CHICAGO -- As the rain came down outside of the Cubby Bear sports bar and the celebration increased inside, JP Zarka was a picture of calm as storm clouds of his own brewed underneath his Cubs hat.

Zarka stood there amid the piercing cheers of White Sox fans, just minutes after Juan Uribe's throw reached Paul Konerko's mitt and the White Sox were officially World Series champions for the first time since 1917.

"I was hoping I would never see this," said the 22-year-old native of Palatine, a Northwest suburb of Chicago. "We're in the Cubby Bear and everyone is just going crazy. Why? We should be rooting for the Astros."

Zarka, fully disgusted after the White Sox 1-0 win and four-game sweep of the Houston Astros, began to trail off as Queen's "We Are the Champions" blared throughout the large open bar, filled mostly by Sox fans or those just interested in a few beers and a good time, and possibly some history.

Like World Series titles, Cubs fans (still waiting for their first championship since 1908) were hard to find in Wrigleyville on Wednesday night. Sox hats and paraphernalia, however, both old and new, were ubiquitous. At Casey Moran's, one man wore a full Sox road uniform. At The Sports Corner, John McGinty ("South Side Irish," he said) wore an authentic Jon Garland jersey. His friend, Brian Tryba, wore a shirt that told non-believers "God Must Be a Sox Fan."

While Sox Nation hadn't quite moved north, separate colonies had spread out through the area.

At Slugger's, the bar where Sox legend Minnie Minoso often hangs out, a joyous crowd celebrated as it watched team chairman Jerry Reinsdorf accept the World Series trophy.

"Good for them," said lifelong North Sider and Cubs fan Dizzy Bolinski, 50. Bolinski wore a batting helmet that fused the Cubs and Sox logos, and a patch on his denim jacket to honor Harry Caray, the beloved broadcaster of both teams who would surely enjoy the celebration unfolding throughout the city.

"I'm kind of jealous," Bolinski added.

At Murphy's Bleachers, now in the shadows of the ongoing construction of Wrigley's outfield seating, several Cubs fans sat in the front, watching the game in the early innings, hoping for a collapse.

"I'm hoping for a sweep the other way," said John Catarello, a 38-year-old Northbrook native and Lake View denizen. "The best thing that could happen would be for them to lose four straight."


Years Without A Championship
With their first world championship in 88 years, the White Sox followed the strides last year's Red Sox made with their own giant leap, moving from second on the list of longest quests for a World Series trophy down to the bottom.
Team
Year last won
Years since*
Cubs
1908
97
Indians
1948
57
Giants
1954
51
Rangers
--
44
Astros
--
43
Brewers
--
36
Nationals
--
36
Padres
--
36
Mariners
--
28
Pirates
1979
26
Phillies
1980
25
Cardinals
1982
23
Orioles
1983
22
Tigers
1984
21
Royals
1985
20
Mets
1986
19
Dodgers
1988
17
A's
1989
16
Reds
1990
15
Twins
1991
14
Blue Jays
1993
12
Rockies
--
12
Braves
1995
10
Tampa Bay
--
7
Yankees
2000
5
Diamondbacks
2001
4
Angels
2002
3
Marlins
2003
2
Red Sox
2004
1
White Sox
2005
--
* For teams that have never won a world championship, lifespan of franchise is noted

What pained Catarello even more than a Sox Series win was his friend, Jim Pryor, wearing a White Sox retro jersey.

"When there were eight teams left, the best one out there was the White Sox," said Pryor, 41, as his buddies groaned. "Hey, when they play AL teams, I root for them. I root for them every year to make it to the AL Championship."

"This guy's been to [U.S. Cellular Field] once this year and that's to see the Crosstown Classic," said a disbelieving Jeff Churuvia, 36, Pryor's friend.

Catarello was continuing to believe ... that the Sox wouldn't win the Series.

"If that happens, I'm out of here. I'm going out of town," he said.

By game's end, the way out of Wrigleyville, however, was clogged with traffic. Honking horns providing a dim chorus for a legion of fans feeling left behind by their team.

"I've felt like I'm in another city sometimes," said Tony DeMaria, a friend of Zarka's and also sporting a backwards Cubs hat, about the rise of Sox pride taking shape in bumper stickers and car flags. He admitted that he's rooting a little bit for the Sox "out of civic pride." He was out at the bar because his class at DePaul let out early for the game.

Across the bar where Zarka, DeMaria and fellow Cubs fan Matt Kiehl drowned their sorrows in beers and complimentary champagne, White Sox fan and ESPN.com columnist Scoop Jackson was celebrating the win with his friends.

He came up to the area from his home on the South Side to see how this game was treated in Chicago's epicenter of baseball. He scuttled a trip to Houston to watch the game in his hometown. "This is personal to me," he said.

Jackson was disappointed that bars were half-empty throughout the area. The Cubby Bear was standing room only, but there was plenty of room to move around. This was an insult to Sox fans, he believed.

"Were you here last year?" he asked. "This place was packed. You couldn't get in."

There was no line this year at any bar in the area. Everyone was welcome. Few came.

Wait 'til next year, right?

"If you talk to [Cubs general manager] Jim Hendry," DeMaria said, "can you tell him to build us a winner next year?"