Chicago White Sox 1st Qtr Report Card: Position Players

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As Chicago White Sox trade rumors become more frequent than talk of LeBron James signing with the Chicago Bulls, it’s time to hand out first quarter grades to the Chicago White Sox.

As May draws to a close, the major league baseball season is 25% over.  Perhaps these grades will inspire our players to get a passing grade. Maybe they can optimize summer school, instead of continuing to “be schooled” by teams with worse records.

That’s right Sox fans, parent\teacher conferences are in session and first quarter report cards have been issued.  Sorry Sox position players, no bell curve will be used in this classroom.

By:  Soxman

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Jake Peavy’s Peaved and Sox Masher Math

ozzie guillen

By Soxman

In a growing tradition through my near daily Twitter rants, I provide a quick glass half full, glass half empty outlook on the Chicago White Sox.

As we enter week four of the 2010 season, and a 8-11 record, there’s a glaring opportunity:

Glass Half Full:  The White Sox are tied for 3rd in the AL Central.

Glass Half Empty: The White Sox are also tied for last in the AL Central.

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Soxman breaks down the White Sox first 9

SOXMAN AND SOXGIRL

Through one week of baseball, the Chicago White Sox are 4-5.  The only team they have a better record than in the AL Central is the Cleveland Indians who are 2-6.  Ironically, the Indians two victories are against the Sox.  So what should Sox fans be saying about their team after 9 games?

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White Sox Spring Preview Part 2- Facts and Figures

By Paul M. Banks

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Fixing the White Sox Part II, Infield and Catchers

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By Soxman

As the White Sox drop two of three to the lowly Royals and lose badly to the Twins, my hands can’t seem to type fast enough in publishing part II of our continuing series “fixing the White Sox” for 2010.

In this series, I’ll take stock of the players who will stay (”put ‘em on the board”) or those who need to move on (”He gone”), and look at possible trades, free agents and minor leaguers that could improve the team.

In our final edition, we’ll look at line-ups and rotations based on our newly found perspectives. Remember, this series is based on some semblance of reality.  For example, Alex Rios is one of our outfielders in 2010.  His contract is large, so his sub-200 batting average since coming to the south side pretty much assures he’ll be in the starting line-up in 2010.

Infield

I honestly don’t expect a lot of movement in our infield in the off-season as it appears as though Gordon Beckham will remain at third base.

Paul Konerko-  Put em on the Board.

As a ten and five player, Konerko has the right to veto any trade.  After an injury riddled 2008 campaign, he bounced back nicely hitting .287, 27 HR, 85 RBI.  He’ll be eligible for free agency after 2010 and the Sox will likely keep him around for his PR value as much as his HR power.  There would not be much of a market for Konerko in the off-season as the Angels, a team who has coveted Paulie in the past, have a fine first baseman in Kendry Morales.

Chris Getz- Put em on the Board

While this would be one spot that the White Sox could add a bat, the free agent market is slim and aside from injury problems, Getz put up a decent rookie campaign, hitting .263 and swiping 25 bases in just 364 ABs.  He needs to work on bunting in winter ball to be a catalyst of Ozzie Ball in 2010.

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Alexei Ramirez- Put em on the Board or He Gone?

If there is anywhere that the Sox could move a player, it would be here.  Ramirez comes cheap as he is under contract for two more seasons at $1 million per season.  Sure, he has hit at least 15 homers and stolen at least 13 bases in his first two seasons, and has made some spectacular plays defensively.  However, his play was lackadaisical in many games during the season and he is yet to add consistent execution to his game, choosing to swing for the fences rather than moving runners over.  He’s the one player who does not exceptionally thrill me.  Still, a power-hitting shortstop with a low price tag could command some top prospects in return.

Gordon Beckham- Put em on the Board

The 2009 AL Rookie of the Year Candidate is here to stay.  While I’d rather see him at shortstop, he will continue to master his craft defensively, develop his power and likely become the biggest stalwart at third base since Robin Ventura.alexeicheshirt1

Jason Nix- Put em on the Board

While his batting average is low and his strikeout rate his high, we should remember that Nix is officially in rookie status.  He is capable of playing any of the infield positions and can man the corners in the outfield.  In just under 250 Abs, he has hit 12 dingers and swiped 10 bases.  The ideal utility player, he should be back with the Sox in 2010.

Catchers

A.J Pierzynski- Put em on the Board

A.J. has been the team’s most consistent hitter all season long and has been one of the more passionate players in a rather lifeless clubhouse.  A free agent after 2010, A.J. knows he’s merely keeping the seat warm for top prospect Tyler Flowers.  Still, it’s safe to pencil AJ in as a starting catcher next season.

Ramon Castro- He Gone

Aside from catching Mark Buehrle’s perfect game, Castro hasn’t done much with the White Sox in 2009.  With AJ starting 75% to 85% of all games, back-up catcher is an area the Sox can trim a little payroll.  Castro made over $1 million this season. There are a host of free agent catchers out there who could act as serviceable back-ups at a much lower price tag.

Tyler Flowers- Put ‘em on the AAA Board

Flowers will benefit from a full season of AAA conditioning as he prepares to take over catching duties in 2011.

So to summarize the 2010 Roster thus far:

Carlos Quentin
Alex Rios (not by choice, by contract)
Scott Podsednik (4th outfielder/Super Sub)
Paul Konerko
Chris Getz
Jayson Nix
Alexei Ramirez (should explore trade market)
Gordon Beckham
A.J. Pierzynski

Na Na Na Hey Hey Hey Hey Goodbye

Jermaine Dye
Mark Kotsay
DeWayne Wise
Ramon Castro

Next edition we’ll look at pitching…then the free agent market.

Stop the White Sox are still Alive Nonsense

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By Paul M. Banks

Is it possible that White Sox fans have become entitled? I guess having one of your own as the president might do that to you. But with 3 division titles this decade (not exactly the Yankees or Red Sox by any means, but pretty good within the context of cumulative White Sox history) maybe Sox fans are beginning to have loftier expectations for the Sox Which is actually a good sign, legitimately longing for and realistically expecting a World Series title every season. The magic and wonder of 2005 has truly had a lasting effect. However, Sox fans need to realize that this sure as hell isn’t 2005, it’s certainly not 2000, and it’s still not even close to 2008.soxmanseats

Just because this division as a whole would struggle in a series with…well, instead of college basketball’s Big Ten/ACC Challenge, how about an AL Central/Pacific Coast League challenge. I seriously wonder how our boys would fare in that. The fact the White Sox were able to rise up and claim first place in mid-season despite looking like complete crapola from opening day till June, is the best testimony to how bad the division truly is. But that doesn’t mean the Sox are still alive. Seriously, how bad did Gavin Floyd look last night? Following what Ozzie called his worst start of the season.

Yes, he’s had hip problems and a bit of a hard luck season, but Sox fans need to quit bringing up the “we have six left against Detroit line and we’re only 6 ½ out” line.

Didn’t the Jim Thome white flag trade teach us something? That management knows it’s been over for some time. But maybe it’s because Jake Peavy starting Saturday, maybe it’s because Detroit is about to become the worst division champion in the history of sports.

I understand the comparisons between this team and 2000. Both teams consisted of young kids that played to their level of competition. The 2000 division champs played really well against good opponents and in must-have games, but also stumbled against the Royals and (then last place) Tigers. But the main way this team resembles 2000, is they would get equally destroyed in October.

Fixing the White Sox, part 1: The outfield

Jermaine Dye

By Soxman

Easy Shoeless Joe Jackson fans, you see the title of this column and possibly fret. But don’t worry, Buck Weaver has no reason to turn over in his grave. We are not using the word “fix” as a reference to 1919, unless we are predicting Gordon Beckham’s chances of going 19/19 next year.

So before Josie goes on a vacation far away for the winter, we are turning our collective heads to look at next season. The most optimistic of fans called an official time of death on the flat-lining 2009 season when the Oakland A’s thrashed us September 8th. Even Darin Jackson and Ed Farmer’s in-game discussion turned from post-season to potential in terms of Ozzie Guillen using September to audition players for 2010.

Over the next few weeks, we will be offering our perspectives on “fixing the White Sox” for 2010. We will take stock of the players who will stay (“put em on the board”) or those who need to move on (“He gone”), and look at possible trades, free agents and minor leaguers that could improve the team. In our final edition, we’ll look at line-ups and rotations based on our newly found perspectives.

Let’s play ball! Outfield

Scott PodsednikScott Podsednik (LF, CF)

Put Em on the Board.

Kenny Williams hinted last week that he might not fill the DH spot next season with a traditional slugger. If that’s true, he could re-sign Pods and not promise him a starting gig, but instead rotating him in the outfield and DH where he could easily amass 350 or so ABs. But at age 34 can he repeat the .304, 5 HR, 26 SB, .355 OBP, season he has put together thus far? As he was unemployed before the Sox called this year, there likely isn’t a waiting list for his services.

Mark Kotsay

He Gone.

While Kotsay is well-liked by manager Ozzie Guillen and versatile in his ability to play all outfield positions and first base, he’ll be 35 next season and is in the twilight of his career. At best, he gets invited back to compete for the 5th OF position, which could likely be occupied with a much cheaper alternative. The Sox will look for bargains at back-up positions in order to address emerging needs as a team.

Dewayne Wise

He Gone.

We’ll always love you for the catch that saved Mark Buehrle’s perfect game, but a .207 batting average won’t cut it. You can hate Scotty Pods for taking your job.

Jermaine Dye

He Gone.

It kills me to say it as “JD” is one of my favorites. His bat vanished after the All-Star Break and his defense, while acceptable, has slowed considerably from what it was in 2005. How bad is his offensive decline? He’s batting .151 with one HR and 1 RBI over his last 53 ABs.

Carlos QuentinCarlos Quentin

Put Em on the Board

It what has been another lost season for Quentin, he’s still under the Sox control and is only 28 years old. His 16 HRs in just 289 ABs indicate the power stroke is still there. With 500 ABs and perhaps a little rest in a “fluid” DH spot, Quentin could revisit the 30 HR club.

Alex Rios

Put Em on the Board

I wrote an article indicating while the Alex Rios move was a good one, only Alex Rios Himself can prove me wrong. Starting fresh in 2010, without the pressure of taking fan favorites’ jobs, Rios will be given every opportunity to succeed. The negative indicators? His on-base percentage has dropped at least 20 points every year since 2007 and his slugging percentage has dropped at least 30 points! The Sox are stuck with his contract regardless.

NEXT WEEK: Catchers and Infielders

Stretch Run Sox Exchange

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By: Paul M Banks and Soxman

And then there were two. The AL Central pennant race -and I use that term loosely- is heating up as our hometown heroes are the only team left in the AL Central that could conceivably give the Detroit Tigers a run at the division crown. The Sox are currently in a holding pattern just two point five games off the division leading pace. But are they poised to take off and take control once their newly acquired ace, Jake Peavy gets here? Read on to find out…

(PMB) Well it looks like the two teams that are most hated by White Sox Nation, the Minnesota Twins and Chicago Cubs (I listed the Twins first for a reason) are essentially out of their respective races, while the White Sox will fight on into late August, what are your thoughts on our chances down the stretch? Do you think the recent acquisitions of Alex Rios and Jake Peavy make them “favorites?” Peavy did look phenomenal in his first rehab start.

(SM)  Out of their races?  Even if the Twins are only 3.5 games in back of the Chicago White Sox, I never count them out of a race.  NO SOX FAN SHOULD.  Our record at the dome against them is horrible and despite our 13-12 record against American League East opponents, our toughest road trip of the year awaits us as we travel to Boston, New York and then back to Minnesota, where we were swept on our last visit.soxman

I think the AL Central race will come down to the wire, but the next week could make or break us.  The Tigers have an easier schedule then the Sox in the last six weeks of the season as well, so this will remain an uphill battle.

While almost no sports enthusiast agrees with me, I liked both deals.  Rios is going to be an excellent CF for years to come unlike Brian Anderson who is “proving” he’s an everyday player in Boston hitting .167 and making errors.

While I know many fans feel we need Jake Peavy to win, we should not rush him back.  Even if he’s healthy and his confidence is not where it needs to be, his return would hurt us more than help us.

(PMB) One thing the Sox have going for them is their winning record against baseball’s toughest division by far, the AL East. No other team in the Central can boast of that. However, the flip side is a losing record against both the West and Central. What does Chicago need to do to take care of business, in their own time zone? And what are we going to do about Scott Linebrink…before he degenerates into Mike MacDougal part two.
(SM) Well, maybe Linebrink needs to become Mike MacDougal right now!  He’s the Nationals closer, posting a 2.20 ERA with 13 saves in 32 IP.

The Sox have to close games and execute.  It’s very simple.  The White Sox are hitting .246 as team from the 7th inning on.  Players are swinging for the fences in bunt situations, making mental mistakes on the bases, and Alexei?  Let’s just say his mental mistakes warranted AJ shoving him in Minneapolis the last time the two met in the dome.

(PMB) Great point about MacDougal. Time to talk individual awards. Mark Buerhle has certainly got some national recognition for his achievements, although nowhere near enough as he should. As you like to point out, he’s vastly underrated. Any chance he wins the Cy Young? If not him, who should grab it in the AL? Zach Greinke, Roy Halladay?

(SM) Buehrle is an awesome all-around player, but not outstanding in any one category therefore, he’s not likely to garner much Cy Young consideration.  He doesn’t even hit the top five in the American League in innings pitched, strikeouts, or ERA, yet he is capable of throwing a perfect game.

If the Sportsbank were given a vote on the Cy Young, my vote this year would go to Zack Greinke.  He’s first in the AL in ERA (2.44), 4th in innings pitched (173), and second in strikeouts (182), which translates to domination at his position.  Considering he was almost out of baseball two years ago with severe depression, his comeback is amazing.

(PMB) True. He’s “slowed down” over these last couple months, with an ERA of 3.51. Most pitchers would kill for those numbers. How about Rookie of the Year? Gordon Beckham may be my new man-crush. And Chris Getz is having himself a solid year as well. Who do you see as their chief competition?white_sox-old-school-logo

(SM) The things Gordon Beckham has done since getting called up have to make him a strong contender for Rookie of the Year.  In just 239 ABs, Beckham is hitting .297, 7 HR, 44 RBI and 5 SB.  He has more RBIs than Carlos Quentin.

In my opinion, is chief competition is Oakland’s Andrew Bailey.  He’s completely dominated as a closer, notching 22 saves and posting 2.01 ERA with 74Ks in just 67 IP.  Opponents are hitting just .173 against him.  He’s actually posted better numbers than Jonathan Papelbon.  Saves aside, he’s the third most dominating closer in the AL this season.  With 22 Saves and 5 wins, that means Bailey has factored into more than 50% of the A’s wins this season.

Even though Oakland is a horrible team, those numbers are hard to ignore.

(PMB) I agree. Good to see a former Kane County Cougar achieving big things. I was very glad to make it out to Elfstrom Stadium in Geneva last weekend.

Alright, let’s blare PODs, “BOOM” as we go to our “closer” feature, Maybe or Mirage, where we hit 5 quick points on the White Sox and offer our opinion whether it is a sign of things to come or something likely to fade quickly?  Remember, no answer can be longer than 20 words!  Let’s play ball…

The White Sox Will win the AL Central

(SM) Maybe.  What kind of Super hero would I be if I said no?

(PMB) Mirage. It’ll come down to the wire though

Freddy Garcia will stay in the Sox rotation.

(SM) Maybe, unless Bartolo Colon eats him.

(PMB) Mirage. But Ozzie said he’s a great golfer. So he’s got that going for him. Which is nice.

Alex Rios will go 20/20 in 2009

(SM) Maybe.  Definitely if Bartolo Colon doesn’t eat him.

(PMB) Maybe. If Colon can take down 20 White Castle Sliders in 20 minutes…he probably can


Bartolo Colon will pitch for the White Sox again in 2009

(SM) Mirage.  He’s “Where’s Waldo” at 400lbs.

(PMB) Mirage. Unless the Sox structure a new variable based pay contract for him filled with pizza and incentives

DeWayne Wise will make the 2009 Play-off roster

(SM) Mirage. Bartolo Colon will eat him.

(PMB) LOL! No way. He had his Al Bundy glory moment in Buerhle’s perfect game.

Surging Sox Exchange

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By  Paul M. Banks and Soxman

Holy Above.500 record Soxman! Before the Southsiders recent winning streak was snapped, the Sox won seven in a row. When last we tuned into this Sox Channel at the same Sox time last week, I was wondering whether the Sox had a legitimate reason to consider themselves buyers at trading deadline. Now they’re just two little games out of first place, the starting pitching has been clicking and the hitting has been coming around. The White Sox runs scored to runs against differential is finally now in the black, 365-362. So what got into this team? Did it just take awhile for the lineup shakeups to take effect or is something else at work here?

(SM) Pitching!  The White Sox now have the second best team ERA in the American League (3.97), second only to Seattle.  Run production is starting to come around as well.  All-Star snub Jermaine Dye has hit .417 with 5 HR over the last 14 games and Scott Podsednik just continues to amaze leading the sox with a .417 batting average.  I think the true “x” factor though offensively has been Gordon Beckham, whose .341 BA in the same game stretch has brought production to the bottom of the Sox batting order.  Sometimes it only takes one guy to heat it up and it takes pressure off of everyone else. soxlogo

(PMB) As far into the season as late May, we had a lot of everyday regulars and subs with ABHORRENT batting averages, but check out how those previously unsightly batting averages shot up north in a hurry. Current BAs Alexei Ramirez (.273), Gordon Beckham (.263,) Chris Getz is actually flirting with the .250 mark and DeWayne Wise has even crossed the Mendoza line. To quote Pedro Cerrano in “Major League” “Must wake up bats!” well mission accomplished, but why? Perhaps hitting coach Greg Walker was feeling his seat getting very hot and he made some changes that are now paying off?

(SM) Remember, to a large extent, a hitting coach is really a non-factor at the major league level unless here is an obvious flaw an established hitter’s swing, or poor discipline the player has developed.  Walker has nothing to do with a player’s tendency to swing at bad pitches or even make contact.  In his short stint in the majors, Alexei has proven to be a streaky hitter.  Beckham and Getz are likely just making the adjustments needed to hit major league pitching.

There is a lot to the aphorism “hitting is contagious.”  As more players hit well, opposing pitchers tend to go at struggling hitters.  Translation: they see better pitches giving hem a greater opportunity to break out of their slump.  While Dye has been consistent all season, the surge by Scotty Pods was followed by Alexei’s breakout.  As Getz started to heat it up, Beckham followed.

(PMB) I’ve said since March this season will go as far Gavin Floyd and John Danks will take it. Last week we discussed Gavin finding himself, but how about John Danks? In his last 5 starts he’s surrendured just 6 ER, lowering his ERA from 5.10 on June 5th to 3.76 now. Your thoughts?

(SM) There may be nothing fancy in this analysis but Danks simply has had better control in this stretch.  When you reduce the number of walks through better control, you reduce the number of “get me over pitches” for hitters to drive.  He has a 0.81 WHIP in his last four starts vs. a 1.23 WHIP on the season.  I have not seen any statement from him indicating he has found a mechanical flaw in his delivery.  Sometimes, you hear pitchers say they just get a better feel for their pitches.  This is likely the case with Danks. danny

(PMB) In such a sports-crazy city like this and with such a team now in contention, why is attendance so poor this season? Kenny Williams stated that as attendance is down this season,, his hands are tied with trades in terms of taking on additional payroll.  I really begin to wonder if the PR and marketing departments have any clue what they’re doing. One story that was overlooked during inter-league was the visit by the Los Angeles Dodgers, the best team in MLB at the time, playing at the Cell, and it was HALF-EMPTY!

How can this be? What will it mean as the trade deadline draws near?

(SM) As a diehard Sox fan I can say this: we can be fickle.  We will not spend our hard earned dollars on a poor product when we can support them from the comfort of our own home with free parking and concessions 1/25 the cost at the Cell.  We still love our team, but pinch our pennies doing it.

I think there could have been greater promotional work done for the Dodgers series in terms of promoting the 50th anniversary of the Go Go White Sox. That said, the team’s excellent play as of late, makes it hard to determine exactly what Kenny Williams will do as the trade deadline approaches.

The Sox are obviously counting on the return of a healthy Carlos Quentin to the line-up.  They will then move Scott Podsednik to CF, where he will stay providing he remains consistent and healthy.  Brian Anderson will likely be kept around as a fourth outfielder defensive replacement type.  This is the role he’s best suited for.

Remember, Pods can be no worse defensively than Ken Griffey Jr. was in 2008. After the past two weeks, this really only leaves 2B as our questionable position where a platoon of Chris Getz and Jayson Nix appears to be serviceable. The Sox acquired right-handed pitcher Tony Pena from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for minor-league infielder Brandon Allen yesterday as well which could have several implications.  You can read those here.soxman_w_hof


Let’s close with Maybe or Mirage, where we hit 5 quick points on the White Sox and offer our opinion whether it is a sign of things to come or something likely to fade quickly?  Remember, no answer can be longer than 20 words!  Let’s play ball…

Roy Halladay will be in a Sox uniform by the trade deadline.

(SM) Mirage.  Kenny would not mortgage the future for now.

(PMB) Maybe. But dealing Becks and more is too high a price tag. How ’bout getting a bat instead?

Dewayne Wise is the odd man out when Carlos Quentin returns

(SM) Maybe.  Anderson is the better defender despite having options remaining.

(PMB) Maybe. BA’s BA is also right back where it usually is, despite the “hot” start

Bartolo Colon will pitch again for the White Sox in 2009.

(SM) Mirage.  He’s MIA.  Check the Old Country Buffet in Glendale.

(PMB) Mirage. How can we not find a guy who’s so easy to see? He looks pregnant- probably on maternity leave!

Scott Podsednik will end up a bust.

(SM) Mirage.  He’s making the major league minimum.  He’s paid for himself already.

(PMB) Mirage. If he gets hurt or finishes hitting

Mark Buehrle will one day pitch in St. Louis

(SM) Maybe.  Actually definitely.  The 2009 All-star game is in St. Louis and he’s on the AL team.

(PMB) Mirage. I know what you mean, Buerhle took the hometown discount last time, he will again next time

Sammy Sosa: A Corked, Corrupt, Conundrum of Saviors, Steroids & History

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By:  Soxman

On June 3rd, 2003 Sammy Sosa used a corked bat in a baseball game.  With a Ruthian swing, the bat exploded into 1000 pieces exposing a hollow core.  Sosa smiled and walked away denying any knowledge of wrong doing.  Years later this memory becomes the perfect analogy for not only his career, but the career of almost anyone who used illegal performance enhancing drugs.

As the unofficial steroid correspondent for the Sportsbank, I, like most baseball fans can’t say I’m at all surprised by the revelation from the New York Times yesterday that Sammy Sosa was among the 104 players who tested positive for performance enhancing drugs in 2003.  Honestly, with the exception of Sosa himself, who appears to suffer from short-term memory loss, was anybody?

My memory is not short-term either.  After the 1994 season was cancelled, baseballs true most valuable player, the fan, filed for divorce from the game.  One of the seven deadly sins, Greed appeared to forever tarnish America’s pastime.  Attendance was down and the game seemed to lose that magical romantic connection that fans, regardless of age or gender, had with it since the first time they could grip a baseball.

sosamcgwire1-300x1991

1998, enter Sammy Sosa and McGwire:  The Saviors of the Game.

Engaged in an epic race to break Roger Maris’ season record of 61* (remember this asterisk) homers, the fans’ love affair with the game was reborn.  Fans flocked, cash flowed, and baseball once again had “juice.” Unfortunately, it was much more than “juice” as the term is used in the world of hip hop, which means “power and influence.”  The balls and players were also juiced up- in a totally different way.

We know now that everyone knew it too, players and owners alike, but they turned their heads because everyone was happy. I question, if the fans knew then, what they know now, would the magic truly have returned to the game?  Maybe, but perhaps on a level equal to that of World Wrestling Entertainment, another “sport” rocked by steroid scandals. Like watching Hulk Hogan body slam the Big Show, Sosa and McGwire traded gargantuan homers.  Would we say: “I know its fake, but I love it anyway.”  Like it requires skill to belt a 500 foot blast, it requires strength to slam 600 lbs like a paperweight.


Enough conjecture, let’s look at the facts.
jose_canseco1

Major League Baseball, modifying a bat or a ball with foreign substances and using it in play is illegal and subject to ejection and further punishment.  Until 2003, it was ok to modify bodies with foreign substances, but not bats and balls.

Baseball has a moral clause since the early 1900s, where illegal actions taken by a player outside the game can lead to suspensions inside the game. Another key part of the moral clause has not been enforced for years.  If a players knows of illegal activity but fails to report it, that player possesses the same guilt as if those who committed the crime. Buck Weaver batted .324 in the 1919 World Series, tallying 11 hits. He also played errorless ball in the Series, yet was banned for life from the game based on his Black Sox connections.

Weaver was banned for having knowledge of other players’ plans to throw the World Series and failing to tell team officials. However, Charles Comiskey, owner of the Chicago White Sox, had learned of the fix before the World Series began from both Kid Gleason, manager of the White Sox, and Hugh Fullerton, a Chicago baseball reporter.  Yet, he was never fined, reprimanded, or punished in any way.  Sound familiar?

Baseball management’s drug policy has prohibited steroid use without a prescription since 1991, but the policy had no penalties associated with it.  Why?  Because fans were happy and money flowed. Sosa sat alongside Rafael Palmeiro, Canseco and McGwire at a 2005 hearing before Congress and testified: “To be clear, I have never taken illegal performance-enhancing drugs.”

“I have never injected myself or had anyone inject me with anything,” he told the House Government Reform Committee on March 17, 2005. “I have not broken the laws of the United States or the laws of the Dominican Republic. I have been tested as recently as 2004, and I am clean.”

Sammy Sosa likely lied in official testimony to Congress in 2005.  It’s a crime called perjury.  Yet no moral clause was ever evoked for him or Palmeiro, who tested positive for steroids after his testimony.
So where do we go from here?vince_mcmahon_-_ecw_champion


My final thought on the matter of steroids in baseball is as follows:

Steroid use without a prescription has always been illegal outside of the game in America, so why did baseball develop a special set of laws to govern an already illegal activity?  Where is the moral clause and in fairness to the players, where is the penalty to the owners and executives of Major League Baseball who turned the other cheek in the interest of the game..or the almighty dollar? MLB owners deserves no less scrutiny than Vince McMahon received when his employees started dying from chronic steroid and painkiller abuse.


So the question of the day: Does Sammy Sosa deserve to be in the Hall of Fame?

In giving my answer, know this admission of honesty by Soxman.  As a former member of the White Sox, I loved Sammy Sosa even when he wore the colors of the enemy.  I owned a Sosa Jersey, his Wheaties Box, and a hat which commemorated his 66* (like the asterisk?), bombs in 1998. 6th on baseballs all-time HR list with 609*.  1667 RBIs*, 234 SBs* and a lifetime .534 slugging percentage* is worthy of Hall of Fame consideration, providing the Hall, which is the protector of our game’s history, however dark it may be, has the courage to tell a truth its owners and players couldn’t.

* All record denoted with an asterisk are reflective of an era in major league baseball where performance enhancing substances while illegal, where not actively tested for.

Cubs-White Sox Exchange: Apathy Reigns!

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By Paul M. Banks and David Kay

(PMB)What a difference a year makes! Last season around this time, both Chicago teams were in first place and the Crosstown Classic actually came remotely close to living up to the absurd hype that accompanies it each year. It was so important that we actually ran two exchanges for each series, and broke comment records on all of them. (Those records were subsequently broken by my piece following Soxman around at the Cell for the home series on the opening weekend of Batman: The Dark Knight. (That scheduling was intentional- not coincidental by the way)

Back to ’09 where apathetic is the word. Both teams redefine mediocrity and bad situational hitting. I’d almost still rather bask in the glow of “TSB weekend in MLB.” There are four main teams covered regularly here (Chicago White Sox, Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers, and Minnesota Twins) although we are starting to branch out into the St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers now. And interleague weekend brought the four together. How rare and how cool was that? This midweek series however, no buzz at all.

(DK) To be completely honest, I didn’t even realize the Cubs and Sox were playing each other this week until you e-mailed me about this exchange. With the Blackhawks run to the Western Conference Finals, Bulls exciting series against the Celtics, and Bears acquisition of a real quarterback, this spring baseball season has taken an unusual back seat in the Chi. With good reason though. Neither the Cubs nor Sox have shown any sign of consistency or being a real contender in their respective divisions.

(PMB) The Cubs just fired hitting coach Gerald Perry and replaced him with Von Joshua. I think Sox hitting coach Greg Walker is possibly next. When you play in a hitters park like that and your team’s offensive numbers look ajlike Allan from “The Hangover” with his shirt off, you got to be on the hot seat.

(DK) The Cubs needed to shake things up somehow and it’s too early to give Sweet Lou the boot, so it certainly wasn’t unexpected when Perry was replaced by former Sox hitting coach, Von Joshua, who has a good history with some of the younger bats on the Cubs’ roster having coached them at I-City.

I think Walker is fairly safe. If there was ever a time to can him it was at the beginning of the month when the Pale Hoes scored three runs over a four game period, being shut-out three of those games. The veterans are hitting the ball well for the south-siders, it’s the young talent that needs to step their game up.

(PMB) Being a pitcher in softball, I like watching a good 3-2 MLB game as much as the next man, but this series’ inevitable low scores will be more about bad hitting than good pitching. Well, maybe the scores might be higher than we anticipated given how the Sox defense is to fielding what Heather Graham’s character in “The Hangover” is to chastity. That’s right two references this week to the funniest movie that I’ve seen in years.

(DK) I guess it’s safe to say that it was date night this weekend for you, huh? Heather Graham isn’t wearing roller skates in this one is she?

Maybe they should agree to adopt your underhand softball pitching style to add some firepower to this series. Both teams are in the bottom third in the majors in runs, hits, batting average, and RBI. Having CQ and A-Ram on the DL has been costly as has a major lack of clutch hitting. helmsgrahamhangover050809


(PMB) Of course Rollergirl took her clothes off in this film. Your predictions on this series? What’s the worst this series could be on the Unwatchability index? Using a 1-10 system, with 1 being seeing someone’s knee dislocate (very hard to watch), 5= Comcast Sports Net’s “Monsters in the Morning” (I’d rather be knocked unconscious) and 10 representing a Smashmouth concert. (worse torture than waterboarding)

Shall we get back to our NBA Draft work?

(DK) I’ll go against the grain on this one and predict an ‘8’ for this series. And I mean an 8 on a normal 1-10 scale, not the scale of horrific pain that you just described. The Cubs and Sox were each victorious thanks to game-winning runs in the ninth inning on Sunday and should have some momentum going into this series, which always has a different feel to it compared to any other series. I also have a feeling we could see some A.J. Pierzynski/Michael Barrett-type fireworks. Cubs take two of three.

Time to study some tape of B.J. Mullens’ footwork in the low post…

(PMB) You’re right. I’ll probably watch (and probably enjoy) all 3 games of the series. But I’d still rather be studying up on Darren Collison and Jeff Teague.

White Sox Can’t Buy a Run

ozzie-guillen-choke

By Randy Satovitz

The last time the White Sox had a worse scoring pace than this year was 1986 when they scored 3.98 runs per game.  The Sox are scoring 4.15 runs per game which is good for 12th in the American League.   They were shutout in three games last week (2 vs. Oak, 1 vs. Cle).  Ironically, the Sox play at one of the best hitter friendly ballparks and are doing exactly what they have been doing for years- hitting the long ball.  The power numbers have never been a problem for the Sox, but getting a large number of runs across the plate certainly has been.  Carlos Quentin should be back by the end of the week, but that will not necessarily help the Sox score runs.

Of course there will be more home runs, but if Podsednik can’t handle center field, the outfield will be jammed up.  As much as I disliked Podsednik coming back to the Sox, he has become one of the lone bright spots in the lineup.  He is getting on base and becoming the great leadoff hitter he once was back in 2005 when he finished 12th in the MVP voting.
The pitching has not been as bad as it could be with a possible six-man rotation going on.  The Sox even decided to let Ozzie’s brother-in-law Freddy Garcia come back and give pitching one last try.  It seems the Sox give a lot of players second and third chances- even when their first chance was not too spectacular.  The hitting will come around, but scoring enough runs will still be a question mark.  The Sox walked 12 times Tue night and should have scored many more runs than they did.  When Ozzie Guillen came to the White Sox, he had them play a special style Sox fans called, ‘Ozzieball.’

Ozzieball was a way to generate runs by advancing players base by base as part of the run manufacturing process.   Some of called it “smartball” because it’s built around taking advantage of little situations and mistakes made by your opponent. (Recall the Tony Grafaninno error in the ’05 ALDS? A.J.’s base-running adventure and the dropped third strike in the ’05 ALCS?)

Basically, it’s ‘smallball,’ but since Ozzie is in charge, you might as well give him credit in the name. You don’t want him to curse at you, do you? Anyways, this idea flew out the window a couple of years ago and the Sox have never been the same team. And nowhere near as successful.  ozziescorebaord
The Sox need to score runs like they used to and get some wins on the board.  Sounds easier said than done, but if Ozzieball returns, watch out.  I don’t know how many times Ozzie has to lash out at his team and tell them to play better baseball.  Things aren’t clicking until the Sox start stealing more bases and laying down more bunts.  Even if it’s Jim Thome who’s trying to lay down that bunt for a base hit; because with the Thome shift, the third baseman is practically in the outfield almost every time.  Somebody is going to have to step up their game and focus on the team instead of padding their stats.  Once one person starts it, the others will follow in line.

The question is who?