Monday, October 25, 2010
Ex-Sox factor: Uribe a 'catch' for Giants
By Doug Padilla
As quick as you can: What was Juan Uribe's age when he made one of the most memorable defensive plays in White Sox history, while falling into the stands during the ninth inning of the 2005 World Series in Houston? (answer later)
Juan Uribe's homer got the underdog Giants into the World Series.
Uribe will get another chance at baseball glory as a member of the San Francisco Giants when the World Series starts Wednesday in the Bay Area. The odds of him making a signature play, like he did in 2005 would appear to be slim. But never count out Uribe. His home run in the deciding game of the NLCS gave the Giants their winning run. And after going into the stands to catch for the second out in the deciding game of the '05 Series, he followed that by scooping up a bouncer behind the mound and throwing to Paul Konerko just in time to give the White Sox the title.
There are some similiarities to what the White Sox did and what the Giants are trying to do, and it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the fact that Uribe is an infielder on this World Series club and Aaron Rowand is an outfielder.
When the White Sox won the World Series they had been on an 88-year wait. The Giants haven't been waiting around quite as long, last winning it all 54 years ago (third-longest to the Cubs and Indians). But they were in New York then so for San Francisco fans a baseball title is truly rarified air.
A second title for Uribe could feel a lot like the first. He could end up in bronze again, just as he is in the 2005 World Series sculpture at the main entrance to U.S. Cellular Field. It could all end with an overflow crowd in the streets where fans are as much celebrating as they are being a witness to history.
These days, though, Uribe is delivering even more than he did with the White Sox's championship team. His .248 regular-season batting average in 2010 wasn't good as his .252 mark with the White Sox that year, but he had a .310 on-base percentage this past season, better than his .301 mark in 2010. Uribe drove in 85 runs this year as opposed to 71 with the White Sox. On defense in 2010 he made just nine errors, while playing three different positions (shortstop, second base and third), while making 16 in '05 while playing shortstop every day.
It's a clear sign of how mature of a player Uribe has become. So just how mature is he? Incredibly, Uribe had turned 26 when the 2005 season began. He certainly looked to have an older body back then and definitely looked older. But that's what the paperwork says, and it's hard to say any different with his production this year.
The White Sox might not be there, but Uribe will be running around and there should be some Rowand to watch. And manager Ozzie Guillen is set to provide pregame and postgame commentary. So pull up a chair. There is something for White Sox fans to watch after all.