White Sox take home opener over Tampa Bay

April 26, 2011 11:53:51 AM PDT
The Chicago White Sox kicked off their home season Thursday afternoon at The Cell.

Edwin Jackson struck out a career-high 13 and the Chicago White Sox took their home opener by sending the winless Tampa Bay Rays to their sixth straight loss, 5-1.

The Sox started their season on the road, where they went 3-2.

The big news for the Sox was that designated hitter Adam Dunn is out of action after he had an emergency appendectomy. Dunn actually said he wanted to try and play Thursday, but manager Ozzie Guillen said even if Dunn felt well enough to play, he wasn't going to let him.

Dunn says he still wants to try to play Friday. Guillen says he probably will not let him.

As for opening day, Guillen says, he understands the fan excitement, but say he doesn't really like opening day.

"We just have to deal with all these people. No, you know me. Opening day, it's all excited. You know, as always, you have the PR guys with suit and tie like it's a special day. You see people in the front office with a suit and tie, like they're going to be in the team picture," Guillen said. "Meanwhile, I think opening day here is exciting because of the fans. Opening day, to me, is for the fans, and the media gets a chance to come back home and enjoy this day. But this is a special day for people. You know, I think another year in the big leagues, another year back home, that's my 21st with the White Sox. Uh-huh, 21st, lucky number. But, in the meanwhile, can't wait till the game starts."

Pre-game ceremonies featured White Sox legend Minnie Minoso, who threw out a ceremonial first pitch as this year marks the 60th anniversary of his breaking the franchise's color barrier. Country singer Chris Young performed the National Anthem.

Fans at the sold-out Thursday game got to see some new things, from a watering hole, to food, to the first new organist for the White Sox in 41 years.

Attendance was announced as 38,579, a sellout.

Fans flocked to a new bar and grill at The Cell. You can go in with or without a game ticket. It was packed with early risers rooting for the Sox.

"This is my first time at a Sox game. I just moved here from Kansas, so came out for breakfast, and we unfortunately don't have tickets for opening day," said Haylie Cooper.

"All the way, all the time, man. You come in here opening day, you come here for the season. It's World Series or nothing. That's how White Sox are, man," said Al Tovar.

Of course, other die-hard South Side supporters started lining up vehicles and grills later in the morning. And as the party revved up outside, inside workers removed the cover and prepped the field.

"It's a beautiful ballpark. You go in there, you talk to anyone, it's a great park," said Chicago Mayor Richard Daley.

Mayor Daley displayed his excitement for his beloved Sox as he got ready to watch his last home opener as mayor.

"I've been here so many times, I come as a fan," he said. "You know, all the fans don't want anybody entitled to be there. You know, your title. They just to see you as a fan, not showing up to win votes or anything. You're there to see the game."

And what's a ballgame without ballpark food? Upgraded cheese steaks, fish and chips, and buffalo chicken sandwiches are just some of the new concessions. Even the organist is new.

"I am super excited. I am out of my mind excited. This is probably the greatest day of my life," Moreland said.

Moreland was announced as the Sox new organist last month, replacing retiring organist Nancy Faust. Moreland said she never actually expected to get the job.

"Initially, when I made the tape I thought this will be a good experience. It is like, whatever happens, happens. It will be good to just have done this. When they called for an in-person interview, then it was like, I can't believe I'm doing this," she said.

There's also a new way to get to the field via Metra. The Rock Island District Line just added a new station at 35th Street and LaSalle. Metra says it will run extra trains on gamedays.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.