Camelback Ranch may be over 1,700 miles away from 35th & Shields — but on Friday afternoon, sounds filled the air that made the desert feel even more like home.
Whether or not it was St. Patrick’s Day luck, fans picked the perfect date to head to the ballpark as longtime White Sox organist, Nancy Faust, was back in the building. From 1970-2010, Nancy played a pivotal role in bringing the ballpark to life with her talent and quick wit.”When Nancy plays the organ, she doesn’t just play the organ,” NBC Sports Chicago’s Chuck Garfien stated in the bottom of the eighth inning of Friday’s game. “It’s the game within the game with Nancy.” For instance, when White Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi stepped up to the plate, the organist began playing Elton John’s, “Bennie and the Jets.” And when a timely hit came with the score remaining close in the later innings, the organist began playing, “Under Pressure” by Queen.
Faust’s reunion with the team came just one day after the full release of Last Comiskey, a fan-made documentary, in which she made several cameos to share her story. Although Nancy officially retired nearly thirteen years ago, her legacy remains strong. Beloved by fans, players, and staff to this day, Faust continues to give the ballpark a fun and enjoyable personality. She is often credited for several innovations, like inventing walk-up music, and even being the first to play, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” with Harry Caray during his tenure on the South Side. “For my money, Johann Sebastian Bach for organist number one, and Nancy Faust number two in the power rankings,” declared NBC Sport’s Chicago’s Connor McKnight during Friday’s broadcast. Collectively (as a fanbase), most will agree that the ballpark is a much better place when Nancy Faust is in it.
On the baseball side of the day, Eloy Jiménez’s return from the World Baseball Classic came just in time to face the team that drafted him: the Chicago Cubs. In his first at-bat since rejoining the team, the 26-year-old provided an instant spark, doubling off the top of the left-center wall. Soon after, Jiménez would score the first run of the ballgame in the bottom of the second inning on a Romy Gonzalez groundout. The White Sox offense provided early run support for starting pitcher, Mike Clevinger, who was making his second Spring Training appearance with the South Siders. Clevinger, who was just one pitch away from his third scoreless inning of the game, would give up a two-run homer to Cubs catcher, Yan Gomes. The damage would continue in the top of the fourth, as Cubs infielder Edwin Rios took the pitcher deep with a solo blast. Clevinger, who seemed to be experiencing command issues, would exit the game after 64 pitches.
In the bottom of the fourth, Romy Gonzalez put his team within one with a solo shot to left field off Cubs pitcher, Cam Sanders. From there, the White Sox bullpen was lights out. Gregory Santos was stellar in relief with four straight swinging strikeouts against Cubs hitters. After Santos departed from the game, pitchers Reynaldo Lopez and Davis Martin had back-to-back 1-2-3 innings. In the bottom of the seventh inning, Sox outfielder Adam Haseley represented the tying run with a lead-off double. Haseley would score on an Erik Gonzalez RBI double, making it a 3-3 ball game. But in the top of the eighth inning, Cubs infielder Sergio Alcántara would take Davis Martin deep. The scoring would stop there for the North Siders, and White Sox pinch-hitter Jake Marisnick would come home on a sacrifice fly from Moises Castillo. In a hard-fought game by both sides, the two Chicago teams would complete their 2023 Cactus League series against each other with a 4-4 tie.
- Romy Gonzalez: 1-3, 2 RBI
- Erik Gonzalez: 3-3, 2B, RBI
- Moises Castillo: 0-0, RBI
- Adam Haseley: 3-3, 2B
- Eloy Jiménez: 1-2, 2B
- Mike Clevinger (SP): 3.2 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3K
- Gregory Santos: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K
- Reynaldo Lopez: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
- Davis Martin: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K
The White Sox will take the field again tomorrow against the Los Angeles Dodgers at 3:05 PM CT. Michael Kopech is scheduled to be the club’s starting pitcher.
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Featured Image: Chuck Garfien-NBC Sports Chicago