When Major League Baseball moved the Astros to the American League to form two 15-team leagues, it introduced plenty of scheduling quirks this year. For the White Sox, it may not get any weirder than this week -- they were off Monday, they're off Thursday, and then they play a straight doubleheader against Cleveland on Friday.
Nobody seems to be a fan of such irregularity, but it sure worked out well for one day. With the White Sox idle on Monday, everybody who cares could focus all of their attention on the Chicago Blackhawks' Stanley Cup-clinching victory over the Boston Bruins.
It's an unintentional nod to history. When the Hawks won their first three Cups, the Sox didn't have a regular-season game that day -- mostly because the regular season hadn't started yet.
April 10, 1934
The White Sox hadn't officially started their campaign when Harold "Mush" March ended the hockey season by providing the only goal of Game 4 in double overtime to finish the Detroit Red Wings. The Sox were in Tucumcari, N.M., playing an exhibition game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. According to the Chicago Tribune's archive, they headlines ran on the same page.
For the Blackhawks: "HAWKS WIN STANLEY CUP; BEAT DETROIT, 1-0."
For the White Sox: "SOX MAKE EIGHT ERRORS; LOSE TO PIRATES, 12-7."
The lede in the Tribune for the latter story:
The White Sox today were seized with a malignant case of the fumbles, making no fewer than eight misplays in giving the good citizens of Tucumcari their first look at baseball as executed by gents on major league payrolls. The score of this all-time Tucumcari inaugural was Pittsburgh, 12; Chicago, 7, and of the Pirate total exactly one run was earned.
April 12, 1938
The Blackhawks cinched their second Cup with a 4-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 4, a week before the White Sox hosted the Detroit Tigers on Opening Day. Once again, the Sox were playing an exhibition game. Once again, they played the Pittsburgh Pirates. Once again, the screwed up a lot.
This time, it took place in Shawnee, Okla. The Trib's headline: "PIRATES SHOW NO MERCY, SOX SHOW NO SKILL."
The downcast White Sox had their hides tanned again today by the Pittsburgh Pirates, 10 to 2. It was a dandy day for pre-game calisthenics, however, and the lads had the best workout they have enjoyed since leaving Tucson.
The victory was a popular one at this particular stop on account of the Pirates' having one boy from this two and two from just across the prairie, while the lone Oklahoman on the Sox roster, Rip Radcliff, got one of the Sox's eight hits.
April 16, 1961
Over in Detroit, the Blackhawks routed the Red Wings in Game 6 by a score of 5-1 to win their first Stanley Cup in 23 years. This is pretty neat:
The White Sox were also in Detroit, but they were handed hockey weather. A snowstorm postponed the final game of a series against the Tigers, and it was merely the latest delay in the early going of the first 162-game season in major-league history. The Tribune tells it in a story with the headline, "SNOW STORM ADDS TO SOX HITTING WOES."
The Chicago White Sox left here by train this afternoon but there was little else to remind the of the pre-airline days of baseball when a 154 game schedule was always in vogue -- and decent weather at least occasionally. [...]
Five days off for two all-star games in July leave the White Sox faced with the prospect of playing 159 games in [160 days]. And with bad weather blanketing Chicago, too, there hovers some doubt over the chances of the Comiskey park home opener against Washington Tuesday.
The baseball season started on April 10, but terrible weather limited the Sox to just three games over their first eight days. At the time of this postponement, the Sox had to plan for 23 doubleheaders. They ended up playing 33 of them.
Patrick Kane's mystery winner in OT overshadowed was bigger news than Brent Lillibridge's first homer as a member of the White Sox. And Lillibridge's blast was pretty big -- a pinch-hit, three-run shot that landed 428 feet away in dead center. He drove in the final three runs of a 15-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers.
Winning is contagious, and it doesn't even have to involve the same sport. That trouncing of the Tigers was the first of four straight wins .. which led to 11 out of 12 ... which eventually led to 26 out of 31 ... which resulted in a 9½-game deficit turning into a one-game lead.
If the 2013 White Sox were waiting for the Blackhawks to wrap up, they probably should've taken the delayed start and the calendar into account. This hockey season lasted 15 days deeper into the year thanks to the lockout, and sure enough, the Sox are 15 games behind the curve:
- June 9, 2010: 25-33
- June 24, 2013: 31-42
So it would sure behoove the Sox to get cracking on this winning thing. Either that, or it's on you to make the Stanley Cup afterglow runneth over as long as possible.