Gear up for spring by planning a Chicago Southland baseball getaway
Although we’re still trying hard to get over the polar vortex, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Spring is not far off. In fact, in a warm land far, far away called Arizona, our Major League Baseball heroes have already taken to the field and are getting fired up for opening day.
As we await the return of America’s pastime, it’s an appropriate time to start planning for a baseball getaway in the Chicago Southland. The Chicago White Sox home opener takes place on April 4 against the Seattle Mariners at 1:10. Guaranteed Rate Field has really upped their game in recent years to help enhance the fan experience with special events, increased craft beer availability and elevated food options. Last season we had the opportunity to check out the new #SoxSocial Tap Room that opened in a partnership with Revolution Brewing. It’s a great spot to take in the game while sipping on an IPA or pilsner and having a few bites. Bonus - it’s enclosed and warm when it’s cold outside and cool when it’s hot outside.
Guaranteed Rate Field remains one of the most reasonably priced ball parks in MLB, so it’s a great place to take the family without breaking the bank, especially on one of their twelve designated Coca-Cola Family Sundays. These promotional days feature tickets as low as $5 in the upper level and $15 in lower level with parking discounted to just $10. After the game, kids have an opportunity to run the bases, which is a fun experience they’ll remember for years to come.
The Windy City ThunderBolts of the Frontier League also offer a great value for baseball fans in their newly-named stadium, Ozinga Field in Crestwood. This professional independent league team is entering its 25th season overall and its 21st in the Frontier League this season. With mascots and character visits, fireworks, live entertainment and weekly promotions, this ballpark is as family-friendly as they come. Check out their website, wcthunderbolts.com for more information on special offers, like $2 Tickets on Tuesday, $1 Hot Dog Nights and Sunday Family Days where you can get a $39 package of four tickets, hot dogs, chips, sodas and hats with a bunch of family activities included.
You may also be able to fit in a game of one of the Chicago Southland’s college teams - South Suburban College, Prairie State College, Moraine Valley Community College or Trinity Christian College.
While on your little baseball excursion, take time to stop by Homewood Bat Co. Not only is this the same company that has produced bats for a number of major leaguers, including Yolmer Sanchez and David Bote, but you can have your own custom bat made in the shop.
Didn’t get your fill of hot dogs and peanuts and cracker jacks at the game? Check out some local favorites for a Chicago-style dog - Boz’s Hot Dogs in Lansing and Thornton, Andy’s Hot Dogs in South Holland, Joey’s Red Hots in Orland Park are a few. Stop by Greco Candy locations in Oak Lawn, Tinley Park and Lansing for peanuts or other treats. Pop’s Popcorn in Homewood can satisfy your sweet tooth with several varieties of gourmet popcorn.
There are also a number of sports bars, pubs and pizzerias in the Chicago Southland where you can sit back and watch the game while you enjoy a meal, among them Beggar’s Pizza, J. J. Kelley’s, Lynnie Que’s, At the Office Sports Bar & Grill and Stoney Point Grill.