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Chicago Opening Day, 70 Degrees and the Upcoming Apocalypse

5 April 2010 No Comment

The following two phrases do not go together for Chicago baseball – Opening Day and seventy degrees. Every Chicago home opener I can remember has been cold and rainy. For example, last year, the White Sox were rained out on Opening Day and the Cubs, on their home opener, had an hour and 15 minute rain delay before the game and temperatures in the 30’s for the entire game. I have spent many opening days (or home openers) freezing in the upper deck of either Wrigley Field or U.S. Cellular Field.

However, for some unknown reason, the weather changed for 2010. The temperature was in the mid 70’s and there was not a cloud in the sky. This, I would call, an unreal day for Chicago baseball in April. And a definite reason to cut out of work and head to the ballpark. I was not alone in that opinion.

As usual, I did not have a ticket for the game – assuming it would be 35 degrees and rainy and several fans would be giving away their tickets before the first pitch. However, when I logged onto craiglist.org before taking the train to the ballpark, most ads were asking for tickets. The ads that were offering tickets were far more expensive than I expected. For example, a listing from Halsted St. and 33rd St. stated they had SRO for $85 and lower level for $125. Although this was too much for me, I knew what I should expect when arriving at U.S. Cellular Field – a tough secondary ticket market to find a cheap ticket.

When I got off the train and walked towards U.S. Cellular Field, a lot of people were looking for extra tickets. As I walked from the train, passed Gate 5 and arrived at the main box office there were only people looking for tickets – I could not even find a scalper selling tickets. I knew I would find a ticket based on the craigslist ads but was unsure how much I would actually have to pay.

At some point I knew I would need to walk along 35th St. towards 35th Street Red Hot (a hot dog stand where scalpers normally congregate as long as the Chicago Police are not pestering them). Instead, I chose to walk towards Gate 3 and would continue into the U.S. Cellular Field parking lots if necessary.

As I walked passed Gate 3, I asked three guys if they had an extra ticket. And, luckily, they did. Face value for the ticket was $49 (section 107). I knew extra tickets were scarce, so I knew I would have to pay face value. However, I hesitated to pay face until the guy said, “I believe I can get face value for the ticket.” I paid the $50 immediately.

Even though I thought it could take me awhile to find a ticket since tickets were scarce, I was off the train at 12:35 pm and was inside U.S. Cellular Field at 12:50 pm. I had a lot of work to do and it was much more difficult than I thought it would be, but I was able to buy a ticket for a reasonable price within 15 minutes.

Cleveland Indians at Chicago White Sox
The highlight of the game was Mark Buehrle’s flip-the-ball-between-his-legs-with-his-glove trick to record an out in the 5th inning. Other than that, it was business as usual for the White Sox who made quick work of the Cleveland Indians. Buehrle allowed three hits over seven innings and Paul Konerko homered in his first at-bat of the season to lead the White Sox to a 6-0 victory. The win spoiled manager Manny Acta’s debut and Jake Westbrook’s first start since May 28, 2008. Westbrook hit Carlos Quentin twice and tied a club record throwing four wild pitches.

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