Experiencing 2005: Gulp
I started an essay after the 2005 season that I never finished. All of those writings have never seen the light of day, but here we are, 15 years later, so maybe it’s a good time to drag them out. They represent my thoughts and feelings at the time, with very little present-day editing. Fellow Sox fans, I must admit to not writing much lately because the current team is actually fun to watch (notwithstanding the recent Cincy series), so who needs reminiscing?
First time seeing the Yankees this season, how is that possible? Aaron Rowand has several spectacular plays in center field during the series, which the Sox take 3-2. I am watching post-game interviews, and Alex Rodriguez says, "Yeah, their center fielder ... um, he was really good."
"His name is Aaron Rowand, jackass," I retort at my television.
Scott Podsednik is put on the IL. Uh-oh.
Gah. Sox have lost eight in a row, and haven't won since Scottie went down.
OK, they're won four in a row. Ship stabilized. Still nine games up, and that was the worst stretch of the season. Things are good. Right?
Hey, Brandon McCarthy's had a couple of nice outings. Right when we needed it, kid, thanks.
Another bad stretch, losing six out of seven, and Cleveland can't lose. Only up five games. Every game, I feel like I'm going to barf.
Seriously, why can't Cleveland lose? Sox just lost the first game of a three game set with Cleveland and are only up 2 ½ games. I'm in agony.
I get asked out on a date for the 21st, the U2 concert at United Center. "Um, I'm supposed to go to the White Sox game with my parents on the 21st. But I'm scheduled to go to the game with them on the 23rd, too ..."
"Can't you skip the first game? It's U2."
I don't attempt to explain my codependent Sox/parents relationship, and agree to go to the concert.
If the Sox lose this one, they're only 2 ½ games up. I am in the car when the game goes into extras. On a 1-0 count, Joe Crede launches a home run. On my radio, I hear Ed Farmer chuckle as John Rooney says, "You can step off the ledge, Sox fans." [Notes from the future: I believe this game is also the origin of Hawk's, "Joe!! Crede!!!!" call. It was a big home run.]
I got to the U2 concert. My parents go to the White Sox game, another loss, this one 8-0, back to only 2 ½ games up. I get home to a voice mail from my dad that is not family-friendly and will not be repeated here.
Mom, Dad, and I are tailgating before the game against the Twins. We are giving it our best shot to be upbeat — brats, Leinenkugels, a few games of bags — but we're tense. The Sox lost again last night, and Cleveland still can't f***ing lose, so the division lead down to only 1 ½ games. Lose tonight, and well, this dream season is on the verge of Scary Stories Old Sox Fans Tell Their Grandkids territory.
JD comes to bad in the first inning after Scottie and Paulie get on base. "Come on, Jermaine, make me love you!" I shout from our seats in right field. Three-run home run.
José Contreras is very good, and takes a 3-1 lead into the ninth. But the first batter gets on, and we sweat out a ground out, then another. The crowd is on its feet for the entire ninth inning. José gets Jacques Jones to strike out on three pitches to end it.
"They did it!" Mom is almost teary. "They did it!"
Dad wins the attendance contest again, off by only 313.
Cleveland wins, too, so the lead stays at 1 ½.
Panic has become my daily state of being.