The Chicago White Sox shut out the Minnesota Twins 1-0 in their one-game playoff Tuesday night, clinching the AL Central division title.
It marks the first time since 1906 that both Chicago teams are in the postseason, when there were no divisions and only the top team in each league met for the World Series.
That year, the White Sox beat the Cubs to win the Fall Classic. The Sox won another Series in 1917, and waited until 2005 before winning their next. Meanwhile, the Cubbies captured back-to-back titles in 1907 and 1908 and haven't won it since.
Yet, White Sox slugger Jim Thome, who clinched the victory with his solo blast in the seventh inning, said after the game, "It just proves Chicago is a great baseball city. The Cubs have had a great year, and we're so happy Sox fans get to enjoy this ride as well."
Wonderful. Except for the fact the L.A. Angels, arguably the deepest team in the majors will have something to say about the White Sox representing the junior circuit in the World Series. (The Angels will face the Boston Red Sox in the AL Division Series.)
Anyway, that's all fine, seeing this might well be the final celebration fans from the south side of Chicago will be having this year.
(Note: I see the Cubbies getting past the Dodgers in their NLDS, so there won't be a "freeway series" between the two L.A. teams in the Fall Classic either.)
Getting back to Thome, readers enjoy picking apart sentences that we sportswriters pen. Now, I'm going to return the favor to what White Sox slugger has verbalized.
"It just proves Chicago is a great baseball city."
Really? So does that mean for the 102 years in between, when both teams didn't make the playoffs the same season or when the duo missed out completely, that the Windy City sucked?
Great logic there.
And this from Twins slugger Justin Morneau: "You never want to put 162 games all into one game, but that's what ended up happening. It's going to hurt for a while and it's going to be a long night for sure."
Well, Morneau got that first part right, but of course, his Twinkies didn't even deserve to play for the AL Central championship, especially when they choked against the Kansas City Royals in the final weekend of the season and got swept in Cleveland as part of a 1-6 week just prior to the KC disaster.
"It's going to hurt for a while and it's going to be a long night for sure."
Try a long off-season for sure.
Morneau, who didn't miss a game the entire year, batted .302 and had 129 RBIs, one off his career high. However, the former AL MVP slumped big time down the stretch, not homering after September 9th and picking up only 1 RBI in the final 11 games of the year, including Tuesday's contest.
And come to think of it, both the White Sox and Twins plain suck. They both play in a weak division, where they get to beat up on the Royals consistently—oh wait, that was something Minnesota couldn't do—and where the Tigers had no pitching and the Indians couldn't stay healthy.
Yet, neither Chicago nor Minnesota could run away with the division.
In fact, both New York teams (which finished with 89-73 records) had better winning percentages than the two mediocre AL Central clubs, neither of whom should really have been proud to play in that 163rd game.
So while the White Sox celebrate, it will be unlikely they'll have anything left when they face the well-rested Tampa Bay Rays in the AL Division Series, which starts Thursday afternoon.
Minnesota, in the meantime, will have that long winter to contemplate on what went wrong.
Well, Chicago, the so-called "great baseball city," enjoy it while it lasts!
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