CHICAGO - All eyes are on the Chicago White Sox as they begin their march through the playoffs Thursday afternoon in Houston.
And though they don’t return home to Guaranteed Rate Field until Sunday night, preparations are already underway at the ballpark for October baseball.
"It’s been 13 years since we hosted fans for a postseason game," said White Sox Vice President of Marketing Brooks Boyer.
Guaranteed Rate Field is being dressed up for October magic. Playoff logos have been painted on the field and hung on the dugout walls. Maintenance workers and grounds crew are getting ready for 40,000 fans on Sunday night.
"Be prepared for an amazing experience," said Boyer. "Because that’s ultimately what I think we’re going to have when we’re hosting postseason baseball here."
The White Sox are encouraging fans to arrive early for the 7 p.m. game. Parking lots open at 4 p.m., but all parking passes must be purchased ahead of time online.
Right now the game is sold out, but there is still hope for those who don’t have tickets.
"There will be tickets that will be released," said Boyer. "So we’re telling people to stay tuned to WhiteSox.com for tickets and for additional parking passes that will be put out there."
The White Sox say they’re working closely with Chicago police and OEMC on security issues. And yes, the Chicago Marathon will be running right by the ballpark on Sunday, although it should be finished hours before first pitch.
Just down 35th street at Grandstand Sports, White Sox fans are snapping up the playoff merch.
"I already got black jeans," said shopper Charlene Evans. "You got to have some black stuff for your hair and I put my Sox hat in the cleaners so it has a little bling to it. So I’m going to be OK."
"It started on Monday," said Grandstand Sports owner Josh Gamal. "As soon as we open our door there was a line of people waiting to get in."
And White Sox fans going to the game will be given a black towel to wave to help create a black out effect.
"And we’re encouraging people to wear black all month long," said Boyer. "And hopefully this is a long and extended run."