Tuesday, April 04, 2006

23 More to Catch the Yanks! A White Sox World Series Game 2 Report by Jake Austen

I can’t fucking believe I got to go to the World Series!

As a longtime Sox fan, I thought I’d seen it all. I saw Greg Luzinski hit a moonshot over old Comiskey’s roof. I was there when Yankees’ hurler Andy Hawkins threw a no hitter that the Sox won on a series of 9th inning errors. I witnessed a twenty-minute brawl with the Tigers that featured actual kung fu kicks. But nothing remotely prepared for the wonder that was Game 2 of the 2005 World Series.

The first good sign after taking my upper deck seat was that I didn’t see a different crowd than usual. Despite $140 face value tickets (and I will never reveal what I actually paid for my ticket), this seemed like a group of regular Polish sausage-fed Sox fans. Fathers with sons, buddies drinking beer, people on nacho runs…other than a statuesque blonde Astros fan in a sequined cowgirl suit, these looked like the same folks at a Tuesday Sox/Royals game in May. Except they were 30,000 more of them and they were all giddy.

On a personal note, the baseball fairies rewarded my decades of believing that the White Sox would make it to the World Series every year by putting in my hands a ticket that may have not seemed spectacular (6th row upper deck two-thirds down the third base line), but was in fact one of the best seats in the house. Though rain poured down the entire game, the direction of the wind and angle of the roof meant that despite everyone in the lower deck, in the right field upper deck, and in rows 1-5 of section 548 were getting drenched, I miraculously never got a drop of water on me. In contrast with the incredibly tense, dense, uncomfortable vibe of the stadium during the Jack McDowell-era ALCS game and the Jerry Manuel-era ALDS game I attended, it felt completely joyful and easy to be at the park for this game.

Words can’t capture the pandemonium in the seventh after Paul Konerko delivered his first pitch grand slam. With our team trailing by two in the World Series, our most popular player did, without hesitation, exactly what every single one of us was visualizing. As 41,432 people (minus Miss Texas) jumped and screamed for a full five minutes it was obvious that if this lead held we had just witnessed the single greatest moment in White Sox history!

One and a half innings later the Sox’ Baby Huey-esque closer Bobby Jenks blew the lead and the single greatest moment in White Sox history reverted back to whatever it had been before (Carlton Fisk telling Deion Sanders to “run out the ball, you piece of shit?” Disco Demolition?). Now we merely were seeing one of the best World Series games ever. A half-inning later when wee Scott Podsednik did what not a single one of us was visualizing I found myself incapable of jumps and screams. For a glorious post-walk off homerun eternity I merely shook my stunned head back and forth, an orgasmic smile tattooed on my face.

New to the World Series business, Sox management wasn’t sure what happens next, so they just let us stay in the stands as long as we wanted. On the field players did interviews, the Sox furry green mascot Southpaw begged Podsednik for a hand slap, and catcher A.J. Pierzynski brought out his wife and infant so a photographer could take a family portrait on the Sox’ victorious World Series field.

It was a good move by A.J. After a win like this it seemed unlikely that the Sox would have to return to their home field this year. Behind me a pair of pals who had purchased a $5,000 pair of un-refundable scalped Game 6 tickets were hooting and high five-ing. Perhaps when the beer wore off the financial ache might hit them. But then again, maybe not. Perhaps winning the World Series means the beer never wears off.

Jake Austen publishes Roctober magazine and helps produce the public access children's dance show Chic-A-Go-Go. He has been to hundreds of White Sox games, his favorite player is Ron Kittle and he was a left-handed catcher in college.

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