Originally Posted by doublem23
Except that US Cellular Field's not a neighborhood ballpark, it just happens to be located in Bridgeport, but it would look and feel exactly the same if it were located in the South Loop, in Addison, or just about anywhere else. There's no thriving neighborhood around it, in fact, it's pretty easy to argue that other than the Dan Ryan, Sox Park is the biggest blight on the neighborhood.
Wrigley is a neighborhood ballpark in that it's an essential and organic part of Wrigleyville. U.S. Cellular Field looks like it was just arbitrarily dropped out of the sky. It doesn't even line up with the street grid.
The opportunity lost by the White Sox in 1988 is what I lament. Because of the circumstances surrounding the project and the Sox front office's clumsiness, they took the suburban greenfield design and dropped it on 35th Street. With a little more time the architects could have reshaped it to fit the neighborhood.
And it was a neighborhood, or at least used to be, before the new park was built. Check out the historicaerials.com image at the link
and you can see Comiskey Park in the Armour Square neighborhood in 1952. Today you'd call it "mixed-use" because it was a collection of residential and light industrial buildings. Obviously things changed over the years with the construction of the Dan Ryan and the expansion of the Sox parking lots, but when a whole new development is planned in cooperation with the city and the state, the means exist to create an environment and not just a building.
But it didn't work out that way. Since then the Sox have made changes to the park that do enhance its quality. The construction of the Bacardi restaurant and the Sports Depot store are more steps in that direction. The near South Side and Bridgeport continue to see improvement, which suggests to me that the Sox should be secure there for a long time. I'd like to think I'll still be able to catch games on 35th Street years from now when I'm in my dotage and shaking my gnarled fist at Joe West's grandson.