Game of Inches
Unlucky in Love
While everything broke the White Sox way Friday, Saturday was a case of frustration and "almosts" for the Sox. Lucky yesterday, unlucky today.
Twice the Sox failed to come up with that two-out hit with runners on third base, and of course Todd Hollandsworth pulled in Joe Crede’s would-be home run in the second inning. Had Crede’s shot gone out, the game would have been tied at 4-4.
You kept waiting for that patented White Sox rally in the late innings, but it wasn’t meant to be today. And you had the feeling that a 4-0 lead in the first would not be enough, but it turns out Greg Maddux and the Cubs made it stand up to even the series 1-1.
Cubs manager Dusty Baker pointed to three keys for his team in today’s game … Corey Patterson’s bunt single to lead off the game, Aramis Ramirez’ grand slam and Hollandsworth’s home run-saving catch.
"Holly saving that home run off Crede when they were starting to get on a roll was a key play," Baker said. "You know how the White Sox are when they start rolling. His catch took their steam away that inning. It was a big play, a huge play."
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen on starter Jose Contreras …
"His last couple of outings, he has had a bad first inning," Guillen said. "Today it was the home run by Ramirez. That was the key to the game. Take away the first inning, and he pitched a good game."
On what he said when he made the trip to the mound to speak with Contreras …
"I didn’t want there to be any miscommunication. I told him to ‘Stay strong, attack people, be aggressive. You’ll be O.K.’"
Turn Out the Lights, the Party Is Over
Concerns about electrity — a combination of last night’s fire at 22nd and Cermak and the oppressive heat — led the Sox to dim lights in the ballpark and cut back on air conditioning to try and conserve energy. Sox officials also spoke to the umpires pregame over concerns that there would be enough electricity to turn on the lights if they were needed late in the game.
Topping 1 Million
With Sunday’s sellout, the White Sox will top the 1 million mark in attendance, the fastest they have reached that milestone since 1994. Attendance is up at least 12 percent from 2004.
Taking in a Game
Former Purdue coach Gene Keady and ESPN college basketball analyst/former UCLA coach Steve Lavin took in today’s game from the ballpark’s Scout Seats.
First Pitch Heroics
Eddie Eddy Curry of the Chicago Bulls threw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to today’s game and then spoke with the media, expressing his excitement over resuming basketball drills. "I don’t know if it was a strike," Curry said of his pitch, "but I didn’t bounce it."
Visiting U.S. Cellular Field
A group of front office executives from Japanese expansion franchise Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles toured the ballpark prior to the game, checking out USCF’s renovations and premium dining and seating options for when their club begins play in the JBL.
Bears at Heart
When White Sox center fielder Aaron Rowand heard members of the 1985 Super Bowl Champion Bears would be throwing out the first pitch before tomorrow’s game, it took him about five seconds to fish a football out of his locker (not sure why he had a football in his locker, but anyway …) "Do you think they would sign this for me?" asked Rowand, a die-hard Bears fan.
Why Can’t We Be Friends?
Today’s crowd seemed more evenly mixed between Cubs and Sox fans. There were quite a few families and kids at today’s contest.
Sox on WGN
I watched parts of the Cubs telecast on WGN-TV today. Even though it was a "Cubs telecast", they showed some terrfic shots of the ballpark, the Pontiac Fundamentals Deck and the Fan Deck in center field. They really captured the feel and look of the ballpark. Bob Brenly commented on one youngster’s swing up on the Fundamentals Deck with, "He really spanked that."