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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

Kansas City Blues

The wait is over!

Guy Bacci

Flashback, October, 2000. The first thing I remember from that fateful ninth inning was John Olerud lining a rocket off Kelly Wunsch and reaching second base on a throwing error. That prompted me to leave my front-row seat in the upper deck and head to the main concourse. I figured if the season was going to end like this, the last place I wanted to be was stuck in traffic with a bunch of giddy Mariner fans.

As soon as Carlos Guillen’s bunt went past the diving Frank Thomas, I made a dash for the stairs and exited out the main gate. A hoard of TV cameras and reporters were waiting to pounce, and a few them started motioning their microphones in my direction, but I jogged right past them (no doubt leaving them confused by the disgust etched onto my face).

I’ve just realized that I’ve been waiting for Tuesday, October 4, 2005, for five long years. Waiting through the false hopes provided by David Wells, Kenny Lofton, Bartolo Colon and Roberto Alomar. Waiting for another chance to have the stadium and city that I adore be rocked by a playoff victory.

That’s all I ask. One measly home playoff triumph. My ambitions aren’t grand; too many years of disappointment prevent me from dreaming beyond one playoff win. If I can witness that, I think the roller coaster ride of 2005 will have paid off. Of course, I won’t be complaining if we get even more.

But first things first.

In an odd twist of irony, the Sox may have put themselves in a mighty tough spot for the ALDS. By defeating the Indians twice with their Triple-A roster, it appears the defending champion Red Sox will be coming to town. As of this writing, a lot of things would need to happen for the Indians to replace the BoSox as the AL Wild Card. I suspect that as I’m typing, Kenny Williams is sending an army of scouts to Boston.

As thrilling as it was to see Ross Gload—the guy who got the shaft all season long—drive home the winning runs in the 13th inning on Friday night, and as satisfying as it was to see a team other than the Sox take on the role of choker, there was a part of me wishing for Cleveland to pull through. By earning the Wild Card, the Indians could remove one of the East Coast teams from the post-season, which would not only weaken the field, but also prevent the media from drooling over yet another Boston-New York ALCS.

Despite Boston’s pitching concerns, I continue to fear their offensive potential. The White Sox will need to score at least four runs a game, which has proven challenging for Ozzie’s crew. As wonderful as it is to see Old Man Contreras carrying the staff, I wonder what Sox fans would have thought last July if someone had told them that come playoff time, most of the starters would be scuffling and it would be Contreras starting Game One of the ALDS. Would that have made anyone warm and fuzzy?

Of course, there’s that nagging West Coast Curse that has followed the Pale Hose since the turn of the century. As Ozzie Guillen sees it, the Sox are right where they want to be. “I don't like to go to the West Coast,” Guillen said. “It's too far away. But if we have to do it … one of the best teams in the league is the Angels. They beat you a lot of different ways.”

“[The Red Sox] outslug you,” Guillen said. “We match up very well against them.”

Frankly, I fear the Sox don’t match up well against any of the AL playoff teams. But heck, based on 80-plus years of futility, I’d fear the Royals in the first round.

On the bright side, a series with Boston will provide plenty of nail-biting drama. Every Manny Ramirez or David Ortiz post-season at-bat is an epic battle in itself. A series against the Angels has the potential to lack a certain amount of pizzazz, much like the Seattle series five years ago. But a confrontation with Boston will be loaded with subplots, especially since the Red Sox are the defending champs and undoubtedly hoping to meet the Yankees in the next round.

Word is, MLB has already decided to put the Yankees in primetime, which is enough to make anyone want to hurl. How the defending champions and the team with the best record in the AL don’t earn a primetime slot is beyond me. But to the ChiSox benefit, they’ve thrived in day games all year. Now Sox fans just have to find a way to get out of work for an afternoon or two.

Personally, I’d rather be complaining about the start time of the ALDS than having nothing to complain about at all.

Here we go, my fellow Sox fans… don’t eat a heavy breakfast Tuesday morning.

Guy Bacci is from the north suburbs of Chicago, where he couldn't avoid growing up as a pampered and snotty Cubs fan. Luckily, he saw the light in 1985 and never looked back. He loved the hard-working, old-school tactics of Carlton Fisk, who would become his all-time favorite player. His most memorable moment was going to a Sox double-header with his grandfather, who insisted on staying all nine hours (including a long rain delay). Guy is a journalism grad from Northwestern, currently residing in Seattle, where he works as a computer programmer and freelance writer. He can be reached at

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