Split On Tuesday

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Today’s Game 1 Lineup

Owens, CF; Cintron, 2B; Thome, DH; PK, 1B; AJ, C; Dye, RF; Pods, LF; Fields, 3B; Uribe, SS.

Where to begin …

I enjoyed 2005 so much, I guess I just need to take my medicine in 2007.  You take the good with the bad and try to learn something about yourself from each.

The great thing about baseball is there is always a game tomorrow (in some cases two) and your spirit can rise or fall based on the bounce of the baseball.  It’s been a while since we found ourselves in this position ("The Dark Side of baseball," one clubhouse observor noted), but now our focus is on seeing how players like Jerry Owens, Josh Fields, Ehren Wasserman and others perform over the coming months.  You’d rather be fighting for a playoff spot, but there is some enjoyment from a baseball sense in seeing and learning about new players and their abilities.

KW continues to actively look for ways to make this team better moving forward.  You can’t talk to him for five minutes without his phone ringing or pinging with an email message.  Best way to describe the industry right now is that there are a lot of conversations and lots of jockeying but little action.  That likely will change over the next week.

Talk that we have made Duane Shaffer a "scapegoat" is tough for me to understand.  Both KW and Ozzie have repeatedly stepped up over the past weeks to shoulder blame.  No one, in my view, is running from responsibility.

Instead, we all are focused on turning this around as quickly as possible.

The Pierces

How great to see Bill and Gloria Pierce, surrounded by friends and family, unveiling the magnificent sculpture before last night’s game.  Bill is truly a great guy and certainly seemed to be enjoying the day (although as humble as he is, I think he likely would do without the attention).

This sculpture was the sixth of seven we have planned for now.  This was done by Julie Rotblatt-Amrany of the Rotblatt-Amrany Studio at Ft. Sheridan.  The resemblance is amazing.  Julie did a tremendous job.  She is also the artist working on the granite and white bronze sculpture that will be installed at Gate 4 next Opening Day as part of the Legacy Brick Plaza.

Bricks remain available.  To order, visit whitesox.com.

Author Contest

Rather than try to pick a "winner" among the submissions to write a story on attending a Sox game, we decided to ask each person who offered a nomination to take a shot at writing about a Sox game.  I’ll try to post the stories here or on our site and pick one for the last edition of our program.  Thanks to all for the interest and I look forward to reading the results.

Sympathies

Guys in the clubhouse were still talking about Mike Coolbaugh, the minor-league coach who was killed this weekend when hit by a batted ball.  The concensus was that coaches should wear batting helmets for protection.

"I was hit twice when I was coaching third," Ozzie Guillen said of his time in Florida.  "Once in the ankle and once right in the side, that one hurt.

"We were playing the Expos and Galaragga and Javier Vazquez were on me about rubbing it.  I was trying to not rub it, but it hurt.  They were hollering at me from the dugout.  Finally, there was a foul ball and I quickly reached down and rubbed it, thinking they weren’t watching.  But they saw me and were all over me.  It really hurt, though."

Blog Night

Finally is set (thanks for the patience) for September 27.  Sorry, I know this date late in the year isn’t great for the college students among the group, but it was the only remaining date that worked for the number of tickets we needed and the Conference & Learning Center.  So, we’ll have a get together in the Center before the game and then the group can head to the seats for the game (no patio this year, which will keep the cost down some).  I will put together a little pregame program for your entertainment.

If interest in tickets, please call Dustin at 312-674-5186.  I’ll look forward to seeing you there.

Finances

A poster last week seemed to indicate that our best solution to this year’s performance was to spend more money in 2008 but was concerned that lower attendance automatically meant we would have less to spend. 

First, it’s certainly a matter of opinion, but I don’t believe spending more automatically makes you better.  It is not that simple an equation.  I believe the evidence over the past decade shows that you need to spend at a certain level to be competitive, but that after that, many, many other factors come into play. 

In 2005, we spent in the mid 70s.  This year’s club is well above 100 M which ranks fourth in MLB (according to ESPN.com … please note, everyone seems to factor payrolls differently, so you see variations in numbers from one source to the other).  The ESPN website lists us behind the Yankees, Red Sox and Mets in payroll for 2007, just ahead of the Angels, Dodgers and Seattle.  I’m not sure spending more is the failsafe solution.

Veteran clubs almost automatically are more expensive, younger teams generally are less expensive. 

Also, we have long operated under the philosophy that any revenues we generate are turned back into the team.  Certainly ticket sales form a large part of those revenues, but so do broadcasting contracts, corporate sponsorships and even MLBAM (a growing source of revenue for all teams).

Hi To the Kids

Who are spending a few weeks in Connecticut with mom and checked the other night to see if I had written anything on my blog.  Miss you guys.

24 Comments

Thanks, Scott, as always, for the post. I couldn’t agree more. The team is not performaing to where anyone expected. HOWEVER, it’s baseball..the all-American past time, and just a great way to spend a summer day/night. I’m often disappointed, but keep watching. You’re right, it’s a kick to watch some of these young guys develop, and we do have some talented young guys who just love to play. I, for one, love seeing Jerry Owens hustle. Whether it’s to 1st on an infield hit, or in the outfield. And Josh Fields, well, that kid’s a heckuva player and hopefully we’ll see him in a White Sox uniform for a long time. Can’t wait for the Blog night. We had such a good time last year, we wouldn’t miss it. See you there!! -Dawn

Scott brings up some very valid points, especially the one where he says that spending money helps your chances of making the post season but doesn’t guarantee it.

That’s true but allow me to play Devil’s Advocate here.

Look at this White Sox team, less then two seasons removed from a World Series title.

They may need a second baseman, the definitely need a shortstop, they need a left fielder, a center fielder and probably a right fielder, they desperately need some speed, they need a starting pitcher (Contreras is done) and they absolutely, positively MUST get at least three arms (probably four) for the putrid bullpen.

Friends and neighbors that’s a TON of things to try to get in a single off season.

Now factor in a minor league system that either can’t produce major league talent (the jury is out on Fields and Sweeney) or can’t hype guys enough so that other organizations will want them in trade PLUS the fact that the White Sox reside in the toughest division in baseball.

Put all that together and the ONLY option if the Sox want to rebound quickly and ‘contend’ next season is to increase payroll (bite the bullet owners…you can handle it!) and try to get as much talent as possible WITHOUT trading your strenghts creating MORE holes to fill.

For example, what good does it do say to trade Vasquez for two players who maybe fill needs since you create ANOTHER hole? (in this case in the rotation…)

I’m NOT saying just sign free agents, I’m sure Kenny will make a deal or two but I’ve always advocated the free agent approach first because all you ‘give up’ is money, you don’t trade talent.

Second appraoch is to try to get other organizations to trade you major league players for minor league talent. (That’s what the Yankees have done for years! And it does work!!)

The major problem the Sox face is that they have so many holes and not enough talent in the minor leagues to off set them that frankly I can’t see any other way.

If someone else does, please educate me on it.

—–

Finally just contemplating something. I’m not making a statement, just noting something.

Kenny took over as G.M. in November 2001 and inherited a 95 win, playoff team…..by 2002 that club was down to 81 wins.

In 2005 Kenny helped win a World Series with a team that won 99 games….by 2007 that same club MAY win 75 games or so.

Serious question to all….does this mean anything?

Mark Liptak

Kenny took over in 2000, didn’t he?

My dad and I had a long conversation about the state of the club on our way back from another painful, ugly game Monday night. While you can go any direction in terms of prioritizing our needs, I’ve become convinced of our most important need.

We need an A.J. player out in the field. A guy who brings A.J.’s attitude, but has the speed and a little better skill. The first player who comes to mind is Torii Hunter, but I’ll readily admit that he might not be a perfect fit/could come WAY too expensively/there could be better options.

I won’t be so pithy to say that losing Aaron Rowand was the demise of the team, but we need another guy who’s not going to take any ****. We need some *******’ piranhas. At least one piranha who’s going to take a teammate to task.

Example: Last night, Jerry Owens committed a cardinal sin. Jason Grilli was chucking the ball everywhere but the zone. He’d just hit Mackowiak to bring in the lead run. What does Owens, a guy who by anyone’s admission doesn’t always put the strongest strokes on the ball, do? Swings at the first pitch and taps out we-e-e-e-a-a-a-a-kly. Now, I don’t care if he hit a flyball to the warning track or a screaming liner up the middle that Grilli stuck his glove out blindly and speared. There aren’t many guys who should come to the plate doing anything but take on that first pitch, maybe even to two strikes with the way Grilli had lost control, and CERTAINLY not a rookie, and DEFINITELY NOT a rookie batting in the .230 range.

I’m not trying to dump on Owens; after all, Owens is a rookie. I like his speed, seems to get a decent jump, plays with some abandon.

In fact, there’s an even greater sin to come from Owens’ mistake. Did anyone on the White Sox point out to Jerry that he made a grave, grave error on that at-bat? Ozzie? Walker? Konerko? Toby Hall? My guess is no, and I can’t live with that.

My wish list for 2008 as of this moment, understanding that there are trades still to be made and 60-day tryouts for some of our Charlotte Knights forthcoming.

CF: Our biggest need. Here is where our free agent money needs to go, in this offeseason of all offseasons. Hunter is my target.

Corner OF: I’m content with two “question marks” if we can get an anchor in CF. I’d pencil in Josh Fields in right, assuming he can make the conversion. I think he can. He does not appear to be a major league 3B. I’ll take my chances with Owens, Sweeney, Ozuna, Gonzalez or Erstad in LF.

3B: Crede. Ozuna is my all-purpose sub and insurance for Joe.

Middle IF: Our second pressing need. I could live with Danny Richar at short and a re-signed Gooch at 2B. But if there’s someone else we can get into the mix, proven vet or another young player with Richar promise, all the better. Juan and Cintron, they’re gone.

C, DH, 1B, all set. I don’t like the criminal lack of speed, but if the other positions are shored up Smartball style, we’ll be all right.

Overall, that’s two major additions needed in CF and MI. With open competition at the corner outfield spots among Erstad, Gonzalez, Ozuna, Fields, Sweeney, and Owens, two strong players can emerge. The remaining four comprise the core of my bench.

SP: Jose is gone. Buerhle and Danks are untouchable. Garland and Javy, I’ll move one if someone knocks me down with an offer, or if we strike out getting that key grinder in CF and/or middle IF and I’m getting a little desperate. Danks worked at No. 5 this year, so if we need to bump him to 4 or even 3 next year and give one of our half-dozen solid starters in the minors a shot, I’m OK with that.

RP: Ideally Jenks can solve his traditional velocity drop problem. Haeger has been a solid multipurpose RP for two seasons now. So I’ve got four spots open. Young, old, power arms, junkballers, I don’t give a ****. My rule is first-pitch strikes and staying ahead of the hitter. Every pitch you throw after the first one where you’re even with the hitter or behind him, you’re docked a point. Pitch movement, grounder/flies ratio, intimidating stares, creative facial hair, all that stuff is great. But we have to go back to the basics in spring training and break it down to the simple things. Let’s start with simply throwing strikes, making opposing hitters hit, and our fielders field.

I also think it’s time the team has a captain or captains who want the responsibility. Paulie seems to be a terrific “Den Father,” a bridge between management and players. But he doesn’t seem to have the fire needed as captain. On the pitching side, Buehrle naturally gravitates to guys who need help and has a strong sense of playing the right way. He gets a C. In the field, I don’t know what our options are. Thome seems less disinterested in captaincy than Konerko, but almost by default I’d have to opt for A.J. There’s the other C. If we make a big enough splash acquiring a CF or MI, I’d consider issuing him a C.

Being a captain all sounds very junior varsity, I know. The 2005 Sox were too good for such things. The 2006 Sox were too cool for such things. Well, we’re not very good now, nor do we have the right to act too cool. Ozzie can’t do it/hasn’t done it alone. Someone between the lines needs to take responsibility before us all to call out the boneheads and rally the troops.

Well, say what you will, that was one helluva comeback…taken straight from the playbook of 2005. Nice to see the guys not give up..nice to see the offense coming through..nice to see the bullpen doing a decent job. Could have asked for better starting pitching, but 2 Wins in one day is a good day for anyone. I’m not going to wax philosophical on what we need to fix the organization or who didn’t do what..I’m just a simple fan enjoying the simple pleasure of this game we call baseball…and just happy to be a small part of it. -Dawn

Hey Scott, I’m not able to make it to the blog night. Which *****. Just wanted to let everyone know that Barack Obama gave a shout out to the Sox when talking about Governor Richardson how he tends to cheer for the Red Sox and the Yanks. Obama then asked what about the Sox, we seem to be having a bad year. Just liked how Obama is a Sox fan :) Evan

nice wins! the team finally came back and won a game in the late innings. i dont recall if that has happened this year, but if it has it hasnt happened often.

the team needs 3 outfielders 3 relievers a second baseman and possibly a starter. this could include resigning dye and iguchi or not, but i dont see much in the organization. i can live with owens i suppose if we sign a stud and resign dye, but thats the only way. 3 relievers are needed. macdougal aardsma sisco floyd thornton day massett can all go back where they came from. i dont mind bukvich and wasserman so far, but we’ll see how long that lasts.

and for the guy that said to trade vazquez or garland…you have to be crazy. the starters are the only thing going for the sox and they must keep buehrle, garland and vazquez. dont be so quick to throw out contreras as you better make sure you have something that can replace him. he still will give you 200 innings this year

Nice comeback! Hopefully this team can keep something going and while getting back into the race seems highly improbable it never hurts to have your team on a winning streak or getting hot in the second half. It will be interesting to see what changes are in store, especially for this offseason.
Is anyone else of stupid people on this blog making no sense… whitesoxawful. are you kidding us with that name?

Mark,
As to the question at the end of your post it absolutely does mean something. Kenny likes to tinker with stuff. He apparaently does not know that if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Maybe he falls under that category of Reinsdorf GM’s that believe organizations win championships?

lost in the comeback when…but not forgotten in my eyes was just how god awful gavin floyd was for the second time. he has to be down as one of the all time worst sox starters right there with scott ruffcorn, rodney bolton and Neil Allen! if anyone thinks that he can replace contreras in the rotation they are crazy..

i just posted like floyd pitched…come back when? i meant comeback win…i guess when you are talking about gavin floyd your brain just turns to mush especially after just having to watch that pathetic piece of garbage pitch!

Shut my mouth wide open! Who’d of thought it, a doubleheader from detroit? Hey, I’ll give the young guys a shot anyday, Day, Masset, Floyd, all of em. Keep rotating em by all means but you never know who might get their legs under them or when (maybe never? oh, well, not like we’re in the race this year).

As far as “no talent” in the minors; we got a bunch of young kids, so trial by fire (it is what it is). But put enough newbies with the vets with the right amount of pressure and voila, a win or two (people playing with fire for a slot on the club? there you go). If the BoSox would have gave up on Pedroia after his craptacular start they’d have never found out what kind of player he is. Keep that in mind when you insult our minor league system and struggling, immature bullpen.

As far as the posts from cubs fans, great, cause how many times have we dogged on them? It’s part of the rivalry and I’m used to it, no biggie.

I don’t agree on needing to spend a fortune for free agents, but I do agree on the lack of fire shown by some on the squad (they spent 108 million for this?). I hate the Yanks but I got a lot of respect for Jeter, we need a balanced ball player like that to stir up the team and set an example (Ty Wiggington, TB Devil Rays?).

AND insulting the guys, while gratifying, is kind of unfair. All the **** posted about Day, the cries when it was out that Haeger was coming up, someone calling Mackowiak a ‘cancer’, please, if you want the gratification now, better buy some Cubs, Yankees or Boston gear. While the 2006 Red Sox didn’t implode like our 2007 White Sox, I recall rooting for a team that has always struggled for respect and many years, for wins. It takes heart, just like going out on the field when people are tearing you up in the press and on the blogs. It takes heart to go out there, let your confidence take a beating and say you tried your best. Maybe more confidence than guys like francisco Rodriguez or Mariano Rivera got.

Anyways, I want to see Sweeney back up, they said he was a good raw ballplayer. Man, we could use a few of those. But congratulations to the SOX for yesterday. Maybe better days are to come.

Brett:

Ron Schueler was the G.M. during the 2000 season. Kenny was named to the position in November 2000 after Ron left the organization.

Mark Liptak

WHITE SOX AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

I’m surprised that no one mentioned the difference in the team when Podsednik is back in the line up… The last two times he has come back from Charlotte, he has gotten on and then stolen. I may be wrong but I also think he advanced runners in both games and earned at least one RBI.

THAT is one of the things we’re lacking in 2007 that we had in 2005. A healthy Pods means getting on and stealing that extra base. He is 5 for 8 in stolen bases this year. With him getting on and getting to second, we could produce at least a base hit to get him to score. Small ball. We need that back.

The other thing we’re really missing is our bullpen. Ugh. In 2005 there was only ONE relief pitcher that I didn’t completely trust to come in and get guys out – Marte. Now, any time Ozzie looks to the bullpen, I realize that our chances of losing have increased significantly.

As for the young guys or rotating players that we have… I like them. I think Owens will only get better. He showed a lot of promise in CF on Monday night. If Fields keeps hitting the way he is, we’ll need him in the future. Mackowiak has my full trust. Terrero and Gutierrez are great for new guys too. I think that a lot of White Sox fans have forgotten what it was like for us before 2005. When we didn’t expect them to be good, we accepted what they gave us and watched as it evolved. Five years ago, Crede was a nobody. He was decent at 3rd, not very reliable at the plate… But, look at him now. I think we just need to give these guys a little time to show us what they are capable of. I wouldn’t be so quick to trade guys away or spend millions on big names.

Pods was 0 for 3 in the first game yesterday. He struck out once and did not get on base. He did a little better the second game, but he’ll pull some muscle within a week or two so don’t count on him.

He may add a little something when he is here, but he is not reliable enough to count on him. He’ll be gone next season.

just like another stupid sox fan running their mouth off about Marte…..I wish they would have kept him. He is dominating in the NL…where is hermanson? cotts? pollitte? Marte was the only one with a proven track record. he was shipped out because of ozzie and kenny after one bad half of a season. he was good before and after that….we need guys with a track record not guys with “power arms”….I have read the yankees are interested in thornton…take what you can get for any of our bullpen guys

Notes on a LOOOOOONNNNNGGGG
Tuesday… I don’t care HOW they win some games, just as long as they win…If the other team wants to help, such as the way C Guillen did on the ball that AJ hit(by the way, Hawk, it’s STILL an error until Brother Rosenberg changes it…), so much the better…

I am, as you folks may know, from the “old school” of baseball…The one lane highway that was torn apart years ago by free *********** you, Peter Seitz!…Your decision started all this s**t, beginning with Messersmith and Mc Nally…)and total, flat, all-out GREED on the part of players who were not deserving, but nevertheless recieving…their agents(the 10 per cent p**ps) and the owners(who wanted to keep their old good times rolling, at the same rate as before…)…

When I walked towards the Cell yesterday afternoon,I noticed a couple of so-called “rock and roll” bands outside playing before an non-attentive crowd, who were streaming towards the gates to enter the park…

Maybe it’s that I’m almost in my mid-50′s in age, and that I’m going deaf in both ears, but I thought that having all that noise was as necessary as teets on a bull…When I was growing up and going to the park across the street with my late father, and later by myself,the noise of the anticipation of the crowd was more than enough for me…

It was also enjoyable to hear Nancy Faust playing before the game…like the old days…

I really tune out Gene Honda’s pronouncements about the litany of official sponsors of the 2007 Chicago White Sox and MLB, because I’m busily filling in my scorebook with the lineups and numbers and notes(Thanks again, Mr. R, as always…I appreciate your kindness…)…

The introductions are borrowed from West Madison Street(da Bulls…)and the sidebar stuff between innings is meant, I’m sure, for the short attention span crowd…

Me?…I’m there to see the game…

Isn’t that silly?

further looking into this guys post…im still trying to figure out who gutierrez is? if you dont even know the players stay off the blog for goodness sakes…its GONZALEZ

Speaking of the game… It would be an absolute shame if they were to even consider getting rid of Vazquez…He’s the most consistent thing they’ve got in the rotation…
As to the 2nd game starter, however,I feel that Gavin Floyd suffers from a rare malady from a prior era, called “Ruffcorn-Boltonitis”…The symptoms are you do well on the farm, but get your head handed to you when you come up to the big team…

BTW…my weather record is in tact for the year… It lightly drizzled on me, my book and my charts/notes yesterday…but everything was salvaged…

See, good things CAN happen at the Cell…

Let’s see… can I hold a telethon before the 27th of September to raise monies for “Son of a Blog”?…I’d love to see you good folks again…and I would also like to take a look at the stocks that Scott would build in the Conference Center, that would lock the S-T sports department in, so we could walk by and thrash them with a Louisville Slugger bat…

Anybody else hearing about these Konerko to Anaheim trade rumors?? Don’t do it Kenny

Can we please start planning early for next year and get the Blog Night on a weekend? This is really a shame for people who cannot make a week night game.

I do not think they would trade Paul Konerko as he is too much of a leader and still a great performer. I trust Kenny though with whatever he decides to do with this ball club.

Rumors abound..Paulie and Anaheim..Garland and Yankees, and other teams. I have mixed emotions on both. All depends on what we get in return. Much, much more to come in the week ahead….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 103 other followers

%d bloggers like this: