Catching a ball at a game- the odd pro bono souvenir that’s one of the weirder boys to men things (sometimes vice versa- “Give it to the kid! Give it to the kid!”). I’m public now and can poke my head out of internet anonymity as an Illinois alum, meaning my usual bleacher bum habit was a little more justified Friday with the Illini Night promo. Ticket + hat + early entrance for BP, and I took advantage of all of it.
Sometime in ’05 we got tickets that included the voucher for getting into the park early to watch the Sox take batting practice. My most vivid memories from that game are Damaso Marte getting booed out of the park on a four pitch walk, and me missing the one ball hit close to me after not backing up on it. History fixed the former, and Friday was my chance to fix the latter.
Actually going was a pretty spontaneous thing, so I didn’t bring a glove as opposed to the last time. Given that last time was a long time ago, it was going to be intentional anyway: I’m now “if you bring it, you HAVE to catch it” age for glove at a game. Plan B was the fish net trick from “Faithful”- I went with Plan C of finding the seats early and having them hit it to me. “See, kids, this is how it’s done. I think.”
The good news, the plan worked: two balls hit right to me. The bad news: fool me twice, déjà vu- through my right hand, three rows back. Think the sun was a factor in the ’05 flub, but pretty ideal conditions with the overcast this time around. The second was a ricochet that hit off a glove two rows below and off my left thigh. Have seen enough off the glove plays not work out to rule against an error here. Got it when it hit the ground and gave it to some kid at the end of the row when it was all over: “I got it at the Sox game batting practice after I missed one then someone else missed the next and I did too ‘cus it was a tough hop but it landed in front of me and I picked it up” isn’t the story to come home with. Have been the “didn’t catch one today” kid enough to sympathize with them- probably because I’m now the grown-up version.
Anyway, baseball was played this weekend, and some decently entertaining baseball at that. Another hit to the dead horse for the new readers: we live by the long ball, we die by the long ball. Prototypical James Shields start: strikeout mentality without the K’s to show for it, walks, and a bad home run given up. Had a weirdly slow pace for a game without many scoring plays, though we did do a good job bringing Paxton’s pitch count up. Friday night bleachers a blast as always: had a frat reunion the row in front of us and a family behind us, combining for bipolar heckles of Gamel in left: “Ben! You look like a Spice Girl!” chirps from the Sig Chis met with “Don’t listen to them! You’re handsome!” from the wise for their age first graders. Gamel didn’t take them too personally, throwing a ball up to a fan back and to our left. He traded it to frat row for a Modelo, to louder applause from the crowd. Probably should’ve held Junior to the same standard.
Saturday night, another die by long ball. Melky’s had a couple “team on my back” games this year, Saturday being one of them. Seems to take an odd liking to the leadoff spot. Two homers for three runs enough for the M’s.
Sunday rounded out the sweep, and the Mariners win three straight the Earl Weaver way. Was great to see Narvaez get a dinger, and it was great the whole series to see Avi rope a couple. Errors killed us, and it always stings a little bit more when it’s Anderson: I’m big on the guy and think it’s just a sophomore slump. But some of the errors he’s made this year have been real head scratchers. Defense, stellar bullpen that gives up one run in an entire series, and three run home runs- that was the Weaver quote verbatim, right? Mariners win in extras.
Some quick hits:
- Another trade from Genghis Hahn: Yeyson Yrizarri to us for international monies. I can take this time to admit how little I still know about how international signing works, aside from us not being able to use much of it for a little while. Either way, we’re probably going to be sitting on that cash for a little while now after signing Robert, so there’s not much lost here for us. Biggest pro about him so far: 70 for throwing on the scouts’ 80 scale. Could have a converted pitcher experiment on our hands if his hitting doesn’t pan out.
- Zach Burdi. Brutal. Probably was going to get the first call up of any of the prospects, be it this September or the start of next season. The biggest thing going forward with him now is going to be control: a couple miles an hour off a fastball that hits 101 won’t kill a career, but a 95 mph fastball that misses consistently will. Some John Danks PTSD here. It’s not the career killer it used to be, so get well, Burdi.
- Hey Boston, I see you had a 16-inning loss yesterday and seem to have had a rough weekend on offense. Perhaps we have a third baseman that can provide some fresh legs for you. (And he definitely didn’t strike out in extras in an all fastballs at-bat today, no sir)
- It’s interesting now that the dust has settled to see the deals that almost went down for Quintana- methinks the Brewers had the next best package and that pressured Theo into getting it done. Still not sure why the Cardinals never expressed interest. Braves supposedly offered Albies, and I’m guessing not much else (don’t think Q would’ve made sense for the Braves anyway). Astros and Yankees supposedly expressed some interest, but we don’t want to give them the edge for the 2019 ALDS and ALCS.
I’ll also give a nod to White Sox Dave’s tweets after the Quintana trade: this series probably wasn’t a fluke for us. With Quintana gone, there aren’t going to be a lot of winnable games for us coming up. We’re going to lose a LOT of baseball games for the rest of this season. Now, though, is the time to show your support for the work Jerry, Hahn, Ricky and the rest of the White Sox organization have put in. Come on a night with a cool giveaway. Come for the Crosstown and wear your white and black. Head over after work for a weekday game, get your $3 second market tickets, and sit wherever. The moves are purposeful, the plan’s in place, and this is going to be a great team. Show up for rebuild, phase one and boost attendance- tickets might not come as cheap sooner than we think.
"We may have overbought for the 4th, but hey, free promo"