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Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank

Welcome to the Scout Seats/Lounge!

“White Sox fans are very blue-collar” says Chicago Tribune White Sox beat writer Mark Gonzales in an annoyingly inaccurate commercial. Perhaps you’ve seen this Tribune spot where they showcase the beat writers for both local teams. Gonzales, and those who stereotype Sox fans this way are dead wrong.  I’ve profiled three places at U.S. Cellular Field where the congregating Sox fans have plenty of income. Or coin, moolah, bread, cheese, cheddah, scrilla, paper, bills, jack, c.r.e.a.m.,or dinero. Now I’ll bring you inside the most exclusive place in the park and the seats that are closest to the action, the Scout Seats,
which opened during the World Series year of 2005.

Amenities include
• Private lounge for entertaining clients and guests
• Premium buffet in private lounge with all beverages included
• Private access to best seat locations in the park
• Invitations to exclusive White Sox events

The heavenly decadent extravagance of the chef’s table buffet equals the gourmet spread you get upstairs in the Bards’ Room. (Where the credentialed media eats) Being a White Sox history geek, I know the dining hall is named after the Woodland Bards club, basically the Southside’s answer to the West Side Rooters Social Club (Cubs) or the Royal Rooters (Red Sox). 

Getting back to the gentlemen of this day, the Scout Lounge regulars tell me this is where Owner Jerry Reinsdorf and GM Kenny Williams eat.  I believe them too because I saw Manager Ozzie Guillen come in an hour before the lounge opens to get his coffee. (No cream, 2 Equals is how he took it) There’s a lot of juice in this club, and I’m not talking about the beverages. John Malevitis is an attorney who attended 79 of the 81 home games last season. When he missed two games in a row, the bartender called him to see if he’s sick or not. (Yes, I do plan on making this guy an interview subject for a future story) Baseball nerds like us also appreciate the Club’s most memorable feature: a behind-the-glass collection of prized White Sox memorabilia that is shown during the White Sox pre-game introduction on the scoreboard.

The scout seats are sold out. Click here for the waiting list

For the full and more detailed version of this story go here

For more Chicago Sports Discussion and Fun go here 

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Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank

Welcome to the Jim Beam Club!

“White Sox fans are blue-collar” says Chicago Tribune White Sox beat writer Mark Gonzales in an annoyingly inaccurate commercial. Perhaps you’ve seen this irritating Tribune spot where they showcase the beat writers for both local teams. Gonzales, and those who stereotype Sox fans as lacking in class are dead wrong. I’ve profiled a couple places at U.S. Cellular Field where the congregating Sox fans have plenty of income. Or coin, moolah, chips, wad, cash, bread, cheese, cheddah, scrilla, paper, bills, jack, c.r.e.a.m., lucre, coin, or dinero. I’ll introduce you to the place with the best overall views in the park, the Jim Beam Club. It opened last season in the spot where the press box used to be. This royal experience starts at $265 per seat, per game and is only sold on a full season basis. Sometimes a Multi-year commitment required for certain locations. (You can often find single game passes on Ebay and Craig’s List too.) However, once you get past that initial sticker shock, it’s a pretty good deal. Think of how much tickets cost. Add in parking, food and booze. If you splurge on any of these things, the total sum gets you in the ballpark of the Beam Club which includes Premium Levy Restaurant Buffet, Open bar till the 7th inning and In-seat menu and wait service (padded 22” open-air seats).

“This is our premier seating area and restaurant, but we also have the standard ballpark fare (nachos, hot dogs, burgers etc.) that people will always be looking for,” said Club coordinator Maribeth Reese.

Jim Beam Club Amenities

-Premium reserved parking in Lot D
-Concierge service
-Access to private lounge
-Flat-screen televisions (some showing other games) throughout the club and seating area
-Invitations to private on-field events and member parties
-Former player appearances in the Jim Beam Club lounge

That last was one I find the most interesting because Maribeth told me all about the celebrities that have visited the Club including John Cusack, D.B. Sweeney, Bernie Mac, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Derrick Rose and Jerry Springer. Yep, the people in this club have juice that’s 100% pure, no pulp. Check back soon and I’ll take you inside the Scout Seats and private lounge.

For more pictures and further detail on the club click here.

For more Chicago sports information and discussion click here.

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Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank 

During the weekend that America became engulfed by the force of nature that is the Batman sequel “The Dark Knight,” I spent a couple nights in the shadow of our local caped-crusader, The Soxman. And given that the city of Chicago plays the role of Gotham in the current summer event film, it is fitting that our hero represents a Chicago team.

I followed Soxman from his traditional pre-game meal (which is always done out of costume) to the end of the night, noticing all the heads that turn as he slowly walks by. Hordes of people approach and request a photo taken with him. Basically, a night at the park with him is what would happen if you were to breed Halloween with Soxfest. You experience all that is Sox Nation in the most gregarious of atmospheres. The hotties come forward, seeking to get their pictures in further circulation. I even saw one ask if the dynamic duo would sign her breast. They refused, instead signing her shoulder. And little kids love him too. Seven year old Alyssa Choksin, a season ticket holder a couple rows from Soxman and Batboy, gives his sidekick a Twizzler every single game. On Saturday night, Soxman even caught a foul ball and promptly gave it to four year old Matthew McLean, who was attending his first Sox game.  

Soxman’s made so many mainstream media appearances that it takes a whole Wikipedia page to list them all. The duo’s promotional photo is even the desktop wallpaper for the computer guy at WGN.  Soxman has a weekly online mailbag in which people ask him questions on everything from baseball to relationship advice. Making the rounds with him at the ballpark is the only way to truly acknowledge his celebrity. I talked to so many people about this story that I was doing that I gave away all the NBC5 Street Team and SportsBank business cards in my pocket. When we collaborated on a Dark Knight themed White Sox article, it broke my site’s record for blog comments the first day! But he’s also a fantasy baseball geek and Peter Gammons-esque major league baseball expert. He’s the only person I know who’s “passion and swagger” for the White Sox makes it difficult for ME to keep up with HIM when talking shop on the pale hose.

I completed my weekend shadowing the “White Sox Dark Knight” by taking in the record-setting blockbuster film with his real life alter-ego, “Bruce Wayne-Parker” and seven of his closest friends. There, he told me how less than 40 total people know both his identities, me being the sole journalist. It made me feel like Commissioner Gordon, serving the public good through the media industry instead of the police department, but still this superhero’s confidant and peer adviser.

I also asked him when White Sox fans should send out the Sox signal, and he responded in verse: “When your spirits are low or the Sox are down, send out the signal, on the south side of town.  Remember to stay positive and control your rage, or just send me a message on my Myspace page. Passion is explosive, like a time bomb.  Need positive energy? Just go to thesoxman.com.”  
  
Click here for the full account of my two nights at the park with Soxman. For more Chicago sports analysis and fun, click here.

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