White Sox Park

First known as the new Comiskey Park when it opened 20 years ago, Sox Park or, if you must, the Cell (not even Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf has ever insisted that anyone call it U.S. Cellular Field) had the misfortune of being the first of a new wave of major-league baseball stadiums. Beginning with the Baltimore Orioles’ Camden Yards the following year, everyone else did it better, and Sox Park soon seemed spartan, antiseptic, and cold by comparison. It didn’t help that Reinsdorf had held a gun to fans’ heads and threatened to move the franchise to Florida if he didn’t receive public funding for the stadium. The naming rights, however, granted in 2003, did give the Sox the money to lop off the far reaches of the initially vilified upper deck and slap on a roof reminiscent of Reinsdorf’s beloved Brooklyn Dodgers’ Ebbets Field, and that was a year after they added the festive center-field fan deck, ornamented with shrubs and just enough ivy to tweak Wrigley Field. In short, it’s always been a utilitarian stadium with pure sight lines and wide concourses that can empty out a full house after Saturday-night fireworks in record time, but now it looks and feels like a place the Sox and their fans can call home as well. —Ted Cox