper deck behind home plate, innings 7-9
This is obviously a much better view of the game. It really was nice from up there and good work by the White Sox for having cool pinwheels and fireworks for homeruns.
One last detail about this game: Bobby Jenks was going for an amazing record. He entered the 9th inning tied for the all time record with 41 batters retired in a row. He needed to retire the first batter to set an all-time record. Well, you may know, Joey Gaithwright led off the ninth with a single breaking up the streak. The stadium then stood up and saluted him, he doffed his cap, and moved on with the inning.
The only thing was…we didn’t have any idea about the record. The scoreboard actually flashed the fact that he had retired 41 in a row but it seemed like a general statistic about his career. We assumed he did it in 2005 or 2006. So from our perspective, a White Sox pitcher gave up a single and received a resounding ovation for it. We supposed that non-New Yorkers really are nicer…
I can’t possibly explain how bizarre it is to be at some sort of historical moment, only to find out that it was historical afterwards. It’s probably like seeing Kurt Cobain in his last performance before he killed himself. The significance of the moment is only understood after the fact. It’s weird for something to become more important in your mind based on facts you learned afterward.
I bring you a poem, composed by Butch and Abie in the Bullpen Bar to sum up our experience:
A New Stadium.
And Good Times
It’s their imagery that gets me. Their words are more powerful than Bobby Jenks.