The Star’s 30-second ballpark tour: Guaranteed Rate Field

A rain tarp covers the field at Guaranteed Rate Field during a rain delay on Opening Day.
A rain tarp covers the field at Guaranteed Rate Field during a rain delay on Opening Day. The Associated Press

There is nothing like your first trip to a new ballpark. This has been true for 100 years, and it will be for 100 more.

The Royals will visit 18 road ballparks this season — 14 in the American League, four in the National League — and The Star has set out to offer a 30- to 45-second tour of every stadium … and a glimpse at where each venue ranks in baseball’s hierarchy of stadia.

First up on the list is Guaranteed Rate Field, the stadium formerly known as U.S. Cellular Field, which itself was formerly known as new Comiskey Park.

And we’re off.

The Ballpark: Guaranteed Rate Field

The Capacity: 40,615

The Year it Opened: 1991

The Location: Chicago’s Armour Square neighborhood, near Bridgeport

The Star’s Ranking: 16th

The Breakdown: When this place opened in 1991, its fate was sealed as a mediocre park. Maybe it was the brutal blue color scheme, or the steep upper deck. Maybe it was the location, or that it faces away from the Chicago skyline. That was a strange design decision. But I’m here to tell you that Guaranteed Rate Field — despite the unfortunate name — is actually a pretty nice place to watch a game. The sight lines are solid. The aesthetics in the outfield give the place an old-timey feel. They’ve done a nice job with some renovations. And, of course, it gets a major bump in the rankings by being located in Chicago during the summer months.

The Nearby Hangs: This is Chicago, so there’s food everywhere. But if you need a couple spots close to the park, try 35th Street Red Hots for food and Maria’s Packaged Goods and Community Bar in Bridgeport for a post-game nightcap.

Rustin Dodd’s Full Ballpark Rankings

1. Fenway Park

2. AT&T Park

3. PNC Park

4. Camden Yards

5. Safeco Field

6. Wrigley Field

7. Dodger Stadium

8. Kauffman Stadium

9. Target Field

10. Petco Park

11. Coors Field

12. Citi Field

13. Minute Maid Park

14. Marlins Park

15. Yankee Stadium

16. Guaranteed Rate Field

17. Rogers Centre

18. Chase Field

19. Nationals Park

20. Miller Park

21. Citizens Bank Park

22. Comerica Park

23. Great American Ball Park

24. Globe Life Park

25. SunTrust Park

26. Busch Stadium

27. Progressive Field

28. Tropicana Field

29. Oakland Alameda-County Coliseum

30. Angel Stadium of Anaheim