Everyone is giddy for the new White Sox ballpark in the South Loop, even without the team or the city announcing any details about their plans.
Kudos to the Sox for getting fans excited for opening day, even if it’s Opening Day 2030, and to Mayor Brandon Johnson, who figures to be long gone before the first shovel hits the ground on the ballpark construction.
If we’re rushing toward an agreement to make Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf’s new pet project come to fruition, we might as well start thinking about the naming rights.
Guaranteed Rate Field, the name of the current ballpark, never has caught on since replacing U.S. Cellular Field, which was widely known as “the Cell.” U.S. Cellular Field replaced “new Comiskey Park,” the original name in 1991 which honored the demolished ballpark across the street. Former owner Charles Comiskey named the ballpark after himself, an idea that Reinsdorf assuredly won’t copy.
No matter what name it went by, many fans still referred to the Sox’s home as “Sox Park,” an easily remembered name that spans generations.
While we anxiously await Reinsdorf and Johnson’s plan, here are 10 suggestions for the name of the new South Loop ballpark:
1. Manny’s Cafeteria & Delicatessen Stadium
The South Loop’s most beloved restaurant deserves dibs for the new stadium name.
The classic Jewish deli is only a three-minute drive down Roosevelt Road from the proposed stadium site, and figures to be as popular for pregame dining as McCuddy’s once was for pregame drinking.
2. Rat Hole Park
The Rat Hole Preservation Society, our nickname for those anonymous do-gooders in Roscoe Village who helped save the city’s latest tourist attraction from vandalism, needs to set up a GoFundMe page for the naming rights.
The Rat Hole is a rodent-shaped crater in a sidewalk that somehow became as famous as the Bean. The Sox could even get creative and design a park with the same imprint. Rat Hole Park would be a perfect destination for a ballgame in Chicago and would honor both our favorite rodents and our history of corrupt politicians.
The only problem might be that some Sox fans already refer to Wrigley Field as “the rat hole.”
3. The 78
The area around Clark Street and Roosevelt Road is already called “the 78″ based on someone’s idea that it eventually would become the 78th neighborhood in Chicago.
“The 78″ could also be seen as an homage to the 1978 White Sox, a team that had the misfortune of following the popular ‘77 group known as the “South Side Hit Men.” Without “rent-a-players” Richie Zisk and Oscar Gamble, the stars of the Hit Men, the Sox plunged to a 90-loss season. They did however manage to acquire Claudell Washington in a trade for Bobby Bonds, and the outfielder’s inability to play hard inspired the famous banner in right field: “Washington Slept Here.”
4. Obama Yards
The world’s most famous Sox fan is former President Barack Obama, though he once called Comiskey Park “Comiskey Field” in an interview with Bob Costas.
Obama’s presidential library currently is under construction in Jackson Park and could use a bookend a few miles north. One Sox fan publicly pleaded with Reinsdorf in a Chicago Tribune op-ed to sell the team to Obama, but first things first. Naming the stadium after Obama might even convince him to attend some games.
5. Loop Park
Getting people to go back to the Loop again might be easier if it meant going to a ballpark by the same name, and the former classic rock radio station called “the Loop” would be an appropriate tie-in for nostalgic Sox fans.
A statue of Steve Dahl blowing up disco albums would look nice in center, commemorating one of the most celebrated moments in Sox history.
6. Second City Stadium
The Second City improv theater includes some of the most recognized names in comedy over the years, from John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd to Tina Fey and Stephen Colbert.
In the mid ‘90s I asked Second City alum George Wendt, a South Side Sox fan who played Norm on “Cheers,” to give his theory on the team’s attendance issues in the new Comiskey Park.
“Maybe you could’ve put it on the free TV versus cable TV thing a few years back,” Wendt replied. “But now they’re on WGN sometimes, so I don’t know. It seems like emigres to Chicago, the postgraduates who settle here in the suburbs, north or south, become Cubs fans. It seems like to be a Sox fan, you have to be born and raised on the South Side.”
That might still be true today.
7. This Space for Rent Field
A temporary solution while the Sox try to find a sponsor from the cryptocurrency world.
8. Ozzie Guillen Field
The manager of the only Sox team to win a championship since 1917 doesn’t have a statue in Guaranteed Rate Field. To make amends, the Sox could name the new ballpark after Guillen, who currently works as an analyst for NBC Sports Chicago and provides unfiltered commentary on the team’s issues.
“Meet you at ‘the Oz’” sounds like a good way to start a day.
9. Taylor Swift Stadium
Being associated with the world’s biggest pop star seemed to work well for the NFL. The Sox could use the boost in attendance, even if Reinsdorf has to pay Swift for the use of her name.
10. Sox Park
Well, this is what it will eventually be called no matter what it’s named, so why not just cut to the chase?