One of the greater privileges I've had in this job isn't just that I get to watch and talk about baseball. It's also that I get to meet some terrific people.
Bill Skowron was one of those people, and his passing Friday leaves a moose-size crater on the broadcast level at the ballpark. (By the way, "Moose" had nothing to do with the animal. Years ago his grandpa told him he looked like Benito Mussolini).
It's not just the broadcast level, though. It's the entire park. And, really, it isn't just the entire park. It's the community as well.
Those who met Moose will never forget him. They couldn't. He left quite the impression.
Never did I miss a chance to introduce somebody new to him because I knew they'd walk away with a story. Probably six of them; one they could tell to a child.
And chances were that even if the Sox won that night, that person's fondest memory of the game would be the few minutes they got to talk to Moose.
He was real, he was funny, and his heart was the size of the ice cream sundae he'd take down every night (trust me it was big. He was 80, man. He earned it).
And he was strong. Moose fought his illness for over a year, and we all knew that eventually this time would come, but it doesn't make it much easier when it gets here.
I'll miss him. We'd each trade 90 Mickey Mantle-signed balls to get him back.
Now, let's get in a question or two:
Q. Is Hector Santiago experiencing growing pains, or is he not ready for the majors?
A. I don't think it's a question that can be answered now. I believe his stuff is good enough, though he needs to get a handle on that screwball and must cut down on the home run frequency.
The test for him will be to see what he does in the next string of save opportunities. It could be that he's just getting settled, and he will be in great shape once he figures it out. Or it could be that he isn't cut out for the job as closer.
Either way, I think it would be shortsighted to dismiss him now. It benefits the Sox to find out what they have in Santiago, which still isn't known yet.
Q. When the Philip Humber moment happens, how does it affect you? What goes into a performance like that?
A. I'm nervous like everyone else is. It was the first time since I've been on the job that a Sox player has done the no-hitter/perfect game thing away from home.
So, it wasn't nearly as electric because you can't feel the crowd buzz. But, I'm toggling between being palm-sweating and trying to make sure we have the appropriate postgame interviews lined up. The real challenge is not in what I do; it's in being on the actual call.
Trust me, those guys are just as excited and they're right in the middle of it. At least I have time to think.
•Chris Rongey is the host of the White Sox pregame and postgame shows on WSCR 670-AM The Score. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisRongey and at chrisrongey.com. Subscriber Total Access members can email him questions each week via our daily newsletters.