Thursday, October 27, 2005

The 2005 Defending Champs

For one quick second, it was as if someone channeled the spirits of 2004, as the ball from the bat of Orlando Palmeiro skipped back to the mound and all of the sudden I could see Keith Foulke, in Bobby Jenks’s place, grabbing the ball and tossing it to the waiting first baseman, Paul Konerko or Doug Mientkiewicz as he may be, to end the ballgame and the World Series. Then the ball bounced over Jenks’s head, reality snapped back into place and quick action by Juan Uribe at shortstop did the job, nailing Palmeiro at first by a half step and ending the second longest championship drought in baseball.

Before the final batter came to the plate, I stared up at my wall, where I’ve assembled a framed collection of memorabilia from last season. A collage of articles from USA Today, my 2004 playoff bracket, a print of David Ortiz launching a bomb from the Boston Globe, all taped to poster board. A photograph of Jason Varitek leaping into Keith Foulke’s arms, framed with a ticket V-tek signed for my sister back in 1999. I remembered how good it felt to see the end of that last game against the Cardinals, how good it still feels. Every White Sox fan across the world can now feel the euphoria and joy and overwhelming satisfaction that comes with finally, finally, finally getting the ultimate baseball prize, the pride of saying your team is the championship team. I’d say enjoy it, but I know you’ll all treasure it for years to come. Congratulations, Chicago – you’re on top for 2005.