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South Side Holds White Sox Party

October 27, 2005|P.J. Huffstutter | Times Staff Writer

CHICAGO — After decades of suffering in a town where their team was the butt of jokes and long overshadowed by the beloved Chicago Cubs, thousands of White Sox fans filled the streets of south Chicago on a rainy Wednesday night and screamed with glee.

"We won! It wasn't the Cubs, it was us!" Carla Johnson, 43, shrieked outside the United Center. "We're the winners! Finally!"

Bundled in overcoats, fans cried and shrieked themselves hoarse, all the while waving white tube socks overhead like victory banners. Traffic congested the roads outside U.S. Cellular Field, as people rushed to celebrate.

In recent days, as the American League champions built a lead in the World Series against the Houston Astros, signs big and small began cropping up and showing that the city's long-standing baseball divide was beginning to crumble.

"Good luck Sox!" signs are plastered in store-fronts across the North Side. Downtown, Sox pennants cling to the Chicago River bridges and the lion statues outside the Art Institute have donned White Sox caps.

More than 4,900 fans gathered at the United Center, slapping down $15 a ticket for the chance to drink beer, eat hot dogs and watch Game 4 on one of the eight oversized screens above the ice rink.

They screamed obscenities, and hissed at the screen, every time the camera cut to former President George H.W. Bush, who was wearing an Astro jacket. But with the last out in the White Sox's 1-0 victory, the crowd went wild.

James Gonzalez, 6, clung to his mother and sobbed. In his hand was a small, worn leather baseball glove.

"He wouldn't leave the house without it. He's taken it to every Sox game we've gone to. It's his lucky glove," said his mother, Sherrie Gonzalez, 36.

James raised his tear-streaked face.

"See, Mama? It worked! It worked!" he said.

A few rows away, 23-year-old Darrin Jordan and his friends were screaming and pouring beer over each other.

"I've averaged about four hours of sleep after each game, because we've been out partying," Jordan said, his eyes bleary.

Fears of riots and out-of-hand revelers had authorities warning fans away from U.S. Cellular Field earlier Wednesday. Police and city officials urged fans to stay home, to avoid a repeat of what happened in the 1990s when the Chicago Bulls won six NBA titles.

"I don't think the fans will burn the city down, like they did with the Bulls' win," said Gene Rose, 48, who lives in the city's west side and came to the arena to watch the game.

"Back then, we hadn't won anything for years. I think people are just happy, and happy it was us and not the Cubs who brought home the gold."

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