It’s late, but here’s the Monday wrap-up: Game 1

After Sunday’s game, hospital we truly entered the home stretch of our trip, remedy getting back to the Rocketship in time for the late dinner Stacey had waiting for us Sunday night. In exchange, treatment we offered her the last of the Hostess Baseballs, a treat she declined. Bob ate it later, to no one’s surprise.

Monday morning dawned cloudy and gray, but who cares? We had survived eight nights in hotel beds without getting scabies or being devoured by bedbugs. We had survived nine days of road food without getting scurvy. Jim even ate all the vegetables that were put in front of him, which I hope will reassure his mother. So who cared that it looked rainy? Like Team USA Basketball, we were sure of our powers. Our luck would hold. Unlike Team USA Basketball, we were right, for the most part.

Needing to run 20 miles to keep up with my marathon training, I decided to run the sixteen miles to my office, plus a bit, then shower at the gym, go through my email for an hour, then head back north to Comiskey Park. Jim, demonstrating yet again that he’s by far the most sensible member of BRPA 2004, slept in, then he and Bob met me at the ballpark.

I suppose I should describe Comiskey Park. I’m guessing most of our legion of fans have been there, but a few words are in order in case. Those words are: sterile, boring, styleless, loud, and a right impressive ripping-off of the taxpayer. But for all that, I do think Comiskey is a bit better than the terrible reputation it has. The vertigo-inducing upper-deck seats are a bit better these days, as the team in the offseason replaced the top rows of them with a roof, and when there are 50,000 people in the park and the Sox are soul-destroyingly bad, it can be a fun place to see a ballgame or, apparently, attack a base coach.

Mondays at Comiskey Park are half-price days, and every Illinois resident should go to a couple a year, as they’re paying for them, via a shady deal the Sox signed when Illinois built the new ballpark for them whereby they only pay rent if they draw X large number of fans at full price in a season. Only about 5,000 of them decided to exercise that option Monday. Maybe they knew what Bob, Jim, and I didn’t: that the baseball on Monday would be of about half-price quality, too.

Entering this game, the White Sox were 7 for 67 with 20 strikeouts in 18 scoreless innings. Today, they fell behind early, made a couple of errors, ran the bases in extravagantly bad fashion, and just looked like a team that was determined to break BRPA 2004’s perfect rooting record. But then Joe Borchard hit a 504-foot home run, the longest in the history of New Comiskey (Bob, Jim, and I didn’t think it was that long, but we don’t have the official How-far-did-it-fly calculator, so what do we know?), the Phillies, taking their defensive cues from the Pale Hose, botched a rundown and had their pitcher and catcher trip over one another while failing to field a bunt, and suddenly, the Sox were leading 9-6. It was about the most lackadaisical and sloppy 9-6 attainment of a 9-6 lead that you’ll ever see, but a lead’s a lead.

Fan favorite Shingo Takatsu entered the game in the 9th, to the joy of the 5,000 faithful and the five camera operators, who got a chance to put their finding Asian fans in the stands skills to the test. He promptly surrendered a 2-run homer to Jim Thome, but homers by Thome are like cat barf: you never want them around, but once a while, there they are, and you just hope they don’t ruin anything. Takatsu buckled down and finished out a 9-8 Sox win, and suddenly, we were 10-0.