In some ways, it was just perfect. I guess you could say it was a perfect storm.
I had purchased some tickets to a couple of White Sox games earlier this year. On this occasion I asked my friend Bob Ward to go with me. I go a long way back with Bob. I’ve known him since we attended St. Margaret of Scotland Elementary School at 99th and Throop in Chicago.
But the real reason why I asked him is that he is a White Sox fan. We both played baseball for the Longwood Manor Athletic Association. So, we have that common thread. I may have mentioned to him that I have not seen the Sox win since 2013. You would think I would have seen a victory in the past three years but the reality is that the White Sox have not been that good. This year they have been all over the board, a .500 team up to this point.
James Shields, who was acquired earlier this summer from San Diego, was on the hill for the White Sox. Most Sox fans know that Shields was shelled in his first four starts. He was a launching pad for opposing hitters. Since then, he has resembled the old James Shields, going late into games. He has been outstanding in his last four starts. But in keeping with this strange season, Shields has no victories, losing games by the scores of 1-0 and 2-0.
He was outstanding last Thursday night against the Detroit Tigers. Bob and I were having fun on a warm, humid night at the ballpark. The Sox had a 1-0 lead that was wiped out on two solo home runs by the Tigers.
And then the rain came down in the seventh inning. And it just kept coming. We waited until about 10:10 p.m. and decided to leave. Fortunately, the rain had briefly stopped as we went back to our car. On the way home, we turned on the radio station but instead of hearing an update, it was none other than Donald Trump at the microphone. The GOP presidential candidate was just winding up his hour-long speech at the convention’s conclusion.
It was not until I got home that I learned that Sox lost 2-1 in a rain-shortened contest. Oh well, another loss and this time it did not go nine innings. On Saturday, I was considering some other plans that evening. However, my son, Sean, wanted to attend a Sox game. Feeling sorry for me, he wanted me to come. My son is also a huge White Sox fan played playing baseball in high school and in college. He purchased some great seats behind home plate.
He wanted to get a good look at Chris Sale’s pitches, the scheduled starter that evening. He believed, and I had no reason to doubt him, that I would break that losing streak. We arrived at the park and got situated in our seats. They were indeed great seats. We left briefly for some concessions and as we came back, the rain began to fall. The look in my son’s face was priceless. I mean it has to stop, right? Well, it did about 10 minutes later. The game started about 15 minutes late.
But as we were going over the lineups on the scoreboard, we were confused. Sale’s name was originally on there. Then his name disappeared and was replaced by Matt Albers, who has not started a game since 2008.
Rumors began circulating in the stands that the Sox ace had been traded. I felt myself becoming angry. My son buys these great seats and Sale is not on the mound? I was beginning to wonder if I was cursed. Then my son looks at his cellphone and informs me that Sale is not pitching because he reportedly cut up the uniforms the Sox were supposed to wear that night.
The Sox gave out replica 1976 jersey tops from that year. Those were the pajama top shirts that hung over the pants. They were comfortable but they looked ridiculous. They still look ridiculous. Apparently, Sale thought so, too. We just wished he could have controlled his rage.
Well, I still felt there was more to this story than Sale cutting up a jersey. But I eventually got over it and decided to focus on the game. The Sox once led but the Tigers came back to tie the game at 3-3. And as we entered the ninth inning, the rain came again. We were now in another rain delay. My son and I strolled around the park as the wind whipped up followed by thunder and lightning. We were not going to stroll outside even if the game did not resume.
Then about 11:15 p.m., the game was called. Just like last Thursday, we were able to leave with just a mist falling. The rain returned but we were on our way home at that point.
Needless to say, we did not want to return to the ballpark the next day, although we could have. The Sox, of course, won the suspended game the next day in their last at bat. They won the next game that day in walk-off fashion. They even won the opener against the Cubs Monday night in the bottom of the ninth. Three straight walk-off wins for the Sox. Perhaps their luck is changing.
Maybe it will be my turn next. I will be going to another Sox game soon with my son. But before I go, I will take my son’s advice. I will get a weather report before I venture outdoors.
Joe Boyle is the editor of The Reporter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.