By Dan Bernstein-
CHICAGO (WSCR) It was a game that should have been played in 1348. In Europe.
The only proper way to render what that was last night would be to have it painted in oil by Bruegel the Elder and hung in the Prado. The bodies, the armies of skeletons attacking the countryside villages, all of it.
The Black Plague of 2011 reached a miserable low point, collapsing through whatever fragile floor was created by the last one and landing in the fetid muck. A bad pitcher on a last-place team no-hit the White Sox at chilly US Cellular Field, sending them to their sixteenth loss in twenty games.
It was a more completely bleak scene for those of us watching from home. Hawk Harrelson was missing from his usual seat, presumably felled by the same bug that’s infecting the Sox’ offense. Steve Stone sounded about ready to follow his partner, rasping gamely through his descriptions as he grappled with his own case of the illness, turning off his microphone to cough and hack after each pitch.
Poor Mike Huff was conscripted to fill in, probably wearing a surgical mask and making calls between innings to make sure his insurance premiums were all paid up.
It was a sick-sounding presentation of a sick team on a dark, ugly night. If you listened closely, mournful bells were tolling. In the distance, the wooden wheels of a ragged cart creaked, as it trundled toward Chicago to carry this team away.
To the apothecary with ye all – hitters and broadcasters, for whatever tinctures, elixirs or poultices can be consumed or applied. Or to the barber-surgeon, if need be, for a balancing of the humors. Can leeches be applied to baseball bats?
Better this disease get a chance to burn itself out now, while there is still time for recovery. The task is daunting, sure, but the still-hopeful with cling to hitters returning to form, with regression to statistical mean in various individual and team categories all but certain, if perhaps not enough. Improvement is bound to come, of course, but it may not get the Sox back to being good. Last year’s flash-fire snap-back was an anomaly, and can’t be expected to repeat itself.
When Supreme Court justice Louis Brandeis said “sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants,” he was referring to how organizations should operate openly, transparently and honestly. But we can be mindful of those words this afternoon, as the sun shines over the south side.
One of the nice things about baseball is the chance to start up again right away, afforded the chance for fresh opportunity mere hours after a crushing defeat. Francisco Liriano is not pitching today.
The bedraggled White Sox trudge back to the field this afternoon, hoping their mysterious affliction abates. We’ll see if the offense or the team voices are on the mend.
If it’s any solace, it only took the plague-ravaged European population 150 years to recover.
So it gets better.
Dan Bernstein has been the co-host of “Boers and Bernstein” since 1999. He joined the station as a reporter/anchor in 1995. The Boers and Bernstein Show airs every weekday from 1PM to 6PM on The Score, 670AM. Read more of Bernstein’s blogs here. Follow him on Twitter @dan_bernstein.
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