Sox win Game 1, Part 2

June 27, 2008 4:27:32 PM PDT
When the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox faced off last weekend, the Sox were outscored 22-11, losing all three games. But the White Sox beat the Cubs in Game 1 of Round 2 Friday, thanks in part to a Nick Swisher grand slam in the third, which sent the Sox sailing past the North Siders to an eventual 10-3 victory.

The Sox were hoping to redeem themselves as they host the Cubs at U.S. Cellular for a second three-game set. The Sox sent Jose Contreras to the mound; he was 6-6 with a 3.96 ERA before the game. Ryan Dempster started for the Cubs, giving up eight runs.

The Sox returned to the South Side on a winning note after beating the L.A. Dodgers Thursday night by a score of 2-0.

The Cubs, on the other hand, did not head into the weekend as winners. They lost 11-4 Thursday night to Baltimore at Wrigley Field. It was the first time in almost two months that the Cubs lost a series at home.

It's an atmosphere with attitude and Cubs fan Tom Dermody and his son have entered the home of the Sox two hours before game time to add to it.

"Nothing to worry about with all these Sox fans. I am trying to remember last week. Oh yeah, sweep," said Tom Dermody.

Other Sox fans though are just happy to be at the Crosstown Classic. Maggie Augustinsky said she figures she and her brothers are connecting across the ages.

"There's a lot of history with it, just being connected. You hear stats about first place teams," Maggie Augustinsky said. "You feel a connection to your ancestors."

"This is my first Sox cubs game. I've been trying to come for a few years, and I'm glad I finally got the chance," said Joe Augustinsky.

After last week's sweep, the South Siders are desperate for redemption. Their hold on first in the American League Central is more tenuous than their rivals'.

And with strokes like Nick Swisher's fourth inning grand slam after last week's sweep, some fans might get what they absolutely must have - a win.

"A lot of my friends are Cubs fans, and since last weekend they've been on me," said Peyton Padjen.

The Game from the scoreboard manager's perspective

Jeff Szynal is a tough guy to track down in the hours before the first pitch.

On Thursday, that first pitch was being thrown by number one NBA draft pick Derrick Rose, a Chicago Bull connecting with admirers everywhere there, who've came to the ballpark to soak in a special atmosphere. In the control room, Syznal knows the challenge.

"We try and do a couple of things to entertain and educate, and we want to put a real South Side flavor on it with videos and have people enjoy their experience at U.S. Cellular," said Szynal, scoreboard manager.

So as batting practice proceeded, Szynal, who is in his 25th year managing what you see on and around the Cell's scoreboard, ensures the production is on track and figures his team's work will help the Sox avenge last weeks losses at Wrigley.

There's noticeable security around Cubs fans as they seek out autographs and soak in the atmosphere -- an experience made that much more intense by the cross-town rivalry and the characteristics of a park that has its own charms beyond not being Wrigley.

Szynal was asked if he's ever seen something on the scoreboards at Wrigley and stolen the idea.

"I'm still waiting to see a replay on their scoreboard," he laughed.


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