April 23, 2021

White Sox Opening Day: Snowflakes, Fistfights and Fault Lines

April 9, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The Chicago White Sox opened the 2016 season by winning three-of-four in Oakland due to great pitching, timely hitting, smart defense and a suspect opponent.

The Sox then came home to Chicago’s South Side and were greeted by a winter blast which they only made worse with a woeful performance.

The Sox looked cold in falling to the Cleveland Indians, 7-1 in Friday’s home opener at U.S. Cellular Field which now serves Coke instead of Pepsi, has a new video board the size of Panama and remains the best place on Earth to watch baseball outside of Doubleday Field.

We got to the ballpark on time and were dressed more for a football than baseball with temperatures in the 30s and suspicious clouds swirling above.

The Cell was packed which was good because we needed the collective body warmth and Sox starter John Danks could have used a little more warmth as well, surrendering three runs in the first and two in the second, putting the Medias Blancas in a snowy hole from which there was no comeback.

We were in line for helmet nachos during the second inning and paid $18 for them because hey, you get to keep the helmet. Though we did end up giving it away.

The nachos were good, the diet Coke was cold – which was pleasing because our hot chocolate was not so hot – and the snowflakes were falling and the Sox just kept stumbling with baserunning gaffes, meager swings and really, where is Drake LaRoche when you need him?

In the 7th inning the men’s restroom was shoulder-to-shoulder and, perhaps because of the proximity of drunken strangers or some other provocation we weren’t aware of, two patrons were suddenly standing face-to-face and then fist-to-face.

Yes, you go to take a tinkle and suddenly a brawl breaks out.

This rumble was decidedly one-sided, however, with one guy blocking every punch with his face. His glasses went flying and the other guy’s fists kept coming until someone finally pulled him off and both sluggers limped away leaving a spot of blood on the floor, which had to be straddled as we waited our turn at the urinal.

The losing fighter’s glasses were then seen resting atop the urinal and someone said “give them to me, I’ll give them back to him,” so we handed them over while thinking if you know the guy why didn’t you step in when his face was being used for batting practice?

Todd Frazier, a steady third baseman who came over from the Reds in the offseason, provided the only other South Side punch on the day, blasting a solo home run in the fourth. Meanwhile the flakes kept up their unlikely descent even while the sun was shining upon all 38,019 of us cold souls with warm hearts.

They’re going to play a football game at U.S. Cellular Field in November. It will probably be warmer.

We don’t mind the cold. And we don’t really even mind the loss. And seeing two drunk guys whoop up on each other amid the smell of beer, urine and defeat gives us a good story.

What we mind is, really, is it all went by so fast.

The weather was wicked, the game was lousy, but the day was great.

And the Sox will be good this year. I can feel it.

Or maybe that’s just my frostbitten fingers trying to touch each other.

One more thing: Dave Mitchell was one of the greatest White Sox fans of them all. He forgot more about baseball and the South Side than most of us will ever know about anything. And we’re writing about Dave in the past tense because he died suddenly last weekend at the very young age of 60.

We’re still shocked, just as we’re still saddened by the loss two years ago of another Sox believer, Eric Brown.

Each spring brings hope. And once in a while, snow.

And sometimes a brief, quiet sadness. –TK

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