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Monday, October 17, 2005

White Sox Take The American League Pennant 4-1 in 6-3 Comeback Bombing

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Da White Sox. American League Champions. 2005



Yes, it has finally happened. The dream has become real. The Chicago White Sox have won the American League 2005 Championship Pennant and are resting up for the World Series starting Saturday at White Sox Park at 35th and Shields.

Many of you from other cities have heard over and over by now that this is the first time since 1959 that the Chicago White Sox have won the American League Championship Pennant. But this statistic is meaningless unless you let it sink in and think about how many Chicagoans it has affected and on such a visceral level for most, if not all of their lives.

Chicago, the region, but especially the city is a proud city, full of many accomplishments that make it one of the nation's finest cities. But for sports fans, especially those born on the South Side since about 1957, too young to remember the last World Series in 1959 at all, there has always been a little crack in the armour, a little soreness deep in a corner of the heart, a little unfilled spot, where year after year October would come and go without a White Sox pennant and often without a season of any kind to be greatful for.

We took a perverse pride in it of course and still do. If you were from the South Side and really grew up here you were a Sox fan. That was it. I was told that by both of my Grandfathers who made a point of taking my brother and I to old Comiskey park as soon as we no longer needed diaper changes and could manage to eat a hot dog and coke without a bib for one reason, one very important reason, to make very clear to us, that we were South Siders and therefore, sine qua non, we were White Sox Fans.

My dad's father was particularly urgent about the matter as his father had been around when the team started playing in the first place. This was not just a matter of geography, though that was the argument he used, as I grew older I came to understand that it was a matter of family legacy and honor. We need not be season ticket holders and we need not hate the Cubs, after all, we were Chicagoans with a capital "C" but, we were SOX fans before anything else in baseball.

Of course, they both took religion MUCH more seriously than baseball. That should tell you something. But they both loved the White Sox too. After all, a God of infinate love has room for love of the White Sox too, true?

A Matter of Faith

One has to wonder if the perpetual White Sox losses had something to do with the incredible number of prayers the team generated each season, season after season after season. I have no idea myself how many came from me each year over the years.

But if there is such a thing as prayer energy that pleases God. Wow! The problems of the Chicago White Sox have had to have been the motherlode of prayer. Maybe we just had too many other good things going for us what with not having hurricanes and giant floods, yes, we had a small one downtown but it could have been lots worse, and no plauges of locusts and whatnot. Perhaps the fates of the Chicago White Sox and the Chicago Cubs were just the price we've been paying for all of the other wonderful things we have here.

Or maybe this is God's way of making up for Macy's buying Marshall Fields. Perhaps some Field family legacy has always been in the way all these years and now its gone.
Or maybe the White Sox management finally spent enough money on the right players and hired a brilliant and charismatic Team Manager who is going to make the Chicago White Sox look like the old New York Yankees.

Of course, we still have the World Series ahead of us.

I am trying very hard to maintain the same semblance of old time Sox "be wary, be very wary, disaster could strike at any moment so be prepared, you remember what happened last season, but things look good now so let's be positive, but not too positive, because you've been crushed so many times you can hardly stand it, but man can they play baseball, and everyone knows that the National League teams are pathetic so this should be a cakewalk, but.....". But it is very hard to do with these White Sox.

The team is just too good. Da Sox.

It used to be that you could single out a name or two, and of course Crede comes to mind. But the truth is his name is easy to spell when I'm tired and the fact is that the pitching is incredible and the whole team is playing nearly perfect ball against other teams doing the same thing. Many of the Sox teams I remember watching in my youth would have been murdered by the Angels of 2005. Yes, there were many individual players who were great and fun to watch, but this, this is a TEAM.

Wow. With this much heat on, they are amazing to watch.

In some ways it is like seeing the Chicago Bulls, but instead of one Michael Jordon you have 3 or 4 pitching, 4 to 5 batting, and nearly everyone fielding, and then the rest are playing like Scotty Pippen. And the magic part is that you never know WHO will surface to make the amazing pitch, play, steal, hit, or run to first after the third strike.

Now all I have to do is wait for the Cardinals and Astros to play out as many games as possible. With a little luck they will go to game 7 that will run to 24 innings.

Well, there is supposed to be some comedy in here somewhere.

Speaking of comedy, for those who missed it Monday night, with two outs and one strike to go before the Astros could make dinner reservations all over Chicago, the St. Louis Cardinals' Albert Pujols paid back 43,000 Texans for sticking us with George W. Bush by smacking a 3-run homer to push the Cardinals to a 5-4 victory over Huston. Game Six here we come.


The ultimate for me would be for it to be a Chicago White Sox vs. the St. Louis Cardinals World Series. With games five and a half hours away by car the ramp up in excitement would lead to an amazing battle like none the Midwest Baseball scene has observed in a long, long time.

I have heard it said that Sox vs. Cardinals would be an "easier win" for Chicago and Sox vs. Astros would be "better baseball". I don't agree. I just think that there is something classic about a Sox-Cardinals match up.

I have a reason for putting this photo up, Steve. Not to embarrass you further, I know you are a really nice guy who caught a bad break and I hope you get a book out soon about your experiences to make up for all the extra attention you've had to deal with.

I just want to say to everyone in Chicago.

DON'T DO THIS!
KEEP YOUR HANDS INSIDE THE FIELD PLEASE!


Tank you berry much. I feel much better.


Note to Mr. Lorne Michaels of Saturday Night Live.

I am sure that your team is working hard on your show this week (which will not be another re-run much as I enjoy David Spade's work) and has the amazing novelty of having the Chicago White Sox starting in the World Series the same day. Gee I wonder if John Goodman or Jim Belushi will be seen sneaking around your studios that night?

Da Sox!

Anyway, I had this thought about a dream skit where some die-hard Cubs Fans kidnap Steve H(B)artman (who reached for and caught the foul ball in Game Six of the 2003 National League Pennant Championship that Moses Alou was tring to catch) and tell H(B)artman he has only one way to redeem himself for interfering with the Cubs waltz to the World Series. They present him with front row tickets in the same approximate seats he sat in at Wrigley for all 7 games of the World Series.

All he has to do is sit in them for each and every game of the World Series and try to interfere, with, the special glove that they will provided him with.

They then drag in a giant 20 foot foam glove which takes up half the stage.

H(B)artman asks "But do I help the Sox win or lose"?

At that one of them says "You mean you don't know?" and the psycho music comes up in the background with red lights and he screams "Nooooooo, you have to teeeellll meee!"

At which they start laughing.

Blackout.


Well, I think it would be a pretty funny sketch anyway. Perhaps you could even hire Steve to play himself, now that would be funny.

Another funny sketch would be ghosts of players Chicago "almost wins" past and their fans, except that since there are so few of them, it would be a really short sketch. Though you could exaggerate how long its been since the Sox won by having Lincoln as one of the fans.

I put the photo in for another reason.

Notice that at the moment of the shot, Steve is looking up at the ball and cannot see Moses. Notice also that at this instant in time when he is reaching for it, the ball seems to have already passed the point where Moses can catch it, so at least from this angle it appears that there is no way that Moses could have caught the ball, Bartman or no. Notice also that while one or two have now noticed Moses, right behind Bartman there are any number of others zooming in for the ball.

My memories of the shot from the screen were that for 100 feet on either side nearly everyone was lurching to grab it. He was the unlucky one. Besides, if the game had been more tightly played it would not have been an issue. No game can really be weighed on a single play, although it can appear that a single play is decisive. The fact is, you cannot have a three run homer in the ninth unless two other players get on base and let the big hitter get into the batters box when he should not have. And, it would not have mattered (back to the Cubs) if the Cubs pitching could have controlled what followed or managing had switched pitchers in time. Ah hindsight.

These things are why baseball strategy is so akin to chess with dice.


Brewski and Brats Break


All right, I've been writing for an hour now and I am still reeling with it all. This is a staggering moment for me. One that has taken me a few days to put into words and I still can't quite get it all together.

White Sox. World Series. 46 years of waiting are over. OK, technically it was a little less than that for me because while I was alive, I do not really remember the 1959 playoffs. Still, I've been waiting since I knew what a base is.

Let's give a little prayer that the White Sox make it home this time.

Peter

P.S. One of my out of town friends was not sure whether he could root for the White Sox because they were such a good team and he always rooted for the underdogs.

I wrote back "They haven't won a pennant since 1959, and a World Series since before WWI, how much more 'under' does your dog have to be?"

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1 Comments:

Blogger Levois said...

I was a Sox fan until they were ruined after the strike. If the Sox can really make it all the way, I'd really be happy to express Sox pride like I haven't done in years. Up until about now I was a Cubs fan. :(

10/18/2005 7:05 PM  

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