I have told this story before, and I will tell it again: my dislike of the Chicago White Sox dates back to the very first MLB game I ever attended. The game was this one, I have determined thanks to the magic of Baseball Reference and the process of elimination. I was five years old. A family friend had some tickets and invited me to go along with them: the dad, the son (my age) and me. They were really good seats. Front row, right next to the visitor's dugout at old Memorial Stadium, with the tarp on the other side of us. I've never sat so close since, and I probably never will.
I am told that I started talking as soon as we got into the car and I did not stop talking until prompted to do so. I was oblivious to the fact that real, live baseball players (from the other team) were just next to me. Some time during the game when the White Sox were batting, a player came over to the railing next to us and yelled, "Hey, kid! Why don't you shut the hell up and buy me a beer?" I am not even sure I knew what beer was, but I understood I had been chastened by a baseball player, so I did, in fact, shut up. The player walked away: KITTLE, I read, number 42.
Ron Kittle had good reason to swagger that day: he went 4-for-5, including the go-ahead home run off Mark Williamson that put the White Sox up for good in an 8-5 loss for the Orioles. I remember none of the actual game. I had to read that in the box score. Kittle never got his beer, or at least not from me, and 23 years later I hate the White Sox still.
In the present day, we will see a matchup between starters Jake Arrieta and Philip Humber. It's the first action on the year for Humber. Arrieta will be making his third start, looking to prove that he can succeed even when he no longer benefits from what the French might call les babipes unsustainables (.162 on the young season). Through eight games played, Chicago's lineup is basically Paul Konerko, a vaguely-resurrected Adam Dunn, and seven guys who can't get on base. Let's hope the next four games aren't regression to the mean territory for the White Sox.
Endy Chavez is starting in left field tonight. Nolan Reimold is not hurt, so I ask, what the heck? Chavez swings a baseball bat like a man who has a .684 career OPS. What is it about the 34 year old Chavez that suggests, "Play me instead of Reimold, and bat me leadoff?" The OBP portion of that OPS is .312, which as far as leadoff hitter OBP goes is pretty much failure. I am unimpressed.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||CHICAGO WHITE SOX|
|Endy Chavez - LF||Alejandro De Aza - CF|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||Brent Morel - 3B|
|Nick Markakis - RF||Adam Dunn - DH|
|Adam Jones - CF||Paul Konerko - 1B|
|Matt Wieters - C||A.J. Pierzynski - C|
|Nick Johnson - DH||Alex Rios - RF|
|Mark Reynolds - 3B||Alexei Ramirez - SS|
|Chris Davis - 1B||Dayan Viciedo - LF|
|Robert Andino - 2B||Gordon Beckham - 2B|