The Chicago White Sox are Major League Baseball's World Series champions for the first time since 1917. The White Sox' four-game sweep of the Houston Astros could have their cross-town rivals, the Chicago Cubs, thinking they might be the next team to end a long championship drought.
Fans at Houston's Minute Maid Park Wednesday night knew they were asking their team to do what no other team had ever done before - win four straight games to take the World Series after losing the first three.
Houston pitcher Brandon Backe gave them reason to believe - when he held the White Sox scoreless for seven innings and allowed only five hits.
But when Series Most Valuable Player Jermaine Dye's single scored teammate Willie Harris in the eighth inning, the 1-0 lead was all the White Sox would need to take their first World Series title since 1917. Some tough defense preserved the lead and John Miller of ESPN Radio called the final out that ended Chicago's long wait for a World Series championship.
"Uribe throws to first -- he got him! What a play by Uribe," the announcer said. "He got him by a fraction of a step and this World Series is over and Chicago for the first time in 88 years, the World Series Trophy is going to Chicago!"
The victory set off raucous celebrations in Chicago, with fans Joachim Otto and Jim Gallager overjoyed to see their dream come true.
"It's like Christmas! When you have not experienced Christmas in close to 70 or 80 years, that's what it feels like," Otto said.
"I knew in my heart that they would always be in the Series. This year, with Ozzie, this year was the year," added Gallager.
Ozzie is Venezuelan-born manager Ozzie Guillen, who said after the game that while he did not have a team of superstars, his team was able to get the job done by working together.
"Every time we take the field we know what's the best talent," he said. "But we have got the best player on the field because they show up here every day and we compete against great ball clubs. And they did it. They made me happy."
Guillen had said he might retire if the White Sox won the title, but now he says he would like to stick around to manage the American League team in next year's All-Star Game.
For Houston, which was making its first appearance in the World Series in its 44-year-history, the loss was a deep disappointment. Astros Manager Phil Garner said that Chicago's pitching was too good for his team.
"We missed some pitches that we should have hit. And we expanded the [strike] zone sometimes when we probably should not have. But the bottom line is they did a pretty good job of pitching against us," he said.
Chicago's sweep was its eighth straight postseason win this year and its 16th in 17 games overall. The White Sox became the first team to go through the postseason 11-1 since the New York Yankees in 1999.
The White Sox had not been in the World Series since 1959, when they lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Until Wednesday, the team was most known for the so-called "Black Sox" scandal in 1919, when some players for Chicago intentionally helped their team lose the World Series to Cincinnati in a betting scandal.
But this year's win helps erase that memory. It also marks the second year in a row that a team with a long title drought has captured the World Series. Last year, it was the Boston Red Sox, who won for the first time in 86 years by beating the Saint Louis Cardinals.
Chicago's win now has fans of their cross-town rivals, the Cubs, wondering if their team will be the next club to break its title drought. The last time the Cubs won a World Series was in 1908 - the longest of any team - and they have lost the bragging rights to their Southside neighbors. But for now, even Chicago Cubs fans can celebrate the World Series Trophy coming to the Windy City.