Ichiro and Wrigley Regular @ “The Cell”

On the Chicago White Sox last home stand I went to one of the games against the Seattle Mariners. I took the whole family and we met up with my sister, brother in-law and their kids. It is the same brother in-law that I went to Boston with last month to see the Cubs in Fenway.  You can see the pictures and read about that trip here.

The main reason we went to this particular game is because my brother in-law and his family are big Ichiro fans. In fact last season we went out to Seattle to see both Ichiro and the Cubs when Chicago played out there last June. You can read the review, with plenty of pictures, from that trip here.

We arrived at the field about 45 minutes before the game and so we had a couple minutes to walk around and see some of the things outside the park.

Just around the corner from the ticket box the White Sox provide some live musical entertainment. As you can see, there was plenty of room on the “dance floor” for those that wanted to show off their moves. We on the other hand just kept on moving.

( You can click on this picture or any of the others on this page to see in Full size)

Just in front of the ticket box is Champions Plaza. It’s laid out on the ground in a diamond shape like a baseball infield and in the center where the pitchers mound would be is a monument celebrating the White Sox 2005 World Series victory. Completely bordering the diamond shape is the history of the Sox set into brick. The entire “infield” is made up of bricks that have personalized inscriptions from fans to the White Sox. We have a brick near “third base”. The brick has my three daughters’ names on it and it says “Go Sox”. Obviously we are first and foremost Cubs fans, but I thought it would be a nice thing for my daughters to have their names in brick outside of U.S. Cellular Field for all time, or at least until they tear it down.

By the way, all around the outside of Wrigley Field they also have personalized bricks in the ground and we have one there also. At Wrigley the bricks are placed in sections named after Cubs greats. Ours is in the Stan Hack section which is located in front of Wrigley right under the Marquee, it’s a great location.

We met my sister and her family at Champions Plaza. They got the tickets for us that night which was a very generous treat. Before we went into the park I wanted to get one more picture outside.

For those that don’t know, U.S. Cellular Field opened in 1991. It was built across the street from old Comiskey Park. After tearing down the old field they turned that location into a parking lot, but they did mark the location where home plate used to be. I took my youngest over for a picture.

Then a passerby asked if I would like a picture with the both of us. I said that would be great and I kneeled down by the plate to get the picture. It wasn’t until later that I realized that the women didn’t actually get home plate into the shot. Oh well, maybe next time.

We entered the park from behind home plate and made our way around the field as our seats were in the fourth row of the right field bleachers. Here is a shot I took of the field as we stopped for a kids bathroom break. I drew an arrow to the “FUNdamentals” which is in the left field corner. I’ll get back to that later.

Here is the shot I took of everyone when we found our seats.

Here are a couple of shots of Jason “Viva Las” Vargas warming up in the bullpen before the game.

Here is a shot of my niece wearing her Ichiro jersey and watching Vargas. Just after this shot the Mariners pitching coach tossed a ball up to my brother in-law and he gave it to his daughter.

Here is our view of Ichiro’s backside from our seats.

At the start of the fifth inning I took my daughters to go visit the FUNdamentals area that I pointed out in a previous picture. It’s kind of a play area for the kids.

On the way there we stopped in the “Rain Room”. It’s an area with misters set up for people to cool off. Here is my youngest catching a spray.

For those that remember old Comiskey Park, in the 70’s then White Sox owner Bill Veeck  set up a “shower” for people to use on hot days.  Today’s park also has a “shower”, here is a shot of me standing in it while I try NOT to get wet.

We then made it over to the FUNdamentals area. Here is a shot of my daughter waiting for her turn to catch a grounder on the infield from one of the White Sox attendants.

See the big kid to the right of her? When it was his turn the attendant bounced a fairly hard grounder at him, not to hard for him to handle, but a solid two hopper. When my daughter saw that she just started shaking her head no no no, then dropped her glove and walked away. I tried to tell her and then show her other small kids getting grounders and that the guy would just roll it to her, but she wasn’t having any of it.

Here are shots of the field, scoreboard, and the ‘greenery’ from the FUNdamentals  area.

The White Sox call it “greenery”, I guess they don’t want to use the term Ivy because….. well , you know why.

We continued exploring the area.  Here is a shot of White Sox Mickey.

They also have info about White Sox players that have had their team number retired. Here are a few.

There are batting cages and a pitchers mound to throw from, the kids took a pass on those things. But my youngest wanted to “run against” Scott Podsednik. It’s a cardboard cutout of Pod’s that “runs” from home to first. You stand at home and when you hear the crack of the bat you start running.

Here is my daughter standing at home plate. As soon as the previous kid started running she stepped out there and I took this picture. You can see the other kid reaching first base and running into the glove.

As soon as I snapped that photo I then ran down to the other end behind the rail so that I could get the next couple shots. Here she is running……. So fast it was a blurrrrr.

She had a good time, as most kids were in the 6+ range.

On our way back to our seats we went through Legends Plaza. It’s located in the center field fan deck area behind the “greenery”. Here are some of our photos.

Me and Charles Comiskey.

The girls getting caught in a rundown between Nellie Fox and Luis Aparicio.

Me with Billy Pierce and Minnie Minoso

And one last photo taken earlier in the evening with Harold Baines.

After all the walking around and pictures it was now the 8th inning. We grabbed some ice cream and went back to our seats.

The Sox were losing 4-2 but we got back just in time to see Carlos Quentin hit a game tying two-run home run.  It was at that point that my youngest started breaking down. We had had a long day of swimming and being in the hot Sun and then the game. She was ready to go and the prospect of a 4-4 game going into extra innings was not going to happen.

We left the park and headed home. My daughter was asleep in about 5 minutes.

The White Sox lost the game to the Mainers 7-4 in 10 innings.

3 Comments

Lots of great pics, Russ. I especially like the one of Carlton Fisk. I’ve never met the man, but I’m told he’s an off-beat relative of mine, like a 4th cousin twice removed or some silly thing like that. Still, I feel the connection!
Steve

Carlton was a good player no doubt, you can’t play 24 years in the Big Leagues’ if your not. But he wasn’t one of my favorite players. He is in the HOF, but I don’t think he was even a top 3 catcher during his era. ( Bench, Carter, Simmons)

Awesome photos! I had no idea the Cell was so pretty. I love that they call it “greenery”. These are the great, funny things I would never know were it not for MLBlogs. I love the “diamond” in Champions Plaza. The Angels have something similar but it isn’t nearly as ornate. Very cool. Having sat through not just the 7th but also the 14th inning stretch in two Mariners games before, you were wise to leave when you did with young kids. :)
— Kristen

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