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Then, however, the nearby White Sox entered the picture. Around or so, the White Sox began angling for a new venue to replace Comiskey, which had been in use since The premise, which is rather easily denied, is that Old Comiskey was no longer seaworthy and could not be salvaged.

As later efforts to save Wrigley and Fenway proved Bess, coincidentally, helped design those Fenway refurbishments , parks from that golden age are ushered toward obsolescence rather than meeting it as a natural terminus. As is so often the case when pro teams desire new places of business, the White Sox and owner Jerry Reinsdorf wanted taxpayers to pony up for said new ballpark. Early in the process, the Sox eyeballed suburban Addison, about 25 miles northwest of Comiskey.

Eventually, voters in Addison declined to build the Sox a new ballpark by a margin of just 43 ballots Reinsdorf was soon thereafter courted by Denver, Phoenix, Washington, D. Capitulate they did. In essence, Bess' project took root as a counterproposal to what the White Sox were planning. That support allowed Bess to leave his job and devote himself fully to the project.

He worked mostly on his own for and and eventually hired a single assistant for 12 weeks or so. Eventually, Bess settled on Armour Square Park, which we saw above, to be the home to what he'd call Armour Field, a name that was a dual nod to its physical space and the industrial past of its city That's looking south toward Guaranteed Rate Field, across the parking lot where Old Comiskey stood and then across 34th Street.

That's where Bess imagined his ballpark and by extension making his argument -- "an argument why the old ballparks were better than the new ones and could be updated and improved. When a team these days decides they want a new ballpark, they typically have a list of must-haves, be they practical or aesthetic in nature -- spacious clubhouses, heated batting cages, a large video board, luxury suites, expanses of parking, and so on.

In essence, here's what we want; where can we fit it? Or, alternatively: What can we raze and relocate and eminent-domain out of the way in order to fit it? Newer parks tend to be, in Bess' words, "program-driven," which means the team decides what it wants in its new park and then finds enough space to accommodate every desire. Thus the street grid-busting "superblocks" on which so many modern ballparks sit.

Older parks, in contrast, were "site-driven," in that the architects started with the available plot of land and fit what they could into it. That's why the dimensional idiosyncrasies -- think of left field in Fenway or right field in the Baker Bowl -- weren't mere contrivances. Rather, they were essential design elements that allowed the park to fit into those existing city blocks.

In the old way, park features grew out of a prioritizing, and that prioritizing was informed by the park's necessarily limited physical footprint. The old parks were shaped by their neighborhoods. Wrigley, for instance, is on a site of roughly nine acres, eight of which are covered by the stadium itself.

The Ballpark at Arlington, somehow already being phased out, lolls across 14 acres. Miller Park soaks up more than 15 acres. This from an architect who, by his own concession, was educated as a modernist. Perhaps the most acute differences between the Wrigley generation of parks and newer models like Guaranteed Rate, according to Bess, is how the two parks handle vertical circulation -- i.

Guaranteed Rate is in essence a set of layered rings -- an open-air Russian nesting doll of sorts. There's the playing surface, which is encircled by the lower deck and lower concourses, which are flanked by concessions, team stores, and restrooms, and then comes the upper deck. Outside all of that, you have the concrete switchback ramps tacked onto the exterior of the stadium proper, which provide that aforementioned vertical circulation.

All that adds up to a big distance between the lower seating bowl and the furthermost ramp. As for the upper deck in Guaranteed Rate, the columns that support it start at the back of the lower deck. Thus the upper deck is not only above the lower deck but also set further back.

Here, for instance, is the view from home plate as you look toward the left field seats at Old Comiskey. Note the close proximity afforded by those columns Old Comiskey Photo by Jerry Reuss. In the outfield of Old Comiskey, both decks came flush to the point at which the playing surface began, which is likely all but unthinkable to those who have experienced only the modern ballpark.

Now compare that to my view from Section of Guaranteed Rate Field You can feel the remoteness in the second image, in terms of both elevation and distance from home plate. Also consider that Comiskey in the first photo is feet down the line which means this photo was likely taken in , while Guaranteed Rate is just feet down the left field line.

Moreover, in , when Guaranteed Rate had been in use for a mere decade, the team undertook major and costly renovations -- largely paid for with tax dollars and completed in five phases spanning several years -- the thrust of which was to make the upper deck a bit less far-flung by lopping off the top eight rows.

At the time New Comiskey was built, its first row of upper deck seating was farther from home plate than the last row of seats in Old Comiskey. That, the thinking went, was the cost of not having supporting columns in the lower deck, the absence of which forces upper decks to span well beyond the borders of the lower bowl and thus increase the overall diameter of the stadium.

Very soon, though, the team realized that they'd made a mistake. So the columns went in, albeit not as far into the lower deck as they should have, and upper-deck fans were drawn a bit closer to their reason for being there -- i. Even after that costly alteration, though, there's no comparison to the intimacy found in older parks.

In Wrigley, there's a mere 15 feet or so between the last seat in the lower deck and the very edge of the building. Major concessions are hosted underneath the grandstand, and vertical circulation takes place either on the flanking staircases the best way to access the upper deck, says this writer or via the ramps within the lower seating bowl that run parallel to the outer wall at first and then shift to a perpendicular orientation. Back and forth those ramps go, housed under the Wrigley dormers magnified in the image below that you can see from the outside, until you're conveyed to the upper deck Yes, Wrigley has those columns in the lower seating bowl, which beget the occasional obstructed view, but it's those columns that allow the upper deck to be so close to the playing surface -- just as it was with Comiskey -- and help keep the overall size of the park from becoming unwieldy.

So they incorporated things like concessions and vertical circulation within the park rather than as a series of concentric layers. Thus, Wrigley is eight acres and Guaranteed Rate is Thus, Guaranteed Rate, despite having just a few thousand more seats, is 50 percent larger than Wrigley in terms of square footage. You intuit that difference in scale as you walk up, as you make your way through, and as you sit and watch the game before you. Seeking still a better deal, Reinsdorf at around the same time leveled his gaze upon St.

With the dome already paid for and fast becoming a physical reality, Florida public officials became increasingly desperate to find a major-league tenant. Thus, they became more and more submissive to the demands of the White Sox, which made Reinsdorf's very public threats to light out for Florida all the more credible.

Eventually, the credible grew into the probable Petersburg Chamber of Commerce in was selling the t-shirt you see above in anticipation of the White Sox's move to Florida becoming official. That anticipation was justified, given that the White Sox had reportedly signed a provisional agreement to move to St. Petersburg if Illinois and Chicago public officials didn't make their offer a bit more toothsome. As we now know, that shirt became a novelty relic. In the spring of , Illinois Governor Jim Thompson muscled through the General Assembly an 11th-hour bill to fund a new ballpark for the White Sox local oral tradition -- possibly not true -- has it that Thompson ordered the clock on the House floor unplugged just before the midnight deadline so as afford him extra precious minutes.

It's no exaggeration to say that the Sox were within seconds of moving to Florida. In the end, though, Governor Thompson, the recently deceased Chicago Mayor Harold Washington, and the conjured powers of capitulation won out. The Sox would stay on the South Side of Chicago. There, in uncertain proximity to Old Comiskey, the new park would rise. Meantime, Bess was putting the finishing touches on his Armour Field project.

Out of it came the vision of a ballpark that would have a capacity of 42,, be open to the air, have a natural grass playing surface, and -- relevant to the interests of ownership -- include 66 luxury skyboxes. That's far more than the White Sox had in the latter days of Old Comiskey.

Not long after buying the team with partner Eddie Einhorn, Reinsdorf pledged to remain in Chicago in exchange for City Council funding of 27 luxury suites, which were installed in Most of all, Armour Field would express, in arresting physicality, Bess' hopeful thesis: "I realized that baseball fans were a kind of community," he said. We're looking north up Wells Street. Armour Field is flanked by mixed-use development and grade-level retail on all sides -- near at hand and vibrant, which encourages pedestrian traffic and by extension a more genuine neighborhood feel that in baseball these days is found almost nowhere outside of Wrigleyville and Back Bay in Boston.

Really, it's easy to mistake what you see above in Bess' imagination with what you see in reality 14 stops north on the CTA Red Line. The passing similarities to Wrigley Field are no accident. The Cubs' home for more than a century inspired parts of Bess' design, but at no point does Armour Field ever feel too derivative. The most important similarity may be the use of columns in the upper deck, which allows Armour Field, in keeping with the lessons of its masters, to put every fan close to the game on the diamond.

Then again, Bess designed Armour to correct what he sees as Wrigley's chief flaw. Indeed, fans in the last several rows of the lower deck at Wrigley can't see the sky or even follow a fly ball through its full parabola because of the upper deck overhang.

In the days when his design was first coming to life, Bess would go to Wrigley and sit in the lower deck and figure out at what point the overhang became tolerable. Row 42 is what he determined to be the cutoff point -- below it, you can still get some sense of trajectory and watch players track the ball, but above it some of that is lost.

Bess addressed this in his design of Armour Field. For one, he managed to keep columns out of the lower deck until the upper deck turned, in part because the curve of the upper deck doesn't follow that of the lower deck. He says today if he could go back, he'd put columns further down into the seating bowl in order to get the upper deck seats behind home plate even closer to the field.

Natural grass, angled walls, Bill Veeck's classic exploding scoreboard -- Those are all fitting touches. Also note the splendid view of the Chicago skyline. New Comiskey, for reasons sufficient unto the architects themselves, has a southeast-oriented home plate, which means you can't take in those Loop views in such a manner. Armour Field doesn't make that mistake. Also, please do amply appreciate the left-handed catcher. That would be perhaps the most compelling set of outfield distances and angles in all of MLB today feet to center, to the alleys, to the first turn in the outfield, and down the lines.

Indeed, the "shotgun house" layout bears a great of similarity to the dear, departed, singular Polo Grounds. That deep outfield and those short foul lines are distinctive in a genuine way, as they're necessary in order to fit the park within those neighborhood constraints. It's a classic looking piece of baseball monumentality, with brick on limestone forming the exterior, a roof of copper, and steps leading up to the main entrance. The exposed nature of the outfield is of course by design.

Bess hoped that those living across 33rd Street from the park would be able to watch the game from their balconies or rooftops. Another communal grace note is the 1,square foot video board in the center of the south-facing facade. The idea would to broadcast the game going on inside Armour Field for the benefit of those people outside the park. Speaking of those people outside the park, they'd likely be gathered at Old Comiskey, which, as you're about to see, would blessedly still be with us At the bottom of the three-dimensional model, you'll observe that, yes, the Old Comiskey diamond has been preserved and converted into public park space, which serves as a plaza to the ballpark and is also a functioning ballfield for youth and high school games.

The plan's interruption of 34th Street also allows for easy pedestrian flow between Armour Field and Comiskey. Just across from the Old Comiskey diamond, on the south side of 35th Street, Bess envisioned some kind of civic building -- an institutional anchor of sorts for what he hoped would be a bustling retail area. McCuddy's and Tyler's Soul Food -- more on them in a moment -- would still stand there.

Heed how snugly Armour Field fits within this particular slice of the Bridgeport neighborhood, as it's surrounded on three sides by commercial and residential development, all in six-story buildings. This is an essential element of Bess' design and a key plank in his philosophical platform.

It's also good for the urban environment surrounding the neighborhood, which distinguishes Bess' vision from the reality of Guaranteed Rate Field. When he was done, Bess in the summer of unveiled Armour Field and mailed copies of his finely detailed plan to each board member of the ISFA, each of whom was appointed by Gov. Thompson and Mayor Washington.

Bess also attended an ISFA public hearing at which he was allowed a block of time to present his case for Armour Field. Sheila Radford-Hill, a community organizer working with the residents of Wentworth Gardens in the South Armour Square neighborhood at the time, also advocated for Bess and his plan. We were advocating to save the neighborhood. A reason for gravitating toward Philip's design is that he clearly got baseball," she says.

She also saw in Armour Field the chance to bond stable Bridgeport to low-income South Armour Square by easing the physical barriers that divided the neighborhood north of 35th from the south. Maybe around the ballpark there would be jobs, opportunities for a community that was integrated.

Radford-Hill took Bess to the state capital of Springfield and met with representatives. She pressed them to consider a plan that would require Reinsdorf to invest more of his own money and one that was less destructive to the neighborhood. Bess also tried to interview three dozen or so different parties that he identified as potential stakeholders in Armour Field. He tried to get his design in front of White Sox executive vice-president Howard Pizer Pizer would later criticize Bess for not reaching out to the team first.

If they're not interested, we're not interested. Pizer through a White Sox spokesperson recently told CBS Sports that his "recollection was that once the decision was made to build that we looked at a lot of different options. I'm sure that [Armour Square Park] was one that was considered, but it never got to where I would've called it serious. Other than an underground following and some column in inches in the major Chicago dailies, little came of Bess' efforts.

By all appearances and reportage, though, Reinsdorf and the club wielded determinative influence throughout the process. Nothing vivifies Reinsdorf's desires quite like what he said when the White Sox were initially eyeballing suburban Addison as a new home. When the White Sox first settled on Addison, a somewhat inevitable controversy arose: Would they be allowed to call themselves the "Chicago White Sox" if they didn't play in Chicago?

For his part, Mayor Washington was clear on the matter. The border is pretty well known," Washington told reporters in the summer of ' Chicago, though, has long made a fetish out of ignoring Gotham's cultural cues. Thus Mayor Washington arrived at his stance with some degree of civic honesty. As for Reinsdorf, his response to Washington was perhaps more revealing than he intended.

He was talking about geographical distance and the booming population of Chicago's suburbs and exurbs. However, his blurring of the same map lines that Washington took pains to draw revealed him to be something less than an urbanist owner. The city is the suburbs, the suburbs are the city , is one way to read Reinsdorf's remarks.

To hear Bess tell it, Reinsdorf was enamored of Royals Stadium in Kansas City now known as Kauffman Stadium and wanted for himself a reasonable facsimile. That stands to reason on a number of levels. First, early in their tenure as owners, Reinsdorf and Einhorn commissioned a marketing study, the results of which told them they needed to cultivate the existing fan base in Chicago's western suburbs because of the shifting population base and higher suburban income levels.

So what to do when your plan to move to the actual suburbs comes to grief? Bring the suburbs to you in the form of a suburban-style stadium. So consider the visuals of the Addison stadium that HOK eventually proposed.

Here it is under the retractable clamshell-looking roof The similarities are apparent. There's a modern "intergalactic" feel to both designs. You see the vertical circulation ramps positioned in close to the same spots, the long-span upper decks.

The outfield light banks look surprisingly alike. You see the symmetrical dimension, the rounded edges, and the slivers of green beyond the outfield fencing. Most of all, you see what the White Sox wanted. What HOK eventually designed for Reinsdorf and what he eventually got after state and local politicians bowed to his wishes Mayor Washington would die suddenly of a heart attack in November of , mere months after being elected to a second term, but not before he came to see things Reinsdorf's way was such a park -- suburban in purpose and execution -- plopped down in the middle of a city What stands out is the lack of building density around Guaranteed Rate Field.

It's bordered by the Dan Ryan Expressway on the east and some 70 acres of surface parking on all other sides -- from a distant remove it resembles a pathogen in the city bloodstream. Above all, Guaranteed Rate Field has a footprint that caters to the automobile, which puts it in stark contrast to the Armour Field design. Stop by regularly for expert football predictions and soccer tips. If you're looking for winning picks with detailed game analysis, you've come to the right place!

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A team that will receive a lot of attention in the offseason is the Los Angeles Rams after acquiring veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford from Detroit. Updated Mon, Feb. One of the most popular questions often asked by anybody and everybody that bets on NFL Futures, especially online bettors from the United States. Put simply, the Futures market for the NFL is always open. The NFL has 32 teams, split into two conferences of 16 and then divided into four divisions of four.

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If football is more gentrified, independent schools are certainly less elitist, and more into football than ever. Some, such as Shrewsbury, Repton and Charterhouse, remained football schools. B ut, for many, it has only been in the past 20 years, since the Premier League exploded, that it has really become fashionable again.

I SFA now has member schools and tournaments ranging from under to under compared with 40 member schools and one tournament 20 years ago. Many of those schools offer football scholarships in a bid to recruit the top talent, and all of them provide highly qualified coaches.

Their unders smashed our unders, mind. Watford have beaten us or If Manchester City put their best academy team out against us, they would beat us comfortably. We urge you to turn off your ad blocker for The Telegraph website so that you can continue to access our quality content in the future. Visit our adblocking instructions page. Telegraph Sport Football. We've noticed you're adblocking. We rely on advertising to help fund our award-winning journalism. Thank you for your support.

The Sox would stay on the South Side of Chicago. There, in uncertain proximity to Old Comiskey, the new park would rise. Meantime, Bess was putting the finishing touches on his Armour Field project. Out of it came the vision of a ballpark that would have a capacity of 42,, be open to the air, have a natural grass playing surface, and -- relevant to the interests of ownership -- include 66 luxury skyboxes. That's far more than the White Sox had in the latter days of Old Comiskey. Not long after buying the team with partner Eddie Einhorn, Reinsdorf pledged to remain in Chicago in exchange for City Council funding of 27 luxury suites, which were installed in Most of all, Armour Field would express, in arresting physicality, Bess' hopeful thesis: "I realized that baseball fans were a kind of community," he said.

We're looking north up Wells Street. Armour Field is flanked by mixed-use development and grade-level retail on all sides -- near at hand and vibrant, which encourages pedestrian traffic and by extension a more genuine neighborhood feel that in baseball these days is found almost nowhere outside of Wrigleyville and Back Bay in Boston. Really, it's easy to mistake what you see above in Bess' imagination with what you see in reality 14 stops north on the CTA Red Line. The passing similarities to Wrigley Field are no accident.

The Cubs' home for more than a century inspired parts of Bess' design, but at no point does Armour Field ever feel too derivative. The most important similarity may be the use of columns in the upper deck, which allows Armour Field, in keeping with the lessons of its masters, to put every fan close to the game on the diamond.

Then again, Bess designed Armour to correct what he sees as Wrigley's chief flaw. Indeed, fans in the last several rows of the lower deck at Wrigley can't see the sky or even follow a fly ball through its full parabola because of the upper deck overhang. In the days when his design was first coming to life, Bess would go to Wrigley and sit in the lower deck and figure out at what point the overhang became tolerable.

Row 42 is what he determined to be the cutoff point -- below it, you can still get some sense of trajectory and watch players track the ball, but above it some of that is lost. Bess addressed this in his design of Armour Field. For one, he managed to keep columns out of the lower deck until the upper deck turned, in part because the curve of the upper deck doesn't follow that of the lower deck.

He says today if he could go back, he'd put columns further down into the seating bowl in order to get the upper deck seats behind home plate even closer to the field. Natural grass, angled walls, Bill Veeck's classic exploding scoreboard -- Those are all fitting touches. Also note the splendid view of the Chicago skyline.

New Comiskey, for reasons sufficient unto the architects themselves, has a southeast-oriented home plate, which means you can't take in those Loop views in such a manner. Armour Field doesn't make that mistake. Also, please do amply appreciate the left-handed catcher. That would be perhaps the most compelling set of outfield distances and angles in all of MLB today feet to center, to the alleys, to the first turn in the outfield, and down the lines.

Indeed, the "shotgun house" layout bears a great of similarity to the dear, departed, singular Polo Grounds. That deep outfield and those short foul lines are distinctive in a genuine way, as they're necessary in order to fit the park within those neighborhood constraints.

It's a classic looking piece of baseball monumentality, with brick on limestone forming the exterior, a roof of copper, and steps leading up to the main entrance. The exposed nature of the outfield is of course by design. Bess hoped that those living across 33rd Street from the park would be able to watch the game from their balconies or rooftops. Another communal grace note is the 1,square foot video board in the center of the south-facing facade. The idea would to broadcast the game going on inside Armour Field for the benefit of those people outside the park.

Speaking of those people outside the park, they'd likely be gathered at Old Comiskey, which, as you're about to see, would blessedly still be with us At the bottom of the three-dimensional model, you'll observe that, yes, the Old Comiskey diamond has been preserved and converted into public park space, which serves as a plaza to the ballpark and is also a functioning ballfield for youth and high school games. The plan's interruption of 34th Street also allows for easy pedestrian flow between Armour Field and Comiskey.

Just across from the Old Comiskey diamond, on the south side of 35th Street, Bess envisioned some kind of civic building -- an institutional anchor of sorts for what he hoped would be a bustling retail area. McCuddy's and Tyler's Soul Food -- more on them in a moment -- would still stand there. Heed how snugly Armour Field fits within this particular slice of the Bridgeport neighborhood, as it's surrounded on three sides by commercial and residential development, all in six-story buildings. This is an essential element of Bess' design and a key plank in his philosophical platform.

It's also good for the urban environment surrounding the neighborhood, which distinguishes Bess' vision from the reality of Guaranteed Rate Field. When he was done, Bess in the summer of unveiled Armour Field and mailed copies of his finely detailed plan to each board member of the ISFA, each of whom was appointed by Gov. Thompson and Mayor Washington. Bess also attended an ISFA public hearing at which he was allowed a block of time to present his case for Armour Field.

Sheila Radford-Hill, a community organizer working with the residents of Wentworth Gardens in the South Armour Square neighborhood at the time, also advocated for Bess and his plan. We were advocating to save the neighborhood. A reason for gravitating toward Philip's design is that he clearly got baseball," she says.

She also saw in Armour Field the chance to bond stable Bridgeport to low-income South Armour Square by easing the physical barriers that divided the neighborhood north of 35th from the south. Maybe around the ballpark there would be jobs, opportunities for a community that was integrated.

Radford-Hill took Bess to the state capital of Springfield and met with representatives. She pressed them to consider a plan that would require Reinsdorf to invest more of his own money and one that was less destructive to the neighborhood. Bess also tried to interview three dozen or so different parties that he identified as potential stakeholders in Armour Field.

He tried to get his design in front of White Sox executive vice-president Howard Pizer Pizer would later criticize Bess for not reaching out to the team first. If they're not interested, we're not interested. Pizer through a White Sox spokesperson recently told CBS Sports that his "recollection was that once the decision was made to build that we looked at a lot of different options. I'm sure that [Armour Square Park] was one that was considered, but it never got to where I would've called it serious.

Other than an underground following and some column in inches in the major Chicago dailies, little came of Bess' efforts. By all appearances and reportage, though, Reinsdorf and the club wielded determinative influence throughout the process. Nothing vivifies Reinsdorf's desires quite like what he said when the White Sox were initially eyeballing suburban Addison as a new home.

When the White Sox first settled on Addison, a somewhat inevitable controversy arose: Would they be allowed to call themselves the "Chicago White Sox" if they didn't play in Chicago? For his part, Mayor Washington was clear on the matter. The border is pretty well known," Washington told reporters in the summer of ' Chicago, though, has long made a fetish out of ignoring Gotham's cultural cues. Thus Mayor Washington arrived at his stance with some degree of civic honesty.

As for Reinsdorf, his response to Washington was perhaps more revealing than he intended. He was talking about geographical distance and the booming population of Chicago's suburbs and exurbs. However, his blurring of the same map lines that Washington took pains to draw revealed him to be something less than an urbanist owner. The city is the suburbs, the suburbs are the city , is one way to read Reinsdorf's remarks.

To hear Bess tell it, Reinsdorf was enamored of Royals Stadium in Kansas City now known as Kauffman Stadium and wanted for himself a reasonable facsimile. That stands to reason on a number of levels. First, early in their tenure as owners, Reinsdorf and Einhorn commissioned a marketing study, the results of which told them they needed to cultivate the existing fan base in Chicago's western suburbs because of the shifting population base and higher suburban income levels.

So what to do when your plan to move to the actual suburbs comes to grief? Bring the suburbs to you in the form of a suburban-style stadium. So consider the visuals of the Addison stadium that HOK eventually proposed. Here it is under the retractable clamshell-looking roof The similarities are apparent. There's a modern "intergalactic" feel to both designs. You see the vertical circulation ramps positioned in close to the same spots, the long-span upper decks. The outfield light banks look surprisingly alike.

You see the symmetrical dimension, the rounded edges, and the slivers of green beyond the outfield fencing. Most of all, you see what the White Sox wanted. What HOK eventually designed for Reinsdorf and what he eventually got after state and local politicians bowed to his wishes Mayor Washington would die suddenly of a heart attack in November of , mere months after being elected to a second term, but not before he came to see things Reinsdorf's way was such a park -- suburban in purpose and execution -- plopped down in the middle of a city What stands out is the lack of building density around Guaranteed Rate Field.

It's bordered by the Dan Ryan Expressway on the east and some 70 acres of surface parking on all other sides -- from a distant remove it resembles a pathogen in the city bloodstream. Above all, Guaranteed Rate Field has a footprint that caters to the automobile, which puts it in stark contrast to the Armour Field design. When the Shibe-through-Yankee generation of ballparks were built, there were no freeways at the time, and most people didn't have cars.

They were built with public transportation and the pedestrian foremost in mind. In an ideal world, Bess would've planned for very little additional parking. In a preemptive strike against the criticisms of ownership and to comply with league ballpark guidelines, though, Bess planned for structured parking in the form of four two-and-a-half-story garages behind the streets abutting Armour Field.

In all, Bess called for more than 6, new parking spaces -- all within a quarter-mile of Armour Field but none adjacent to it, blessedly tucked away behind the lofts and row houses. Another 1, or so spaces would be available at the nearby Illinois Institute of Technology in the event of overflow. All of that is significant when it comes to encouraging development of commercial and residential spaces right around the ballpark.

In all, nine acres of land directly bordering Armour Field and the site of Old Comiskey would have been available for such development. Under the suburban model, all of that would likely have been parking lots, which is, well, precisely what happened. The economic benefits of new ballparks are wildly and willfully overstated, largely to persuade voters or local leaders to approve public funds for the project in question. Indeed, the very text of the Illinois Sports Facilities Act includes this specious claim It is further found that the creation of modern sports facilities and the other results contemplated by this Act would stimulate economic activity in the State of Illinois Broadly speaking, new suburban-style stadia provide low-wage, seasonal employment and siphon off discretionary income from other local sectors.

The funds used to build those stadia also represent an opportunity cost. In terms of spurring nearby growth, it's hard for ballparks to do that when they're blanketed by parking lots. It's a spatial impediment for fans that discourages them from getting out in the neighborhood before or after the game they've come to see. Instead, they're shunted out of their vehicles and into the ballpark and then back into their vehicles after the game.

It's no coincidence that this type of design makes it more likely that fans will spend more money inside the ballpark rather than out in the neighborhood. At some level, it's a strategy to seize revenue for the team. Bess' design compelled fans who drove to the game i. Those are discretionary dollars that probably would not have been otherwise captured by neighborhood businesses. And as the street scenes outside Wrigley and Fenway remind us, even those without tickets will show up for a game just be part of that unifying energy.

In his own words, Bess with Armour Field aimed for "a reciprocity between the inside of the park and the outside of the park. Drop a stadium down in the middle of acres upon acres of asphalt -- a low-value use of city real estate -- and those incentives, and that reciprocity, go away. The White Sox's insistence upon such a large physical structure and surface parking that sprawled all the way to the railroad yards west of the Dan Ryan and their unwillingness to consider alternative sites north of 35th Street necessitated, in essence, the destruction of the South Armour Square neighborhood.

Meantime, the ISFA's meek acquiescence to the demands of its tenant meant that no one with a say in the process would stand up for that largely working-class, largely black pocket of the 11th ward. A little more than two months later, attorneys on behalf of the South Armour Square Neighborhood Coalition filed suit in U. District Court. Even so, the plans moved forward. Many of the displaced residents agreed to what can be considered above-market compensation, but they weren't given much choice in the matter.

We have the power of eminent domain, so we're going to just take out the neighborhood. Today, those houses are gone, as is McCuddy's, where lore has it that visiting Babe Ruth would sometimes guzzle a lager between innings. Gone are housing units and 12 neighborhood businesses. Expelled were almost 1, residents. Stones street gangs once feuded. All those losses aren't surprising once you consider the sprawl of New Comiskey compared to that of Old Comiskey The Sox had called the original Comiskey Park home for 81 years before moving into a new park in In contrast to that actuality, Bess' plan ensured that the politically vulnerable neighborhood of South Armour Square would be mostly spared by displacing just 50 households.

Those residents, however, would've received replacement housing within two blocks of 35th Street and eventually benefited from any growth spurred by the new, unique-to-its-era ballpark. Again, because of Armour Field's smaller footprint, the upheavals would've been far less jarring to the neighborhood.

Alas and alack, Bess' Armour Field project strained to arrest a trend that was simply too powerful. After Yankee Stadium rose up in , the pace of ballpark construction dropped steeply and remained at low levels until the mids, when the era of the multipurpose stadium took hold. In some ways, the scarce post-golden age and pre-multipurpose parks like Dodger Stadium had already responded to the ebb of the walkable, mixed-use neighborhood that occurred after World War II by prioritizing automobile access.

The multipurpose era took that underpinning and added to it tacky novelty that hastily became drab conformity. Stadia like Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Shea Stadium in Queens, the Astrodome in Houston, Three Rivers in Pittsburgh, Veterans in Philadelphia, and Riverfront in Cincinnati had in common uniform playing dimensions, curved outfield fences, and at various points football-playing co-tenants.

Artificial playing surfaces the color of a billiards table felt abounded, as did third decks and the structural "doughnut" shape. Most of all, public funding for all of it surged to previously unimaginable levels. The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, built in , was the first major sports venue built with any level of public funding, but in that sense it remained something of an outlier until the mids. In part because of widespread urban-renewal policies, tax dollars paid for roughy 75 percent of new stadium costs for a period of two decades.

That period made it accepted practice to fund professional sports teams' stadia and arenas with the public dime. So when the White Sox insisted that taxpayers pay for their new ballpark, they did so fully in keeping with longstanding trends and with sanction of a kind. So none of that is odd. What is odd is the level of kowtowing on the part of public officials. The White Sox's new park was funded with the usual mix of bond offerings and hotel taxes, and the team leveraged the threat of moving to negotiate highly favorable lease terms and then renegotiate even more favorable lease terms.

By the time it was all done, the White Sox had secured a clause that allowed them to pay no rent at all if they failed to sell a certain number of tickets. According to a Crain's Chicago Business story , the team didn't pay any rent at all for the first 18 years.

Only when the lease was renegotiated in did the White Sox begin paying the IFSA, and even then their rent was one of the lowest in baseball. Given the level of public investment, you'd think terms could be dictated to the team. You know, we'll build you a park, but it's going to be modest in size, it's going to fit within the neighborhood with minimal disruption, and it's going to be designed so that the neighborhood has a better chance of recognizing ancillary benefits. That's not what happened, though.

Politicians are always loath to be the one to lose a beloved local sports team, and that was especially the case for Mayor Washington. He was clawing for reelection during one of the serialized crisis points of the White Sox saga, and at one point his chief opponent in the Democratic primary, former mayor Jane Byrne, readied a campaign commercial that charged Washington with losing the South Side's baseball team.

Around this same time, the Cubs were at loggerheads with the city and neighborhood groups over whether they could install lights at Wrigley Field for night games. The league insisted that they do so, and as such relocation to a Chicagoland suburb, all in the name of light towers, became a viable threat.

So the desire to retain power may have made Washington more willing to wield it in short-sighted ways. The public also paid for the subsequent renovations, which almost doubled the initial construction tab. If anything, those are conservative estimates of the total costs of the New Comiskey project. Over time, some of those who were aware of Bess' project began to draw connections between his Armour Field design and the influx of retro-seeming ballparks around Major League Baseball, which is a trend that began with the opening of Camden Yards in Baltimore.

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