An Entire City Celebrates the Sox

Eighty-eight years of waiting are over! Chicago celebrates.

Plenty has been spoken of in recent years regarding droughts and curses in baseball. From the Bambino to the goat. From Bill Buckner to Steve Bartman. But amongst the discussions of the Chicago Cubs and the Boston Red Sox, you rarely, if ever, heard a peep about the Chicago White Sox.

 

If asked who had the longest dry spells in baseball, almost all would reply with Cubs and the Red Sox. But, until last Fall, the reality was that the White Sox had one more year of frustration than the Red Sox, having last won the World Series in 1917 compared to Boston's 1918. Yes, the two longest droughts belonged to the two teams from the city of Chicago - with the Cubs carrying the undesirable title of the biggest losers not having won a World Championship since 1908.

 

Well, 2004 was the year of the Red Sox. After an amazing comeback in the ALCS against the dreaded New York Yankees, the Red Sox "reversed the curse" of the Bambino and swept the St. Louis Cardinals for the World Championship. It was their first title in 86 years. They were a team on a mission, and by the time the Cards met up with them, there was little that could be done to keep the Red Sox from their date with destiny and baseball history.

 

Similar to the season the Red Sox enjoyed last year, 2005 was the year of the White Sox. It was the South Side Chicago team that was on a mission all season long. From their early season dominance, to their strong stance down the stretch in keeping Cleveland at bay and finishing the season with 99 wins. They were relentless. From their impressive sweep of the defending World Champions in the Division Series to their pitching domination of the Los Angeles Angels in the League Championship Series. There was nothing stopping this White Sox team in 2005. Not even the streaking Houston Astros with their buzzing bees and intimidating pitching staff could keep this team reaching their date with destiny and baseball history.

 

Yes, after eighty-eight long years, Chicago has a World Champion in baseball.

 

And though the 2005 World Series ended with the White Sox sweeping the Astros, every game was a nail-biter. This championship didn't come easy for the players or their fans as evidenced by just six runs being the combined difference maker in the four games. Houston fought until the bitter end. But when it came time to step up and get the job done, the White Sox made better on their opportunities than the Astros did. Now the Sox are the champions because of it, and the team and their fans deserve every bit of it.

 

Growing up on the South Side of Chicago and even attending high school in the shadows of Comiskey Park, most people are surprised to find that I'm a Cubs fan, not a White Sox fan. I can't really explain it other than to say I somehow got the Cubs fan gene from my dad instead of the White Sox fan gene from my mom.

 

Heading into the World Series, I thought I would be pulling whole-heartedly for the Houston Astros. Driven mostly by selfish feelings and the thought that misery loves company, the idea of the White Sox celebrating a World Championship was just dreadful. I could just imagine all the razzing that would come from those friends and family, mom included, who were Sox fans. But once the series began, I have to admit that something came over me. As I watched the White Sox play, it became impossible to cheer against them. And before I knew it, I was proudly watching what was transpiring on the big stage. It no longer became a Cubs or Sox thing. It was a Chicago thing.

 

The 2005 White Sox team represented everything that is good about baseball, and more importantly, Chicago. And they were showcasing it in front of the entire world.

 

Quite simply, the Chicago White Sox worked hard. They hustled. They got up and went to work everyday. They played as a team, and they supported each other no matter what happened along the way. If there has ever been a baseball team that truly reminded me of sweet home Chicago, it was this 2005 Sox team.

 

With the White Sox bringing home a championship before the Cubs, I know I am going to get plenty of flack from those friends and family who have been long-time Sox fans (it has already started). But I'll deal with it. And the rest of the Cub Nation will have to deal with it too.

 

2004 was the year the Boston Red Sox had their date with destiny. And now we know that 2005 was the year the Chicago White Sox had theirs. Will 2006 be the year the Chicago Cubs end their drought? Now is not the time. A different team is standing center stage, and they've rightfully earned it. Yes, I am proud of this White Sox team and join the entire city of Chicago in celebrating their World Championship. Congrats!

 

Got comments? Sound off to pete@petekhazen.com

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