Greatest Day of My Life

Well they did it. The Chicago White Sox won the World Series for the first time since 1917. It still hasn’t registered. I still can’t believe it. But how fantastic. Bellow is a shorter running diary of the night for me. But before I go to that...

I’m not sure when it hit, that this year was going to be a magical year. Back in February I decided that I would do a journal, a year long journal of the 2005 Season. I think I got about two or three entries into it before I gave up. Here was my first one:
Saturday, February 26, 2005

This is the last weekend with no baseball for eight months. Unbelievable when you think about how long the season is, from spring training to the early days of the season to the Dog Days of Summer to the pennate race all the way to October. The season that covers all four of the seasons here in Chicago.

Hope springs internal, or so they say. Baseball does also, I sit here in late February and into March and beginning to believe that the Sox may just actually make the playoffs and then after that, who knows. But it’s that hope... that desire of hope that hits me every year around this time. I find myself answering what if questions about the Sox. I find myself hearing a bird chirp and think of warm weather. It’s sort of infectious, like hearing Michael Jackson or Marvin Gaye or any ole’ dance song and the only thing that you want to do is go out, drink, dance, and find a girl. Lust. And if spring is lust, then the White Sox are a drug.

And I don’t mean alcohol or caffeine. I’m talking about heroin.

The White Sox are heroin.
So maybe I over stated my case a little bit back in late February, but at the same time, I never thought that the Sox were going to win it. They had too many “ifs” and question marks. But it all worked. Everything came together. Iguchi was more than solid at second. Uribe became a legitimate gold glove short stop. Crede found himself, especially in October. Konerko was Paulie getting big hit after big hit. Nothing may ever top the grand slam he hit in Game Two. Dye quietly went about his business. Rowand, despite a disappointing season at the plate, continued to amaze in center. Pods was the highlight of the first half, getting on base and seemingly stealing second every time and scoring like a machine. And then the pitching. We watched Garland put it all together. Buehrle was Buehrle battling and being his consistent self. Garcia seemed to be fortten in the mix because of Garland, Buehrle, and the two Cubans, El Duque and Contreras. And what a second half Contreras had, becoming the stopper for this staff and putting together all his talent and pitches and turning himself into one of the best in the majors. And then there was the bullpen with it’s seeming less endless supply of arms, including Bobby Jenks called up in July and taking over the closers roll by September.

And then Ozzie. Who learned from his mistakes from last year and kept his amazing ability to handle pitchers. Ozzie handles pitchers probably better than any other manager in the game today. He did an amazing job with all the arms and the team in general. And in the process he became huge in Chicago. If he keeps it up, he’ll approach Ditka like status.

It all worked, every player and almost every move… they all worked. And this was our year.

By the end of April I started thinking about October. By May I realized that they were going to be playing in October. In June I grew to enjoy every second of it. By July I learned to cherish every pitch. By August I couldn’t wait till October. By September I forced myself to remain hopeful despite the Indians run. And this month I’ve watched with nervousness and joy, trying to capture all my feelings and emotions.

And the Sox did it. They won it all and I don’t have to wonder what it’s like any longer. I’ve experience. And it was wonderful. I’ll tackle what it all means another day… for now, this is how last night broke down. I didn’t start till the fifth because we were playing poker (I was watching the game) and if I would have done it from the top, this would be about 5,000 words… enjoy. I know I did. (And I like BC tonight).

10:12 – What a play by Crede, he makes a nice fielding play on a hit and run, goes to second to get Ausmus and they get the double play in the bottom of the fifth. Now two outs.

10:16 – We finally have our well-pitched game of the series! It’s 0-0 here in the top of the 6th.

10:21 – Chris Meyers just informed us that the World Series is being broadcast in 220 countries, or something like that. That’s pretty cool. Let me see if I can find an article on the World Series in the Guardian.

10:23 – With George and Barbara Bush behind the plate I’ve been wondering what do they talk about? Money? Politics? What to get W for Christmas? And what do they say about W? Would they ever say something like “well you know how stubborn he can be” or “remember how poorly he did in English” or “We should never have had that child.”

10:26 – Found an article on the Guardian’s website! It’s from Reuters but hey, I’ll take it. http://sport.guardian.co.uk/americansports/story/0,,1594547,00.html

10:29 – Berkman walks and Morgan Ensberg steps to the plate. I’m a little worried here. Meanwhile McCarver is freaking out about the lack of the lead that Taveras is taking off first and now second.

10:36 – Sox put Lamb on to load the bases and Jason Lane steps to the plate…the Astros haven’t had a hit with a runner in scoring position in about 15 at bats or something.

10:39 – Let me say I’m sick of all these crowd shots. Really. I can’t take it any more. They show at least four different fans between pitches. I feel like I’m on a roller coaster.

10:41 – Freddy gets Lane swinging to end the inning. On to the seventh and still no score.

10:43 – Cool! The cigars I bought are called Garcia Y Vega or something like that. That’s a good sign though right?

10:46 – I’m sorry but there is no way that Berkman’s head is natural. That is the biggest head I’ve ever seen.

10:48 – You know what would be cool? If Backe would make a mistake. In fact Backe looks like he’s the white brother of the one and only Carlos Zambrano right now dancing around the mound and talking to either himself or the Ghost of Jimmy Piersall.

10:52 – Crede rips one off the wall in left for a double and he just missed it. Rowand goes to third. Oh how sweet would that have been if it had left the yard.

10:54 – Oh shit, they just showed a replay of Rowand slowing up going from first to second on Crede’s double apparently thinking there was only one out (there were two outs). If he was running the entire way he might have scored. I really hope that doesn’t cost the Sox.

10:56 – With my heart fluttering, Uribe is down 2-1 in the count right now. It’s amazing how much this game means to me. And Uribe strikes out as Backe dances off the mound like a girl. And to make matters worse, I’ve got to listen to “God Bless America” instead of the All American song “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”. Maybe if Ray Charles was singing the song I could deal with it. But no, it’s Lyle Lovett. Would it kill FOX and baseball to actually sing an unique American song? Would it kill them?

11:04 – Pods makes an awkward diving catch in left. As he dives to make the catch his knee creates a huge divot in the grass and that could have torn up his knee. But he looks fine. Bagwell to pitch hit for Backe. Thank you Phil!

11:07 – Bagwell grounds out to second and the inning is over. On to the 8th! I’m in a good mood I might add.

11:11 – Let’s Make a Wish! I’ve made mine and Willie Harris leads off for the White Sox. Garica’s night is done. Lidge pitching now for the Astros. Come on Willie. Backe is pacing the dugout making him either the most high-strung person in baseball or on drugs. I’m going with drugs.

11:12 – Ozzie can do no wrong. Harris singles to lead off the inning. I’m sending him here. And here comes Pods who last time he faced Lidge went yard.

11:13- Pods bunts Harris to second. How about a base hit here Iguchi. Whatdyasay? Wait, what’s this? It’s Carl Everett to pitch hit for Iguchi! Nice call. I like this move.

11:15 – Everett grounds out to second. I would have gone with keeping Iguchi. Dye up now and he’s had a nice night and a very nice series.

11:16 – Dye singles!!! It’s 1-0 White Sox!!!! Willie Harris scores after that huge lead off single. YESSSSSS!!!!

11:18 – I still can’t believe that Willie Harris singled off Lidge to get this started. I’m just floored. And Dye singles him home… Six outs… Six outs… Konerko strikes out. So here we go.

11:23 – Politte in for the White Sox to face Biggio to start the 8th who quickly goes down 0-2. Deep Breaths.

11:24 – Oh no. A ball falls between AJ and Crede in foul territory. I’m officially very nervous. Biggio gets a second life and that’s never good.

11:25 – As soon as I said that, Biggio grounds out to Uribe. One out. Five to go. And that crisis averted.

11:26 – Taveras is up. My heart is racing and I have to tell my self to take deep breaths.

11:27 – Taveras is hit by a pitch in the hand and the Houston crowd is… silent. This is the most pitiful performance by a stadium full of fans ever. I’m not even kidding. These people won’t cheer anything. I’d be embarrassed if I was from Houston right now.

11:29 – A wild pitch moves Taveras to second. Oh no. Berkman being put on here.

11:32 – Ensberg flies into right center and Rowand gets to the ball. Taveras goes to third. And here is a huge at bat. Cotts is coming on to face Lamb. And now it’s time to ask, what will Phil do? And shouldn’t Phil be happy that one of his players didn’t brutally beat him after that press conference last night basically placing all the blame on his team and throwing them in front of the bus?

11:36 – Cotts is in and Phil did lift Lamb for Vizcaino, maybe the best move Garner has made this Series which isn’t saying much.

11:37 – A slow roller… Cotts can’t get it… oh shit… Uribe gets there… this play is taking forever… he throws… and Vizcaino is out! THREE MORE OUTS! YEAH!!

11:40 – My oh my. I can’t believe this. And here is a very clear and audible “Let’s Go White Sox” in Houston. And the Houston fans don’t even try to drown them out. What a sorry bunch of fans. Lidge still in to face AJ.

11:42 – AJ doubles to lead off the inning. Brandon Lidge’s career is dieing in front of a nations eyes over the past week or so.

11:43 – Is there anything better than when the replay shows that McCarver is an idiot. This happens all the time to Paul McGuire also, but he never admits to being wrong. McGuire will say one thing, say take a look at this, the replay is shown and it shows McGuire to be wrong, but he sticks to his guns and keeps talking about his original point. At least McCarver will say, “well maybe it wasn’t as close as I thought.”

11:44 – Rowand bunts with two strikes and it goes foul and he’s out. Just a horrible decision. These guys won’t let me enjoy this. They have to do something stupid.

11:47 – I would say that there are 4,000 White Sox fans there, 3,000 Astro fans, and about 35,000 people who are just happy to be there.

11:48 – Uribe grounds out and we are three outs from the World Series. I think I’m having a panic attack. Oh my God.

11:51 – Bobby Jenks on to close this out. Let’s go Bobby! And his first pitch is 98 mph.

11:53 – Lane flairs a ball to center and it falls in. Lead off man on. Damn it. Ausmus up.

11:54 – Ausmus bunts Lane over to second. One out. Man on second. TWO MORE OUTS.

11:56 – Burke pitch hits for Everett and goes even 2-2…


11:58 – One…. More…. Out… Oh…. My… Lord…

11:59 – Come on… Come on…

12:00 – One more strike. Deep Breaths.

12:01 - Uribe charges…he gets it… and throws to first… AND THE CHICAGO WHITE SOX ARE THE WORLD CHAMPS!!!! ANOTHER GREAT PLAY FROM URIBE!!!!

12:04 – What a feeling. WE are WORLD CHAMPS!!!!

12:11 – I’ve been calling friends and been getting calls… crazy. Awesome. And it got a little misty at one point. But it’s all good.

12:15 – Someone in a bar on the South Side just dropped an F-Bomb on WGN! THIS IS FANTASTIC!!!!

12:18 – There is Ozzie with the trophy on FOX. Amazing!

12:21 – This is unbelievable. Just amazing. They did it! They WON!!!

12:26 – Buck is giving us props saying that this was a team effort and that it was everyone who played a part in winning. All 25 players were as important as the next player. They are the World Series Winners!!!! They DID IT!!! YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!

12:34 – As Ozzie talks on WGN and they show fans going nuts… I mean 88 years of losing is over… I’m playing Etta James’ “At Last”. 1917… it no longer exists. Now it’s all about 2005. Amazing. My team… the team I’ve lived and died with… the team that I’ve given my heart and should too has won… amazing. This is great. At Last.

12:45 – The calls, the IMs, it’s all flowing in… this is great. We are winners. The trophy is ours. No more thinking about 1917. No more last time in the Series being 1959. No more worrying about the Sox not winning it before my Dad or uncles die. No more of that. Wow. I love it. Cigars are lit… champagne going down… A little Journey on the iTunes… WGN on TV… this is BLISS!!!

12:54 – It’s Lee Stern on TV!!! I know that guy!!! How cool!!! This is just fantastic. This team did it all. And they’ve won it. They won it all. No losing. No more of any of that. Just us. We are the Champs. Someone said that the Red Sox, in their path to winning it all, had to beat the Yankees and they did. Well we had to beat the Cubs to winning it all. And we did. And here’s to the Cubs winning next year. I’m serious. I’m rooting for the Cubs next year. Well not really, but you know what I mean. They should be able to experience this. Well now that we’ve won it all… go Cubs. No one should not experience this.

12:59 – I’m watching fans gathering at US Cellular Field… there are probably thousands of fans there. THIS IS SO AWESOME!!!!

1:08 – Pete Gammons just called the 2005 White Sox one of the best teams of the modern era with the ’84 Tigers, ’89 A’s, and ’99 Yankees (though I think he meant ’98 Yankees). And you know what… he might be right. This team just won. Sure in August they had some troubles, but this team was such a good teams. They had great starting pitching. They had a very good bullpen. They had good hitting. And they’ve got a very very very good manager. This team didn’t have any major holes and that’s why they are WORLD CHAMPIONS!!!!

1:16 – Buehrle just talked about the city of Chicago… WE WON!!! No more 1959 or 1917 and in a way no more 1945 or 1908. In a way this was just as good for the entire city. Oh Mark Buehrle rocks… just made a joke about Coors Lite and Wheaties… now that was funny.

1:19 – As they show Sox fans on the street celebrating they try to talk about how this is for all of Chicago, as I was trying to say… and then there is a fan on the street with a shirt that says “CUBS SUCK!” Classic.

1:22 – Wow there are people that work for WGN that may be fired soon for cheering on the White Sox. WE ARE WORLD SERIES CHAMPS!!!! WE DID IT!!! WE WON IT ALL!!! I’ve been dreaming for this day for years… I mean years. After 1993, when I was 12 and watched Game One of the ALCS and the Sox lose and Jordan retire the next day… I think that’s when I started to realize how long it had been. I mean that is when it really registered in my young mind. By the time I as in college, I realized that we might never win. That today may never happen. I dreamed of this day, I dreamed of how I would act. What it would feel like. And in a way it’s nothing and everything like I expected. The joy, the relief, the bliss, the joy and thankfulness, what a great feeling.

1:26 – “Remember this in January when it’s 0 degrees and the snow is falling… remember we have the Chicago White Sox.” I couldn’t have said it any better. We have the Chicago White Sox.

The 2005 Chicago White Sox…
World Series Champions

1 comment:

Ilk said...

Jimmy Piersall is still very much alive, Otter.