Peoria Journal Star

October 28, 2005

Sox win gets poetic response
Sens. Obama, Durbin praise team's efforts

of Copley News Service

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Sens. Dick Durbin and Barack Obama celebrated the White Sox victory from afar on Thursday, paying tribute to the World Series winners on the Senate floor in poetry and prose.

"The South Side of Chicago is the gladdest part of town and if you go down there, you better be aware that the White Sox won the World Series crown," chanted Durbin, D-Ill., in an apparent send-up of Jim Croce's "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown."

A longtime White Sox fan, Obama carried a Sox cap onto the Senate floor where he gushed about the team.

"I don't claim to be a baseball expert or particularly unbiased on this matter, but this was one of the most balanced and selfless teams that any of us have seen," Obama told his colleagues. "We will be celebrating this victory for a long time around the state of Illinois."

Obama recalled seeing a 92-year-old woman holding up a sign in the rain at Sunday night's game. "I've been waiting for this for 92 years," it read.

"I think it gives you some sense of how much this means to the city of Chicago and those blue-collar neighborhoods made up of blacks and whites and Hispanics that were represented so ably by this team. It spoke to the diversity of this country and the fact that we work together in ways that make us all proud," Obama said.

The White Sox games created new friendships in Washington as well. Durbin, Obama and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley watched Tuesday night's 14-inning game - all of it - on a television in Durbin's office in the Capitol.

They stayed up until past 2 a.m. By the time the game was over, their staffers had gone home. Only three guys dressed in full Sox regalia were left. They had been having a great time, sharing food and drink with the lawmakers.

"I have no idea who were they were," Durbin acknowledged Thursday.

By dinnertime Tuesday, Durbin and Obama, both Democrats, were still eagerly waiting to collect on a wager they had made with Texas Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchinson and John Cornyn. If the White Sox won, the two Republicans had promised a basket of Texas goodies.

But the Texans left word that the delivery would be delayed until Monday.