Comiskey in April: all the optimism of the start of the season, just harder to find this time of year. You get to Comiskey/U.S. Cellular Field/Guaranteed Rate Field/The Arrow/#FlyTheArrow to take in the start of the year, get the first look out at the industrial revolution themed outdoor venue. You head down to the trenches for a quick drink at the Bullpen Bar/Craft Kave/Miller Lite WonderBar/Casa de especial de Modelo de los White Sox, you and the handful of other patrons. You chat up the bartender about the closest Buona to claim your winning Juicy Spicy Beefy Italian Beefy Beef game card, and she gives you five more to help your odds. You grab a Lite to go and walk up- ALL the way up- to the upper deck, no other fan making the steep pilgrimage with you in either direction. You get irrationally annoyed when someone claims the empty seat next to you, thinking you’d beaten the odds. You deal with an odd mix of windburn and frostbite, the crisp lake effect showing its productive offseason.
Somedays I miss the crowds of late 2005 and the years following, not missing the dwindling numbers and seeing the mass of black and white turned sea of plastic green. The impatience is apparent, though purposeful now: it’ll be interesting how crowds shake up in a rebuilding year, though “exciting prospects” don’t bring families of four to the park. You get used to the half empty stadium, find something oddly homey about it: you and the game becomes an interesting vibe, the extra amenities not too distracting when the noise meter peaks at a 4.2. You freeze, you cheer, you moan, you cheer again, you think about summer’s dog days and a time where those games may matter again.
For now, the growing pains. Sox pick up a quick run early on three straight singles, but that’d be the last of the spark. Holland’s intro to the team proved sadly appropriate, the tying run coming in on an error and the night ending with four hits in support. The dagger was fan interference to put the Twins up two (for the sake of our fragile team, let’s put those beer googles away until Mullet Night), though a faux rally in the bottom of the ninth kept things interesting. Loud fans in the section behind the dugout seemed to distract Kintzler for two straight walks (first seemed to be coincidence, second seemed like a genuine distraction). May, seemingly overeager to get his first hit, swings at a low first pitch and the game ends on a groundout. Not putting Davidson in this spot seems a little puzzling.
Weather warmer and team fresher, the next game showed shades of the future. Saladino doubles. Two groundouts to the second basemen get him over and get him in- 1-0. Frazier works the walk in a long at bat, on two strikes for what seemed liked forever. Garcia triples but gets caught in a rundown- a bad throw brings him in. 3-0 early. He makes it easier for everyone in the sixth, launching one to center before Soto follows to left. Mejia gets chased early, and the Sox pick up a solid 6-2 win.
Quintana takes the rubber match, and less than a week in we’re at “say the word and I’ll do the wellness check” territory. First start gets delayed a day, second yields two hits of support. The writing’s on the wall by the time Polanco homers to center: two starts, two losses for our cursed bat silencer of a trade asset. It’s another winnable game slipped through the cracks, less infuriating in a throwaway season but no less frustrating for our ace. Someday, law of averages, gambler’s fallacy, what have you for or against, he has to get run support consistently, here or St. Louis/Houston/Washington/insert contender to be named later here.
No optimism means no reason to show up, be it a cheap April ticket or another day of no run support. Blind faith, an interesting view.