Look familiar? Series mirroring 2004
White Sox leave blustery Chicago for Houston with 2-0 lead
CHICAGO -- Last October, the Boston Red Sox won the first two games of the World Series at home in inclement weather, and they went on to sweep a Central Division opponent for their first title since 1918.
Now, the Chicago White Sox have won the first two games of this World Series at home in inclement weather, and they are hoping for a remarkable parallel. Only time will tell if they can go on to sweep a Central Division opponent for their first title since 1917.
The Houston Astros, who have thrived on adversity all season, have a lot left to say about that as a World Series heads to Texas for the first time ever with Tuesday's Game 3. But after two games of this 101st World Series, the stage is certainly set for history to repeat itself very quickly and very eerily.
Here is what else we have learned after a blustery weekend in the Windy City:
White Sox fans love Scott Podsednik even more now than they did in July, when they voted online right here to get him onto the All-Star roster as the 32nd man. His walk-off homer, off closer Brad Lidge, in the ninth inning on Sunday night might have just made him a folk hero, and fans stayed long after that final blow to cheer him, manager Ozzie Guillen and others who waved to the crowd as if they won't see them for a game here again. And if they take two of three possible games in Houston, they won't.
Forget about that complete-game trend. It was fun while it lasted.
The best slide so far was not Chris Burke's hook slide as he touched home to tie the score in the top of the ninth inning Sunday, but rather, the 30-foot slide by the second parachutist as he landed in the wet outfield before that game started.
Joe Crede has been Brooks Robinson reincarnate. What the White Sox third baseman has done in the field and at the plate so far has evoked memories of Robinson's legendary feats for Baltimore in the 1970 World Series against Cincinnati, and you can throw in the names of other third basemen, like Graig Nettles, who have grabbed this spotlight.
This World Series is a throwback to 1997, when games in Cleveland were played in snow while the games in Florida were played in tropical humidity. These two frigid/damp nights will be followed by the comfort of Minute Maid Park, which might even be opened up. Moreover, the 45-degree temperature for Sunday's first pitch marked the lowest for the start of a Series game since it was 38 at the outset of Game 4 in 1997.
These are tough times for "untouchable" closers. Think back to Mariano Rivera in last year's American League Championship Series against Boston. Think back just last week to Lidge in his matchup against Albert Pujols. Then there was Bobby Jenks dominating Game 1 with 100-mph gas, and then blowing a two-out save opportunity in the ninth of Game 2. And then, once again, there was Lidge getting a pitch up ... and out of the park.
For all of the success Journey had over the years, Steve Perry probably never has been more loved in Chicago than he is right now.
Cubs fans may or may not have adopted the South Side club yet, but people in Chicago sure like to talk about it. So does Guillen, who talked about Chicago baseball at length in the dugout before the game. Comparing Wrigley Field and U.S. Cellular Field, he said, "Some people go to Wrigley Field just to see who's gonna sing the seventh-inning stretch. Here, they come to see who's gonna win the game."
If any of these White Sox dugout lineup cards make their way to the game-used memorabilia at the MLB.com Auction in the coming weeks or months, the most noticeable thing will be how clean they are. Not many changes in a Guillen lineup so far.
"Paulie! Paulie! Paulie!" was just one of the popular chants this weekend, and this weekend will go down as one of the most unforgettable in the lifetime of most White Sox fans. It also will go down as maybe the most unforgettable of times for Konerko, who hit the grand slam in Game 2 and whose wife just gave birth to their child on Tuesday. "It was the second-best feeling I've had all week," Konerko said.
These teams just look like opposites. The White Sox are the guys in black and white. Houston, the team that literally has worn every color in the rainbow, is wearing official colors of brick red, black and sand.
Oldies-but-goodies are in for music aficionados. "Let's Go, Go Go White Sox" is the hottest song in Chicago, borrowed from a 1959 World Series that last saw a Chicago representative.
Don't take a big lead off first base with Andy Pettitte on the mound.
Roger Clemens' strained left hamstring was and probably will continue to be perhaps the most-discussed issue in this Series. It forced his departure after only two innings of Game 1, and he is listed as day-to-day.
The Cell is becoming a magnet for prominently disputed calls involving home-plate umpires this month. Astros fans no doubt will talk about whether the ball hit Jermaine Dye's bat before Konerko's Game 2 homer, and White Sox fans will take it.
Astros manager Phil Garner sounded a lot like Tony La Russa in this exact situation a year ago before the latter's Cardinals left Fenway Park down 0-2. "We've just gotta go home and regroup and see what we can do now," Garner said. "Not the best situation, but it's the one we're in. We'll bounce back, we'll make a Series out of it."
Mark Newman is enterprise editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.