The Sox put up another 13, after spotting Lowly Seattle three runs in the 1st, and later allowing the Sub-Mariners to get ahead 4-3. The 1st inning showed the Sox' weaknesses--rickety innings from otherwise solid starters, and poor decisions in the field by otherwise stellar fielders. After allowing two men on base, Buehrle was about to get out of the 1st with no damage done on a tailor-made DP ball hit to him, but Cabrera and Ramirez seemed not to have discussed who would cover 2nd. Ramirez ended up catching the ball, trying to swipe his foot across the base, which was a good foot in front of him, and throwing out Adrian Beltre at first base. Buehrle, shaken, gave up a two-run-scoring single and later another run on a double.
Despite great hitting, fielding and pitching, on-field decision-making often haunts this team, whether its Ramirez trying to look to smooth, outfielders misjudging balls or Uribe winging ill-advised throws after good glovework. Yet, the early mistakes didn't hant the Sox Monday night, as Buehrle was serviceable and the offense exploded for the second straight game, adding 4 HRs to their league-leading total and stringing the hits together in between. As Ozzie put it to reporters after the game: "When the peoples on base, we getting good at bats, when the peoples on base."
The Missile (otherwise known as A-Ram, the Southside version) bolstered Rookie-of-the-Year numbers with another HR, and C.Q. added to his league-leading tally, hitting his 35th. O.C. and Dirty 30 also had swats. This is the sort of team that doesn't fear falling behind 3-0, and shows toughness in coming back that will help them in an inevitable stand-off with the Piranhas. Early on, they hammered the ball, but directlty into Mariner gloves. Still, instead of feeling like frustration, it only seemed a matter of time...
And then there's The Wave: Used to be you would never see such a thing on the Southside, with the fans to cool to attempt it and too into the game to even thing about it. You don't even see it at Wrigley, mostly because everyone's too drunk or occupied with phone conversations. But will the game well in hand Monday night, The Wave rippled its way from left field on, and almsot immediately pulled in everyone in the park (but not me, of course). Mrs. SBW was so excited about The Wave, she literally fell out of her chair (see, it's dangerous).
Winning a World Series brings respect and pride and also mainstream popularity. The average baseball I.Q. on the Southside, always so much higher than on the Northside, has dipped a bit, and the broadening of the fan base also has brought out some fans who shows extraordinarily little pateience (calling for Buerhrle to be yanked in the 1st), and others who allow their self-absorbed chats to be disturbed only by the occasional HR or antics like The Wave. It makes me miss the hyper-knowledgable Sox fan of old, who would comment on how fielders were positioned, and would wait until between innings to stand up and hit the concession stand, rather than upset an entire row and block views while the Sox are at bat.
But, what can you do? Winning the World Series is worth losing a little bit of what made the Southside experience so cool.
Tonight, it's onto Wrigley for the Cubs vs. Reds, starting with a trip to the Kyle Farnsworth Hall of Fame at Tai's Til 4. See, the object at Wrigley, despite a team that now expects to win, is still drink first, and hope a game breaks out later...