It was another 2011 summer evening in this very long, hot summer of Chicago White Sox baseball. Even after losing to the Cubs last night, nothing could keep me from watching Paulie at the plate.
With this sorry line-up, leaving more men on base than arrests being made in the Vancouver riots, the rain delay just about sent me to check out Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.
But wait! The Comcast Producers must have known that the numbers for White Sox attendance, and TV couch potatoes like me, were dropping faster than how many baseballs Adam Dunn will hit this season. I suddenly heard Hawk announce "And now we'll bring you a Cubs v. Sox replay game from May, 2006, in a game the Sox won 6 - 1."
Well, that's all I needed to hear. Popcorn in the microwave. Turn off my I-phone. Turn on the A/C. I could use a "feel good" game, especially after blowing a 3-0 lead last night, and wondering why Ozzie is being so damn stubborn in not bringing up Viciedo from Charlotte (yes, you can release Will Ohman, the benchwarmer).
So, there was a Buehrle v. Maddux match-up. Classic. There was our (mostly) World Champion 2005 White Sox team on my flat screen TV, jumping out from the Cell.
The replay began in the top of the 3rd, with the score tied 1- 1.
What a treat to see Podsednik as the lead - off batter. He drew a walk. What a concept - patience at the plate. Pierre could learn something.
He trots to first and starts to get Maddox off his rhythm, with everyone in the park knowing for certain he'll go as soon as he can to steal 2B. And what does Tadahito do in the 2-hole? Go with a pitch outside and hit it to right field.
1st and 2nd, no outs
After that, Maddox is besides himself, and from there can't concentrate on the DH, Jim Thome. The DH, for heaven's sake. The DH who can hit the ball, knows the strike zone, and proven why he's so deserving of the role.
I miss big Jim. I miss that guy who had 17 HRs and 41 RBI's by the end of that night. Just reminding you folks, what a DH should be doing for any AL club.
If you're like me, then you know how angry I was when Kenny didn't re-sign our premier DH, who sadly got picked up by our arch nemesis, no sooner than Anthony Weiner could text another picture of his boxer shorts.
Hey Kenny, how did that DH rotation work out for you in 2010? Andruw Jones, Mark Kotsay, & then signing Mr. Performance -Enhancing -Drug -Abuser: Manny Ramirez, in September. Nice work Mr. GM.
Back to my home-made limoncello in one hand, and popcorn in the other. After walking Thome on 4 pitches, and loading the bases, Maddox is obviously out of synch. I'm lovin' this. It's such a perfect game v. the Cubbies.
Even Dusty can't figure this one out, while black and white T-shirts are jumping up and down, and royal blue shirts are seen pouring more beer over each other.
And guess who comes up and hits a double on the first pitch? You got that right - Paulie. The man of the hour these days. Like a fine wine, he only gets better as he ages.
And then it's our World Series MVP. Dye hits a ground ball to the Cubs SS. As Nefi Perez was charging the slow roller, moving toward home plate, he had a the typical "brain cramp," as Hawk so well described. Perez threw Dye out at first, instead of easily throwing out Thome at home.
After AJ pops out, up comes Joe. I loved watching his swing. I loved watching his concentration at the plate. But most of all, I loved watching his never-to-be-recognized Gold Glove performances at 3B. Every year. Every day, with his clutch hits and HRs that followed another under-recognized Sox 3B: Robin Ventura.
And yes, Crede could easily have shared the MVP of the Angels-Sox 2005 ALS series with Paulie, especially with his game winning RBI in game 2, with Buerhle pitching lights out. And if only Joe Buck could have focused on Crede and Buehrle's performances that night, instead of AJ's KO controversy, maybe the baseball world would have known what we knew about Joe.
But back to this May 2006 game: Joe gets a hit. Score 5 - 1.
And then my memory takes me back again, to hearing that Kenny had no patience for Joe's back to recover from surgery. And suddenly I'm struck with a "Say it ain't so, Joe," thought, that HE also signed with the Twinkies - as soon as our GM had his own brain cramp.
And who can forget this one: Crede's first at-bat v. the Sox at the Cell was a HR off his best Missouri buddy, Buehrle. "That's Joe," I said to myself, "good for him." And everyone in the park cheered - cause we all knew what Joe meant to us, and we'll never forget.
So - I loved this rain delay. I didn't want it to stop. I wanted more Comcast White Sox games with our 2005 team. So bring on the thunderstorms. Keep me in fantasyland.
But sadly, our 2011 teams are no fantasy. By September 21, our Fall Equinox, the Tigers and Twinkies will once again be battling for first place, leaving our Sox in the dust. This is reality, South Side Sports Chick, and this long hot summer of Chicago baseball will be just that - long and hot, where even the yellow noodle could show signs of a meltdown for both teams.