Good evening, folks, and welcome to tonight’s edition of ChiSox Nightly. We have a very entertaining show planned for you tonight, but first, let’s start with a little trivia question, shall we?
Who is very nervous about Jake Peavy’s season debut tonight?
a) Jake Peavy
b) Catherine, the esteemed author of the fine blog The Wizard of Ozzie
c) That random fan in the stands with mustard on his shirt
If you selected choice “b”, then you are correct! Thank you for playing, and please, stay tuned for more exciting news!
Yep, so tonight is the big night. Peavy steps on the mound for the first time in 10 months, facing the Angels. (Note: Peavy’s injury came against the Angels. Coincidence much?) As exciting as it is to have the guy who is supposedly our “ace” back on the squad, I must admit that I am more nervous than anything else. Peavy hasn’t exactly been a master of control since arriving in Chicago, and coming off of major surgery, I’m afraid of the same old same old. We don’t need our star failing miserably in his debut. That would just rub more salt in the wound. And anyways, I’m liking this Philip Humber kid and his 2.97 ERA. Can’t he stick around for just a little while longer?
For my English class, I have to give a persuasive speech about any topic I want. My teacher suggested that we choose a topic that we are passionate about, and of course, the two things that popped into my head were art and baseball. Not really sure what I could say about art (besides persuading everyone to like it), I turned to baseball. And so, inspired by recent columns by Bill Madden of the New York Daily News and Phil Taylor of Sports Illustrated, I chose to talk about why the Oakland A’s should be dissolved. Believe it or not, I found many valid reasons, and I am looking forward to crafting this speech. When it is done, I will post it on here. I’m looking forward to reading other people’s thoughts and opinions on my idea.
Okay, so I would rather have a great White Sox team instead of a great White Sox team store, but I just got a White Sox Wire bulletin about the new team store the Sox are building at the Cell, and it looks very nice. I love team stores, simply because every piece of useless team memorabilia you can think of–1987 team baseball cards! stuffed lambs with the team logo! garden gnomes!–is stocked floor-to-ceiling, all in one wonderfully tacky marketing scheme. What’s going to make the Sox store so great is that all of that useless team memorabilia will be stocked floor-to-ceiling on not one, but two floors! Think of all the wacky souvenirs they can fit in two floors and 13,000 square feet! Light-up keychains? Talking alarm clocks? Bobbleheads of the bullpen catcher? The cheesy possibilities are endless.
Tomorrow, the White Sox will take on the Mariners in Seattle. Felix Hernandez will battle Philip Humber on the mound, which leaves me in a bit of a dilemma. King Felix is the ace of my fantasy team, and I am currently in need of some strikeouts and a low ERA to win this week’s matchup. But of course, the White Sox are in need of a win period. I guess I’ll just have to hope that Felix goes eight strong without giving up a run, but the M’s closer blows it in the ninth. Except that the M’s closer, Brandon League, is also on my fantasy team. Hmmmm….
- The White Sox beat the Orioles last night.
- With said victory, the Sox’ 5-game losing streak was snapped.
- Also with said said victory, Mark Buehrle at long last picked up his 150th win.
If you look at my profile picture and scroll down a couple of entries back, you will know that I am happiest about the third item on that list. Yes, my boy, number 56, Mark Alan Buehrle, has now joined a club of only 12 active pitchers that have 150 wins or more. Though 150 is not as nice a number as 200, or of course, that impossible Mount-Everest-esque of a number known as 300, I still am very happy to see a nice, round, clean win total next to his name. 150. I can live with that.
(Though I could live even better with the nice, round, clean win total of 200 next to his name, but one thing at a time.)
I don’t know why I’m in such an optimistic mood today. Maybe it’s because today is the first of May, and it’s finally sunny instead of the rain and gloom typically showcased outside my window. Maybe it’s because I had chocolate cake last night and am still on a sugar high. Maybe it’s because I know that if I keep moaning about how bad the White Sox are, baseball won’t be fun for me anymore, and that would be even worse than having a losing record.
Or maybe it’s because history tells me that the White Sox’ 2011 season is far from over.
Yes, I am. Right now, the White Sox sit at 10-18, with a .357 winning percentage. Not pretty. But last year on the morning of May 1, the team was 9-14, with only a .391 winning percentage. Not much better. And last year, if you recall, the White Sox were leading the division by the All-Star break. If they could have held on for just a little longer in September, they would have surely eclipsed the Twinkies and seen the fields of October. Far cry from the cellar dwellers of April, right?
So, no, it does not look good now. But it didn’t look much better last year. A couple save conversions by Matt Thornton and we would look exactly the same as the ’10 Sox squad. I’ve been taught many a time that history repeats itself. So I’m thinking that this year, it’s entirely possible that this horrific April will be in the rearview mirror come July 12.
If you haven’t seen video of Lillibridge’s game-saving heroics yet, you seriously need to. Here’s a link:
I think you now understand why in my eyes, Brent Lillibridge can do no wrong. Until he makes an error that allows three runs to score, of course
Ah, NY traffic. Getting to the Stadium yesterday for the Yanks-ChiSox game wasn’t a picnic, with lots of rush-hour traffic on the Deegan. Getting home wasn’t exactly fun either, since the Yankees traffic directors force you to spend an extended amount of time in a not-so-nice part of the Bronx before finally hitting the highway back home.
But I don’t care. The ChiSox got a win! And, more excitingly, the bullpen did not cough it up!
Humber was fantastic, carrying a no-hitter into the seventh inning. I was hoping that he would maintain the no-no into the ninth, so that Ozzie could not take him out and we would not have to go to *gasp* the bullpen. (I have absolutely ZERO faith in our bullpen at this point, and I know that’s bad. I can’t wish for an October run and bash the oh-so-crucial bullpen at the same time.) But Humber gave up a hit to A-Rod in the seventh, so to start the eighth, out trotted Chris Sale. He did not blow it, to my relief.
Then came Sergio Santos…
Granderson-A-Rod-Teixiera, a 2-0 ChiSox lead, and a crazy Stadium crowd in the bottom of the ninth. My heart was pounding as it was, and then Granderson hit a leadoff single. I buried my head in my sweatshirt, and looked up just in time to see Granderson steal second. The crowd went nuts, and since they were so loud that no one could hear me, I yelled “NOOOOOO!!!!” I could see it now…a two-run shot by A-Rod…out trots Thornton…a solo walk-off shot by Teixeira…my imagination went nuts. But no! Three more quick outs! A win! A win! A win!
Then we got to sit for 45 minutes in traffic immeshed in the dark Bronx streets not completely sure where we were going. But once we got onto a well-lit highway, I forgot about that. Because…
WHITE SOX WON!!
Tonight’s first pitch is in less than 5 minutes. Let’s do it again, boys.
Like my shirt? Just got it in the mail today. Designed it myself, because I needed to proclaim to the world that you are my absolute favorite player in baseball right now. My father mocks me for this. I live 50 miles from Yankee Stadium, so why not Derek Jeter, he asks? Or how about Tim Lincecum, who I have proclaimed to be my future husband? (Timmy does beat you in the looks department, have to admit.) Or if I must pick a White Sock as my favorite, as I reason with him all the time, why not Paul Konerko? Why you, my father asks, why pick a pitcher who right now sits at 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA?
- You play awesome defense.
- You are a workhorse.
- You were a part of the 2005 squad that first introduced me to baseball.
- You threw your perfect game on my birthday.
Okay, that fourth one kinda seals the deal for me. Yes, I love your two gold gloves and four All-Star appearances, and of course I love your shiny World Series ring, but I love that your perfecto was thrown on my birthday. I went to the movies with my friends that afternoon and was supposed to go to dinner with my parents afterwards, but I felt very sick from the blue Icee I drank at the movies and asked my mom to take me home instead. I guess the baseball gods wanted me home. The second I walked in the door, my father immediately announced that you just threw a perfect game, and I ran to the TV and watched the highlights for the rest of the night. I was giddy. I got a guitar and some pretty earrings, but the 27 up, 27 down mark was definitely the best present of all. And then, because you are just that awesome, you had to follow it up by setting the record for most consecutive batters retired, at 45. Okay, so it took you forever after the perfecto to win your next game, but I don’t care.
So let’s see, a perfect game, a no-hitter, a World Series ring, a save in said World Series, two Gold Gloves, four All-Star appearances, 149 wins, a career 3.87 ERA, twice leading the league in innings pitched and games started, a franchise record nine Opening Day starts. You also have weird but crazy awesome distinctions, like you were the first pitcher since 1900 to allow seven runs in the first inning but still win the game, or that you are one of only three active pitchers to win at least ten games in ten consecutive seasons. So what else is there? Oh, yeah, THE PLAY. Of course you know the one that I am referring to. Opening Day 2010…between the legs to Konerko…yeah, that one. There is nothing to say about that one other than that is precisely why I love you so much.
So I guess I could pick a flashier player…one who wins 15+ every season guaranteed or strikes out 200 or has a charismatic trademark. (well, your tarp slides during rain delays was one. I miss those. Dang Kenny Williams.) But no. You, Mark Buehrle, are my number one. Despite your ups and your downs, this girlie loves Buehrle, for better or for worse.
P.S. If you could please get to win No. 150 already though, that’d be nice. The team could use it.
P.P.S. Even though you are my absolute favorite, I am marrying Timothy Leroy Lincecum. He is my favorite non-White Sock, and it’s been decided. Sorry about that. He has nicer hair. But you’re married already anyway. Hope you don’t mind.