Lots of flags, few hits.
Short take: Durham alone shows
There was a baseball game held at Comiskey Park Tuesday evening, but in
fact it was strictly the sideshow for the real event happening in the
stands. The New York Yankees came to town playing their first game after
a week of mourning for the tragic deaths of so many of its citizens in
horrific fashion to criminals. Our Sox played host, themselves guests in
New York City the fateful morning of September 11 when evil visited,
too. These two cities more than any other in the world are known for
America's most significant contribution to urban design, the skyscraper, now
forever looked upon differently for reasons perhaps no rational human being
will ever understand.
So there was a special kinship between the teams and their respective fans
as each took the field, borne beyond the simple fact we are all Americans
drawn together in tragedy. New York and Chicago share a lot
already. Now we share a bit more.
In other news from Comiskey, the Sox lost 11-3.
Pre-game ceremonies were somber and uplifting, entirely appropriate to the
occasion. Fans carried flags and signs of all descriptions--many of them
expressing Chicago's solidarity with the citizens of New York. The crowd
of 22,785 fell silent at three different occasions when only one was called
for by the official script. Perhaps the most poignant was when the color
guard entered the middle of the diamond surrounded by a row of Chicago police
and firemen forming an arc around the edge of the infield. Nobody told
Sox Fans to be quiet and respectful--they simply were. The ballpark
could have been empty for the strange silence that just fell upon the crowd
all at once.
The Sox deviated from the usual script. For the first time in nearly
two years, the rousing Sox "Homerun of the Century" video was not
shown before the team took the field. The fans had already been given
plenty of a build up to the action. Very appropriate.
Mark Buehrle deserved a better fate than what his teammates dealt
him. He got in trouble the very first inning, but lousy defense up the
middle led to an extra earned run which in fact ought to have been an
inning-ending double play. Was yet another Sox twin-killing ruined by Ray
Durham's poor peg to first base that pulled Paul Konerko off the
bag, or was it Royce Clayton's slow toss to Durham that forced the
rushed mistake? Whatever, this sort of play doesn't go down as lousy
defense in most fan's book, let alone the official scorekeeper's.
Now the score is 2-0 and Sox bats immediately fall into a routine we seen
so often--corpseball. They managed just two hits across the first five
innings. Orlando Hernandez could practically watch his 4.72 ERA fall
with each passing inning.
Finally in the sixth the Sox looked to do something. A lead off
single by Mark Johnson brought Ray Durham to the plate. He
stroked a double down the right field line on a 3-2 pitch. Just one
problem. First base umpire Mike Winters ruled the ball foul.
Replays clearly showed the ball was fair, but no bother. Winters stood
his ground, tossing first base coach Gary Pettis in the process. Durham
struck out on the next pitch, slammed his equipment inside the dugout and got
tossed by Pontius Pilate still standing by first base.
If you're going to get tossed, might as well get your money's worth.
Durham sprung from the dugout, charged Winters, only to be caught by batter Jose
Valentin short of the mound. It was the most life the Sox showed all
The Sox rally fizzled after that. Next the Yankees came to bat and
demonstrated how professionals win ballgames. If Buehrle was to be the
loser, it figures the bullpen would help in out. Besides a solo dinger,
he was charged with two of the four runs allowed by Alan Embree when
Jorge Posada's grand slam landed with a metallic "plunk" on
Comiskey's centerfield batter's eye. The Yankees extended their lead to
9-0 and it definitely felt like the rain was coming down a bit harder on the
heads of Sox Fans than their Yankee counterparts.
"God Bless America" was sung for the seventh inning stretch and
the Sox made a token effort at a rally in the eighth to make the final score a
bit more respectable. Kudos to pinch hitter Joe Crede who singled
in the Sox' second run with the first pitch he faced. Jerry Manuel will
doubtlessly bench him again tomorrow. We wouldn't want to upset the
infield chemistry of this team that can't turn double plays. So what if
it's late-September and the games are essentially meaningless. Manuel
has plenty of time to conduct spring training. Next April, for example.
Yeah, Sox Fans, it only took nine innings for our Pale Hose to remind us of
everything we loathed from the first 5-1/2 months of the season. Still
it felt good to wring our hands once again.
God Bless America, and please help our Sox.
Clubhouse "Pick to Click" Winner
|Completely screwed out of a double because of a blown call by the first base umpire Mike Winters, then screwed again by the same jerk for relieving his frustration in the dugout. Nice catch by Valentin to stop a charging Ray from tearing Winters' head
off, too. Amongst a team filled with midget performances, at
least Ray's had stones. The WSI umpire respects that!
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