Sox in five.
Those words were muttered, shouted, and spoken in silent nods throughout Chicago last night, as 40,000 White Sox fans left the ballpark and scattered like messengers spreading a baseball gospel. An affirming nod from a stranger on the Red Line, wearing a Sox hat. Sox in five, she says. An old man steps out of a shadowed doorway and asks for some change. ”Sox win?” he asks in a graveled voice, seeing my jersey. Yep. Sox in five. It was chanted in hoarse and dulcet tones in old bars and taverns, some well past closing time, echoing into empty streets. Sox in five.
There was energy in the park last night, you say? Water is wet. The sky is blue. The Daleys are crooks. The only way the crowd could’ve been more amped is if the White Sox installed twin tesla coils on each foul pole and zapped everyone in the stands with constant lightning.
It was clear before the game that we would witness something special, and that this 2021 White Sox team wouldn’t go quietly.
They didn’t, and they won’t.
Game 3 of the ALDS was the blockbuster remake of the 2008 Blackout Game, with explosions and lens flare and a bloated Hollywood budget. Every single pitch brought intense scrutiny and reaction. A strikeout (and there were 16) was tantamount to an earthquake in the upper deck. Two home runs, from Leury García and Yasmani Grandal, brought on shouts that made ears and hearts and souls ring, as the Sox climbed out of a 5-1 deficit to an Everest-scaling, 12-6 victory. After the lights went down and the seats emptied, the faithful forty-thousand filled the highways and gangways and trains, chanting and yelling and carrying the good news.
Years from now, Sox fans will whisper the phrase that filled us with a fateful hope. They’ll speak in a low voice, as if asking about the meaning of life.
Do you remember “Sox in five?”