I recently had the opportunity to attend two baseball games in Chicago—one White Sox game and one Cubs game. When I tell most baseball fans about this experience, they ask, “How did you like Wrigley?” and I say, “I went to a White Sox game, too,” and they say, “Oh? Wrigley’s amazing, huh?” and then I say, “Do you want to hear about the White Sox?” And then their eyes turn to little spinning computer beach balls, as though they are trying to process something and it’s not working and I’m going to have to force quit and start the conversation over. And then they say, “Did you know you can see the game from the rooftops of the apartment buildings across the street from Wrigley?”
So I thought I’d offer this point-by-point comparison of the two stadiums and see which one is really better. The result may surprise you!
Wrigley Field, celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, is iconic. (Because I am a sentimental baseball fan and a blogger, I am required by law to use the word cathedral when writing about Wrigley: cathedral cathedral cathedral.) While Wrigley is a relatively comfortable place to watch a game, old ballparks offer certain challenges. When I asked an usher in the upper deck where the nearest men’s room was, he started with “Go down this ramp…” and ended with “It’s not as far as it sounds”—which means it was far. Still, it is one of the historic cathedrals (I told you) of baseball that all fans must see at least once, along with Fenway, Dodger Stadium (to a lesser extent), and before they tore it down and replaced it with an exact replica, Yankee Stadium.
On the other hand, US Cellular Field, which opened in 1991, was built in an architectural style called Soviet Prison Bauhaus. It’s blocky and gray, but functional. Even with wide concourses and bathrooms right there on the same level that you’re already on, it’s basically the last of the crappy old stadiums built immediately before the nice new ones starting with Camden Yards (1993) and Coors Field (1995).