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WSI News - Totally Biased Game Recaps

Paulie

September 27th vs. the Kansas City Royals


Daily Sox Crop Report:
Sweet Fruit
It's harvest season, and Paulie showed us
how to appreciate it.

Short Take:The Sox beat the Royals 5-4 on Paul Konerko's glorious retirement night.

In a night made for storytelling, the White Sox beat the Kansas City Royals 5-4. The outcome of the game had no real significance for the Sox; their season was over some weeks ago as they lurch through their rebuilding program. The Royals were more concerned since their loss blew their shot at a tie for first in the AL Central with Detroit.

But the Royals have already clinched a playoff position, so they'll go on to October. The rest of us in Chicago will go on to October disappointed in the Sox' fortunes but with the warm glow of Paul Konerko's moving retirement ceremony. More on that later -- let's talk about the game.

Maybe the Sox had adreneline flowing because of Paulie's night. They looked good (except the bullpen) and pulled off a rare Saturday win. John Danks started and was sharp, picking up two strikeouts in the first inning and throwing only 11 pitches. He went seven innings and gave up two runs and kept the Royals in check. Danny Duffy started for KC and simply didn't have it. He was taken out in the third inning after giving up four runs and two homers, one by Jose Abreu and another by Josh Phegley.

A parade of cowtown relievers followed and kept the Sox bats quiet until the seventh, when Phegley hit his second homer of the night. Unfortunately, the Sox bullpen showed up in final two innings and gave us all a scare, appropriate since it was also Countdown to Halloween night at the ballpark. Ronald Belisario was the first in the sorry caravan of hurlers, giving up a leadoff walk and two hits without recording an out. He was removed to a chorus of boos and groans.

But after squeezing our scorecards in frustration the happy ending was had. The Sox were winners. Good news, but Paul Konerko was the real story on this night. A lovely ceremony, a handsome statue on the concourse, a retired number, and the cheers of a full house all gave testimony to the affection Paul has earned in Chicago. The arc of his career and the quality of his personality brought a memory of mine in sharp relief.


It was probably 1962 and we were at Comiskey Park. I was with my mom, dad, and sister as we walked along the main aisle that wrapped around the lower deck. We shuffled along, checking section numbers to find our seats and I, spacey kid that I was, stared in rapt wonder at the ballfield as I walked. I was startled when I bumped into a well-dressed older man who was walking ahead of me. He walked with a cane, slowly, but with a dignity that even I as a clueless eight year-old could appreciate. My mom was mortified and insisted I apologize to the gentleman for not paying attention, but he was gracious and made it clear that no harm was done.

I bumped into the man because I couldn't take my eyes off the expanse of the ballpark. It held me in a spell that hasn't diminished even now, more than 50 years later. That snapshot of memory came back to me at the celebration of Paul Konerko's career before tonight's ballgame, when Paulie said he hadn't expected a moment like this when he was six years old and started playing ball. I'd like to think that Paul at age six was as mesmerized by a ballpark as I was, and that maybe he too bumped into somebody as he stared.

The difference is that he translated that focus from juvenile enchantment to cerebral athleticism, something that I and millions of others could not. And not only did he rise to be among the very best in the company of professional athletes, he maintained a dignity and good humor much like the gracious gentleman I clumsily ran into all those years ago. It's sort of a full circle for me: I witnessed dignity at the ballpark when I was a kid, and I was fortunate enough to witness it at the ballpark again tonight.

Thanks, Paulie. You reminded me more than once why I love baseball.

WSI's
The Futures Market:
Tonight was a celebration of the past. The future is next year.


submitted by tebman.

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Totally Biased Game Recaps

September 30... Fulmer Out-Klubers Kluber

September 27...Thanks, Sox...Love, the Twins

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September 25... Pitching Delight

September 23... Abreu, DiMaggio, and Pujols -- Oh, My!

September 22... Gunning Down The Royals!

September 20...Close, But No Cigar

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September 13...Giolito Deserved Better, But Sox Take Series

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