BP Takes TUP To The White Sox Opener
As the official fuel of the Chicago White Sox, BP started their sponsorship by inviting TUP to the home opener against the Tampa Bay Rays. Our fearless leader TUP_Ricky got the invite, but he unfortunately had to work that day. Still, boss man was nice enough to extend the invitation to me, and the rest was history. So let's jump back into the time machine and rewind to last Thursday for a firsthand narrative of what it was like to check out the Sox-Rays at The Cell with some of BP and Golin Harris' finest.
April 7, 2011
- First thing's first: it was the two-year anniversary of ESPN's "Predicted Winner" percentage on Gamecast. Never forget. Anyway...
- The game was set for a 1:10 p.m. start, but the BP folks wanted to meet around 10:30 a.m. to talk a little and check out the new bar at the Cell, Bacardi at the Park. Here are the major details on the new bar (which is connected to the stadium):
Bacardi at the Park, operated by the Gibsons Restaurant Group, has a menu that features USDA Gibsons prime angus beef hamburgers, hand cut French fries, and in-house smoked barbecue baby back ribs, pulled pork and beef brisket. The spacious restaurant can accommodate up to 350 people and has nearly 70 flat screens televisions to accompany a state-of-the-art sound system so fans don't miss a single pitch. It opens 2.5 hours before all home games and remains open through the game until two hours after the last out. Fans do not need a game ticket to visit Bacardi at the Park.I left South Naperville a little late but planned on getting there around 10:50 a.m.... only, when I got to the stadium, the parking situation was unlike anything I'd ever seen there. Every single lot was reserved parking, with a pass required. I couldn't find a cash lot North, South, East, or West of the stadium -- and I went pretty far out in all four directions. Before I knew it, two hours had gone by, and I still had nothin'. It felt like I was in a movie and a joke was being played on me. I swear there used to be a ton of official and unofficial cash lots scattered all over.
After following some signs and going way, way out, I ended up parking at the McCormick Place main lot with some fellow Sox fans. Parking was something like $14 dollars, and there was a free shuttle taking people back to the park. Now, I don't know if I've just been out of the loop for forever, but I really don't remember ever seeing this, doing this, or hearing about this parking move before. Is it new? Or am I just crazy? It sure might be safer to bet the latter, but I was really hoping for some input. Thoughts, anyone?
- I ended up making it to the outside of The Cell around first pitch, and boy, had the temps changed from when I left the house. It was sunny and low 50s as I made my way out to the park, but once I arrived, it was misty, cloudy, windy, and low 40s. I remember thinking a shirt and jeans would be enough (but I brought a track jacket just in case). Meanwhile, I was surrounded by people in coats, hats, and gloves entering the stadium. It was like a freakin' Bears game. As TUP's resident cold weather hater, I was pissed.
- Waiting to meet up with BP's representative, Javier (who had since went into the game), I took refuge in the Bacardi bar. The early returns? Pretty bad ass. Good group of people, not that crowded, TVs galore, and some Sox stuff up on the walls, too. Just like a real bar!
- The thing a lot of people there seemed to be talking about was the "wall of TVs" that extended from the first floor of the bar to -- yep -- the second floor of the bar.
Far away shot
EXTREME CLOSE UP (and yes, two of the TVs are showing "Maury")
- After the Rays got blanked in the first, I watched Alex Rios double to score Pierre and Becks. So with the Sox up 2-0, I felt comfortable enough to restart my search for BP Javier. After battling some rough phone signal (death to y'all, AT&T), we finally got a hold of each other. He scanned his ticket "out" to leave the park and join me at the Bacardi bar. I originally wanted to go straight into the game, but after looking at me and seeing I wasn't remotely equipped to handle the weather, he suggested we get some beers and BBQ and chill inside for a while. A good idea. Javier was a UConn grad, so we talked some Calhoun, Geno, the Sawx, Bulls-C's, and, surprisingly -- factoring in my allegiances -- not a ton of Pats. Had he checked this post out? Yes.
...NOT A DIME BACK
- We had our tickets scanned again (for re-entry) and made our way to the seats probably around the 4th or 5th inning, and man, they were solid.
- There, we met up with some more people, including a nice woman named Azeeza (a BP consumer marketing specialist) who hooked a cold blogger up with some hot chocolate. It felt so un-baseball, yet completely necessary.
- I also talked to a guy named Steve, who actually did some of the PR stuff for the All-American game, which I'd written about the previous week. After reading the post, he asked why I had an issue with them putting a jersey on the MJ statue. I explained I thought it was desecration. He defended the move by arguing the jersey isn't just a generic All-American jersey, but an actual Michael Jordan All-American jersey. Point totally taken.
- The stadium looked surreal. It was cloudy and hazy, kind of like a "Lord of the Rings" battlefield, but also kind of epic... like a "Lord of the Rings" battlefield. It kinda reminded me of that sweet picture they have up on South Side Sox.
Only, you know, with no sunlight at all. So... maybe just the right side of the picture.
- Before I knew it, the game was already in the Bottom of the 7th (and this was only two hours in). Edwin Jackson brought some nasty stuff, but I had no idea he ended the day with 13 K's. But then again, Jackson didn't either.
"I really didn't know how many I had today."The game's pace was nice as it helped me not die and got us all of the park at a decent time. The official game time ended up clocking in at 2 hours and 30 minutes.
- All in all, a good day at the park with good people. I kept waiting for there to be some sort of a catch, but they insisted they just wanted to introduce themselves and talk to some Chicago baseball people like us. You know... influential people.
Bobby Loesch is the assistant editor of Tremendous Upside Potential. He can be reached at bobbyloesch [at] gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @bobbystompy.