By: Delia Ritchie
“How can you not be romantic about baseball?”
Growing up in Chicago, you had the option of two baseball teams and depending on your upbringing, you definitely did not have a choice. I had the option of the Cubs or the White Sox, and due to the overwhelmingly positive influence of my mom’s family—I chose the White Sox. From the moment a White Sox onesie was put on me as a baby, I guess I knew it was something like fate that led me to be a Sox fan.
For 22 years, I have spent my summers at Sox Park, and for two of those years, I worked for the Cubs, but still made time for watching Sox games when they were on the road, or attending games when they were playing at home. Some of my fondest memories had the backdrop of a summer evening baseball game, with the pink and purple hues of a sunset, and a loss, or a victory, with the booming fireworks after every Sox home run, and win. Comiskey was my escape from whatever was happening in my life at the time, outside of the ballpark. In many ways, it was my safe haven, my church if you will.
Reflecting on some of my favorite memories as a Sox fan, is both painful at times, but at the same time, so unbelievably positive. My favorite memory ever of being a Sox fan was attending the 2008 Divisional Playoff at Sox Park with the then-menacing Minnesota Twins playing for Game 163 and a bid for the playoffs. Jim Thome, one of my favorites, and probably the nicest man I have ever met, twice, hit a home run. As the game wore on, another favorite of mine, AJ Pierzynski, secured the lead by literally tossing out a Twins player who tried (and failed) to score. John Danks pitched out of his mind and Bobby Jenks (recurring theme here—ANOTHER favorite of mine!) closed out a winner. Nick Swisher sprayed the fans with champagne, and the team had their final speeches before playoffs. The next day at school, I didn’t care what was going on, I was officially on cloud nine, and experienced my first White Sox playoff game. Of course, they didn’t pull it out against the Rays, but I’ll never forget being “a kid in the stands” as Jim Thome put it in his BBHOF speech a decade later, and witnessing history.
As the seasons of my life change, I grow older and become slightly wiser, there will always be the promise I made to myself, that no matter what role I am in, sports wise, or elsewhere. I will never lose my love of the game, whether it be baseball, hockey or otherwise. If my heart is completely shattered by a blockbuster trade, or healed by a powerful signing, I will always find comfort blanketed in the warmth of a summer evening baseball game, or the sweltering heat of a day game, with condensation dripping from a souvenir cup, or sweat gathering under my favorite Sox hat. Through the seasons, I will always love baseball. I fell in love with baseball as a young girl, enchanted by the sounds and the sights. I still have that love in my heart and every time I watch a game, that love only grows.
For now, I’d watch out for the South Side, this year and in years to come. They are here to #ChangetheGame, whether you like it or not.
Go You White Sox,