Game One

I’m not even sure how to set the stage here… this is the biggest game for the White Sox in five years, but to be honest, probably 12 years since the 2000 team was so flawed, I’m not sure they could have won in the ALCS, let alone the World Series.

But here we are, getting ready for the first game of the ALDS against the Boston Red Sox, the World Champs. A classic good pitching against good hitting match up. Matt Clement gets the start for the Red Sox, a former Cub who has not been very good in the second half, and Jose Contreras goes for the Good Guys. If you would have told me a month ago that Jose Contreras was starting Game One of the ALDS, I would have told you that Harriet Miers was going to be nominated for the Supreme Court. But at the same time Contreras has been great in the second half, and the only pitcher who I felt comfortable with when taking the mound in September. Amazing how baseball works sometimes.

Once again the running journal, I know Simmons does it, but I’m ripping off the Guardian. Honestly.

3:26pm EST – Here we are (yep the Royal we)… I’ve already got the Coke poured and water on for some mac and cheese, and I’m watching the Cardinals finish off a bad Padres team. I’m not sick to my stomach yet, which is a good sign, but the moment this Cards game ends, I may have to throw up.

3:33 – A few thoughts on the Eddy Curry trade… so he didn’t want to take a DNA test and that’s why the Bulls traded him? Huh? Why are the Bulls asking for a DNA test? Does every NBA player have to give a DNA test? And if you’re Curry, don’t you get the DNA test but not tell the Bulls what the results are? And couldn’t Paxson get more for one of the few true, young centers in the NBA? I know Curry hasn’t been all that great, but he showed that he could score last year. I'm not willing to say that Isaiah Thomas made a good trade, but...

4:02 – What? What is going on here… the game isn’t on ESPN (Cards/Padres is in the 9th with two out) and the World Series of Poker is on ESPN2. What the Hell? If I miss a pitch of the Sox game, not only will I hate ESPN, but I will also hate the Padres and the Cards bullpen (it’s 8-4 Cardinals now). End game.

4:03 – By the way, crazy twenty minutes leading up to this… two important phone calls, made mac and cheese, and changed my laundry. For someone who’s been unemployed for two months, that’s a near crisis. I almost couldn’t handle it. And the Padres keep getting hits. It’s 8-5 now. Wow… a home run can tie this game.

4:06 – Robert Fick singles for the Padres, no one scores, but the bases are loaded and a double will tie this game… a home run gives the Padres the lead. If I was a Cardinals fan, I’m either thinking: Good Izzy is getting it out of his system or We’re done come NLCS time.

4:07 – Cardinals win… okay switch… switch… It’s almost time for the first pitch… switch to the South Side. NOW!

4:08 – Finally switched us over to the South Side… and I can hear “Thunderstruck” over Chris Berman’s voice. Good times. I wish I had that song, but iTunes doesn’t sell it. Go figure.

4:09 – Our announcers today, Chris Berman, Rick Sutcliffe, and Mike Piazza. I really enjoy the “current player as second color man” gimmick that Fox started a few years ago. They bring a freshness that’s much needed in most baseball booths. Is Piazza any good? I have no clue, but this is when you would make a gay joke (not that there is anything wrong with that). But folks, is that stuff really funny? I don’t know. Making fun of people that you don’t know… I’m torn on this. On one hand you have guys like Piazza, on the other you have Tom Cruise. Little give, a little take, or something like that.

4:10 – It’s official, my stomach is turning.

4:11 – First pitch is a ball, but Damon then lines out to Konerko.

4:13 – On a bloop that was barely fair, Dye throws to second to try and nail Renteria, but Uribe can’t handle it. Rentura is safe, and Ortiz is up. I may as well just get a bucket to save myself a few trips to the toilet.

4:16 – Great pitch from Contreras, completely fooled Ortiz to get the strike out. This may be a good sign.

4:17 – Manny grounds out… Yay. I feel better.

4:20 – If I did drugs…. Actually, can there be a universal drinking time? Like say, 8:04, that seems like a good time to start drinking.

4:22 – Pods gets hit by a pitch, and already is in Clement’s head. Iguchi sacrifices Pods to second. A waste of an out because I don’t think Varitek has a good enough arm. The crowd is really into the game, I might add.

4:26 – Clement just hit Dye. He’s taking about 50 second between pitches. He’s way off his game after three batters… and Paulie! coming up. And Pods just stole third. This crowd is pumped! I’m pumped! Let’s go Konerko!

4:28 – Paulie! just killed one, but it goes just foul. Damn. If I’m a Red Sox fan, I’m thinking about drinking petrol. (That's right VFLOAB is huge in the UK).

4:29 – Konerko hits a chopper down the line… oh shit… but the Red Sox can only get one. Pods score, 1-0 White Sox. Konerko is the slowest man in baseball, but they can’t turn two, I’m not sure what happened but I’ll take it. Erin Andrews now just told us that the Sox are playing like underdogs. I like it. I feel like a Patriots fan.

4:35 – Single by Rowand, and Konerko scores. 2-0 White Sox, Everett to third. Great start.

4:37 – Stretch! STRETCH! ...AND YOU CAN PUT IT ON THE BOARD, YESSSSSSSS! A.J. Pierzynski drives one to left center for a three run home run. 5-0 White Sox.

4:39 – Crede pops out to end the inning, but the good new? In 2000 the White Sox scored 7 runs in three games. They have five after one inning.

4:44 – Varitek just got rung up and did not like the call. Normally I enjoy Varitek, right now I hate him, the little punk with his crew cut.

4:45 – Just saw a guy with a Jimmy Mac #9 jersey in the crowd! Our first 1985 Bears sighting! And I don’t need to remind anyone that this is the 20th anniversary of the greatest team of all time. That’s right, any sport, any anything, the 1985 Bears are the greatest of all time. (We’ll ignore the fact that I remember exactly zero from that year besides the Super Bowl Shuffle. Then again, that is a good thing.)

4:48 – The Red Sox are crying about the calls from home plate ump John Hirschbeck. It’s been a low strike for everyone.

4:49 – Enjoy and you’re welcome.

4:51 – Its I-N-G? I always thought it was ING, like winnING. Glad I’ve got that cleared up.

4:54 – Frank Thomas interview! He’s smiling and he can’t figure out if he should look at the camera or Erin Andrews. Pretty funny. And now we’re getting playoff advise from Frank Thomas. Frank threw out the first pitch too! No matter a nice moment for Frank who’s done a lot for this team over the years, it’s just too bad Frank, the White Sox, and Sox Fans have been staging “Last Exist” for the last eight years.

4:57 – Varitek just threw out Pods trying to steal second, who is now 9 out of his last 23 in stole base attempts.

5:00 – Ouch. Glad I’m not a BoSox fan, just saw the “I Live For This” commercial… two females who are probably pushing 350 between them. And one is wearing a jacket with tick stubs stabled on… at least they seem like nice people.

5:02 – If Johnny Damon doesn’t win Dumbest Person Of 2005 it would be a bigger upset than the Red Sox coming back to beat the Yanks last year. “He [Pierzynski] lives in, um, the, um, same neighborhood, that, um, I, um live, in.” And the best part, I’m not sure if he was reading cue cards, if someone was telling him this, or if he just wasn’t sure.

5:06 – With Ortiz up, Uribe just miss played a somewhat tough ground ball to short. First and third with Manny coming up, crap.

5:07 – Manny goes 5-4, bullet dodged. Good, good.

5:12 – Piazza just dropped “intestinal fortitude”. I’m not sure what to think. By the way, Manny isn’t wearing sunglasses in left field. Go figure.

5:13 – Konerko just crushed one, 6-0 White Sox. This is fun!

5:14 – Everett lines one right back and it hits Clement in the calf, he picks up the ball and throws out Everett, but that had to hurt. The crowd is calling for a curtain call from Paulie, and from the sound of it provides them with one. Clement is staying in the game, good news for the White Sox.

5:18 – Rowand hits one hard, but it’s right at Manny. The White Sox are hitting Clement harder than Ike hit Tina.

5:21 – Why do they always show the biggest losers in the crowd on TV? Why can’t they show someone cool? Say what you will about the Cubs and WGN, but they always show hotties. Never would they show some guy with a baseball mask waving a towel.

5:22 – Sox not playing good defense. Crede just booted a ball on a bunt from Varitek, and he goes to second. So it’s third and second with no outs here to start the 4th.

5:23 – Contreras throws one away… it’s now 6-1. And I was just about to say something nice about Contreras about how fast he’s working even with runners on.

5:24 – Good new, there are not a lot of Red Sox fans there. Bad news, Millar just doubled to right. 6-2.

5:25 – Ozzie just went to the mound to talk to Contreras… and you know they’re talking in Spanish. I’ve been wondering all year, does AJ know Spanish?

5:26 – Great play by Iguchi. A hard hit ball to second, and Iguchi throws to third and they nail Millar. Ozzie almost had a heart attack on the bench.

8:34 – AJ doubles to right and Crede comes to the plate. At this point, I might be able to line a shot off Clement right now. And we’ve got movement in the BoSox pen.

5:37 – Uribe just unloaded on one, and YOU CAN PUT IT ON THE BOARD…. YESSSSS! A “He almost went down to one knee” swing. 8-2 White Sox and the bad news is that Clement is done for the day. Bummer. I’m telling you, the Cubs are the give that keeps on giving. And yes, I just turned on “Kiss Him Goodbye” thanks to that crowded being more juiced than Sammy Sosa in 1998.

5:45 – Iguchi strikeouts to end the inning. The really good news? BoSox have to go to their pen for at least 4.2 innings today. Yay. And just saw the ad for Simmon’s book “Now I Can Die In Peace” and I wish he were doing a diary of this game, just so I could read about his pain. That’s right, everyone is the enemy right now. Even the GF. Even Simmons.

5:46 – It’s the KING! “Meat… on top of meat… on top of meat.” And they give a shout out to the North Woods in the commercial too. This day has just gone to “11”.

5:49 – I’ve got to say, I’m enjoying Piazza and Sutcliffe. It’s almost like being inside of the mind of a catcher and a pitcher. Contreras looks great today, some really nasty pitches.

5:52 – And we get our first mention of the crowd. That’s right, almost two hours into the game and they finally bring up the crowd.

5:54 – Time for the Ozzie interview, let’s see what Ozzie just said: Clemente aspira mis bolas, Contreras ha sido impresionante, yo podría golpear su Plaza gay del asno con el pie, yo aman Venezuela.

6:00 – Bradford is done, and this game has hit a needed lull. Good time to catch by breath… maybe even go to the bathroom.

6:07 – Contreras gets the Red Sox to go three up and three down in the sixth. He doesn’t look good, he doesn’t look great, he looks like the type of guy that the Red Sox and Yankees would get in a bidding war over. And we got him for Esteban Loaiza talk about a “Thank You Very Much”.

6:14 – AJ just got hit and Sutcliffe and Piazza both are quick to say “there was no message behind that pitch” which make me assume that the Red Sox were throwing at him.

6:16 - Dad just called me, he’s at the game and at beers of the world and just checking in. I’m jealous.

6:19 – Now it’s my sister… she wants to talk about some movie and listen to my message on my voice mail. She also claims to be a White Sox fan.

6:21 – Stretch! STRETCH! AND YOU CAN PUT IT ON THE BOARD, YESSSS! Pods hits his first home run of the year… talk about dreams. I’m in a dream right now. This is just fantastic, 12-2 and I think we can start thinking about tomorrow. This is just great.

6:27 – Should I call my Red Sox friends? I’m torn. Nah. I’m a Midwest guy. I’m Catholic. I’m a Democrat. I have a soul. But boy is this fun.

6:29 – We’re done in the 7th, Contreras, is mowing them down again. And he’s only thrown 92 pitches; I think we’ll see him in the 8th. This is just great. How many times can I say that today?

6:35 – White Sox are done in the seventh and I have nothing to add. Actually I do. The White Sox have scored more runs today than they did in the entire 2000 playoffs, 12-7 right now.

6:43 – Contreras is pulled after getting Manny to ground out. He was just fantastic and his defense let him down (Crede’s boot and Pods miss a ball that Ortiz hit). He gets a well-deserved standing O. I tip my hat to Contreras; he just shut down the Red Sox, the top scoring team in the majors. Today’s going so well, I might check out Son of Sam Horn tonight.

6:45 - Peavy broke two ribs pitching? How? That sounds like an injury that happened last night. Neal Cotts on for the White Sox.

6:46 – After Nixon pops out, to left, Sutcliffe just called it a “can-of-corn”. You can’t escape Hawk, you can only hope to ignore him.

6:50 – Boston brings on Arroyo and he promptly gives up a lead off home run to AJ. And the crowd wants another curtain call and they get it. Sox have five home runs today.

6:55 – Oh no, Pods looks like he’s trying to hit a home run. Come on, don’t even think about doing something that might lead to a bad habit like that.

6:57 – Both managers are empting their benches… Willie Harris is up and Timo is on deck. Just for shits and giggles, Harris singles to make it 14-2. This is like watching Super Bowl XX.

7:02 – Just checked to see what’s on tonight besides the Yankee/Angels game and saw that Troy and North Texas are on ESPN2. I don’t think anyone is enjoying the ‘College football on every night” Era as much as I am. If I had a job I might even place wager on these games. Politte on for the White Sox.

7:05 – I’m enjoying this booth. Berman isn’t anything special, but Piazza and Sutcliffe are really good together. Rowand gives me a heart attack by face planting into the wall in a 14-2 game. He’s okay thankfully.

7:08 – Graffanino kills one, but Pods reaches up at the wall and catches it. Sox win. Almost an easy win. This feels good.

7:11 – As Erin Andrews flirts with AJ, I’m going to sign off since this is already too long and I need an editor. My Lord, sorry. But this was a lot of fun. And that was Chicago’s first victory over a Boston team in the playoffs since Super Bowl XX, that’s right the Bulls went a combined 0-6 against the Celtics in 1986 and 1987 in the playoffs.


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