Blackouts are back on the Southside! Get ready Chicago, Guaranteed Rate Field is about to be one of the loudest venues in baseball this October.
Blast From The Past
Flashback thirteen years ago. The Chicago White Sox were battling for their playoff lives. It’s game 163 of the regular season. The White Sox and Twins each have identical 88-74 records. A tiebreaker game is needed.
The winner of this game would take the AL Central title and punch their ticket to the postseason, the loser would watch from home. The White Sox organization called on the fans who attended the game to wear all black. To this day that remains one of the most electric atmospheres in White Sox history.
“It was surreal,” team owner Jerry Reinsdorf said. “All that black, it was incredible. I’ve never seen anything quite like it at a sporting event. And there was no preparation time. This wasn’t a matter of telling everybody, “Six games from now, we have a blackout game. This all came together overnight.”
With one out in the fifth inning, Minnesota Twins’ third baseman Brendan Harris lofted a popup to short center field. Michael Cuddyer waited in anticipation, tagging up at third base. His intentions were clear, break the scoreless deadlock.
White Sox center fielder Ken Griffey Jr camped under the ball. As soon as it hit his glove Cuddyer made a mad dash towards the plate as Griffey proceeded to fire a two-hooper to catcher AJ Pierzynski. The ball beat Cuddyer, who lowered his shoulder in an attempt to dislodge the ball from Pierzynski and the two tumbled to the dirt. Pierzynski arose from the collision with the ball in hand and waved it in the face of the Cuddyer as the sold-out crowd dressed in black went wild.
Two innings later the sea of black erupted again. This time when Jim Thome connected with a high fastball and sent it deep over the center-field fence to give the White Sox the lead.
“I have a picture of that home run from the side in my weight room, and I have got to tell you, still to this day, I look at the crowd in all black towels, it was the coolest moment,” Jim Thome said. “I remember going out stretching, warming up, and it was like, it brought chills. It honestly brought chills up and down thinking our fans did this.”
Finally, Brian Anderson sent the crowd into one final frenzy by making a head-first diving catch to secure the final out of the game. This is what playoff baseball in Chicago is supposed to look like.
Blackouts Are Back
Back by popular demand, the White Sox will be asking fans to wear black for all home playoff games this season. Upon clinching the division fans took to Twitter requesting that the White Sox bring back the Blackouts for the postseason. The team happily obliged.
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) September 25, 2021
“We are going to be asking all of our fans to wear black,” White Sox Chief Marketing Officer Brooks Boyer said. “We want to have an atmosphere that is going to get our guys really charged up, so it’s going to be a blackout at the ballpark. All October wear black, support your White Sox.”
Players have already noted the electric atmosphere at Guaranteed Rate Field during the regular season. The playoffs will only amplify it.
Boyer added, “Hopefully it’s going to be a long fun ride, and it’s a tough road ahead. The playoff are a different beast, but we’re super excited.”