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|White Sox Fever is catching on at the Grandstand souvenir store near U.S. Cellular Field.|
But still, they exhale. "The best thing that ever happened to them is that they played bad baseball in September," local radio voice Jonathan Hood said after Tadahito Iguchi golfed a two-out David Wells pitch over the left field fence to give the White Sox the 5-4 lead. "Either Ozzie [Guillen] is a genius, or Ozzie is a genius." Throughout the year -- especially in the final month of the season -- the White Sox manager flipped the lineup like he was managing minimum-wage high-school kids flipping burgers at McDonald's, and he did it with a team an entire city believed has a chance to win a World Series. "Every day, they'd come in and look to see if they were playing or not," Hood verifies. "No one understood what he was doing. I think now they do." And in two games, he's proven that his team can play the game any way the opposing team wants to play. They can win big (14-2) or close (5-4); the players at the bottom of the lineup can kill you (A.J. Pierzynski, 3-for-3 with two home runs out of the 7 hole in Game 1) or team MVPs can murder you from the top (Iguchi's home run was the winning hit in Game 2); they can consistently put strong starting pitchers on the mound (Jose Contreras and Mark Buehrle in the first two games, and both know their best is yet to come); they can be two games up in a five-game series without the postseason numbers from Carl Everett and Jermaine Dye, their two most important offensive players, who everyone said they'd need to win. So as the fireworks went off and a feeling of ignorant bliss filled the air, the backs of the minds of White Sox fans stayed focused. "It's a beautiful feeling," one fan said inside the BullPen bar. "But it won't be so beautiful if we gotta come back here on Sunday. I don't want to be back here on Sunday."
|Sound the sirens again. The Sox are in the Series.|
|Hail the conquering local hero, skipper Ozzie Guillen.|