White Sox fans celebrate season opener

April 5, 2010 4:44:04 PM PDT
The sun was shining on Chicago baseball fans Monday as the White Sox opened their season at U.S. Cellular Field.

Sox starter Mark Buerhle was masterful on the mound in his eighth career opening day start, even helping his team with a spectacular play in the field.

Paul Konerko scored the first home run of the season for the Sox, putting them up 2-0. The home team would tally four more runs for an eventual 6-0 victory against the Cleveland Indians.

Fans got started early to kick off the season.

"It is great. It is opening day and it's beautiful outside," said Sox fan Jan Martin. Fans enjoyed the pleasant weather as an improvement over 2009's opener, which was cloudy and wet.

Martin picked a great year to attend her first White Sox home opener. Her tailgate experience included the game Baggo. Others enjoyed beer and brats.

"It's beautiful. Look at it! Can it get any better?" said another fan.

The biggest operation in the sea of tailgaters belonged to Blue Plate Catering.

"We have burgers, we have brats, we have pico de gallo, guacamole, salad," said Blue Plate Catering's Karen Kalenik.

Reveling Sox fans predicted that the early success would carry through the rest of the season.

"Our five pitchers are amazing, our defense is amazing. I think we are going to at least to the playoffs this year," said Aubyn Scolnick, Sox fan.

The Sox kicked off the day with a group of Chicago sports stars who are already bound for their own playoffs. Chicago Blackhawks Olympic medalists Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabook and Jonathan Toews threw out the first pitch on Monday. For some, seeing the Sox was more important than going to work. As one fan said, "sick days are a wonderful thing."

Monday marked the final home opener to feature organist Nancy Faust. After 41 years, Faust will be retiring at the end of the 2010 season.

"The White Sox have been wonderful to me, and it's been a privilege," said Faust. "I just felt it's time to pass the torch and I hope I provided a wonderful sound track for Chicagoans' memories."

Mayor Daley wants those memories for his grandchildren who were with him at the game.

"I think they have a whole new spin on the team. I heard Konerko say this morning they will win their division and get in the playoffs. I like that positive attitude," said Daley.

The White Sox have an open invitation to another big-time political Sox fan - President Barack Obama - to throw out a first pitch at a game this season.

Obama last threw out the first pitch for the Sox in 2005 - the White Sox won their most recent World Series championship later that season.

The Sox will close the season in October against the Cleveland Indians.