Holy Crap, that was cold. For six hours I sat in the cold and rain around USCF wondering why I actually paid money for this. First it was watching the Bears on a tiny monitor propped on the tailgate of a GMC Yukon in lot E. Then it was watching the White Sox seeming to waste opportunities for the better part of 2 hours.
After 6 innings, the Sox found themselves in a 4-2 hole, and I found myself wondering if I would ever feel my toes again. For some reason completely unknown to me or the fans around me, Phil Garner decided to pull Andy Pettitte after the sixth. He had thrown right at 100 pitches, but he didn't appear to be in need of relief. The Sox had gotten some hits on him in both the 5th and 6th innings, but had nothing to show for it. At the time, I was actually upset with Garner for pulling him. I mockingly commented that pitchers don't have to hit in the American League ballparks.
I usually don't complain when the Sox get into the opponents bullpen, but for the second straight series they were facing one of the best bullpens in baseball. The Sox had done a nice job of working the count all night, and they continued when Dan Wheeler relieved Pettitte. After Wheeler got two outs, he started to get a little wild, walking Tadahito Iguchi and hitting Jermaine Dye -- I wasn't aware that this was a "controversial" play until about an hour ago. It looked like it hit him from my seats.
This is where I'm sure there is bound to be an Astros fan who complains about the phantom HBP. Well, I didn't hear any of them complaining about the 3 HBPs yesterday; two of which were jersey scrapers at best, the other was a Hunter Wendelstedt special. I'm sure none of them complained when Lance Berkman was awarded first in a Cubs game last year, when replays clearly showed the pitch hit his bat, not his helmet. Berkman lay dazed on the ground trying to recover from the vicious bat hit, selling the HBP to the homeplate umpire.
With Wheeler displaying the control of a sailor on shore leave, Garner was forced to go to his pen again, this time for Chad Qualls. This was the same Qualls who sat down all five White Sox batters he faced in game 1, so I was understandably disappointed to see Wheeler go. As Pauly strode to the plate my friend Jeff turns to me and says simply, "Well?"
To which I replied, "Well, he's due." Konerko was 0-3 so far on the night, and the only hitter who looked worse than he did at the plate on the night so far was Podsednik. I suppose this was a harbinger of things to come. Konerko put the first pitch he saw over the left field wall, and USCF became the loudest stadium I've ever been in. He had two different curtain calls before the 7th inning was even over.
Bobby Jenks was not very sharp at all in the ninth. He gave Jeff Bagwell a pitch to hit down in the zone when it was clear from last night that he could touch anything up in the zone. He walked Corky on 4 pitches. He was only touching 95 on the radar gun. Still, he should have gotten the save with even an average arm in left.
Podsednik was well positioned on the Jose Vizcaino single to left field, but his arm was exposed for the whole world to see. As soon as Vizcaino's ball cleared the infield I yelled "Oh no! Where's Timo?" -- I was not alert enough to think about who should be in left in that situation, so you can call me out for second guessing this one -- An average outfield arm has Corky out by 10 feet at home. Timo Perez' arm has the ball to Pierzynski with enough time for AJ to sign it as a parting gift to Burke. -- It appeared that Podsednik was going to be the goat.
Then Podsednik came to the plate in the ninth. I had lost hope of a rally when Juan Uribe flied out center field trying to end it with one swing. Jeff, seeing Podsednik listed at 0-4 on the scoreboard in left, turns to me and says almost mockingly, "Well?"
"Well what?" I oouldn't bring myself to lend any mojo in Podsednik's direction. Not after the top of the 9th anyway. Ball 1. "Well," says Jeff. No reply. Ball 2. "Well?" He's persistent, that Jeff. "Fine, He's due. He needs to make up for that crap play." Strike 1. "See, I told you. He's hopeless" Ball Game.
And it was in that instant that Scott Podsednik taught 41,000+ fans a little known punctuation mark. The interrobang. -- When that ball safely landed in the right center field seats, you could almost see the interrobangs freezing in midair as they escaped into the crisp Chicago night -- Scott Bleepin' Podsednik‽
Holy Crap, that was fun.