Loaded with the exciting adventure and interior, Guaranteed Rate Field is the most prolific symbol of sports and entertainment in Chicago. Home to MLB franchise the Chicago White Sox, the stadium signifies to what extent a modern ballpark ensnares baseball fans with exciting facilities and amenities. Its aura as a prime center of attraction is also attested by a large number of concerts, arts, cultural events the stadium hosts year-round.
The Chicago White Sox, when moved to Chicago in 1900, opted to play at South Side Park. However, the huge size of this former cricket ground was a nightmare for hitters and soon the Sox were criticized as “Hitless Wonders.” This led the MLB franchise to move to Comiskey Park in 1910. The Park was their home for over eight decades before they relocated to Guaranteed Rate Field.
Efforts to build a new stadium started after the Sox warned of leaving Chicago for Tampa Bay in the 1980s. St. Petersburg, FL, opened Tropicana Field with a fully retractable roof to entice the MLB franchise away from Chicago. Illinois set the ball rolling for Guaranteed Rate Field with approval to build it with public funding. It was the city’s first major project for a sports and entertainment facility since the construction of Chicago Stadium in 1929.
The ground-breaking ceremony for the multipurpose stadium was held on May 7, 1989. The ballpark was inaugurated on April 18, 1991.
It was initially named the New Comiskey Park. It became U.S. Cellular Field in 2003 after the American mobile operator paid $68 million for the naming rights. In 2016, it gets its present name after the private mortgage firm Guaranteed Rate bought the naming rights.
Design and Renovation
The original design of Guaranteed Rate Field was based on the 1960s “modern” style. It was the last one of this type before the retro-classic design overtook ballparks. Dodger Stadium and Kauffman Stadium are other two major examples of this style and the ballpark is similar to the latter in its dimension. However, renovations over the years have helped Guaranteed Rate Field come close to the retro design.
The long, eventful history of the old Comiskey Park inspired designers andtropi they borrowed many features from it. Guaranteed Rate Field continues to have the “exploding scoreboard” that was part of the old stadium since 1960. Similar to the previous ballpark, the new home of the Sox also has arched windows adorning its front façade.
Guaranteed Rate Field/ Source: Chicago CurbedAbout 400 seats are accessible for those using wheelchairs. All of its 12 escalators and 15 elevators are disable friendly.
Between 2001 and 2007, Guaranteed Rate Field underwent a seven-phase renovation costing $118 million. It helped modify the upper deck removing 6,000 seats, introduce up-to-date architectural trends, add a multi-tiered concourse, and alter the outfield fence. Renovations also changed the color scheme of seats, reoriented bullpens, created a multitiered batter’s eye, put up screens at vantage points, added a bar-style fan deck, and improved the interior concourses with decorative murals.
Guaranteed Rate Field now boasts 103 luxury suites and 1,822 club seats with a bar, dedicated television arena, an enclosed concourse, and in-seat services.
Facilities and Amenities
- FUNdamentals Deck: A 15,000-square-foot state-of-the-art zone for kids to learn and develop their baseball skills.
- Fan Deck: Offering accommodation for 150 guests and panoramic views, it has a good collection of food, beverages, and snacks.
- Chicago Sports Depot: It is the place to purchase merchandise associated with major Chicago-based sports franchises, such as the White Sox, the Bears of the National Football League, the Fire F.C. of the Major League Soccer, the Bulls of the National Basketball Association, and the Blackhawks of the National Hockey League.
- The Goose Island: Added in 2019, this 326-seat zone at Guaranteed Rate Field has the latest facilities.
- Craft Kave: This two-tiered, open-air zone is the place to watch a game enjoying food and beverages.
- Rain Rooms: Fans have the option to buck hot days with sprinkles while enjoying games.
- Scout Seats: There are 314 leather seats positioned after the home plate is another comfort zone.
- Home Plate Club: It houses an open-air gallery with extra-large padded seats, bar, buffet dining, private restrooms, smart screens, and private entrance. Adjacent to it is the Home Plate Shop, an exclusive White Sox merchandise collection.
- Xfinity Zone: The area at Guaranteed Rate Field houses bars and restaurants with a wide television screen.
- New Era Cap Corner: The shelves have an extensive collection of baseball caps of all styles.
- 47 Shop: Visitors can buy baseball souvenirs, hats, and apparel.
- Other facilities at Guaranteed Rate Field includes speed pitch machines, Pizza Pub café, indoor and outdoor dining, ChiSox Bar and Grill, and showers.
Purely Baseball Things To Know
- The first game at Guaranteed Rate Field on April 18, 1991, saw the Chicago White Sox routed the Detroit Tigers 16–0. Four days later, Frank Thomas scored the first home run for the home team against the Baltimore Orioles.
- The Sox won the 2005 World Series, 2005 AL Pennant, and Division titles in 2000, 2005, and 2008 playing from this ballpark.
- The stadium hosted its first-night contest on April 22, 1991, against the Orioles.
- Bo Jackson of the Sox hit a homer against the New York Yankees on April 9, 1993, before the home crowd. Jackson was playing with a hip implant following an injury that damaged his hip while playing football in 1991.
- Carlton Fisk took his 2,226th catch at Guaranteed Rate Field on June 22, 1993, to go past Bob Boone’s record.
- Mike Cameron of the Seattle Mariners made four individual home runs to defeat the Sox on May 2, 2002. He was a White Sox player from 1991 to 1997.
- Guaranteed Rate Field hosted its first All-Start Game in 2003.
- Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle rounded up the Seattle Mariners team in just 99 minutes with only one run and three hits on April 16, 2005.
- In October 2005, the Chicago White Sox won its first World Series defeating the Houston Astros. Game 2 saw Paul Konerko of the Sox hitting a grand slam and Scott Podsednik scoring a solo home run.
- The home team made 11 runs in a single inning while playing the St. Louis Cardinals on June 20, 2006.
- In June 2006, the Sox lost the World Series to the Houston Astros at Guaranteed Rate Field.
- A game against the Texas Rangers on April 18, 2007, ended with a 6-0 victory for the Chicago White Sox. It saw a no-hitter from Mark Buehrle, a solo home run by Jim Thome, and a grand slam by Jermaine Dye. Five months later, Jim Thome went to score his 500th career home run before the home crowd.
- Guaranteed Rate Field witnessed the White Sox becoming the sixth MLB franchise to make “four consecutive home runs in a game” on August 14, 2008. They were up against the Royals.
- On July 7, 2009, Paul Konerko hitting three home runs, including a grand slam, against the Indians.
- Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle took out six Tampa Bay Rays batters scoring the first perfect game at Guaranteed Rate Field on July 23, 2009.
- The Minnesota Twins pitcher Francisco Liriano recorded the first no-hitter for a visiting team on May 3, 2011.
- Sox players Lucas Giolito and Carlos Rodón achieved first career no-hitters before the home crowd in 2020 and 2021 respectively.