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Sleeping With The Enemy...

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... is the title of a 1991 thriller starring Julia Roberts. Pretty good film, actually.

It's also what I did yesterday, a Cub fan in disguise (i.e. no Cub clothing) at yesterday's American League Division Series game #1 at the Cell, a 14-2 blowout win for the White Sox over the Red Sox.

Hey, it's playoff baseball, it's here in Chicago, and it felt like summer on Tuesday afternoon -- 85 degrees at gametime, with a gentle south wind and bright sunshine. In fact, I wore shorts yesterday -- that's the latest baseball date ever for such an occurrence, breaking last year's record by a day (but it wasn't anywhere near as warm in 2004. Tuesday was one of the warmest October days ever in Chicago). It appears the weather may be nice enough to do it again tonight.

Before I tell you anything else, I have to tell you this story, and I swear it's true.

Mike and I both went, and after swapping seats with the woman sitting next to me, we sat together, him on my right, just as we do in the bleachers (incidentally, I'll have more photos of the construction project later on today, including pics of the demolition of the entire original brick wall yesterday, parts of which dated back to 1920).

In the sixth inning, with the White Sox already up 9-2 and Scott Podsednik (who hit zero homers this season) at bat, he said to me, "In '93, Lance Johnson didn't hit a home run in the regular season and then he hit one in the playoffs."

BOOM! Podsednik hit the very next pitch into the RF seats for a three-run homer.

I just stared at him. I said, "Couldn't you do this on the North Side?"

His answer: "If I could, don't you think I would have done it a long time ago?"

Then I asked him for last night's winning lottery numbers, but he didn't have those either, darnitall. I even offered to split the jackpot with him. Neither of us won the "Sox Split" raffle either; that's where you buy a $2 ticket, they add up all the proceeds, give half to charity and one ticket wins the other half -- today, over $9,000.

I swear, that's exactly how it happened.

It was that kind of day. The fourteen runs scored by the White Sox are the most runs scored by one team in ANY postseason game involving either Chicago team, either for or against (previous record: 13, by the 1984 Cubs vs. the Padres in game one of that NLCS, and in game 4 of the 1932 World Series, by the Yankees against the Cubs). It was the first home playoff win for the White Sox since game 1 of the 1959 World Series. It was...

Aw, forget it. The White Sox fans loved every second of it, and it was so, so, so familiar to us as Cub fans -- because out there on the mound, was Matt Clement, being Haz-Matt.

You could tell he was done after three batters -- he hit two of them, and started doing his little stomp-around-the-back-of-the-mound-I'm-pissed-at-myself-or-somebody-else dance, and once Matt does that, he's done. You could smell a three-run homer a mile away, and A. J. Pierzynski was the beneficiary, putting the exclamation point on the White Sox' five-run first, and let me tell you, when that HR left the yard, the place started shaking like the OLD Comiskey Park used to when it was full.

The game was pretty much over right then, though the Red Sox made a little noise in the fourth, closing to within 6-2, and having only one out then; if they'd have brought the two runners on base home, the White Sox might have had to think about removing Jose Contreras. But after that Contreras was lights-out, retiring twelve in a row before David Ortiz hit an eighth-inning double. That was one of only three hits in sixteen at-bats for Boston's first four hitters, and they simply cannot win that way. Damon, Renteria, Ortiz and Ramirez are the keystones of the Red Sox offense and they were handcuffed all day.

Contreras must turn into a pumpkin after 100 pitches, because even after getting one more out in that 8th inning, he was removed right at the 100-pitch mark.

There were the usual "Cubs suck" calls, and I spotted a couple of Sox jerseys with "BARTMAN 03" and "CUBS SUCK 69" on them, and really and truly, it's surprising that if the Cubs suck so much, according to Sox fans, that we have so much power over them that we are affecting their thoughts even in a postseason game in which the Cubs aren't involved.

Get over it, people. Richard Roeper, a Chicago Sun-Times columnist who is an unabashed Sox fan, wrote a column in yesterday's paper pretty much saying exactly that:

When the Cubs host a playoff game, of course, the game is sold out. But thousands of fans also gather outside the park, just to hear the roar of the crowd and soak up the atmosphere.

When the Sox clinch a division title on the road, it's quiet around the Cell, other than the celebrations in a few neighborhood bars. And when they play today, yes, the game will be sold out, but who's going to drive to 35th Street to hang around outside the park? There'll be maybe 100 tailgaters sipping Old Style and grilling brats and burgers in the parking lot during the game. Maybe.

And here's the thing about all that, my fellow White Sox fans:

Who cares. Let it go.


Exactly right. Even during game 1, what should have been a complete celebration for all things White Sox, a Sox fan actually bothered to make and display a sign that said:
Today's Attendance:

USCF: 40,615
Wrigley: 0

The sign was pretty close, actually: announced attendance was 40,717.

Seriously, Sox fans: Enjoy your team. Get over the Cubs. It's not our fault if you happen to lose. And keep this in mind: your team isn't as good as it appeared to be yesterday, and neither is Boston as bad. Last October, just before the Red Sox' historic four-game comeback over the Yankees in the ALCS, the Yankees beat virtually the same Red Sox team -- 19-8.

I only saw a couple of brave souls wearing Cub clothing, one of them a small child whose parents had dressed him in a Mark Prior jersey. Taking a kid to the Cell for a playoff game dressed like that could be called child abuse, I suppose.

Hey, I had an enjoyable baseball day seeing a playoff game, seeing some history in the process, and getting a last feeling of summer before a major cold front hits -- and with it, the chance that tonight's game might have to dodge some raindrops. I'll be there again.

Clever sign seen: "Beat The Red Menace" -- with a hammer & sickle-type symbol, only the hammer was replaced by a baseball bat.

Another clever sign: "Winning Is Our Business" on the top, and then below a White Sox logo: "Business Is Good".

Finally, some Cub news: it appears pitching coach Larry Rothschild may be hired by new Tigers manager Jim Leyland to be the pitching coach in Detroit.

I'm of two minds here -- true, Rothschild's staff didn't do a very good job in 2005. But they were among the best in the NL in 2003 and 2004, and most importantly, who's available who would be significantly better?

Things to ponder.