Tuesday, March 21 2023

Why Ozzie says Blackout Game ‘best experience’ with Sox originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Ozzie Guillen’s greatest achievement as White Sox manager undoubtedly was winning the 2005 World Series.

But another memorable moment tops the list as his “best experience.”

“To me, it was my best experience — even better than the World Series,” said Guillen on “White Sox Pregame Live” Friday of the 2008 Blackout Game.

“Why? Because we had to win three games and we did.”

Friday marked the 14-year anniversary of the White Sox-Twins AL Central tiebreaker on the South Side, colloquially known as the Blackout Game.

They were locked in a back-and-forth battle for the division crown that September and were gridlocked after 162 games, necessitating the win-or-go-home matchup at the ballpark formerly known as U.S. Cellular Field.

The White Sox, of course, came out on top 1-0 to win the Central, capping off a thrilling finish to the season. They won three games in three days against three different teams: Cleveland, Detroit and Minnesota.

“We weren’t supposed to win those games,” Guillen said. “Those guys came out and pitched well, pitched very good.”

The Sox’ backs were against the wall in the final days of the 2008 season. Entering Game 161 (Sept. 28 vs. Cleveland), they were a half game behind the Twins.

Here’s how their next three games went:

—    Sept. 28 (Game 161): 5-1 win over Cleveland behind Mark Buerhle’s seven innings of one-run ball. The division deficit is a half game.
—    Sept. 29 (Game 162): In a makeup game of a September rainout, Freddy García allows two runs in five innings. The Sox beat the Tigers 8-2 and reach a first-place tie.
—    Sept. 30 (Game 163): John Danks throws eight shutout innings. The Sox beat the Twins 1-0 to win the division.

Along with Danks’ dominant outing in Game 163, Ken Griffey Jr. threw out Michael Cuddyer at home plate to preserve a 0-0 tie. Jim Thome’s solo home run in the seventh inning was all the offense the White Sox needed.

“Amazing job, what he did,” Guillen said of Thome. “Ken Griffey Jr. did a tremendous job in the outfield.

“Those guys were ready for it. You talk about pressure. That’s pressure, when those guys went out every day and had to win one game for five days.”

As Guillen looked back on the Blackout Game, the NBC Sports Chicago broadcast showed highlights from the game, including the White Sox’ on-field celebration after they won.

“Look at me. I never celebrate anything in my life like that,” Guillen said. “Especially in the World Series, you just see me celebrating, see me in the dugout kissing my kids. But I know how big those games got.

“Look at those guys celebrating like they won the World Series. To me, that was great. Fans out there. It was unreal. It was very special managing, great experience, because we had to fight.”

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Source: Yahoo Sports


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