Last weekend 250 die-hard White Sox fans paid $250 each to attend Sleepover Night at Comiskey Park. (Proceeds went to Chicago White Sox Charities.) Participants watched a Saturday-night game against the Expos, camped out on the field, then watched another game against Montreal on Sunday. SI sent writer John Sellers to the slumber party.
Saturday, 5:45 p.m.
I meet the sleepover group at check-in, in a stadium conference room. They are mostly preteens and their parents, and young couples. A marketing director goes over the ground rules: Don't litter, don't carve your initials into the warning track, etc. She's still talking during the first pitch at 6:05.
The Expos win, 2-1. Fireworks begin. As the 24,527 who are not sleeping over head for the exits, my posse begins that "nah, nah, nah, nah, goodbye" chant.
They finally allow us onto the field. Chaos quickly ensues. Everyone has decided to fulfill the same fantasy of shagging flies in Comiskey's outfield. Balls fly everywhere. A kid in a Frank Thomas jersey runs over five sleeping bags to snare a fly—and lands on his face.
An elderly White Sox staffer dressed in a cap and nightgown arrives to tuck people in. This mainly consists of his kissing women on the lips.
Sunday, 12:01 am.
The lights dim as The Natural begins to play on the JumboTron. What, no Eight Men Out"?
Redford knocks one out to win the pennant. About a dozen night owls cheer limply.
A tape of Chicago manager Jerry Manuel is played. "Good night, White Sox fans," he says. "It's time to go to sleep." But it's a tough sell: A cleaning crew is working the upper levels with leaf blowers.
I awake to the sound of seagulls and revelry: Kids are already playing catch.
Breakfast at The Bullpen Bar, behind rightfield. We're met by former White Sox players, including Bill Melton (1968-75). I ask if he ever wanted to nap on the field. "There were a few times in August we slept on the field when we were 25 games out," he says.