Back in black?
That’s what the White Sox want to see when they bring playoff baseball back to their home ballpark for the first time since 2008 when they host at least one game in their American League Division Series next week. In 2008, their 1-0 “blackout game” tiebreaker victory over the Twins for the division championship went down as one of the top team moments in recent history.
Fans were asked to wear all black then, and almost all of the sold-out crowd obliged. Jim Thome homered, center fielder Ken Griffey Jr. threw out a runner at home and John Danks and Bobby Jenks took care of the pitching. Thirteen years later, the Sox are inviting fans to wear black again at Guaranteed Rate Field, calling it “Change the Game October.”
Whom they’ll play in the first round and when is not official, although it’s looking like the Astros in a series that would open in Houston. The Astros lead the Sox by 2 1/2 games for home-field advantage and own the tiebreaker. The Sox have five games left, the Astros three apiece against the Rays and Athletics.
“We are going to be promoting and encouraging fans to wear black throughout the playoffs, hoping we have an extended stay,” Sox chief revenue and marketing officer Brooks Boyer. “We want to create a great home-field atmosphere at games that our players will feed off of. It should be fun.”
Black rally towels will be given away for the first home game, which would be Game 3 on Oct. 10 if the current situation stays the same.
“One hit, pitch, play – any moment – can literally ‘Change the Game’ on the field, and we know the energy of our fans can be a game changer,” Boyer said in a Sox release promoting the campaign Tuesday. “That’s why we are calling on White Sox fans everywhere to show their Sox pride by wearing black throughout the postseason. Just as we saw with the ‘Blackout game’ in 2008, 40,000 White Sox fans standing strong in our team’s color is a sight to behold. We’re ready to show the 26 guys in our dugout that Chicago is for them.”
The Sox’ last five games of the regular season are all at home. They likely will open the best-of-five series in Houston on Oct. 7 and 8. After a travel day, Games 3 and 4 (if necessary) would be at Guaranteed Rate Field, with Game 5 (if necessary) Oct. 13 in Houston.
The AL Championship Series starts Oct. 15 and will end Oct. 23 if it goes seven games. The World Series opens Oct. 26 and concludes Nov. 3 if it goes seven games.
The Sox are in the postseason in consecutive years for the first time in their history. They played all three games of the wild-card series in Oakland last season. They lost 2 games to 1.
A limited number of single-game tickets for home postseason games go on sale Wednesday at 2 p.m. Tickets will be available only on whitesox.com.
Rodon is on for Wednesday
Manager Tony La Russa said All-Star Carlos Rodon’s bullpen session Sunday was “just OK,” but he wants to start Wednesday against the Reds to test his fatigued left shoulder. It will be his last outing before a possible postseason start.
“He didn’t really let it go,” La Russa said. “But he said he’s good to try it.”
Rodon pitched three innings in his last start and has pitched 23 innings in August and September. La Russa will hope for five or six innings but won’t force it.
“We’re just going to watch him throw that first inning and see if it makes sense to send him out for the second,’’ La Russa said. ‘‘As always, you hope for the best and prepare for the worst.”