Section 163, Row 9, Seat 7

By Chris Rewers on Sunday, June 27, 2010

We didn't have it as bad as Daniel in the den of lions, but as Cubs fans (and sober people), my family was an island in a vast sea of Sox fans (and drunks) when we attended Saturday night's city series game at the facility formerly known as Comiskey Park.

I appreciate the existence of the White Sox and am glad that they did not relocate to St. Petersburg, Fla. in the late 1980s. It's great to have an American League team in town simply for the fact that every major league team plays here at least once a year.

Interleague play? I'm not crazy about it, but am resigned to the fact that it's here to stay. Sunday's game was the White Sox's fourth sellout of the season and three of those sellouts were for the Cubs games.

We live in Bridgeport, a few blocks from Sox Park, and interleague play provides us with the benefit of being able to walk to at least one Cubs game every year. It's nice to not have to worry about the Red Line or parking, to eat dinner at our kitchen table, and to not have to depart for the ballpark until about 45 minutes before the first pitch.

I purchased our tickets at the White Sox box office when the windows opened at 9 a.m. Saturday. I was pleased with the location of the seats in the left-field bleachers, but not so pleased with the price. A White Sox bleacher seat is $38 for "premium" games against the likes of the Yankees and Red Sox, but is marked up to a ridiculous $59 for Cubs games.

Sox marketing chief Brooks Boyer told Ed Sherman of Crain's that the tickets are marked up so that they are priced comparatively to Wrigley Field tickets for the Cubs-Sox games.

"It's the same product," Boyer said. "Why should it be a lower price eight miles away?"

Because it is not the same product. Watching a game at Wrigley Field is a much different experience than attending a game on the South Side. And tiered pricing is simply wrong. A game against the Royals in April counts in the standings just the same as a game against the Cubs in June or one against the Red Sox in July or one against the Yankees in August.

I was also disappointed when Nick behind the ticket window said that there would not be the customary White Sox Saturday night fireworks show. There would be too many people and besides the game would provide plenty of fireworks, I was told. A two-hour rain delay on Wednesday, however, was not enough to cancel the postgame show after that game. My family and neighbors, many of us who work for a living, didn't appreciate a loud midweek pyrotechnics display at 12:15 a.m.

My wife, Denise, and I decided to take our 2-year-old son, Will, to the game. We took him to the ballpark in his stroller and checked the stroller in at customer service on the first-base side lower-deck concourse.

When we arrived at our seats, we were pleased with the view although there was a terrible glare from the sun for the first three innings. I had to pull down the bill of my cap and also shade my eyes with my scorecard in order to see the action clearly.

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We were not so pleased with how hard the metal benches were and how little leg room there was. Whenever another patron would walk past us to or from the aisle, we had to stand up on the bench. Very annoying. But at least the benches had backrests.

And our views of the exploding center-field scoreboard and right-field scoreboard were obscured by the center-field fan deck.

Perhaps it is a sign that I'm getting old, but I've always thought that the sound system at Sox Park is jacked up way too loud. The intro as the Sox take the field includes fireworks and blaring AC/DC. It is a bit over-the-top. Poor Will, who spent much of the time prior to the first pitch flirting with the four young women seated to our left, covered his ears during the commotion.

The Sox serve a wide variety of tasty food and we were pleased with our fare. Denise enjoyed chicken fingers, Will devoured a personal pizza (and got the sauce all over my scorecard), and I wolfed down a decent beef sandwich with giardiniera. The beef was not too dry and the bun was not stale.

Most of the fans seated in our vicinity were friendly and most of the ribbing was good-natured, but there were at least three incidents - fights or rowdy behavior - in our section during the late innings.

The Sox hadn't hosted the Cubs for a night game since June 8, 2001. I suspect that the concerns of the Sox are crowd-control issues.

Saturday's game was played at night, I suppose, because Fox, which picked it up as a regional "Game of the Week," wanted to show it in prime time.

I thought security in our section was adequate. The officers were able to subdue and escort all of the idiots out in a swift and orderly fashion. We never felt threatened or unsafe.

The first fight, in the seventh inning between a Sox and Cubs fan, broke out after Aramis Ramirez's home run in the seventh inning. The second - and most amusing - fracas occurred in the eighth and concluded with two Sox fans getting hauled away. One of the morons took a swing at one of the eight security officers surrounding him. That was his last and stupidest mistake and he was quickly taken down. A Cubs fan was hauled away in the ninth.

As distracting as that nonsense was, I was most annoyed with the lack of etiquette that was on display from many of the fans. A woman, who looked to be in her 50s or perhaps 60s who was two rows directly in front of me, kept standing up for no apparent reason and on a couple occasions stood, turned around and began a conversation with a gentleman seated in the row between us while the game was in progress. And others in our row - and the eight rows in front of us - selfishly barged through their rows during game action. Because of them, I totally missed Starlin Castro's inning-ending groundout in the top of the second and Castro's error on an Alexei Ramirez grounder in the bottom half of that inning.

Please, people, wait to move about until the side is retired or at least between batters. It's simply good manners.

And thank goodness there was no rain. Tom Skilling's forecast included showers (so I guess he is not a deity after all) and the thought of waiting out a thunderstorm in that throng was troubling.

Thankfully, we were spared such a fate.

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