Where did the time go? It feels like yesterday that I was on the trolley with my teammates turning down LaSalle Street to celebrate the team's first World Series Championship in 88 years with a massive crowd of White Sox fans. After 10 years apart, a celebration was long overdue.
The White Sox commemorated the anniversary the weekend of July 17-19 by inviting members of the 2005 team back home to Chicago for World Series Championship Reunion Weekend, presented by Your Local Ford Stores. It marked the first time many of us were back together at U.S. Cellular Field since the 2005 season. There was plenty of catching up to do.
Arriving at the ballpark brought back a sense of excitement. The chemistry that helped us lift the World Series trophy was brought back to life through handshakes and hugs with teammates, coaches and front office staff.
The fun never stopped during the weekend. We were reunited for a media session before the Friday night game and the celebration kicked off with the post-game concert by "Resurrection" - A Journey Tribute band. I wasn't surprised when Joe Crede and Aaron Rowand jumped on stage to join the band for "Don't Stop Believin'." Nothing brings back the memories of the 2005 season quicker than that song!
On Saturday, we gathered at Championship Plaza at U.S. Cellular Field for a team photo with the World Series trophy and were joined by Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and 2005 general manager and current Executive Vice President Kenny Williams. Not long after that, we were greeted by a warm welcome from White Sox fans as the celebration continued with an on-field ceremony. As I rode to home plate in the Parade of Champions, the crowd erupted with the same enthusiasm from the 2005 postseason. I had the incredible honor of acknowledging that passion from our fans in a speech during the ceremony. I can never find the right words to truly express how important our fans were that season and continue to be.
To top off the memorable weekend, a few of my teammates and I spent Sunday night at the iconic Chicago Theatre for "A Season to Remember: A Night with the 2005 World Series Champions." Fans got to take another look back at the 2005 season, as we shared behind-the-scenes stories from the World Series run. The event overflowed with nostalgia, giving everyone a night that we will never forget. It was a great evening for a great cause, with proceeds from the event benefitting Chicago White Sox Charities.
While it was incredible to see all of the guys again, it meant a lot to have some face time with faithful White Sox fans throughout the weekend. Whether I was signing autographs or mingling with season ticket holders, I was immediately reminded of how important the fans were in bringing the World Series trophy back home to Chicago after 88 years.
Winning the World Series was one of the highlights of my career, and Reunion Weekend was a great way to commemorate it. Everywhere I go, people remember what that team accomplished. It's not just felt in Chicago. I've met lifelong White Sox fans from all over the country who have shared their own memories of winning the World Series.
It's always described as something they will never forget and it's something that my teammates and I also will never forget. Thank you, fans, for keeping South Side pride, passion and tradition very much alive throughout the country.