About 3 1/2 hours before the Chicago White Sox meet the Minnesota Twins on Monday to kick off the biggest streak of the season, manager Tony La Russa’s pre-game media session in the dugout competed with a singer practicing on the Guaranteed Rate Field PA system.
La Russa began by discussing the mass shooting during a July 4 parade in Highland Park that killed seven people and injured more than 30 others.
The singer began by singing a slow version of “The Star-Spangled Banner”.
“In the last brilliance of twilight,” she sang.
“Unfortunately, it’s almost daily, far too often,” La Russa said of the pervasive gun violence in America.
“Whose broad stripes and shining stars…”
“Did they find it?” La Russa asked reporters. “Did they catch it?”
“Through the perilous fight…”
“No,” a reporter told La Russa. The suspect was still at large at the time.
“Even when there is an explanation, there is no explanation,” La Russa said. “It does not make sense.”
“O’er the ramparts we watched flowed so gallantly…”
“Was there talk of canceling the game,” La Russa was asked.
“And the rockets glow red, the bombs burst in the air…”
“There was a conversation with MLB,” La Russa said.
“I proved all night…”
“And they decided that we would play. It was thoughtful. »
“That our flag was still there…”
Did La Russa think the game should be played?
“O say is this starry starry…”
Decision makers were “very aware of the big picture,” La Russa replied. “If they say play. I think we should play.
“In the land of the free…”
“I also know that there are probably concerts tonight somewhere,” La Russa said.
“And the house of the brave.”
“The whole city isn’t going to shut down, so… But I know it was considered.”
The anthem is over. Back in the Sox dugout, the topic of conversation shifted to the crucial and upcoming homestand against the Detroit Twins and Tigers.
There would be baseball because, well, I don’t really know what prompted the decision that MLB and the White Sox made. Maybe it was because the Sox had already sold over 30,000 tickets, and there were Paul Konerko figurines that needed to be given out. Maybe baseball decided fans needed a diversion after the horrific news of the day.
Regardless, a nice crowd of 32,483 showed up despite the pre-game rain. After a minute of silence for the victims of the Highland Park massacre, it was over.
The newsroom televisions were tuned to the game, but many reporters were following the Highland Park news from their devices. The show must go on, and a job is a job. But when gun violence hits so close to home, it’s impossible to focus on the game below, no matter what the stakes.
In the end, it was one of those wild, crazy nights the Eagles were always singing about, and the game itself was fun to watch — albeit infuriating — for most Sox fans.
After the Sox tied the game at 2 in the seventh inning, the Twins pulled off an unlikely 8-5 triple play in which center fielder Byron Buxton ran and shot third baseman Gio Urshela, who tagged Yoán Moncada and touched second base. for the last two withdrawals. Adam Engel and Moncada would be destined to have their mistakes replayed for the next 24 hours on ESPN’s “SportsCenter.”
La Russa’s jaw dropped in a memorable moment captured by NBC Sports Chicago cameras as he witnessed the result. It was a look shared by nearly everyone in the press box, not to mention the thousands of incredulous Sox fans who thought they’d seen it all.
“I’ve never seen one like this,” La Russa would later say.
Nobody else either. Researchers tweeted that it was the first such triple play in baseball history. When the ancients say you can go to a baseball game and see something that has never been seen before, believe them.
After the Sox came out of the inning in the most spectacular fashion imaginable, the Twins scored four runs in the 10th inning to secure a 6-3 victory. La Russa would be asked to leave by the home plate umpire after complaining about Joe Kelly’s strike zone, which imploded during an outing he described with an expletive.
A section of fans briefly chanted “Fire Tony”, even though La Russa was not in the dugout to hear them. Many fans began to scold after Kelly, who allowed four runs while striking out two batters, was pulled by bench coach Miguel Cairo. When Tim Anderson struck to end the game in the bottom of the 10th, the stadium quickly emptied.
The post-match fireworks display had already been canceled after the Highland Park tragedy. But through the Dan Ryan, departing fans could spot smaller fireworks. Reporters descended to conduct their postgame interviews, where La Russa, Kelly, Engel, Johnny Cueto and José Abreu gave their assessments on the game and the current state of the Sox.
It was just another day at the park.
It was just another day in America.