Champagne flowed for the Sox after a sweep at Fenway on an early October Friday evening, and Edgar Renteria ended the season for Boston with a ground ball up the middle.
Yet, instead of Keith Foulke celebrating, it was Bobby Jenks pumping his fist in triumph after retiring the Boston shortstop. And it wasn’t Trot Nixon playfully soaking Red Sox fans behind the first base dugout with Korbel after his team’s sweep of the then Anaheim Angels, it was Ozzie Guillen, the embattled yet ever entertaining skipper of the “other” Sox, who let out a cry of conquest, his White Sox having dispatched of the former champs before any of their fan base knew what had hit them.
The White Sox completed a three-game sweep of the Red Sox tonight with a stunning 5-3 win over the former World Series champions, their first playoff series victory since 1917, a year before…well, you know.
“Regardless of whatever happens or what happens in front of you, or what happens in the rear view mirror, our goal is to win,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “And we didn’t.”
Just as members of Red Sox Nation crowded the rear of the visitors’ dugout at Yankee and Busch Stadiums in their historical march to the title in 2004, so too dozens of White Sox fans at Fenway, celebrating their team’s first playoff series victory. Cubs fans might want to lock the doors of Harry Caray’s and hide out for a while. That city is going to be brutal for them.
“Finally, we make a big step,” Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said. “I think the people in Chicago should feel proud of these players. They did everything, every day and never failed.
“People are talking about the White Sox again and we should feel good about it. Nor because of me. They have waited a long time for this moment.”
Meanwhile, stunned members of the Nation filed out of Fenway, relatively more silent than they had been the entire game, unable to produced much of a glimmer all evening, sparks that were predominantly present a season ago in their comeback against the Yankees.
“They gave everything they have, and we gave everything,” Francona said. “It just wasn’t enough.”
For the second weekend in a row, a party was going down in the visitor’s clubhouse at Fenway, after the Yankees celebrated their AL East title less than a week ago in the cramped quarters just behind the third base seats.
Most of this season the Red Sox were going after their first division title since 1995. Instead, it was the first time since that same year that the Red Sox were swept in the ALDS. Tim Wakefield started both deciding Game 3’s, a decade apart.
The White Sox, meanwhile, will look to erase the history the Red Sox did ever so successfully a year ago.
“We’re not trying to change what we see in the past,” said Paul Konerko, who hit his second home run of the series tonight. “Just trying to play the best and see what happens.”