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White Sox 2005 Rewind: Underdogs? 14-run ALDS coming-out party said otherwise

White Sox 2005 Rewind: Underdogs? 14-run ALDS coming-out party said otherwise

The White Sox were the best team in the American League in 2005.

And yet, during a field report in the first inning of the first playoff game on the South Side that postseason, what did ESPN’s Erin Andrews call the White Sox?

Underdogs.

Underdogs? Ninety-nine wins and they were underdogs?

Of course, it didn’t bother the White Sox. Teams are always happy to wear the underdog mentality like a badge of honor.

Andrews relayed this quote from Ozzie Guillen: “When you are the White Sox, you have to accomplish something or you’re not going to be in the spotlight.”

Boy, did they grab the spotlight in Game 1 of the ALDS.

White Sox fans know what Guillen was talking about all too well, what with the attention the Cubs are always receiving, in good times or bad, on the other side of town. And it should have come as no surprise that the defending-champion Boston Red Sox, the White Sox adversaries in this ALDS, would receive the lion’s share of the attention from the national media.

And so, despite leading the AL Central from wire to wire, despite grabbing the top seed on the AL side of the playoff bracket, they still had to do something to capture the attention of the baseball world at large.

Scoring 14 runs sure counts as something.

A team that wins 99 games shouldn’t require a “coming-out party.” But the White Sox did it anyway, making some big-time noise against the Red Sox and doing it quickly. They scored five runs in the first inning, A.J. Pierzynski delivering the big blow with a three-run home run off Matt Clement, a blast that whipped an already electric crowd into a new level of frenzy.


The runs didn’t stop coming. Paul Konerko homered in the third inning to make it a 6-0 game. Juan Uribe hit a two-run shot in the fourth. Scott Podsednik, after finishing the regular season with a grand total of zero home runs, hit a three-run homer in the sixth. Pierzynski homered again in the eighth.

Oh, and Jose Contreras pretty well silenced a Red Sox lineup featuring two of the world’s best hitters, David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez, over 7.2 innings of two-run ball.

Underdogs? Really?

RELATED: White Sox 2005 Rewind: 7 nominees for South Side’s regular-season MVP

Again, the White Sox probably didn’t care. Or if they did care, they were happy to hear it, drawing some motivation in a way that everyone can understand after watching “The Last Dance.”

But the way ESPN play-by-play announcer Chris Berman said, “You wouldn’t know that Chicago hit more home runs than Boston,” really said it all. Because anyone who didn’t know that — granted, the Red Sox scored more runs than any team in 2005 — simply hadn’t been watching.

The Red Sox pitching staff was atrocious in the season following their World Series win. Mr. Bloody Sock, Curt Schilling, had an ERA approaching 6.00. Same, too, for former White Sox closer Keith Foulke. No one in the Boston rotation had an ERA under 4.00. A Red Sox team that a season prior won it all started Clement and David Wells in Games 1 and 2 of their next trip to the playoffs. On the broadcast, the word “patchwork” was used to describe a Red Sox bullpen that had the AL’s highest ERA.

The White Sox wasted no time jumping all over that shaky staff, scoring eight runs off Clement before the second out of the fourth inning, then tagging the Red Sox ‘pen for another half dozen runs before Game 1 was over.

That, too, shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise.

While the final month of the season was indeed a white-knuckle ride that nearly ended with a dramatic collapse, the White Sox stayed on track enough to avoid missing out on October baseball. That was thanks in no small part to the efforts of Contreras, Konerko, Jermaine Dye and others. Anyone who watched this team all season long knew what they were capable of.

After bashing the brains of the defending champs in on national TV in their first playoff game, everyone knew.

Keep reliving the White Sox march to the 2005 World Series with #SoxRewind, which features Game 2 of the ALDS, airing at 7 p.m. Sunday on NBC Sports Chicago.

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White Sox 2021 schedule is out, with more NL Central matchups

White Sox 2021 schedule is out, with more NL Central matchups

Get used to the NL Central, White Sox fans.

Just days after Major League Baseball finalized the schedule for the upcoming 60-game 2020 season, the schedule for next season was released Thursday, outlining plans for a 2021 season when the league hopes it can return to normalcy.

The geographic scheduling of the 2020 season, shortened by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, pits the White Sox against teams from the NL Central, and that will again be the case in a 2021 season hopefully unbound by travel restrictions.

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The White Sox will obviously face their AL Central foes and return to regular-season matchups against the AL East and AL West after missing out on such games this season. But the Interleague opponents will once more hail from the NL Central, with the White Sox playing two series apiece against the Cubs, Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates. They will play hosts to the St. Louis Cardinals in May and visit the Milwaukee Brewers in July. Both Crosstown series, the first on the North Side and the second on the South Side, will be played on weekends in August.

The White Sox will start the 2021 campaign on a West Coast road trip, with Opening Day set for Thursday, April 1, the start of a four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim. That's followed by three games against the Seattle Mariners in Washington before the White Sox return to Guaranteed Rate Field for the home opener against the Kansas City Royals on April 8.

The regular season will dip into October next year, with the White Sox closing the regular season on a five-game homestand against the Reds and Detroit Tigers, the regular-season finale coming Sunday, October 3.

Check out the White Sox entire 2021 schedule below:


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White Sox sim-game chatter shows entertainment potential in empty stadiums

White Sox sim-game chatter shows entertainment potential in empty stadiums

Baseball is going to look weird in 2020.

And it might sound even weirder.

Already, even though players are just stretching, tracking down fly balls, throwing bullpen sessions and taking batting practice during the MLB-branded "Summer Camp," the experience of baseball being played in an empty major league stadium is somewhat bizarre.

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But once regular-season games start? It's going to be like a different game from a different universe.

We got a little taste of what it might be like Wednesday, when White Sox ace Lucas Giolito threw a simulated game at Guaranteed Rate Field, throwing at game speed while his teammates took game-style at-bats.

Sim games are not among the many newfangled baseball inventions for a pandemic-delayed season. They've been around for a while and they're always weird, with only one pitcher pitching, sitting in the dugout for 10 minutes to simulate the other half of an inning that is not actually being played, and then facing off against the same players who just backed him up defensively the last time he was out there.

But as we prepare for regular-season games without fans, this simulated game was perhaps more realistic than ever.

The silence was deafening, obviously. The roar of the crowd that would have accompanied back-to-back strikeouts to start off the game for Giolito was met with nothing. Tim Anderson swung and missed at Strike 3 and went back to the dugout. Luis Robert looked at Strike 3 and went back to the dugout. No clapping, no cheering, no blaring clip from Boz Scaggs' "Lido Shuffle," which the White Sox employed during Giolito ("Lido," "-lito," get it?) strikeouts in 2019.

But in the absence of crowd noise, there's an opportunity for a new aspect of entertainment to arise. Because you know what you could hear? Everything the players said. And some of it was pretty darn funny.

Simulated games don't have umpires, so it was on catchers Yasmani Grandal and James McCann to call Giolito's balls and strikes. And Grandal got into it. When Robert stared down that third strike, he made an exaggerated punch-out motion with his fist, earning laughs from the White Sox dugout, with one dugout denizen invoking the name of infamous umpire Joe West in a joking response. Grandal kept it up, feeding off the reaction a la Frank Drebin in "The Naked Gun," and punched out Zack Collins later in the sim game, earning more laughs.

When Nomar Mazara connected on a Giolito pitch for what most would have assumed would be a line drive to right field, the diminutive Nick Madrigal, perfectly positioned in an exaggerated shift, came up with a nice catch to steal a hit away from Mazara. The response from the dugout? "You got bad luck if you can't hit it over his head."

And there was more. Giolito started talking at McCann when the catcher got his pitcher for a double into the left-field corner. The energetic Anderson was pretty loud while cheering for his teammates from the dugout. Coaches could be heard shouting out instructions.

The absence of crowds means fans watching on TV might be able to hear things they've never heard before, adding a new element of entertainment.

"With (our) teammates, we’re going to mess around, we’ll be talking trash," Giolito said Wednesday. "I’m interested to see how that carries over once we get to the regular season. You can hear pretty much everything everyone is saying."

RELATED: Why White Sox-Cubs games could be 'a little taste' of Crosstown World Series

The White Sox will do their best to fill the fanless void at Guaranteed Rate Field. They announced Wednesday the ability for fans to have their likenesses on cardboard cutouts in the stands during the season-opening series against the Minnesota Twins. And players seem unsure about whether crowd noise will be played over the speakers once the games begin. That would be equally weird, though it might help out the players, grasping for any sense of normalcy in a season where their routine-oriented day-to-day work lives have been turned upside down.

But why not keep the crowd noise away and use this opportunity to show off a new element to the game?

TV broadcasts were hoping to mic players up and have them chat with announcers during games. We'll see if that pans out, though the lack of an agreement between the league and the players' union seemed to disperse any optimism of that happening on a regular basis. In place of that, this on-field chatter could be wildly entertaining.

"I think it might (add some more entertainment value)," manager Rick Renteria said. "The guys, they were chirping in the dugout today. It was fun to hear them. They're just like everybody else. You love to play the game, and you have an opportunity to go out and play in your home park, even though you're playing against each other. It's a nice energy to have. Who wouldn't want to play baseball in a big league park? And they share that joy that they all have when they are out there competing."

So get ready for it all: trash talk, disagreements with umpires, pitchers and hitters jawing back and forth, cheers from the dugout and just plain short jokes.

Baseball's going to sound mighty different in 2020.


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