Stranger in a Strange Land: My Trip to U.S. Cellular Field

My best friend, a diehard White Sox fan, emailed me on Wednesday:

What are you up to on Friday night? I have 4 Club level tickets to the Sox

game (I'll give you some time to groan, go ahead) and I thought maybe you

would like to come with.

Club level seats? Baseball? A buffalo chicken sandwich and beer delivered to me in my seat? Sure, why the hell not. I could put aside years of hatred for the South Siders, right? It would be a fun night out with the girls, and I didn’t want to ruin that kind of night with hating the home team. Plus, my best friend threatened to clock me if I cheered for the Angels.

Traffic on the Dan Ryan was surprisingly smooth, and we arrived about an hour before game time. We had parking passes across the street from the Cell, and walked by some tailgaters hanging out before the game. We headed in to hang out in the club level lounge.

As we walked towards the lounge, we passed a table where Ron Kittle was signing autographs. I held back my urge to kick him. We sat down at the bar and ordered a few beers from a nice woman wearing a Sox jersey. She noticed my Bears purse (recommended by the Starter Wife) and commented that another season ticket holder had a similar purse, and did I get mine at Wal-Mart. WAL-MART? No, I did not get my super-special purse at Wal-Mart, I don’t shop at Wal-Mart, I’m a north side snob, damn it! I actually did not say that to the very nice bartender, but gave her the address to the Web site where I bought my purse.

My friends and I made our way to our seats, right next to four guys decked out in White Sox attire, head to toe. As I sat down, the guy next to me said, “Let’s get a good win.” I said, “Sure.” Seeing as my Cubbies were already beating the Pirates, I was hoping for a good win. The White Sox took the field, and the PA announcer said “White Sox fans, get on your feet!” Since the announcement specifically did not address me, I kept sitting.

I love a good pitchers’ duel, and that’s exactly what this game was. Joe Saunders threw a beautiful game. He got himself out of some jams, and kept the Sox scoreless until the ninth inning. Gavin Floyd, who has thrown two almost no-hitters, threw mostly a beautiful game, save the fifth inning.

In the fifth, Torii Hunter came to bat, and the whole stadium booed. My friend who knows nothing about baseball asked about the boos, and I explained that he’s a Sox-killer, plus he toyed with the Sox during the off-season. My Sox fan friend leaned over and said, “He’s a cock tease.” Well put. Not long after she said that, Hunter hit a towering home run. Floyd then hit two batters to force the rest of the runs.

Meanwhile, there was lots of fun in the stands. The Elvis-looking waiter who was supposed to bring us food ignored our entire section, much to our dismay. I wanted my sandwich. And nachos. And a beer. There was also a guy in front of us that appeared to be the middle-aged ladies man of the club level. I didn’t exactly understand his appeal, but over the course of the night, women kept visiting him, and bringing him beer. How do you get that arrangement? There was also a woman in a fur coat. My friends and I wore some layers, and it did get a little chilly when the sun went down, but still, nowhere near fur coat weather. I didn’t get that. Finally, there was white-trash-oddly-dressed-gothish-girl, and her friend, who looked like a blond Izzy Stradlin. More on them later.

During the seventh inning stretch, I could not make myself stand up. I just couldn’t. There was no way I could sing “Take me out to the ballgame” and not yell Cubbies, and fearing for my life if I did that, I just stayed in my seat. At this point, no one had noticed me checking Cubs scoring updates on my phone, or the fact that I snickered when the Sox left runners in scoring position. I was still incognito, and I didn’t want to blow my cover now.

At the bottom of the ninth, after Floyd finished throwing a complete game, (by the way, how many complete game losses are there? Isn’t that a little odd? He only had one bad inning, but still-odd) the Sox put together a little rally. Orlando Cabrera and AJ Pierzynski got on base, and Jermaine Dye hit an RBI single to bring Cabrera home. At this point, the place was going crazy. Not many people had left (it was a fireworks night) and everyone was on their feet, yelling and screaming. Trashy Goth Girl was dancing around rather stripper like, and made sure that her sweatpants were riding as low as they could without committing a misdemeanor. She was quite the source of entertainment, as she could barely stand up. The air was electric-the fans were doing everything they could to will their team to victory. Everyone, of course, except me. I have been a part of some pretty exciting crowds-Missouri football, NCAA wrestling, Cubs, Bulls, etc. I have never been part of a crowd that was so excited, yet I was indifferent to the outcome. It was a strange feeling to be a witness, but not a part of it.

It didn’t matter, though. Jim Thome and Joe Crede struck out, and the game was over. Angels won. Of course, nobody really seemed to care-because the fireworks started two minutes after the game. Who can be angry during fireworks set to “Dancing Queen?”

6 thoughts on “Stranger in a Strange Land: My Trip to U.S. Cellular Field

  1. I heart the Cell. :)

    And I commend you for your bravery! I don’t know if I could survive a whole nine innings at Wrigley Field.

    GO SOX!

  2. Coming from a Lady who gets all her baseball info from ya’ll and Alex Rios’s ass (so pretty) let me say that this line “There was no way I could sing ‘Take me out to the ballgame’ and not yell Cubbies” made me think of this.

    For better or for worse.

  3. Who wears a fur coat to a sports stadium/arena? That’s just stupidity there.

    At some point during my lifetime I want to see fireworks going off to the tunes of ABBA. It’s right up there with moving out of S.C. and living in London for a year.

  4. the last line said it all.

    btw, did you notice the vast assortment of black jeans? i swear the cell is home to the finest white trash in the greater chicagoland area. you could cast the next five seasons of rock of love in the 100 level ALONE.

    the cell is still pretty bad ass. 4 beers at a time…can’t beat that

  5. And then you all filtered out into one of the many bars and restaurants surrounding the home of the White Sox to enjoy many libations.

    …. ahahhahaha. Just kidding. Everyone ran for their cars and headed home as quickly as possible.

  6. I was at that game too, and coming from a Floridian who was at a Marlins game in 92 degree heat the week before, it felt like a meat locker when the sun went down.

    The one thing that bothered me the most was my host, Sox fan and designated beer wench for the night, telling me to “sit down!” when I gave Saunders the standing ovation when he came out.

    Welcome to places that aren’t St. Louis! Where fans can’t appreciate a great outing if they’re rooting for the other team and Saunders just shoved for the last 8.1 innings.

    Floyd got credit for a complete game, but he only pitched eight innings (minus the fifth where I have no idea what he was doing).

    Plus, there’s always one fan who has to wear their Cubs gear to a Sox game just to be “that fan”. Red Sox fans are first though in that department.

    I still can’t believe they played “Dancing Queen.” And they did it before the game too.

    Sunday night’s game was much better, so was Morgan’s after the game.

    Two American League games in less than 2:20? Rare.

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