By Cat Garcia
Every year as a new baseball season begins, fans are not just greeted with the promise of a rejuvenated ball club, but with the offer of new and exciting ballpark experiences.
On Tuesday, Guaranteed Rate Field rolled out a list of new features that will be welcomed at the ballpark when it opens to fans on April 5. Here are some things to look out for
New Ballpark Food Offerings
Guaranteed Rate Field has been well known for offering an eclectic and delicious menagerie of food not only on their ballpark concourse, but also in other areas of the ballpark including their Diamond Suites, Guaranteed Rate Club, and Huntington Bank Stadium club.
This year, the White Sox culinary team has rolled out a variety of mouthwatering new options including hand-scooped ice cream served in homemade waffle cones, a variety of new Johnsonville specialty sausages with unique pitch-inspired names, the Cutter, the Slurve and the Cutter, a unique and healthier option — The Pozole Salad — along with more of your favorite hearty options including Provolone-stuffed dough balls, Buffalo Chicken Empanadas and more.
The most unique addition to the concourse menu though has to be the Cuban Burger. The Cuban Burger pays homage to the Guaranteed Rate Field classic Cuban sandwich that has held popular residence at the ballpark since 2014, but does so with an American twist. Served on a traditional hamburger bun, the Cuban Burger is a juicy all-beef Glenmark patty topped with flavorful pulled pork carnitas, sliced ham, Swiss Cheese, mojo sauce, yellow mustard and finished off with a pickle. This sandwich is certainly a must-try at the ballpark in 2018.
The White Sox will bringing the popular Craft Kave, the ballparks curation of local and craft beers, to a newly renovated space near Section 542. Among the new selection of beers are Allagash White, Left Hand Nitro Milk Stout, various brews from Pipeworks Brewing, Brickstone McCormick Place ale, and others.
Expanded Netting and New Retired Numbers Display
As mandated by Major League Baseball on February 1, all 30 MLB ballparks were to expand their protective netting past the dugouts for the safety of all ballpark patrons. On Tuesday, the White Sox gave an up close look at the newly expanded netting that has been installed.
In addition to the netting, other on-field upgrades include newly relocated retired number displays. Previously players retired numbers were displayed above home plate. However, the White Sox have expanded the LED ribbon to extend around the entire facade, and have relocated the numbers along the sides of right and left field. The new display is a simple and very tasteful way to bring fans attention to these players and their lasting legacies, which were previously in a small, concentrated space.
Virtual Reality Batting Cage Experience
The funnest addition to the ballpark campus in the coming season certainly has to be the new Virtual Reality Batting Cage that is located across the street from the ballpark on the first level of the Chicago Sports Depot. Tucked away in the back corner with a view of the street, the batting cage offers fans the opportunity to test out the VR technology that has previously only been available to access at the All-Star Game and other MLB fan events. Guaranteed Rate Field is one of the first major league parks to offer this experience. Stepping into the batting cage, fans will place the VR headset on and be given 90 seconds to swing for the fences all while experiencing the reality of beautiful Guaranteed Rate Field, complete with fan cheering. The VR experience will be open on game days from the time gates open until the final out of the game.