Michael Jordan felt like a nervous rookie and played like one.
Jordan went 0-for-3, barely missing a potential extra-base hit and striking out twice on off-speed pitches. He also dropped a wind-blown fly ball that doomed his team to a 12-7 defeat Thursday in an intrasquad game for the Chicago White Sox.
"Some critics may see it as a setback, but I saw it as an opportunity to go out and see what a baseball game is like," Jordan said.
"It was my first game and I felt nervous and out of my element. Hopefully, I'll get another chance and be a little more comfortable."
White Sox manager Gene Lamont said Jordan will not start today in the exhibition opener against Texas but likely will play in rightfield.
"If he'd gone 3-for-3 or 0-for-5, I don't think it would've made any difference," Lamont said. "It was just a chance for him go out there. He probably hit the hardest ball of the day."
In his first at-bat, facing the fastballs of prospect James Baldwin, Jordan hit a line drive into the gap that leftfielder Warren Newson caught backhanded as he dived.
Jordan, batting sixth, had a tougher time against the pitches of rookies Rod Bolton and Scott Christman. Jordan was called out on a 1-2 sinker by Bolton and swung far ahead of a 2-2 changeup by Christman.
None of the pitchers threw close to him.
Jordan managed three foul balls.
"No hits, but certainly I felt comfortable at the bat," Jordan said. "I saw every pitch. I saw some good ones."
In the fifth inning, Jordan was fooled by the wind. With two outs, two runners on and the score 6-6, Joe Hall sliced a high fly into the 25-mph gusts. Jordan, instructed to play deep, ran in and toward the line, but the ball glanced off his glove, a model specially made by Wilson with his name in it. One run scored. Eventually, eight runs scored in the inning, which included errors by all three outfielders.
"I didn't think I would be able to reach it," Jordan said. "When I did, I was not able to collect myself, and the ball hit the heel of my glove. That was one of those mistakes you don't want to happen because everybody is paying attention to you. I think everybody forgot the centerfielder's and leftfielder's error, but they remember mine. But I realize that."
Because Jordan did not get on base, he did not get to show his speed. He caught a routine fly in the sixth but did not get to test his arm.
Many in the crowd of 1,736 left after Jordan's second strikeout. Some fans stopped on their way out at a Nike van selling Jordan-related items. The regular souvenir stand at Ed Smith Stadium does not have anything bearing his name or picture.
1st: Line-drive out to left-centerfield.
2nd: Struck out looking at 1-2 sinker.
3rd: Struck out swinging at 2-2 changeup.