White Sox fans enjoy Campout at U.S. Cellular

White Sox fans enjoy Campout at U.S. Cellular

White Sox fans enjoy Campout at U.S. Cellular
CHICAGO -- The outfield at U.S. Cellular Field was occupied while the White Sox competed at Yankee Stadium.

Gloomy, dark clouds and rain shifted to a clear sky early Friday night for the White Sox Campout.

Campers filled U.S. Cellular Field to watch their team play the Yankees in New York in a come-from-behind 14-7 win and also competed in games and raffles. Raffle prizes ranged from gift certificates to signed memorabilia, and all campers could walk around the stadium, sit in the dugouts and pitch in the bullpens.

White Sox manager of corporate partnerships Jeff Floerke organized the event and said he expected between 250-275 people to flock to the ballpark for the Campout, which was presented by the Outdoor Channel, Xfiniti and Bass Pro Shops.

"It's something unique at the ballpark," Floerke said. "We wanted a time where the team was out of town, a good series people would be interested in watching, a weekend game. Friday night would be perfect."

Parents played catch with their children in the outfield before and during the White Sox game. All campers received goodie bags and children could compete in games or get their faces painted. Attendees were provided dinner before the game and breakfast the next morning.

The campout attracted all types of fans, including White Sox diehard and Chicago native Ruben Gamez, who played catch with his son while watching the South Siders.

"I think it's awesome," Gamez said. "Not many people get chances to come to a Major League baseball field and be out on the field.

"There were a lot of ifs going into the season. I told everybody if all the ifs pan out, we'll have a decent team, and they have."

Fans like Debbie Mott did whatever they could to get to the ballpark. Mott said she's the lone diehard baseball fan of the family and she thought her nephew, Alex Hynek, would enjoy himself.

"I'm sure I'm going to have a really good time," Hynek said when he first arrived.

It wasn't just Chicago residents who showed up.

Indiana native Robert Alm, his two sons and his father made the trek to Chicago for the opportunity to play catch and watch the game.

"We all like baseball," Alm said. "It's kind of just nice to walk out here and come out on the field and watch baseball."

With the early Friday morning storms, it didn't seem the event would be possible at all. The original plan was to have all attendees camp out in tents in the outfield where they watched the game, but plans altered with inclement weather expected overnight.

"[Despite] The rain earlier today, we were able to play catch in the outfield," Floerke said. "We're going to sleep up at the club level. The rain plan is up there."

Still, fans were able to enjoy themselves by stepping foot on the grass that their favorite players roam regularly and watching the White Sox on the center-field video board.

"To pretend that you're out here playing is about the closest thing you're going to do if you're not a baseball player," Gamez said.

Rowan Kavner is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.