Photo by Ethan Holesha
My friend, fellow Moraine Valley student Ethan Juarez, and I prepare to witness the excitement of Game 4 of the ALDS playoffs between the Houston Astros and the Chicago White Sox on Oct. 12.
Everyone was wearing black jerseys, waving black towels. Every Sox fan was on the same page: we’re here to win.
With not a single open seat in sight, Guaranteed Rate Field was electric for Game 4 of the ALDS playoffs Tuesday, as more than 40,000 fans screamed as loud as they could.
Even when the game was becoming out of reach for the White Sox, the fans were still fully involved. People five rows down from us began tying their towels together. Over the course of the next three innings, the towels reached across five sections and the fans with the towels were put on the big screen multiple times.
When the White Sox took the field, the whole stadium was buzzing. Thousands of lifelong fans on the edge of their seats to witness a historic run. Strangers high-fiving and hugging each other. Chants of “Let’s go White Sox,” along with vulgar chants towards the Houston Astros players because of the cheating scandal.
The White Sox lost 10-1, ending their season much sooner than anyone would have thought, but not ending their momentum as a franchise.
The Chicago White Sox have always been thought of as Chicago’s second baseball team. However, in the last few years, the tables may have turned.
With trips to the postseason in consecutive years for the first time in franchise history, the current White Sox team is poised to be historically great.
After getting blown out in the first two games of the series in Houston, the White Sox had their first home playoff game since 2008 on Oct. 10. The fans did not disappoint.
With a “black out” theme, the crowd’s energy was radiating from the very start.
Head of Barstool Sports Dave Portnoy was so impressed with the crowd, he took his opinion to Twitter: “White Sox crowd is electric. Louder and more energetic than any Cubs crowd I’ve ever seen.”
For Chicago sports fans, these are fighting words. But as a Sox fan, they bring a sigh of relief that our team is finally getting the recognition it deserves. Living in the shadow of the Cubs for practically their whole existence, the White Sox are finally starting to take the upper hand in appeal.
Well-known Cubs fan John Cusack was called out by Barstool employee White Sox Dave for switching teams as soon as the White Sox became relevant.
Personally, I feel like you can be supportive of both Chicago teams. However, you can only be passionate about one of them. White Sox fans took offense to Cusack, and frankly, I can’t blame them.
With the Cubs in the midst of a “retool,” which really means rebuild, the White Sox are the new face of Chicago baseball. With one of the most talented rosters in all of baseball, the Sox are here to stay for a long time.
Watching Game 3 on TV, you could just hear the restlessness of the crowd. Thirteen long years between home playoff games was finally over, and the built-up excitement was finally released.
There’s even a clip of White Sox DH Gavin Sheets standing on first base with coach Daryl Boston where Sheets is just blown away by the crowd. “This place is wild, it’s crazy,” Sheets said to Boston.
Even Astros manager Dusty Baker–the former Cubs manager–commented on the atmosphere of the Sox fans. “That was pretty cool actually. It was different than at Wrigley Field.”
I feel as if that last line really sticks with Sox fans. “It was different than at Wrigley Field.” It is different from Wrigley. Wrigley is a historic field, it’s a staple of Chicago, but it almost feels more like a tourist attraction than a ballpark. At a White Sox game, every fan is watching the game. The atmosphere is always rowdy, with 40,000 fans carrying a chip on their shoulder to prove that we’re not just Chicago’s “second team.”
This postseason run, while it may have been shorter than we would’ve liked, proved a lot for White Sox fans. Being there for Game 4, you couldn’t even hear yourself think for the first half of the game. As the White Sox started getting blown out, people began to leave. But when the game was close, the whole stadium was on their feet for almost every at bat.
Regardless of the outcome, people were just happy to finally be at a home playoff game for the White Sox.
That was my first playoff game of my life for any of my Chicago teams. And it definitely won’t be my last. Everything is just…different in the playoffs. You can literally feel the weight of the importance of the game when you’re in that ballpark. Especially because it had the potential of being the last White Sox game of the season (which it unfortunately was).
Despite the early postseason exit, fans still stuck around at the end of Game 4 to give the players a standing ovation after a fantastic season.
This is just the beginning for the White Sox. With an extremely young roster and their first division title in 13 years, this team is the future of Chicago baseball.