Thursday, July 23, 2009
One For The Record Books
So where do you begin?
I wonder how many other Sox fans are sitting on their couches this evening re-watching Mark Buehrle’s perfect game, feeling the same butterflies in the last inning? I am, and I am the guy who STILL hasn’t watched replays of the 2005 World Series games. I just can’t take it. As I type this, my fingers are sore from all of the tweets I sent today. I tried to think how best to summarize a truly unforgettable day. The best way seemed to to just offer a timeline of my day, where I found myself at key moments and thoughts that popped into my head. Indulge me on this one since this is, afterall, a web diary of sorts.
My morning started with a workout, a quick read of the newspapers/web sites and an early visit to the clubhouse to touch base with folks on the Parque story about his HGH use. Then came our weekly staff meeting. Next thing I knew it was noon. I thought I had a conference call with MLBAM at 1 pm, so hurried up to grab lunch, but I then realized that my call wasn’t until 2 pm (that matters later). So I spent from game time until 1:45 in a suite saying hello to people from the McCormick Foundation (they have been told that they now have to attend the final 31 home games of the year). Then I headed back to my office for the call.
So as we discuss Social Media — blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc — I watch Buehrle mow down Rays. BAM is watching as well, and as the call moves along, someone offers, “Scott, if you need to leave, we understand.”
After the seventh, I bolt. It’s time to work. I tweet that Sox fans may want to turn on a TV, listen to WSCR Radio or visit mlb.com to watch. Something special is happening.
First, I head into the stands for the eighth inning because I want to feel the excitement.
From a seat, I tweet the situation, the mood of the fans and the 1-2-3 inning. I head to the press box to check in with Bob Beghtol and Pat O’Connell, our crack media relations guys. They are all over the information and everyone is prepared, should this happen. Pat heads down to the photo pit to handle the immediate postgame rush. Bob organizes the staff for the final out.
I watch the ninth inning from the press box.
Dewayne Wise’s catch is truly amazing, perhaps the greatest in baseball history given the situation. Baseball is terrific in this way. Ozzie made the defensive change to Wise, a left-hander, and sure enough the next ball is hit his way … and I doubt a right-hander makes the play.
Then comes the final out and you watch our team spill from the dugout surrounding Buehrle.
You can’t imagine a better, more humble hero. I bet by the end of the the game, even the Rays were rooting for him. (In fact, in a very classy move, Joe Maddon and several players watch the celebration and tip their caps toward Buehrle).
Mark hugs his wife and baby and then begins doing interviews, first with our rightsholders and then with the scores of media surrounding him.
Ozzie Guillen, Ken Williams and others wait in the dugout to congratulate him and the crowd roars. Mark salutes the fans and acknowledges their support.
I fire off a couple of tweets from the dugout and congratulate Mark.
I head into the Interview Room to await Mark.
He makes his way down and fields questions from the media about the day.
In the middle of the press conference, my phone rings, “Caller Unknown.”
I don’t answer given where I am. 10 seconds later, Jerry Reinsdorf walks into the room. “OK, I thought, that was the unknown caller wondering where we were.”
“Wasn’t me,” Jerry says.
We both sit down. A minute later, Jerry’s phone rings. He speaks for a few seconds and then leans over to me, “The President wants to congratulate Mark.”
I head down to the stage, tell Pat and then interrupt to say “one more question, we just heard from the White House and the President would like to call and congratulate Mark.”
Mark said that when he heard that, he got goosebumps. Me too.
We all headed into Jerry’s office, Mark, his wife, Jamie, holding their little girl, our photographer and security.
As we walk through the office, Mark sees that his dad is being interviewed on Comcast Sports Net. He laughed and pointed it out to Jamie.
On the way, I run into Marty Maloney and tell him, “Go get the Flip camera. Let’s record this.”
After some small talk, the phone rings.
Marty hits record and Ron Vesely, our photog, shoots away. If you want to watch the video, you can find it on whitesox.com or at my Twitter account @InsideTheSox.
Mark headed back into the clubhouse to change and we shifted gears to begin getting info out to the media. The phones were going crazy with interview requests for Mark.
As we answered phones I heard Marty call out, “Hey, my video was just on the CBS Evening News! I might need to change careers.”
We started to tweet out information, photos and links as they became live, hoping to get information out to the public as quickly as we could. I kept checking Facebook and twitter to stay up to date. We laughed that Mark Buehrle was tracking as the fifth-highest Twitter trend, and if people could spell his name correctly (including me), he would have been No. 1 in the world. In fact, a little later in the evening, the White Sox, Mark and Dewayne had six of the Top 10 trends! Who would have thought that Dewayne Wise would be a global twitter trend!
And back to that Social Media call I was on with BAM. Twitter was the perfect way to capture a perfect day and to share it with millions in real time.
Vesley captured all of the action of the day and remarked, “I was shaking just trying to get the shot focused and timed despite my nerves and how quickly Mark was working. How in the world was he able to stand on the mound and pitch like that.”
It was fun to read fan reaction to the game. One sent an image of his scorecard to a friend who copied me. You could feel the excitement and energy in people’s posts and how much everyone loves Mark and what he has meant for this organization and our fans.
I want to hear from you all. I want anyone who was at the park to post your thoughts and emotions. If you were watching at home or work, what was it like? Who did you call? When did you tune in? And for those of you who followed online, on Twitter or through other ways, how was that experience.
Let me know how you experienced the day …
We are going to try and come up with some neat ways for you all to congratulate Mark, so check back tomorrow and see what we’ve been able to create.
Here are some photos of the day (courtesy of Ron Vesely):