Experiencing 2005: Spring turns to Summer
I started an essay after the 2005 season that I never finished. All of those writings have never seen the light of day, but here we are, 15 years later, with no current baseball, so maybe it’s a good time to drag them out. They represent my thoughts and feelings at the time, with very little present-day editing. [Sorry, loyal Readers, for being absent for so long. My brain has not been in baseball mode lately.]
May 30, 2005
It's Memorial Day, and Frank Thomas is back in the lineup. Good Guys vs. the Angels. It's my seventh game this season, and I'm 5-1 so far. The Sox have lost their last three, so they clearly need me. Scorecard from my guy outside Gate 4, check. Scream "Come on, Jermaine, make me love you!" each time JD comes to bat, check.
Frank gets a thundering ovation when he comes to the plate in the first. He pops up, and doesn't have a great day overall, going 0-for-3. He does draw a walk and scores in the second, though. Nice to see you again, Hurt.
The Sox are ahead, 3-2, going into the ninth, and I have a confidence to which I am unaccustomed; Mark Buehrle won't let me down.
Except, oops, he does. Single, fielder's choice, single. Damaso Marte is brought in and lets both of those guys score, ugh. The White Sox go down, 4-3, but thankfully Cliff Politte stops the bleeding.
Willie Harris walks and steals second. Joe Crede walks; Scottie sacrifices both of them over. Ducks on the pond, but Carl Everett strikes out, ugh. Timo Perez is up, and I'm kinda wishing he hadn't been brought into pinch-hit for Frank in the seventh.
Except, on a 1-1 count, Timo rips a single down the left-field line to give the Sox the victory.
This game, man.
June 18, 2005
I watch or listen to the Sox every day, every game. Off-days make me crabby and bored.
It's a Saturday night, I'm staying home to watch the Sox take on the L.A. Dodgers, and I have no embarrassment for this whatsoever.
The quality of the game, however, is making me think I should have gone to a movie instead. Good pitching duel, but the Sox are on the short end of it, down 3-1 in the bottom of the ninth. At least the 1959 throwback uniforms look cool.
Tadahito draws a walk, but Frank and Paulie go down, and the Sox have only one more out. Everett and Aaron Rowand single in a run each, it's tied, and I'm off my couch, pacing.
A.J. is up, and have I mentioned that I love A.J.? Hated him when he was with the Twins, love him now; he's that kind of player. Full count, A.J. jacks it to left-center for a two-run home run. I can see the fireworks on my TV as A.J. is mobbed at the plate.
I call my parents; I know they'll be home on a Saturday night, too. As Dad picks up, I am jumping up in down in my small kitchen, the heels of my feet hitting my butt. I don't even say hello as I yell into the receiver "I. Love. This. Team!!!"
June 27, 2005
I am not a big autograph seeker. You won't find me in line at a convention, or in a scrum holding a baseball in an outstretched hand. A few White Sox players are appearing at the Taste of Chicago today: Freddy García, Brandon McCarthy, and Willie Harris. That is not enough to get me to both (a) go against my blasé attitude toward autographs and (b) blow off a half-day's work. But Ron Kittle is.
I had a huge crush on Ron Kittle in 1983 (I was 12, and he hit lots of home runs). Back then, not only did Bat Day still exist, but the bats were regulation size, not miniature — those were the days, huh? The bat would be engraved with a player's name and signature. As it happens, in 1983, on Bat Day, I was lucky enough to get a Ron Kittle bat. Of course, I still have said bat [note from the future: yep, still got it], so I grab it and head to Grant Park.
The line is long — like, actually long, not "long for the White Sox." It's 95 degrees, and there is no shade. But the young women behind me are entertainment enough to pass the time:
Young Sox Fan No. 1: Who's your favorite player this year?
Young Sox Fan No. 2: Mmmm, Scottie Pods. And A.J. Who's yours?Young Sox Fan No. 1: Neal Cotts. I loooove watching him stretch.
Sox reps are giving out rally socks for people who don't have pictures, programs, or other paraphernalia. I get my rally sock signed by Freddy, Willie, and Brandon. Ron Kittle is next, and I brandish my bat. He is taken aback. "Whoa! Where did you get this?? Is it yours?"
"Yep. Bat Day, 1983."
"Wow. Wow." He signs Ron Kittle, AL ROY 83 with a flourish.
I head back to the El. I am sweaty and a little gross, but I don't care. I just made my 12-year-old self very, very happy.