Hmm, socks, white socks, white socks! Send any and all new pairs of white socks to Judge Ryan Keefer for his birthday. They are cheap, and who knows, you could get your name on the internet.
"Jenks with a deep breath, he okays the sign, from the stretch with a runner at second, here's the 1-2 pitch to Palmeiro. A ground ball past Jenks, up the middle of the infield, Uribe has it, he throws. OUT! OUT! A White Sox winner, and a world championship! The White Sox have won the World Series, and they're mobbing each other on the field!"
Without a doubt, most of the 2005 baseball season was dominated by whether some of the biggest names in the sport were guilty of jabbing steroid needles into their buttocks. In an almost McCarthyist way, whether stars like Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi or Rafael Palmeiro admitted to medicinally improving their performance (or in Palmeiro's case, stating before a government committee with abundant clarity that he never took steroids until a reported positive drug test months later) was more compelling than the drama presented by the usual pennant races and quests for glory. Maybe the baseball world was dismissive of any legitimate dramas, after the Boston Red Sox' dramatic win over the New York Yankees in the 2004 playoffs before their first World Series title in 86 years. After all, the Cubs weren't going to win anything, and who really cared about the White Sox?
We're talking about a team whose arguably best player (Frank Thomas) was chronically injured, after a career that started in college, playing football with Bo Jackson. Two of the pitchers (Jose Contreras and Orlando Hernandez) were recent Cuban defectors. Two members of the coaching staff (Bench Coach Harold Baines and Manager Ozzie Guillen) were players on previous White Sox teams for over a decade, along with the General Manager (Ken Williams), who was the man that brought in the various talents to assemble the club.
And while everyone on one side of Chicago wondered just when would Cubs management put enough money into the team to maintain a high level of competition, the White Sox quietly performed above and beyond the call that normal contenders enjoy. The Sox led their division starting on Opening Day back in April, and did not relinquish the lead during the regular season. Only in September—when another team threatened the Sox' lead, narrowing it down to three games after an almost insurmountable 15 game lead in August—did the Sox snap out of the funk and put the throttle on again, clinching the Division title.
The 2005 World Series film is narrated by Michael Clarke Duncan (Sin City, The Green Mile), who was apparently one of the few people willing to acknowledge that he's a White Sox fan. Duncan covers these events, along with the events in the postseason, with successive wins over the defending World Series champs in Boston, along with wins over the Los Angeles Angels and Houston Astros for the championship. The feature is similar to other World Series films in previous years, using behind the scenes footage with players who wear microphones during the games. This footage is carefully interspersed with video footage, either from the native broadcasts from the various sports networks, or with the local audio feed of the Chicago sports commentators. And while there are some good parts that feature candid moments with the players, the fact that the ChiSox steamrolled over the competition does not leave a lot to the imagination. The two moments that caused a lot of water cooler discussion during the postseason (A.J. Pierzynski's questionable strikeout and Jermaine Dye being "hit" by a pitch) are glossed over mysteriously. Those kinds of things are the reasons why people remember baseball through the years, and they're barely an afterthought in this film. Surely if the Yankees or Red Sox managed to sneak through and get a series win, some more emphasis (and time) would be given to some of the smaller things that occurred en route to the championship.
Despite the recent scandals and bad publicity surrounding sports athletes in recent months, the fact that in the last couple of years two of baseball's most suffering fan bases have gotten some closure is encouraging for the sport. Now that Bud Selig and Donald Fehr have kissed, made up, played nice, and have imposed a presumable tougher policy on "the juice," sports fans should hope that things continue to improve. And for the sake of being dramatic, one would hope that the Cubs manage to belly up to the bar and overachieve in 2006, beating the Yankees, or the Red Sox, or some other undeserving foe. It would return the sport to prominence that hasn't enjoyed in over a decade.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Shout! Factory
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