Szwaja's Sports Blog

Monday, October 24, 2005

I've seen the tape of Carlton Fisk willing his home run to stay fair. I remember when Scott Brosius used to swing that magical "walk-off" bat. I remember Aaron Boone's blast like it was last week. I've seen the Kurt Gibson fist-pumping, nevermind he had a broken leg home-run trot more times than I can count.

To this baseball fan, none of them compare to what I witnessed last night. Scott Podsednik's walk-off homer in Game 2 of the World Series was the best of them all (for me, at least). Why? Because Scotty plays for the team I root for. Some of the longballs I mentioned above I didn't see live, while others happened as I was watching. Still, none of them had me emotionally invested to the extreme. Before Scotty hit his longball, I was lounging back in my chair thinking, "How are we going to win this game with Lidge on the hill?" Before I could answer that question, which swirled in my head like the winds that toy with flyballs at The Cell, Aaron Rowand was mouthing "NO WAY!" as he watched the ball fly off Scotty's "next-stop: Hall of Fame" bat.

Fisk talking to that ball with his arms is an image I'm sure any fan of the Red Sox at the time never forgets. I'll never forget that I saw Scott Podsednik become the first player in baseball history to hit a walk-off home run in the World Series without having hit one in the regular season off the National League's best closer. I'll never forget Rowand's lips forming the words "NO WAY!" in slow motion. And, ohh yeah, Podsednik and Rowand, they play for a team that I spent hours watching every summer. That's the best part.

They didn't make drama for some team that just happened to be playing in a World Series I just happened to be watching. They did it in a World Series I've waited for since 1993 when the White Sox were so close, since 1994 when they would have played (and probably lost) to the Expos.

What did we do to deserve this? I'm sure many Sox fans have come and gone between 1917 and now, and they never even got to sniff the kind of stuff we're seeing. I'm not saying the White Sox will win, but I am saying how can they not after all they've been through? And I've been here, watching all the while. If you're a White Sox fan like me, enjoy it. Live it up. This isn't something that happens every year. This is like Christmas day once in your lifetime. It's like going to Disney World and knowing you might never go back. It's like being told you'll probably never have a kid, then it finally happens and you're swept off your feet. Maybe those metaphors are just symbols of how bad I live, breath and sleep for sports. Or maybe they're good and work as well as I think they do. Someone told my sister the other day that it's almost sick how much I love sports, how good something like a walk-off home run can make me feel. Well, at this point in my life -- I've never married the perfect woman or witnessed the birth of my first-born mind you -- I don't know of anything that could bring me as high as Scotty did last night. But I also haven't witnessed the last out of a World Series clinching game yet. So we'll see how high I am when that finally happens. Until then...


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