White Sox fans ready for home opener

“I love that everybody has a good time, and everybody is friendly,” said one diehard Sox fan at Guaranteed Rate Field on Tuesday for the game against the Seattle Mariners. “That’s what it should be about: safety and friendship and just meeting people.”

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Dan Kozlowski, 36, of Crown Point, Indiana, tailgates with friends Tuesday afternoon outside Guaranteed Rate Field before the Chicago White Sox home opener game against the Seattle Mariners.

Dan Kozlowski, 36, of Crown Point, Indiana, tailgates with friends Tuesday afternoon outside Guaranteed Rate Field before the Chicago White Sox home opener game against the Seattle Mariners.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Dan Kozlowski, of Crown Point, Indiana, is the world’s biggest White Sox fan — at least according to his belt.

Kozlowski specially ordered and personalized the giant black belt online. Born and raised a Sox fan, Kozlowski arrived at 5:15 a.m. to get a prime parking spot for the home opener at Guaranteed Rate Field on Tuesday.

“I challenge anybody to be as big of a Sox fan as me,” Kozlowski said. “There may be some that tie me, but nobody beats me.”

He roots for the Sox through thick and thin, Kozlowski said, holding a beer in one hand and his belt in the other.

For Armando Davila — it’s more like through sleet and snow. A resident of the Galewood neighborhood, Davila has been attending the home opener for more than 20 years and has experienced all sorts of weather.

“It started with my brother, my Dad and myself and a small grill,” Davila said. “It grew into my family and my kids, and now everybody comes.”

He’s grateful that it’s warm this year. Around Davila, about 15 close friends and family lounge and talk in lawn chairs. Davila is busy grilling sausages and said he would soon start some chicken wings.

“I love that everybody has a good time, and everybody is friendly,” Davila said. “That’s what it should be about: safety and friendship and just meeting people.”

Sean Todd, 27, and Dan Redden, 59, both from Glenview, play corn hole while tailgating with friends Tuesday afternoon outside Guaranteed Rate Field before the Chicago White Sox home opener game against the Seattle Mariners.

Sean Todd, 27, and Dan Redden, 59, both from Glenview, play corn hole while tailgating with friends Tuesday afternoon outside Guaranteed Rate Field before the Chicago White Sox home opener game against the Seattle Mariners.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Some fans, drinks in hand, play corn hole with friends. Kids pass footballs to one another. Tiffany Pillot and daugher Inahmi Soto, both West Lawn residents, brought a giant Connect Four game to the tailgate and play over and over again.

Patrick Yeo is celebrating his 11th birthday at the White Sox game and is tailgating with his uncle, Burt Yeo. “It turns out class got ‘canceled’” his uncle said — using air quotes — “for the 11-year-old birthday guy.”

He’s been a White Sox fan his whole life, Patrick Yeo said — 11 years today. What is he most excited for this season? “Winning,” Yeo said.

Vanessa Ortiz, a nurse practitioner from Tinley Park, is 36 weeks pregnant and looking forward to bringing her new baby up a Sox fan. She wears a shirt with a heart-shaped-baseball design. “Baby” and the Sox logo are printed in the center.

“I was skeptical about coming because I’m so far along, but I got the OK yesterday from by OB, so I’m here,” Ortiz said. Her family has been season ticket holders for about 17 years.

Vanessa Ortiz, 39, of Tinley Park, who is 36 weeks pregnant, tailgates with friends and family Tuesday afternoon outside Guaranteed Rate Field before the Chicago White Sox home opener game against the Seattle Mariners.

Vanessa Ortiz, 39, of Tinley Park, who is 36 weeks pregnant, tailgates with friends and family Tuesday afternoon outside Guaranteed Rate Field before the Chicago White Sox home opener game against the Seattle Mariners.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

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