In 2005 a team from Texas went to its first World Series and faced a scrappy team that most people were predicting to fail. In 2010 a team from Texas is playing in its first World Series and facing a scrappy team that most people were predicting to fail. In 2005 Juan Uribe and Aaron “Crash” Rowand became legends with their play on the national stage. In 2010 Juan Uribe and Aaronn “Crash” Rowand are becoming legends with their play on the national stage. In 2005 the scrappy team won the first two games at home and went on to sweep the team from Texas. In 2010 the scrappy team won its first two games at home and .... well, that final chapter hasn’t quite been written yet.
Oh, and Ozzie Guillen is, once again, involved. In 2005 he was the manager of said scrappy team and in 2010 he is the announcer for the scrappy TV network.
As PHIL ROGERS from the Tribune reports, we’ve been there, seen that. As PHIL ROGERS from the Tribune reports, we’ve been there, seen that. As PHIL ROGERS from the Tribune reports, we’ve been there, seen that. As PHIL ROGERS from the Tribune reports, we’ve been there, seen that.
Different time. Different team. Familiar feeling.
Juan Uribe and Aaron Rowand are up to their old tricks, this time with the Giants. The two, of course, were White Sox teammates in 2005 on one of the most remarkable postseason teams in baseball history.
Uribe, Rowand and the unusual cast and crew of strong-armed pitchers and role players surrounding them have given the Giants a 2-0 edge in a World Series that Rangers’ fans had awaited for 39 seasons. This is eerily similar to ‘05, when the White Sox won two at home before going to Houston, where the Astros were involved in their first Series in their 44th season.
Rowand, whom White Sox general manager Ken Williams traded to get Jim Thome one month after the victory parade, knows it’s too early to celebrate anything.
“You don’t change anything in your mindset,’’ he said after a pinch-hit, bases-loaded triple added an exclamation point in Thursday night’s 9-0 victory. “There’s a reason the Texas Rangers are playing in the World Series. We have to keep our foot on the throttle and keep pressing forward.’’
Uribe, whom the Giants originally signed to a minor-league contract after Alexei Ramirez supplanted him in Chicago, has emerged as a two-way force. Rowand, signed to a $60-million contract as part of the post- Barry Bonds initiative, lost his starting job to the late-blooming Andres Torres but has remained a respected contributor.
Neither Uribe nor Rowand have been the fixtures they were on those White Sox. But along Aubrey Huff, Cody Ross, Pat Burrell and Edgar Renteria they epitomize a team that has the exact right guy manipulating the roster.
No manager has gotten more victories for less money the last 15 years than Bruce Bochy, who learned to improvise while guiding the Padres to the 1998 World Series. He’s constantly tinkering with his lineup and finding ways to get the most from the talent he has been given.
Bochy has called the team that stands two victories away from a World Series parade “castoffs and misfits,’’ and the players smile at that idea. The manager is uncomfortable with the thought he has much to do with what happens on any given night.
“It’s the players,’’ he said. “When they do well, I feel great for them because it’s not easy for some of these guys who aren’t getting playing time on a consistent basis, whether it’s a (Nate) Schierholtz or (Travis) Ishikawa or Rowand, Edgar … I just feel good they’re doing something to help contribute. … They check their ego at the door and they’ve stayed ready. They’ve been working hard in case they did have a chance to do something.’’
Bochy praises the 34-year-old Renteria for “playing like he did 10 years ago.’’ But you only have to go back five years to find Rowand and Uribe on a similarly thrilling October ride.
Between the ‘05 White Sox and the ‘10 Giants, Rowand and Uribe are 20-4 in the postseason. They’re an incredible 6-0 in World Series games and are playing in their sixth postseason series together without ever knowing the stress of an elimination game.
How many players ever have known more big-game joy than Uribe?
For the White Sox, his defense at shortstop was a major key, including a pair of electrifying plays late in Freddy Garcia’s 1-0 victory in the clincher. Bochy has shifted him to third, where he has displaced the disappointing Pablo Sandoval, and repeatedly he’s pouncing on grounders and slinging side-arm fastballs to first base, the throws barely beating runners.
Giants fans serenade him with cries of “Ooooh-ree-bay! Oooo-ree-bay! Oooo-ree-bay!’’ He takes it all in, and expresses himself best with the huge smile he wears on his face.
What’s not to smile about?
One other thing, the Giants are without their legendary slugger, Barry Bonds. The Sox were without their legendary slugger, Frank Thomas. Of course, the comparison between those two starts and ends right there. After that Bonds isn’t worthy of sniffing Thomas’ jock.
For your Northside die hards, you’ll be pleased to know that the EX-CUB FACTOR doesn’t really apply this year since both teams have two and are only playing one.
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