A series just wrapped up against the California Angels (yes, I know they prefer LAoA but they’ll always be the California Angels to me) and I experienced the games in as wide a variety of ways as I think you can these day. I went to the series opener in person, listened to the next two on the radio, and the finale on TV. All were great experiences for a numerous reasons, probably because all are such different mediums and because the company is so different with each medium as well.
I have waxed nostalgic about going to baseball games a great deal on this blog, going with friends, going with kids and going alone. I went to this game with my baseball spouse AJD, so nothing out of the ordinary there. We are becoming slightly healthier eaters, though AJD did brave a margarita and I missed two innings in order to get a root beer float. I definitely made the better decision. What made this night more interesting than most was our company. At first, AJD and I both dreaded the loud-mouthed, obnoxious guys who sat behind us, fearing the worst. We could not have been more wrong. Those guys were a blast! Cracking jokes, being nice to kids (scaring them a little too) and just having a good time at the old ballpark. They knew the margarita guy by name, Carl, and that probably added to AJD chancing the “happy juice.” They were all about getting into the spirit of the game, slapping high-fives all around and just fun. It was probably the most lively I’ve seen US Cellular in a long time as well. We were cheering two-strike counts, doing the “Let’s go White Sox” chant, and quite a few people around us even sang along with the “Go Go White Sox” song from 1959. While it was pain to wait in line and be crowded on the concourse I’ll take a more animated crowd any day. Besides, AJD and I have it down to a science; we park in our extra-secret location, we eat the most underrated sandwich at the park (BBQ brisket if you must know) and AJD is a large, intimidating man who parts crowds like the Red Sea. I am the quick and nimble tailback to his lineman charge. Our next game is in the same location and I can only hope that our friends are back as well.
Another thing witnessed at the game that bears mentioning: the most secretive seat stealer I have ever seen. A family of 5 (or 4) was sitting in front of us and about the 3rd or 4th inning got up en masse to leave, or so we thought. Then, from the shadows he emerged. First, he peaked around the corner of the concourse. Then, he looked anxiously up the steps, making sure no ushers or security guards were about. Finally, quickly, he sat four seats in from the aisle, as not to appear too out of place, always checking to make sure that his dastardly actions weren’t noticed. Seriously, it was awesome. I’ve never seen anyone look more calculating and ridiculous at the same time. Dude, we were sitting in section 516, not the scout seats, no one cared! Not only that, he was an old man. I seriously doubt anyone looked at him and thought, “Hmmm that man is strangely out of place in those seats; better check it out.” Two things make it even funnier. First two self-described nice girls just came and sat right next to him without so much as look. It must have driven him crazy that they didn’t plan ahead like he did; and second, the family came back! The shock and disappointment on Sneaky was noticeable. He couldn’t believe that he was being tossed out of his ill-gotten seat. I was almost expecting him to say, “NO! You left! I watched you leave. I planned this all out since the 1st inning. You can’t kick me out!” Alas, tail between his legs my favorite squatter of all time slowly shuffled off to parts unknown.
The next two games, again White Sox wins, were spent listening on the radio. My HD TV is on the fritz so after watching a little TV in the bedroom with the wife, I got booted to the living room sans television, but not without technology. I listened to the games via radio but could “watch” with Gamecast on mlbtv.com. Also I get to interact with other fans on White Sox Interactive. Unfortunately the real time chat room is a ghost town these days, but there is something called the Game Day Thread. It’s ok, but it doesn’t compare to a live chat. Also for a wider audience I followed the White Sox topic on Twitter which is a lot like a chat/thread. Either way it’s fun. It was also nice to have late night baseball radio. Both games got started very late because of rain so I listened to the games into the small hours. The one thing from the second game of the series with potentially huge implications is the injury to Jake Peavy. Tissue separating from bone is never good, but I can’t imagine how painful it is in the back. I mean back injuries suck in general; you can never get at the pain, every move hurts and it seemed more often than not it never really heals. Peavy is going in for season ending surgery and a surgery never performed on a pitcher before. He could be done.
The final game was an afternoon game and as fate would have it I was at home with my son for the day. We puttered around the house and as a surprise I said let’s watch TV while we eat lunch. We had sandwiches sat in the bed room and watched a very fast game. We decided to go to the beach and get his sister and come back and finish watching the game. John Danks was just awesome and to hang on and win 1-0, save the bullpen for the day added to the performance. Even so, hanging out with the boy, catching a game on TV when by all rights I should be working is possibly the best way to play hooky.