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An American tradition gone awry

Wednesday, Apr 2, 2014

* Illinois Review

This is opening week for America’s 2014 baseball season, and there’s no place where patriotism is more in vogue than at Chicago’s White Sox season opener Monday at U.S. Cellular Field.

Over 100 members of the United States military stretched out this 250 foot flag in front of 40,000 baseball fans. […]

Monday, the game’s opening routine was inspirational seeing the flag and American baseball fans of all political views singing with their hands on their hearts, “the land of the free, and the home of the brave.” Then finishing with the inevitable, “Play ball!”

* Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to be inspired by the pre-game festivities because of another American tradition: Poorly executed security rules

Fans arriving at U.S. Cellular Field on Monday were greeted by long lines and metal detectors when they tried to enter the stadium to watch the Chicago White Sox take on the Minnesota Twins on opening day.

Major League Baseball has told its 30 teams they must implement security screening for fans by 2015, either with hand-held metal detection or walk-through magnetometers. The White Sox checked fans by hand-held or walkthrough metal detectors depending on where they tried to enter the stadium.

That, and a sellout crowd of 37,422, contributed to lengthy delays trying to see Chris Sale and the White Sox face the Twins.

The White Sox didn’t hire nearly enough security guards, so thousands were still outside waiting in endless lines during the singing of our National Anthem.

* I arrived about an hour early, but got stuck driving through a parking lot near the stadium surrounded by a mass of people trying to get inside. I couldn’t move more than a few feet for a half an hour because nobody was directing foot or auto traffic, except a couple of guys who were sitting on a golf cart doing essentially nothing.

Yeah, I was upset at missing part of the game, but I was really steamed that we were all - drivers and pedestrians - put in a needlessly dangerous situation and I was scared to death that I was going to run over somebody’s foot, or worse. People were literally squeezing by my car and jumping in front of me as I was stuck in the morass.

So, perhaps a legitimate concern for security turned into a potentially dangerous situation elsewhere. Not cool, Mr. Reinsdorf. Not cool at all.

Also, dude, you’re losing money when fans can’t get into your park. There were still people lined up at Gate 3 during the 3rd inning, for crying out loud.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Pete - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 12:35 pm:

    Declined a term limit petition while waiting to get in.

  2. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 12:39 pm:

    In fairness, they don’t usually get big crowds at Comiskey. 37,422 is about what they draw for a three game series, so it’s no wonder they were overwhelmed.

  3. - A guy... - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 12:40 pm:

    I learned during the WS playoffs in 05. I had a very nice close up parking pass for each game…that I didn’t get to use once. Game 1 against Boston, parked by IIT and hoofed it a mile to get there by 2nd inning. After that, it was academic. Get there an hour early. Drive downtown, park in the theatre district, take the Red line and enter Gate 5. For any baseball game, it’s worth it to me. For a rare playoff game, it was vital. For a once per century world series game, I’d walk there from home. Stinks that you had to miss any part of opening day. Boo.

  4. - A guy... - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 12:43 pm:

    47th Ward, that’s an exaggeration, and they always sell out on Opening Day. It’s a serious baseball place, so the spa hasn’t been installed yet for the people who go to sun bathe and can sit perfectly still with no reason to clap for nine innings like the amusement park 70 blocks north.

  5. - Stones - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 12:49 pm:

    Point well made Rich but at least you saw a White Sox winner. Definitely better than the alternative!

  6. - Bill White - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 12:56 pm:

    My son and I arrived an hour early and entered through the gift shop. No problem.

    My wife got caught up in the security lines and missed the 1st two innings.

    She was steamed!

  7. - John A Logan - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 12:57 pm:

    Posts like these remind me why I am a Cardinal Fan.

  8. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 12:59 pm:

    I think you need to give Jerry a break.

    It was a mandate from Bud’s office and this was the first time out. The only knock I’ll put on the Sox is that they didn’t advertise the fact there would be metal detectors. But, if they did,, some people would probably have freaked, so I get it.

    And 47 is right, too. The Sox don’t sell out so it won’t be a problem going forward. They average 22K a game.

    And A Guy, as usual, your comments have no relationship to reality. Wrigley is as bear bones as you can get when it comes to non-baseball attractions. No fireworks, no rain room, no shower in outfield, no FUNdamenetals, etc.

  9. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 1:01 pm:

    ===It was a mandate from Bud’s office===

    No, it wasn’t. The mandate doesn’t apply until next season.

  10. - Bill White - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 1:02 pm:

    For Opening Day, we park in Chinatown, underneath the Red Line tracks. Missed pretty much all of the stadium traffic.

    For regular games there is a super secret public lot at . . .

    Oh, never mind . . .

  11. - Loop Lady - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 1:02 pm:

    Rich, now you know why most people in Chicago do not care for Reinsdorf…your enjoyment at a sporting event is always secondary to him lining his pockets…extra security? That would affect his bottom line…

  12. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 1:04 pm:

    ===For Opening Day, we park in Chinatown===

    If I knew in advance that it was gonna be such a madhouse, I never would’ve parked at the stadium.

  13. - Bill White - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 1:06 pm:

    Last year, I dropped off my crew near the ball park, drove around for 40 minutes and then went to Chinatown. This year, we went straight to Cermak and Wentworth.

  14. - x ace - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 1:09 pm:

    Bill Veeck would have , at the very least , been selling you beer while you were waiting in line.

  15. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 1:10 pm:

    If you’re going to insist on metal detectors and screening every aspect of my person before allowing me in to watch the game, at least hire enough manpower to do so efficiently, professionally and properly without detracting from the game and jeopardizing patrons.

    Otherwise you wind up costing yourself business and good will.

    It’s opening day, for crying out loud. They weren’t expecting a crowd?

  16. - Stones - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 1:10 pm:

    Loop Lady, I couldn’t disagree with you more. Jerry Reinsdorf is the best owner this town has had with the possible exception of Rocky Wirtz. Yes, he’s a businessman and interested in a return on his investment but he has always tried to put a quality product on the field. Other Chicago owners cannot claim that.

  17. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 1:12 pm:

    –Posts like these remind me why I am a Cardinal Fan.–

    It’s a league-wide mandate. There will be metal detectors and wands at Busch, too.

    Great ballpark, by the way, one of the best of the new ones, along with Pittsburgh, Detroit, Milwaukee, DC, San Francisco and Camden Yards, the one that started the new wave of ballparks.

    They really did it right in St. Louis. Beats the heck out of the old dump with the hard carpet.

    Great baseball town, St. Louis.

  18. - Bill White - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 1:16 pm:


    I can never, ever forgive Reinsdorf for Ribbie and Roobarb. Ever.

    === The Sox hired the marketing firm that designed the Phillie Phanatic to design modern mascots for the White Sox. The end result was Ribbie and Roobarb, two fuzzballs who looked like the product of a bad experience with LSD. Ribbie was a purple anteater and Roobarb looked like the love child of the San Diego Chicken and a Swiffer. ===


    As for Bill Veeck, nothing can ever replace “Mary Kay Cosmetic Night” when ~1,000 women wearing pink suits lined up on the field to see who would win the pink Cadillac that year.

    Or that one Irish Night, when it took three hours to clear our the stadium after the game was called for rain.

  19. - PolPal56 - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 1:17 pm:

    I haven’t watched even an entire inning of baseball since 1994.

    I was a serious Cards fan prior to that. I’m not sure I could name any players now, but from the late 80s? Ozzie Smith, Vince Coleman, Pedro Guerrero, Willie McGee, Joe Magraine, Jack Clark, Jose Oquendo, Brunanski, and good ol’ Whitey Herzog.

  20. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 1:21 pm:

    –Rich, now you know why most people in Chicago do not care for Reinsdorf…your enjoyment at a sporting event is always secondary to him lining his pockets…extra security? That would affect his bottom line…–

    Can’t agree with that. He shook down the state awfully good for the stadium, but he’s given an a lot back, too.

    Hundreds of Sox baseball camps all over the metro every year. My kids went to one three blocks from our house at Longfellow Center. Joe Crede and Aaron Rowand were teachers when they played night games.

    The Bulls/Sox Training Academies are the goods. World-class facilities at a reasonable price. And there are many inner-city baseball teams that are decked out in the best equipment because of Jerry.

    Plus, six Bulls titles and the only WS winner since 1919? I’ll take it.

  21. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 1:22 pm:

    Alot of fans at the Cell today dressed as great seats, but that’s a usual thing with the 2nd home game of the season.

    To Rich’s point, every second a fan is not in the ballpark, that is a hot dog not bought, a beer not sold, souvenirs not paid for, and that is the money made on the game day. Tickets are fixed income, with seat prices, and finite seats equal the take at the gate. But, how many more beers can be bought with fans actually INSIDE? You are bleeding cash with no one buying from the vendors.

  22. - PolPal56 - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 1:23 pm:

    Well, Whitey wasn’t a player for the Cards, but you know what I mean. He was a better manager, anyway. As he himself has said many times, baseball was good to him once he quit trying to play it!

  23. - vise77 - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 1:33 pm:

    ” They really did it right in St. Louis. Beats the heck out of the old dump with the hard carpet.

    Great baseball town, St. Louis. ”

    I’m a Cards fan from So. Ill., so yeah to point #2. But I know no one in my family who really likes Busch #3. Sure, it is better than the hard carpet and all that, but there seems to be something just “meh” about it (though the view can be great of the city). Maybe it’s the bad beer, or the food–but there’s something keeping it from being not quite as good as it should be. Maybe we are just typical spoiled, entitled Cardinals fans who always think we deserve more simply for wearing the red. Hey, it happens!

    I prefer Sox Park and Miller Park to Busch III, actually.

  24. - vise77 - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 1:34 pm:

    “I was a serious Cards fan prior to that.”

    I get why you left–I had to back away for a bit, too–but you are missing one of the best eras in Cardinals history. I grew up with Whiteyball, and this era tops that era in my book.

  25. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 1:36 pm:

    –As for Bill Veeck, nothing can ever replace “Mary Kay Cosmetic Night” when ~1,000 women wearing pink suits lined up on the field to see who would win the pink Cadillac that year.–

    C’mon, dude, give Veeck more credit than that. Eddie Gaedel? Disco Demolition Night.

    The cat had an ashtray screwed into his wooden leg.

    Plus, pairing Harry Caray and Jimmy Piersall was inspired. Drunk and Crazy. Many a night tuned in on the farm to hear what those two might say next.

  26. - jim - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 1:36 pm:

    All those rules do is inflict inconvenience. any self-respecting terrorist could get in without any problems.

  27. - Darienite - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 1:39 pm:

    Hey Flub, I mean Cub fans, we’ll see how well it works on Friday at Wrigley. Unlike the NFL and certain MLB teams that draw sellouts all the time, baseball attendance fluctuates especially in April and May. Don’t have enough security, people are waiting to get in - have too many, security costs increase while they’re scratching themselves.

  28. - Team Sleep - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 1:41 pm:

    I enjoy New Comiskey much more than New Busch Stadium. The beer and food choices (and prices) are much better. However, the transportation to and from Busch Stadium and the parking nearby is vastly superior to New Comiskey. The Cards run a first class organization and the time it took me to pass through security during last year’s World Series was on par with security during the regular season. That is not a potshot at Mr. Reinsdorf, but I must admit that my last visit to New Comiskey was not as enjoyable due to parking and security issues.

  29. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 1:44 pm:

    Vise, that surprises me. I really dig the place.

    But yes, you Cardinal fans have a wee sense of entitlement. Must be all those pennants in your lifetime, lol.

    I can’t relate. I was raised a Cubs fan. The most celebrated Cubs team in my lifetime had four Hall of Famers and finished eight games out of the money.

    But somewhere in the recesses of my mind, the Cubs are still up three games to one on the Marlins with Zambrano, Prior and Wood set to take the bump…..

  30. - Anon - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 1:45 pm:

    Wait till June. The Springfield airport will be more crowded than Comiskey by then.

  31. - FormerParatrooper - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 1:49 pm:

    No worries. TSA will take over the security for sporting events. Then going to the baseball game will be like going to the airport.

    If this new reality of security measures is going to be accepted, then efficiency in doing them must be demanded.

  32. - LA05 - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 1:49 pm:

    Went to the game Monday as well. While we were waiting in line in Lot B to enter through gate 5, those goofs in the golf cart had the nerve to tell us it was time to leave the parking lot and enter the game. Really Einstein? Do you think we are all just waiting in line for fun?

  33. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 1:49 pm:

    –I grew up with Whiteyball, and this era tops that era in my book.–

    Team built for that big park and hard carpet. Coleman, McGee and Smith chasing everything down in the outfield. Oz performing magic at short. And everybody, fast, fast, fast.

    I used to cringe when the old Cub plowhorse teams would go to Busch. Cey at third, Bowa at short. Please. They didn’t even cut the grass at Wrigley so those old timers had a chance at a ground ball.

    Dave Kingman in right field at Busch? Or Keith Moreland? It was for laughs, or tears.

  34. - vise77 - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 1:53 pm:

    “Team built for that big park and hard carpet.”


    But all the young arms now, combined with our years with Pujols, the emergence of Yadi as an all-around great, and the 2011 WS, makes this era tops for me.

    As an entitled and spoiled Cards fan, though, I expect to have another best era before I die.

  35. - Stones - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 1:55 pm:

    Bill White -

    I wholeheartedly agree with you on Ribbie & Rubarb BRUTAL! I don’t care for Southpaw either.

    Still, Clark the Bear? Maybe the lamest mascot yet.

    I miss Andy the Clown! Only mascot I really ever enjoyed. His nose lit up when he shook your hand.

  36. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 2:00 pm:

    –Plus, six Bulls titles and the only WS winner since 1919?–

    Forgive me. 1919 was the Black Sox year. Should have been only WS winner since 1917 — when the Tsar was in St. Petersburg and the Kaiser was in Berlin.

    By the way, “Eight Men Out” — great John Sayles movie, even for non-baseball fans.

    Vise, Yadi is the goods. Best player in the National League. The only player in MLB I’d take over him is Trout.

    Baseball is back. I declare this lousy winter OVAH!

  37. - Michelle Flaherty - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 2:02 pm:

    Who’s in charge of that ballpark these days?

  38. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 2:06 pm:

    ===By the way, “Eight Men Out” — great John Sayles movie, even for non-baseball fans.===

    Agreed. John Mahoney and John Cusack, two of the local boys, Mahoney use to live in Oak Park, - wordslinger -, heading up a great cast, including Studs Terkel to add some zip to that Chicago flavor.

    “Say it ain’t so, Joe. Say it ain’t so.”

  39. - A guy... - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 2:09 pm:

    ====And A Guy, as usual, your comments have no relationship to reality. Wrigley is as bear bones as you can get when it comes to non-baseball attractions. No fireworks, no rain room, no shower in outfield, no FUNdamenetals, etc.====

    Oh W Slinger, you’re so right. They don’t have any of this very cool stuff. But, you can get a sun tan, a warm beer and sit still without having to clap at Wrigley.

    That being said, Wrigley (not the Cubs) is a National Baseball Treasure that belongs to Baseball. It’s as pristine and remarkable as Fenway or old Yankee stadium. The only difference being those teams won games. No question that added to the experience. The Cubs, are just not worthy of this iconic baseball palace. BTW, the parking is somewhat unpredictable there as well. Take the El.

  40. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 2:13 pm:

    ===It’s as pristine and remarkable as Fenway…===

    Take the tours of Wrigley and then Fenway.

    The 2014 Fenway blows the doors off the 2014 Wrigley in just about every “creature feature”. Fenway inside is beyond pristine and state of the art, Wrigley is literary crumbling.

    The Ricketts knew that when they bought it, no sympathy.

  41. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 2:17 pm:

    –Mahoney use to live in Oak Park–

    Still has a place here, I think. Have tipped a few beers with him over the years while watching a ballgame at Poor Phil’s. Swell guy, not a bigfoot at all.

  42. - Product of the 60's - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 2:20 pm:

    Sox know OD always draws near capacity.
    Reinsdorf is first a business man, second a lover of the game. Overall I don’t like him. When he bought the club w/ Einhorn he treated Veeck with no respect….no wonder Veeck went back to watch games from the bleachers at Wrigley.

    As to parks mentioned, been to them all.
    1. Wrigley Field 2. Busch 3. Cell 4. Miller Park ( wide concourses, and some nice plush areas behind the stands if you have the tickets, but it is quite dark everywhere, no matter if the roof is open or closed.

  43. - A guy... - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 2:21 pm:

    Haven’t been to Fenway in 2014, but I’ve been there many times in the past several years. It’s a palace. It photographs better on TV actually. The Green monster looks a little odd when you’re there. The street festival outside the place before each game is something to behold. Thank God, because once you’re inside it’s as bare bones and basic as every park built 100 years ago. The fans are among the most “into” the game in helping their team as anyplace in the country. It smells like pee sometimes. The seats are narrow and leg room is extremely tight and….there’s almost no place I’d rather watch a game. No matter who they’re playing. For new places; Camden Yards followed by Safeco in Seattle, and then Milwaukee. Haven’t been to the new St. Louis. I’ll get there this summer. SF very nice too.

  44. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 2:29 pm:

    A Guy, you kill me.

    I’ve heard Wrigley called a lot of things, good and bad, but never “prisinte,” lol.

    Dude, you can’t evacuate all that Old Style with a trough system and be “pristine,” you dig?

  45. - Bill White - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 2:32 pm:

    Something Reinsdorf did right was ending the travesty of DiGiorno as the “Official pizza of the White Sox”

    Frozen pizza in a pizza town? Beyond ridiculous.

  46. - Bill White - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 2:33 pm:

    My bad - DiGiorno is merely chilled, not frozen.

    My apologies for the error.

  47. - Stones - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 2:36 pm:

    Personally, I’ve been to the Cell (I still call it Comiskey) & Wrigley locally and also Camden Yards & Chase Field (Phoenix). Of those, Camden was by far the nicest. Chase Field had the interesting swimming pool in CF & a retractable roof but their food was terrible. Comiskey has the best ballpark food I have had. Wrigley has history on their side but nothing else.

    BTW, anyone who thinks that a rooftop seat across the street from Wrigley is superior than the upper deck at Comiskey is seriously misinformed.

  48. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 3:06 pm:

    “Nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded”

    Yogi Berra

  49. - Mittuns - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 3:14 pm:

    I thought they wanded people AFTER a White Sox game…

  50. - Jake From Elwood - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 3:16 pm:

    Rich, get the law changed like Vandemyde is attempting to do……and the two posts are now merged into one.

  51. - Jeff Trigg - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 4:20 pm:

    The Illinois Sports Facility Authority is a wise, efficient, and effective use of tax receipts, yes?

  52. - Bobbysox - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 4:22 pm:

    They sent out emails warning about the new security rules mandated by MLB. Got there early. Got in with no problem. Beautiful day. Beautiful game.

  53. - Bobbysox - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 4:26 pm:

    “• On this Opening Day and throughout the season, fans should allow ample time for entering U.S. Cellular Field. In compliance with new Major League Baseball policies, and similar to procedures at other major sports venues, all fans entering the ballpark are subject to electronic screening, as well as bag searches.”

  54. - In_The_Middle - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 4:43 pm:

    Another reason to buy a 70″ lcd and not to go anywhere.

  55. - Mokenavince - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 5:40 pm:

    DiGiorno in Italian means todays pizza. Not made in January an served in April. When will the White Sox get it?

  56. - Capitol View - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 7:38 pm:

    The White Sox are not used to fan support. They’ll do better as the year progresses — and while the Sox keep winning, as they did again today, that fan support will only grow stronger.

  57. - Just The Way It Is One - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 8:13 pm:

    Gee, sorry to hear you had such a rough start to the SOX Season, Rich–at least they won the Game, and attained yet another “Silver Lining” with today’s–almost shocking–COMEback Victory to go 2-0 and stay tied for 1st–we didn’t see much of THAT good kinda stuff happenin’ on the Field LAST year, that’s for sure…! (And yet, 160 more to go, too)…!

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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