[Ed's note: We haven't done one of these in a while, so if you have absolutely no idea what it is, check this out as a reference point.]
Alexei Ramirez goes yard and here we are—one game for the final playoff spot. Analyze it all you want, but we've got the zany, 'fun' things you need to know about the White Sox and Twins before that first pitch is thrown. If you want a totally comprehensive version of 'Fun Facts' on Chicago baseball, check this out from ESPN The Magazine. For now, here are ten items on the AL Central powers.
(1) White Sox backup catcher Toby Hall has a soul patch. Apparently, he likes to dye it different colors for various occasions. An example: in 2004, while with the Rays, he dyed it platinum blonde during a 12-game winning streak. (The Rays had a 12-game winning streak in 2004? Wow.)
(2) Twins' RF Michael Cuddyer does magic. Not that Wizards of Waverly Place junk (show is actually addictive), but actual magic. Check it out here! Bonus: he's also one of the baseball players to emerge from Hampton Roads, Virginia.
(3) White Sox P Ehren Wassermann (heck of a name) is from Sylacauga, Alabama (heck of a name). Know who else is from there? Jim Nabors! Yep. Gomer Pyle himself.
(4) Twins CF Denard Span's full name is Keiunta Denard Span. Hard to unearth the meaning of "Keiunta," although this Minneapolis blog notes it as such: "He who temporarily underachieves athletically only to ascend to rapid MLB prominence with funky batting stance and hands quicker than Roy Jones, Jr." Sad note: when he was sent down to the minors to begin the season, Span wept.
(5) White Sox P Clayton Richard, a former Mr. Football and Mr. Baseball in Indiana, had a shot to become the Wolverines QB, but lost out to Chad Henne, now of the Miami Dolphins.
(6) Justin Morneau—who is from British Columbia and played (as the third goaltender) for the Portland Winterhawks in the 1998 Memorial Cup—chose his No. 33 because of Patrick Roy.
(8) Twins CF Carlos Gomez runs a 4.29 40-yard dash according to MLB. (For reference, Darren McFadden ran about that last year at the NFL Combine.) Manager Ron Gardenhire refers to him as "Go-Go."
(9) Mark Buerhle could be the solution to the casual fan's biggest gripe with baseball: the pace. Everyone knows Buerhle works faster than most pitchers, but get this specific example: on April 16, 2005, he pitched against the Mariners and wrapped the game in 1 hour, 39 minutes. If you deduct the time between innings, the contest took 63 minutes to play. Ha.
(10) Tonight's starting pitchers, John Danks for the White Sox and Nick Blackburn for the Twins, will also be diametrically opposed on October 11th: Danks is from Austin and Blackburn is from Ada, Oklahoma. Red River Shootout, indeed. Side note: did you know noted evangelist Oral Roberts was born in Ada? (So was Jeremy Shockey!)