There goes the neighborhood

I’m not necessarily opposed to adding more of a neighborhood around U.S. Cellular Field, but I am vehemently opposed to it when the topic is broached as such:

Many Chicagoans have long complained that when they go to a White Sox game on the South Side, there aren’t any restaurants or bars right outside the stadium like there are outside Wrigley Field when they go to Cubs game.

I mean, one of the area’s greatest charms is that it scares away Chad and Caiytlaiyn.
Plus, that’s terrible sentence construction.
Carlos Torres has one more endorsement than you might think:

“That glove, it’s quality,” says Torres, who pitched a shutout wearing a Vinci model MV30 glove in September, during his third-ever major league start. “And if I have [a glove design] idea, I can call and talk to them about it. A bigger business like Nike (NKE, Fortune 500) isn’t going to change a glove for one player.”
Torres says that although he expects to pick up licensing deals next year, “my agent knows I am keeping my glove.”

By the way: Torres didn’t quite pitch a shutout.  He pitched seven scoreless inning in a shutout.
Christian Marrero Reading Room:
*J.J. examines Scott Podsednik’s season.
*Chris De Luca is at the World Series, reporting on Ozzie Guillen’s TV role and Nick Swisher’s second benching in as many years.
*Juan Uribe wants to test the free agent market.
*Scott Merkin touches on a couple popular topics in his mailbag — Gordon Beckham moving to short, trading for Carl Crawford, etc.
Arizona Fall League:

  • Thursday: Peoria 3, Mesa 2
    • Jordan Danks and C.J. Retherford each went 0-for-3; Danks walked and stole a base.
    • Brent Morel went 1-for-2.
  • Friday: Peoria 5, Phoenix 4
    • Danks went 1-for-4 with a walk.
    • Morel went 1-for-4 with a strikeout; Retherford was hitless in three PAs.
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Does anyone else think that Danks might have a chance at the roster next year? I know everyone says he’s not ready, but isn’t that really a standard reply to bringing up any youngster?


Danks needs to prove he can hit AA pitching first. Right now, he reminds me of Brian Anderson. We know how that turned out.


I wasn’t just basing it off AFL performance. I thought he was hitting good pre-injury in 2009.


I like what you said on facebook–more drunks, less fun. A phony Wrigleyville experience is something I could care less about. What’s even worse, if they build this thing, Hawk & Steve are going to be reading 20 promos for it every game. “I tell ya what, Stoney, I’ve been to a lot of bar/theme-resturants in my time, but in my 50 years of baseball, I’ve never seen a place like this!!”


The problem isn’t that the propsed development is too much, but rather that it’s too little. USCell is like a desert island bounded by a parking garage, terrible housing, the ICG tracks and the Ryan. It’s not just a Wiggleyville comparison. I live in Cleveland, and enjoy going downtown for a nice meal after work, then walking to the ballpark when the Sox are in town. You can’t do that at USCell. I don’t want the whole Wiggley Field bar scene, although I miss McCuddy’s. I just want a place I can take my daughter to dinner, or buy her a Sox hat.
The other problem with the isloation is the fact that the neighborhood gets very little benefit from the park. I hope and expect that the Sox hire local folks as ticket-takers, ushers and so forth, but there’s no reason the neighborhood shouldn’t have a dozen or more businesses making money off the 30k people passing through on a baseball day. The neighbors put up with the traffic and the occasional idiot pissing on their lawn, why shouldn’t they get some benefits as well? Not all that development would have to be food or trinkets. Ordinary retail would serve the neighborhood year round, but could get a boost on game days.
The problem is that after they built the projects, the neighborhood became something Sox fans wanted to avoid, not engage. That’s probably a loss for both the fans and the neighbors, but somebody has to make a move. This project sounds like it just expands the island a little, without really linking USCell to the neighborhood.


I would also like to see some sort of comprehensive plan (and have wondered where this was for years) for suitable development of the surrounding area, not simply a fake wrigleyville experience. That is what is really needed.
I still have a hope(dream) that they will build a sporting-oriented venue nearby (or anywhere, for that matter)…..the kinds of venues that are very lacking, like a national aquatic/diving or tennis center that could be used for professionals/training/schools.


the old bronx is a great example of what they should try to do
thats exactly what i remember a decent amount of pre and post game alternatives for food and drinks instead of the 8 dollar beers at the game and good but overpriced food and a place you wouldnt go til 2am or in the winter


My impression is that Jerry isn’t much interested in Bridgeport/Bronzeville economic development unless the profits involved are his own. (Or maybe his contributions are not publicized.). There’s nothing wrong with that per se. Successful businessman don’t deliberately leave a dollar on the table any more than successful ballclubs deliberately leave runners on third base. But I’ve often thought that if Jerry or some other owner made a concerted effort to create partnerships with the neighbors, the resulting upgrade of the surrounding area would make Sox games more attractive to the casual fan, and would ultimately boost attendence. Bill Veeck once said that if you market your team only to the hard core serious baseball fans, you’ll be out of business by memorial day. The cubbie-wubbies understand that very well, and market the whole restaurant/rooftop/bars/sunshine/nostalgia/loyalty despite repeated failure experience so well that nobody knows or cares if the team wins. (I actually think it might hurt their long-term attendence if they ever won it all.)
I’m not saying I want the Sox to become the south side version of the Cubs. Nonetheless, it’s short sighted for the Sox not to undertand that their product isn’t just what happens between the first and the last pitch, and it isn’t just what happens inside the park, either. They should encourage neighborhood businesses, if only to make the neighborhood look nicer and feel more inviting.
The Sox website knows where I live, and sends me an email reminder every time they’re in Cleveland. Why don’t they organize a group of NE Ohio Sox fans, and help us find a place to eat before the game, and seats together during it?
Why not give each of the 5 largest Sox blogs, a 15 minute exclusive interview with KW or Ozzie once a year, just to encourage interest during the off-season?
All of these things enhance the fan experience, cost the team almost nothing, and likely would pay off in greater attendence down the road.
When I was a boy, the Sox routinely outdrew the Cubs, but now they almost never do. It ain’t because the Cubs have played better baseball during the intervening years. It’s because the Sox marketing people have such a narrow vision of what they’re selling, and because they occasionally act just a little superior to their own fans.
I’ll always care about the Sox because they’re my way of maintaining one small connection to home and family despite the fact that I left Chicago 27 years ago. But if you market your team only to guys like me, you’ll be out of business by memorial day.


This is the opinion of an Iowan who drives into town two to three times a season to see games…
This doesn’t have to be the double edged sword at first it sounds like.
The neighborhood, which is coming along and has changed a lot over the last twenty plus years, needs to be the one thing to benefit from it the most. The fans second and team third.
I would say the chances of it becoming wrigley south are small, but encouraging a few more fans to come as either a group outing and/or bring a family, it can only help the neighborhood, fans and team.
Wrigleyville has a completely different atmosphere, design, parking and people. They suck and are welcome to them, but if we can get a few to come and spend money with our team, you can’t fault any business owner for wanting that. Well, as long as they don’t sit near me.
If they want to duplicate something, let’s get a little closer to the atmosphere in the parking lot of Miller Park. What a great pre-game environment. It is the most fun you can have before a baseball game in all of the big league cities I’ve visited; bars and stuff in the neighborhood or not. Same type of isolated area (stadium wise) in Milwaukee too. Tailgating can and should be encouraged and at the gross $25 (?) parking prices… come on.


I’ve been there a couple times (maybe six total, so take this for what it’s worth) since it opened. The first year, with all the construction on the interstate highway systems around the park left us sitting in traffic and pissed off.
By the next year, it was fine. Though, we were getting their early and that might make a difference.
They’ve also added a few more lots and coming in from the south, through the city and not via any direct highways was very quick.
.. however, the parking can be a pain getting OUT of, if you are in a hurry to leave. Most Brewer fans it seems are more then happy to sit and drink more. So, it didn’t seem like such a big deal to the ones I’ve talked too.
The tailgating before the game was insane. as far as the eye could see grills and friendly faces. In all the stadiums I’ve been to, Miller park had the friendliest fans. I think this is because of the camaraderie before the game. Not drunk’n stupidity, just nice happy fans.


Thanks for pointing out the Nick Swisher article Jim. Priceless stuff. I can’t help but love his clueless enthusiasm.