The Book of Mike

"This is no junior college. This is the notorious University of Miami.” -- Marlins starter Dontrelle Willis, after getting knocked around for six runs in 2 1/3 innings by the Canes.

Friday, April 23, 2004

White Sox

Readers of this blog tend to fall into one of four camps. First there are Marlins fans who have few other choices when they want to read commentary on their team. Based on the emails I receive, this seems to be the bulk of the readers. Second are people who find this site through The Hardball Times, Sportsblogs, Baseball Musings, or another link. These are some of my favorite readers because, at least in part, it means that other people are referencing what’s written here. Third are people who find their way here through highly unusual entries into search engines (see the “Mr. Google” post). This simply scares me and I wish these people would read and/or click elsewhere. Fourth are people who actually know me personally. Most of these people know me as a life long White Sox fan, which I still am by the way, although that might not come across in much of what gets written here. These people tend to ask me why there isn’t much coverage of the Sox (probably better heard than written – that “Sox” part). Since we’re doing lists today, there are probably two reasons. One, most of the interest of the people who read here is in the Marlins. Second, the Marlins are just easier to cover. I can’t escape it (as much as I want to and despite how many years I fought it despite being in South Florida). The Marlins are on television, the radio, the newspaper – everywhere. I even live about a mile away from Marlins en Miami, which despite my protests to the contrary, is not a typo in the store’s name but the spelling in Espanol.

I still watch and read about the White Sox all the time though. In fact the Sox are the main reason that I buy the baseball package each year. Last night’s game was particularly enjoyable as the White Sox finally beat the Yankees at home (and how fortunate are the Sox that their regular season schedule with the Yankees is now complete? Yes, it’s weird to have played all of your games for the year against one team (two actually by the time the Rays series ends this weekend) before the end of April, but those are some of the quirks of the new unbalanced schedule).

One thing that jumps out at me more than any other in watching White Sox games this season is the dramatic changes to the former New Comiskey Park – aka US Cellular Field. The outfield wall is green again, like in the old stadium (although I must say that the retired numbers with images of the players is not my favorite – numbers only please). The lettering for the eateries in the outfield looks much like it did in Old Comiskey too. Rumor has it that the royal blue seats that fill the stadium will be replaced after the year and replaced with new green seats. Should this be true, I guarantee that I will make my first ever visit to new Comiskey Park. While I attended many games at old Comiskey, I have never set foot into new Comiskey. I haven’t actually seen it in person since it was finished being built. That is partially the result of me having lived in Arizona and Florida during the entirety of its existence but also partially due to me just not feeling right about visiting the place. But with the changes they have made and are making, the thought of it is more tolerable to me. Plus, I haven’t seen a (non-spring training) White Sox game in person in more than a dozen years.

Well, that’s true for now. Come June the White Sox will visit the Marlins in Miami during interleague play, renewing that age old rivalry… well, I can’t even fake that. About the only thing connecting the two teams is that Charles Johnson, former major league All-Star played for both teams (the White Sox briefly and the Marlins in two stints to date). That and that the Marlins and White Sox have two of the most notorious World Series related incidents in history – the Marlins being their post 1997 championship fire sale and the Black Sox 1919 fixing of the series.

When these two teams meet in Miami I fear that I will become like those Dallas Cowboys fans I used to loathe in Phoenix. As much as it is painful to admit this publicly, I am an Arizona Cardinals football fan. I grew up in Phoenix and my dad always had season tickets, well since the time the team moved to Arizona when I was in 6th grade. We always went to the games and despite their profound ineptness I still follow the team to this day (the day will never come that I cheer for the Dolphins). My dad and I would always joke at Cardinals games how many fans and season ticket holders were Cardinals fans for every game but one every year. That one game was when the Cowboys came to town and the people you would see every other week in Aeneas Williams jerseys and Neil Lomax garb would suddenly be sporting Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin paraphernalia. This was not the kind of loyalty that I was raised to exhibit.

But I think that’s how it will be when the White Sox come to town in June. I already have tickets to one of the games as part of my mini-plan. I plan on attending that game in neutral gear and simply enjoying the game. I will in all likelihood attend the other two mid-week games, but in a different section than the one I normally sit in. I think this will make me more comfortable with being a White Sox fan for three games in Marlins territory.

Oh – and by the way – during last night’s game I noticed for the first time that when a White Sox player hits a home run they still shoot off fireworks, but they don’t seem to come out of the scoreboard anymore. Is that right? Where do they come from? Why don’t they use the scoreboard anymore? Drop me a line or leave a comment down below.


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