Grounds crew gets field ready, but White Sox can’t rally past Rays
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White Sox groundskeeping chief Roger Bossard has seen worse than what greeted him Monday.
“Disco Demolition . . . that was a horrific day for me,’’ Bossard said. ‘‘This wasn’t near as bad as that. I got a hold of my crew when they came in at 7 o’clock, and I wanted to get this thing done. I love the challenge, and we made it, thanks to my crew. You’re only as good as your crew.’’
Bossard and his crew weren’t battling the infamous disaster left behind by rowdy fans stirred up by a disc jockey in 1979. Instead, they had to clear an estimated 200 to 300 tons of snow from the playing surface at Guaranteed Rate Field to allow the game to be played.
Using mowers as plows and water to melt snow, the grounds crew dealt with the 2-plus inches of snow quickly enough that the Rays’ 5-4 victory against the Sox began after only a 21-minute delay.
‘‘The players are very happy, [manager] Ricky [Renteria’s] happy and [owner] Jerry [Reinsdorf], so no problems,’’ Bossard said.
It was the latest tough weather day for the Sox and their grounds crew. The highest first-pitch temperature of the homestand so far has been 43 degrees. It was 35 with 11 mph winds Monday.
Outfielder Nicky Delmonico, whose home run in the fifth inning was his first of the season, said he and his teammates came to the ballpark knowing they would play. But that doesn’t mean the early conditions at home have been easy to handle.
‘‘It’s definitely different going up there and just trying to stay warm the whole game,’’ Delmonico said. ‘‘We’ve been grinding, and we’re just one [at-bat] away from the game being in our favor.”
No Sox player would use the weather as an excuse. Right-hander Miguel Gonzalez allowed four runs, eight hits and two walks in 4 1/3 innings but didn’t blame the cold.
‘‘Everyone else is doing it,’’ said Gonzalez, who has lost his first two decisions of the season. ‘‘There’s no excuses on that.’’
Tim Anderson, a native of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, had mixed feelings about playing in such conditions. He expected the wind to be tougher, but he also knows such days are part of the deal for Chicago players.
‘‘I come from Alabama; we don’t see snow,’’ Anderson said. ‘‘I think it’s pretty cool to wake up and see snow. Snow’s like rain here. In Alabama, you don’t see snow.’’
You do in Chicago, and Bossard and his crew were ready.
‘‘I’m very proud of this,’’ Bossard said. ‘‘It was a hectic, hectic week, a hectic day, but it wasn’t like Disco Demolition. Everything went well.’’
The Sox lost, but the fact they got the game in can be seen as a positive. They didn’t have to schedule a doubleheader for Tuesday or Wednesday or find a common day off with the Rays to make up the game later in the season.
The game was played before a sparse crowd in cold and at times nasty conditions, but it was completed. And when he was asked about the conditions in the outfield, Delmonico said something that would make Bossard and his crew happy.
‘‘It was great,’’ Delmonico said. ‘‘I was surprised the way the field felt after today. It [was] pretty good out there.’’