World Series bound

By Nathan Lindquist

The champagne had been sitting out in the ice buckets since the eighth inning, just waiting to have the corks popped. The cigars were being unwrapped and lit.

And as soon as Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Casey Kotchman grounded out to end the game, the crowd at Molly’s Eatery and Drinkery, 1022 W. Lincoln Highway, erupted into cheers and high-fives in celebration of the White Sox’s first appearance in the World Series since 1959.

Over 40 patrons – White Sox and Cubs fans alike – were enraptured by every pitch thrown as they stared up at the three flat-screen televisions placed throughout the bar. Not surprisingly, no attention was being paid to the Seahawks-Texans NFL game on the small television over the door.

Senior industrial engineering technology major Mike Pelz has been a serious Sox fan since 1999 and he decided the bar was a much more entertaining place to watch the game than at his home.

“I like the atmosphere,” said Pelz while sporting a 1980s-era White Sox hat. “Everyone’s jumping around; it’s a lot more fun.”

With each Angel out, the crowd would applaud loudly. And for every White Sox miscue, a collective groan followed. After Sox second baseman Tadahito Iguchi struck out in the seventh inning, one fan shouted angrily, “What are you swinging at? That’s ball four.”

But not everyone at the bar was a Sox fan. Shane Adams, a senior criminology major and Cubs fan, took some friendly razzing from his friends for his team allegiance. Adams said he came out with his Sox fan friends to support them.

“If the Sox win, good for them,” he said. “If not, I’m not going to cry about it. As long as St. Louis doesn’t win, I’ll be pretty happy.”

Entering the seventh inning, the Sox found themselves down 3-2. But third baseman Joe Crede tied the score with a leadoff homerun off Angels reliever and eventual loser Kelvim Escobar. But the bar really exploded when Crede bounced a run-scoring single up the middle to give the Sox a 4-3 lead in the eighth. Several patrons jumped into each other’s arms, hugging in adulation.

Molly’s general atmosphere entering the ninth inning was celebratory but cautious just in case the White Sox blew the lead. After first baseman Paul Konerko’s double extended the lead to 5-3, the tension was eased and it was just a matter of loudly counting down the outs.

The hero of the game was Sox starting pitcher Jose Contreras, who shut down the Angels’ offense and pitched the Sox’s fourth straight complete game. Once the final out was made, the celebration was on.

Near the bar entrance, Sox fans shook and sprayed champagne everywhere, while people ducked out of the way, laughing and trying their best to avoid being soaked. Molly’s employee and DeKalb resident Joe Bachta took the opposite route by standing on a chair and giving himself a champagne shower.

Pelz said if Contreras walked into the bar right now, he would buy the Sox starting pitcher a drink. Well, probably more than one.

“Oh yeah, we’d get loaded,” Pelz said.