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Long journey ends on top for White Sox

Bauman: White Sox on top of the world

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HOUSTON -- This is no longer "the Second Team" in "the Second City." This is the First Team in North America.

There will also be no more about fans of the Chicago White Sox "suffering in silence." The suffering is over. And so is the silence.

The Chicago White Sox won the 2005 World Series Wednesday night, finishing a sweep over the Houston Astros. It is easy to say that they ended an 88-year drought between World Series championships. But it was more like this particular drought was obliterated.

When the White Sox swept the Astros in four straight, it made them 11-1 in the 2005 postseason. Since the advent of the three-tiered playoff system, only one other team has had a record this dominant -- the mighty 1999 New York Yankees.

The games were close against the Astros -- the four games were decided by a total of six runs -- but the total effect was domination. This is all you can accurately say about 4-0 or 11-1. The Chicago White Sox not only won the 2005 World Series, they dominated the 2005 postseason.

The final game was a microcosm of the best of the 2005 White Sox: Pitching and defense, just what this team was constructed to do.

It was a 1-0 October classic with the White Sox using four pitchers to get the shutout, and shortstop Juan Uribe making two terrific defensive plays to end the game. And there was just enough offense, with Jermaine Dye singling in the winning run in the eighth inning.

Dye was named the Most Valuable Player of the World Series. This composed veteran, this consummate baseball workman, knew exactly what it all meant.

"It's been a long time since [the White Sox have] been in the Series and won," Dye said. "And it means a lot, not only to us in the clubhouse, but to the organization, to the fans, to the city, and it's just a great feeling. And we're just happy to be able to bring a championship to the city of Chicago, and it's really special."

It is really special. White Sox fans, for instance, waited longer than Red Sox fans for a World Series championship. They just never got the publicity or the poetry that came along with being a Boston fan. White Sox fans were as devoted, as loyal, as patient, as tried-and-true as anybody in the game. They just didn't get the recognition their steadfast nature deserved.

Now, they don't need any recognition. They have the better deal -- victory.

Ozzie Guillen got it. If he's not the Manager of the Year in the American League, justice is on vacation. He grew up with the White Sox, and now he's at the pinnacle of the game. There are not too many people in the game who are better positioned to have a feel for what the Chicago White Sox mean.

"A good thing happened to us, that's the reason we won it," Guillen said Wednesday night. "I think being here for so many years, and the fans in Chicago waited so long and with so much patience ... good thing we did it."

And beyond even this, the thing of beauty here was that this team was a reflection of the traditional ethic of the South Side and its baseball franchise. This team was not loaded with superstars. This was a team, in the best sense of that word. It was a bunch of guys who showed up every day and gave it what they had. Looked at individually, they didn't knock you over. Looked at as a team, they were the best thing in baseball. This is the way it ought to be.

Guillen touched on that, too, saying that general manager Ken Williams gave him "the best team players on the field. Every time we take the field, we know that's the best talent, but I got the best players on the field because they show up every day."

"We don't have any egos on this team," Dye said. "I think that was what was really special about this team. And from the start of Spring Training, everybody was hungry. Everybody wanted to go out there and win together. Everybody was pulling on the same rope."

It is easy to say this was the ideal White Sox team because it just won a World Series in four games. But this was also an ideal White Sox team because it was not a random collection of stars and egos. It was a real team, populated by real people who made a daily attempt to play the game the right way. This was, twice over, exactly the kind of team the South Side franchise should have had.

All of that talk in the second half about how they were fading, sinking, choking -- whatever it was the masters of negativity were peddling -- only serves to make the whole thing sweeter now.

The last time the White Sox won the World Series, the Kaiser was a world leader -- not a roll. But that's all history now. The 2005 Chicago White Sox won the World Series on talent, on teamwork, on effort, on merit. This can never be denied, diminished or dismissed. These White Sox finished on top of the baseball world, because that was right where they belonged.

Mike Bauman is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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