The Minnesota Twins were ready to celebrate on the field Sunday in Cleveland, but rain in New York forced them to postpone the party until the bus trip to Detroit.
"They had a good year," Sox manager Jerry Manuel said. "They played well and were more consistent than anyone in our division. Hats off to [manager] Ron Gardenhire and his staff for a great year. But we have a club that's going to be in better position to compete than this year because of the development and the youth of our players."
The 2003 Sox may have a better shot than this team because of players like Joe Crede, Joe Borchard and Miguel Olivo, three prospects who appear to be on the verge of becoming solid major-league players.
Olivo hit an opposite-field three-run homer off Andy Pettitte in his first major-league at-bat Sunday, becoming only the second player in Sox history to accomplish the feat. Carlos Lee did it on May 7, 1999, against Oakland knuckleballer Tom Candiotti.
"I went to the plate feeling like Roger Maris," Olivo said, laughing. "I don't go up there waiting for tomorrow. Whatever happens, happens."
In a game delayed by rain three times, the Sox built an early 4-0 lead for Gary Glover before he fell apart following a 45-minute rain delay. Jason Giambi smoked a two-run homer in the fourth to make it 4-2, and Bernie Williams followed with a solo shot to slice the deficit to one run. Alfonso Soriano added a game-tying two-out homer in the fifth. In his last six starts Glover has served up nine home runs over 291/3 innings.
The Yankees loaded the bases with no outs against Mike Porzio to start the sixth, then scored the go-ahead run on a balk before the second rain delay began.
After that one ended, Nick Johnson added a two-run single off Matt Ginter, and another run scored on an errant throw to third by Magglio Ordonez.
But the Sox won two of three, and the 24-year-old Olivo had one of the most memorable weekends of his life. Friday night he helped Birmingham win the Southern League championship in extra innings, was named most valuable player of the playoffs, was informed he'd been called up to the Sox and celebrated with his teammates into the early morning hours.
Saturday morning he caught a flight to New York, arrived during the second inning of the Sox-Yankees game and was forced to wear a dress afterward when his teammates hid his clothes in a rookie hazing ritual.
Finally, in his first major-league at-bat, Olivo tied a record that can never be broken. He got the ball, and the dress too.
"I'm going to keep the dress to show to my mom and dad," he said.