October 25, 2005
It is imperative that I watch one World Series game with my parents. So even though it is a week night, and I have to work in the morning, I drive the 90 miles south. I will spend the night, and get up early, which I hate doing, but hello - World Series.
My father took a week’s vacation for the occasion. He is on the day shift, so in theory he could have watched all the games anyway. But he didn’t want to risk getting called for overtime. What good is putting in 25 years at a company if you can’t use that extra vacation time to watch the World Series?
He and Mom have the fire pit going on the patio and the TV on. This seems like the game in which the Astros finally get the White Sox, as we’re down 0-4 after four. But then the Sox put together a five spot in the fifth.
We have to come inside mid-game because of the rain. So it is that I find myself on the sofa, falling asleep then waking up then falling asleep again then waking up again through 14 innings. I miss the 13th inning entirely, so after the Geoff Blum home run and Chris Widger insurance RBI, I ask Dad which of the Sox pitchers is in line for the win. Nothing could shock me more when he says, “Two words: Damaso and Marte.”
Mark Buerhle makes a remarkable appearance to get the last out of the game, and my father starts buzzing - almost literally - around the room.
“Laura, the White Sox are going to win the World Series! They’re actually going to do it. I didn’t really believe it before, but now - now I think they’re going to win the World Series!”
He is hepped up like a kid who ate an entire bag of Snickers.
October 26, 2005
The morning comes early. I have an email from Chris, my bi-Soxual (his word) Cub fan friend, that contains one word: “Unstoppable.”
The day is long, I am tired, and I cannot concentrate on work. The anticipation for Game 4 is killing me.
That night, I am in a truly random bar. I have never been here before; my date chose it. It’s not on the South Side, but there are enough other Sox fans in attendance to make the atmosphere lively.
Both Freddy Garcia and Brandon Backe are pitching like their lives depend on it. The Sox get eight hits, but no two in the same inning. The Astros load the bases in the sixth, but there are two outs already, and Freddy pitches out of it.
Joe Crede is diving everywhere at third base, causing Joe Buck to exclaim, “Brooks Robinson, what are we seeing here?”
Then, in the top of the eighth, closer Brad Lidge, he of the Scottie walk-off, comes in to the game. Willie Harris, pinch-hitting for Garcia, greets him with a single. Podsednik comes to the plate, and I wonder if Lidge is having flashbacks. No home run this time, but Scottie does sacrifice Harris to second. Carl Everett strikes out, and there are two outs. JD comes to the plate. “Come on, Jermaine, make me love you.” For the first time this year, I don’t shout this, but say it as a command, a mantra.
Single up the middle, Sox lead 1-0.
I am on my feet for the final two innings, and as the bottom of the ninth unfolds, I am hopping up and down, my hands on the back of the high-boy chair. A single to lead off, and a sacrifice that gets the Astros runner into scoring position. A fly ball deep into foul territory that Juan Uribe tracks and tracks and dives into the stands after. He pops up triumphantly with the ball in his glove. Bobby Jenks gives an enthusiastic pump of his fist. I am jumping higher now, and the bartender says to my date, “Your girlfriend is awesome.”
No, the White Sox are awesome.
On a 1-2 count, Bobby gets a ground ball from Orlando Palmiero. It is weak, but exactly where-they-ain’t. This is an infield hit, I think, as Jenks attempts to grab it over his head. But Uribe is charging, he scoops it up, and throws it to Konerko at first. Paulie pauses for a nanosecond as he waits for the ump to call the out. Then his arms are in the air, triumphantly, and there is a pile of players on the mound.
I run outside. It is softly raining, so I duck under a nearby awning and pull out my phone.
As I dial, I glance to my left and see 8-10 guys, all lined up under the awning, all dialing their phones.
“Are we all out here calling our dads?” I ask the guy closest to me.
He shrugs. “That’s what I’m doing.”
* * *
I talk to Mom first, then Dad, who tells me about the scene at their house: “Your Uncle Dale even hugged me.”
I stay up late, watching highlights. I have just fallen asleep when my phone rings around 3 a.m. It is Dad.
“Well, we celebrated at home, then Dale and Betty left, and your mother went to bed. So I rode my bike to the bar uptown, and found some other Sox fans and celebrated with them. Then I came home and watched the highlights again.”
He pauses for a moment. “Oh, I didn’t realize how late it was. Did I wake you?”
No worries, Dad.