Losing Streak Sox Exchange

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By The Soxman and Paul M. Banks

(notice I gave you top billing this week) 


Last night I was watching the election coverage on MSNBC and Keith Olbermann said “this is turning out to be a huge night for Senator Barack Obama, what’s his favorite team? Tim Russert replied “The Chicago White Sox.” Olbermann then said, “Hillary’s is who? the Cubs? the Yankees? The Nationals?…Obama’s favorite team has an apparently obscure pitcher named Gavin Floyd who is taking a no-hitter deep into the game, so this turning out to the a special night for the Illinois senator.” I immediately tuned away from Democratic primary coverage to watch the end of the Sox-Twins game. I was delighted to hear about Gavin Floyd and the Sox getting national press on an election coverage show though. Floyd Fever subisded in the ninth and he lost his no-hitter, but he still pitched a hell of a game and the Sox bats finally woke up. They actually scored some runs and the five game losing streak mercifully ceased.

Paul M. Banks in italics, The Soxman in bold

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What the hell happened? Why has the White Sox offense completely shut down? Sunday when we faced Roy Halladay, no one did any better than 1 for 4 and the whole back half of the order goes 0 for 16 against him, it’s a former Cy Young winner so that’s understandable, but this team can’t seem to hit- even against mediocre pitching. No one in the top 5 of the order is hitting over .228, the team itself is dead last in the AL in batting average…time to PANIC??
 
A hitting slump for a player is bad, but for a team it’s horrific.  Entering Saturday’s game, the White Sox led the AL in home runs with 36 and were tied for fifth in RBIs with 131. Yet, the team’s overall batting average of .232 ranks last in the AL and close to last in the majors. How bad is the Sox team BA?  The American League’s team batting average is .258. Greg Walker has to be feeling like an opening for his job might be posted on Craig’s List soon. However, Ozzie Guillen told the media after their loss Sunday, no coaching changes are coming:
 
“It’s not going to happen,” Guillen said. “To be honest with you, I don’t think we need coaches. You look at the lineup, and everybody is a veteran. Everybody has got experience, and everybody has gone through it.”
 
To make matters worse, in every game on this road trip, the White Sox didn’t even get their first hit until after the fourth inning.  This causes everyone to press and only intensifies the problem. Panic?  Not yet.  But I would start to get a little concerned.  The Sox were able to produce timely hits early in the season and mask the poor team batting average.  They have since regressed to the infamous 2007 season “solo home run” specialty.  They must start producing before the Central heats up or our chances of making the play-offs will quickly become a pipe dream.  
 

What can Ozzie do to change the batting order around and get this thing rolling again?  This is not “Grinderball” or “Ozzieball,” whatever it is, it needs more ball. Again time to panic? (Notice I calmed down a little before asking this question again.)
 
I’m disappointed the Sox turned their backs on the formula that worked.  You cannot live and die by the homerun.  Even with Nick Swisher at the top of the line-up, I don’t understand why we aren’t seeing more sacrifice bunts and basic execution. With the roster Ozzie has, he has the line-up about as optimized as it can be.  Swisher is no speed demon, but he has the second best career on-base percentage next to Jim Thome.  I don’t think any Sox fan would want to see Thome in the leadoff spot. I’ve started hearing cries to call-up Jerry Owens for a spark, but where would he play?  Ozzie is not going to bench his veterans, and Carlos Quentin is probably the best overall hitter on the team right now.
 
Those on the “Bench Konerko” bandwagon need to remember that he’s still hitting over .300 his last 6 games. At AAA Charlotte, Owens is batting .286, 1 HR, and 7 SB, with a .375 OBP. The Sox have indicated they will not call Owens up to be a bench player.
 
We do not know what goes on behind locker room doors, but I think Ozzie needs to TRULY go back to being the 2005 Ozzie, not the manager everyone loves in the clubhouse.  He needs to demand more and start reminding everyone that no one is promised a spot on the roster.  That might bring back the passion. While I must admit that other obligations prevented me from watching all of the games on this past road trip, the innings I did see, the team looked lifeless.


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Nick Swisher has not been “cooking” at the plate much this young season

Despite the 5 game losing streak and now being under .500 for the first time all season, the Sox are just one game off the first place pace. And everyone is all bunched together in the division, what gives? Is the ’08 AL Central just a mediocre clusterf%$k like the ’07 and ’06 NL Central?
 
It is too early to categorize the strength of this division this season. The AL Central was certainly not mediocre in 2006 or 2007.  Remember that in 2006 the White Sox won 90 games and still missed the play-offs.  In 2007, the Indians went to the ALCS. I think we have just been fortunate that the good teams are all under performing right now.  Many people picked the Tigers to go the World Series. A mere three games separate everyone in the division, which is a sign as to how good the competition is in the league, despite the majority of the teams playing poorly.

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Finally, we’ll conclude with a creative exercise, take a well know passage from one of your favorite baseball movies (imdb.com is a great source) then copy and paste, change the dialogue to reflect a Sox related experience in your life. Just like I did here with “Bull Durham: 
 
 
On playing in the “show” – major league baseball
Crash Davis: Yeah, I was in the show. I was in the show for 21 days once – the 21 greatest days of my life. You know, you never handle your luggage in the show, somebody else carries your bags. It was great. You hit white balls for batting practice, the ballparks are like cathedrals, the hotels all have room service, and the women all have long legs and brains.
 
 
Paul M. Banks: Yeah, I had media credentials in the show. I was in the Sox press box once – the greatest day of my life. You know, you never get hassled to display your pass in the show, and every door to every room is opened for you by someone else. It was great. You have an upscale buffett at every free meal, the ballpark prints out any statistic you can imagine and they deliver it right to your desk, the media guides are all 600 pages and glossy, and the PR women sound much more sincere when they give you phony compliments.
 
I’m in!  But because I’m part hero and part baseball, I choose two shorter quotes.  I wouldn’t be the TSB MVP if I didn’t give you more.
 
First, from Field of Dreams…
 
Shoeless Joe Jackson: Getting thrown out of baseball was like having part of me amputated. I’ve heard that old men wake up and scratch itchy legs that been dust for over fifty years. That was me. I’d wake up at night with the smell of the ball park in my nose, the cool of the grass on my feet…The thrill of the game.
 
Soxman: Not making it to the playoffs was like losing a sock in the dryer.  I’ve heard that old men put two odd socks together to cover their feet, but they never fit the same.  That was me.  I’d wake up at night with the smell of a 2005 fall day in my nose, and “Don’t Stop Believin” playing in my head…the thrill of the playoffs.
 
And of course…my all-time favorite super hero flick, Spiderman…
 
Mary Jane: You have a knack for saving my life.
Spider-Man: I was in the neighborhood.
Mary Jane: Who are you?
Spider-Man: You know who I am.
Mary Jane: I do?
Spider-Man: Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.
 
Soxyback: You have a knack for helping the Sox win.
Soxman: I was in the neighborhood.
Soxyback: Who are you?
Soxman: You know who I am.
Soxyback: I do?
Soxman: Your friendly neighborhood Soxman.
 
Upside down kiss is optional.

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Comments

  1. paulmbanks says

    I would say that one of us should do a story on the White Sox blow up dolls controversy, but I refuse. because its a non-story. who realy was offended here? who gives a shit about ballplayers and pseudosexual customs in the locker room? total waste of the media resources. the expression is called “locker room talk” for a reason. Stupid corporate media!

  2. I’m covering it in a blog for my site. Feel free to link to it or re-use it. I’m not saying much. :)

  3. negron guillen Ozzie says

    guillen Ozzie at Ozzie man guillen

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