It’s a late gamethread, and at least as of mid-game it’s looking like it might be a depressing finish, so we can goof around with this recap, right? Somebody gonna object after midnight in mid-March?
Well, you’re reading a frightened Hamster. You may have seen this from other writers of Asian descent, female and male alike, but I’m afraid it’s true: In my lifetime, it’s never been scarier to be Asian-American in this country than it is right now. On a daily basis we see stories of murder and attack: California, New York City, Atlanta. Everywhere, it seems.
There is a political aspect to this that even I will sidestep at the moment, because I still believe things are going to get better. But I’m going to lead off the recap with a tweet from the White Sox today, one I hope we all can take to heart:
For those of you who don’t know, The Players Alliance is a consortium of Black baseball players. This message is especially resonant given the nature of some of the reported attacks.
And to spin this back to a baseball recap in a more positive way, and to combine a pastime of mine here that I’ve been away from for a year or so, I’m going to sprinkle in some of my favorite music here, this time all by American artists with Asian roots.
I’m starting in-game, and hopefully by recap’s end, we’ll have a White Sox winner and maybe you’ll have a new (or be reminded of an old) sound to enjoy.
Pregame: Where are we, and how did we get here?
Yep, it’s a spring Sunday night game in Peoria vs. the Seattle Mariners. Is this a traditional thing? It seems every year, the White Sox are playing a rare night game — sometimes the first under lights of the year (though not this season) — against Seattle.
Anyhow, the game was on MLB Network but otherwise pretty hidden. At some point, perhaps baseball will realize the importance, even (especially) in pandemic times, to make every one of its games available to the viewing public. Tonight, you may have needed a map.
Karen Orzolek is the Korean singer for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, formed at the turn of the century. I think this was their lead single, a hit that’s helped forge two decades of music since. It’s certainly the first song I remember from the band.
First inning: Why is this happening again?
For a guy who brought a zero ERA into the game, Lance Lynn has had some weird frames this spring, at least one time punctuated with some cussing out of the home plate umpire while walking off the mound at inning’s end. Lynn started this one against punchless Seattle by drilling leadoff man Mitch Haniger with the first pitch, and then went single-K-single to fall behind 1-0 early.
Yes, you heard that right, an amazingly inefficient 3 2⁄3 innings costing 85 pitches for Lynn. He labored throughout the game, surrendering six hits along with a walk and three earned. The good news is that Lynn is essentially ready for Opening Day, stamina-wise. The bad news is he’s following in the tradition of Dylan Cease, last year’s remarkably sloppy No. 3 starter, in terms of his sharpness.
I’m pretty sure I mentioned Fanny last year, doing the clip articles with music recs. If they are not the first all-female band in history, they are absolutely the first to rock your ass off. Led by sisters born in the Philippines, they are especially close to my heart — both for their heritage, and their incredible power. This song doesn’t exactly showcase that raw power per se, but there aren’t a ton of clips out there of this relatively short-lived band, and the best ones are not embeddable. The good news is lead guitarist June Millington still writes, records and rocks.
Second inning: ice cream everyday
In the second, the White Sox touched Mariners ace (?) Marco Gonzales, who had thrown six scoreless innings so far this spring. And by touched, I mean mauled. Gonzales retired just one batter in the inning before getting the hook (a second out came when Danny Mendick tried to stretch a single and was relay-gunned at second). The big blast was this club job from Adam Engel, down 1-2 in the count and gifted a watermelon hanging over the plate.
I mean, sweet hell, that was juicy. I am not a clever enough woman to say with any definitiveness what sort of waste pitch Gonzales was experimenting with, but he couldn’t have put it on a tee any better for Adam. The White Sox would score two more in the second, courtesy of that Mendick single and a Leury García one-bagger.
So at this juncture, it was like the Smashing Pumpkins themselves were backing a psychedelic ice cream truck right up to the White Sox dugout.
James Iha is a second-generation Japanese guitar maestro best known (and now, again known, as four-fifths of the band has reformed) for his dual-guitar work with Billy Corgan in the Pumpkins. The band is local, as most of you know, Iha going to Elk Grove Village High and studying design at Loyola. Yeah, Corgan’s a Cubs fan, but this band was part of an influential early-1990s wave (Urge Overkill, Liz Phair, Veruca Salt among many others I am forgetting) that made me very proud to be a Chicagoan.
I saw them first as Lollapalooza headliners, taking over the tour that Nirvana was supposed to have headlined; they didn’t seem ready. Saw them last at Rosemont Horizon, a million miles from the stage and tolerating any number of super fanboys at the peak of their Mellon Collie powers. I left both shows still hungry.
Third and fourth innings: chipping away
Back to Lynn, who continued to scuffle in the game. Kyle Lewis — am I remembering correctly that he ran away with Rookie of the Year over fellow center fielder Luis Robert despite stats being pretty ballpark? — homered in the third, and Seattle chipped away with some dink hitting in the fourth to drive Lynn from the game.
Yep, two starters entered the game with scoreless springs under their belts, and both are knocked out of the box with brute force. Ryan Burr came on and extinguished Lynn’s brushfire in the fourth, allowing the South Siders to escape while holding onto a 5-3 lead.
Cibo Matto was formed in New York City by two Japanese expatriates, issuing a first LP almost entirely “about” food (hence the shaky Italian translation of their name, “crazy food”). This is another band I know I’ve mentioned here in the past, as one of my all-time favorites. In a very different but just as powerful a way as Fanny, Yuka Honda and Miho Hatori kick ass. This song is from their second of three career releases, and the fat bass (provided from onetime Honda beau and full-fledged Cibo Matto member Sean Ono Lennon) and vocal harmonies make this a bigtime favorite. I am a bit too old-school to have realized this, but apparently this band helped form a genre called “trip-hop.”
I’ve seen Cibo Matto many times, first opening for Beck at the Metro. (I believe Schoolly_D was there too!) Saw other headlining shows as well. Blew off a show in Evanston after they reformed and now I hate myself, because the band is dissolved for good.
Fifth inning: It was too good to last
In the gamethread, I was feeling pretty good about this White Sox offense based on the second-inning explosion; with all the talk of this aces bullpen, why worry about holding this lead? Well, Burr cashed in his heroism in the fifth, getting bounced from the game and charged with the three runs that ensured the South Siders would never again lead in this contest. Kodi Medeiros entered to clean up Burr’s mess, but the game had been fully debased.
Black Francis and Kim Deal get all the attention, and they are well worthy, but guitarist Joey Santiago may be most responsible for that soft-loud-soft sound that the Pixies re-established and Nirvana cast in platinum. Santiago was born in Manila not long before I was, and later formed The Martinis with then-wife and Filipino expat, Linda Mallari.
One of my husband’s college roommates would play “Debaser” at full volume in their house before key exams; an interesting choice, somewhat reminiscent of Dwight Schrute in “The Office.”
Game’s end: Comeback falls short
The White Sox did fight back from down 7-5, courtesy of a Nick Williams homer in the eighth.
Williams is looking like viable insurance in Schaumburg early, and later Charlotte. This was a sneaky pickup by Rick Hahn; ironic he might provide power and potential growth that Nomar Mazara promised, at a far higher cost, a year ago.
But the White Sox went down 1-2-3 in the ninth, the game ending on an Engel line drive that could have made things exciting with any amount of lift.
And thus we head to Saturday’s action hosting Cleveland at 3:05 p.m. CT, with lyrical Leigh Allan on SSS coverage.
Lennon (yeah, the ex-Cibo Matto bassist, and the son of a famous musician in his own right, right?) has taken on a lot of musical personages over time. In what I think was his debut, Lennon was still conflicted over sounding like his father. Note the bossa nova style of this song (with Hatori singing harmony behind him and Honda producing). He’s since paired up with a number of other collaborators to play straight rock, noise rock, and even covers of his father’s songs. I always found “Into the Sun” a very sweet song, and album.
Well, if you’ve read this far, thanks. Hopefully it was fun, despite the loss.
South Side Sox now has at least four regular writers on staff with Asian roots, but even if there were none of us on staff, I hope you are vigilant in keeping all Americans safe and speak up if you see harassment or violence going down. Ethnocentricity of all kinds has got to stop here, and as much as I keep hoping attacks on Asians will slow, they’re not.
We all look different here, on the biggest White Sox blog community in existence. But we are all White Sox.
And no, I haven’t forgotten the polls.
Who was the White Sox MVP in Friday’s 7-5 loss to Seattle?
This poll is closed
Adam Engel: 2-for-5, R, 3 RBI, 3B, HR
Matt Foster: IP, 2 K
Nick Madrigal: 3-for-3, R
Yermín Mercedes: 2-for-3, R
Nick Williams: 2-for-4, 2 R, 2B, HR, RBI
Who was the White Sox Game Goat in Friday’s 7-5 loss to the Mariners?
This poll is closed
Aaron Bummer: IP, 2 H, ER
Ryan Burr: 2⁄3 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 2 BB
Yasmani Grandal: 0-for-4, BB, K
Lance Lynn: 3 2⁄3 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, BB, 5 K, WP
Matt Reynolds: 0-for-1, K, E