Most of us were thrilled by the World Series. Some of us actually went to the games. Sunday, Oct. 23 was one of the most miserable weather days in the annals of Chicago sportsâ€"and one of the best.
Father Larry McNally hit the daily doubleâ€"Chicago Bears, followed by game two of the World Series at U.S. Cellular Field. His brother-in-law picked him up immediately after 11 o'clock Mass, and they headed for Soldier Field, tailgating in the parking lot and dining on McNally's favorite chicken, Brown'sâ€"appropriate since the Baltimore Ravens, the Bears' opponents, used to be the Browns. He left in the third quarter to make connections with a friend who was supposed to pick him up at Columbus and Roosevelt for the Sox game. But the friend didn't show. A police officer came by and called his friend on her cellphone to direct him back (McNally doesn't carry a cell, he just goes to The Cell).
"Mary Jo Burns, our great and wonderful school principal," McNally wrote, "has a friend who lives in Bridgeport, so Mary Jo's friend let us park our car in her garage." Good to have connections in high and dry places. He saw the game in its entirety, including the walk-off home run.
How he stayed warm, we have no idea. Maybe it was divine insulation.
Eugene White, meanwhile, best known either for his Reliable Painting and Decorating business or the fact that he and his brother next door put up the best Halloween and Christmas decorations in Oak Park each year, is also a Sox fan. He resorted to standing in front of Sox stadium with a sign, hoping to pick up tickets to the Series, but to no avail. So his wife suggested he try Houston. White got on the Internet and came up with three tickets to the fourth game. Timing is everything. He, his son, Eugene Jr., and his daughter, Anna, sat in left field, and White reports that the Houston fans were terrific, high-fiving and congratulating them when the Sox won. Afterwards, he said, Paul Konerko and Mayor Daley signed baseballs and they talked with Steve Perry of Journey (the "Don't Stop Believin'" singer). Perry even got on White's cell phone to say hello to his wife, Angela, a big Journey fan. "She couldn't believe it," White reported. Aside from the goofy crooked yellow line on the left field wall marking home runs, he was impressed by Minute Maid Park.
Of course, it's not The Cell.
While Forest Park closed off sections of Madison Street last Wednesday night as a precaution prior to the White Sox World Series clinching win, Oak Park police reported a quiet, if not silent night. Of course, Oak Park has far fewer bars than Forest Park. But Oak Park Deputy Police Chief Bob Scianna, who worked a 1 p.m. to 1 a.m. shift last Wednesday overseeing police operations, said Thursday that didn't mean police here weren't ready for problems. "We didn't block anything off, although we were prepared to," he said, adding that rapid response units were on standby in the event of any civil disorder, and police had double their usual presence on the street.
"Our position was, 'Let the people celebrate, it was an historic occasion,'" said Scianna. "As long as they weren't harming anyone or damaging any property."
Far from it. People came outside, expressed their unbridled joy and team pride, but didn't overdo it.
"Everyone was very cooperative," said Scianna.
Scianna had no comment when asked if he is a Sox fan, but said he was definitely pulling for a Sox sweep, regardless of his team loyalties.
"I had to come in from 1 p.m. to 1 a.m. Wednesday," he said. "And I was scheduled to do the same on Thursday and Saturday and Sunday nights, if need be. So, 'Go Sox.'"