Between Waveland and Pine Grove Avenues the far east side of Lakeview hides no fact that Chicago is a baseball town. In the New York high-rise familiar faces associated with Wrigley Field such as Alan Trammell and Ronnie Cedeno frequent the convenient store inside the building’s lobby. And this year they’ve been smiling all season.
But even on the North Side there are Sox fans. And we all had a great reason to finally wear a smile on our faces today, the morning after the Sox won the American League Central division.
I’m on my way to the bus stop, still riled up since last evening’s victory. Ahead of me an older man in a flannel robe walks his dog—I have seen him dozens of times over the past years—and he has a big grin on his face and a black Sox cap on.
“Did you see that game last night?” I can’t help to ask.
“I sure did. I was there,” he says.
The 145 pulls up to the bus stop but we keep up the conversation—the amazing plays from the game, how Junior’s throw to AJ at home was a game-saver, how Thome’s bazooka-blast of a homerun was monumental, how having Brian Anderson in centerfield in the ninth inning made all the difference with his game-winning diving catch.
The conversation continues with more baseball: the North Side, the South Side, the game of yesterday and the game of today. We talk stats, numbers, big plays, the ‘05 Series. I realize I’m talking to a true Sox fan who knows baseball.
A few minutes pass—I can see another bus approaching. Before I leave I introduce myself.
“We’ve been neighbors for a while,” I tell him, “I’ve seen you dozens of times and it is finally nice to meet you.”
“Nice to meet you, too. I’m Minnie,” he says. “I’m Minnie Minoso.”
Then he holds out his hand for a shake, a hand that belongs to a man who has his own statue inside the Cell.