September 2005

Late Thursday Night

Thursday, September 15, 2005, 9:35 pm

Focus on one game at a time, one day at a time.  Don’t panic.  Better to be in our position than the team chasing, who needs help from other teams.  We hold our own destiny.  If we win games, we take care of ourselves.  It does not matter what any other team does. 

This from a good friend:

On 9/13/00, the New York Yankees held an eight game lead over Boston. They then proceeded to lose 13 of their next 16 games (being outscored 129-54 in the process) before finally clinching the division on the final Friday of the season. For good measure, they also lost on the final Saturday and Sunday, for a record of 3-15 over the final 2 1/2 weeks of the season.

 

Three series later they were World Champs. (I did not double check his info but do trust him.)

An Interesting Link

I have been holding out on you with this one.  This website runs a simulation of 1 million games each night and gives you the percentages/chances for all teams in the race.

The great thing about baseball is that there is always another game tomorrow.

Pregame Thursday

Thursday, September 15, 2005, 11:50 am

Today’s Lineup

Pods, LF … Harris, 2B … PK, 1B … Everett, DH … Rowand, CF … Dye, RF … AJ, C … Uribe, SS … Crede, 3B.

Random Thoughts

Don’t jump …

Many, many teams in baseball would happily trade places with us today …

Playing meaningful games in a pennant race in September might actually help us.  Look at how well some of the Wild Card teams, those that have often had to play down to the season’s final day, do in the playoffs.

Our three-game series with Cleveland here will be very big …

While ugly, last night is over.  Today’s game is now the most important.  The same will be true tomorrow.

Keep the faith.

Wednesday

Wednesday, September 13, 2005, 4:15 pm

White Sox Lineup

Pods, LF … Iguchi, 2B … PK, 1B … Everett, DH … Rowand, CF … Dye, RF … Uribe, SS … Widger, C … Crede, 3B … Garcia, RHP.

Who was able to stay up to watch last night’s final pitch?Marte

Marte

Damaso Marte saw our team physician today and continues to be bothered by a sore left trapezius.  No sense yet on when or if he will be available for the rest of this season.

More Tuesday

Tuesday, September 13, 2005, 5:20 pm

Comments to Sunday

Thanks for all the responses to Sunday’s post.  Some great comments and great points.  It is interesting to read all the different takes and reactions to the team’s ups and downs this second half.  I really enjoy the give and take.

Hurricane Relief

We announced today that our fans and Chicago White Sox Chairities together raised over $100,000 for Hurricane Katrina Relief last homestand.  These funds go to MLB for the American Red Cross.  I believe MLB teams and fans contributed $3 million to date to the relief effort.  Well done.

Marte

I didn’t write about the Damaso Marte issue postgame Sunday because Ozzie’s comments in the newspaper were pretty direct (imagine that).  Damaso has been bothered for a while by a stiff neck/upper back.  One of the understandings in our clubhouse is that injured players should come in early to see trainer Herm Schnedier for evaluation/treatment.  Each day, Herm sends along an injury report to Ozzie, KW, etc. telling him who isn’t available that day and why.  By coming in just before stretching, Marte did not give Herm a chance to evaluate him and left Ozzie without knowing his status.  Now, the assumption certainly was that he would not be used that day (since he did have soreness), but the point was one of principle for Ozzie and he sent Damaso home.  The same thing did happen with Magglio once last year.  Damaso’s medical situation still needs to be resolved.

PK in Third Hole

Paul Konerko hits third for the first time this season.  Carl Everett hits fourth as Ozzie tries to shake things up a bit.

Foul Weather

Skies are threatening in KC tonight.

Pregame Tuesday

Tuesday, September 13, 2005, 5:10 pm

White Sox Lineup

Pods, LF … Iguchi, 2B … PK, 1B … Everett, DH … Rowand, CF … Dye, RF … AJ, C … Uribe, SS … Crede, 3B … Contreras, RHP.

Pregame Sunday

Sunday, September 11, 2005, 12:36 pm

Remembering …

Both teams will wear hats with the flag of the United States on the side for today’s game in memory of those who lost their lives on 9/11/01. 

White Sox Lineup

Pods, LF … Harris, 2B … Rowand, CF … PK, DH … Dye, RF … AJ, C … Uribe, SS … Gload, 1B … Crede, 3B … El Duque.

Green Unis

I have received a few questions on the green uniforms from Friday night.  They were worn in the spirit of "Half Way to St. Patrick’s Day."  Players each get to keep one set, while the other will be auctioned off for Chicago White Sox Charities.

Hurricane Relief

We continue to take in donations for Hurricane Relief.  For this homestand, all donations, revenue from Sox Split and revenue from the nightly audience auction will go to the Red Cross.  We (the White Sox) will make a donation as well once we get a sense of the overall total.

Notes …

AJ leads all American League catchers with a .999 mark … Konerko_4Paul Konerko hit his 200th home run in a Sox uniform Friday night … the Sox are 32-17 (.653) in day games, the best winning percentage in the American League … the Sox(180) and Yankees are both trying to become the first teams in MLB history with 200-plus HR outputs in six straight seasons … the Sox are 52-29 in games decided by two runs or less, going 30-16 in one-run games (15-7 at home) and 22-13 in two-run games … in addition, they are 13-29 when scoring two or less, surpassing their win total from 2002-04 combined when they went 5-128 in those games … with 78 home runs in the past two seasons, Konerko ranks fourth in baseball, behind Pujols (85), Dunn (83) and Ortiz (79) … 23 of his homers in 2005 have been solo shots.

Appreciate the Feedback

I continue to receive a great deal of feedback on this blog … both positive and negative.  I do appreciate all the responses from fans and media alike, particularly thoughts from members of the national and local media.  Some like the blog (in concept and practice), some do not.

I do hope it is clear that these are simply my opinions and that this, in effect, is my online diary.  My main goal in this blog is to provide information to White Sox fans.  Maybe you get it quicker this way?  Maybe you read something here that you did not see or hear somewhere else?  And maybe the ability to interact here is a benefit to you?  Hopefully, when you have a question or want to know an answer, I can provide it … or at the very least, track it down.

I am constantly amazed and humbled that anyone even reads this or cares.  But I also hope it is clear that I am not a journalist when I write this, although I do have that diploma somewhere at home (yesterday was not a good day for the Hawkeyes), I am a very biased White Sox employee/fan.  I hope that is and has been clear. Anyone can start their own MLBlog right now.

Time Change

One of the negatives to having yesterday’s game on FOX nationally (the game went to eight percent of the nation), is that about 500 fans did not see, read or hear about the time change and came to the ballpark for a 6:05 pm game.  No matter how much we all try to spread the word, this always happens when games in September are switched.

He would not want me to reveal his name, but one of our ticket office supervisors gave one fan, an elderly woman, $40 out of his pocket for a cab ride home when she arrived for the night game only to find the 12:15 game already completed.

Kudos to him.

Pregame Saturday

Saturday, September 10, 2005, 10:29 am

White Sox Lineup

Pods, LF … Iguchi, 2B … Rowand, CF … PK, 1B … Everett, DH … AJ, C … Perez, RF … Uribe, SS … Crede, 3B … Garland, RHP.

Mic

Aaron Rowand has agreed to wear a microphone for today’s game on WFLD, FOX 32.

Pregame Friday

Friday, September 9, 2005

White Sox Lineup

Ozuna, 3B … Iguchi, 2B … Everett, LF … Konerko, DH … Rowand, CF … Dye, RF … AJ, C … Uribe, SS … Blum, 1B … Buehrle, LHP.

Pregame Thursday

Thursday, September 8, 2005, 5:20 pm

Sox Lineup

Pods, LF … Iguchi, 2B … Everett, DH … PK, 1B … Rowand, CF … Dye, RF … Uribe, SS … Widger, C … Ozuna, 3B … Garcia.

Statisticians

I guess I won’t be speaking at any statistical conferences anytime soon.  I apologize to the statistical profession for my earlier post (see earlier today).  My only defense:  I did use a small "s" and not a capital one.  I generalized to make a point and did not mean to ruffle any feathers …

Random Thoughts

Thursday, September 8, 2005, 12:15 pm

Today’s News

Nothing like winning a 1-0 game last night (certainly, it was the definition of "winning ugly") only to open today’s Chicago Tribune and read the following headlines:

Method to predict madness: Phil Rogers’ new system of rating playoff contenders isn’t kind to the South Siders

and

Sox scratch heads as fans stay away

Once again, we really appreciate the Tribune for its willingness to stick a pin into any balloon of enthusiasm caused by our seven-game streak.

This from an email correspondent and Sox fan this morning:  "I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that today’s Trib runs a game story that underscores how close the bullpen came to ALMOST blowing a game again and a side story on attendance. At least the subheds/pull quotes serve to almost apologize for the negative tone of the attendance story. I suspect (Paul) Sullivan’s "honorable mention" list of Frank Thomas embarrassing moments or an expose on the crumbling USCF is on tap for the weekend editions…"

First, let me offer my thoughts on the Rogers piece.  It really is unclear as to exactly what the new formula is (other than some percentages provided in a shadow box) and how it is used.  And Phil kind of explains in the beginning of the piece that what he is trying to do is pretty much impossible … but it seems to me that what this type of criticism of the 2005 White Sox boils down to is run production and one-run games.

A statistician probably looks at our season (we are 30-15 in one-run games) and explains that record (which is an anomaly) by randomness and good luck.  By a statistician’s view, we are probably just as likely to go 15-30 over our next 45 one-run games.

Someone else looks at the 30-15 record, has watched our team play for five months, and says, "Well, they have very good starting pitching, at times dominant, they have one of the best bullpen’s in baseball, they play good defense, when they are on they can manufacture runs in a number of ways, and they must have a pretty good manager making decisions each night.  I see how and why they win one-run games."

We are a team that would have looked much better statistically in years past, but ask any White Sox fan, and they would agree that this year’s team has a better chance to win games than the 2001, 2002, 2003 or 2004 clubs.

I believe one of the strategic moves Kenny Williams and Ozzie Guillen made this offseason was to risk going against the baseball grain (one that might have made us look better on paper and grade out better by Phil Rogers’ formula) by building a different type of team.  Will it ultimately play out in our favor?  We will see.  Are the 2005 White Sox actually setting a new trend that the rest of baseball may follow?  Too soon to tell, but we will see.

And perhaps it is just a coincidence that every time the White Sox seem to run off a winning streak this season, we are faced the next morning with a story that explains in some manufactured way, how we can’t or won’t win.

The thing I found most interesting in the "new formula" is that according to the Trib, the American League team with the very best chance in the postseason — Oakland — isn’t even in the playoff field if the season ended today.  Not sure I would take their chances over ours sitting here on September 8.  Would Phil?

And Then Attendance

Sorry to put you through this (assuming you have read this far), but I am sure it is frustrating for our fans to read again about attendance in a season when we are going to draw the fourth-biggest figure in the team’s 100-plus year history.

April, May and September are tougher draws for us for two main reasons … school and our season ticket base.  The first makes us a victim of our own success, in my opinion.  The second, we are trying to do something about.

Because so much of our fan base is made up of suburbanites, kids and families, school impacts us a great deal.  Midweek games when school is in session is a tough draw for many teams who rely on kids and families as their base.  Did you notice how empty fundamentals was last night?  Not a lot of kids in the park.  I do think this will change in the future, in part, because the city is continuing to grow around our ballpark.  The closer fans live to us, the more likely they will be to attend midweek games in September. 

April, May and September attendance totals are also very dependent upon your season ticket base.  Ours is going up, and we are doing everything we can to continue its growth, but we need to reach a point where we know we will have 15,000 or 18,000 "tickets sold" to every game before we even begin the season.  We aren’t there yet, but I believe we will be there very soon.  Last night, we sold about 4,000 walk up tickets.  That is a very, very good number and shows us that interest remains high.

Sorry to rant, but I just needed to respond with my thoughts on today’s news.  Humor me on this one …

Thanks

Whitesoxteam_1

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