Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

SOUTH SIDE BLACKOUT

Collapse
X
Collapse
  •  

  • South side blackout

    Click image for larger version  Name:	z5w8sq5ka6yh7q7fc58m.jpg Views:	0 Size:	64.4 KB ID:	49274




    SOUTH SIDE BLACKOUT

    by


    Matthew Cianchetti AKA Foulke You

    On a drizzly night in September of 2008, the White Sox finished the 162 game gauntlet with a makeup game win against the Tigers and found themselves in a dead heat with their biggest division rivals, the Minnesota Twins. By virtue of a coin flip, the White Sox had won the right to host the tiebreaker game 163 to decide the AL Central crown. Having the home field advantage for the winner take all affair was huge in that particular season as both teams were dominant at home and both teams were designed to take advantage of their own ballparks. At the time, the Sox were heavily built around home runs while the Twins were built around speed and contact hitting. The bouncy turf at the old HHH Metrodome wreaked havoc on opponents as Twins hitters practically swung down on the baseball to initiate bouncing bleeders through the infield. Any Sox fan no doubt has nightmares at the thought of Nick Punto at the dome going 4 for 5 with nary a hit cracking 80 mph exit velocity. There would be no dome or fake turf on tap that September night. The Twins were about to have their season blacked out.

    When it was clear the Sox had won the makeup game 162 against Detroit to force the tiebreaker scenario, the Sox immediately put tickets on sale that same night. One of the benefits of this particular affair being unplanned and last minute scheduling was the fact that it was essentially a playoff game without the league red tape. Any true fan knows that the playoffs can often squeeze out the little guy with high secondary pricing and sponsor reserved tickets. This game 163 was not going to have many corporate fans or celebrities in the house. It was 40,000 rabid White Sox supporters that were coming out to see the South Side 9 win a division title. The team marketing department put out a call to arms: “BLACKOUT”. Taking a page out of “white out” games that had become popular in various basketball playoff arenas, the team was asking all fans attending the game to come dressed in black. They would be giving out black towels to each fan entering the ballpark. I immediately thought this was such was a creative and cool idea but I was skeptical of how many fans would come to the ballpark in black. Most of the “white out” games in the NBA have the teams supplying free white team shirts on each seat just in case the person attending doesn’t have that color. In this case, the team was asking their fans to supply the black garb. Throw in the fact that Facebook and Twitter were in their infancy, and the team mostly had to rely on radio, TV, their website, and other more traditional communication methods to get the word out. I was lucky enough to score two bleacher tickets in the last row to this ballgame. Money was much tighter for me back in 2008, so there would be no StubHub purchases if I couldn’t get them at regular price on Ticketmaster. I was elated to secure two to the most important game of the year.

    As I arrived at the ballpark in my black Ken Griffey Jr. jersey T shirt, black jeans, and black Sox hat, I was stunned while looking around to see EVERYONE did what they were asked and dressed in black. I didn't see a single fan who missed the memo. A beat writer would later go on to say that the only fans not wearing black were the extremely small showing of Twins fans who made the drive to Chicago. As I entered the concourse, I remember seeing Roger Bossard and grounds crew wetting down the infield and baselines even more than usual to slow the Twins running game. There would be no speed advantage for the Twins here and they would be facing a crowd that was hungry for a division title. The blackout promotion was a stunning success that came together so perfectly and so organically, they couldn’t have planned it any better. In addition to being one of the best baseball games I’ve ever witnessed, the result of the promotion was the most rabid and loud crowd I have personally been in attendance for. The place was buzzing with every pitch, every out, and every play. The entire season was on the line in this one ballgame. After watching a rebroadcast of this game at a later time, I laughed when I heard the announcers say the black towels and black shirts made the crowd look like swarming locusts.

    Ron Darling is a current Mets announcer was doing the color commentating back in '08 on TBS for the blackout game and when Jim Margalus of Sox Machine asked him about it years later, he had this to say:

    This is a good story for your fans: We do two segments to open a postseason game. The first segment is about whatever, the second segment is about whatever. The first segment we did, we could barely get out loud-enough words because the fans were just delirious, going crazy.

    The second segment, we decided not to do -- which I've never done, before or after that game -- because the crowd noise was so good, and the shots of the fans in all black were too good, that our second segment, we just had the director take pictures of the fans.

    That's never happened before or after in any postseason game I've done, and that says a lot about Chicago White Sox fans. They were hungry and delirious that night, and I remember getting goosebumps, and I don't really get goosebumps that often anymore because I'm old and gray, but they gave me goosebumps that night.
    One of the other unsaid things about this particular season and game is that this was going on during the Cubs “It’s Gonna Happen!” 2008 season of “destiny” so it often felt as if the Sox were “crashing the party” to an extent that year given the amount of blanket media attention focused on our North Side neighbors. (Hint: It didn’t happen that year) Most Sox fans have the key moments of this the blackout game burned into memory: The pitching heroics of John Danks. Griffey throwing out Michael Cuddyer at home plate with AJ holding on to the ball, Jim Thome’s bomb to the CF concourse, and of course, Brian Anderson’s diving catch for the 3rd out sealing the deal and clinching a division title. Each big moment shook the ballpark with noise.

    So why is a tiebreaker game from 13 years ago so special and talked about by our fanbase? Sure, the stakes were high, the atmosphere and energy were unbelievable as was the game itself...but the Sox ended up falling to the Rays in 4 games a week later. It might seem silly to fans of the Cardinals, Yankees, or Red Sox who see playoff success with regularity to celebrate a simple division title win. So the question is, how is the original blackout game still relevant to the 2021 team? The truthful reason is that the White Sox haven’t had a lot to cheer for since 2008. It’s been a rough decade plus for the South Side 9. We’ve had some heartbreaking September collapses in 2010 and 2012 where it seemed the postseason was attainable. We’ve seen failed draft picks like Gordon Beckham, Courtney Hawkins, Tyler Flowers, and more. We’ve seen forgettable trades and free agents that were supposed to put the team on the map again like Adam Dunn, Jeff Samardzija, Jeff Keppinger, and others. We saw a generational pitcher get traded out of town in Chris Sale and watch him celebrate a title in Boston. We’ve seen one of the most nationally embarrassing seasons in recent memory in 2016. Some of the lowlights featured Adam LaRoche and his idiot son, Chris Sale cutting up jerseys, a horrid naming rights change to the ballpark, Todd Frazier stuffing Adam Eaton in a locker, and a nightmare Memorial Day Massacre in Kansas City that exposed them as pretenders. We've also seen the messy manager departures of Ozzie Guillen and the sleepy listless guidance of Robin Ventura who made a much better player than a manager. We gutted out a complete teardown and rebuild of the roster that triggered multiple epic losing seasons to get to this point. We struck out on signing top tier free agents like Manny Machado and Bryce Harper. We suffered through an unimaginable pandemic year that impacted the entire planet where baseball became an afterthought of what was important. However, once a shortened season actually did happen, we as fans were physically separated from our team when they finally had something on the field worth watching. Let's face it, a postseason series in front of no fans is not a real postseason at all.

    All of this recent Sox history has culminated with this team and this season. We finally have a team worth cheering for once more and on October 10th, 2021, the doors at 35th & Shields will swing open for meaningful postseason baseball. The team is once again calling on fans to blackout the stadium. The ALDS sold out within an hour. The fans are ready. It’s time to bring that blackout atmosphere and energy from 2008 back to the South Side not just for this season, but hopefully the next several Octobers. It’s been a long road for this franchise and I don’t know how far the 2021 team will go. This October could end in the first round again just like 2008 or it could end in a parade like 2005. One thing I do know is the fans of the Chicago White Sox have paid their dues. You’ve all earned this series Sox fans. Let's play some postseason baseball. It’s time to blackout the Astros

    • berwyn
      #1
      berwyn commented
      Editing a comment
      Blackout: It does lose a bit of its luster if it's been done before. We could be down 0-2 and be playing corpseball in game 3 and the whole affair could have a funereal feeling, black and all. Just sayin'. But that's not going to happen. I hope. Cheating scum Astros.
    Posting comments is disabled.

Categories

Collapse

Latest Articles

Collapse

  • The State of the Sox...
    by Lipman 1
    “The State of the Sox”
    To say the 2022 season for the White Sox was a disappointment would be an understatement. But its more than that, this was a franchise supposedly in the middle of a window of contention, six years after a needed rebuild was begun. To see how the White Sox played this season… uninspired, badly lacking in fundamentals, poorly constructed and injury prone suggests deeper issues than just “one of those years.”

    White Sox fans wish that was the case… that it was just an outlier, “one of those years.”

    Since the organization as usual isn’t saying much and with the cancellation of Sox Fest this coming winter which deprives fans of asking questions to the front office, I canvassed my sources that I’ve gotten to know over the years, individuals who have a professional connection in various ways to the White Sox, sometimes for decades, to get a sense of what they think, what they know and what bothered them not only about the 2022 season but about the organization as a whole…from the front office, to the medical, training and conditioning staffs, to the broadcasters and of course the entire Tony LaRussa experiment.

    In order to get honest opinions, without fear of repercussions I told them that no names would be used, no titles would be revealed.

    Their beliefs suggest that the organization now is in a state where inept, dysfunctional and incompetent adjectives aren’t far-fetched in describing the state of the Sox.

    The readers of course can judge for themselves.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    Thoughts on this past season

    “We really thought we were going to have a great year, maybe not win it but go deep in the playoffs.”

    “The problem with this team is there was no real leadership, nobody to hold guys accountable. No red-asses like the Sox had in the past… Carlton Fisk, Jack McDowell, A.J. Pierzynski....
    11-01-2022, 08:36 PM
  • A Conversation With Ed Herrmann...
    by Lipman 1

    By Mark Liptak
    White Sox Historian

    I had the chance to get to know Ed before he passed away from cancer in 2013 right before Christmas. And I was glad I did. Ed had a great sense of humor and a great sense of timing being called up to the Sox in 1967, the greatest pennant race in baseball history then being a part of the “Outhouse to Penthouse” White Sox of 1972.

    Today it’s still hard to imagine a player of Ed’s caliber, playing one of the toughest positions in baseball being traded, because he wanted a 2,000 (thousand) dollar raise but that was the financial situation with the Sox at the time. In fact in the recently released book, “Chili Dog M.V.P.” the author’s wrote that the money the Sox got from the Yankees in the deal was used to help pay off the White Sox spring training hotel expenses!!

    This interview with Ed took place in 2003. Again I really enjoyed getting to know him and I hope you’ll enjoy his memories.

    --------------------

    His nickname was "Fort" as in "Fort Herrmann."

    True, Ed Herrmann wasn’t a Johnny Bench, a Carlton Fisk or a Thurman Munson... but then none of those highly regarded catchers was as good at blocking the plate as Herrmann who used a football player’s mentality when it came to the art of knocking down and blocking off runners at home plate.

    While Ed overall wasn’t on par with those three contemporaries of his, he still was better than 75 per cent of the catchers in the Major Leagues and reversed the White Sox trend of having great fielding, no-hit catchers. Ed averaged in double figures in home runs for the Sox between 1970 and 1974 while providing stellar defense. He was good enough to make the 1974 All-Star team although he couldn’t play because of an injury. Herrmann was a small part of the 1967 club that almost won the pennant and then played a major part in the South Side revival that took place in 1971...
    04-07-2022, 05:17 PM
  • A Conversation With Donn Pall...
    by Lipman 1

    By Mark Liptak
    White Sox Historian

    He’s the ultimate headline “Local kid makes good…plays for hometown team”

    Yes, sometimes dreams DO come true as it did for Evergreen Park native Donn Pall who came from the South Side went to the University of Illinois and then somehow beat the odds to play for and pitch for the White Sox, a team he followed growing up.

    Cinderella? Maybe not quite… after all he did have to have the talent to actually get into that position in the first place but it is a remarkable story. I first spoke with Donn about that story and his career in 2003. We’ve stayed friends ever since.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    You wonder how many Sox fans dreamed "the dream." The dream being the chance that someday, somehow you could wind up on that field. Not only on that field, but wearing a White Sox uniform... playing for the team that you grew up rooting for.

    The odds have to be a million to one to get to the Major Leagues and perhaps a billion to one of growing up in Chicago and playing for the White Sox when you do.

    Any wonder Donn Pall always seems to have a smile on his face? This is a guy who beat those impossible odds. Pall grew up in Evergreen Park and when he wasn’t playing baseball, he was watching it. Often in a seat at the original Comiskey Park.

    Like the song says, "And the seasons, they go round and round..." and before you knew it, young Donn Pall was now 26 and on the same pitching mound where he watched Wilbur Wood, "Goose" Gossage, Steve Stone, LaMarr Hoyt and Britt Burns do their thing.

    Pall played 10 years in the Major Leagues, six with the Sox and was there for the 1990 and 1993 seasons that grow sweeter with time. Donn still lives and works in the Chicago area as a financial consultant for Morgan Stanley, which is where I...
    02-03-2022, 03:13 PM
  • Roland Hemond R.I.P...
    by Lipman 1

    By Mark Liptak
    White Sox Historian

    Word came to me on Monday afternoon that Roland Hemond, a friend and former executive with the White Sox had passed away at the age of 92. I knew Roland had been ill for the past few years but still to actually find out that he had passed was jarring and sad.

    Roland and I had spoken a lot over the years and as I explain later in this tribute to him, he was always a man of his word.

    The role of a general manager cannot be understated. He is the person directly responsible for acquiring and evaluating talent needed to win games at the big-league level. He also has to balance in his head the roles of economics, baseball rules, the player’s union, dealing with the media and thousands of other things on a daily basis. It is not a job for the faint of heart or for those who don’t have the experience of upper management.

    In my opinion Roland was the best G.M. in the history of the organization and I mean no disrespect to others who also deserve consideration for that title…men like Frank “Trader” Lane, Ed Short, Ron Schueler or Kenny Williams.
    When Hemond took over the organization the franchise was literally in shambles. He faced challenges no other individual who held the position of player personnel director/G.M. ever faced.

    The Sox were on their way to a franchise record 106 loss season in 1970. Comiskey Park was falling apart from disrepair. Fans were staying away in droves because the area was supposedly in a bad neighborhood. In 1969 for example the team drew, for the season, only 589,000... even that would fall to a paltry 495,000 in 1970. In 1968 and 1969, owner Art Allyn was playing a portion of his home games in Milwaukee trying the market to see if it would accept a move of the franchise from the South Side. The Sox would even lose their radio station and have to broadcast games starting in 1971 on two small outlets in LaGrange and Evanston, Illinois....
    12-13-2021, 10:21 PM
  • LaMarr Hoyt R.I.P...
    by Lipman 1

    By Mark Liptak
    White Sox Historian

    Former White Sox front office executive Dan Evans broke the news Tuesday morning that LaMarr Hoyt, the 1983 American League Cy Young Award winner and White Sox pitcher from 1979-1984 had died at the age of 66.

    Hoyt came to the White Sox as part of a four-player deal with the Yankees literally right before the club headed north to open the season on April 5, 1977. “Bucky” Dent was the player sent to the Bronx because then Sox owner Bill Veeck couldn’t get him to agree to a new contract.

    Hoyt came to the Sox along with Oscar Gamble, Bob Polinsky and 200,000 dollars. It isn’t known if Hoyt was considered a throw-in to the deal or not because Bill Veeck and Roland Hemond originally wanted left hander Ron Guidry included in the trade and Yankee owner George Steinbrenner was prepared to do it until then manager Billy Martin intervened and got him to change his mind.

    Hoyt made his White Sox debut on September 14, 1979 at home where he pitched a one-two-three inning against the Athletics.

    In 1980 he opened the season in the White Sox bullpen but by late July he moved into the starting rotation. When the year was done, he pitched over 112 innings, with 13 starts, three complete games and a record of nine and three.

    1981 though was the season when things began to come together for the big man from South Carolina.

    It started that opening day in Boston (the return of Carlton Fisk game) as he pitched two innings in relief to pick up the win after Fisk’ dramatic three run home run in the top of the eighth inning gave the White Sox the lead in the game.

    Another highlight came towards the end of that year in Oakland on September 27 in the first game of a double header. Starter Ross Baumgarten got knocked out in the first inning giving up five runs and not retiring anyone. Hoyt came on to try to stop the bleeding. He did more than ...
    11-30-2021, 03:25 PM
Working...
X