The Longest October

[from Reservoir, October 18, 2006]

It’s hard to believe it’s been a year already, and even harder to believe that their brief run at the top is over, but for the White Sox fans in this city it’s time to get reacquainted with that most time-honored of Chicago baseball traditions: watching other teams in the playoffs.35th and Shields

Or is it?

“To hell with that,” says Sox fan James Timmons of Hyde Park. “I’m just not watching this year. And I hope the Twins get their asses kicked in the biggest way.”

He makes a good point. After so many years of watching the Twins or some group of mercenaries from a struggling Midwestern city (Cleveland, that means you) rise to the top so effortlessly, last year’s World Series put a sense of change into the air. Now, we thought, it’s this city’s time to shine.

And what happened? The Twins and a group of ragtag hired guns from a struggling Midwestern city (Detroit this time) put everyone else to shame. The richest team from the mightiest city in the division gets shamed not by one whose home city has a river that once caught on fire, but one that stands as the nation’s greatest monument to urban decay. As it was, so it is again.

So now what? Dig out the Gary Carter baseball cards and jump on the Mets bandwagon? The line has been drawn so widely between the team and the game that it’s hard to care this time around.

Lakeview resident Laura Harper agrees. “My family is all Cubs fans but it got too tough watching them suck so bad year after year. My ex converted me to a Sox fan just in time for last year, but it’s not easy when the first year of caring you see them win the World Series.

“Plus,” she adds, “Pods [Sox outfielder Scott Podsednik] is really hot. I never even wanted a baseball jersey until I saw his at the store.”

And you can’t help but laugh at that: even when their team falls short, their skills drop off and they’re on the verge of getting run out of town, the good-looking athlete still gets the chicks. So yeah, to hell with baseball this fall.