Jimbo's sets the scene

Jimbo's sets the scene

CHICAGO -- Sitting on a bar stool with a University of Auburn shirt on, Greg Edson looked like any of the other White Sox fans that were crowded into Jimbo's on Wednesday prior to Game 2 of the American League Division Series.

But looks can often be deceiving, as Edson revealed his true loyalties when he talked of being a fan of the Sox team currently on the South Side.

"I said I was a Red Sox fan and at least 30 people looked at me as if I was crazy," Edson said. "I guess I'm a little outnumbered here."

Not like it was something that Edson didn't expect to hear at the bar that has become known as the place to go for White Sox fans before heading to a game at U.S. Cellular Field. Located on the corner of 33rd street and Princeton Ave., Jimbo's has long been welcoming fans on their way to the game or those that want a little South Side flavor.

Always a place to find White Sox fans on any given day, Jimbo's has been especially packed for the ALDS. Though it was a packed house, no one seemed to be more excited about the victory than co-owner and Jimbo's wife, Joyce Levato.

"The atmosphere around here today has just been absolutely wonderful with the team doing so well yesterday," Levato, 70, said. "It was a great day.

"As a true Sox fan, it's great to come here because you fit right in," Matt Motsenbocker, 23, said. "We're from Iowa, and anywhere we go, we're outcasts with Sox stuff on. In here, you're in good company."

Motsenbocker made a five-hour trek to see the game but wasn't the only White Sox fan to travel great distances to take in the atmosphere around the park. Bob Parrott flew all the way from Texas to watch and celebrate the fun atmosphere with other South Side devotees.

Parrott grew up a Sox fan, but his devotion to the team was intensified after his wife surprised him with a trip to the White Sox fantasy camp a few years ago

The result was more than just getting to play with some of his childhood heroes but a long lasting friendship with former White Sox player Carlos May, who joined him at Jimbo's for a drink before heading to watch his second straight playoff game.

"I really fell in love with these guys again," Parrott said. "When you get to meet your heroes, stand at the bar and have a scotch with them, it's unbelievable."

May garnered the attention of many other White Sox fans that were also at the bar. Though he spent seven years in Chicago with the White Sox, he had never been to the place so many of his teammates had visited before.

"I'd heard about the mystique of the place but yesterday was my first time coming here with some friends," May said. "And I have to say, the mystique is definitely here."

The special feeling May had wasn't limited to just the bar, but the entire 2005 season. The former All-Star shared with all those gathered his thoughts on the team that he still considers his own.

"I'm a White Sox at heart and even though I got traded, my roots are still here," May said. "They've got a good team and I think they have a good chance. I think yesterday was a spark and hopefully they can do something off of that."

Maureen Pannaralla is hoping that May is right. The native South Sider has been cheering for the Sox since she can remember and is even doing everything that she can to bring a bit of luck to her favorite team.

That includes suffering through jeans and multiple shirts on a day when temperatures reached 80 degrees if she thinks it will help the Sox win.

"I have the same outfit on that I wore to my last two Sox games because [Game 2 starter] Mark Buehrle won both of those games," Pannaralla, 59, said. "I'm dying right now, I'm so hot. But it's the same outfit, same jeans, same jersey, same purse, everything, and it will all be worth it if they win."

Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.