U.S. Cellular Field – Chicago White Sox

21 Jun

Chicago White Sox – 6

Detroit Tigers – 4

MLB American League – 3rd June 2011

I like baseball. America’s pastime is a great way to spend an afternoon or an evening. My love grew after a curious glance at the game on my last visit to the States. Two years later I would be back and in a different part of the country but when there was a choice between watching a baseball match (the Chicago White Sox vs Detroit Tigers) or a football match (Chicago Fire vs Seattle Sounders) when I was in Chicago, I’d be watching a baseball match.

The reason? It’s really American, and you learn more about the nation’s culture than at any museum or overpriced tour. So even though I desperately wanted to experience it again, my mate (who I was staying with) surprised me by stating that despite living walking distance from Wrigley Field, he’s not seen a game, and preferred the MLS. I convinced him to give the MLB a try, and convinced him to get tickets to the Chicago White Sox, to watch them play Detroit Tigers.

I always admired Baseball logos, they appeal to the 13 year old rebel in me.

Both teams were playing in the American League Central Division, and were separated by one game win (Detroit in 2nd, White Sox in 3rd). Both were on small winning streaks, something had to give on the humid Friday night in Chicago. We arrived at the stadium half an hour early, and checked out the stadium. The US Cellular field was gorgeous, if a lot smaller than my team’s – The New York Mets – Shea Stadium*. We had seats between home and first (baseball tip – the cheapest tickets are on the left field, we were sat on right field, as most action happens between home and first), in the lower tier. After spending a princely sum of money at the concession stands, we took our seats.

The game began with video packages showing the history of the Chicago White Sox, their 3 World Series titles and 8 Pennants, as well as introductions to the players. The players ran out to music with fireworks and dancing. Yes it looks ridiculous in football, but in baseball it works well. We were then treated to the US National anthem, sung by Katie QuickI uploaded it to youtube and got thanks from the singer. It was amazing – the anthem sends tingles up my spine, and it was sung great!

Impeccably sung anthem there.

Onto the game itself, and after the first innings, where White Sox scored a run rather inexplicably (the fielder ran the guy out in first, rather than at home), the game was quiet. Luckily though, when you attend a baseball game, it’s less about the game, but more about the show. Sellers of beer and other bits and bobs would walk past the game with no regard of you watching it. Instead they are often a lot more entertaining than the game. One guy in particular, seller of Candy Floss, was screaming inexplicit nothingness every few seconds. Lord knows what he was saying – you can try and decipher it here – but he made my day. He’d make more money at Colwyn Bay FC selling his wares.


Two things I had trouble with in the states – the first is the crazy alcohol laws. Everywhere I went I had to take my passport, as I foolishly passed my driving test the week before. You got ID’ed if you look under thirty. Furthermore, I never got a hang of the tipping. As notoriously tight arse, actually tipping 15-20% of the price of a beer seems, well, foolish. Particularly in the baseball, when you are not going to get the bar to buy you back. I think I insulted the seller by counting out exact change. Oh well, plenty more beer sellers in the stadium.

Don't tip enough, and beer sellers get in the way of your view.

The game was dull until the bottom of the 4th innings, where it picked up immensely, but the other notable point was some Chicago local found out I was Welsh & wanted to hear me say “That  long town name“. I was happy to oblige for a beer!

At the bottom of the 4th, business (as they say over here) picked up. Carlos Quentin hit a huge home run to the left field, bringing in two runners, putting The Sox 4-0 up. Tigers hit back with a three run home run at the top of the 5th. The Sox scored another homer at the bottom of the 5th, with Brent Lillibridge scoring with the bases empty. The score was 5-4 and remained that way until the 8th innings.

Alexei Ramirez at bat in the fifth.

The crowd were beginning to lose interest after dull 6th and 7th innings (particularly last call for alcohol is at the bottom of the 7th), so the on pitch entertainment was ramped up, with t-shirts throwing girls and mascots running around, with dancing competitions as well. Detroit put one run on the board to make it 5-4, but Juan Pierre, the MVP of the game, caught an amazing catch to end Detroit’s 8th innings, before stepping up and scoring a home run to make it 6-4. Detroit didn’t score in the 9th innings. The Chicago White Sox win the game.

A furry thing handed out t-shirts. And the White Sox mascots did too.

Comparing my last match to this one (the Colwyn Bay vs FC United playoff), the excitement displayed by the White Sox faithful was disappointingly muted, but nevertheless after staying for a section of the post match firework display, we headed home (via the Bacardi Bar, which is the White Sox clubhouse). Although different from football in terms of levels of passion, it was still brilliant experiencing baseball again. God Bless America’s Pastime.

* No, not “The Shay Stadium”, FC Halifax fans, though it’s  a moot point – as in the last year The Mets moved to the Citibank Field.

About Rhys Wynne

Rhys Wynne is the editor & creator of You're Supposed To Be At Home. For his sins, he is a Colwyn Bay & Liverpool fan, and a serial blog creator. You can follow Rhys on twitter here.

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