9:43 AM EDT, August 17, 2011
The White Sox finally got over .500.
Happened while you were sleeping.
They beat the Indians on Wednesday morning.
Came on a Juan Pierre single in the bottom of the 14th.
An inning after the Indians loaded the bases with one out but failed to score.
Moved the Sox within a half-game of Cleveland for second place.
And it couldn’t have felt less fun.
It couldn’t have felt more painful.
It couldn’t have felt more 2011 Sox.
I mean, even with a win, they continue to deliver the most exasperating, frustrating, dadgummit-inducing season in who knows how long.
The Sox had a 5-2 lead and blew that.
The Sox had a 7-5 lead in the eighth, and blew that, giving up single runs in the eighth and ninth.
The Sox had two on and one out with Paul Konerko coming up in the 10th, but the guy you’d want to have at the plate gounded weakly into a double play.
The Sox had a leadoff triple in the 11th from Alex Rios --- Alex freakin’ Rios, do you hear me? --- and left him there as Brent Lillibridge got doubled off first on a line drive to third.
The Sox had Brent Morel on second with one out in the 12th. Nope.
The Sox had Alexei Ramirez on second in the 13th. Nothing.
Then Pierre ended the misery.
It shouldn’t feel this miserable, especially in an August victory that means something, especially when the Sox got a homer from Pierre earlier.
You’re looking for hope with these guys, and it gets harder to find amid starter Gavin Floyd and the bullpen blowing leads early and late.
But the Sox are over .500 now. That’s hope -- the most hope they’ve had since they were 7-6 on April 15.
They’ve won three in a row at home against AL Central teams. Winning at home for this sorry bunch and beating divisional foes offers even more hope. They have won 10 of their last 12 AL Central games, including five in a row over the Indians.
Even though I wrote these guys off in May, I can see where hope exists. This is a weak division on any night that Justin Verlander isn’t pitching. As horrible as some of the most expensive parts of this team have been, this team is still only 3 1/2 games out of first and could be alone in second after tonight (or tomorrow morning). So, you want to believe.
Part of that is because you feel you deserve something from this agonizing season. All that suffering since April grows like the national debt, and you want to get paid off.
Another part of it is, these guys are not unlikable. You’ve seen those Sox teams, right, Terry Bevington? This isn’t one of them. Adam Dunn flat stinks and shouldn’t be starting, but he’s not Joey Belle Ugly, a condition that causes shrieking, retching, and involuntary attempts to gouge out one’s eyes. In other words, it wouldn’t hurt to cheer for Dunn, if he actually gave you something to cheer about. Pierre, same deal. Everybody except Ozzie Guillen wanted him gone on May 1 because he was the worst player in baseball, but you could at least smile after his at-bat around 12:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Look, you’re a fan. It’s part of the deal. It’s in your contract with America’s pastime. Even the most cold-eyed realist is a closet baseball romantic. You always want to think it could happen. You want to think it could happen with these guys.
But you just know that as soon as you invite them into your house, they’ll blow their noses on the drapes.