Friday, August 11, 2006

Hey Sox fans, enjoy the ride

First of all, I'm sure there are people out there that believe, along the same lines as noted Cub fan Kevin Schramm, that I am simply a member of the White Sox bandwagon, a card carrying member since the magical run of 2005.

Truth be known, I've been following the White Sox since the late 80's. Just because I don't wear the clothes, go to a lot of games, or randomly run onto the field and attack an opposing team's base coach doesn't mean I'm not a fan.

I'm a quiet fan. Actually, I'm more of a Phillies fan than a Sox fan. Considering the lack of success with that team over the years, I'm pretty quiet about that, too.

So as we head towards another possible playoff appearance by the 'good guys', the length of fingernails for Sox fans all across the country are shrinking by the minute. I say, good. This is what it's all about, a pennant race -- ok, a wildcard race, but that doesn't have the same charm to it -- and this race looks like it's going right down to the wire.

A two-month long pennant race! Sit back, relax, and strap it down.

Last year's Sox season was so smooth fans didn't have to panic for one instant, until we got to September. As the Sox huge lead began to evaporate, there was no "pennant fever" that set in for fans, but rather a "Holy-s***-they-might-blow-this-thing migraine/coronary." Not fun.

What we have this year is fun. The Sox are locked in a tight 3-team race for the wildcard. Forget the division title. If they should catch Detroit, great. Really though, it doesn't matter. Just get into the postseason, any way, any how.

Every game feels like a playoff game.

Every night, you check the out of town scores to see what the Twins, Red Sox, Tigers, and Yankees are doing.

There's nothing like a pennant race in baseball. The daily ups and downs of following a team in the playoff hunt is one of the benefits of being a sports fan. Heartbreak, jubilation, sweaty palms, frustration, feeling like a kid on Christmas morning after your team hits a walk-off home run for a big win -- it's all there.

So enjoy it. These are good times Sox fans! Sure, their starting pitching looks worn out, the bullpen not quite as good as last year, the offense is relying a little too much on the home run, and the possibility that they won't make the playoffs is VERY real.

But, they are the defending world champs. They have one of the best records in baseball. And, the White Sox seem primed for success for the next several years as well.

In other words, don't dwell on any negatives from this season. Grinder rule number 3,856: Enjoy the ride, embrace the drama of the playoff chase. Hey Sox fans, this team won it all last year, and are pushing hard to do it again this year. Savor every moment.

It sure beats the alternative, being a Phillies fan.

Or worse, a Cubs fan.

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