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Oct. 27, 2005

For White Sox, a championship well-earned

by Michael Bushnell, Page Editor
These Sox proved, if nothing else, the never-ending truth that white things are boring.

On their way to a World Series sweep of the Houston Astros, the Chicago White Sox had a similar background to last year's Sox of the reddish hue. Neither team had won a championship since Woodrow Wilson's was better known in D.C. for being president, instead of the namesake of a large, slow bridge.

So yes, the White Sox were very un-sexy. The advertising executives at Fox Sports can have their issues with the team, but Chicago did what it was supposed to do: win, and win convincingly. Houston may have been more exciting to watch, but the Sox proved they were the better team in this series, and in all the postseason.

Not only did Chicago get their first World Series title since 1917, but they blew that drought apart with a 11-1 record in the playoffs. After a September that included a 7-12 record over a three-week stretch, the White Sox looked like lame ducks headed into the postseason.

But then they came alive when it mattered most.

Baseball is such a fluky sport; any team can beat any other anywhere on any given day. So to go 11-1 in three long series' means you're nothing short of astonishingly great.

And in each series, it appeared like a different component of the team helped carry the load on their way to advancing to the next round. The Sox out hit Boston, out pitched Anaheim, and out-defended (defensed? Defendled?) Houston. The one constant was their manager, Ozzie Guillen.

I seriously think Guillen might be crazy. He yells, he curses, and he shows more emotion in one at-bat than Tony La Russa has in his entire life. But he's also proven himself to be a fantastic manager. At age 41, he is a World Champion at his profession, and with good reason.

In the turning game of the World Series, Game 3, the 14-inning affair, Guillen was simply better than his counterpart from Houston, Phil Garner. After the White Sox bullpen shut down the Astros multiple times late in the game, Guillen decided to put Geoff Blum in to pinch-hit.

The Geoff Blum who didn't have an RBI since August. All he did was hit a Home Run to win the game and, by and large, seal the World Series for Chicago.

Guillen's handling of the bullpen was impressive as well. In tonight's win, he made the right call in bringing in Neal Cotts in the eighth inning. Up 1-0 with two Astros on, Cotts got a groundout to Juan Uribe to end the frame.

Much of the accolades also should go to GM Ken Williams. Williams was the guy, after all, who fleeced Seattle in a trade for tonight's winner, Freddy Garcia. He also got Jose Contreras for nothing, and Jon Garland as well. The MVP of the series, Jermaine Dye, was a terrific signing for a fraction of the price of other outfielders who weren't the best player in the World Series.

Perhaps no player illustrates the collaboration between Williams and Guillen as perfectly as closer Bobby Jenks. Jenks, who had two saves in the World Series, including the final out, started the season in the minor leagues. But Guiillen promised Jenks and his 99-mile per hour fastball a chance in the Majors, and that seems to have worked well.

And Williams did a great job picking him up off Anaheim's scrap heap. Jenks, who dropped out of the 10th grade, and has had many problems with alcohol (including a night he burnt his hand in a drunken stupor), looked like the poster child for wasted talent. But Williams took a risk on the kid in signing him, and he appears to be their closer for many years to come.

For all the credit Guillen deserves for managing this team, Williams deserves as much, if not more, for putting it together.

So while they may be boring, and lack a stupid phrase like "Cowboy Up" or "Killa Cam," the Chicago White Sox were good. Very good.

First World Championship in 88 years good.

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  • stix on October 27, 2005 at 7:29 AM
    if the astros could remember how to hit the ball they woulda had it...what a time to have your bats go silent all at once
  • jeff on October 27, 2005 at 10:20 AM
    the end of the article reminds me of those bloody stupid yoplait commericials. anybody know what i'm talking about?
  • bro (View Email) on October 27, 2005 at 7:18 PM
    gilbert arenas is awesome
  • Ben Green on October 28, 2005 at 8:38 PM
    Great article Mike!

    Unfortunately, I would have liked to see those "Sox of a reddish hue" win it all again! GO BOSTON!!
  • Rodellnisiamo (View Email) on April 22, 2006 at 12:44 AM
    this is biased, very biased
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