CHICAGO—We found ourselves at 35th and Shields this morning, in humidity so thick you could peel it off your skin and use it for pizza dough. Since I was the only one recovered from our two-day cold epidemic, I volunteered to take in the Indians-White Sox game, and was glad I did. Not only was it a businessman’s special, but it was Shower with Harry Caray Day!
Yup, the fearless broadcasting legend was doing the game with Jimmy Piersall from centerfield, and on the urging of owner Bill Veeck had vowed to douse himself under the fans’ bleacher shower between at least three of the innings! Needless to say, I went for a nearby seat.
It was nice to pay a little attention to the Chisox, too, who as usual haven’t been getting the attention the Cubs do, even with the north siders in the middle of an atrocious year. And lately, these guys have been playing as well as they did in April. Their main starters Barrios and Stone have both cranked it up a notch, and they’ve been hitting enough to compensate for their swiss cheese defense.
It’s just a rowdy, fun atmosphere in old Comiskey anyway, even on a day when you can hardly breathe. Jorge Orta bangs a deep triple off the wall right below me to start the Sox second, then scores on a Soderholm fly. Eckersley’s going for Cleveland, and I can see his long hair whipping around from over 400 feet away. Lefties just eat him for breakfast, though, and Oscar Gamble swallows a fastball and belts it high into the upper deck in right with Garr aboard in the 3rd. “HOLY COW” I hear Harry bellow from his makeshift bleacher booth, and with the home boys up 3-zip after three, here he comes down to the shower, wearing a Hawaiian shirt and polka dot swim trunks. We cheer as he douses himself with a mighty bellow, slicks back his white hair and returns to his seat.
The Tribe’s also been playing great all month, and even with four of their hitters out, they bounce right back. Dade singles, Thornton triples and Lowenstein singles off Stoney to begin the 4th. Ron Pruitt then bombs one between Garr and Lemon, but Chet grabs the ball, whirls and throws a perfect relay to Bannister, who cuts Lowenstein down at the plate to ice the rally! Just seeing the White Sox make any kind of great play is a rare event, judging by the exploding cherry bombs around me.
A Garr single and steal, Lemon double and Zisk sac fly in the 5th put Chicago up again 5-2. Harry stumbles back down to the shower after the 6th, no doubt after a couple of drafts, and this time a handful of fans jump in with him. Gamble blasts another shot off Eck in the 7th, his 25th of the year, and the lead is big enough so when Stone does his typical 3-run meltdown in the 8th Dal Canton and LaGrow can come on for the combo save.
Eckersley finally loses his mind in the last of the 8th, Soderholm, Spencer, Bannister and Garr plastering the park with four straight hits and getting all three runs right back. The White Sox may not be winning anything this season, but damn do they ever play some fun games. Right Harry?
CLE 000 200 030 – 5 10 0
CHI 012 020 13x – 9 14 0
W-Stone L-Eckersley HRS: Gamble-2 GWRBI-Soderholm
The Buzz Line
RED SOX 10-15-3, at TWINS 5-11-2
No special reason Boston should win a Rick Wise/Dave Goltz matchup, except for the fact they’re rolling out of their behinds again. Bob Montgomery with a 3-run homer this time, and Yaz is back to hardly ever making outs. Tied 4-4 in the 7th with two gone, he jacks a solo shot. The rattled Goltz then muffs a Rice grounder, gives up a bomb to Lynn, a single to Montgomery, and doubles to Hobson and Scott for four tack-on unearned runs. CAREW WATCH: After a mini-slump that saw his average dip to exactly .400, he gets three hits and bumps it to .403.
ORIOLES 3-7-0, at RANGERS 2-7-2
Wow, two straight for the Birds. Palmer has more late-inning terror, giving up a homer, double and single in the 9th but escapes with the tight win. Texas is now a cruddy 9-17 in one-run games.
PIRATES 7-13-1, at DODGERS 2-4-1
Sutton loses his fifth in a row and six out of seven, but it’s no contest with Candelaria throwing anyway. Three doubles, a triple and Pops homer form the Buc attack, as they go up by two full games.
at CARDS 6-9-0, PHILLIES 4-11-0
Read it and stew, Phillie fans. The Cards are just 2-11 vs. the Dodgers but sweep the Brotherly Lovers and are now 13-5 against them. Rasmussen bests Carlton with the help of a furious top of the St. Louis lineup. Templeton, Mumphrey, Hernandez and Simmons go 7-for-11 with all six RBIs. and Schultz throws two and a third scoreless relief innings.
EXPOS 10-11-2, at CUBS 4-9-2
Dawson continues his torrid road trip with another blast, Carter and Perez add homers and Dues and McEnaney save it for Wayne Twitchell. And now the Cubbies welcome in the dreaded Buccies.
FINAL TEAM RECORDS FOR JULY
16-12 Red Sox
12-18 White Sox
BURNED OUT ON BURNS? Check out my Seamheads review of The Tenth Inning, which appeared on Thursday.
American League through Thursday, July 31
National League through Thursday, July 31