The gritty center fielder had one hit, scored two runs and ran into the wall trying to catch John Olerud's double with one out in the ninth inning and the White Sox leading by 12 runs. Rowand talks about some of the emotions from the first game in the second installment of his personal journal on MLB.com.
I was real calm when I got here today. I was calm during batting practice, and felt really good, really locked in. I just wanted to get this thing rolling and see the first pitch and start getting ready for the game.
The ovation you get just when you go out to stretch really tells you it's playoff time. It gets the juices flowing. Then, when you go from the dugout and run out to your position and the crowd is going crazy, you get butterflies. You get goosebumps.
Just the excitement of the atmosphere, it takes a real effort to calm down. You don't want to go 150 mph and start doing stuff that you shouldn't be doing. Playing at that pace, you have the tendency to not make the right decisions all the time. Maybe you lay out on a fly ball when you just should let it drop and keep the runner off second base. You just need to keep it under control.
You looked around today and saw nothing but excitement. It is exciting to be where we are. The goal was not so much to get over nervousness but to calm down that excitement and play within yourself. After we threw up the five spot, everyone took a deep breath and said, 'Let's go to work.' But it all started with Jose Contreras.
This crowd has been outstanding, like it was today, all year. Chicago fans aren't all that worried all the time about you making the play, but if you give 110 percent, they will show you some appreciation for it. It's all about the effort.
Anyone outside our clubhouse can say what they want about this team. Nobody in this clubhouse really cares. Everybody cares about each other and what we are trying to accomplish as a team. If anyone outside wants to doubt us, that's just great. We will take being the underdog.
This group is a family. We spend more time with these guys than our families at home, and that's how we play. You lay it all on the line and expect your teammates to do the same.
Our outlook for tomorrow is that tomorrow is a new day. Today is done with. We had a big win today, but tomorrow is as big of a game as today was. Nobody is going to look back and say we have one win under our belts. Our goal is to win every ballgame and prepare to the utmost of our ability.
Aaron Rowand's diary appears as told to Scott Merkin, a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less