Beckham enjoys 'every second'
White Sox prospect relishes first Major League game
CHICAGO -- Thursday's first-game hype has pretty much come to a close, and now baseball truly can begin for Gordon Beckham.
Beckham, the fourth member of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft class to reach the Major Leagues, made his debut against the A's surrounded by a media frenzy usually reserved for a no-hitter or a playoff-caliber matchup. Instead, the plethora of reporters and television crews watched Beckham finish 0-for-3 with one putout at third base during Oakland's 7-0 victory over the White Sox.
Not exactly the perfect finish to otherwise one of the most memorable days in the life of the 22-year-old Atlanta native.
"Obviously having my first game in the big leagues, that's an incredible experience," a drained Beckham said, working on no sleep for the past day. "I enjoyed every second of it, even going 0-for-3 and we lost, 7-0. But tomorrow we need to start winning, for sure."
Wearing No. 15 and hitting eighth, Beckham got his first on-camera moment in the second when he almost collided with pitcher Mark Buehrle going for a Bobby Crosby infield popup. Paul Konerko eventually made the catch, with Buehrle and catcher A.J. Pierzynski both sending a few humorous barbs in Beckham's direction after the fact.
"He was telling me to get out of the way so the King [Konerko] could catch it," said Beckham with a smile, concerning Buehrle's words of wisdom. "That's fine. It's Paul's infield -- whatever he wants to do.
"Buehrle is making fun of me that I can't get to any of the balls I'm diving for. A.J. is throwing curveballs down to me after strikeouts. It was kind of a whirlwind of a day. Those balls were too far to my left or too far to my right. That's the way it goes some time."
Matt Holliday's fourth-inning grounder just got past an outstretched Beckham down the left-field line for a double, while Rajai Davis went to the left of Beckham in the ninth for another double. Beckham caught Davis' spinning liner in the seventh, eluding a broken bat in the process.
But the biggest moment for Beckham came in the second, when he stepped to the plate with runners on first and second and one out. The crowd at U.S. Cellular Field gave a standing ovation to the team's top prospect, before he hit a grounder to third base that resulted in a fielder's choice.
"That was excellent," Beckham said of the crowd response. "I'm here for the fans. That's a great honor for me, for them to give me a standing ovation."
There wasn't much more to cheer about following the ovation, as the White Sox lost their third straight. Beckham did get the first-game jitters behind him, and manager Ozzie Guillen has the chance to push aside the Beckham topic until his first on-field accomplishment.
"I'm not going to sit down every day and answer questions about Beckham, guys, please," Guillen said. "It's like [Diego] Maradona going to the World Cup. It's another player. He had a bad day like everyone else did, but this kid will be all right."
"I think he's a good ballplayer, no matter where you put him in the lineup and the field," said Konerko. "He'll be just fine."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.