Happy Fourth

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Tonight’s Lineup

Gonzo, LF; Iguchi, 2B; Thome, DH; PK, 1B; Dye, RF; Fields, 3B; Terrero, CF; Uribe, SS; Hall, C.  Contreras pitching.

Happy 4th to July to everyone!  Between ball games, picnics and fireworks, we should all take a moment to celebrate the freedoms that make this country unique in the history of the world and to remember the events, moments and people who created this country.

Bulls

Aaron Gray, JamesOn Curry and Joakim Noah enjoyed the ballgame last night from Jerry Reinsdorf’s suite.  (No truth to the rumor that I was in charge of serving drinks poolside.)  Gray, who threw the first pitch, grew up a White Sox and Frank Thomas fan, while Noah and A.J. shared a pregame moment like only two Gator fans can do …

Kudos

To Javier Vazquez for his complete-game effort last night.  If I had told you in March that on July 4th our starting pitchers would rank second in the league with a 3.82 ERA, wouldn’t you ask how far ahead we would be?

Eric Zorn

The Trib’s Eric Zorn, a columnist I enjoy and respect (see, there are some, many, in fact), wrote a piece yesterday titled, "Justice Should Be Blind, Not Shortsighted," in which he compared the legal penalties of an assault on the street and the fan intrusion at Wrigley Field last week.

In the end, Eric argued that he would prefer that the State’s Attorney’s Office reduce the fan intrusion charge.  And he asks for reader response (Eric’s blog and on-line conversation on topics is one of the things I really like about his column.  It’s where, in my opinion, newspapers are heading and need to head to engage readers in conversation on an almost around-the-clock schedule … note the Trib’s new emphasis on sports blogs as a key part of its sports coverage).

Anyway, because the White Sox, Jerry Reinsdorf and State Senator Mattie Hunter were at the forefront of lobbying the State Legislature to make field incursions a felony, I thought I would offer some of the rationale, from our position, for such a penalty.

1. Escalation.  Incursions by fans escalate, in a couple of ways.  First, one "runner" encourages another and another and another.  One way to combat this is to make sure the penalty is a deterrent (which, I believe, it has been at U.S. Cellular Field due to the publicity of the penalty).  Secondly, incursions have escalated in nature.  Maybe this is part of the world we now live in, call it the idiot gene, but incursions have seemed to move from drunken frat boy running out onto the field behind second base to cheers from his buddies and fans to viscious attacks on coaches, umpires, and possibly players.  Take the Wrigley Field instance, for example.  The game wasn’t 12-1.  The fan went onto the field in a close game, apparently fueled with anger at reliever Bobby Howry’s surrendering the lead.  The fan was angry/frustrated, as I’m sure Bobby was as well.  That’s a dangerous combination.  Thank goodness the security guard reached the fan first.  One concern we have is that each incursion tries to top the next, stand at second base with your hands over your head, dodger security, next steal a player’s hat, then steal second base.  Where does that eventually lead?

2. The penalty.  As a misdemeanor, we often faced situations where a bunch of buddies pass the hat, agreeing to cover the fine, often less than $1,000, and then egg one of their friends to make a run onto the field for the entertainment value.  With the penalty now a felony, this practice ends.

3. An Audience.  Because the incident is taking place in a "place of amusement", i.e. a ballpark, the potential audience for this crime is large.  At the very least, the incursion will potentially incite up to 40,000 other fans at the game, but it also impacts possibly millions via television.  In one of our cases, the criminal reportedly called someone before rushing onto the field and attacking a coach and told them to make sure to watch the news that evening.  Events that occur on our field each day have the potential to echo around the world and possibly encourage others to copy.  If the criminals think of our field as a potential television stage, then the penalty needs to match, in my opinion.

Eric’s column discusses another recent crime, and I am in no way passing judgment on how that should be handled by authorities.  But given my own personal experience, and some familiarity with the process, I do feel that a felony is the correct penalty for a ballfield incursion, both as a deterent and as a fit penalty given the potential impact of the crime.  What if security had not reached the fan first at Wrigley?  My guess is that this wouldn’t even be a discussion.

Covering Buehrle

I had several interesting (no, not heated) conversations with several media members over the last few days about the difficulties in covering the Buehrle negotiations and how that might impact what you read and hear.

Some of my thoughts (all my opinions, so take them for what they are worth) …

On-going negotiations are incredibly difficult to cover, for the following reasons (and as a result, fans may only be getting a portion of the story and that portion may be correct or incorrect on any particular day):  Parties involved rarely comment, which leads to having to rely on whispers, rumors, leaks and off the record conversations, all of which carry risks; because negotiations are on-going, information getting to media is often dated, sometimes very dated (this also happens with many, many trade rumors around this time of the year.  By the time a rumor is reported, it’s old and over); negotiations in corporate life usually occur in a boardroom somewhere, they are not clean, black and white, they involve back and forth, give and take … i.e. you might not want to see how the sausage gets made, you just want the brat when it’s all done.  In this case, fans I’ve talked to are almost numb from the back and forth, roller coaster of emotions each day’s reports bring.  That’s because you normally don’t see or read about that side of a negotiation.  You just see the end result.  Finally, in any negotiation, parties are potentially looking for every angle.  It seems to me that the biggest challege facing reporters covering a story like this is to do your best to not become pawns for either side in negotiations.  I understand that’s a tough challenge at times.  In this case, I think it has been interesting for fans to also get a chance to study how reporters try to manage the process of covering an on-going negotiation … or at least I have found it interesting, even if we would prefer to have all our negotiations remain quiet until finished.

Let’s win one tonight and then enjoy the fireworks.

8 Comments

Great post Scott! Happy 4th to you and your family. I’m sure you’ve had a very busy and hectic week and I think it’s great that you take the time to post as much as you do!

I have found the coverage on Buehrle to be frustrating to the point where I don’t want to read or hear anything else about it until I get an official e-mail from the Sox – of course hopefully telling me something was worked out :)

I’ve also found comments on this blog to be very frustrating lately. So much negativity! I understand that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but my goodness….

At any rate, let’s hope Contreras keeps it going and something positive gets started soon!

It really has been kind of crazy the back and forth on the Mark deal. On one hand having the numbers revealed could hurt Mark if a deal is not reached , someone else says ok you get the 4 yrs no trade for the same deal. whereas he could have gotten probably 70 mil. yet for the white sox to pass the deal seems to hurt them with players and fans as it seems too good to pass. they can always say one time only, no trade and let it be know that they mean it. Granted I do not know all of the fact, thats a given. It might look like an even better deal in 2 yrs.

ps dodonohue, I disagree about the negative bloggers, it is good to get non white washed perspectives, I get tired of how great everyone is on this team and the other team, bloggers let it wing.

dleeun – thanks for the comment. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely agree and usually find everyone’s posts very informative and amusing; however, a few days ago I posted my opinion on something and someone called me “mentally challenged” for having that opinion, which I thought was uncalled for.

In today’s Tribune, beat writer Mark Gonzales has a great story wrapping up the first half including the numerous problems and issues surrounding it.

Worth reading.

His off season preview will probably be as long as ‘War And Peace,’given all the circumstances that will be going into the decision making process including the size of the 2008 budget and the fact that Sox fans will not come out for any length of time to see mediocrity.

Mark Liptak

I have a silly question for Kenny regarding the Buehrle mess. Kenny claims that a no-trade will hurt the team since it creates a slippery slope – if he gives Mark such a contract, then everyone coming to the team will expect the same clause. Why can’t Kenny just keep his mouth shut with respect to this clause? Why does anyone need to know what is contained in Mark’s contract? I’m sure that crafty spinmasters can somehow come up with a way that we give Mark what he wants without letting everyone know that he has a no-trade clause. Get creative
Kenny. Your time is running out. And I mean that in more ways than one.

Ye gawds, was it only two years ago that everything was hunky-dory, and we were all having fun?… It seems more like a DECADE ago… no thanks to the “two steps forward, three steps back, one step forward, one step back” do-see-do that the Sox have done, it seems, all year…
I did not read Joe Cowley’s piece in the Sunday tabloid,but I am not the least bit surprised…

Let’s face it, folks… Led by the abrasive Weathervane(“I’m the story, though I’m really not…”), the ex-athlete/garage guitar player/moralist/social conscience Rick Telander,the easily enraged Carol Slezak, the clueless Greg (Feet Off The)Couch and the other members of the band, the Chicago Sun-Times has a VENDETTA for the Chicago White Sox organization, from Jerry Reinsdorf on down…If Jerry came up with a cure for cancer, a cure for muscular dystrophy, the solution to lasting peace in the Middle East, and the return of our troops from Iraq and Afganistan…The S-T will STILL find something to b**ch about…

Not to say that management isn’t totally blameless in all this…They have to talk to the vultures…and trust that everything that is put out on the table is quoted accurately and is represented fairly…

And we all know what the odds of THAT happening are, don’t we???

I have a better chance of flying to Paris for the wedding of Eva Longoria and Tony Parker and kidnapping the bride…

BTW, reifer… the lovely Maria Wagener and her equal half, plus their family, will be visiting Charm City after the A-S break to see the boys and the Birds…maybe you could contact them and show them not only Ft Mc Henry(where “the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming…”)but the other sights of Balmere…

Hey, TQ… Are you setting up dates for me now? :o) Seriously, glad to know you got the package. Enjoy the reading.

Ira… we’ll be at the O’s games on 7/13, 7/14, and 7/15. Drop me an email if you plan to be there and we’ll meet up.

No comment on yesterday. Let’s just turn it around tonight. Go Sox!

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