With the White Sox playing their first non-exhibition game in Houston since Oct. 26, 2005, I want to take a look back at where the White Sox were eight years ago...and what happened to the two teams since.
June 14, 2005. Diamondbacks 10, White Sox 4
This was a rare clunker in the first half of 2005. Javier Vasquez outdueled his future trade partner Orlando Hernandez, striking out 10 over eight innings of work.
Jermaine Dye got the Sox on the board in the bottom of the second, with a two run homer that scored Paul Konerko.
Troy Glaus led off the top of the fourth with a home run. With two outs and runners on second and third, Royce Clayton hit a bases-clearing double to right center.
Paulie would tie the game with a homer in the bottom of the fourth.
El Duque would give up three runs in the top of the fifth, making the score 6-3. Arizona had the lead and never looked back.
With the loss, the Sox record would fall to 42-22. Their lead in the AL Central would be cut down to four games. The next night, the Sox salvaged the final game of the series with a 12-6 win. They would go on to win the next six (who doesn't remember AJ Pierzynski's walkoff home run against the Dodgers on June 18?). The White Sox would not lose another game until June 25. By that time they were 27 games over .500 and led the AL Central by 10.
We all know what happened next. We can rattle them off like verses in Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire."
Ball bounces off of Grady Sizemore's head
Dropped Third Strike
Four complete games
We have enough self-awareness to know that obsessing over every detail of a long-ago championship season is a meatball activity. It's like Bears fans telling dusty stories of 1985, or Al Bundy recounting the pass that won the Big Game. Eventually, you want something new.
But trips down memory lane are fun. A smile crossed my face as I was looking back at the box scores of games that were played eight Junes ago. I remembered where I was and what I was doing during those memorable Sox moments (I was at a party in Western New York, watching on WGN when A.J. walked off the Dodgers on 1959 Night).
Since the 2005 World Series, the White Sox made the postseason only once. They flirted with the playoffs several times (2006, 2010, 2012). They had two mediocre seasons (2009 and 2011). They had one truly awful season (2007).
The jury is still out on 2013.
The Houston Astros descended into Baseball Hell. They were in the thick of a less-than-stellar NL Central in 2006 (despite winning 82 games, the Astros finished a game and a half behind the Cardinals). They would never sniff the playoffs again. In 2011, the Astros lost 106 games. In 2012, they lost 107. In 2013, they are on pace to do the same.
This weekend, the competitors in the 2005 play as greatly diminished shadows of what they were 8 years ago.