Column: Power of the Series

By BobLaGesse

Never, ever did I expect to see a World Series game in Chicago.

Let alone be able to write the sentence, “The White Sox are World Series champions.”

That is what I told my family walking into Comiskey Park (I don’t care what a cell phone company wants me to call it) before game one of the World Series.

White Sox and the World Series is not like Illinois basketball or the Final Four. I have witnessed Illinois in the Final Four twice in my lifetime. I can see Illinois winning a national title. Growing up in the Chicago suburbs, you slowly grow to realize the World Series was not meant for you.

But there I was, watching the White Sox in the World Series in Game 1. It is an experience any fan should have – regardless if you’ve suffered for all 88 years since the last championship, or just a mere decade.

I entered Jimbo’s bar, a few blocks from the park, a little after 1 p.m. First pitch, still more than six hours away. No one younger than 21 allowed in. No exceptions, says the doorman. Unless you apparently have a World Series ticket in hand. The doorman checked my brother’s ticket as if it was a state ID. Bill was the only underage person in the bar.

That is the power of the Series.

I entered Comiskey when it opened at 4 p.m. Fifty-year-old men walked up to the turnstiles. After passing through them, they were like 5-year-old kids. Years of pain and suffering, and very little postseason success instantaneously vanished.

Everyone had a smile or a smirk. Grown women skipped around the lower deck. Others just floated about. Not believing where they were yet.

Oh, but being at the World Series hit everyone. Lots cried. Some shook uncontrollably. For me, it hit during player introductions. Frank Thomas hobbled out on to the field in a Sox jersey during a World Series game. More than 100 midshipmen were in the outfield ready to unroll the largest American flag I will ever see.

Let me tell you, when the Series comes, it overruns you. You can barely stand. You love it, and you never want it go away.

From there, the Series has only gotten better. Each game tops the last. They are more nerve wracking to watch, but worth it all in the end. Dismantling the Rocket. Crede’s bat and glove. Grand slam and walk off homers. Longest game in Series history. Geoff Blum.

The 2005 Chicago White Sox give off a vibe – nothing is too much for them. They had it to start the year as they seemingly won every night. They had it to close the year (for all the fussing over the Sox, they were 19-12 in September and October).

It’s beyond simply believing in this team. It’s morphed into a clam, yet still nerve wracking, confidence in the team in any situation. Very rare in Chicago and saved for only the very best. Like the ’85 Bears and Jordan. Teams you know that can win any game.

Yet, with the White Sox it’s not just the team. It’s the individuals. Think of a player. Unless you went with Chris Widger, your player has a playoff moment associated with him. Whole teams don’t have these moments – only one or two guys do. I guess it is kind of like how pitchers don’t throw complete games in the League Championship Series either.

And now, White Sox fans have their own personal Series memory. When Paul Konerko caught the final out, I jumped into my dad’s arms with tears rolling down my face and then called my brother.

Sox fans, what was your final World Series moment?

Bobby LaGesse is a former Daily Illini columnist who graduated in May. He can be reached at [email protected]