I find it ironic that the Chicago White Sox got themselves into a funk concerning their promotional giveaway from Saturday night.
The ballclub had as its ballpark giveaway meant to attract fans to the game replica jerseys such as the team wore in the late 1970s. The ones of dark blue and white with the funky collars that were a ‘70’s take on what the team wore back when they were first created in the early 20th Century.
I WAS AMONG the people who went to the ballgame (although I didn’t put up with the heavy rain that caused the game to be halted three times before ultimately being postponed until Sunday).
I saw for myself how there were several fans who were there specifically for the jersey giveaway (although to tell you the truth the jerseys being given away were cheap knockoffs of what the team actually wore in those days some four decades ago).
There were many people who, upon being handed the package containing the jersey couldn’t wait to open it and wear it – stripping themselves as quickly as possible of whatever shirt they were really wearing so they could change into their new freebie giveaway jersey.
For a team that perennially faces attendance issues (although the reality is that no team has a right to think they’re entitled to capacity crowds for every ballgame), the mood was a plus.
DESPITE THE HEAVY rains that came off and on, and the presence of Detroit Tigers fans who made sure to wear their own gear while working their own way around the ballpark.
There just seems to be one person who couldn’t get with the program, so to speak. And that was White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale – who probably was the other big reason that some fans chose the Saturday night game to show up at U.S. Cellular Field.
For he is arguably the best pitcher in the American League these days, and is one of the few assets the White Sox can claim as their own, and a reason to not totally count out their chances of competing for something resembling a championship this season.
The plan was that the White Sox were going to wear the late ‘70s uniforms as well during the Saturday game – bringing to memory for those of us old enough to have see it such ballplayers as Francisco Barrios, Bill Nahorodny and Harry Chappas.
BUT DEPENDING ON whose report one reads, Sale either didn’t like the look or the feel of the uniform. He didn’t want to wear it.
And when team officials responded to his tantrum by telling him to just take the ball and pitch, he sliced up the special promotion uniforms with a knife. Meaning nobody was able to wear them.
The White Sox wound up wearing their uniforms they usually use for Sunday ballgames – the ones copied from the 1980s with the big red-white-and-blue stripe across the chest reading “SOX” that some have sarcastically dubbed as the “license plate” uniforms.
Now I know some White Sox fans don’t think much of the uniforms from the second coming of Bill Veeck (his wife, Mary Frances, designed them). They may well be willing to brand Sale as a hero for preventing the ball club from making a horrendous fashion statement.
WHILE OTHERS ARE quick to denounce him as a whiny baby – yet another ballplayer who thinks that what he does has some inherent value to society, rather than just serving as entertainment for the masses.
Personally, I always thought the lettering across the jerseys had some interest. The fact that the uniform has the White Sox wearing white socks also is a plus.
It will be interesting to see what kind of fan reaction he gets when he returns to play. Suspended for five days, he won’t be available to pitch again until Thursday which is the final game to be played in this week’s “city series” against the Chicago Cubs.
It could be more intriguing than the actual games – what with the way the Sox are struggling for that .500 winning percentage and would consider it a plus if they could be the team that knocked the Cubs off-stride in their own drive for a first National League pennant in 71 years.