I’m starting this blog about the White Sox before I go to a game tonight with my son. A week ago when the White Sox finished off a sweep of the Twins and took a make-up game from the Tigers, everything looked like puppy dogs and rainbows. After a road trip top Kansas City where they dropped two of three and a weekend sweep by the Angels the future does not look so bright. There is a temptation to think back to 2005 when the Sox were in a death spiral as well, but it didn’t get quite this far down. The smallest lead the Sox had was a game and a half and it went up as the week went on. This team only has a game lead going into tonight’s action. A loss and a Detroit win and they are tied. By this point in 2005, the Indians needed to win at least two to make a change in the standings, now it is down to one day and everything can go pear-shaped. This is definitely time to watch the game closely, and yet I have a nine year old, bent on going to the Fundamentals Deck, eating cotton candy and going home. I’m a jumble of nerves and he is blissfully unaware of the implications of this and all future games here on out. I can’t decide if this is a good or bad thing.
It is now after the game but the pre-game with my son was pretty awesome. First, he asked me who I’d be cheering for this night. I told him the White Sox and tried to explain how important the game was to the Sox and their place in the standings. He then asked if I’d be mad if the Sox lost and I said yes. “Well,” he said, “not that mad. It’s only baseball.” What do you do with that? The urge to go all Great Santini was very strong, I won’t lie. I did show incredible restraint and said, yes you’re right. He was after all, it is only baseball. I did try and explain that part of what is great about rooting for your team is caring about what they do. He then asked if we could get nachos.
We got to the park early and got to see the Indians finish up batting practice. The greatest thrill was that the boy got a ball from one of the Indians’ players. I thought for sure he would start rooting for them after that, but he got to watch Chris Sale warm up and “Chris Sale looked at ME!” which pretty much made his already awesome night.
In retrospect, thank goodness I had the boy to distract me from the game. What I did get to watch of the early innings was just torturous. Sale wasn’t at his sharpest, the offense was just as bad as it had been during the previous road trip and the Tigers were winning. On top of that, the attendance was just pathetic. I’ve heard about every excuse there is for not going to a game and I can’t think of one that is valid for not going to a game like last night. It was a beautiful night a team in a race and in first place, the best pitcher on the team going and it was half-price night taboot. I tend not to care about the attendance debate very much, find it about the weakest come back from Cubs fans when comparing teams, but I also think we can put to rest the idea that the White Sox have a good fan base. It is late September, the team is playing for the post-season and the park is barely half-full. If Reinsdorf was looking for a new place for his team I wouldn’t blame him.
Back to the game. The boy got to do all of his Fundamentals stuff, multiple times because there were almost no kids at the park and we made it to the seventh inning stretch. He then said he was tired. This may seem like a logical, normal thing, but when it comes to my son, it is not, I assure you. He is in constant motion, kind of like a shark. After a quick shopping spree at the year-end sale (another reason to go to the park this week!!) we got to the car just in time to hear Ed Farmer call Dunn’s home run and see the fireworks. After the far too tense ninth inning, we got to see the game ending fireworks and almost immediately, the boy was out. When he falls asleep like that, he looks like a puppy, just exhausted and collapsed right on the spot. A pretty good way to take in a game, if you ask me; so good in fact we’ll be doing it again on Sunday.