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mweflen
04-14-2004, 12:49 AM
http://chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/whitesox/cs-040413soxkamincellular,1,4317755.story?coll=cs-home-headlines

I think this is a pretty fair and balanced assessment of the renovations by Blair Kamin, the Tribune architecture critic.

Well, of course, he happens to share my opinions on just about everything relating to the park...

Some quotes affirming my two biggest peeves:

They couldn't shift the orientation of the stadium, which maddeningly faces southeast (away from the downtown skyline).

Nor could they alter the basic architectural cross-section—three tiers of premium seats crammed between the upper and lower decks—that caused the upper deck to be so high and so steep.

On the whole though, I agree with Kamin that the parks changes are aesthetically pleasing, though really don't change much in terms of actually watching the game.

I agree also that the UD Concourse wind-screen looks great from the outside - probably the single most drastic change for the man on the street outside the park.

SoxxoS
04-14-2004, 12:59 AM
Does anyone know WHY the park is faced toward the projects and not toward the skyline? That makes absolutely NO sense...yet it had to happen for SOME reason.

JohnBasedowYoda
04-14-2004, 01:08 AM
Originally posted by SoxxoS
Does anyone know WHY the park is faced toward the projects and not toward the skyline? That makes absolutely NO sense...yet it had to happen for SOME reason.

it might have something to do with the fact that:
1. for some reason the still existing Old Comiskey for some reason prohibited building the new one facin the same way.

2. Jerry didn't want people looking at the skyline and not the billboards in the stadium.

3. someone prolly flipped a coin.

RedPinStripes
04-14-2004, 01:13 AM
Originally posted by SoxxoS
Does anyone know WHY the park is faced toward the projects and not toward the skyline? That makes absolutely NO sense...yet it had to happen for SOME reason.

I think MLB has a rule with direction of stadiums face. Seems like it has to face south. Anyone with half a brain would have turned that park 180 when they built the new one.

Stoky44
04-14-2004, 01:14 AM
Originally posted by SoxxoS
Does anyone know WHY the park is faced toward the projects and not toward the skyline? That makes absolutely NO sense...yet it had to happen for SOME reason.

What I heard, though it might not be true, is that they thought the wind would blow out better if the park was turned this way and thereby increase homeruns. They did some calculations, but left out the swirling wind effect that the park actually had.

I am only 21 and don't remember a whole lot about the old park, did the wind tend to always blow in? Hence they thought by switching the park the wind would then blow out?

Stoky44
04-14-2004, 01:16 AM
Originally posted by RedPinStripes
I think MLB has a rule with direction of stadiums face. Seems like it has to face south. Anyone with half a brain would have turned that park 180 when they built the new one.

I have never heard of this rule, I thought that was only in football. The only reason this rule seems weird is that mlb would force a park to face a curtain direction, but really have no set rules in park dimensions?

joeynach
04-14-2004, 01:21 AM
Originally posted by SoxxoS
Does anyone know WHY the park is faced toward the projects and not toward the skyline? That makes absolutely NO sense...yet it had to happen for SOME reason.

Yes i have the answer, the correct answer. JR wanted to preserve a piece of histroy. The entrance and box office to old Comiskey was at 35th and Shields, where home plate was. JR wanted the same to be true of new comiskey so he built it the direction we see now, with the home plate entrance and box office being at 35th and shields still.

TDog
04-14-2004, 01:25 AM
Originally posted by SoxxoS
Does anyone know WHY the park is faced toward the projects and not toward the skyline? That makes absolutely NO sense...yet it had to happen for SOME reason.

I understood at the time the new park opened (althouth I lived a couple thousand miles from Chicago) that management wanted to keep home plate -- hence the address -- at 35th and Shields.

As many times as I've been to the new park, I've never given it much though. Of course, you couldn't see the skyline from the old park. At least I never did. I did see the old IIT smokestack beyond the seat in right field, though.

voodoochile
04-14-2004, 07:13 AM
Originally posted by Stoky44
What I heard, though it might not be true, is that they thought the wind would blow out better if the park was turned this way and thereby increase homeruns. They did some calculations, but left out the swirling wind effect that the park actually had.

I am only 21 and don't remember a whole lot about the old park, did the wind tend to always blow in? Hence they thought by switching the park the wind would then blow out?

That's it. They did some studies and calculated that there would be more offensive output if they built the stadium facing this way. It actually worked. The old place was a pitchers park while the new one rates out as a hitters park.

Now some would argue that that is because JR would rather not pay pitchers and good hitters are more common and thus less expensive. Others would say that the reason the new place rates as a hitters park is because of the offensive talent the team has had over the time it has been open. Either way, the answer remains the same.

voodoochile
04-14-2004, 07:18 AM
Originally posted by joeynach


Yes i have the answer, the correct answer. JR wanted to preserve a piece of histroy. The entrance and box office to old Comiskey was at 35th and Shields, where home plate was. JR wanted the same to be true of new comiskey so he built it the direction we see now, with the home plate entrance and box office being at 35th and shields still.


Originally posted by TDog


I understood at the time the new park opened (althouth I lived a couple thousand miles from Chicago) that management wanted to keep home plate -- hence the address -- at 35th and Shields.

As many times as I've been to the new park, I've never given it much though. Of course, you couldn't see the skyline from the old park. At least I never did. I did see the old IIT smokestack beyond the seat in right field, though.


Originally posted by voodoochile


That's it. They did some studies and calculated that there would be more offensive output if they built the stadium facing this way. It actually worked. The old place was a pitchers park while the new one rates out as a hitters park.

Now some would argue that that is because JR would rather not pay pitchers and good hitters are more common and thus less expensive. Others would say that the reason the new place rates as a hitters park is because of the offensive talent the team has had over the time it has been open. Either way, the answer remains the same.

Or maybe not, voodoo... :D:

34rancher
04-14-2004, 07:31 AM
Originally posted by Stoky44
I have never heard of this rule, I thought that was only in football. The only reason this rule seems weird is that mlb would force a park to face a curtain direction, but really have no set rules in park dimensions?

Actually they do have rules on dimension minimums. Unfortunately when they built Pac-Bell and Coors lite (Minute maid field in Houston. MLB game in to the smaller lines and power allies. THink about it, with Coors, Wrigley, andthe Milwaukee Brewers pitching staff, no wonder there are so many 50 homerun guys in the NL.

MarqSox
04-14-2004, 08:01 AM
Originally posted by 34rancher
Actually they do have rules on dimension minimums. Unfortunately when they built Pac-Bell and Coors lite (Minute maid field in Houston. MLB game in to the smaller lines and power allies. THink about it, with Coors, Wrigley, andthe Milwaukee Brewers pitching staff, no wonder there are so many 50 homerun guys in the NL.
Not that steroids are a factor.

PaleHoseGeorge
04-14-2004, 08:09 AM
I think we're overlooking the most obvious reason why homeplate is at 35th & Shields:

The city and state wanted to save as much as possible on infrastructure improvements. First, all of the utilities run underneath 35th Street (gas, water, electric, and sewer) because Old Comiskey needed them. Furthermore the city street grid already makes 35th Street (not 37th) the main east/west artery through the area (Dan Ryan ramps, Red Line & Green Line access). The natural place to locate the majority of fans was leveraging all this existing infrastructure along 35th Street.

I suppose homeplate could have been placed on 35th and Wentworth (though the afternoon sun might have been trouble for the hitters), but placing it at 35th & Shields is a bow towards history and tradition.

:reinsy
"Yes, history and tradition. That's why I made an asphalt parking lot out of Old Comiskey, too!"

:comiskey
"Saving a buck! I like how this guy operates!"

:ohno
"Don't we all..."

dougs78
04-14-2004, 09:29 AM
Originally posted by PaleHoseGeorge
I suppose homeplate could have been placed on 35th and Wentworth (though the afternoon sun might have been trouble for the hitters), but placing it at 35th & Shields is a bow towards history and tradition.


That part about the setting sun being a problem was always my understanding about why both football fields and baseball diamonds were oriented the way they were.

Clearly if batters had to look into the sunset for a pitch that would be unfair and also extremely dangerous.

soxnut
04-14-2004, 09:37 AM
Originally posted by SoxxoS
Does anyone know WHY the park is faced toward the projects and not toward the skyline? That makes absolutely NO sense...yet it had to happen for SOME reason.

There are very few project buildings left from 35th south 2 miles. Wake up. The one building that is directly across the Ryan should be gone by the fall or next spring.

fledgedrallycap
04-14-2004, 09:46 AM
I can't believe this was printed:

"They could not make the ugly sea of parking lots around the stadium vanish."

Spoken from a true Cub fan who is used to parking 3 miles away or paying forty bucks to park in someone's garage...

GoSox2K3
04-14-2004, 09:50 AM
Originally posted by SoxxoS
Does anyone know WHY the park is faced toward the projects and not toward the skyline? That makes absolutely NO sense...yet it had to happen for SOME reason.

I'm back after a long absence. Seems like nothing much has changed on this site - lots of discussions about ballpark orientation, green vs. blue seats, etc.

I'm not sure why ballpark orientation is such a big issue. I think this is one of those things that the Chicago media has trumped up into a HUGE issue over the past 13 years in order to trash Sox Park as much as possible. My guess is that no one even foresaw this as a problem when the park was built. Old Comiskey faced downtown, but it didn't matter because you couldn't see anything from inside the park. Wrigley Field faces away from downtown.

When all is said in done, I doubt that many people stay away from park because it faces south instead of north.

The worst part about the park's orientation was how visible all the projects were from the park, but those projects are almost all gone now.

MisterB
04-14-2004, 09:57 AM
Originally posted by dougs78
That part about the setting sun being a problem was always my understanding about why both football fields and baseball diamonds were oriented the way they were.

Clearly if batters had to look into the sunset for a pitch that would be unfair and also extremely dangerous.

Baseball diamonds were usually aligned with home plate to the SW whenever possible (so that RF is the 'sun field'). That practice has never been 'official' but generally accepted. There are obvious exceptions now: USCF and Comerica have home at the NW corner, SBC/Pac Bell's is almost due west, but then again so was the Polo Grounds. Oddly enough I believe many domed stadia have the same SW alignment even though the sun isn't a factor.

batmanZoSo
04-14-2004, 10:00 AM
Originally posted by JohnBasedowYoda
it might have something to do with the fact that:
1. for some reason the still existing Old Comiskey for some reason prohibited building the new one facin the same way.

2. Jerry didn't want people looking at the skyline and not the billboards in the stadium.

3. someone prolly flipped a coin.

The reason the Cell faces the way it does is because JR wanted either the ticket boxes, main entrances or both on 35th street.

If the Cell faced downtown, those areas would be on 37th or whatever the next street is south of it.

It's still a poor excuse, I mean we could've configured it to his likings and still had a downtown view, but live and learn.

pinwheels3530
04-14-2004, 10:06 AM
STOP WHINING STOP WHINING!

Irishsox1
04-14-2004, 10:25 AM
As much as people say the stadium isn't an issue, it's a huge issue. It became a big issue the day Camden Yard opened up and new Comiskey looked like a total turd. The changes are also very important and necessary as long as Wrigley Field is still standing.

So far I've loved every change the Sox have made to the stadium and the new roof looks great. Now for the final act, I say the Sox cover up all that ugly gray exterior dryvit with brick, all around the exterior of the stadium. I'm not talking about adding three layers of bricks, just one layer of brick for aesthetic purposes. The Sox should use the same brick that have added to the interior of the stadium. The new brick will look great with the new deck and then the Sox will finally have a cool looking new "retro" stadium.

PaleHoseGeorge
04-14-2004, 10:27 AM
Originally posted by pinwheels3530
STOP WHINING STOP WHINING!

I agree. This is akin to crying over spilled milk. Blair Kamin merely noted that the Cell faces away from downtown. He could have (should have?) noted that the Urinal faces away from downtown too, but he didn't. Facing downtown wasn't a consideration when the Federal League Whales built that pisshole back in 1914, and it wasn't a consideration back in 1989 when New Comiskey was built either. The Baby Bears seem to do just fine facing nothing. So why bitch?

Get over it already.

doublem23
04-14-2004, 10:33 AM
I agree, as well. If you want to look at the skyline, there's a great view from the ramp that connects to Gate 4 (I think, can't remember). Stand out there, have a smoke, watch the lights twinkle or shut up and watch the damn game.

batmanZoSo
04-14-2004, 10:42 AM
Originally posted by doublem23
I agree, as well. If you want to look at the skyline, there's a great view from the ramp that connects to Gate 4 (I think, can't remember). Stand out there, have a smoke, watch the lights twinkle or shut up and watch the damn game.

Hmm..I reluctantly accept your proposition.

That is an incredible view on the third base upper deck ramp.

If you're in right field now you can see the Sears tower poke over the shortened roof.

SoxxoS
04-14-2004, 11:06 AM
My question was serious and I wanted to know the answer...it has nothing to do with whining if that post was directed at me.

There are very few project buildings left from 35th south 2 miles. Wake up. The one building that is directly across the Ryan should be gone by the fall or next spring.

Thank you, fountain of knowledge, but there we're projects there when the stadium was built, hence my question. You wake up and read the whole thread.

TDog
04-14-2004, 11:46 AM
Originally posted by GoSox2K3
...When all is said in done, I doubt that many people stay away from park because it faces south instead of north....

Cubs fans seem to like to watch what's going on outside the ballpark.

SoxxoS
04-14-2004, 11:50 AM
Originally posted by TDog
Cubs fans seem to like to watch what's going on outside the ballpark.

They are usually so hammered they don't know which way is up or down...let alone North or South.

maurice
04-14-2004, 12:03 PM
It seems that the renovations were well-received, but it irks me that the Cub-une and Cub-Times went out of their way to front-load their reviews with negative comments.


Andrew Herrmann (http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-soxfun14.html)'s article begins:
Mark Gilbert was doing what may come to be known as the Sox Park Shift: leaning from side to side in his seat, trying to catch glimpses of the field action around a pole in the upper deck.

Ron Rapoport (http://www.suntimes.com/output/rapoport/cst-spt-rap14.html) begins with the following, largely negative points:
- the Wrigley renovations are better because they added seats closer to the field
- the Cell UD is "just as steep"
- the renovations eliminate vertigo "pretty well"
- Sox fans "wouldn't stop complaining if Ozzie Guillen led a World Series parade past their houses?" (sic)
- the renovations obstruct some views


Blair Kamin (http://chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/whitesox/cs-040413soxkamincellular,1,4317755.story?coll=cs-home-headlines)'s article begins:
That's some architectural time machine they have built at U.S. Cellular Field: As time moves forward, the stadium moves backward. The White Sox were behind their curve when they built their sterile mallpark in 1991, a year before Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore led the wave of retro ballparks. And now, just as the Sox are turning back the clock, the San Diego Padres are breaking the retro mold with their new Petco Park, an adventurous design that forgoes Spanish-style arches and other predictable details. But being at the cutting edge of architectural form-making is one thing and having a serviceable stadium that doesn't put a crimp on your attendance figures—and thus your ability to hire big-salary players—is another.


Finally, the most ridiculous opening line came from the Cub-une's Dan McGrath (http://chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/whitesox/cs-040413soxmcgrath,1,3138034.story?coll=cs-home-headlines):
A tourist who didn't know better might have thought he had wandered into Wrigley Field on Tuesday. U.S. Cellular Field was dressed to the nines, a paint job, an expanded "fan deck" and a strikingly refurbished upper deck the most visible of several changes designed to make it more hospitable and appealing, or "fan friendly," in the vernacular.


Lay off the 'shrooms there, Danny boy. Only a heavily drugged tourist would mistake the beautifully renovated Cell (complete with fresh paint, the fan deck, and the great new UD roof) for the heavily decaying Urinal.

Brian26
04-14-2004, 12:18 PM
Originally posted by RedPinStripes
I think MLB has a rule with direction of stadiums face. Seems like it has to face south. Anyone with half a brain would have turned that park 180 when they built the new one.

The rule is that homeplate must face either northeast or southeast. The obvious justification is to eliminate the sun being in the batter's eye in the summer evening games. This would be the case if the plate faced southwest or northwest.

jolietconvict
04-14-2004, 01:11 PM
According to MLB rule 1.04:
"It is desirable that the from home base through the pitchers plate to second base shall run East-Northeast"

CubKiller5
04-14-2004, 01:25 PM
It was preserved for cost reasons. Keep in mind that if you move home plate to Wentworth so that CF is facing the skyline that grabs another 1/2 of mile of space needed to build the ballpark.

There was no way that was going to happen with the HUD development that is right across from the 1st base line now.

Back to topic:
I agree with the article. The perspective of the park inside has drastically changed from the fan's view. Now everything in the park looks bigger. Including the LED's & the scoreboard. With the scoreboard feeling more like bigger than life you get a feeling of nostalgia with the old park & you enjoy the homeruns much more.

I likewise agree that phase 5 should focus on addressing the ramp ways. They do detract considerably from the exterior feel of the place. The problem is I don't think it's easy to do away with them.

The only way I see that this can be done is to take a page out of the Daytona 500 & have more but smaller stairways to seats.

http://chicago.whitesox.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/cws/ballpark/cws_attractions_map.jsp
Currently there are 6 gates, 5 majors, 1 minor. Gate 2 does not have a pedestrian ramp way. The SOX can replace the bulky & ugly rampways with 10 gates similar to gate 2. Then there would be space available in front of the ball park for shops, restaurants, entertainment & bars that could be open all year. After all US Celluar is owned & operated by the ISFA.

There's a tremendous amount of space to be gained by doing away with the behemoth ramps. If you line them up back to back they are as large as 1/2 the UD area. That's a LOT of space!

Here's where there is a tremendous opportunity to build a City Walk
like that of Universal in Orlando, FL. Themed restaurants are not common in Chicago because of a lack of space & venue for them.
US Cellular could change that. City Walk has a restaurant themed off the NBA, NASCAR, & the NFL but nothing for MLB. US Cellular would be a good place to put one. ESPN Zone, something similar
to Disney Quest (baseball themed), House of Blues, & a Cinemaplex
could keep the area alive all year round.

It goes w/out saying that parking around the Cell is one of it's biggest attributes. I've been to several other parks new & old & I don't find many with the same convenience in parking as the Cell.
More should be in place than just entertainment serving 81 days a year.

CubKiller5
04-14-2004, 01:45 PM
CEO of US Cellular:
One look out the new upper deck at the Sears Tower or Hancock Center, where there was nothing to be viewed previously, could convince even the greatest skeptics. Of course, the White Sox’s success on the field ultimately will dictate the fans’ overall enthusiasm.

mweflen
04-14-2004, 02:09 PM
In theory, having a view outside the park is an extraneous detail. You're there to see the game, right?

In practice, though, it really adds a lot to the ballpark experience.

Look at PNC park, for instance.

http://www.ballparksofbaseball.com/nl/pnc742.jpg

Now, looking at this picture, I cannot even imagine a more inspiring backdrop to play or watch baseball in. It's no wonder PNC is rated the number one park in the nation by ESPN.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/stadiums

Here are some more pictures of ballparks which take advantage of their urban backdrops...

http://www.ballparksofbaseball.com/nl/petco887.jpg
http://www.ballparksofbaseball.com/al/jake703.jpg
http://www.ballparksofbaseball.com/al/com708.jpg
http://www.ballparksofbaseball.com/al/CamdenYards.htm

The urban backdrop of a baseball team's city is important, and here's why:

Baseball, since its birth, has been an urban game. The team you root for is an integral part of your urban identity. The city is integral to the character of the team. That's why it's so blasphemous for a team to move from its city - how evil a thought is the Florida White Sox? How out of character for the team? How could a team like the Reds exist outside of Cincinatti?

So, teams whose stadiums incorporate their urban backdrop well have a wonderful ambience factor that can't be beat by any interior architectural feature.

Here's the direction New Comiskey faces...
http://www.ballparksofbaseball.com/al/comiskey703.jpg

Okay, so you picked a bad direction. Certainly. But does the park even "embrace" the direction it's chosen? No - instead, there are big ugly billboards blocking the view.

Now, Old Comiskey faced downtown. However, the surrounding upper deck and scoreboard blocked any view.

But even with New Comiskey's billboards, the greatest skyline in the world would have been visible to most fans. The question is - would this have alleviated some of the "bad neighborhood" perception of potential patrons? Debateable. Would it have added to the ambience of the park while watching a game? Definitely.

For those who say that the scenery of a ballpark doesn't matter at all, I strongly disagree.

I'm a baseball fan who keeps score, watches for the nuances of the game - warm-ups, dugout antics, player conversations, etc.

And I STILL have time to check out the scenery. Baseball is a game of pauses. Many, many pauses. I don't say this as a criticism - I love it. I love the room baseball has for conversation and history, for appreciation and love. It's so unlike the more frenetic sports of basketball and hockey.

So, while I'm sitting in my seat musing about the history of the team, and what it's meant to the city, actually looking at the city would be a very nice accompaniment.

---

One note - I noticed while walking to the Green Line after the game that there will be a new condo development in place of one of the demolished projects. Starting at $120k, the signs say. I certainly hope this signals the beginning of a Rennaisance for the area. If the development is anything like what the City has done wiht the Cabrini area, it could be a good thing. (hey, I might even move there in 4 or 5 years! :smile: )

voodoochile
04-14-2004, 02:42 PM
Originally posted by mweflen
One note - I noticed while walking to the Green Line after the game that there will be a new condo development in place of one of the demolished projects. Starting at $120k, the signs say. I certainly hope this signals the beginning of a Rennaisance for the area. If the development is anything like what the City has done wiht the Cabrini area, it could be a good thing. (hey, I might even move there in 4 or 5 years! :smile: )

I am sure it will be sold out very soon, so you should buy one now, because in 4-5 years those condos (now completed and sold) will probably be pushing $350K or more...

mweflen
04-14-2004, 02:48 PM
Originally posted by voodoochile
I am sure it will be sold out very soon, so you should buy one now, because in 4-5 years those condos (now completed and sold) will probably be pushing $350K or more...

I agree that there is some chance of appreciation, depending on how the rest of the neighborhood shapes up...

but unfortunately because of school, I won't be in the new home market for 4 or 5 more years. But I'll be keeping an eye on those! I'd love to live right by a CTA stop and close to Comiskey. If there's a neighborhood that becomes safe enough for me to do it, I'll do it.

JohnJeter
04-14-2004, 02:51 PM
Somewhat off the topic, but has anyone noticed one of the Wrigley renovations- those LED strip things (whatever they're called)? They seem totally incongruous with respect to the hallowed "traditional feel" and "quaintness" of Wrigley Field. They look like something just slapped on to the old park.

Guess the cash-poor Cubs need the added ad revenue.

mweflen
04-14-2004, 03:02 PM
http://www.suntimes.com/output/rapoport/cst-spt-rap14.html

''I don't want to hear any complaints,'' White Sox senior vice president for marketing and broadcasting Rob Gallas said Tuesday. ''People said they wanted that old-ballpark feel, didn't they?''

Rob Gallas on new obstructed view seats.

I'm sure this is news to no one, but the thought just occurred to me - this guy is an arrogant ass.

mweflen
04-14-2004, 04:58 PM
DJ is teasing us with the "green seats" references in today's gamecast...

"Once they get those green seats in there, it will pull the whole look together..."