Monday, June 27, 2016

The Magic Balancing Bat, and other Sights and Sounds at U.S. Cellular Field


At the Chicago White Sox/Toronto Blue Jays game at U.S. Cellular Field yesterday, I noticed something very small but charming that a television director night not have noticed, burdened as he or she is by options of angles and statistics to offer the viewers during between-pitch down time. In the eighth inning, Blue Jay right fielder Junior Lake fouled off a pitch from Chris Sale past the first base line. After swinging, he'd dropped his black bat near the plate, which White Sox catcher Alex Avila then grabbed and, with grace, balanced in the center of homeplate, awaiting Lake's return. The bat stood erect for a second or two before Lake retrieved it. Funnily, Lake didn't seem to acknowledge Avila's wizardry: does this kind of thing happen regularly? I'd never seen it before; it was there and gone, a little playfulness between two players in front of 28,000 fans on a sweltering day. You had to be there.

I'll unhappily report that Lake drove the next pitch from Sale, a 91-mph fastball, into the seats in right-center, halving the Sox lead (which the home team maintained). Maybe it was a magic bat, after all.

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Oh and this detail from the park: someone in the White Sox front office has great taste in rock and roll, as the Ramones' version of "Little Bit O' Soul" blared through the stadium speakers during appropriately rousing moments. Very cool.


What's next, Chicago natives Jim Skafish's "Wild Night Tonight" booming through The Cell?? I can only hope.


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