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Frater Perdurabo
07-27-2004, 04:52 PM
You never know what you have missed until its gone, or have the perspective of time to more fully appreciate it.

Monday's Sox-Twins game was the first Sox home game I had attended since May 92. In the meantime, I have attended Sox-Rangers games in Texas and have enjoyed visting the Ballpark in Arlington, er, Ameriquest Field, which is an excellent ballpark with a fan-friendly environment.

However, my wife and I both remarked last night that U.S. Cellular Field has much more charm and character than Ameriquest. My wife, who is not a sports or baseball fan, but does know architecture and design, said she enjoyed the experience of attending a game at the Cell much more than a Rangers' game, even considering the rain and the fact that the Sox lost.

Upon walking across the ramp to the 100 level, we were overcome with the savory smells of churros, pizza, grilled onions and sausages. We had a great view of the action from Row 19 of Section 153. Ameriquest is praised for being fan friendly; but the Cell's employees were just as helpful.

I had seen photos and read descriptions of the renovations, but experiencing them in person was incredible. The fan deck is exemplary. The charcoal/black paint adds character. The brick and ironwork looks completely natural. These and the new upper deck roof make the blue seats look great. I'm not sure green seats are even necessary, but they will make the park even better if and when they are installed, IMHO.

The scoreboard introductions were terrific. It was a nice touch to play highlight clips on the JumboTron. "Thunderstruck" absolutely got my blood boiling and ready for the game. I don't think the sound clips were overdone either; there was a perfect and "organic" mix of pre-recorded music and Nancy's stellar playing.

I never fully appreciated it before, but Sox fans are much better baseball fans than Rangers fans.

Even though the Sox lost, I still had a great time. I miss Chicago White Sox baseball. I have become a better fan in my absence. I had such a great time that I seriously am considering searching for a college teaching job in the Chicago area so I can move back "home."

Now for the game itself: I am more convinced than ever that while the Sox have superior players, the Twins are the superior team. The Twins are greater than the sum of their parts. The Sox are less than the sum of their ill-fitting parts. I understand that without Frank and Maggs there is a huge hole in the heart of the order. However, their absence should make it even more imperative that the rest of the hitters try to manufacure runs though timely situational hitting, moving runners over and hitting to the opposite field. The Twins, who have lesser individual offensive talent, do these "small things" very well, and that is why they won.

Yes, Buehrle was less than his usual self. But the Twins took advantage of every opportunity. They scored with the long ball and took advantage of doubles and triples by tacking on timely singles. They seized on the opportunities presented by favorable umpire calls. They played hard.

OTOH, Sox hitters continued to swing for the five-run homer. Konerko and Borchard connected well. But the rest of the offense tried to make up for the absence of Frank and Maggs with one swing. Those battles will go to the pitcher more often than not, and that is why the Sox wound up on the short end of a 6-2 score.

Crede's biggest hit of late was NOT his 9th inning solo homer against Detroit on Saturday. It was his RBI double that brought the Sox closer earlier in that game. He told Hawk he specifically intended to hit the ball to the opposite field. Of course it worked. Then in the 8th, they tied the game on a sac fly. Look what happened - the Sox came back and won a game they probably "deserved" to lose based on their play in the early innings.

Crede, Lee, Konerko, Valentin and Borchard have an opportunity to step up to the next level in the next few weeks. Killing the ball does not make one into a champion. Getting timely hits to help your team to victory does. These guys have tremendous God-given talent to hit a round ball with a round bat squarely. They need to apply that talent to help the team score runs in bunches when runners are on base. If they can do that, they can survive and even thrive despite Maggs' and Franks' absence. They can both win the division AND prepare themselves to succeed in the playoffs. But if they keep swinging for the five-run homer, they will sink back to mediocrity.

Thanks for reading. Comments are appreciated. :smile:

leon1973
07-27-2004, 05:27 PM
Nice post. Glad you came back "home". I can relate to being away (5 years) and coming back. I appreciated the park and Sox baseball much more, especially after visiting other ballparks (including the Texas ballpark). Sox fans are the best. Even my wife, a life-long Cub fan, loves to come out to US Cellular with me to catch the games. She knows good and well not to wear any Cub gear to US Cellular though.:D:


Radke was nasty last night, but I agree that the Sox hitters seemed to want to pull everything. I don't know if his offspeed stuff was the cause of that, or if they were trying to jerk the ball out of the park. I'd look for the Sox tonight to do a better job, even though Santana is also pretty nasty. Home runs are great, but it does get frustrating when most of the lineup seems to be trying for the homerun (except for a few bunt attempts last night), when getting hits and guys on base are needed to get something started. I know Crazy Carl shortens his stroke when he gets 2 strikes on him. I think it'd be great to see more guys focusing on getting the bat on the ball when down in the count or making concerted efforts to go the other way. I definitely have to agree with something that Hawk said the other day with this team, the hot hitting becomes contagious in the lineup with these guys, but so does the cold spells.

longshot7
07-27-2004, 05:56 PM
I know what you mean. I get to a Sox home game about every two years. It's true that you don't really miss things until they're gone. I love the Cell.

pudge
07-27-2004, 06:01 PM
I'm hoping to be there for the first time in about 5 years this August.