Comiskey Renovation Approved
CHICAGO (AP) _ Pull hitters should have an easier time hitting homers at Comiskey Park next season when foul poles will be closer to the plate because seats are being added to the bleachers.
An $8 million renovation was approved Friday by the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, which owns the White Sox baseball stadium.
The distance down the left-field line will shrink from 347 to 330 feet, left-center will go from 375 to 377 feet while center will remain at 400 feet. Right-center will change from 375 to 372 feet and the right-field foul pole will move closer to the plate as well, from 347 to 335 feet.
The space between the outfield fence and the first row of the bleachers will disappear and be filled with 1,650 additional bleacher seats that will be stripped from the corners of the upper deck.
Another 425 upper deck corner seats will be moved to create more seating in the lower grandstand near the outfield foul lines.
``They’re just taking some out of the far corners that people don’t like to sit anyway,″ authority spokesman Jim Edwards said.
The park which opened in 1991 has frequently come under criticism for its steep upper deck where many seats seem closer to the clouds than the baseball action.
``While the construction projects themselves are not major, some of these renovations will begin to create a greater intimacy for our fans in the ballpark,″ said Howard Pizer, White Sox executive vice president.
The changes will be made in the offseason and be completed by opening day 2001. The cost of the construction will be paid for through additional rental payments made by the Sox over the next seven years.
The bullpens for the Sox and visiting teams will be relocated and turned 90 degrees so that they will be visible to fans throughout the park.
The outside portion of The Bullpen Sports Bar in the right-field bleachers will be transformed into a two-tiered terrace seating area.
The renovation plans also include increasing White Sox office space, relocating parking for television production trucks and making improvements to a parking lot.