Emotions finally let out after sweep
Clubhouse filled with laughter and tears
HOUSTON -- On one side of the visiting clubhouse at Minute Maid Park, Steve Perry, the former rock-n-roll singer, sang his lyrics alongside White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski, and center fielder Aaron Rowand.
In the middle, Steve Perry, an Astros equipment manager, handed out bottles of bubbly.
The aroma was of champagne. The air was of cigar smoke and the sounds were of cheers 88 years in the making.
Following Wednesday's 1-0 victory in Game 4, the Chicago White Sox celebrated their first World Series championship title in the bowels of Minute Maid Park with smiles, tears, hugs and a lot of song. It was a family reunion and everyone was invited as long as they knew the words to "Don't Stop Believin'." The party started with the final out in the ninth inning and a little boy running the bases not long after.
"I don't think there is any better feeling that what I am feeling right now," White Sox third baseman Joe Crede said. "I'm going to soak it all up while it's here and not even think about anything. I'm going to enjoy it."
An emotional Ozzie Guillen watched the initial celebration from the third-base line. He later fought back the tears during the presentation of the World Series trophy. It was the first time, likely since birth, that Guillen did not say a word. He couldn't. Every time he started to open his mouth, he would stop for a second and then wipe his eyes like he had been poked in the eyes.
The thing is, he had not even been sprayed with champagne yet. In fact, the first thing Guillen did once he was presented the trophy was call out to his family. In a scene reminiscent of the movie Rocky, Guillen called out to his own "Adrian," but her name was Ibis -- his wife. He searched for his sons and then he looked for his family members. He stopped long enough to give a few handshakes and hugs to White Sox officials, but it was clear the manager had something else on his mind -- sharing the experience with his family.
When Guillen found them, he took them to the visiting managers' office for a private moment, only he and his loved ones know about. He emerged teary-eyed again and moving around the clubhouse like he was on a mission to congratulate everybody he could.
And he did.
"It's a great feeling. I think it was a great competition," Guillen said. "The four games here it could go either way. They played real tremendous baseball against us."
In another part of the clubhouse, Frank Thomas, the lifelong slugger, leaned against a wall with a child-like smile and talking to everybody who approached him. This was a happy Frank, happier than anyone had ever seen him. In another corner, third-base coach Joey Cora stood soaking wet and in disbelief. His eyes were still watery, but from the way his voice cracked, it was easy to tell the redness was not from the champagne or smoke.
In the center of the locker room, the White Sox cheered. They jumped. They danced and they sang all of Perry's words they could remember. Freddy Garcia, the winning pitcher, stopped clapping only long enough to kiss the World Series trophy and had appeared to go into a euphoric trance until Carl Everett put the trophy in his face and screamed for a "beso, beso," which means "kiss." Garcia finally planted a wet one on the trophy. The hardware disappeared only to resurface in the infield during a team photo.
In the stands, the White Sox faithful shined. For at least 30 minutes, the fans chanted, "Bring that trophy over here," "Paulie, Paulie," "Ozzie, Ozzie," "Thank you, White Sox," and "Thank you, Ozzie" in no particular order. This was their moment, too.
Near the pitcher's mound, Ibis Guillen sent a message to Venezuela and told her countrymen and women to celebrate. Today was not only a good day for the White Sox, she said, it was a great day for Venezuela. Longtime White Sox Minnie Minoso almost started to cry when he thought about how much his good friend Chico Carrasquel would have enjoyed this moment. Tim Raines also needed a moment to compose himself.
"I love this," Raines said. "I'm so glad to be a part of this for Ozzie, for the city, for everybody. I don't have the words. It's amazing."
The White Sox never stopped believing and now had a World Series championship to show for it. It was a glorious day for the South Side of Chicago.
"We are the world champions," Thomas said. "This is our time. Things happened and the momentum kept building."
Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.