There is nothing cute or trendy about the White Sox. They are South Side, blue collar, playing
in a cold stadium during a chilly, wet October in the Windy City. Many of their fans appeared to be wearing garbage bags in
Their soundtrack features a classic rock band, Journey, and the factory rat jukebox
staple, "Don't Stop Believin'." Yes, that was former Journey vocalist Steve Perry sitting in the front row. (And, no, he wasn't
born in South Detroit. Unlike Chicago, Motown doesn't really have a South Side.)
|The White Sox are becoming an easy group to cheer for. (Elsa / Getty Images)|
Their big bats, Paul Konerko and Jermaine Dye, aren't A-list sluggers in our national pastime. Their sensational
starting rotation gets little of the media love given to Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte and Roy Oswalt of the Astros.
Their hard-throwing closer, Bobby Jenks, looks like he should be driving a forklift. (And he pitched like
that Sunday night, too.)
Their emotional manager, Ozzie Guillen, has never been accused of being a baseball genius or an inventor of
the modern game. He's just an old-school baseball man who stands ready to lead the charge from the dugout at any time, any
But, hey, the not-so-fashionable White Sox ground out a couple of tough victories over the Astros at the Cell
to take the upper hand in the World Series. On Sunday night, Scott Podsednik, of all hitters, slammed a bottom-of-the-ninth
homer to give Chicago a thrilling 7-6 victory.
What great baseball! The White Sox may be short on glamour, but they are long on drama.
So what if scores of celebrities aren't declaring their lifelong allegiance to this team. Former Styx frontman
Dennis DeYoung is about as good as it gets; he and then-manager Tony La Russa became fast friends 25 years ago.
Famous Cubs fan Bill Murray sends his regards, for the good of a city he loves so much. Actor James Denton
of Desperate Housewives may be the biggest Hollywood connection.
Actor John Cusack tried to hop on the White Sox bandwagon, but owner Jerry Reinsdorf slammed the door in his
face. Cusack wedged in front and center when the Cubs made their last playoff run.
"Cusack used to be a White Sox fan," Reinsdorf told the Chicago Sun-Times. "He showed his true colors.
Now that we won, someone on his behalf called my office. I wouldn't give them to him."
Here are some other developments that grabbed our attention during the weekend that was:
The legend of Eli Manning grows. Backing away from pressure, seemingly heaving the ball in desperation, the
second-year quarterback threw a game-winning touchdown pass to Amani Toomer with eight seconds left in the game.
Wow. Eli's clutch play capped an 83-yard drive that rallied the Giants to a 24-23 victory over the Broncos.
No wonder the Giants brass cheerfully put up with daddy's nonsense when the kid came out of college.
Best surprise ending
No, Matt Ware didn't expect to decide Sunday's San Diego-Philadelphia game with a long sprint to the end zone
with 2 1/2 minutes to play. But when Eagles teammate Quintin Mikell blocked a field goal try, the ball came right to Ware.
Off he went to score the game-winning touchdown in a 20-17 victory.
"Usually it takes a funky bounce after a block, but this one came right up and it was, ‘Whoa, Look at
this!''' Ware said. "I said, ‘This is it,' and started running. You know, high knees and pumping arms, and the guys
were blocking for me. It's been since high school that I scored a TD. I saw the fans down in that end zone going crazy and
they were getting closer and closer and the people were getting bigger.''
Lucky victory of the week
LSU edged Auburn 20-17 in overtime Saturday after Tigers kicker John Vaughn hit the upright from 39 yards
That was Vaughn's fifth — fifth! — missed field goal of the game.
"Our defense played hard, we just didn't do anything with our kicking game," Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville
said. "It let us down at times, that's my fault. We must not have worked enough on it, but we will work on it."
No, being John Vaughn on the Auburn campus isn't going to be fun after this nightmare.
Cheap shot of the week
In an otherwise forgettable game, Rams defensive tackle Damione Lewis got ejected for punching Saints center
LeCharles Bentley right in the man fruit, right out in the open, long after play was over.
"Maybe that's how he was raised," Bentley sniffed. "He's a Miami guy so what do you expect?"
Worst NFL performance
During his second game back from his NFL drug suspension, Ricky Williams ran the ball six times for minus-one
yard Friday night as the Dolphins lost the Chiefs. Tommy Chong could have done that.
|Ricky Williams has looked lost thus far in his return to football. (Eliot J. Schechter
/ Getty Images)|
Williams has rushed the ball 11 times for seven yards during his not-so-storied comeback. "Ricky's doing just
great," Dolphins coach Nick Saban said with a straight face. "Ricky's doing fine."
Worst performance outside the NFL
Tiger Woods was playing close to home, with friends staying at his Isleworth mansion outside Orlando and the
wife off visiting her sister. Maybe all this was too much fun, since Woods played scattershot golf while missing the cut at
the Funai Classic at Walt Disney World.
That was just the third missed cut in his 10-year career. At one point Friday, an exasperated Woods walked
up to a guy in the gallery and said: "I hate this game. It's too hard."
Maybe he shouldn't have let Mr. Toad do the driving for him.
Doormat of the week
The poor Texans, 0-6, took a 38-20 drubbing at home to the Colts. Quarterback David Carr passed for just 48
yards in the game. He threw an interception and saw one of his three fumbles returned for a touchdown.
Since Carr was sacked five times for 42 yards, Houston netted just six yards passing in that game. Six!
First runner-up doormat
The 49ers fell behind the Redskins 35-7 at halftime Sunday and were out-gained 327 to 83 in the process.
Unfortunately, that beat down was no fluke. Since defeating the Rams in their season opener, the 49ers have
gone 0-5 while getting outscored 187-68.
Punishment fits the whine?
It's tough for the MLS playoffs to get much attention, especially in Chicago, with the World Series rolling
at full speed.
So when D.C. United suspended Freddy Adu for its playoff game against the Fire in the Windy City, that didn't
help the league's profile. Nor did the 0-0 outcome. "His suspension, it's not good the day of the game," teammate Santino
Quaranta told the Washington Post.
Walking the walk
With receiver Randy Moss all beat up, Raiders running back LaMont Jordan challenged coach Norv Turner to give
him more carries.
Turner got him 28 carries Sunday against the Bills. He gained 122 yards and scored three touchdowns, proving
he can really walk the walk.
"When I was in New York, people were saying I was disgruntled,'' Jordan said. "It had nothing to do with that.
It's just that when my team loses, I take it personal. Being out here in Oakland, being a big part of whether we win or lose,
I'm going to make sure I'm on the winning side of that."
For one game, anyway, it worked.
Why stock car racing rocks
Some of the best drivers in the world work the various NASCAR circuits. And some of these guys seem afflicted
by a permanent case of road rage.
Tony Stewart is one of the drivers always in the middle of things. Chad Knaus, crew chief for Jimmie Johnson,
ticked off Stewart by suggesting he would crack under pressure if they could get into head.
"Somewhere down the road, it will catch up with him when you are saying the kinds of things that Chad was
saying," Stewart said ominously. "It's like kindergarten. Hopefully, it will be between the two of us but the two teams messing
with each other are going to hurt each other."
Stewart finished second at Martinsville, behind Jeff Gordon, to take a slight lead over Johnson in the Chase
for the Nextel Cup.
Getting their kicks
Josh Brown hit a last-second, 50-yard field goal to lift the Seahawks over the Cowboys. But earlier Sunday,
Paul Edinger hit a 56-yarder as time expired to give the much-maligned Vikings a 23-20 victory over the poor Packers.
"I took off running after it, like I was going to catch it or something," Edinger said. "I can't even describe
it. It's a great feeling. I wish you could experience it."
Could Guillen make his bullpen calls for Bobby Jenks even more theatrical? How about having him hold up a
pot roast when he wants the big fella?
Should Dye get a best supporting actor Oscar for earning that HBP ahead of Konerko's grand slam?
Should FOX send Tim McCarver in to the umpire's room to teach the guys how to judge those balls in on the
fist and bat?
So what hurts worse, Roger Clemens' hamstring muscle or Jeff Bagwell's shoulder?
Who is Lucas Glover and who blessed his putter on Sunday morning?
Will the startling lack of depth in the Big 12 ultimately cost Texas a berth in the BCS title game? Or will
all these lopsided victories help?
"He's an idiot. It's no wonder Kevin Harvick's wanted to kill him so many times. They name streets after guys
like that — one way and dead end. He's a nice guy, but right now, if he came over, I'm afraid I'd have to strangle him."
— Tony Stewart, after Nextel Cup rival Greg Biffle stayed in his way at Martinsville.
"I was playing basketball this week — I had a triple-double."
|Tiger Woods had nothing to smile about this weekend. (Doug Benc / Getty Images)|
— Tiger Woods, after a triple bogey and double bogey doomed him at the Funai Classic.
"We are a Rocky Balboa-type team, but it's good to get a young Mike Tyson-type win and knock someone out."
— Redskins linebacker Marcus Washington said.
"He's smoke and mirrors. That's the illusion. He's right there and then he's gone. Dude's great."
— Nebraska defender Lorenzo Williams, after Missouri quarterback Brad Smith abused the Cornhuskers
with 480 yards in total offense.
"I've definitely been aware of it. When fans were getting on me, they had every right because I wasn't playing
up to par. It was obvious to me. I wasn't hitting the way I wanted to hit for average. I really couldn't explain why. I just
kept getting more and more frustrated. It has been an up-and-down roller coaster for me in the big leagues."
— White Sox third baseman Joe Crede, the hero of Game 1 of the World Series, on the boos he heard
at The Cell earlier this year,
"What happened with our secondary? They played better than we did. It was maddening. I didn't get depressed
or anything like that because I know we're a better team than that. But, it was maddening. We were taught better than we played
— BYU cornerback Kayle Buchanan, after Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn fired six touchdown
passes against his team.