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Cards have alot of fans on the White Sox

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  • Cards have alot of fans on the White Sox

    Cards have a lot of fans on White Sox
    By Rick Hummel

    Chicago White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle
    (Jeff Roberson/AP)


    "We talk about it all the time," Chicago White Sox pitcher Cliff Politte said.

    The former Vianney High star who still lives in St. Louis is careful not to put one postseason series ahead of the next. But, for the four White Sox players who either grew up in the metro St. Louis area or in mid-Missouri and the two who played for them in the last few years, the prospect of a White Sox-Cardinals World Series at Busch Stadium is an enticing prospect.

    Politte, a White Sox reliever who won his big league debut as a starter for the Cardinals in 1998, said he was conversing in the outfield the other day with Francis Howell North product Mark Buehrle, the White Sox's top starter for the last several years. Though Buehrle has been a big leaguer for almost as long as Politte - nearly six years - Buehrle never has pitched in Busch Stadium.

    "He was supposed to pitch in Busch on Father's Day (in 2001) and he got rained out," Politte said Thursday, an off day in the American League Championship Series between the White Sox and Los Angeles that resumes tonight and is tied at 1-1.

    "That was a bummer," said Buehrle, who was lamenting that missed opportunity when Politte said, "'Well, I did (start).' I rubbed it in."

    Both grew up as Cardinals fans.

    "I know I was diehard," Politte said. "Mostly in the '80s when they had Tommy Herr, Ozzie (Smith), Willie (McGee), (Terry) Pendleton, (George) Hendrick. I thought it was so cool that I was a Willie McGee fan and then I got to play with him in 1998. That was one of the highlights of my career."

    Lefthanded reliever Neal Cotts, who grew up in Lebanon, Ill., and lives in Chicago now, also was a McGee fan. And third baseman Joe Crede, the hitting hero for the White Sox in this series, grew up in Westphalia, Mo., which is near Jefferson City. But he remembers going often to Cardinals games.

    "I can recall everywhere I sat in that stadium," Crede said. "But tickets were always hard to come by. The closest I ever got was 20 rows from the field."

    The White Sox and Cardinals began Thursday night three wins from the World Series.

    "When we had a 15-game lead or whatever, winning our division was the first thing we thought of," Politte said. "But Buehrle and I were thinking about how cool it would be to have a World Series in St. Louis. And that was two months ago. I thought two months ago was very premature to talk about it, but now we're three wins away."

    Politte said he attended Game 6 of the 2004 National League Championship Series at Busch, but he and his group didn't stay long enough to see Jim Edmonds' extra-inning, winning homer.

    "As soon we got in the car and turned on the radio, he hit the home run," Politte said. "I said, 'You've got to be kidding me.'"

    Politte, who was 7-1 with a 2.00 earned-run average as a setup man this year, has played for Philadelphia (with Scott Rolen) and for Toronto (with Chris Carpenter) and has remained as loyal as he could to the Cardinals. He said he'd never forget manager Tony La Russa and pitching coach Dave Duncan giving him a chance to rise from Class AA to the majors in 1998.

    "If it wasn't for them, I would never have got the opportunity to pitch in the big leagues for another year or two," said Politte, now 31. "You do have feelings (for the Cardinals). If I'm at home and my team's knocked out of it, that's the team I'd like to see go. But, if I'm in the position to be playing them ... nothing against those guys, but I'm rooting for myself."

    Crede, 27, has homered once and doubled twice in the first two games of the ALCS. Also, he became a father for the second time a week before the playoffs. Those highlights supersede Crede's thrill of attending his first World Series game last October in St. Louis. But he said, "I just had goosebumps the whole time," watching the Cardinals and Boston play Game 4.

    "Wow, I can only imagine if this was us out there playing the Cardinals and clinching in the stadium where I saw my first big league game," he said. "I was a big fan - Jack Clark, Ozzie Smith. I got to play there in 2001. It would be neat to play there again."

    Cotts said that besides McGee, he liked Tom Brunansky. That second name isn't often mentioned as one of the top fan favorites although Cotts said, "One of the first games my dad and I went to, we caught one of his foul balls. That's the only reason really that he was pretty memorable."

    Backup catcher Chris Widger and reliever Dustin Hermanson are the former Cards on the White Sos, and Hermanson didn't seem quite as excited about the prospect of going back to St. Louis.

    "It was pretty tough leaving the last time (Hermanson was released in 2003). It left a sour note," he said. [/b][/quote]

    "Can't buy what I want because it's free...
    Can't buy what I want because it's free..."
    -- Pearl Jam, from the single Corduroy

  • #2
    I know I already mentioned this in my internet rumor post, but the White Sox play-by-play guy, John Rooney, is also from Missouri. He used to do Mizzou basketball and football game PBP as well.

    And of course there is Widger, whose heart remains in St. Louis, I'm sure.
    Of course you do.


    • #3
      I wish we'd have gotten Rooney for PBP in St. Louis.

      What we have now is wretched.
      And, frankly, it has never occured to me that "winning" a debate is important, or that I should be hurt when someone like Airshark or kah, among others (for whom winning a pseudo debate or declaring intellectual superiority over invisible others is obviously very important) ridicule me.

      -The Artist formerly known as King in KC