It’s certainly not what I would like to wake up to, but shortly after rising this morning an article was brought to my attention. It appears in The Hardball Times and it’s an anniversary post. How sweet, yes? Everybody loves those. “A handful of years ago today your favorite player hit a game winning homerun off of that pitcher you’ve always hated and the grey hats won the game!” This post has some of that stuff, but mainly it has something else. Today marks the 10 year anniversary of a journey that lead a couple of representatives from the Ligue family from the upper deck of U.S. Cellular Field down to the field itself, and eventually to a courtroom. Chris Jaffe at HBT has chosen to call this Shirtless Father-Son Night and today is its 10th anniversary.
A couple of days ago I was able to attend a makeup game between the White Sox and the Tigers. It was a big game, as I’m sure I don’t have to tell you. I was able to go because my job is more flexible with when I get my work done than a friend’s. My friend had tickets for the original game, when it was Sale vs Verlander, a night game. A reschedule in the daytime meant more live baseball for me, but less than him. His tickets were in the upper deck. I don’t typically sit up top, and am particularly bothered by The Cell’s rule that folks that have purchased upper level tickets will not be granted access to the lower level at all. It’s bad for business, people don’t like to be told “no,” for starters. Families that perhaps can’t afford to purchase lower level tickets for the whole family, well, they’ll never be able to show the kids the statue immortalizing Harold Baines’ leg kick; they’ll never be able to stand them up next to the Carlton Fisk and Frank Thomas statues and say, “I swear! They are this big in real life!” and they’ll never be able to point out the Old Roman, the reason the White Sox got their first real “black mark.” When baseball fans come in from out of town to see the park, there is a good chance they’ll miss out on more than half of it…and never come back. Monday, due to the low crowd expectancy on a short notice Monday 1:00pm game that had already sold many tickets to folks that would presumably be unable to make it, the rule was lifted. We were all granted access to the lower level, and it was a thing of beauty. Everybody behaved, everybody watched the game and when Dewayne Wise stupidly tried to tag up and run to third on a fly ball to left field, nobody even ran out there to beat the crap out of him. It’s a stupid rule anyway. Why do we have this rule?
September 19th, 2002 is why. When William Ligue and William Ligue Jr. ran down onto the field to attack first base coach they ruined it for everybody. Jaffe recounts the incident, and is kind about it. I say he is kind because that’s important. White Sox fans, particularly those that reside in the Chicago area, have to hear about the incident on a semi-regular basis from a segment of Cubs fans that are looking to expose the White Sox and their fans as a lower class of citizen. So, kindly, no accusations of the sort are made here, the incident is acknowledged, and I guess you could say even celebrated as a piece of baseball history by its mere mention alone. Pop over and give a read to an event that makes writing homophobic slurs on your eye-black and playing a major league baseball game seem kind of insignificant, and stay for the “lesser” baseball related events, the real anniversaries, that also occurred on this day and did so without altering the game watching experience for an entire fan base.