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Chicago White Sox seek interest and new ballpark


GLENDALE, Ariz. — Dylan Cease and Michael Kopech probably won’t be around when the White Sox open their proposed South Loop ballpark years from now.

Interception has been the subject of trade rumors all season and he may not even make the Sox roster on opening day. Kopech will be a free agent after 2025, and as Carlos Rodon and Lucas Giolito found out, even if he makes it this far, the Sox aren’t known for giving long-term extensions to their starting pitchers.

But Cease and Kopech began their major league careers at Sox Park on the South Side and developed an affinity for the ballpark that many Sox fans, and apparently President Jerry Reinsdorf, disliked as well.

“For me, that’s home, so I always look forward to going there,” Cease said Saturday at Camelback Ranch. “Are there things that can be improved? Yes probably. But it’s like most things in life.”

Kopech said “the atmosphere of how the stadium is set up is pretty cool and pretty unique” among major league parks.

“Personally, I like the structure of our hitter’s eye,” he said. “It’s always been one of my favorite stadiums. I’ve kind of gotten used to it, I guess. It’s hard to replicate the same feeling when entering a brand new park for the first time because it’s home.”

Cease and Kopech saw how electric the Guaranteed Rate Field could be when it was full and the season approached. Game 3 of the 2021 American League Division Series The game against the Houston Astros was one of the best days in the ballpark’s 32-year history.

Now there’s nostalgia for old Sox players for the old Comiskey Park. As the documentary “Last Comiskey” provesFew Sox players or coaches in the late 1980s bemoaned the ending, even though many fans were heartbroken by the devastation waiting to be destroyed.

Former bench coach Ed Brinkman once complained to Tribune Sox reporter Ed Sherman: “You can’t see anything out of our dugout. If you’re sitting on the bench, you can’t see the outfield and can barely see second and first base. There is no other shelter this bad. Absolutely the worst seat in the house.”

Guaranteed Price Area

Eileen T. Meslar/Chicago Tribune

A White Sox waves a flag before their game against the Giants at Guaranteed Rate Field on April 6, 2023.

St. After threatening to move to St. Petersburg, Fla., the Sox received public financing to build the new Comiskey Park; We were told it would be state-of-the-art and provide players with many amenities that were missing from the old park. Players liked the new facility, but the upper deck’s altitude drew much criticism and the overall structure—without any view of the Chicago skyline—was largely met with backlash. A year later, the Baltimore Orioles opened Camden Yards, ushering in the era of retro parks.

Even after renovations fixed some problems and made Sox Park more fan-friendly, drawing was difficult for the team most years. After finishing 19th (24,704) in 2022, they ranked 24th in 2023 with an average attendance of 21,405 per game. The last year the Sox averaged over 30,000 was 2008 (30,877), the last time they made the playoffs before 2020, when this season was played in empty arenas due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Sox’s plans for the new ballpark are moving relatively quickly. It’s where they hope to build in the “78” area in the South Loop. The renders were published recently and Crain’s Chicago Business reported On Friday, Reinsdorf is expected to request nearly $1 billion in public money for financing; This subsidy is unlikely to win over weary taxpayers who have seen the Sox and Chicago Bears receive public money for the new Comiskey Park and Soldier Field renovation.

A Sox spokesman said Saturday that the team had no comment on Crain’s report.

Guaranteed Rate Field’s lease expires in 2029 and the option year is in 2030, so there’s time for the Sox to get things sorted before finding a new home.

But unlike the late 1980s, when Reinsdorf could count on political friends like Gov. Jim Thompson and House Speaker Mike Madigan to roll up their sleeves and set the clock to complete a deadline deal, it’s a very different environment for the city and state now. . Governor JB Pritzker should consider his future political aspirations before doling out money to a team worth $2 billion.

As the leaks continue, the stadium issue should be at the forefront as the Sox rebuild heads into the 2024 season. If the team gets off to a bad start, it will be difficult to convince fans to come to games. Aside from the much-discussed cheap seats in the upper deck, some are wondering if the Sox really need a new ballpark.

Kopech admitted that he had heard about the new stadium plans but had not followed them closely.

“I hope that’s why I’m around, but who knows?” said. “If everything goes right…”

Cease saw renderings of the proposed South Loop park and was impressed.

“It looked really great,” he said. “It would be hard to argue that this wouldn’t be an upgrade for us. But for me, this has been my home for the last few years and I personally don’t mind going there.”

Cease and Kopech said they are fans of old-school ballparks and mentioned Fenway Park and Wrigley Field as their favorites.

“I love the nostalgia of the old times,” Kopech said. “Fenway and Wrigley are pretty unique. I’m not a fan of the new Yankee Stadium. It feels a little impersonal. The older ones, like Fenway and Wrigley, are more of a baseball atmosphere.”

Cease agrees that some of the new venues that have opened in his career have not been in line with his vision of what fans or players want.

“They almost look like a shopping mall to me,” he said. “They don’t have the baseball character of Fenway, Wrigley or Dodger Stadium. Most of the stadiums have something unique to them. “I love Pittsburgh and the (San Francisco) Giants stadium is really cool.”

It’s going to be a long summer for the Sox on the court and on the political front as the team struggles for currency and a new state-of-the-art ballpark.

Stop us if you’ve heard this before.


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