I’m going to admit something right now that I should’ve admitted a long time ago and will make me lose whatever credibility I might have had with sports fans. Are you ready?
I was a bandwagon White Sox fan.
I know! You should stop reading this right now and never visit my site again. Seriously, that’s how lame this is and how bad I feel about it.
The truth is that I never liked baseball. I’ve mentioned this before, but my grandma (we called her Nana) was a Cubs fan. She always had Cubs games on TV at her house, and I thought they were the most boring thing in the world. I remember getting yelled at for changing the channel a few times.
I’ve told the story before about how basketball was my gateway drug and I started with the Boston Celtics (no idea why, and please forgive me) and the DePaul Blue Demons. I later added football and the occasional tennis or Olympic stuff, but never, ever baseball.
Until 2005. I don’t even remember why I started watching the playoffs that year because at that point, I had probably never watched an entire baseball game in my life. Baseball was boring! But in 2005, I realized that it wasn’t boring at all.
In my defense, I’ll say that I watched and cheered for the White Sox from the beginning of the playoffs that year. I knew nothing about the sport and had no idea if they had a chance. There was just something about them that made me want to watch baseball, something that despite all my exposure to the sport had never happened before.
I picked up on a few things right away. I really, really like pitching. I love the pitcher/catcher dynamic and I love the mental part of the game. Baseball probably seems boring because so much of the good stuff is pretty subtle — stuff like the movement of a pitch is nothing like a good quarterback sack or big interception. It’s quiet and beautiful, really, and I never took the time to notice that before.
Oh and, of course, I really, really like Jon Garland.
So I was hooked. With each game, I got more and more into it. When the White Sox swept the defending champion Boston Red Sox (a team I knew enough to hate even then), I was thrilled. The series against the Los Angeles Angels [“of Anaheim” intentionally omitted] was crazy, with the Angels (a team I like) winning one game and then getting Pierzynskied, and complete games from Mark Buehrle, my boyfriend Jon Garland, Freddy Garcia, and Jose Contreras. Then came the Astros, a team I strongly dislike for no identifiable reason, and the Sox swept them. The playoffs were almost perfect for the White Sox. It was absolutely amazing.
The 2005 playoffs probably were the best experience I will ever have as a baseball fan, and I guess it kind of sucks that I had to use that up so early in my relationship with baseball (although I suppose it sucks a lot less than loving a team that never wins for your entire life). I don’t know whether the White Sox will win another World Series in my lifetime. If they do, I don’t know if it will be as magical as 2005. I mean, seriously, not to repeat myself, but it was really freaking amazing.
So yeah, if I were into cheesy metaphors I might say something about how the White Sox “swept me off my feet” (I really, really hate that phrase) and I fell madly in love with them. Because that’s really what happened. My relationship with the White Sox started out hot and steamy. We didn’t grow up together and become friends first, falling in love only after I spent years wearing their oversized sweatshirts and drinking lemonade or pilfered Old Style in the sunshine at Comiskey. Does that make my love for them less valid? I don’t know, but I’m going to stop writing shit that sounds like Sex and the City for sports fans right now.
Even though I really shouldn’t be, I’m a little ashamed of becoming a White Sox fan the year they won the World Series. Because I want to make up for that, I’ve vowed to be the most loyal and dedicated White Sox fan I can be for the rest of my life. Sure, I’ll follow and cheer for the Rockies because I live in Denver, but the White Sox will always be my #1 team. Always. I’ll always wear White Sox gear, shell out $$$ for MLB Extra Innings, get White Sox text updates, and watch every one of their games I can, which is almost all of them. I hope my kid will be a White Sox fan one day, after he’s born, of course (although believe me, I wish I could get him hooked up with in-womb audio of Sox broadcasts — you’re never too young to listen to Hawk Harrelson, after all).
What inspired this sordid confessional? Well, this afternoon, Mark Buehrle pitched a perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays. It just so happened that I was at home for lunch when the game was in the sixth inning, and I got a text message saying that Mark Buehrle had a perfect game going. I turned on the TV and watched the rest of that game on the edge of my seat, screaming at the TV, cheering, clapping, Tweeting (I’m addicted to that shit), and, yes, unfortunately, at some points actually jumping up and down. The amazing (there’s that word again, sorry) pitching and the magic (Holy crap, did you see that catch by Dewayne Wise? I will never talk shit about Dewayne Wise again for the rest of my life. That shit was bananas!) brought me back to 2005 and those electric days I had with my new love, the Chicago White Sox. This is what baseball is all about. This is why I love baseball.
You’ll notice that, way back at the beginning of this post, I didn’t admit that I “am” a bandwagon White Sox fan — I intentionally used past tense. I hope I’m allowed to move past my questionable beginnings and take my place as a legitimate fan. I’m going to be one for a long, long time.
P.S. You can see video of Dewayne Wise’s catch and the last out (complete with Hawk Harrelson sounding more excited than I’ve ever heard him, which is really saying something) here.