The White Sox have the third-fewest home runs in the American League, hitting just 82 over 71 games.
But this number is starting to move in the right direction after an entertaining 3-3 road trip in which they blasted 10 dingers. When they happened, they happened in bunches. Three of the games featured three homers, and when the celebrations are bunched up like this, one tends to notice some things.
For instance ...
The Davidson Doff
Matt Davidson hit his team-leading 17th homer of the season on Thursday, and here’s how he returned to the dugout.
This isn’t remarkable in and of itself, but it stands out more when watching him lead a surge of White Sox homers. He’s the only one who reliably removes his helmet well before entering the dugout. A different angle against Toronto:
Between these two clips, you might think it’s something he does to occupy himself during a lull in high-fives (Minnesota) or during a longer-than-usual return to the dugout (Toronto). But he makes time for it even when both of these elements aren’t in play.
There’s a joke structure in response to unnecessary, self-indulgent male toplessness that goes something like this:
"If I was built like Odell Beckham Jr (@OBJ_3), I wouldn't wear a shirt either. The whole thing is ridiculous."— Mike & Mike (@MikeAndMike) January 4, 2017
- Greeny pic.twitter.com/nvaqFPpJG6
Indeed, other players give him a hard time about how infrequently he wears a shirt. "I suppose if my abs looked like that, I wouldn't wear a shirt, either," said Davis Cup captain John McEnroe.
It’s like this with Davidson, but for heads of hair.
Greg Sparks emerges
Jose Abreu, like most other White Sox, wears his helmet while going through the gauntlet of various high-fives. But the Toronto broadcast followed Abreu to the end of the dugout, where this happened:
Greg Sparks is the most anonymous member of the coaching staff, but he’s got my attention, especially since this seems to be a thing:
#AbreuHugs pic.twitter.com/IF64kRTqeM— #VoteWhiteSox (@whitesox) June 21, 2017
What this thing is, I do not know. I would like to know.
While Sparks is new to the game, Derek Holland has established himself as the clown prince of home run celebrations. It doesn’t match Moises Sierra’s reign, because Holland carried a reputation to Chicago that he needs to live up to, giving it a whiff of self-awareness. Nevertheless, I appreciate his commitment to the craft.
You’ve probably seen his personal acknowledgement of Davidson’s homers:
Put another run on the board! Matt makes it a 4-2 Sox lead!#SoxGameDay pic.twitter.com/KFpR7BDGka— #VoteWhiteSox (@whitesox) June 21, 2017
But I wasn’t aware of how long he sustained it, well after Davidson has moved on.
Back on Saturday, he found a microphone, a prop on which he leaned heavily over the course of the game. The cameras showed him interviewing Mike Pelfrey at length after his start, but he also used it after back-to-back blasts from Frazier ...
... and Davidson:
Once again, Holland commits to the bit far longer than Davidson does.
For whatever reason, the other cameras seem linger on dugout life longer than the White Sox broadcasts do (Holland’s interview with Pelfrey being an exception). You may remember the last time the White Sox played north of the border, it was the Toronto feed that captured Matt Albers’ expletive-punctuated “Like a cat!” explosion.
Besides the dugout interplay, the Blue Jays broadcast also tracked Frazier’s homer exceptionally well.
Going through the White Sox' recent homers and am reminded that other teams get camera work Sox broadcasts don't quite have. pic.twitter.com/iLHRluZEyL— Phenomenal Source (@SouthSideSox) June 18, 2017
When we talk about the ways broadcast can improve, most of the discussion centers on who’s doing the discussing. This kind of camera work is something the White Sox don’t have, though. Their replays are from fixed distances, and their slo-mo resolution doesn’t have the kind of clarity of other broadcasts. Investments in this approach would give the people in the booth something new to talk about, or make the visuals captivating enough to ignore what’s being said at the moment.