If you’re a Chicago White Sox fan, football season may have just started for you this past weekend. If it hasn’t yet, I’m sure you took another step in that direction after last night’s soul-crushing and nausea-inducing last-inning loss. Just in case you didn’t get enough amebic dysentery in baseball form versus Detroit, Tuesday night’s blown save at Target Field made you even queasier about 2010 season.
I said coming into this series that the Sox needed a sweep, just to get back into this thing. That’s because
1.) Justin Mourneau, a former AL MVP is coming back to the first place Minnesota Twins at some point.
2.) The Twins have a vast/mental psychological edge over the White Sox
3.) The Twins have a much easier schedule remaining than the Sox
4.) The Sox have already imploded because of the Domino Theory at work in their bullpen.
Ready to “write off” the Sox in 2010? Or I guess “blog off” the Sox season?
By Paul M. Banks
Manager Ozzie Guillen has said Bobby Jenks will not be used as a closer again. And Jenks’ demotion has caused a domino theory where now every bullpen pitcher is forced into a role completely out of sync with their frame of mind and previous role.
J.J. has been a complete Putz so far trying to close games, and All-Star Matt Thornton is NOT a closer. So what do you have left? Other than a hot mess of course.
Let the 2010 season death spiral begin. This could get as unwatchable as MLB Network’s “The Club.” Don’t get me wrong I bought into the hype too; and even enjoyed a couple of the first few episodes, but really that show blows as much as the Sox bullpen, and it’s not a “reality show.” Sun-Times beat reporter Joe Cowley said it best when he was a guest on The Score recently.
He explained that he was in an elevator with Sox personnel recently, and on Trading Deadline Day, a team official told the camera crew “not to shoot Kenny Williams because he was upset that day.” WHAT??!!!
Cowley continued on, mentioning that everything that airs must get prior approval from the White Sox and MLB and basically you have Stalin level message control. So that’s what “The Club” is all about. Watch it if you enjoy seeing headlines from three weeks ago every Sunday night. I find it as unwatchable as the bullpen.
So what do you do now? Try Chris Sale as the closer? Seriously, as bad as Jenks has been, you’re going to miss him when he leaves Chicago this offseason. And make no mistake, sure as the lead singer of Jamiroquai will wear a really funny hat every time you see him (seriously, anyone ever seen that guy’s hair) Jenks’ ticket OUT of The Chi is punched.And you can’t just grow from set-up man to closer. Sometimes it works, most of the time it doesn’t.
And you don’t just “go get another” closer- it’s not that easy.
It rivals quarterback as the most psychological and mental position in sports. It’s as much about your mind (perhaps even more so) than it is your body. There just aren’t that many good closers on the open market, and you SURE AS HELL will NOT find one in spring training. That’s because spring training games are glorified AA level games, with absolutely zero meaning. Being a closer is all about meaning, and pressure. And most importantly, handling that pressure. And like playing QB it only comes from experience.
I suggest they start auditioning candidates when the September call-ups arrive. Those are legit MLB games, even though the Sox will be out of it by then. I say let some kids try out the position and we can have the new closer get his feet wet.
Written by Paul M. Banks, President and CEO of The Sports Bank.net , a Midwest focused webzine. He is also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, the Chicago Tribune’s blog network, Walter Football.com, the Washington Times Communities, Yardbarker Network, and Fox Sports.com
You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank and @bigtenguru
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