A popular question I’m asked as someone whose job it is to watch the White Sox every day is whether or not it’s difficult to watch a struggling team.
I always answer by saying, “I get to watch baseball every day. Even my worst days are good.”
I have a quote from the Emmy Award-winning sports broadcaster, Ernie Johnson, taped to my desk that reads, “I have a ‘get-to’ job.” It helps keep the bad days in perspective. Most people have a job they have to do. I have one I get to do.
That outlook is rarely as crystal clear as when the White Sox are playing Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani.
In the three games before Thursday’s 9-7 win and series split over the Angels in Anaheim, Ohtani diced up the White Sox both on the mound and at the plate.
In Monday’s 2-1 victory over the White Sox, he homered 448 feet off of Dylan Cease. In the bottom of the ninth, he helped advance the game-winning run by walking and then executing a double steal that allowed Mike Trout to score on a wild pitch.
On Tuesday, he struck out 10 batters and hit two home runs – the first American League player to do so since Pedro Ramos in 1963. The Angels won that game 4-2 in a rocky showing from Michael Kopech.
On Wednesday, the White Sox kept Ohtani in the ballpark in an 11-5 victory, but he picked up three hits, including a triple and two runs scored.
Through eight innings on Thursday, the White Sox looked fit to hold Ohtani to a fairly blank stat line. 0-for-2 with two walks (one of which was intentional) he came to the plate with two outs and took Kendall Graveman deep on a 1-2 slider. The Angels lost by only two runs instead of four. His 14th home run in the month of June broke Babe Ruth’s record for most by a pitcher who also started a game that month.
On Thursday, Ohtani was named an American League All-Star starter for a third consecutive season – a fitting end to a historic, record-breaking series against the White Sox.
As the White Sox head to Oakland for a three-game set against the A’s, I imagine I’ll need a few good looks at that quote taped to my desk.
But when the White Sox play the Angels, the reminder to be grateful is right there in the flesh.
I get to watch Shohei Ohtani. We all do.
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