Watching the MLB playoffs these past few weeks, I found myself thinking about how wonderful it was not so many years ago—2005—when the White Sox played magnificent baseball all through the playoffs and World Series. It all came together at the right time, and, with a few breaks along the way, a storybook October was written!
And it all began against the perennial tough guys, the Boston Red Sox, the defending World Series champs and American League wild-card winners. Many of us thought that the White Sox were very lucky to be where they were. But, as they say, sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. In this case, though, the Sox were both.
For instance, in the ALDS against the heavily favored Boston Red Sox, Scott Podsednik hit his first home run of the season to clinch the win in game 1. In game 2, with the White Sox trailing, 4-2, second baseman Tony Graffanino (former Sox player) let a potential inning-ending double play ball go through his legs, allowing the next batter, Tadahito Iguchi, to hit a three-run shot sealing the win for the White Sox.
And then it was on to Boston where the tension really was front and center, especially in the bottom half of the 6th inning and the White Sox clinging (in traditional White Sox fashion!) to a one-run lead and the bases loaded and nobody out. Crafty Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez came on and performed one of the greatest pitching performances I have ever witnessed, getting the first two batters to pop up, and then striking out the always-dangerous Johnny Damon. At that point, I knew that something special was going on and perhaps even more than we could conceive in our wildest dreams. And then rookie fireballing reliever, Bobby Jenks, entered and closed out the game and the celebrating began.
Of course, there was no way at that time to realize that good things had only just begun, and that there would be a boatload of nail-biting moments yet to come. My son and I, watching in our garage, went crazy at the conclusion of that game. I literally danced in the street outside our home. The White Sox would next face the Angels in the ALCS, but for the moment, nothing was more important than relishing the sweep over those Red Sox from Bean Town, ESPN’s darlings!
It was the first leg of a very magical post-season run, and I loved it all while out there in the street cavorting about like some insane maniac. I guess I truly was, and it really felt wonderful!
See you at the ballpark…