CHICAGO — Preparations are underway at Guaranteed Rate Field as the Chicago White Sox-Houston Astros playoff series begins Thursday in Texas.
When the team returns to Chicago, officials expect nearly 40,000 fans to pack the stadium. As a result, staff members at Guaranteed Rate Field say fans should anticipate scarce parking.
Nearby bars and restaurants are expecting a full house as well.
“I’m expecting it to be the busiest day of the season and year, hopefully,” said Turtle’s Bar and Grill manager Karrie Stegmiller. “Everyone is so excited. There’s good vibes everywhere.”
Bars owners are making sure their establishments are fully stocked and prepared for an increase in business.
“We’ve been getting a lot of calls already, asking if we take reservations? I feel like we are going to have a crowd watching the game if they couldn’t get tickets,” Stegmiller said. “They want to be in the atmosphere.”
Guaranteed Rate Field will be the first postseason game with fans since the 2008 season. Last year, the coronavirus pandemic halted fans’ presence during the playoffs. This year, Sox officials are eager to hear the roar of exuberant fans but caution those who may be feeling sick or worse, with COVID-19, to stay home.
“If you’re outdoors, we are following the guidelines set by the state of Illinois,” said White Sox vice president and chief marketing officer Brooks Boyer. “If you’re comfortable not wearing a mask, you don’t have to wear a mask. Our indoor facilities, we are following the same mask mandates set by the city of Chicago.”
In terms of fans’ best bet to arriving at games, Sox officials say prepaid parking or rideshare is the way to go.
But not all Sox fans are interested in the big crowd. Preston Moore told WGN he has other plans.
“Just have friends over and charge them to come over,” he joked.
The White Sox will head home to Guaranteed Rate Field for Game 3 of the American League (AL) Divisional Series at 7:07 p.m. Sunday.