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U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago, USA

August 22nd, 2006 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

U.S. Cellular Field a.k.a. "The Cell" (formerly Comiskey Park II) is a baseball stadium in Chicago, Illinois. It is the home of the Chicago White Sox of the American League. The park opened for the 1991 season, after the White Sox had spent 81 years at Comiskey Park. The new park, completed at a cost of $167 million, also opened with the Comiskey Park name, but became U.S. Cellular Field in 2003 after U.S. Cellular bought the naming rights at $68 million over 20 years. It hosted the MLB All-Star Game that same year. A few sportscasters, though, continue to use the former name, New Comiskey Park.

The stadium is in Armour Square, a neighborhood of the city, though it is usually associated with Bridgeport, the adjacent neighborhood. It is at 35th Street and Shields Avenue. It was built in the parking lot of old Comiskey Park, which was torn down and became a parking lot for the current field. A few design features from the old park were retained including the "exploding scoreboard", which lights up in color when a White Sox player hits a home run and the Sox Shower where fans can cool off during games. To avoid obstructed viewing, the upper deck was set back over the lower deck. The lowest row of seats in the upper deck at the new stadium is actually farther from the field than the highest row of seats in the upper deck at the old stadium was.

The stadium was the last built before the recent wave of new "retro" stadiums. In response to fan complaints, the stadium has undergone numerous renovations since its opening in order to retrofit the facility to current architectural trends. These new features have included building a multi-tiered concourse beyond center field, adjusting the field of play to create asymmetrical fences and, most significantly the removal of the most distant seats at the top of the upper deck, and the addition of a new roof.

The uppermost story of the park now has a white and black screen behind the top row of seats and is topped by a flat canopy roof supported by poles that obstruct the view of a few seats. To give the park a "retro" feel the roof has black steel truss supports. The original blue seats are also being replaced by wider forest green seats. The new green and black color scheme, upper level screen set back from the outer wall and canopy roof resembles the old Comiskey Park as well as other classic baseball stadiums. The White Sox have also added murals to the interior concourses, a prominent feature of the old stadium.

The stadium contains 84 luxury suites located on two levels, as well as thousands of club seats on a mezzanine between the lower deck and upper deck. There is also a fan deck in the bleachers where you can find your pitching speed and cool off under a fountain.

[Source: Wikipedia]

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