White Sox

Random News of the Day: The deal of a lifetime

Random News of the Day: The deal of a lifetime

Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010
1:01 PM

By Joe Collins

Garage sales are hotbeds for unintentional comedy. You never know what to expect when you start digging in boxes from yesteryear. I mean, just seeing any Andy Gibb vinyl LP, or a spider web-dominated Tinkertoy collection or any Ron Karkovice baseball card wrapped in torn-out pages from an old Sears catalog is enough to produce bizarre, incredulous laughter that can only be seen by watching, say, Ernest Goes To Camp. Youre not only laughing with, youre laughing at.

"Ha! A box of VHS home videos! I should be working but I want to see that birthday party from 1986!"

"People are seriously going to by this for 50 cents?"

"Wait...do I really want all of these strangers in my garage anyway? Why am I doing all this work?"

And of course, the garage sale itself looks like the set of Hoarders and the clientele usually resembles something out of a Revenge Of The Nerds casting call. And thats on a good day. I helped my Mom out with a garage sale this past weekend and came across all of the above in a span of 48 hours. Good way to spend part of a vacation, eh?

I also came across an old wallet with a 1954 calendar in itand the picture seen here. Its my Dad shooting hoops on his driveway. Im not sure why (or how) the old wallet ended up in my Moms garage in Tinley Park--next to some old cans of Pennzoil--but it was fun to reminisce a bit, sitting on a frayed lawn chair near my Dad's old garage workbench.

His life revolved around the game of basketball. Ate it. Slept it. Breathed it. He played in grade school, high school and college and then passed the eagerness and zeal of the game to me. I grew up in the 80s, just as the Chicago Bulls were growing up around Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. My bedtime was usually around 9pm-- you know, just as those Bulls-Pistons games were about to break out into bedlam. He would always tape the final score, along with Jordan's point total, on my mirror so that it was the first thing I saw when I woke up the next morning. Talk about a great way to start the day, you know? Especially if Jordan racked up 50 points and the Bulls won at the buzzer.

We all have reasons why we do the things we do-- why we work at certain jobs, why we marry this person instead of that person, why we eat burritos instead of rice cakes, why we watch Die Hard instead of Steel Magnolias (or vice versa), and so on and so forth. But when I looked at that "Hoosiers-era" picture of my Dad playing basketball, I was reminded why I love sports. It's the safe harbor when life gets a little uneasy. It's about the love of the game, the passion of competition. It's about the agony of not bunting the runner over to second and the joy of a Hail Mary touchdown in the closing seconds. Sports is about taking your mind off the guy that cut you off during rush hour or the boss that yelled at you during a conference call-- even if the joy is temporary and a momentary diversion.

I lost my Dad a year ago this October. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) took him way too soon and I never really got the chance to say a final farewell. But one thing I will always remember about him is that, even in his final days, his joy for the game of basketball --and for sports in general-- never waned. Not one bit. Even towards the end, it was fun to watch him cheer a Bears touchdown or whine about why the Bulls couldn't hit their free throws down the stretch:

"When I was playing, our coach would always end the practice with a half hour of free throws!"

You get the idea.

Even though athletes have become folk heroes and cult objects, thanks to multiple spotlights and ridiculous salaries, the passion for sports never dies out for some people. It's wonderful to think that, at its core, the simplicities of sports can still matter. And the spirit of it all never grows old.

And best of all, it can make a garage sale go a lot faster.

Or something like that.

You can't script this: Eloy Jimenez smacks game-winning homer in first game at Wrigley Field

You can't script this: Eloy Jimenez smacks game-winning homer in first game at Wrigley Field

Had this been the scripted outcome, it would've sounded a little too cheesy.

But in reality, it was a moment that got White Sox fandom as excited as the dude rounding the bases.

Eloy Jimenez, playing in his first game at Wrigley Field nearly two years after the Cubs traded him to the White Sox, smacked a game-winning homer off Pedro Strop in the ninth inning, breaking a 1-all tie and giving the South Siders a 3-1 victory in the first Crosstown game of the 2019 season.

Jimenez had been asked countless times about what it would be like to play in the park he long assumed would be the one where he played his big league games. And he expressed excitement, though committed to saying it would be like any other game.

It wasn't.

Jimenez had a disappointing outcome in his first at-bat of the evening, ending a bases-loaded, one-out situation in the first inning with a double play. He singled and walked in later plate appearances, but nothing was anywhere near as dramatic as his trip to the plate in the ninth. He hit Strop's pitch so hard it sounded like he broke his bat. The ball still ended up in the left-field bleachers.

One ninth-inning blast in June 2019 won't rip the rebuilding White Sox contention window open immediately, but what an image of rebuilding progress it was, with Jimenez, the middle-of-the-order centerpiece for the next decade, blasting a game-winner against the Crosstown-rival Cubs.

Jimenez's permanent smile was indeed present as he rounded the bases, made even bigger by his Tuesday night heroics. The White Sox are hoping they were the first of many.


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Baseball Night in Chicago Podcast: It's that time again: Ricky's Boys vs The North Siders


Baseball Night in Chicago Podcast: It's that time again: Ricky's Boys vs The North Siders

Ozzie Guillén and David DeJesus join Leila Rahimi on a special Crosstown edition of Baseball Night in Chicago.

Listen to the full episode here or via the embedded player below: