Back in Time – Memories from the BallPark
It’s your pals BeefLoaf and Chorizy-E, today we are going to dig back into our memory banks to tell a tale from our past ballpark experience. Beefloaf will tell the story with notes from Chorizy-E.
The Background This game takes place on September 12, 1988 and involves our beloved White Sox and the Milwaukee Brewers. You see, this was before Bud Selig fucked up the leagues and moved Milwaukee to the NL (so he can get more Cubs fans into his stadium to pay for tix and concessions) and the Astros to the AL. This was also in Old Comiskey, where I am sure a lot of you have many memories. I can remember playing an epic game of tag in 1989 with some of my classmates (we all got in trouble by the way because running around without supervision at the ballpark when you are 11 usually doesn’t fly with the parentals, even back in the 80’s) but I digress. This was a simpler time when the Sox weren’t very good and when attendance sucked. Hey, wait, basically like right now, except the old park smelled a lot more like grilled onions than this park, which is always a plus. Anywho, my dad, who we’ll call MadMex, and his friends from work were having an impromptu work outing at the old ball yard and he decided to take us with him. This was a big deal, because these were the 80’s and we were pretty poor, so going to the ballpark was an event. Well, going to the ballpark is still an event now, but imagine us as little kids, donning starter jackets (Falcons for ‘Loaf, Bengals for Chorizy-E). Chorizy-E: If you’re wondering why no Bears jackets, I guess you’re too young to remember Boomer throwing to Eddie Brown or think the Ickey Shuffle was just some shit in a Geico commercial.
The Setting Just to set the scene, this is the 80’s, we have a lots of wonderful 80’s fashions including delicious hairstyles. For some reason, Mom and her gigantic poodle perm didn’t come with us to this game, probably needed a break from MadMex and BeefLoaf & Chorizy-E. This gang was a hard charging rabble rousing group…………it included guys and gals, but this was the 80’s and these were mostly artists (although with technical training) so they drank and drugged hard………….think Wolf of Wall Street, but on a beatnik budget. Chorizy-E: When you’re a kid, you don’t quite realize this, but when you look back, holy shit were some of these guys insane.
The Game As any good Sox game experience does, the action on the field bored the group to drink, and drink and drink….and obviously to talk shit to opposing fans. We in the 108 are still up for some playful banter with Sox fans or opposing fans, as this was….at the start. As the game wore on and both teams were playing a miserable brand of ball, the chat accelerated……..it was mainly lead by a guy….I want to keep his identity secret, so for this article, we’ll call him Jeff Cernak………….Jeff Cernak was needling the opposing fans mercilessly………..to get a feel for Jeff Cernak, he and MadMex would often be on projects that required long work nights, but most of those long work nights required little in the way of actual work (hours and hours of idol time and then short bursts of work to get an overnight job done)………..in order to get right for these types of jobs, they had to fuel up, which meant, MadMex ride home at 3am on the Archer bus was often a happy/dazed one……………..back to the game……..which was a real fuggin’ barn burner between a meh team and a bad team. Chorizy-E: Much like now, there is no way I was awake for all of this. The Brewers finally scratch the first run across in the 8th inning………imagine hanging out with a bunch of hard livin’ folks for 7 fucking innings with no runs scored…………nothing really to stop them from 108ing themselves into oblivion. Clearly, this was back before MLB took alcohol consumption seriously and stopped serving at the end of the 7th, these folks were hitting it hard into the 8th when Robin Yount‘s single drove in Jim Gantner. The talk from the opposing fans becomes louder, but still at least to these young ears, not quite threatening at this point. The game rolls to the bottom on the 9th where the Sox, who are a billion games back at this point in the year, mount a rally off of Dan Plesac………….Harold Baines doubles (Harold Baines was my favorite player back then and stayed my favorite player into the Frank Thomas/Robin Ventura era of White Sox, so it was great to see him come through in that spot to start the rally………it used to be soul crushing as a child to go to the ballpark only a couple of times a year and that was the day Baines was getting a day off, anywho) Chorizy-E: My favorite player was Fred Manrique.
Carlos Martinez pinch runs for Baines……Fisk is walked intentionally, so now our hero Jeff Cernak is really feeling it and whooping it up at the Brewers fans……..Rich Morman hits for David Boston (thank goodness, since Boston, quite the athletic specimen, couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat) and Donnie Hill runs for Pudge…………Morman singles, Mike Diaz singles and the White Sox walk off the win……………I remember our little section being thrilled and the rush of excitement coming over us, but I also remember the stadium being pretty much empty (8,351 attendance), so an overall meh stadium feel. A great night, so much fun………….but wait…………the Brewers fans behind us had slipped away amongst the excitement of Jeff Cernak’s torment and a walk off win……………our motley crew stumbled for the exits via the ramp, on our way, we came across the very Brewers fans that we had (joyfully?) interacted with earlier……….Jeff Cernak knew this was his moment, so he went full blaze with middle fingers blasting and yelled “FUCK YOU CHEESEHEADS!!!”………….I remember it like it was yesterday………….a skirmish ensued, and I distinctly remember two things………………..
1. Jeff Cernak took a fighting stance like he didn’t know how to fight and would clearly get his fucking ass kicked. I was 10 years old when this occurred and I was pretty sure I’d whip his ass if I was so inclined.
2. Madmex grabbed Chorizy-E and BeefLoaf and held us behind him to protect us from the incident.……..this was interesting, because MadMex was not afraid to mix it up and given the poor fighting stance of his guero compadre, it probably made sense for him to mix it up, but he grab us and shoved us aside from the mess Chorizy-E: He moved us as the middle fingers were going in the air, it was not his first rodeo…………………now in the end, nothing happened, sort of like the scene in I’m Gonna Git You Sucka with Isaac Hayes, nobody knew karate, so they tried to fake it, but eventually they tired out and we all went home happy.
Old Comiskey park was like that, filled with booze and antics and smelling of grilled onions and bad White Sox baseball. A loveable character that eventually needed to be put out of it’s misery.