I’m still warming up.
Yesterday’s game was cold. It wasn’t the coldest game I ever attended. That honor still belongs to a 3-0 win over the Minnesota Twins on April 7, 2007. It was a gray 31 degree day with flurries. Then, as now, a White Sox win mitigated the sting of the cold air.
Here are some observations from the ballpark on Opening Day, 2013:
The later start time (3:10 vs. the traditional 1:05) meant that fans had two more hours to drink. That also meant that some fans were demolished by the time they got to their seats. I saw two fans in section 536 weave up the stairs and stumble over a family on their way to the seats. They looked like they were on the verge of passing out. One fan remained vertical for the entire game. His friend wasn’t nearly as lucky. In the third inning he was holding on to a picnic table…presumably to stop the stadium from spinning.
They weren’t alone. I ran into a number of people in the upper deck concourse who were either passed out or close to it. I’m not going to go after people for drinking. I’ve been known to enjoy a beer or four at the ballpark. But know your limitations. If you can’t fly, stay out of the cockpit; and the extra two hours gave plenty of fans the opportunity to act like Denzel Washington in “Flight.”
And then there’s this.
It is a video that ran before the game at the ballpark. It also ran on Comcast SportsNet as part of the pregame show. Deadspin referred to it as “One of the Worst Things Ever Put on Television.” That’s a pretty lofty title, especially since one of the most popular TV shows on the air involves pushing Louie Anderson off of a diving board.
If you don’t want to click on the link (and you should), you will see two minutes and thirty eight seconds of White Sox players lip-synching to a song called “Welcome to the Show” by a band called Saliva. It is a Limp Bizkit-esque pile of nu-Metal that is supposed to fire you up for ACTION and INTENSITY. But since the internet is made up of nerds who have spent the last 15 years making fun of Limp Bizkit-esque nu-Metal, it was immediately mocked.
As I said on the Loop this morning, I did get a kick out of 56-year-old Don Cooper lip-synching to a song he’s never heard. The concept probably had to be explained to Coop several times before he actually signed on.
Jim Margalus at South Side Sox believes the video might actually be a good thing. It is a sign that times have changed in the clubhouse at US Cellular Field:
“The Jim Thome/Jermaine Dye/Juan Pierre teams probably wouldn't do this, but those clubhouses were regarded as stiff, difficult to fire up, and hard for rookies to crack. The Sox have definitely loosened up since Robin Ventura took over, and these types of ... shared experiences ... may be the occasional byproduct of an environment that can accommodate its drafted and developed talent. As long as they're better ballplayers than actors, it's a risk worth taking.”
Jim has a point. He used to say that the Sox clubhouse door should have a picture of a sullen Paul Konerko with a sign that says “you must be this exciting to enter.” There are many reasons behind Nick Swisher’s sudden trade to the Yankees in November of 2008. The fact that he had pissed off Konerko, Thome, and Dye was on that list.
Not too long ago, Ozzie Guillen's kids were the youngest people in the clubhouse. The White Sox actually gave playing time to Omar Vizquel, one of two guys playing in the 2010's to have Comiskey Park stats.
Five years later, Konerko finds himself as the Grand Old Man of the White Sox clubhouse. He’s one of four players born in the 1970’s. Most of the birthdates on the 40-man roster are mid 80’s or later. The clubhouse is younger, rowdier, and more amenable to, ugh, Saliva.
The White Sox are off today. They are back in action Thursday and Friday. Thankfully, both games start at 1:05. I would hate to be in the stands for a night game (those don’t start until Friday!). The Sox drew a healthy 39,000 fans on Monday. I’m Monday will outdraw the total attendance on Wednesday and Thursday combined.