First off, I would like to thank everyone who wished me a happy birthday! It truly was a great birthday, and I appreciate all your well wishes. I also got a brand new Mark Buehrle shirt, since the one I got for Christmas had been ruined by a bleach stain. Any day I get new Buehrle memorabilia is a good day 🙂
So, I come back, and to my complete relief, the White Sox did not implode while I was gone! Two games, and two wins, against the division-rival Indians. I see our buddy Edwin Jackson got us the win, with a solid 6-inning, 2-run performance. While E-Jax has shown time and time again that “he has the consistency of a shapeshifter”, his past two starts have shown to me that he does have a legitimate chance to be an exclamation point and not a question mark in the White Sox rotation. Right now, I think it would be a mistake to trade him.
So speaking of trades, I hear that the Sox and the Cardinals are having “accelerated” trade talks, regarding a possible trade of Cards’ centerfielder Colby Rasmus. Center field? Isn’t that the same position that the currently abominable Alex Rios plays? Why, yes, it is! While Rasmus isn’t exactly a superstar, I like his .244 average, .331 OBP, and 37 RBI a lot better than Rios’ .207, .253, and 23 in the same categories. Of course, the natural question is who are the Sox gonna give up? Two names mentioned in the report on the White Sox’ website are *sigh* Edwin Jackson or failed-closer Matt Thornton. I’d much prefer the latter, and would love to Rasmus roaming the Cell’s center field over Rios. But, as with all trade deadline rumors, I guess I have to wait and see.
More importantly, do you remember his stint as a White Sock? Probably not, because it was pretty un-memorable. The only reason I bring it up now is because I saw that the Tigers have acquired Betemit from the Royals. Turns out that this is actually a desirable acquisition. This season, he has been batting .281. Last season, also with the Royals, he posted a .297 average. I didn’t know he could actually hit. All I remember is that in 2009, he hit .200 with 3 RBI. Thanks, Wilson, for showing us your best stuff while you were with us. Glad that we served as a warm-up on your way to actually being a decent player in KC.
In case you totally do not remember Wilson because his season was THAT horrible, here is a picture to help jog your memory. Note that he wore No. 15, the same number currently worn by one of our latest disappointments, Gordon Beckham.
Now, I know on the morning of Saturday, July 23, you will all be visiting this very blog to read a flowering tribute to my boy, Mark Buehrle, on the 2-year anniversary of his perfect game. Unfortunately, you will be sorely disappointed, because I am going to be away this weekend without Internet access. But, I can’t let this momentous date pass without some sort of commemoration…
Too bad he’s not pitching this July 23rd. A perfect game on my sixteenth birthday would be the absolute coolest thing ever in the history of the world. Alas, it’s not meant to be. I’ll be back Sunday night, see y’all then. Hopefully the White Sox won’t implode while I’m gone and oblivious to their shenanigans.
I have been a subscriber to Sports Illustrated since November 2007, and have read the magazine faithfully since June of that year. In that span, I had saved almost every single issue that came into my possession. In those four years, I accumulated 200 issues of the great magazine, 200 issues that were hidden in every corner of my room. I knew that I needed to get rid of some of the copies at some point, but accomplishing the task always seemed so daunting. 200 issues, over 4 years. Some issues I would clearly want to save, due to historical significance. But what about the ones in between? How long would it take to determine which ones stayed in my room, and which ones hit the recycling bin?
About three hours, I learned today.
Once all 200 issues were piled onto the floor, I immediately set some ground rules as to which issues had to stay with me. Any issue commemorating a World Series, Super Bowl, NBA championship, or college football or basketball championship was safe. Ditto for any issues that featured the Winter and Summer Olympics. Covers displaying any member of the White Sox or Yankees were to be salvaged, as were the issues that displayed the images of Giants’ pitcher Tim Lincecum (my favorite non-White Sox player, and admitted “baseball crush”) or former college basketball star Tyler Hansbrough. After I found those issues and put them aside, then the real work began.
In total, I saved 111 full issues. I put 25 of those aside and designated them as “gems”, and of those 25, I put 7 in plastic Ziplocs, indicating that they were of the utmost value to me. I also ripped out 19 features stories from issues that otherwise weren’t worth saving. While sorting through these stacks of magazines, I really gave myself a refresher of the sports world in the last 4 years. It was wild to read about college coaches that were being hailed as saviors, who are now disgraced due to recruiting violations. It was amusing to read preview issues, and discover that the team the writers picked to win the World Series didn’t even make the playoffs that year. Below are some of the highlights of my tour:
May 23, 2011- What the Tornado Took: One of the things I love about Sports Illustrated is how it tells stories that transcend sports. This issue, whose cover story explored the damage in Tuscaloosa, Alabama after devastating tornadoes, personified that ability. Though the story focused on student athletes competing for the University of Alabama and how their lives were affected, I didn’t feel like I was reading about athletes. I felt like I was reading about victims and survivors, and this story gave me more insight into the devastation than any news report had.
December 10, 2007- Sportsman of the Year: Brett Favre: When this issue was published, former Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre was beloved by almost every sports fan. This issue gushed about his accomplishments and told countless anecdotes about what a great guy Favre was. Six months after this story ran, Favre retired–and then soon un-retired. The saga that followed made Favre reviled by the same people that once praised him. Two years after this, sick of yet another “un-retirement” episode, SI put four words in the corner of one of its covers: “100% Favre-Free Zone”.
June 8, 2009- Baseball’s Chosen One: I thought this was, and still is, one of the most disgusting covers I have ever seen. Bryce Harper was 16 years old when this cover ran. To give a kid this level of hype at such a young age I felt was outrageous. I keep this as a symbol of state of journalism today. Even respectable publications such as SI can’t help but fall victim to the appeal of sensationalism.
June 14, 2010- John Wooden 1910-2010: Most times, SI runs a headline on its cover, and then adds at least two subheadlines to attract you to other stories within the magazine. While good marketing strategy, I often feel that these subheads take away from the emphasis of the main story. But when former UCLA college basketball coach John Wooden, the greatest college coach of all time, passed away, SI knew to devote the cover entirely to his memory. This lack of distractions shows a great level of respect for one of the greatest men in sports, and I was very impressed by the magazine’s tact here.
Top row, first- December 26, 2006- My first issue: This started it all. It was my first issue, and I liked it. Four years later, I’m stuck with 200 of them in my bedroom.
Top row, second- August 13, 2007- History: Barry Bonds Hits Home Run No. 755: Love him or hate him, this was one of the most historic sports events in my lifetime thus far. I view this issue as an artifact.
Top row, third- March 10, 2008- March Madman: My dad not only made into a baseball fan, he also passed on a sizeable love for college basketball. Former North Carolina player Tyler Hansbrough was my favorite college player, and I was ecstatic to see him get his due in the form of a four-page feature. I read the article so many times the issue began to fall apart and is held together by a paper clip.
Top row, fourth, and bottom row, last- July 7, 2008 and December 27, 2010- The Tim Lincecum issues: I. Love. Tim. Lincecum. So. So. Much. (But not as quite as much as I love Mark Buehrle.)
Bottom row, first- August 25, 2008- The Alltime Olympian Michael Phelps: Like the Barry Bonds issue, I consider this to be an artifact of what was two of the most exciting weeks for me as a sports fan. Just a fantastic cover.
Bottom row, second- August 3, 2009- Perfect: If I could save only one issue, this would be it. As I have mentioned before, Mark Buehrle’s perfect game happened on my birthday, and this issue brings back memories of a thrilling day. What else would you expect from a Girlie Who Loves Buehrle?
It’s weird to say that a magazine has changed your life, but I believe that in some ways, Sports Illustrated has changed mine. With each issue collected, I became more of a sports fan, enveloping myself in the prose of victory and defeat, of joy and loss. Being a sports fan is a large part of my identity, and the wonderful writing of SI‘s reporters taught me more about the topic than simple highlights on TV ever can. Maybe the art of the written word is dying, but to me, the beauty of it is just starting to flourish.
Never mind that we moved half a game above the Royals last night and are now third in the AL Central. Never mind that a win tonight will put us at .500 on the road this season, and I would like to be. 500 in at least one category. Never mind that our offense has apparently gone to sleep (then again, they haven’t really been awake much this season) and that we essentially need a shutout every game in order to have a chance at winning. There is only one reason why Mark Buehrle had better turn in a stellar performance tonight.
I just picked him up for my fantasy team (which is named ‘The Ozzies’, har-har), and my ERA this week is 7.20, thanks to Mr. Justin Verlander and Mr. Heath Bell. I need a nice, round 0.00 posting to help lower that hideous number.
Counting on you, Mark. Don’t let me down.
The Girl with the Awesome-sauce T-shirt (see above).
As I’ve mentioned before, one of the reasons that I love Mark Buehrle so much is because of all of the strange distinctions he holds. He’s the first pitcher in World Series history to start and save consecutive games. He is one of only two pitchers in history who allowed seven runs in the first inning yet went on to win the game. (The other was Jack Powell in 1900.) And now, for the record books, Mark Buehrle has become the all-time winningest interleague pitcher, with 24 wins acquired during interleague play.
I know, I know, I am clearly on the record as a hater of interleague play. But this distinction is yet another quirky facet to Buehrle’s already unusual resume. Now I can tell my kids that as a teenager, my favorite player was not Albert Pujols or Derek Jeter, no way. Nope, it was Mark Buehrle, who topped the likes of Jamie Moyer and Freddy Garcia to become the winningest pitcher in a stupid period of baseball history known as interleague play.
Has a lovely ring to it, don’t you think?
Oh, and I finally decided to take advantage of this WordPress conversion by replacing the MLBlogs theme with one of the WordPress themes. What do you think of my new look? Tell me in the comments; I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
This weekend, the White Sox happily won the their third series out west, actually scoring runs for once in the process. I took this all in from Phillies country, aka Southern Jersey. Honestly, I have never seen so many people wearing a team’s gear, aside from a stadium. Everywhere I looked, there was a Phillies hat, Phillies shirt, Phillies jacket. I think Roy Halladay is the second coming down there.
But while this blog was down, I did not want to write about the Sox’ victory spree or the overabundance of red that I was seeing. No, I wanted to write about this guy.
Yes, this is a White Sox blog. Yes, the White Sox are my favorite team, and always will be. But the Jorge Posada saga really struck a nerve with me this weekend. Whenever I see news about him now on ESPN, I stop and look. Growing up on Long Island, I knew all about the Core Four and their magnificence. And for whatever reason, Jorge caught with me more than any other Yankee. In 2005, Newsday had a centerfold poster of Posada that stayed tacked onto my wall until 2007. I bought a Posada shirt in 2006, three sizes too big, and still wear it in sophomore gym class. On my list of favorite players, squished between the likes of Mark Buerhle, Paul Konerko, and A.J. Pierzynski, is Jorge. And now he’s getting old? And worse, he’s getting old in one of the ugliest ways possible?
I was expressing this all to my friend via text on Saturday night, while watching the Yanks game on FOX and hearing Ken Rosenthal reveal the story. He, unlike almost every other friend I have, loves baseball, and is a fan of his hometown Reds and the Red Sox. “Why are you so upset about this?” I explained to him that the slow demise of Jorge represented the demise of the Yankees I grew up with, when I was living in a town practically draped in pinstripes. “But you don’t even like the Yankees,” he said.
Let’s say you have an aunt. Let’s call her Mary. Aunt Mary is your father’s sister, and you have known her since birth. Your father is very fond of his sister, and always encourages you to spend time with her and get to know her better and better. You find Aunt Mary to be perfectly nice, but she’s a bit boring. She is very traditional, hardly ever breaks from her routine, and considers a wild day to be a day at the petting zoo. She isn’t very funny, doesn’t enjoy reading the Sunday comics, and wears grays and whites. You love Aunt Mary because she is a part of your family, but not for many reasons beyond that.
Then let’s say that a vivacious woman named Bess marries into the family. Aunt Bess is the stark opposite of Mary. She is outgoing, wears bright colors and flowing fabrics, and loves to laugh and crack jokes. You take to her immediately, because you want to hear her funny stories and eat the gum she slips you on the way home, even though your parents forbid gum in the house. Then, just when you don’t think you could love Bess anymore, she takes you to Disney World for the week. The excitement she gave you in that week tops anything Aunt Mary ever did. Bess is just so much fun, that she has to be your favorite aunt. You will always love Aunt Mary, because she is family, but Bess will always be the favorite.
I guess by now you can figure out that the White Sox are Aunt Bess and the Yankees are Aunt Mary. While the White Sox will always be my true loves, the Yankees are woven into the fabric of my family, of my childhood. So do I like the Yankees? Yes. No. Maybe. That’s not the point. Watching Jorge get old is like seeing Aunt Mary’s eyesight fail. You don’t love her much beyond the familial sense, but you would hate to see her suffer.
- 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.)