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7 secrets of U.S. Cellular Field

June 17, 2012|RedEye

The White Sox have occupied first place in the AL Central for a good chunk of this season, yet fans are staying away from U.S. Cellular Field. Maybe it's because they don't feel they know the park well enough given the changes it's undergone in 21 years. Or maybe they're just waiting for the Cubs to visit. Whatever the case, here are seven things to know about the stadium that will host Round 2 of this year's Crosstown Classic, beginning Monday.

It's gone Hollywood

The stadium doubled as a New York ballpark in the Cubs-centered flick "Rookie of the Year," It also was featured prominently in "My Best Friend's Wedding." If you listen carefully, you can hear an Ozzie Guillen at-bat announced on the public-address system in one scene.

It's not old, but its dirt is

In addition to the exploding scoreboard, the infield dirt at the Cell was imported from the old Comiskey Park. Imagine all the umpires that dirt's been kicked on through the years ...

It gets the blues

Most of the park's original blue seats were swapped before the 2007 season. The only two that remain: the spots where Paul Konerko's grand slam and Scott Podsednik's game-winning homer landed in Game 2 of the 2005 World Series.

It can be bought

If you're not used to calling it U.S. Cellular Field, you still have time to make it a habit. The company purchased 20 years' worth of naming rights for $68 million in 2003. But if you're President Obama, you just call it "Cominskey Field."

It found religion

Joel Osteen, pastor of the the Lakewood megachurch—the largest church in the nation—hosted a "Night of Hope" in front of thousands of followers in August. If they were praying for Adam Dunn to regain his home run stroke, it's a job well done.

It feels like old times

If you get déjà vu on the ramp across 35th Street, here's why: According to U.S. Cellular Field's Facebook page, the ramp is "designed in such a way (partly curved, partly straight but angling east-northeast) that it echoes the contour of the old first-base grandstand" at the old Comiskey Park.

It respects its elders

Eight Sox legends are immortalized with bronze statues in and around the stadium: Minnie Minoso, Carlton Fisk, Charles Comiskey, Luis Aparicio, Nellie Fox, Billy Pierce, Harold Baines and Frank Thomas. We bet Paul Konerko is next.

Sources: Tribune archives, whitesox.com, ballparksofbaseball.com

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