Game 84: Orioles (47-36) @ White Sox (32-47), 8:10

Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

The Orioles open up a three-game series against the Chicago White Sox, and Mark remembers old wounds.

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The White Sox are not a good team this season, but the Orioles can't go looking past them, especially considering two of the three starters in this series are the questionable Jason Hammel (tonight) and Zach Britton. The third, in tomorrow's game, is the soon-to-arrive Scott Feldman, schlepping from Oakland to Chicago at a moment's notice to join a team full of guys he mostly doesn't know.

They do not have a bad pitching staff. A 4.01 staff ERA isn't great, but it's also not terrible. Well, a 4.16 bullpen ERA is pretty terrible. Another terrible thing about the White Sox is this team slash line: .245/.299/.378. How do you end up with a sub-Izturisian team OBP? That's painful, but don't let the Orioles be the cure for what ails an offense that, by runs scored, is the second-worst in the American League. A little of that is because they have played four fewer games than the O's up to this point.

This being the first time the Orioles are playing the White Sox this year, the time has come for me to tell a story that I have told before and will tell again. The first baseball game I ever went to was played between the Orioles and the White Sox in Memorial Stadium in May of 1989. With the magic of Baseball Reference, I can tell you it was this game. I was all of five years old and a family friend and their son, my age, were taking me to the game. The seats were right down the third base line, just next to the visiting team's dugout.

Being very excited to be at this game, I talked, a lot, all of the time, especially when a foul ball bounced off of the tarp, which was right next to us on the other side. Being five years old, I was unaware that the players right there in the dugout could hear me. At some point, a player came over and said, "Hey, kid! Why don't you shut the hell up and buy me a beer?" All I knew is I had just been chastened by a MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYER, and, mortified, I ceased talking for the remainder of the day. As he walked off, I saw the name on the back of his uniform: KITTLE

As luck would have it, Ron Kittle went 4-5 that day, including a two-run homer off Mark Williamson (extra pain! Mark pitched poorly!) that gave Chicago a lead it would not relinquish. I still owe him that beer, and I have never rooted even a little bit for the White Sox in my whole life, and I never will.

John Danks has a 1.13 WHIP this year, but a 4.68 ERA. That's a little weird. This is his eighth start of the year. I hope he sucks tonight. Go Orioles.



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