KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- On the eve of the 2011 White Sox home opener, manager Ozzie Guillen was asked what will be the best game in town Thursday.
“It should be Bulls-Celtics,” Guillen said about the key NBA game at the United Center on Thursday evening.
Then call the White Sox’s afternoon matchup with the Tampa Bay Rays the warm up to the main event. Not to be a party pooper, but Guillen can do without the pomp and circumstance.
“Opening Day is always a pain in the butt,” Guillen said. “There’s always stuff around there. It’s almost the most overrated thing. But it’s always nice for the fans. This day is for the fans. To me it’s just another game, just thank God you have another year in the big leagues. But I think the fans should be excited. I really like this ballclub. I think the fans out there they should like this ballclub.”
After eight previous seasons in the major leagues, Edwin Jackson said this will be the first home opener he’s ever started. Jackson (1-0, 3.00 ERA) will square off against the Rays’ David Price (0-1, 5.14).
“When you start the season on the road, it’s like Opening Day all over again [at home], first game in front of the home crowd,” Jackson said. “It’s a lot of excitement, a lot of adrenalin going throughout the stands. It’s always great to be able to take the field for the first time in front of the home crowd.”
The biggest cheers were expected to be reserved for Mark Buehrle, Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn. But after Dunn went through an appendectomy late Tuesday night, he won’t be playing and it isn’t known if he will be on the field for player introductions.
As late as November of last year, Konerko didn’t even know if he would be there either. He received a rousing sendoff last season before heading into free agency then signed a three-year $37.5 million deal with the White Sox in December.
“Thinking back to last year, I didn’t know where I’d be, and I didn’t necessarily think I wouldn’t be there,” Konerko said. “I just didn’t know. So you definitely remember and cherish them but it is just another game and the best thing we can do is show up 3-2 tomorrow. So let’s try to get this one today.’’
Konerko is a little more sentimental than Guillen when it comes to the home opener.
“Home openers are always special,” Konerko said. “You remember every Opening Day, you remember every home opener, at least I do from every year. Other than getting to the playoffs, that will be the only time all year that it has that feel.”
White Sox legend Minnie Minoso will throw out the first pitch while Grammy nominee and CMT Music Award winner Chris Young will sing the National Anthem.
So when all the noise and pageantry of the White Sox game is done, Guillen is certain to show up at the United Center, right?
"They asked me to go to the game and I said ‘No,'" Guillen said. "I don’t want to be around people when the season starts. I’m rooting for the Bulls big time. It’s a good ballclub, but I’d rather sit home and relax. As soon as the [White Sox] games start I don’t like to do stuff."