When life turns harsh again on the South Side, when Ozzie Guillen has worn out his welcome, when Joe Crede can't cut it anymore, when Juan Uribe's asking price is viewed as exorbitant, when Bobby Jenks can't find the plate, when A.J. Pierzynski becomes completely intolerable, when Jermaine Dye is hitting .227, when Freddy Garcia can't get out of the fifth…when that happens — and it will in some form or fashion — there will be this night, the night of October 26, 2005, the night the Chicago White Sox became baseball champions of the world.
This was your night. And it will always be your night.
I doubt we have a lot of White Sox fans looking in, but as a fan of a team that, unlike the Chicago White Sox, hasn't won in a relatively long time, I'd like to extend not just congratulations but a bit of advice for when the champagne dries and the hangover begins.
Keep tonight in your heart.
This isn't intended to be a downer. If anything, it's an upper, it's a thought to keep you as high as the highest row of your upper deck before it was retrofitted.
When the guys who got you here begin to become the guys who are keeping you from getting here again, when they age or they slump or they leave, don't get down on them. Don't treat them as dead wood or pariahs or traitors. Players and managers and coaches who win you World Series should be on your sentimental Christmas card list forever.
When things go badly, do not turn your backs on 2005. Don't compare whatever's going wrong to all that went right and whatever you do, don't get all depressed about now because you might have reason to not like what you're living through later.
I don't know if you understand what I'm saying. How could you? This is the night you've been waiting for your entire lives. It's impossible to imagine anything connected to being a White Sox fan will ever not be wonderful. Other fans complain about how long they've been suffering — everybody wants to claim long-suffering fandom, few want to do the actual heavy lifting — but you know what it means. Since last October, nobody had waited longer except for Cubs fans. Now it's them by a mile (as if I had to remind you). Whenever you came to the White Sox, whether it was when they were good enough to dare you to dream or bad enough to make you wonder why you wanted anything to do with them, this is where you wanted to be.
You're here. Your team did it as few others have. The Sox provided the rest of us the most entertaining four-game sweep possible. We're now plum out of baseball to watch until February, what with those three if-necessaries by the boards, but we can't hold you responsible. After 88 years, I can't say I blame you for getting this over with in four.
Go out, if you haven't already, and buy the t-shirt, buy the cap, order the DVD, grab a spot for the parade, save every newspaper, print out every e-mail you wrote to your fellow White Sox fans and every e-mail they wrote back. Swaddle yourself in the 2005 world championship. And never, no matter how futile the future might get, ever, ever let go of this night, not for one solitary second.
You are the Chicago White Sox, the 2005 World Champions. No, they can't take that away from you.