FIRST, SOME PRE-GAME ADVICE
Tempting though it may be, try to refrain from beginning your “Fire Tony!” chants in the parking lot. You need to save your voice for coordinated in-stadium performance. A truly rousing “FIRE TONY!” at lineup-sharing time would be an excellent start. Sure, it’s ironic that an intentional walk has led to the uprising, rather than the far worse aspects of the HOFBP’s management in the last two years, but take advantage of the opportunity.
As the game progresses, the old White Sox chant from the golden days, “Na, na, na ... hey, hey, good-bye!” should begin if the HOFBP comes on the field to remove a pitcher, argue a call, or suggest the opponent throw at one of the Sox. Ideally, fans on one side will chant “na, na, na, na” while those on the other continue with “Fire Tony! Fire Tony!”
Please remember this is family day at the old ballpark, and do not change “Fire” to another F word.
For the teams
You, too, should remember this is family day. There will be a great number of impressionable youngsters in the stands, many of them trying to become good softball or baseball players. Please try to play actual baseball and not ruin their development by putting on another demonstration of pig slop like yesterday’s game.
For Texas in particular — yes, road trips can be very tiring, and naps can be enticing. However, for the sake of the youngsters, it’s best not to do the napping while on base.
For the White Sox — while the gap with Detroit is closing, you still have the lead for least walks taken in MLB. You can safely maintain the lead while refraining from swinging at pitches above cap brim level.
You also have a very comfortable lead in the competition for worst defense in the majors, so it’s safe to occasionally hit the cutoff and/or relay man. It is also safe for the relay man to occasionally catch the ball (looking at you, Leury).
NOTES FROM CHARLOTTE
Not always imperative to include here, but this morning came the official word that lefty Tanner Banks and catcher Seby Zavala are back up with the White Sox, with Aaron Bummer hitting the injured list and Davis Martin returning to the Knights. To make room for Seby, early 2021’s folk hero Yermín Mercedes was designated for assignment, off of the 40-man roster. For those worried the White Sox will lose Yermín, Micker Adolfo survived waivers a couple of months ago, and he seemingly has far more “upside” than a roundish DH who is never sure if he is active or retired.
Still, possibly losing a (two-month) proven MLB bat in Yermín for a guy who is not really a primary catcher any longer is an odd play, especially when La Russa today said Yasmani Grandal is feeling better and might not even need an IL stint. At any rate, better be ready to pitch today, Tanner!
ON TO THE GAMETHREAD
The White Sox are huge favorites in this one, thanks to being the better team (at least in theory, only half-a-game better in reality), being at home, and have a much better starting pitcher, because Michael Kopech is facing Jon Gray.
Former gilded prospect Gray now barely earns the “journeyman” title, with a 5.28 ERA (though a better 3.88 FIP). However, since the beginning of May, the righty has established a pattern of alternating good and bad games. He gave up five runs in five innings against the Guardians last time out, so the Sox need the pattern to break.
Gray will be facing a White Sox lineup that is without Yasmani Grandal, who somehow hurt a hammy while barely loping to first yesterday. No word on the extent of the injury, but Zavala being called up from Charlotte should make every fan ardently wish Grandal well.
Kopech has also had a brief string of good/bad performances, but his “good” side has been phenomenal, holding the Yankees and Dodgers to just one hit in two of his last three games. The pattern would call for a weaker outing this time, but patterns are made to be broken, and this Rangers lineup is no match for the Toronto quad that gave Kopech his last bad outing.
First pitch set for 1:10 p.m. Central. a brisk 60°, with wind blowing left to right. Usual broadcast suspects, but don’t expect Jason and Stoney to join the chants.
You can, though — “Fire Tony! Fire Tony!”