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The Yasmani Game: My 2021 White Sox Game of the Year

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Runs, rock and roll, and recaps

VISITOR v Chicago White Sox
2021 Crosstown Champion White Sox
Ron Vesely/Getty Images

August 27, 2021. White Sox vs. Cubs at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Woohoo?

Who am I kidding? This is the least exciting “rivalry” I can think of, tailor-made for those folks who only follow baseball through what they overhear their co-workers saying at a water cooler.

Count me out.

Instead, I was going to my first live rock show post-lock-down, the Kali Masi album release show at Gman tavern.

That’s where things get a little off the rails.

Let’s break down a timeline of my day:

9:00 AM: Word around twitter is Yas is back?! What a way to start a day!

Yasmani Bat Drop
Yas Bat Drop Watch.

11:30 AM: White Sox officially announce Yasmani Grandal reinstated from the 10-day IL. Bonus points for making the right choice and sending Zack Collins down, unfortunately not for good.

12:40 PM: Twitter is on fire about the Sox starting lineup being back to full strength, but what about Adam Engel’s dump truck?

Adam Engel alone at AAA
Sad Engel is Sad

5:00 PM: Killing time, wondering what it will be like to see Eloy in a Home Run Derby.

6:40 PM: Got my wish via a friend. Kind of?

Luis Robert Mislabeled as Eloy Jimenez
Eloy looking fit!

6:45 PM: Watching pregame before getting ready to leave. Tony on TV looking hella old.

Ancient Turtle in Sox Hat
Tony the Tortoise

7:08 PM: Remembered that the show is in Wrigleyville. Yuck; thinking about bailing. A true game-time decision.

Going to a Show in Wrigleyville. Thank God the Cubs are on the other side of town tonight.
Wrigleyville, ugghhh

7:10 PM: Who the hell is Michael Hermasillo? Dallas walks him.

7:14 PM: What the hell is a Frank Schwindel?! He smacks a single to right field.

7:15 PM: Why the hell is Dallas Keuchel letting Patrick Wisdom do that to him? Where is that ball going to land?

7:21 PM: Twitter is jumping all over Yoán Moncada again for “Reasons.” Let’s try it out.

Maybe Keuchel would be better if his third basemen actually cared about baseball!!!
Yoan Did it.

7:25 PM: It’s gonna be one of THOSE games, huh? Alright, I am out of here. Start getting ready.

7:49 PM: Sox down six, but get one back. Put a pause on getting ready to watch Moncada not get a hit. AGAIN. #walksareoverrated

If Moncada is so “Good,” then why did his pitcher give up 6 runs to the “Cubs.”
Moncada is the REAL Keuchel

9:02 PM: On the train, check the score, and the Sox are … up by three? Clearly, me watching the game in the first was the issue. I can admit when I am in the wrong, and I am ready to be cancelled.

Only got to watch the 1st inning today. I am prepared. #cancelSoxTwitt3r. I’m not gonna say good-bye to everyone, I don’t like everyone.
#CancelSoxTwitt3r

10:00 PM: Off the train and walking through Wrigleyville. A lot of empty bars up Clark St. and more than a few Sox jerseys to be seen. Feels like something is changing in the city.

10:10 PM: Walking into Gman, game on, bar full of Sox gear. This is officially a thing.

10:15 PM: Showtime! Hi Ho is up first. Man, rock music is louder than I remember it. Duck out to check the score.

10:17 PM: Hey, Yoán finally got a hit! The Sox lead by five with Yasmani coming up; two on, nobody out. Thinking to myself: wouldn’t it be crazy if he homers his first game back?

10:18 PM: Yas-BOMB!!! Bar erupts. Sox up by what feels like a million.

10:20 PM: Telecast cuts to Tony La Russa with a very large and very visible gold chain. I reach out for confirmation on its origin.

Asking where Tony got his chain from.
Tony’s drip

10:45 PM: Band number two is Telethon and they jump right into it, with way more energy than I feel is necessary at the time, but people seem to dig it.

10:55 PM: Telethon wins me over with their Wisconsin charm. I buy my wife a shirt that reads: Telethon/Hard Pop/Wisconsin, USA (me, from the future, reporting that she digs it!)

11:00 PM: Cubs have 10 runs now, somehow; that escalated quickly. Two on for Moncada, to not get a hit again. AS USUAL, per Twitter anyway. Yas-BOMB No. 2!!!! 17-10 Sox. Impromptu bar vote ranks Yasmani as the best player in the history of the game. Tony’s bringing in Kimbrel for the ninth. No one likes it.

11:14 PM: Kimbrel does what Keuchel could not and vanquishes the mighty Michael Hermasillo, and 100% real human baseball player Frank Schwindel. This just might work.

11:15 PM: Patrick Wisdom does his best Yasmani Grandal impression. 17-11, Sox.

He Just needs to only pitch da 9th!
The Kimbrel White Sox Experience.

11:21 PM: Another Cubs homer, 17-14. Can’t help but wonder what Liam is thinking.

FYI, Liam would have eaten Wisdom’s mustache right off his face.
Shoulda been Liam.

11:28 PM: Game is over, thankfully. Bar is happy-ish, but a little punch-drunk; more relieved than anything. Forgot to post about my rally beer before the second Yas homer, which redeemed my first inning jinx. You all are welcome.

Made up for my bad mojo with this rally edition. You’re welcome.
Rally Beer.

11:30 PM: Kali Masi is a very good rock and roll band. I am thoroughly impressed.

12:10 AM: Eating a slice of BBQ chicken pizza and reading Celeste Radogno’s SSS Game Recap. Reliving the game, even some of the game moments I saw, feel like it was a fever dream. The White Sox are Crosstown champs. Bring on the Cup! Wait, where’s the Cup?

White Sox and Crosstown trophy which looks like a vape more than a trophy.
Crosstown vape?

This game was bonkers. Let’s get that out of the way right off the bat. Grandal went 4-for-6 with two homers, a double, and eight RBIs in his first game back with the team.

Reynaldo Lopez became the first Sox pitcher since 1917 to throw five-plus perfect innings in relief.

The two teams combined for 30 runs on just 28 hits!

There is no end to the WTF moments and stat lines from this game.

Celeste put it best in her article, when she says: “I repeat: what?”

This game felt like three games in one. Add in the feeling of seeing live music again, the energy of the crowd, and feeling the South Side alive and represented strong in the heart of Wrigleyville. This is a game I won’t soon forget.

There definitely may be a few brighter moments for the 2021 White Sox that you could point to, but this is my personal choice because it felt like over four hours of absolute chaos; one of those nights when baseball is just determined to be at its most baseball-est, and we once again remember just why we love this dumb and beautiful game.