Last night I was at the Cell to see the White Sox take on the Royals. I have been to Minor League games on the Fourth of July before, but never a Major League game. For once I really did not have much going on on the holiday so I found a very cheap ticket on StubHub that would allow me to see the Sox on the Fourth. I got to the game a little early to watch batting practice. Last season while on a bus trip I watched the fun that Bruce Chen and Joakim Soria had in the outfield. I usually stand by the Podsednik seat, but I stood a little to the left of that in order to watch them again. They really do seem to enjoy what they do, and it makes you like them as players even if they play for a division rival. Chen even took the time to sign some autographs for some younger Sox fans in the Royals bullpen. While taking some pictures of this duo I noticed that Mike Moustakas was at bat. He is a lefty with some pop so I quit taking pictures long enough to watch his at bat in the cage. He hit a ball that off the bat looked like it was right at me. I hurried up and set my camera down, and got my hands up just in time to snag the ball. I was sitting about seven rows up in the bleachers, and the ball was hit right at me. This was about the same spot that my brother snagged the ball hit by Jeter last August. I was not even trying to get a ball, and of course one is hit right at me! Luckily I caught it with all the people watching.
The Sox did a great thing before the game by honoring veterans who were returning from combat. Each one was honored individually, and then took one of eight positions before the game. It was great to see these guys get some love on the holiday. This isn’t a political blog, but it would be nice if more of these heroes could feel this honored.
The game itself did not start so hot. Maybe it was the patriotic opening that had me feeling like I was going to see something special. I thought that I could see a no-hitter. The odds of Buehrle doing it have to be slim, but they were probably just as slim the first two times. That dream was ended by the second batter of the game Melky Cabrera. Jeff Francoeur took care of the shutout with a two run home run in the first. The Sox found themselves down 3-0 by the third inning.
In the fourth inning the Sox finally got on the board. They had the bases loaded with none out, but only managed one run. It was at that point that I started to wonder if it would be the Sox day. Ramon Castro gave the fans a thrill in the fifth when he yanked a ball foul that would have been a short home run. He then took the next pitch and hit a ball that almost reached the concourse in left field. His shot brought the Sox to within a run.
With a man on in the eighth inning Adam Dunn gave the Sox the lead with a home run of his own. Earlier in the game he hit a single down the right field line. As he stood on first the crowd gave him a huge ovation. Most of it was mock praise for a player who has been struggling. He took it in stride and tipped his hat to the crowd. They gave him a real ovation after he gave the Sox the lead. Fans put so much on his shoulders that they are having trouble with him struggling. A Dunn playing the way we know he can would be fun to watch. Hopefully this is the start of that.
After Dunn gave the Sox the lead all that stood between the fans and the post game fireworks show was three batters in the ninth. That all changed very quickly when Eric Hosmer took Sergio Santos deep to center field. Alex Rios looked like he had a bead on the ball, but could not come up with it. After a short stoppage of play it was ruled a home run and the game was tied. Sergio pitched out of a jam to send the game to the bottom of the ninth tied.
A.J. Pierzynski led off the bottom of the ninth in the place of Ramon Castro. He singled to get things going for the Sox. Gordon laid down a beautiful bunt to move him over to second. He moved to third on a wild pitch setting up the pivotal play in the game. Mark Teahen struck out swinging batting for Lillibridge. Juan Pierre then came up for Brent Morel with another chance to drive in the winning run for the Sox. He walked and took second with nobody holding him on. Now Adam Dunn stood at the plate for the Sox. He had accounted for all but one of the runs so far in the game. A.J. was really going to town on third faking hard towards home on every pitch. His efforts might have paid off as Aaron Crow balked to bring A.J. home for the win. This was a great way to finish the game. I have never seen anything like it in person, and the crowd really seemed to appreciate the victory. They knew that they had a fireworks show to look forward to so most of the 31,000 were still in their seats.
With Mark Buehrle on the mound the game was going at a brisk pace. Even after a very long ninth inning the game still took just over 2 1/2 hours to complete. Without the long ninth the fans would have had to wait a while for the fireworks show. I wanted to get some pictures of the fireworks, but they really didn’t impress me too much. The big ones that I kept waiting for never showed up so I took off a little early in order to start my drive to Lafayette. I had never been to a game on the fourth before, but after last night I may have to do it again. The ride home was absolutely beautiful with fireworks blasting all over. As I crested over the Skyway I was treated to a great sight of fireworks going off all over. That made my drive home very enjoyable.