Harry, Jimmy, and the Southside Hitmen…

Tags

, , , , ,

In my previous post (many weeks ago!), I wrote of the arrival of Harry Caray, in 1971, as the voice of the White Sox. And the legendary fan favorite would remain in that role for eleven seasons, although it seems like it was much longer–at least it should have been! But that’s another story, entirely. Regardless, those eleven seasons with the White Sox were full of “fun out at the old ballpark” and some pretty exciting baseball by the White Sox as well.

Along about the time Harry got rolling in the Sox’ booth, superstar Dick Allen joined the team and added a much needed spark with dramatic screaming homers in the late innings to pull out victories for the White Sox. Bill Melton, Wilbur Wood, Carlos May, and many other “unsung” heroes would emerge early on, and the lackluster White Sox would suddenly be rejuvenated through the 70s.

Harry’s effervescent style and bon vivant lifestyle bubbled through each broadcast–TV or radio–and it was a completely different style to what White Sox fans were accustomed. But it took off and going to Comiskey Park was fun again, and attendance grew and grew through the decade.

During those first years, Harry would team with partners Ralph Faucher, Gene Osborn, Bill Mercer, and Lorn Brown. But it was a chance interview with former ball player, Jimmy Piersall, in 1976, while the Sox were playing the Rangers, whom Piersall was working for at the time, that proved very fortuitous. Caray and Piersall, both firebrands in their own right, seemed to fit together in the booth, and the following season, Piersall was hired on as Harry’s partner.

English: Boston Red Sox centerfielder in 1953.

English: Jimmy Piersall, Boston Red Sox centerfielder in 1953.

1977 is one that the White Sox fans will recall with fond memories, for it was the summer of The Southside Hitmen, the funny uniforms, and packed grandstands.

Owner Bill Veeck, always operating on a shoestring, brought in some “rent a players” such as Richie Zisk, Oscar Gamble, Jim Spencer, and Eric Soderholm. Lamar Johnson and Chet Lemon, legitimate young players, were solid complements to the others who provided the long ball–time and again–in that most exciting of seasons.

The pitching staff was adequate with Steve Stone winning 15 games, followed by Francisco Barrios with 14. Chris Knapp and Ken Kravec were strong contributors in the starter roles.

Of course, Kansas City eked out a division crown, and the Sox finished in third place, 12 games behind, and many of us are still way too disappointed about that. The magic that the summer of 1977 was, and the explosive fun “out at the old ballpark,” it always has seemed that such wonderful summer should have had a championship as a culminating reward. Alas, it wasn’t to be.

And the fun on the field carried right on up to the radio and TV booth with Harry and Jimmy having a wonderful time!

Writing about that summer of 1977 now, so many years later, I smile and remember the thrills that occurred night after night out at dear old Comiskey. Thanks, Southside Hitmen…and Harry and Jimmy!

See you at the ballpark!

Holy Cow! When Harry came to town: Fun at the old ballpark!

Tags

, , , , ,

English: Outside of Old Comiskey Park Chicago 1986

English: Outside of Old Comiskey Park Chicago 1986 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Hello again, everybody…Harry Caray back at the ballpark…” 

Those words were always wonderful to hear during his eleven seasons as the main voice of the White Sox, beginning in 1971, after so many years as the legendary broadcaster of St. Louis Cardinals baseball and one season for the Oakland A’s.

At the time, the Sox were less than the hottest team in the game. In fact, they were lowly bottom-feeders from the two previous seasons (1969, in particular!). And they certainly needed something to liven up their dismal image and bolster a very sagging attendance.

And 1971 wouldn’t prove a whole lot better than the previous season’s record of 56 and 105, but it was somewhat better at 79 and 83 and good enough for a 3rd place finish in the West Division. Of course, that was one of the glory years for the mighty Oakland A’s as they rampaged their way to the World Series. Even so, there was a new breath of fresh air on the South Side, both on the field and up in the broadcast booth.

On the field, manager Chuck Tanner was at the helm, and the team responded well to his style and calm demeanor. Behind the mic was Harry Caray, giving Sox fans something they weren’t really used to from previous announcers: excitement and enthusiasm!

Of course these two items would come to rub some people—particularly some Sox players—the wrong way when it came time for Harry to be critical of their play in the field or at the plate. Fans—and players—would soon learn that Harry Caray wasn’t shy about telling it the way it was—faults and all!

To say that Harry was worth the price of a ticket would be a total understatement, especially if one could afford an upper deck box seat just below the broadcast booth. There, one could watch the game and also interact with Harry during the course of the game. At the time, his trademark was a large fishing net he’d proffer whenever a foul ball entered the area up by the booth. And, of course, between innings Harry often would lean out and chat back and forth with the growing legions of fans down below.

Yes, that first season with Harry was much different—both at the park or listening at home or in the car—after so many seasons of the droll and dry broadcasts of Bob Elson, who was anything but a part of the event. He would spend time talking about his recent gin rummy conquest in the Bards’ Room or Ernie Carrol’s chili on a cold night, or the pitching exploits of Lon Warneke from ages past! Harry Caray, on the other hand, found endless ways to add excitement to his calling of the action on the field. (“It might be, it could be…it is…a home run…Holy Cow!”). And he always delighted in spelling a player’s name backwards or admiring “Miss Bridgeport” seated in plain view in the seats below!

English: Harry Caray during a Cubs-Pirates gam...

English: Harry Caray (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Plus, young and vibrant Sox organist, Nancy Faust, played right along with Harry’s antics, and it wouldn’t be long before the singing of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” would become a regular feature during the 7th inning stretch.

Not only was there a new reason to go out to Comiskey Park for so much fun and entertainment which Harry was providing, but the team was also getting better.

The next few seasons to follow would ignite things all the more, and the 1971 season—Harry Caray’s first with the Sox—would be the one that lit the fuse for so many exciting ones to come! We’ll look into those and Harry’s partners in the next few posts.

See you at the ball park…

A Wonderful 4th of July at the Cell…

Tags

, , , ,

Bleachers, U.S. Cellular Field

Bleachers, U.S. Cellular Field (Photo credit: Michael J. Linden)

No, I’m not abandoning this blog–yet–but, as mentioned previously, I have nothing too worthwhile to write about this White Sox season. I have been happily ensconced up here at the cottage in Michigan, and have heard or seen very little of my beloved Sox. However, we had a wonderful Fourth of July spent at U.S. Cellular, where the Sox actually won the game on an Adam Dunn home run in the bottom of the 9th.

What was so special about the day and the game was having my son and grandsons, my wife, my daughter-in-law, her sister, and parents out there together. Win or lose, it’s always a special time to share the occasion with those special people in our lives.

While the day was fun, I don’t foresee myself heading back that way the remainder of this season. Getting swept by the Cubs certainly doesn’t help, but it’s not surprising the way things have played out from day 1. I will let this one game suffice and look ahead to a new season beginning next April. Perhaps there will be more life and spirit then.

In the meantime, I am currently working on some posts about the Harry Caray era with the Sox. If nothing else, those bring back some awfully good memories–even when the Sox weren’t very good then, either! Look for those very soon.

In the meantime, enjoy the rest of the summer…

It’s June–Do something!

Tags

, , , , ,

English: Chicago White Sox Insignia

English: Chicago White Sox Insignia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

OK, I’ve avoided writing about the White Sox’ current slide into the abyss this first week of June. And I really don’t have much to say about this current conglomerate that poses as a major league team, other than they broke their 8-game losing streak in a marathon sixteen inning affair with the Seattle Mariners.

Usually, this would be cause for celebration, especially since the Sox broke a scoreless tie with five runs in the top of the 14th inning. But as only White Sox teams seem to do, they couldn’t hold that lead in the bottom half of the inning, allowing a tying grand slam! I’ve seen this kind of thing—time and again—and, quite frankly, I’ve had my fill of it!

In the past, I’ve ridden it out and felt lousy for a few days and become excited all over again once the team would tend to right itself and put some wins together and get back in the race. But at this writing, they’ve fallen to eight games out of first in a division in which they should be much better, and I have no real desire to put up with their lack of hitting, poor defense, and overall malaise any longer.

I have way too many writing projects in which to invest my time this summer (my second novel is in the revision stage right now). I have decided that worrying about, and trying to find something positive of which to write in this blog on a regular basis, is a study in futility. Thus, I’m going to step away from All Things White Sox and post the occasional thought regarding teams of seasons gone by. But until this current version of the Chicago White Sox displays some heart, life, and passion, I will not be paying any attention to them, much less spending time expounding upon them in this blog.

After writing all of this, it might sound as though I’m finished with the organization that is the Chicago White Sox. Not so. I’m not done as a White Sox fan. I’ll always be one.   There is no other team I’ll ever truly root for and follow, heart and soul, day in and day out. But I’ve decided that the players out there who are posing as major leaguers in Sox uniforms aren’t worth any more of my attention at this point. The nights and days of feeling bad after a tough loss are over! It’s time for me to get away from the travesty that is this baseball season on the South Side so far this summer.

There’s an old saying in baseball to the effect that “it’s early, yet.” OK, so it is. It’s June…Now do something!

See you at the ballpark!

US Cellular (New Comiskey) Field

US Cellular (New Comiskey) Field (Photo credit: andyrusch)

Sox vs. Cubs-Are the thrills still there?

Tags

, , , ,

English: Chicago White Sox Insignia

English: Chicago White Sox Insignia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sox-Cubs…Crosstown Classic!

Yep, at one time this annual event seemed to stir up quite a bit of passion in the hearts of fans on both sides of the Chicago baseball spectrum. Not so much anymore, I think. Call it what you will, but there just isn’t that intense feeling when the two teams gather to battle it out for those so-called “bragging rights.” Ever since inter-league play began, there is not that uniqueness about the American League vs. the National League. At one time, I felt there was.

In fact, until my ball card-collecting days in the ‘60s kicked in full force, I knew very little about the National League, other than the faces and names and uniforms that were pictured on the cards I’d quickly unwrap and brush the sweet smelling powder from the pink chewing gum that was part of those glorious packages. And chomping on the wonderful stuff, I’d skim and scan through each of the cards of that day’s purchase and feel let down if there was no White Sox player in the bunch. What was worse, I’d certainly feel cheated if there were more National League players than American Leaguers.

But I owe my baseball card “habit” a big round of thanks and appreciation for introducing me to the various players and the uniforms they wore in distant baseball outposts such as Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and Milwaukee, National League teams that I cared nothing about—until World Series time every fall. After all, they played in cities that were a million miles away from where I was in Huntington, Indiana, where my baseball capital was Chicago, home of the White Sox, a mere hundred and some odd miles away. Yeah, I knew there was a team named the Cubs, but I never heard much about them, other than they always lost!

It was through those cards I collected over a stretch of many summers of my youth that I learned there was another team in Chicago—in the National League. I knew of Don Cardwell, Ernie Banks, Ken Hubbs, and a few others who had a cute little bear cub logo on their uniform shirt and a big red “C” on a blue hat. Usually there would be a wall covered with green vines in the background, and I thought this was different. It would be years before I would learn that this was all part of the so-called “shrine” known as Wrigley Field—a place where the Cubs played and usually lost! But that was in the National League, so I didn’t know—or care—anything about all of that!

The Cubs, however, figured in one of my memories from the ’60s in what was then known as the Boys’ Benefit Game, an annual event that didn’t count in any league standings but seemed to matter to fans of both teams. And it was all for a good cause (we were all led to believe!) and the games usually drew lots of fans. One, in particular, was in 1964.

It was June 25, and an overflow crowd of over 52,000 crowded into Comiskey Park to watch the Sox pound the Cubs, 11–1. What stands out besides the score, however, is the fact that fans were allowed on the outfield grass  and outfield warning track, behind ropes, since there wasn’t any room left in the park. I don’t believe there has been another time since then when fans were allowed to do this. If memory serves correct, the Sox’ barrage featured back-to-back-to-back homers, causing the exploding scoreboard to explode non-stop for an extended period of time!

Maybe it’s because I’m older and jaded and familiarity has diminished much of the “Us-against-them” mentality, but there just doesn’t seem to be that edgy-ness in the series. Unlike those early Boys’ Benefit Games, the games now count in the season standings, so a Sox win is important for that fact alone.

Recently, they climbed back to the .500 mark, and it would be to their benefit to win the remaining games with the Cubs this week to improve even further. Thinking like that, I guess there is some urgency to these games after all. Plus, when all is said and done, beating the Cubs is never a bad thing!

See you at the ballpark…

Crowd outside South Side Park, 1906 World Series

Crowd outside South Side Park, 1906 World Series (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Beating a dead horse?

Tags

, , ,

English: Fielder Jones of the White Sox hits t...

English: Fielder Jones of the White Sox hits the ball against Cubs at West Side Grounds, 1905 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

In my last post, I was a bit annoyed by a message I’d received from a “friend” on Facebook, regarding his disgust in reading all of my posts about the White Sox, blah, blah, blah. And I spent the better part of a beautiful afternoon creating that post that explained how I was feeling at the time and said that my next post would expound even further about why the issues broached by him–and so many others from time to time–get under my skin.

 

Since a few weeks have passed, I’ve decided that I really don’t care to post the scathing stuff I wrote for that post because I fully believe that it really would make no difference in changing anyone’s way of looking at things about the White Sox vs. Cubs and all that goes into that discussion. Is it simply “beating a dead horse?” I think it is, and, thus, will let it all go for now. Call me older–wiser?–or whatever, but I’m just not up for rehashing the whole argument over and over. And I really don’t care whether or not anyone sees it my way or not. I’m not, after all, attempting to convert anyone through what I post in this blog.

 

And right now, I have far more issues with the White Sox than their status in the Sox-Cubs endless fight! When you’re in the cellar of a division that shouldn’t be all that tough, there are way too many issues with which to deal. So no more “dead horses” to pound on here!

 

See you at the ballpark…

 

1917 Chicago Cubs & White Sox Advertising Sign

1917 Chicago Cubs & White Sox Advertising Sign (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

A message from a “friend”…

Tags

, , ,

U.S. Cellular Field on Chicago's South Side. H...

U.S. Cellular Field on Chicago’s South Side. Home of the Chicago White Sox (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A strange thing happened the other night as I was admiring the clear, star-filled sky hanging up there over Lake Erie and all parts of Northern Ohio. I had made the drive out to spend a couple of days and nights with my mom and sister and brother-in-law, en route to Kent State for a couple of days of May 4th Remembrance, and I was enjoying one of the first pleasant nights of the spring.

Anyway, I received a Facebook message from a “friend” with whom I had attended high school a million years ago (1968) in Ashland, Ohio. I was enthused to see that it was not the standard “greeting” of one or two lines of standard fare, and that it was from someone whom I hadn’t been in touch with since high school. Without hesitating, I jumped right in to read what this former classmate had to say.

The tone began very nicely, I must say, as he mentioned how he had enjoyed reading my posts and that he, himself, had tried his hand at writing but not as well as me (a generous comment!). Then there came the big “BUT.”

At this point, my “friend” did a complete 180° turn and went on to rant about how he was tired of my persistent posts about those despicable “white sox” (he said he wouldn’t even honor them by capitalizing the team name), and that being a lifelong Ohioan and Indians’ fan, he preferred any team other than the Sox. In fact, he let it be known that his most favorite teams were the Indians, Red Sox, and Cubs.

He went on to mention that he’d been to several of the ballparks over the years, and that the “new” Comiskey Park (U.S. Cellular) totally sucked! And the only team he despised worse than the White Sox were the “flippin’ Yankees.”

After re-reading this message several times, I found that it was not surprising that a Cleveland fan, with that typical inferiority complex that simply cries “Cleveland,” would hate baseball’s legendary iconic franchise, which has been the personification of greatness forever. True, there’s nothing better than beating the Yankees, but there’s no way anyone can denigrate their status in the realm of greatness. Yankees? Cleveland? I might be crazy, but which team has proven to be a winner down through the years?

For clarification, the inferiority complex to which I refer can best be understood after

Cleveland

Cleveland (Photo credit: Ann Althouse)

doing some thorough research: (see Browns’ games vs. John Elway’s Broncos, Ernest Biner, Brian Sipe’s end zone pass interception, Jose Mesa’s relief effort, etc., Jordan and the Bulls over the Cavs time and again, LeBron James’ exit to Miami and championships)

My “friend” then went on in his message about how his mom was from Chicago and that he had been born there and that there was no way he could ever root for the south-siders. (He called them something, but I can’t recall now since I have deleted his priceless piece of whimsy!) And then he closed with “I thought you should know.”

Gee, thanks, old “friend,” I would have gone through the remainder of my days unaware of all of this without your coming to the fore and bringing it to my attention ! I continued to try to find the humor in his message, because, after all, I love getting on other guys about their team allegiance, but it’s all in fun. I really don’t care who one likes and roots for. But it was clearly obvious that my “friend’s” message was caustic and meant to be anything but humorous.

Somewhat miffed, I fired off a quick reply, something to the effect that I thought his message was written in the typical spirit of a frustrated Cleveland (Indians/Browns) and Cubs’ fan. And then I thought about the thing while drifting off to sleep that night. And I have come to the conclusion once more that I need to address a few things here:

First of all, this blog was not created to bash any other team(s)—especially that other team in Chicago—and I have avoided doing so, with the exception of one of my first posts (Please Don’t Assume We’re Cubs’ Fans), but I feel it is time to revisit that very topic.

Whether or not my old “friend” should read this or not, doesn’t really matter. In my next post, I will state my case regarding that part of Chicago professional baseball and why I believe the way I do. In the meantime, GO, YOU WHITE SOX! (Note the capital letters, “friend!”)

 Stay tuned…

Make it stop, please!

Tags

, , , ,

Chicago White Sox logo from 1976 to 1987

Chicago White Sox logo from 1976 to 1987 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

OK…Make the pain go away…Please! White Sox baseball has not—I repeat: NOT—been very fun to follow.

When the pitching has been good—and for the most part it has been good—the defense and hitting have been anything but! And when things appear to be working well and under control, some late-inning bullpen implosion turns things into another miserable outcome.

And that is exactly what this opening month of the White Sox 2013 season has been, and they now find themselves mired in the American League Central Division’s basement, four-and-a-half games out of first place. And though that doesn’t sound like such an insurmountable number of games (they have come back from much larger deficits in the past), the trends that are becoming clearly evident are disturbing and don’t bode very well for a very fun season ahead.

And from a fan’s viewpoint, the White Sox are bordering on being categorized as “unwatchable” (my son’s term!) and I would have to agree. Call me jaded or whatever, but I have not devoted much of my time thus far in the first month of the season to tune in to the games—radio or TV—for any extended period of time. And this from a person who would watch every single broadcast minute—commercials and all—in similarly sad seasons past!

Maybe I’ve been spending more productive time these days and nights on my writing projects (two new short stories available on Amazon Kindle Editions (“Hobo Willie” and “Pinewood Farm” and my second novel titled THE BET to be published this summer) to get too caught up in the perils of the Chicago White Sox.

I would like to think that the early-season’s dismal weather played a big role in the Sox’ inability to make routine plays and to commit ridiculous base running gaffes. But that’s an easy cop-out. Besides, the weather was the same for the teams the White Sox were being way-too-generous to! And thinking with my head, instead of my heart, I’m beginning to realize that maybe the rest of the teams in the Division are simply more talented and have exploited the Sox’ weaknesses over and over again because they are better managed and have systems that work much better.

I’ll be fair, though, and mention that the White Sox have been bitten by the injury bug (as every other team has from time to time) but it only magnifies their lack of depth on the bench. I like to think that whoever is in the lineup is capable of living up to Major League standards and being able to demonstrate fundamentally sound principles in hitting and fielding. When that goes out the window, it adds to the frustration and I don’t feel compelled to stick with a game after that. That’s what it has been so far.

It didn’t help that the team did nothing to improve in areas that clearly needed improving going into this season. For several years now catching has not been one of the team’s assets, although A.J. Pierzynski did a solid job behind the plate (mostly), even though he couldn’t throw out my mother! Once he left to become a Texas Ranger, the door was open for the Sox powers-that-be to find a suitable replacement.

I know, it’s easier said than done, and sometimes the type of player needed is just not available. No team wants to give up a blue chip front line player, and the Sox figured that what they had would be good enough to carry them through.

But the current two catchers, Tyler Flowers and Hector Gimenez, are failing to excite the few fans who show up at the park or tune in to the broadcasts. Yeah, Flowers hit some long homers the first week of the season, but his failure to do much more than strike out in key situations since then has become routine. I don’t know much about Gimenez, but he isn’t up there in the pantheon of players who make me want to scurry out to the old ballpark anytime soon!

And the veterans who should be doing something much more at the plate and on defense have been a bust thus far. Adam Dunn is still Adam Dunn—striking out more than anything else or hitting a homer when it really doesn’t matter, with the game out of reach—leaving us all to ask again how much longer can this go on.

Paul Konerko is not hitting the long ball nor hitting much of anything else, either. We like to think that it will come around for him—it always has—but something seems different this season.

The outfield of De Aza, Rios, Wise, and Viciedo has been a circus since day one. Viciedo played many fly balls into hits and rallies for the other team. He hasn’t been around the last few weeks, though, having suffered an injury while swinging the bat. Second baseman, Gordon Beckham, did the same thing and had to undergo surgery, shelving him for who-knows-how-long, a sad occurrence since he was having a pretty decent time at the plate to go along with his stellar play in the field.

I could go on and on and continue to lament the current state of affairs of White Sox

Paul Konerko

Paul Konerko (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

baseball, but I’ll stop right here. After all, being only four-and-a-half games out of first, and playing as poorly as they have, one can only think that things will get better. And I will come back to them—I always have—and will have plenty to write about in the summer days ahead. For now, however, I’ll keep working on getting my writing polished and ready for publishing and sneak a peek or two, every now and then, to make sure the White Sox haven’t fallen completely off the edge of the world!

See you at the ball park….

 

It shouldn’t be this way…

Tags

, , , ,

Looks like I missed something! My last post extolled the positives that occurred  for the White Sox during Opening Week at home and that the upcoming road trip to Washington, Cleveland, and Toronto would be very tough.

We longtime Sox fans didn’t think that it was going to be that tough, however! But that’s a subject we can deal with in the days and weeks ahead. In light of what happened in Boston yesterday, none of that is important just yet.

Fake sadness

The loss of three lives, and the devastating and horrific injuries to so many others, speaks volumes about the world in which we live. Right now, my thoughts and sincere prayers go out to those innocents who just happened to be in the wrong place at the right time!

When I first heard that one of the people killed was an eight-year-old boy, my heart sank even lower than what it had upon hearing the original story of this insanity. I’m sure it was probably because our oldest grandson is seven, probably with the same interests, dreams, and hopes for a good, long life as the eight-year-old boy, Martin Richards.

Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Seems as though he was a huge Boston Bruins hockey fan. And I’m certain he loved baseball and the Red Sox. He may have even rooted for the Boston Celtics in the NBA. I don’t really know for sure, but it’s safe to assume that kids of that age seem to enjoy all kinds of sports.

What I do know pretty much for certain, is that he probably was the same kind of kid as my oldest grandson in his enthusiasm for his teams. I’m guessing he had X-box games where he could pit his beloved Bruins up against other challengers and thrill to each victory rung up, just like my grandson and our beloved Blackhawks.

Just as my grandson does, Martin Richards may also have come home everyday after school and had to complete his homework before playing X-box or heading outside to play catch with his grandpa or to get some kind of hockey game going on the driveway—or in the garage, if the weather wasn’t quite right.

I realize that these kids are all the same. It doesn’t matter if there’s a million miles separating them, they still laugh and cry, lose their baby teeth and look like their hockey heroes because of it, take hot showers at day’s end and get into their jammies and snuggle up with Mom or Dad and love being read to. They con their way into sleeping over at the grandparents’ and know all the right strings to pull and at just the right time!

We tuck them into their beds and thank the Lord that we have that opportunity  to do so, night after night. As a grandparent, perhaps, I’m reliving it all again—going through those same routines now and then when I’m down at their house—but loving every minute of it!

We would like to believe that our little guys—and girls—have a long and happy life ahead. We do our best to stay out of the way when it’s best, and most of the time it is. But at times such as the nightmare in Boston yesterday, we cannot do enough. And no one really can. We are definitely at the mercy of an element in this world that is all wrong. And for whatever reason it was allowed to become this way, all we can do is count our blessings that we’re as safe as we are. But it just doesn’t seem to be enough.

We like to think that we can thwart any bad or evil—but we really can’t. If we could, little guys like Martin Richards would be getting cleaned up right now and ready for bed on this school night. His little sister wouldn’t be struggling with the pain of amputation. His mom would be free of the effects of a serious head injury. His father would not be hurting like no other person could possibly imagine at the devastation of his family.

I think of my kids and grandkids and hope that they have had a good day today and that tomorrow will be equally as good and safe. It is so frustrating to realize that there is nothing we can do as we wend our way through each day. We can’t live in fear, but it makes us wonder all the same. Prayers to all—especially for Martin Richards and his family…

Opening Week a passing grade…

Tags

, , , ,

Gordon Beckham

Gordon Beckham (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

OK…so far, so good!

Making it through the first week with a 4-2 record is enough to have the Sox sitting near the top of the Central Division, and despite a couple of negatives that reared their ugly heads throughout (very cold and windy weather for most of the games, and very poor outfield defense), it’s a very good beginning.

Most impressive was the barrage of home runs in every game, the last one of the weekend a “walk off,” courtesy of Dayan Viciedo to win it against the much-improved Mariners. And Sunday marked the first time the team will be wearing the “throw back” uniforms of the 1983 “Winning Ugly” regime. Watching Viciedo motor around the bases after his blast to left, in that uniform, brought back memories of Kittle, Fisk, Law, Cruz, Luzinski, et al. And it felt great!

 On other positive notes, Alex Rios is red hot, and Adam Dunn found his stroke a couple of times in very key spots. Even Gordon Beckham and Alexi Ramirez had a strong week at the plate as well as at their respective positions of 2nd base and shortstop.

Chris Sale was very good in the opener last Monday and then again Sunday. Jake Peavy showed that he should be very good once again, as well as Gavin Floyd. The one pitcher who ran into all kinds of trouble (mostly in one inning) was Jose Quintana, but good things are expected from the second year lefty. Dylan Axelrod has taken the other starting spot, filling in for John Danks who starts out on the Disabled List, nursing his shoulder back from last year’s surgery.

As expected, one of the big strengths of the Sox is their bullpen. Jesse Crain, Nate Jones, Donnie Veal, Matt Thornton, Matt Lindstrom, and Addison Reed saw considerable action in week one and were quite effective. Sox fans are keeping their collective fingers crossed that the relief crew stays healthy for the long haul, and, if so, the season is going to be very interesting. When all is said and done, they passed their first exam of the season.

And now, the next test is about to begin as the White Sox embark on their first road trip

"The Bull"

“The Bull” (Photo credit: seanbirm)

of 2013, which commences in Washington against the Nationals and then on to Cleveland for a weekend series against the rival Indians. Then it’s up to Toronto for four games against the Jays. It will be interesting to see what I can write about them at the conclusion of those series, which will, no doubt, be tough ones.

As always, we’ll be watching and listening and enjoying it all!

See you at the ballpark!