Alexei Ramirez became the first rookie to hit four grand slams in a single season, pushing the White Sox to a 8-2 victory in their make-up game against the Tigers, and forcing a play-in game against the Piranhas. It may seem unfair to the Piranhas that this game will be at The Cell--the site decided by a coin toss, rather than by who led the season series--but they had their chances to win the division earlier. So did the Sox, of course, but all that is in the past now. As the Great and Powerful Oz said, "162 games mean nothing." Well, we wouldn't go quite that far.
Back to The Missile: He still makes baby mistakes sometimes, but has come very far in just one season, and deserves to win Rookie of the Year. He has already proven himself such a clutch player that the grand slam seemed almost destined to happen. As he stood in and The Cell rocked, it seemed like all he needed was the pitch.
I went nuts when it happened, and with the window open on a cool, wet day, I could hear three or four other guys in my neighborhood doing the same. My favorite sign in the crowd, shown moments after the big hit: "Just like we planned it."
After I texted my Sox fan friend The Commish in my excitement, his response brought me back to cold reality: "But can the pen hold it?" True, with three innings left, it would be a big job for a bullpen running on fumes, but they managed, and tonight, The Cell hosts Game 163. Let's hope they copy the route the Rockies took last year from a play-in game to the World Series.
It's Danks vs. Blackburn. Danks was not good the last time out and has had little luck with the Piranhas, but I like a lefty power pitcher against the Piranhas line-up. The Sox offense has its edge back and, with everyone attending urged to wear black, they will have a park full of raucous fans, a park, which for better or worse, will be open to the elements rather than sealed under a dome on a very cool final night of September.