Wednesday, October 13, 2010
An Open Letter to the White Sox
Dear Ozzie Guillen and the Chicago White Sox organization,
I'm sorry. I let you down this year. I should have known better but I got caught up in the moment. Like when you're watching a no-hitter in progress- you know you shouldn't say anything but you wonder, "what if? what if I'm about to witness history?" and then when the streak is botched, you curse yourself for saying anything at all.
The home opener started the season off strong. I was so happy to be there- my 11th consecutive home opener with the Bond clan. Our group has changed over the years but we always have a good time. With my move to Nashville just 6 weeks away, this would end up being my only game this year. After 5 seasons as an Ozzie Plan ticket holder and a lifetime as a fan, 2010 would be my first season from afar.
Still, I had a quiet hope that maybe there would be baseball in October. By then, I'd be well settled in my new job and able to take some time off to come back home and celebrate.
Just before I moved, my reign as the Eternal White Sox Optimist was dampened, I suppose, by reality. My beloved team was not playing as well as they should. Even though every other year I've believed that things would turn around, I couldn't muster up the optimism this time. Perhaps I was trying to protect myself from the strangeness of no longer living in Illinois, no longer having access to all the games on TV, or heading down to The Cell. I was frustrated with the players. Part of me thought, this is what happens when you don't keep Jermaine Dye. Or Aaron Rowand. Sorry, I can't let that one go.
But then things started heating up again! I was able to watch a game or two each week on TV, cheering my boys on. Who could have imagined we'd be in first place by the end of the first half after an awful spring? I found my optimism coming back in droves. Which, I know, is the mark of a fickle fan but trust me when I say I'm not fickle. I blame it on the fact that I've always been surrounded by Cubs fans- even in Nashville.
I came back to the Chicago suburbs the first weekend of August for Jill's wedding. I may have been riding on the high of good baseball, my friend's wedded bliss, and a glass of wine.
When the Gate 5 Gang reunited at the wedding, I couldn't help but speak the words that no fan should ever speak in August.
I know! I think back now and wonder how I risked jinxing us. I was just so happy! When people asked about Nashville life and when I'd next be home, the standard answer was Christmas. But...my boss had already given me future permission to take time off if the Sox made it to the playoffs. She's a Red Sox fan so she understands all about not making plans in October...just in case. So when people asked about my next visit, I risked it all and said, maybe, just maybe October if we were lucky.
OK, I can't take all the blame for why we're not in the playoffs right now. Clearly, the actual players are at fault here. They had the tools to win but didn't win enough. We should have been playing against The Evil Empire this past week instead of the Twins. So I implore you, players, step up to the plate- literally- next year. I'll cheer my heart out but I won't jinx you, I promise.
I've learned my lesson. No more post-season talk until we're actually in post-season.
Thanks for 2005. Thanks for letting me be Ozzie's Angel. Thanks for winning game 3 of the 2008 ALDS while I was there. Thanks for 88 wins this year, in spite of the ups and downs. Thanks for always being "Back in Black." Thanks for being the best team Chicago has had ever had.