During this last week of summer, I am on vacation with my family in Southern Jersey, about an hour and a half outside of Philly. As I expected, in my three days here so far, I have seen my share of red (and even some old-school maroon). However, I’ve been seeing a few other colors too. In what has been the extent of my scientific activity this summer, I’ve kept track of the number of people of seen wearing MLB gear. The results, three days into my seven-day vacation, are as follows:
1 Red Sox
1 White Sox (Okay, okay, it’s me. Gotta represent!)
I’ll be keeping this tally all week. I don’t doubt that I’ll see at least 100 Phillies fans by week’s end. If I was keeping track of football teams, I’m sure I would be able to confirm that I’ll see 100 Eagles fans as well.
So, I can tell you all about the doings of Halladay and
Rollins and all the rest, but I’m a bit fuzzy about my boys. I do know that last night, a dazzling and still rare display of offense was put on for show. 10-0 against the often-potent Rangers? I can live with that. I also know that Carlos Quentin has joined A.J. Pierzynski and Philip Humber among the ranks of the injured. Though Q isn’t expected to hit the DL, this is really a bad time for the injury bug to bite the Sox. With the Tigers sweep of the Indians, it looks like we might actually be able to move into second.
And it’s definitely not over.
Despite the enthusiasm of my last post, I still haven’t really been giving the White Sox much thought lately. That sweep at the hands of the Yankees two weeks ago left a sour taste in my mouth, and I officially proclaimed it over. I stopped keeping track of wins and losses and games behind. I would see online that they won, but not bother to check the standings. I thought no winning streak could erase the fact that it was done. Over. See ya next April.
Then, I heard on SportsCenter that A.J. Pierzynski was headed to the DL with a broken wrist. (For the first time in his career, by the way. I find it amazing that a catcher who is used as much as A.J. has never visited the DL before.) “Big blow for the surging Sox,” one of the anchors said. “They’re only 3.5 games behind Detroit.”
Excuse me, WHAT?!
Yes, it’s true. 3.5 games behind first-place Detroit, half a game behind second-place Cleveland, 8-2 in their last ten, and–my holy grail all season–one game over .500. Just when I had given up, just when I started to sink into the label of “bad fan”, my boys have given me yet another reason to believe. This hope may soon be dashed, as so many have this season, but now I know that I’m sticking this out till the end. After all, there’s still 41 to go. Let’s play ball.
(But, seriously, A.J.? Now is not the time to go on the DL for the first time in your career. Best wishes for a speedy speedy SPEEDY recovery.)
Haha, just kidding. The White Sox relinquished their brief hold on .500 last night with an ugly 10-2 loss to the Red Sox. Apparently Brian Bruney thought it’d be really fun to turn a 5-2 deficit into a 10-2 deficit, all in one inning! Thanks, Brian.
As per normal, I don’t know the exact details of Bruney’s apparent implosion, since, as it has been for about 90% of the season, I do not get the game broadcast on TV. Good thing the Yankees are coming into town this weekend. Four glorious games, all streamed into my living room via the YES Network…
Wait, that’s THIS week?!
Guess I’m a hard-luck fan once more. That cheesy segue was my way of telling the blogosphere that I will be on a mission trip with my youth group until late Friday night, which means I will be without TV/cell phone/WiFi/computer/36 innings of White Sox baseball. It’s definitely a series that I’m sorry to miss, especially considering what happened last time the Sox met the Yanks.
Sorry. I could watch that play forever.
Anyways, I’ll be back here on Saturday, hopefully not writing about some sort of pinstripe-coated collapse. Off to a land where no one will mention the White Sox or baseball or the fact that the Indians just got Ubaldo Jimenez and put a significant crimp in the Central race. (Oops, I guess I just did.)
All right, so I know that it’s a bit pathetic to be ecstatic when your team reaches .500, and I know that this is not the first time this season that the White Sox have reached that mark (and then promptly slipped below it). But this .500 feels special for a number of reasons:
~The Sox are now only three games behind Detroit in the Central race.
~We have beaten the aforementioned Tigers 4 of the last 6 times we’ve played them.
~We have gone 8-4 since the All-Star Break.
~In those 8 wins, we have scored 36 runs, which averages to 4-5 runs a game. (I am aware that there are some teams who have been surpassing this mark on a nightly basis for the entire season. Unfortunately that team has not been the White Sox.)
I’m happy. I’m content. I’m sad that I’m leaving on Sunday and won’t get to see any of the games against the Yankees. But right now that doesn’t matter. Back at .500 and it feels so gooooood… See? I’m making up bad song lyrics, I’m so thrilled!
There’s another reason to be happy on the South Side. The Phillies, thought to be seeking our boy Carlos Quentin, have acquired Astros’ big-hitting outfielder Hunter Pence. Hopefully, that eliminates their need for Q, which means that he can stay with us and help us STAY ABOVE .500!!!
Can you tell I’m excited this morning?
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.
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.