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Progress? New Comiskey Park

New Comiskey Park opened April 18, 1991. The team promised, "New fangled, old-fashioned fun." For a variety of reasons, the park has come in for some criticism. Is that fair? You decide.


Old and New, side by side on September 30, 1990. The last game at Old Comiskey.

 


The main entrance into the post modern Comiskey is not
for the fans, but for the team's offices.
 

These massive arched windows reflect passing clouds, but are
not visible to anyone inside the park.  An architectural afterthought,
most of  these windows are hidden behind the switchback ramps which were
inexcusably left outside the park's exterior facade.
.


The west elevation of New Comiskey looks like nothing but
an ugly parking garage.  The park was originally designed for a site in
suburban Addison back in 1986.  The Old Comiskey "retro" look was never
a consideration until 1988 after funding legislation required the
park be built at 35th and Shields.  Reinsdorf's front office refused
any design revisions which might have delayed the park's 1991 opening.
Gee, $125 million in taxpayer money just doesn't buy you much
clout with Jerry Reinsdorf.

 
 
 


Shields Avenue looking south towards the park.
The Addison-designed park was too big to fit Chicago's
street grid, so they simply terminated Shields at 35th Street.
In Baltimore and Cleveland, the park's quirky design was necessitated by fitting
the ballpark to the site.   New Comiskey was just the opposite.
Reinsdorf's front office had the exact park they wanted shoved into the Chicago
site the politicians required.  Thus New Comiskey's layout is as symmetrical and vanilla
as any new ballpark built in the previous 30 years -- but not a single one since.



New Comiskey's scoreboard backs up to a retirement home.
Could the city planners have ever agreed to permit an
exploding scoreboard be placed so close to a residential building
if someone further up the chain of command was not specifically
forcing them to overlook it?
 
 

New Comiskey's scoreboard is bigger than Old Comiskey's but seems much smaller given the new park's expansive bowl. This scoreboard doesn't "loom" like the old one did.
(photo: author)

 
 

The infamous upper deck.  This aisle terminates
29 rows up towards the clouds above New Comiskey's
playing field.  Even those who don't suffer vertigo are
left unsettled by the steep incline of the seats.

 

There are thousands of terrific views inside
New Comiskey.  This one was taken from the Club Level,
the narrow band of seats sandwiched between the park's
two decks of Diamond Suites.


The outfield concourse is a lively area for fans attending
day games.  Fans keep cool with a misting rain room and
Veeck-esque shower head installed in 1998.


Not a single post obscures the fans' view at New Comiskey except
of course the fair poles.  The upper deck seats are hardly any further
away from homeplate as those of any new ballpark -- including the popular "retro" ones
built in Baltimore, Cleveland, and other cities in the  90's.
The Diamond Suites comprise two of the decks between the main
concourse and upper deck.  Sandwiched in between is the press box
and Club Level seats.


Here is a view from the upper deck at New Comiskey Park that is not
bad at all.  The ugly truth for Chicago's fans is that this is the norm
for all new ballparks.  Dead and gone are the intimate views which average fans
could expect from their ordinary seats at Old Comiskey Park  and the other aged ballparks of that era.
Those views are still available but you must lease a Diamond Suite or get a seat on the Club
Level.  Frankly, the main concourse seats are still the most fun place to sit -- box seats or bleachers.

 

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