Ten years ago is a long time in baseball years.
The White Sox are spending the weekend honoring the 2005 team that won a world championship. Only three current White Sox were major leaguers in 2005: Adam LaRoche was in his second season of 100-plus games with the Braves, while Zach Duke made 14 starts for the Pirates and Melky Cabrera had a six-game stint with the Yankees.
But, thanks to a couple long-tenured members of that 2005 team — Paul Konerko the most notable among them — the memories and the lessons of the World Series run aren't completely absent inside the current White Sox club house.
Tyler Flowers played alongside Konerko, Mark Buehrle and a few others. And while the 2005 World Series might not have been a daily conversation topic four, five, six years after the fact, he had no problem addressing how important that championship was to his former teammates.
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"The only the way you win a championship is being solid in certain areas: the team chemistry, the camaraderie," Flowers said. "I think you see with even just the guys who are here (this weekend), they're all still pretty tight buddies. That's something, you develop that chemistry together when you play, those bonds that are pretty strong, the brotherhood kind of thing. You see that still to this day, 10 years later, between a lot of those guys.
"Of course Paul's been an influence on all of us over the years. I guess he's touched on some of that over the course of conversations we've had. ... He talked about some of the good times he had and memories from that run, kind of how dominantly they did it, which was pretty neat. But I know all those guys, the group that's here right now, that bond they share is something pretty special. Not many people get to experience that."
Whether this weekend on the South Side or earlier this year at SoxFest, that relationship between those former White Sox players is quite evident. In a pregame conversation in front of season-ticket holders Saturday, Anderson, Geoff Blum, Aaron Rowand and Ozzie Guillen talked about the family aspect of that year's team and how it's persisted in the decade following. Rowand discussed the goofy, brotherly pranks they played on each other — like jokingly ripping on Dye after a bad play in right field by running over a Dye T-shirt with a car and hanging it in his locker — and Anderson talked about the help and advice he got from Rowand and Guillen while attempting to prolong his big league career.
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Even current manager Robin Ventura, who in 2005 was in his first season following the end of his playing days, knew what made that White Sox team special.
"For them, it was more of a chemistry thing," Ventura said. "They pitched well, that was the biggest thing that they did first. But they also got the hit at the right time. They didn't have any Triple Crown winners, so it was a team effort as far as offensively getting done what you need to get done. And then the playoffs, they pitched. They had guys that came out and not just pitched well but (pitched well) the whole game. They're also a little off in a good way. There's some interesting characters."
Seeing the organization's last championship squad honored on the field prior to Saturday's game might provide a bit of inspiration to the current group, but Flowers said it won't provide any additional motivation. Just like that team was in 2005, the focus of the 2015 team is on what's in front of them, not what's 10 years in the past. It's lessons like that that were passed down from Konerko, Buehrle and the like.
"I don't think we need any extra motivation," Flowers said. "It's cool that we have relationships with those guys, guys that have been there and been successful and got rings. But other than that, we'll applaud them when we're out there, they did a good job, but we've got to stay focused on what we're doing."