All We Want is Life Beyond the Metrodome

I’ve been busy and not written for several months, and for that I do apologize.  Alternate lyrics for this song popped into my head this afternoon and I decided I had to write an entire alternate version of it.

Sung to the tune of “We Don’t Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)”
Written by T. Britten and G. Lyle and originally performed by Tina Turner
Alternate lyrics written by D. Segler

All of the years here
All of those games here
So much back luck, mistakes, and pain

Today’s the last game
Just twenty-seven outs
Until we leave this house of shame

And I wondered if we were gonna change our luck here
Living under the dread till nothing else remained

We don’t need another series
We don’t want to see the baggies
All we want is life beyond the Metrodome

Can’t wait till next year
Grass on a new field
Outdoors with no more Astroturf

Don’t care if there’s snow
Don’t care if there’s rain
Can’t be much worse than our time here

And I wondered if we were gonna change our luck here
Living under the dread till nothing else remained

White Sox fans all say

We don’t need another series
We don’t want to see the baggies
All we want is life beyond the Metrodome

No more will we have to come here
No more worry for us
No more frustration for us here
Good riddence bad luck
Finally we are leaving

We don’t need another series
We don’t want to see the baggies
All we want is life beyond the Metrodome

White Sox fans all say

We don’t need another series
We don’t want to see the baggies
All we want is life beyond the Metrodome

Baseball is a Weird Game

I’m a Sox fan.  This is a known fact.  I don’t generally root for the Cubs nor do I hate them.  Yet June 12-14, I was rooting for the Cubs because they were playing the piranhas also known as the Minnesota Twins.  

As strange as that sounds, the Cubs fans were likely rooting for the White Sox over that same time period because the Sox were playing the Milwaukee Brewers.

June 17 and 18, I was rooting as hard as I could against the Cubs because they were playing the Sox.  The Sox took the first game 4-1, and the Sox lost the second game to the Cubs 6-5 due to a five run rally by the Cubs over the course of the eighth and ninth innings.  I’m sure the Cubs fans were rooting as hard as they could against the Sox, too.

Now I’m going to have to root for the Cubs again because they’re playing their next three games against the Cleveland Indians.  The Cubs fans will likely be rooting for the Sox because the Sox will be playing their next three games against the Cincinnati Reds.

It’s sort of like, “I don’t like you because you’re my enemy.  However, the enemy of my enemy is my friend, so that would mean you’re my friend – but that can’t be right, because you’re my enemy.”

Oh, my head.  Anyone got any ibuprofen?

Sox fans saying “Go Cubs,” Cubs fans saying “Go Sox,” and it’s not the playoffs where one team is done and the other is still alive.  (Hey, I can and have rooted for the Cubs if they’re in the playoffs and the Sox are playing golf in Arizona.)

This lady told you this was a weird game.

White Sox Fans, Say Danks to Your Lucky Stars

If the stars could have been seen Tuesday night, Wednesday’s game would have been game two of the Cubs-Sox series.  Tuesday night’s game will be rescheduled later, if needed.  It will probably be sometime in September because both teams have two off days in common that month.  

Wednesday afternoon was out of this world for Sox fans.  The Sox beat the Cubs 4-1 at Wrigley Field.  Those of you who’ve read this blog before know that I’m a big John Danks fan.  Games like this are why I like this guy.  

Danks started for the Sox and was absolutely stellar.  Seven innings in, Danks left the game having thrown 99 pitches – 71 of them for strikes – and having surrendered just one earned run on five hits with nine strikeouts.  On top of that, he actually had two good plate appearances as well.  How’s that for an American League pitcher?

Alexei Ramirez, the Cuban Missile, launched the scoring with a solo home run in the top of the first inning to give the Sox a 1-0 lead. Brian Anderson’s one out single in the second inning turned into a run when Chris Getz brought him home with an RBI triple.  That made the score 2-0 in favor of the Sox.  Go back and watch the highlight of that triple if you can.  It’s not often you see someone shatter their bat like a supernova and still hit the ball all the way down the right field foul line to the wall.

Danks had a sacrifice bunt in the top of the fifth inning which moved Beckham to second base.  In the seventh inning, Danks came up again, this time with Getz on second and Beckham on first.  Danks showed a bunt but swung away and wound up reaching first due to a good defensive play from Cubs pitcher Angel Guzman, who snagged the ball and threw Beckham out at second.  Instead of having Getz on third and Beckham on second and one out, the Sox wound up with Danks on first and Getz on third and one out.  

It wasn’t quite the outcome the Sox were looking for, but Danks had still advanced Getz to third base.  That was important, because the next batter, Scott Podsednik, bunted for an RBI single to bring Getz home to give the Sox a 3-0 lead.

The Sox got their fourth and final run in the top of the eighth inning.  Dye walked to start the inning and was taken out for pinch runner Dewayne Wise.  Konerko’s single advanced Wise to third, and Pierzynski’s sacrifice fly brought Wise home to make the score 4-0 Sox.  

The Cubs got their lone run in the bottom of the eighth inning. Aaron Miles led off with a double, knocking Danks from the game in favor of Scott Linebrink.   Pinch hitting for Angel Guzman, Jake Fox’ fly out to center allowed Miles to tag up and go to third base, and Soriano’s ground out to shortstop allowed Miles to score, bringing the score to 4-1 in favor of the Sox.  

Jenks pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his fifteenth save this season and nail down the victory for the Sox.

Playing in their first cross-town series, the newest stars in the White Sox universe – Chris Getz and Gordon Beckham – performed well.  Getz went 1 for 3 with a run scored, an RBI, and a walk.  Beckham went 1 for 3 with a walk.  In the second inning, Beckham committed the Sox’ only error of the game.  That error allowed Geovany Soto to reach first base.  However, Beckham cleanly fielded a ground ball from the very next batter to start the only double play the Sox had in the game.  

In addition to stealing his ninth base this season, Podsednik was the only Sox batter to have more than one hit, going 2-4 with an RBI and a walk.

Looking very bright as well was Ozzie Guillen, whose managerial decisions really paid off Wednesday.  The Sox won the game playing small ball – bunting runners over, suicide squeeze plays, and manufacturing runs.

It was a team victory for the Sox. Overall they executed well, and Anderson had a couple of nice catches out in centerfield, but Danks clearly was the brightest star Wednesday.  

This lady hopes Sox fans still find themselves feeling heavenly after tomorrow’s game as well.

Illinois Rain

The Sox and Cubs were rained out Tuesday night, and it was Illinois rain.  I mean big, fat drops that I could hear hitting the umbrellas over the commentators during the pre-game show.  Out here in Seattle, we have mist more than anything else.  Thunder and lightning are very rare, as are raindrops big enough to make an audible splat when they land.

There’s talk that Contreras is going to pitch against the Cubs in this series.  I hope he does.  All Contreras has done since his return from the minor leagues is surprise everyone by giving up something like three hits in 16 shutout innings.  He was even chosen AL player of the week.  I’d love to see how he fares against the Cubs.  I also can’t wait to see the newer players like Gordon Beckham and Chris Getz in their first cross-town series.   

By the way, I’m curious to know which Sox fans would most prefer:  Seeing the Sox blow out the Cubs or seeing the Sox beat the Cubs in a hard fought one run game.  Personally, I prefer the latter.  I’d much rather see a game where both teams were at their best and giving each other all they could handle.

Given my sporadic entries, I’m not sure too many people are reading this blog on a regular basis.  If you’ve stopped by and are reading this, please let me know what you think:  Would you rather see the Sox and Cubs play a close ballgame or see one team blow out the other?

This lady’s just curious.  Go White Sox!

Why (In My Opinion) Sox Fans Don’t Like the Cubs

At last year’s blog night, someone asked Steve Stone why there was such animosity between Cubs and Sox fans.  Apparently, the enquirer was a Sox fan who had grown up elsewhere in the country, and because of this he hadn’t had to deal with all of the friction that goes on between the two teams daily in the Chicagoland area.  

I forget what answer Steve Stone gave, but I know what my answer is.  I’ve been meaning to put it down on the blog for a while now.  Since we’re on the eve of the battle for bragging rights, I thought now would be a good time.

While the question itself is pretty simple, the answer is far more complex.  In my opinion, there are several reasons.

One of the most popular radio stations in Chicago – if not the most popular – is WGN 720.  It’s also the Cubs flagship station.  This means that the radio station most people are listening to is mostly Cubs all the time.  When Sox fans have complained, the on-air personalities invariably point out that because WGN is the Cubs flagship station, they’re going to spend more time talking about the Cubs.  As much as it does grate on my nerves, I have to side with WGN radio on this point.  Fellow Sox fans, you’re just going to have to accept WGN radio’s pro-Cub bias.  

WGN-TV Channel 9 has been a powerful station for decades, watched throughout the northern half of the state of Illinois, southern Wisconsin and western Indiana long before it became a nationwide Super Station.  Channel 9 has also been synonymous with the Cubs for decades.  Therefore, people outside the Chicago area have long been exposed to the Cubs, while for years the Sox were shown on smaller stations which didn’t reach beyond the Chicago area.  When WGN became a Super Station and was broadcast nationwide, the Cubs enjoyed nationwide exposure.  It’s only been in recent years that WGN has been carrying White Sox games as well.  

So the Cubs have been known outside Chicago for decades, while the Sox were predominately locally known until 2005.  Because of this, Sox fans have felt as though they were rooting for the team that was sort of the illegitimate stepchild of Chicago.  All of this causes a small amount of irritation to Sox fans.  Most of the time, you just accept it, largely because you don’t have much choice.  Sometimes it does wear on you to the point where you do get a little resentful.  In any event, we Sox fans know who we are.  We take a measure of pride in staying true to our team despite sometimes being adrift in the tidal wave that is the Cubs.

Let me tell you a couple of stories to illustrate this:  

Back when I was a senior in high school, I was fortunate enough to take a trip to Europe.  We had a nonstop flight from Chicago to London when we left, but our return flight from Paris had a stopover in New York.  With us on the plane from Paris was a group of New York high school seniors returning from their trip to Europe. I struck up a conversation with a girl from New York, and the topic turned to baseball.  She was a Mets fan.  She asked where I was from, and when I said Chicago, she smiled brightly and said with genuine enthusiasm, “Go Cubs!”  I sort of grimaced and said, “Actually, I’m a White Sox fan.”  Feeling a little awkward, she quietly replied, “Oh.”  

Silence reigned for a few seconds.  The conversation could have been over at that point.  Indeed, if I hadn’t said anything else to her, it probably would have ended right there.  However, this was back in 1989.  Working on the theory that I may never see the White Sox win the World Series in my lifetime, I asked her what it was like when the Mets won it all in 1986. I wanted to live the experience vicariously through her.  She was kind enough to oblige me.  Fortunately, all White Sox fans got to have that experience ourselves in 2005.

In 1991, I met a wonderful man who I wound up marrying in 1993.  My husband is from the Peoria area, and down there everything is Cubs or Cards.  We lived there for 11 years, and I can tell you with relative certainty there are maybe a dozen White Sox fans in Peoria.  Everyone else is either wearing Cardinal red or Cubbie blue.  Shortly after I first met my husband’s parents, I got to meet my husband’s friends.  One of them said to me, “So, Jerry tells us you’re a big baseball fan.  Who do you root for, Cubs or Cards?”  Jerry started to snicker, and I answered with pride, “Sox.”  “Sox?!?!”  the friend asked, stunned.  “Yes,” I confirmed.  There was a few seconds of confused silence before the friend asked, “What do you want to root for Boston for?”  

My husband began to laugh and moved closer to me, half wondering if he might need to physically restrain me.  I was more stunned than anything else. What stunned me was that the friend was genuinely confused.  He wasn’t trying to tease me.  He literally did not know what I meant.  I said pointedly, “The White Sox.”  My husband’s friend was quiet for few seconds before realization dawned on him.  He said, “Oh, yeah, I guess they are in Chicago.”

So, as I said, the White Sox and their fans tend to be forgotten in the midst of the Cubs presence.  In terms of sheer numbers, there are probably more Cubs fans than Sox fans.  However, what we Sox fans may lack in numbers we more than make up for in passion, pride, and loyalty.  

A couple of days ago, my 11-year-old daughter asked me why we were Sox fans.  At first, I couldn’t give her an answer.  Then I realized why we’re Sox fans.  It’s partially because my mother is a Sox fan.  In our family, baseball is passed mother to daughter.  One of the biggest reasons why I personally am a Sox fan – and am proud to be a Sox fan – is this:  Anyone can be a Cubs fan.  It takes no extra effort to ride the bandwagon everyone else is riding.  However, it takes someone special to root for the team which is overlooked, forgotten, dismissed and ignored by most, especially during the lean years when the Sox were just terrible.  In short, it takes a different kind of person to be a Sox fan.  It’s more difficult.  Being a Sox fan means that you will be just as overlooked, forgotten, dismissed and ignored as the Sox have been.  You have to accept that and be committed to your team despite it.  I have always professed myself to be a Sox fan, even when the Sox stank.  Why?  Because being a fan when the Sox stank meant that I was also a Sox fan in 2005.  Others may have jumped on the bandwagon, but I and fans like me never jumped off of it.

So as I said earlier, being overlooked as much as the White Sox fans have been does generate a little bit of resentment towards the Cubs.  This is a small part of why the series between the two teams is so huge.      

The biggest reason why the series between the Cubs and the Sox is so huge is pretty simple.  For so many years, both the Cubs and the Sox weren’t just bad; they were dismal.  Prior to 2005, it had been decades since the last World Series title for both sides of town.  During those lean seasons, fans from both teams knew they weren’t going to be in the playoffs anytime soon, let alone in the World Series.  The cross-town series was as close to the World Series as Cubs and Sox fans were likely to get, so it became the World Series for us.  If nothing else, it allowed one team to look at the other and say, “Yes, we’re terrible, but at least we beat you!”

After the White Sox World Series title in 2005, the Cubs-Sox series changed a little.  It wasn’t quite as big for the Sox fans.  The desperation so long present on the South Side had vanished.  Finally, the Sox we
re the better team and were on the map, and they had the World Series trophy to prove it.  Seeing the Sox beat the Cubs went from being a necessity to being a nicety.  For the Cubs, though – still without a championship after a century – it suddenly became a way to regain the spotlight.  

For me, the Cubs-Sox series is now more fun than ever.  Now that I’ve seen the Sox win the World Series, I understand that the cross-town series is just for bragging rights.  More than anything else, it’s about wins and climbing higher in the division standings.  Even if the Sox lose to the Cubs, I can still take comfort in the fact that we have recently been the champions and are working on getting back there again as soon as possible.  

By the way, I don’t hate the Cubs.  I don’t root for them (unless they’re playing the Twins or another AL Central team) but I don’t hate them.  I have laughed at their misfortunes, as I’m sure Cubs fans have laughed at the Sox’ misfortunes.  I think Cub fans are crazy to blame their losing on a curse.  As long as you believe you’re losing because of a curse, you’re powerless to stop it.  If you believe you’re losing because you aren’t playing well enough to win, then you have the ability to correct the problem.  The Sox fans never talked about the Black Sox causing a curse as the Cubs have done with the goat.  

I will admit one thing, though:  I was watching, breathless, in 2003 when the Cubs looked as though they finally believed they could win it all and had the talent to do so.  Even as a Sox fan, I was hoping they’d win it, if for no other reason than just to see a World Series title finally come to Chicago.  

I’m glad the White Sox ended the championship drought first.  I’d like to see the Sox noticeably and permanently on the baseball landscape of Chicago on a nationwide stage.  I’d like people around the country to remember there are two baseball teams in Chicago, rather than having to remind them.  I think one or two more World Series titles would do that.

Even if that doesn’t happen, I’m thankful for what the Sox have accomplished and what they are still trying to accomplish.  I wouldn’t even mind seeing the Cubs win a World Series – but I’d prefer it if the Sox won at least one more title first.

What can I say?  This lady’s a White Sox fan.
     
 

Well, I Have Good News, and …

… I also have bad news.

The good news: Mike MacDougal has finally been given his
walking papers.

Those of you who read this blog know that I don’t like to badmouth
anyone. However, to be honest, I lost patience with MacDougal in
2007. I wondered what he was doing on the team in 2008. It’s hard
for me to believe there were no pitchers in Triple A Charlotte who
could have performed better.

When MacDougal had a good spring training this year, I thought
maybe he’s going to be able to throw strikes – or at least that
third strike. I can’t be the only one who’s noticed that he gets to
two strikes on a batter and suddenly can’t throw a third strike if
his life depended on it. He’s clearly talented, but he has not be
able to execute since just after he arrived in Chicago. It doesn’t
matter how talented you are if you can’t execute on a regular basis
when it counts.

For example, most of us can sing well in the shower, but only a
few of us sing in public. Why? When it counts, when someone else is
watching, most of us can’t sing nearly as well.

MacDougal may catch on somewhere else and catch fire, but here in
Chicago I doubt Mrs. O’Leary’s cow could have helped him in that
respect.

The bad news? Contreras didn’t have a good outing in the Sox 10-3
loss to Baltimore last night. I didn’t get to see the game because
with this old laptop (and I feel like I should be hearing Bob Villa’s
voice right about now saying “Welcome to This Old Laptop”)
watching the game live online is like watching a series of still
pictures. That’s still more than I expected, even with the quality
turned all the way down. I didn’t even know Adobe made Flash for
linux. The archived feed tends to run smoother, but there are no
guarantees. Perhaps the squirrels sobered up and the hamster is
pretty athletic. Your guess is as good as mine.

Getting back to baseball: Contreras came into Spring Training 40
pounds lighter and further ahead in his rehabilitation from his
ruptured Achilles tendon than anyone would have expected. It’s
amazing that he’s able to pitch at all at this point, let alone that
he was pitching well enough in Spring Training to start the season in
the starting rotation. However, after three starts this season
Contreras is 0-3 with an ERA of 8.04.

In his first start, he pitched just five innings, and in his last
two starts he’s only been able to last five and one-third innings.
In all fairness, perhaps we’d be expecting too much to expect he’d
last six or seven innings right off the bat- no pun intended- but
we didn’t expect he’d be giving up at least four earned runs in each of
his starts, either.

Has Contreras come back too early? I’m not convinced he has. He
did look quite good during the first four innings of his second start
of the season against the Tigers back on April 15. Perhaps he’s just
rusty.

This lady feels like he deserves the benefit of the doubt for
right now. It’s early yet, and the Sox are part of a three way tie
for first place in the division.

Wandering in the Wilderness

Yes, I’ve not published a blog entry since opening day.  Not a good thing, but I try not to make an entry just to make an entry.  I prefer to wait until I have something to say.

Right now, I have to say that I’m sort of wandering in the wilderness due to the fact that my computer is out for repairs, and I won’t get it back for about three weeks.  My husband has graciously allowed me to use an old laptop of his.  It’s running Debian linux, which I rather like, but it’s slower than Jim Thome on the base paths.

Let’s put it this way: I asked my husband what kind of processor this laptop had. He didn’t know the answer off the top of his head so he suggested, “Three drunk squirrels?  There might be a hamster in there too, but nobody talks about him.”  Believe it or not, this is one of the reasons why I married the man:  he makes me laugh.

It turns out this old laptop is running a Pentium 4 processor. I’ve already seen one warning message: “Task aborted: CPU overload.”

What does this have to do with the White Sox?  Simple: I live in Seattle, so  I have to see the Sox via pay-per-view. I have MLB.tv.  Normally, watching the Sox over the Internet wouldn’t be much of a problem.  However, because I would need a calendar to measure how fast this laptop loads web pages, watching an online video is pretty much out of the question. As of right now, if the game isn’t on WGN or isn’t otherwise nationally televised, there is very little chance that I’m going to be able to see it.  I’ve not tried listening to a game yet, but since that runs via Flash, I’m not optomisitic about it working. 

Due to the fact that it’s kind of difficult to comment on a game when you can’t really watch or listen to it, my blog entries are most likely going to be sporadic for the next few weeks. I’ll do what I can.  This lady just wanted you to let you know what was going on.

 

Springtime (?) in Chicago

Well, fellow Sox fans, we’ve waited this long.  We can wait a little longer.  

This being April in Chicago, there’s no telling if it’s going to be snowing, just above freezing and windy or sunny and fifty degrees.  Today it’s going to be the former, so tomorrow is now opening day.  

Unfortunately, you really can’t play baseball in snow.  Calvin and Hobbes proved that when Hobbes pitched a snowball and Calvin’s swing turned that snowball to powder.   

One of the great things about sports is that if they decided to play the game today, despite the weather, there would be fans in the stands – maybe not very many, but there would be some.  

Thank you White Sox, for not making the fans sit through weather better suited to a Bears’ game.  We’d do it if we had to, but we’re glad we don’t have to.

Valiant Warriors Vanquished

The White Sox lost 6-2 to the Rays Monday night.  Consequently, their season is over.  The Rays are the winners of the division series and will be moving on to face Boston in the league championship series.

Don’t hate the Rays because they beat the Sox.  The Rays are a great team.  Great teams beat good teams, like the White Sox.  That’s one of the differences between a good team and a great one.  The Red Sox will have their hands full in the next round.

I can’t feel bad for the White Sox.  I really can’t.  They left it all on the field.  The White Sox survived four different elimination games over eight days.  It took until elimination game number five to finally end their season. 

Just to get in the playoffs, they faced three elimination games in a row.  That’s like playing in a seven game series, falling behind three games to none, and coming back to force a game seven.

God bless Ozzie Guillen for leaving Quentin off the roster for the division series.  As I understand it (and I could be wrong,) Quentin could have played in the division series if need be, even though he wasn’t quite back to 100% health. 

There are probably managers would have used him, even knowing Quentin would be risking re-injuring his wrist.  There are probably managers in that situation who feel so insecure about their jobs that they would risk playing someone who really shouldn’t be playing just because staying a little longer in the playoffs would make that manager look better in the eyes of the General Manager.  

Guillen genuinely cares about his players.  Quentin is young and has a long career ahead of him. Guillen wasn’t about to risk Quentin’s health for this series.  Guillen deserves a great deal of respect for putting the health of his players first.

The White Sox may have exited the playoffs in the first round, but they have no reason to feel sorry for themselves.  They fought tooth and nail to get where they were.  Monday, the Sox maybe didn’t play as well as they could have.  However, they didn’t implode, either.  The Sox are a good team.  They just ran into a great team.

This lady is proud of you, White Sox.  All of you.  You couldn’t have fought any harder. 

Danks A Million

How good is John Danks? 

For the second time in a week, he’s been on the money on the mound for the White Sox in an elimination game.  He threw 6.2 innings, and gave up three runs (all earned) on seven hits.  Final score: White Sox 5, Rays 3.

Like I said, Danks is one of my favorites.  All he does is pitch his backside off.  Then he goes out five days later and does it again.

The bullpen didn’t have to be used very much, thanks to Danks throwing six innings and change.  Dotel pitched .1 of an inning, Thornton pitched one inning, and then Jenks took over for the ninth.  None of them gave up any runs.  In fact, Jenks is the only one who even gave up a hit, and he only gave up one.
 
Fortunately, the offense came through.  Three runs are not too expensive for a starting pitcher to give up, but the offense has to manufacture at least four to get the win.  Thome went 1-3, Griffey went 2-4, Wise went 1-3 with two RBI, Uribe went 1-3 with an RBI, and Ramirez had an RBI. 

While I’m talking about Danks, I can’t forget Pierzynski.  Not only did Pierzynski call a good game, he also went 2-3 with an RBI and a walk. 

Monday’s another elimination game.  It’s getting to feel like same old, same old.  Floyd will be on the mound versus Sonnanstine. As I write this, it’s about 10 minutes to the start of game three.  If the Sox make it the next round, they’ll get Quentin back.  Quentin has looked like the steal of the century all season.  With his bat back in the lineup, the offense can only get better.

This lady is once again in black, awaiting Floyd to throw the first pitch.  Please, White Sox, make me spend some hard-earned money on more championship gear.

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