A Common Goal

It’s no secret, folks.  As a Cardinals fan living on the Southside of Chicago, when it comes to American League baseball, I align myself with the only team whose fans love to hate the Cubs more than I do: the White Sox.  Besides our distaste for the Northsiders, we share many things in common: we are Winners (see 2005, 1917, ’06 for the Sox, see 2006, 1982, ’67, ’64, ’46, ’44, ’42, ’34, ’31, ’26 for the Cards) and the Sox, under Ozzie Guillen, tend to play a little faster, smaller game reminiscent of the National League style.  I get to see my Redbirds when they come to Wrigley each season, but because the idiots who made the schedule this year decided the Cubs/Cards series wasn’t important enough that they should maybe play a set in Chicago before August, I have to whet my appetite with the team just blocks from my home.

On Saturday, I woke up still hung over from the onslaught of fan-mail and paparazzi chasings resulting from MLB’s recognition of Red State Blue State.  The rain was falling at a steady pace creating gloomy shadows on my plans for the day, but the Tigers were in town (I could smell their stink from my house) and nothing would please me more than to see the Good Guys beat the Bad Guys.  There was no staying home.

Fighting my way through the crowd outside 29th & Poplar Ave, I managed to meet the #8 Halsted bus just as it was arriving.  I got on and kept my head low; it wasn’t until we reached 35th St. that someone finally recognized me:


“Hey, aren’t you that guy from Harry Potter?” some kid said.

“No.  That’s not me.”

“You sure?  You look just like Harry Potter.”

“No, you probably recognize me from Red State Blue State, the MLBlog made famous by–

“Shut up.  You’re Harry Potter.  Can I have your autograph?”

I signed the autograph.  I signed it “Eat Me” in big block letters and was off the bus before anyone noticed.

A brisk walk later, I was standing in front of the glory that is The Joan (aka U.S. Cellular Field, The Cell).  At first sight, it was a dreary picture:

sox.tigers.4.12.08 001.jpg

I did have to take a moment and pay homage to the commemorative 2005 sculpture out front with bronze likenesses of Ozzie, Paulie, Crede, Dye & Co.:

sox.tigers.4.12.08 002.jpg

Inside, the tarp was on.  In my haste to take a picture so I could remember all of the major corporate sponsors of the field, I totally missed that the big yellow tarp had a DHL insignia on it.  Eh, I use UPS anyway:

sox.tigers.4.12.08 004.jpg

Let’s see, from left to right: ComEd, Pepsi, McDonalds, U.S. Cellular (duh!), Motorola, Miller Lite, Chevy… wait, go back, Miller Lite… ah yes, Miller Lite, the official beer of Chicago, which is fitting since it’s from Milwaukee.  They no longer serve Sam Adams at the Joan, which almost made me leave (I mean cry) and demand a refund, but eventually I thought better of it.  Didn’t matter.  After a couple Miller Lites, nothing mattered… except those fans who kept pestering me for an autograph, like this guy:

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What could I do?  I couldn’t run and hide.  A man must give the people what they want.  I gave the guy an autograph… fearing the worst, this time I signed my own name:

sox.tigers.4.12.08 007.jpg

And then the press showed up.  So I gave them a sound byte, something about how Red State Blue State will continue to cover the game with facts and clean debate even though Allen Krause is a loser (And yes, that is a real microphone.  It just looks like an umbrella but I assure you, it is a real microphone):

sox.tigers.4.12.08 015.jpg

But enough about my perils and lack of humility.  There was a game going on, and as you can see from this picture, everyone was out to see it by first pitch:

sox.tigers.4.12.08 020.jpg

If I’m being honest, I have to say that this picture of a Saturday afternoon game at the Joan against the Tigers (rain or not) makes me quite sad.  Those loser Cubbies sell out nearly every single game (and have for a long, long time) despite putting a losing club on the field year after year.  The White Sox are only 2 and a half years removed from a WS Championship, they’re playing great to start the season, and yet they struggle to pull in 18,000 a game.  This really bothered me until some friends of mine (yes, I have two of them) reminded me that most folks on the Southside are of the working class (me included) and can’t A) make it to the game because they’re at work and B) afford $30 for an upperdeck seat when they aren’t working.  Even I had to save for a few weeks to afford going to a Premium game as I usually go to those Monday nighters against the Rays, Royals, Orioles that are half off the regular price.&nbs
p; If only I were a trustfund baby on the Northside and Mommy and Daddy would support my drinking habit and I could go to that sold out 1:20 p.m. start on a Thursday because I don’t have to work for a living…

Sorry.  The game.  I was talking about the game.  Not much was going on really.  Verlander and Floyd were dealing.  It was fast.  Orlando Cabrera put one on the boooooooaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrd, YES! and Carlos Quinton gunned a man out at the plate and Joe Crede had a move at third that would make Brooks Robinson proud.  But not much else.  The rain.  The rain never stopped. 

Then I looked up at the centerfield clock. It read 1:05 p.m.  Game started at 12:05.  We were already in the middle of the 5th inning!  I looked at the scoreboard and saw quite the anomaly: all zeros across the DET line.  I nudged my buddy, Ron Harlow, and said, “Hey, pal.  Look at the scoreboard.”  Our eyes locked, we shut up and we enjoyed the magic. 

The Sox went on a scoring spree. 

Gavin Floyd dealt. 

Having never witnessed a no-hitter in person, I was praying that Gav could pull through.  But in the 8th inning, only five outs away, Edgar Renteria hit a bloop single to right and the no-no was no more.  Gavin got a huge ovation from all 1,000 of us who were there and Ozzie ran out and gave him the hook. 

Good Guys 7, Bad Guys 0, Final.

It was a great first game to see.  Can’t wait for the next one.

In the meantime, Allen’s Hockeytown Tigers continue to disappoint (but they’re still gettin’ paid).  It’s a shame.  A travesty.  Sickening.  I have a feeling we’ll be talking about this team for years to come as the most underachieving in history.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

*Click here for the Jason Grilli ERA Watch.

9 Comments

Excellent reportage, but at the risk of offending the White Sox fan in you I really hate the Sox commentary team. Really hate them.

Thanks for the report Potter! Very good story but I have to admit that the Cardinals red and blue looks much better on you than the Sox black and white. On another note, your picture really shows that you have not aged in the past 10 years. What is your secret: Arbonne, Botox, abstinence since Senior High? I don’t know but it is working. You could be the next Dick Clark or Joan Rivers…

Russell — you’re right about that. story to follow.

Tim — It’s called whisky and beer. Secrets to youth. Of course, with the hat on, you can’t see the army of white hairs on my head…but they are there. I assure you.

–Jeff

Nice Entry!! Check out my new blog!

Chris
The Baseball Collector
http://baseballcollector.mlblogs.com

Again very solid reporting and commentary This baseball really gets your juices flowing. It just makes me want to jump up and down and learn some baseball facts too.

I left a great comment and hit send, and for some reason it didn’t post STUPID COMPUTERS anyway I said good reporting and commentary It sounds like this baseball thing gets you going. It makes me want to jump up and down and learn some baseball facts toooooo Then people can hate me to cause I’ll be right

I read the other articles too but am to lazy to post multiple comments for each one. They all put a smile on my face I still hope I get special access to you as needed, now that u are a BIG STAR!!!!!!!

By “BIG STAR” I believe you mean “BIG NERD”, right?

–Jeff

NO BIG BASEBALL STATISTICAL ALL STAR!!!!!!!!

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