Final Friday

Friday, March 23, 2007

Last Weekend

I return home on Sunday to prepare for Opening Day on April 2, so this is my last weekend in Tucson before wheels up Sunday night.  So it’s time once again to pack up the office.  Sure will be nice to sleep in my own bed, sit on my own couch and watch a big-screen television.  I admit it, I’m soft.

Return of the Newman

Thanks again to Mark Newman of MLBAM.  He’s the creative guy who adds all the photos and clip art to my wall of text.  Given all he is responsible for, I am honored he has the time to read and work on this little experiment.

Today’s Lineup

Pods, LF; Ozuna, 3B; PK, 1B; Dye, RF; Cintron, 2B; Hall, C; Uribe, SS, BA, CF; Danks, P.  Floyd will also throw for us.

It rained yesterday, rained last night, rained this morning and is expected to rain again this afternoon.  Comcast is carrying the game, as well as WSCR Radio, so hopefully you can listen to White Sox baseball.

Only In A Baseball Clubhouse

I walked into our clubhouse this morning, and Jim Thome walked up to me.

"Here, try this," he said, holding out a ziploc bag with a slice of meat in it.  "It’s good."

Never knowing what jokes could be happening but also knowing Jim is pretty straight up, I figure, what the heck.  So I try it.

Pretty good.

"It’s smoked deer pastrami from a deer I shot this winter," Jim said proudly.

I look at the clock.  It’s 8:45 am, way to early to be eating pastrami of any kind, let alone deer pastrami.

So I finish the piece, immediately look for a Gatorade, and sit here writing this with the taste of deer pastrami in my mouth.  I wonder how long it will linger?

Fun With Numbers

Sensing the usual cynicism among some of my readers about our spring training stats, I had my super interns in Chicago pull our numbers for the last nine years here in Tucson compared to our regular season figures.

Here’s what I saw …

We average scoring 1.3 more runs per game in March than during the regular season.  Our spring training range has been from -2.5 (2002) to 0.2 in 2006.  (Yes, we actually scored more runs in the regular season than spring training last year).

Spring training appears to add about 40 points, on average, to the team batting average with a range of .010 (2006) to .073 (2002).

And our pitching staffs have averaged spring ERAs 1.31 higher in March than the regular season with a range of 0.23 (1998 when our ERA actually went up in the regular season) to -3.42 in 2002 (a pretty amazing number).

The size of the ranges surprised me.  We have ended springs with ERAs above 6.00 three times since 1998 (1999, 2000 and 2002) and above 5.00 in eight of the nine years.  The only exception was 2003 (4.27).

During the same period, our regular season ERAs have ranged from 3.61 to 5.24.  Last year, our ERA was 1.18 higher in spring training than the season and in 2005 it was 1.98 higher (5.59 to 3.61).

So then I looked at today’s team statistics for this spring.

In the American League, the top five offensive teams (and six of seven) in terms of BA play in the Cactus League.  We rank third with a .309 team mark.  Only Detroit, sixth at .290, cracks the Cactus League teams.

Pitching is even more pronounced.  The top eight teams based on ERA all pitch in Florida.  The bottom six are all based in Arizona.  We currently are last with a mark of 6.75.

Let’s see where we end up at the conclusion of spring play and what those numbers tell us, if anything, during the regular season.

Topping 2 Million

We just went over 2 million tickets sold for this year.  While demand is high, there still are tickets to be had for great games on our schedule.  Don’t wait.  Act now.

With just over 2 million sold in 2007, we already rank eighth-best in club history.

Last Six Years

Putzing around, I pulled together our division W-L records for the past six years.

Of course, the Twins lead easily with a 540-431 (.577) mark, 18 1/2 games ahead of us.  We are second at 522-450 (.537), and the Sox are 38 games ahead of third-place Cleveland, who has gone 484-488 (.498) over the six-season span.

Brick

For those of you who have not checked it out, we are selling legacy bricks that will become part of a very cool Gate 4 plaza next Opening Day.  In the center of this plaza will be a granite and bronze sculpture celebrating the 2005 World Champions.  It’s your chance to leave your name immortalized outside U.S. Cellular Field surrounded by other Sox fans who lived that moment.

Many fans are buying bricks to memorialize a deceased Sox fan, some are buying them as gifts and others are listing names of their family members.  Prices range from $175 and you also receive a replica brick for your home or office.

Supplies are limited, so act soon.  You can find more info by checking out of homepage at whitesox.com.

Birmingham

Someone asked what team we would take to Birmingham for the exhibition game next Thursday.  Probably the only players not going to Birmingham will be starting pitchers who stay here to remain on schedule.  Otherwise, you will get our regulars and probably some extra guys to cover us for that game.

After Thursday night’s game in Birmingham, we fly on to Atlanta for games on Friday night and Saturday.

Concourse Shots

This is far from official (because it is based on our memories), but to the best of our recollection, there have been two for certain concourse shots at U.S. Cellular and two that were borderline (and that we think would likely count).

The two for sure were Joe Borchard’s (2004) and Mark McGwire’s (1996).  The two right on the edge were Frank Thomas (2002), which hit right on the railing of a handicap section in left center field, and Cecil Fielder’s (1998) that hit off a beer stand in left/left center.

Some say Dan Pasqua’s in 1991 also hit the beer stand in right field.  His shot stood for the longest in ballpark history for quite a while, but I didn’t personally see it, so I can’t comment.  I’ll ask "the Hammer" next time I see him.

16 Comments

First off, I need to make a correction on the spelling of the first name of the newest member of the Quaid family…
His first name is G-A-E-L,not G-U-I-E-L as previously reported…(the kid isn’t even five days old,and already I’m f’ing his name up…I hope he’ll forgive me in years to come…)

Second,I do happen to recall the shot that Mc Gwire hit…it was a day game at(then)new Comiskey Park, it hit the roof of the Cap Corner store in LF…but what that day is perhaps more famous for is the shooting of scenes for the Julia Roberts “epic” “My Best Friend’s Wedding”…with Cameron Diaz…(insert your own punch line/fantasy here…)

Third,Scott,thanks very much for having your interns pull up and crunch the numbers from springs past in comparison to regular seasons…I hope that a certain party in Idaho(hello,brother Liptak)makes good use of those numbers to(perhaps)put an end to the now tiresome “Chicken Little” routine that he and other members of White Sox Universe have been using all damned spring…

Finally,I add my condolences on to the Mooney family for their loss…but as I have stated many times,if you have good memories of the deceased,they are physically gone…but they will also live forever…

Also,I am glad to see spring training come to an end…because I am running out of correction fluid for my scorecards for all the substitutions that are made,with names I’ve never heard before…and may never hear again…and I can just imagine all the fun that the PR department and the writers and broadcasters have had with their books as well…

Scott, I am somewhat surprised that MLB.com let you write “putzing” in your notes… If only they knew what that word REALLY connotes…or so I thought…

Scott,

At the end of a video posted at CubuneSports.com (link below), Brooks Boyer says a “Miller Light Extra Base” area is going in. Do you know what that is/where it will be? Is it a beer garden or something?

Thanks!

http://chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/whitesox/chi-videobucket-sports,1,1004342.htmlstory?coll=cs-home-utility

2nd video on right

And Gavin just lost the 5th spot.

This game has a certain symbolic feel to it. Danks out there in the drizzle, facing adversity but managing to get the runners out. Gavin steps in, rain’s coming down hard and heavy, walks a couple batters then gets pegged with the Granny.

Danks threw a lot more balls then he usually does but that could be a good thing; he’s being less predictable and more elusive. Aside from the 4 straight balls to Kaz he was on point…and great pick off.

I really don’t know what to make of the Danks/Floyd situation…Last week,Danks got rocked and Floyd came in and was terrific…Today,just the reverse…
I’m glad that Cooper and Ozzie,along with KW,are the people making the decisions about how many pitchers,and whom those pitchers are,whom are coming back to the Cell for the start of the regular season…It’s a real head scratcher in my opinion…and it could be that way all season long…shades of ’04 when the fifth starter was the

most inconsistent part of the entire pitching staff…

Gavin Floyd sure is doing everything he can to give up that 5th spot. Personally I would like to see Haeger and his knuckleball dancing through the cool spring air.

I’m with you Tom in the fact that it is anybody’s guess as to who that 5th starter is. The job is there for the taking, but every time somebody seems to have the lead they just give it up. It’s tough to call at this point, but I have faith in Ozzie, Coop, and KW.
But relax, this is not nearly as bad as ’04. These guys aren’t as bad as some of the guys we threw out there, and our offense is better than that team. They should bail us out of a few games we probably shouldn’t win.

eric chavez hit a concourse homer.

and again i wonder why we traded freddy? doesnt make sense to me.

I think there are things that the fan will never know surrounding trades, personal items, clubhouse stuff, who knows. I wondered why they gave Freddy the big contract so early on, when the news about his ties to Ozzie’s family just came out. Maybe it’s those ties that got him off the team, too. And I think McCarty’s trade had a “conflict” air about it, with his conversations about starting/bullpen stuff, getting into a mixup with KW, and minor league talk.
I also think Danks has sewn the 5th starter spot up. Charlie will make the bullpen, Floyd goes down.

McCarthy, that is.

I don’t like that Tracey was picked up off waivers. Baltimore needed a long relief guy, why couldn’t the Sox have worked a trade, instead of just letting Tracey go for nothing? I thought the kid showed promise.

Kenwo – Garcia might be out a while with an arm injury. Shoulder I believe. I loved his ability, but it is only a matter of time and wear and tear will hurt him.

id rather have a hurt freddy than a healthy floyd. that guy is god awful!

I can’t disagree, Floyd is a disaster thus far. Hopefully they can get him on the right course. A hurt Freddy scares me. You would have seen him the same way he was at the start of last year with less velocity which really hurt him early on. He is a guy that needs his velocity to make his breaking pitches as effective as the are.

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