End of the Road

It’s tempting to cry about the season ending this way, these Sox capping those flashes of dramatic brilliance with such an anticlimactic loss at the hands of a well-rounded team on a ride to greatness. But we can’t, and more importantly we won’t. And we know this.Comiskey in the rain

They shouldn’t have gone this far. They shouldn’t have beaten the alleged powerhouses of the division into submission. They shouldn’t have found strength when they needed it, and it wasn’t supposed to come from any of the places it did. Unexpected stars rose while others found a second life. Nothings suddenly became everything, and guys we’d never heard of suddenly graced the back of our t-shirts and became the answer to “Who’s your favorite Sox player?”

And yes, these playoffs were pretty much over before they started. So what? We knew they were, and we even got to see the Good Guys win one in a way they weren’t capable of any of the other 166 times they needed to.

And despite their numerous shortcomings, we got some great ones along the way. The Cuban Missile bringing four home four times. A star born almost in spite of this team’s fervent crusade to acquire him. The Kids emerging as possibly the finest 1-2 punch of the 2009 season. A bullpen that might not give us heart attacks night in and night out. The future on 35th Street may be a bright one yet.

But the present, alas, is a dour one we all saw coming. We will spend our evenings watching other teams play for what, briefly, our guys had a shot at and what some of them may have earned by blazing their way through the South Side of Chicago, remembering how the Good Guys put up a fight none of us thought them capable of and asking ourselves “why not?” and “what if?”

They went down swinging, and if they came up empty so be it; the nothing it brought them was still far more than any of us asked and now we, like they, can go softly into that night.