Hitless wonders redux

Sunday, August 7, 2005–White Sox 3, Mariners 1

We went out to Chicago on a family outing in August of ’05. We’d been on Amtrak’s Southwest Chief out to California many times before, so we decided to see the other end of the trip and take it out to Chicago. Once you get past Trinidad, Colorado, there isn’t even the slightest hint of a mountain. We learned how Amtrak makes up the time for the invariably late trains leaving New Mexico–they go bombing through Kansas in the middle of the night at something like 95 mph.

I went to see the White Sox by myself. They were, I have to say, a bit of an afterthought. We had to see the Cubs, and I figured since I was in Chicago anyways, I might as well kill two birds with one stone. The day before, we’d all gone to the Art Institute of Chicago. The only display that really stuck out to me was the installation of paper and candy. For some reason that escapes me now, there was a particular weight that was important to an artist, and so, in the middle of a room was a pile of paper in 2 foot squares and a pile of hard candies that had both been weighed out to this amount, and viewers were encouraged to take a little of each–the viewer participation was important for some reason. I took one sheet and tore it into the shapes of letters, leaving them (I’m sure to be swept up almost immediately) to say “so this is art then?” The next day, I went to the Sox game while Mom and Dad went back to the Art Institute.

The game was preceded by a lengthy tribute to Carlton Fisk, in which a bronze statue was unveiled. His son gave a very moving speech, Ozzie Guillen said something only mildly stupid, and Fisk had one good line in his speech, referring to his move from Boston to Chicago as “changing my Sox.” Sometime as I was listening to the game on the radio, the discussion was about different strategies for catchers when they go out to the mound. Some coddle their pitchers, some offer advice, some provide therapy, while others (like Fisk) will be more inclined to say something like “what the #%*@ do you think you’re doing out there?” After the game, I went and looked at the statue. It shows Fisk, standing up with his pads on, holding his mask on his hip and waiting for an answer to exactly that question.

Ok, what else? Oh, yes, the game itself. Jon Garland won his sixteenth game of the season, Paul Konerko (a former Duke) and Joe Crede had home runs, and the Sox beat Seattle 3-1. They did it on five hits. At the time, the Sox had the best record in the majors, and there was starting to be some very serious talk about the World Series. That talk turned out to be quite well justified, it was the year Chicago swept the Astros to win its first championship since 1917.

Aaron Rowand was the cover boy for the program, and the article about him talks a lot about his hard-headedness and the insane risks he takes to make nearly impossible catches. This was before he made a name for himself for breaking his nose going after a fly ball in Philadelphia. On this day, he robbed Richie Sexson of a double, driving head first and still accelerating into the deepest part of the center field wall for the final out of the 8th. It certainly saved two runs, and the lead. I remember thinking that Guillen should probably bench him during their annual series at Wrigley, as he could very easily get himself killed running into the bricks that way.

Here’s the scorecard.