Yesterday Was The 15th Anniversary Of Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez Showing The World His Coconut Sized Balls

There is nothing more that Chicagoans love to take part in than reminiscing about great sports moments of years past. Take the '85 Bears for instance - that team is STILL the most famous team in the City's history. I mean there was a whole SNL skit/series dedicated to Mike Ditka, Payton and the Monsters of the Midway defense. 

This blog was inspired by Beefloaf from @fromthe108's tale of his experience from that day. Beef is a fan-fucking-tastic blend of funny, informative and drunk and that's why he's one of my favorite writers in all of White Sox Twitterdom, if not my favorite all together. You can read his take here

But back to talking reminiscing: for White Sox fans, it's just about any moment from the 2005 season, needless to say. In that year, I was a supple, not-so-innocent 16 year old. Just a simple adolescent navigating a complex world. But the White Sox were awesome start to finish that year - they literally went wire to wire and were never not in 1st place from opening day through game 162. 

Now my mind has been cluttered over the last 15 years, mostly due to me boozing way too much in that span, but a few moments from that baseball season stick out to me very well, one of them being my first ever trip to old Yankee Stadium to see the White Sox take on those Yankee bastards in the Bronx. It was my first "real" experience with Yankees fans. Now I have to deal with them every waking second of my life and I hate them all equally, but back in 2005 I received a crash course on how to handle those arrogant dickheads. 

The date was 8/10/2005 and two things stick out to me:

1. Juan Uribe hit a go ahead triple off Mariano Rivera in the 9th that eventually won the game for the White Sox and
2. Aaron Rowand made a diving catch in CF at some point in the game and some asshole Yankee fan behind me said to my dad and I, "we need to get that guy in pinstripes" 

The former memory was awesome, the latter just pissed me off. Fucking Yankees fans just think they can up and take our stud CF huh? Fuck out of my face with that. Go eat some gabagool and wear a dego tee in public you fuckface!!!! Here is the box score from that game, courtesy of Baseball Almanac.

Anyways, since I was now 16 I DD'd my dad home. My mom's side is from Toms River NJ and him and I were cruising down the NJ turnpike that day and my dad who was anywhere from 12-15 beers deep looked at me as Steely Dan's "Reeling in the Years" was playing and said, "this White Sox team is going to win the World Series this year."

Like.... I remember the exact song that was playing in our Chevy Impala rental car at the time he made that statement. It's an image that is burned into my brain to this day, and it will stick with me for the rest of my life. I obviously didn't know it at the time, but after a back and forth about how complete and hot that team was through august, his statement would reign true. 

Fast forward to 10/5/2005: my dad calls me out of school and we attend game 1 of the ALDS against the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox. He had season tickets at the time, but for playoff games you don't get your actual seats, you get dibs on upper deck tickets, which my dad purchased. 

That entire summer we'd sell either 2 or all 4 of our tickets of games we couldn't go to on eBay. He made money on his seats that year by doing this, so the playoff tickets were basically free, but they were in the upper deck. This is when we discovered a great sox park hack: get to the upper deck, walk to the fundamentals deck in LF, tell the ticket taker you have a son/brother/cousin/whatever doing the kids games, walk down the stairs to the lower deck, and slip the ticket taker a $20. They'll take it every time and let you through.

Him and I went to the game and the White Sox beat the SHIT out of the Red Sox to a tune of a 14-2 final score. We eventually settled into seats in the CF Fandeck and some drunk Sox fan goes "Podsednik is gonna hit a bomb today" after the Sox were already up like 10-2. Low and behold, after an entire season going homeless, he went deep. That drunk dude called it. Fucking Nostradamus or some shit. I like to think that he tells his buddy's that story over beers to this day as well. 

I also remember getting a really bad sunburn that day, as it was like 85 degrees out. Very unseasonably warm, but I didn't give a shit. The White Sox just won a playoff game and I was on top of the world. But I knew that the Red Sox weren't going to go down without a fight and they could very well come back and win 3 in a row to take the series.

That brings us to 10/7/2005, with myself and my asshole friends at sitting at a Buffalo Wild Wings in Warrenville, IL for the game. The White Sox were up 2-0 in the series at this point, thanks to a masterful outing from Mark Buerhle in game 2, but I still remember being nervous. I'm a White Sox fan - we can't have nice things, let alone sweep the almighty Red Sox in the first round. "If the Red Sox win game 3, they win the series" was an honest thought that was coursing through my brain. 

Freddy Garcia started the game, but wasn't all that great, allowing 4 walks and 5 hits through 5IP. He labored. Damaso Marte came in in the 6th and proceeded to walk a few guys and allow a single which loaded the bases with nobody out. "FUCK, here we go" is all every Sox fan on earth was thinking. The White Sox had a 4-3 lead and that's when Ozzie Guillen went to Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez" to get them out of the jam:

And the rest is history. Jason Varitek fouled out, Tony Graffanino hit an infield fly, and Johnny Damon check swings over the top of a 3-2 slider in/off the plate in what was, in my opinion, the most important pitch in white sox history. If Damon lays off that pitch, it's a tie game and we might not be reminiscing about it today. BWW went WILD. We weren't drinking or anything, but myself and my friends were going bat shit crazy. "Just get the ball to Bobby Jenks and let's go beat the fuck out of the Angels" is all I could think to myself. 

They did, and the Sox did. Even after they lost game 1 to Anaheim, I wasn't nervous. I knew that sox team was a team of destiny and that god himself couldn't sink that ship. 

I truly believe that this current White Sox core will give us a championship and that come 10/8/2040 or so, we'll be sitting around, drinking beer and talking about how awesome that White Sox team was from 2021 or 2023. They're SO GODDAMN CLOSE. A piece or two away from being monsters that might make us forget about the 2005 team just a little bit. 

Go sign Trevor Bauer. Thank you.