I’ve often lamented – sometimes publicly, sometimes privately, sometimes quietly, sometimes vocally – that the Sox really got robbed of a lot by the whole Steroid Era. On one level, Frank Thomas specifically lost an MVP award but on another, wider level, we as fans missed out on a lot of cheap thrills. Fans of other teams got home run records, World Series titles and bore witness to some of the greatest performances of all time. We got. . . Scot Schoeneweis and Jim Parque. Awesome. Woo.
Until today, most of us had probably forgotten about Parque’s inclusion in the Mitchell Report, possibly because Parque’s time with the Sox was largely nonspectacular, but also because Parque was never the type of player whose juicing anybody cared about. He didn’t set any records, didn’t light the world on fire and never turned his artificial methods into an obscene payday like certain others did. He was just some dude and, in sports as in life, no one really pays much attention to just some dude.
So this morning, when Parque’s refreshingly honest piece appeared in the Sun-Times, you probably generally digested it in two phases: first, accept Parque’s admission and second, ask yourself “There was a world of cheating available and all we got was this sometimes-lousy starting pitcher?”
Oh, and hey, what do you know, the center field situation takes a hilarious new turn while we’re at it. We start the day with weird reminders of the Sox’ past shortcomings and present woes, and on top of all that there’s also the matter of a pretty good team waiting to extract revenge for Wednesday evening’s dramatics.
And then, you know, there was a game. And oh what a game it was. And when the guy who throws that game isn’t just some dude but it’s that guy, the guy, our guy, it’s worth all the steroid letdowns and endless position-player struggles in the world.
Jim who? Brian what? Nevermind that, did you see what happened out there today?
Not just a gem, but a shutout. Not just a shutout, but a no-hitter. Not just a no-hitter, but a perfect game, and not just against some team but a real team, one of the worthiest of opponents. Forget your frustrations, people. Baseball, for an afternoon, was beautiful again.