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The White Sox Are Ready To Kick Someone’s Ass, Just Not At Baseball

Tommy Pham is angry.
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Fans of the Chicago White Sox almost certainly disagree, but to me the couple of weeks there in early May when their team was not the worst outfit in the league were a little bit grayer for it, a little bit muted and sad. Buddy, the sun is back. Birds are singing, flowers are blooming, warm breezes promise a radiant summer. The White Sox have lost 11 straight and 15 of 16; their offense, a certified barf-o-rama in even the best of cases, has bottomed out; their win percentage, recently risen to a disgraceful but decidedly unhistoric 52-win pace, is now .250, tantalizingly close to the .235 mark of the 1916 Phillies, regarded as the worst team of baseball's 124-year modern history. We are so back.

On Sunday the White Sox lost on the road in Milwaukee, to fall a breathtaking 24.5 games back in the AL Central. The margin was still a single run in the top of the eighth inning when designated hitter Corey Julks lofted a fly ball to shallow left field, where Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich settled under it. White Sox third-base coach Eddie Rodriguez, perhaps in a hurry to wrap up another day of work, instructed Tommy Pham to tag and try for home. Pham tried to obstruct the throw by rounding his route all the way out into the infield grass, but Yelich's throw beat him to the plate by a full step, and Brewers catcher William Contreras applied the tag for a too-easy potential-rally-killing double play. Contreras did some brief celebratory woofing; Pham was not happy. You do not very often see a single bench clear, but that's more or less what happened.

Contreras was already back in the dugout; no one from the Brewers appeared to care very much or even to know at all that Pham was stomping around doing weird fighting poses and muttering "I will fuck that guy up," presumably not about the coach who just sent him willy-nilly to his doom, nor about the agent who failed to talk him out of joining this abominable team for this entirely doomed campaign.

Meanwhile, poor John Schriffen, Chicago's Kirkland-brand Gus Johnson of a play-by-play guy, was desperately heaping dip onto a chip that lost all structural integrity entire months ago. "Tommy Pham is barking back! He's not backing down. He doesn't like that," yelled Shriffen, in what will have to go down eventually as one of the truly excruciating lowlights of his career. "We ain't taking that. We ain't taking that from the Brewers. I don't care how many L's we got this year. We ain't taking that."

Pham had more to say about this after the game. "It was a shallow fly ball to left field. You would expect the left fielder to throw the baserunner out on that play," he said. "The third-base coach sends you, you've got to go. I'm nailed out at home by a mile. I'm going to the dugout. I hear the tough guy with all the hoorah shit. I never start anything, but I'll be prepared to finish it. There's a reason why I do all kinds of fighting in the offseason. I'm prepared to fuck somebody up. So, take it as what it is."

The Brewers tacked on a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning and won by the final score of 6–3. God bless the White Sox.

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