After being up and out late last night and getting up early this morning to get to work there hasn't been a lot of time to stop and let this soak in. Now it's quiet, and there is time to relax a bit.
In one of the top three most dominate single season performances ever, the White Sox have captured their first championship in 88 years. I've spent the better part of this evening reading the thoughts of Chicago's columnists and watching various news clips covering the celebrations. This column stood out to me over all the others and actually put tears in my eyes.
Ironically it's written by the Tribune's Pulitzer Prize winning cultural critic.
Baseball, in its glory
Savoring summer's game on a cool autumn evening
By Julia Keller
Tribune staff reporter
Published October 27, 2005
It rose in the autumn sky like a South Side Stonehenge, looking ancient and gray and invincible against the late-afternoon twilight.
This was not where the action was. The action was 1,180 miles away in Houston, where a few hours later the Chicago White Sox would finish off the Houston Astros with a 1-0 victory.
But to drive past U.S. Cellular Field on the same day the Sox won the World Series--to see the ballpark squaring itself pugnaciously against a mud-colored and cloud-clotted horizon, to see it proud and lonely--was to get a sharp chill of insight:
It's over now.
Because even before the game was played, you knew. Your friends knew, too.
The whole city knew. The Sox had it in the bag. They were too good, too poised, too lucky. They were too good to disappoint the city whose name they wear across the fronts of their jerseys, the city that's now second to nobody, thanks to these first-class athletes.
You knew they were going to sweep. You knew Juan Uribe would somehow have that foul ball when he surfaced from the sea of Houston fans in the seats during the climactic ninth inning.
And while knowing it didn't take the edge off--heavens, nothing could do that--you also realized the astonishing, unbelievable 2005 season is history.
History. As in something you study, something preserved under glass.
You're happy--who wouldn't be?--but maybe a little sad, too, ever so slightly. "Aye, in the very temple of Delight/Veiled Melancholy has her sovereign shrine," wrote John Keats in his poem "Ode on Melancholy."
He never saw the Sox play, but he wrote as if he did.
Baseball ends in autumn. The World Series is played on days when the sun slips away earlier and earlier, when by 5 p.m. the sky in places such as Chicago is the color of iron filings, when the air is getting cold enough to pinch.
The World Series wraps up, that is, at a time of year when endings are what we're thinking about. Endings, not beginnings. And what gives the Sox victory Wednesday night itspoignant perfection is the fact it won't ever happen again.
Oh, yes, the team might win again next year. But it won't be the same team.
It won't be the same way. It won't be these guys and those games and this vivid assemblage of plays.
Those pure moments: Joe Crede's fielding, in which the glove interrupts the ball's trajectory like a new law of physics, one that insists that balls can't cross a plane inhabited by the leather on Crede's left wrist. Bobby Jenks' sizzling set-down of Astros batters in Games 1 and 4, when the sight of the pitcher's broad back as he fell forward to throw was as reassuring as watching the bodaciously thick door of a bank vault swing shut. And the home runs, of course, such as Geoff Blum's blistering blast in the 14th inning of Game 3, as most of the nation slept.
Baseball is played in the summer but ends in the autumn, when the light starts to fail and kids are called inside early, taken reluctantly from their games in vacant lots and dead-end streets. The moments are precious because they perish. The joy is special because it's temporary. "Death is the mother of beauty," wrote Wallace Stevens. What makes today so amazing--the first full day after the Sox victory--is that it is unique in the history of the world. And will remain so. Cherish it, because it is moving steadily out of your reach.
Does that mean we shouldn't celebrate, shouldn't revel? Of course not. A South Sider who also happened to be one of the greatest of 20th Century poets--the late Gwendolyn Brooks--had some advice on that point. "Exhaust the little moment./Soon it dies./And be it gash or gold/It will not come again/In this identical disguise." That would be Brooks' eloquent way of saying: Party, people. But know that the sun goes down and the day ends, all the same.
Brendan Boyd's novel "Blue Ruin" (1991), a tragi-comical tale about the 1919 Series, has been mentioned before in these pages during this great Sox run, but it's good enough for another go-round. When Arnold Rothstein, the gambler who bankrolled the sorry deal, runs into the kid who dreamed up the fix, Rothstein is rueful. "If you pull this off," Rothstein says, "your life will be over. You'll have gotten exactly what you wanted."
A city that can never quite figure out where it belongs in the world is now sitting on top of it. A city that gets tired of apologizing for not being New York or Los Angeles suddenly doesn't have to apologize for anything. It's a great and glorious moment, and yes, it will pass, superseded by other moments.
Like U.S. Cellular Field, that even now is hunkering down like a big iron barrel stave, waiting for the return of spring, it's enough that this day is what it is. We know what we have. We know who we are: Winners, for the blink of an eye, for the length of a lifetime.
Tonight it hit me what happened. My team won the World Series. Something that, at times, I never thought would happen. Hope? Hope is for Red Sox fans and Cubs fans. This is the second team in the Second City. A team picked to finish third or even fourth in their own division at the beginning of this year. A team that was featured in the lowest rated World Series ever.
Nobody watched, and I couldn’t care less. My team won the World Series.
Baseball truly is the greatest game ever played; and for this year at least, the Chicago White Sox played it better than anyone else in the world.