Sox fans glad to bring back blackout
Crowd hopes to capture magic from Tuesday's big victory
CHICAGO -- Thousands of black-clad White Sox fans roamed the covered concourse at U.S. Cellular Field on Sunday, awaiting the first pitch of a do-or-die Game 3.
Sporting ponchos, umbrellas and an all-too-anxious look, Sox fans weren't fazed by the rain. In fact, after coming home from the dome at Tropicana Field, it might even be an advantage.
"Games 1 and 2 [of the 2005 World Series] were as cold and rainy as this, so I think this plays into the hands of the White Sox," said Scott Steffens, a fan from Wheaton, Ill. "It's not a dome, it's not artificial turf; the White Sox have gotten used to this all year."
Steffens was joined by his wife, Kelly, who said she's been attending White Sox games for the past 26 years. Staving off elimination wasn't the only reason the couple wanted to see the White Sox win.
"Hopefully one Chicago team will get a Division Series win," Scott Steffens said. "So obviously this is very important."
And then there's Mark Rose, an attorney from Highland Park, Ill., who was satisfied with what the South Siders had accomplished so far this season.
"I think the fact that they're just in the playoffs makes me happy," Rose said. "When you consider what they were projected to do at the beginning of the year -- most people didn't think they'd finish higher than third or fourth -- and they ended up winning the division, although by the narrowest of margins."
The blackout turned out to be an extremely successful venture last Tuesday, when the White Sox edged out the Twins, 1-0, in the American League Central tiebreaker to determine which team would advance to the postseason.
White Sox players and coaches agreed afterward that the blackout and the fan atmosphere gave the South Siders a decided advantage in that game. It was a victory that will forever be burned into Rose's memory.
"I was at the old Comiskey Park for the '83 playoffs. I was here when they clinched with the Bo Jackson home run in '93," Rose said. "I was here for the 2000 playoffs. I was here for all three rounds of the 2005 playoffs. But I have never been to a more exciting game than Tuesday night when the Sox beat Minnesota."
With that kind of endorsement for the blackout, the White Sox brought it back for the postseason in an effort to keep the club alive another day. Fans received white towels when they entered the park Sunday instead of the black ones they were given Tuesday.
The superstitious among them weren't thrilled.
"I don't know if the white towels will do the same as Tuesday night," Scott Steffens said. "But the blackout worked -- it's a great idea, and hopefully it will be as effective."
David Just is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.