Sunday, September 04, 2005

South Side Looking Good



Lost in the Hurricane Katrina story and the opening weekend of college football is the nice little fact that the White Sox swept the Tigers over the weekend, completed by John Garland's complete-game shutout on Sunday. Four straight, which also happens to coincide with a 4-0 start to September.

Recently, some people were getting ready to write the Pale Hose off when they hit a cold spot, some clueless reactionaries even going so far as to mention the word 'choke'.

And it didn't help matters that Cleveland suddenly couldn't lose in recent weeks, which was especially grating since my sister's fiance, who was in town last week FROM CLEVELAND, was sure to tell the Unknown Column all about it.

Well, well, well. What a difference a weekend makes.

I love it. It's odd rooting for the Twinkies, but they did handle the Indians the last couple of days.

Yes, all is well at the moment. No proverbial gunfire in the distance tonight. I mean, when Willie Harris is a hot bat (including hitting his first home run since last September), that's always a good thing, not to mention a shock.

By the way, has the Unknown Column ever mentioned that the Red Sox are pansies afraid of a little rain?

If he hasn't, they are.

And thus today (Labor Day) the Pale Hose must travel to Boston for one game. That's an interesting test, especially since it's smack dab in the middle of a ten-game homestand at the Cell.

Oh, well. It will be interesting to see how the kid, Brandon McCarthy, handles himself on the mound at Fenway.

And the first White Sox hitter to smash a line drive off of Curt Schilling's right hand wins.

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A big, fat congatulations must go out to the U.S. soccer team. A spot in Germany in the 2006 World Cup is assured with Saturday night's 2-0 win over Mexico.

And what a great scene on Saturday night in Colombus. Earning a berth for next summer and making hated Mexico look bad in the process? That's about as win-win as it gets.

It goes a long way to make up for the batteries and bags of urine Mexican fans like to greet the American players with down in Mexico City.

And what a sign of the times. The U.S. currently sits as the unquestioned king of CONCACAF with an authority like never before. They just won the Gold Cup, the region's championship, a few weeks ago, and now they are the first team from the region to qualify for Germany. And they did it with three games to spare.

Dominance.

Of course, CONCACAF is an undeniably weaker region, but still.

It's a far cry from the the team that finally got the U.S. back into World Cup play in the 1990 edition. That team needed a late, near-miraculous goal on the road in Trinidad & Tobago to earn passage on the last possible day. At the time, it was like reaching the moon. Of course, the U.S. didn't win a single game at Italia '90, but qualifying was a rare feat.

The U.S. hasn't missed a World Cup since.

After qualifying automatically as hosts in 1994, qualifying in 1998 and 2002 were no easy paths, either. It was always a struggle, always one misstep away from the world laughing at the U.S.'s failure at the "world's game".

Well, look at us now. We're all growns up and we're all growns up.

This time around the U.S. has made qualifying look, dare I say, easy. Instead of worriedly looking at the standings and upcoming matchups in a scramble to secure a berth, Bruce Arena will instead be able to use the final three games as an unexpected opportunity to test new players and lineups.

My how times have changed.

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Some nice photo's from FIFA's website...

A dirty Mexican player? Gee, I'm shocked. McBride is assaulted...



Ralston scores the opener. I love this photo. Look at the Mexican guy. Warms my heart. Hahahaha...



Let the good time's roll after Ralston's goal...



Awwwww, poor Borgetti is imploding. What a shame...



Beasely's goal, which was very pretty...



Beasley and McBride celebrate the second goal...



On to Germany 2006...

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