Thunder Struck Sox Exchange



By The Soxman and Paul M. Banks 

Storms ripped through the Chicagoland area this week and the White Sox brought the thunder from their lumber in a huge way on this home stand.  This left Soxman’s ears windblown and Paul Banks quoting Al Gore. Put aside Obama and Hillary for now and make way for the Sportsbank’s White Sox “dream ticket” in another edition of the Sox exchange. 

 That’s right Soxman, four EF2 tornadoes swept through Sox Country this past weekend, inflicting massive damage throughout SICA. It seems like they also brought winds of change with a lot of good karma passing our way, we’ve just seen:
-Paulie’s first triple since 2000…which only happened because the ball took a wicked bounce and foiled Carlos Gomez. It was the second longest triple drought in history, next to human science project Mark McGwire. 
-Our division rivals Cleveland and Detroit, have lost key members of their starting rotation in Jake Westbrook and Jeremy Bonderman for the season!
-Mark Buerhle seems to finally have gotten on track this season.
-The offense really seems to be clicking, especially the on-fire Joe Crede who became just the third player in Sox history to have consecutive two home run games: joining Greg Norton and Zeke Bonura. Anytime you mention the legendary Zeke Bonura, it’s a good day.
Your commentary on all the good White Sox related vibes currently swirling about my head….
(SM) Our offensive production is rising quicker than Al Gore’s graphical representation of greenhouse gasses in An Inconvenient Truth. Our pitching remains solid and Ozzie’s stormy relationship with Greg Walker has turned sunny once again.  We have our largest lead in the AL Central since 2005!  Yes, times are good.
-Crede has hit .611 with 5 homers and 12 RBIs in the last 7 days and Konerko had a 1.016 OPS last week…so our lumber slumber has given way to thunder!
-I said last week Buehrle appeared to be turning things around.  His game on Saturday was the #56 we all know and love.
-The energy also seemed to return to the Cell.

The best ERA in all of baseball! A real second baseman now in Alexei Ramirez! You gotta say this team is for real now? 12-2, 11-2, and 10-6 and then completing a sweep over the team I hate the most in MLB, the SECOND PLACE Minnesota Twins! The last time the Sox swept a four game set over our most bitter of rivals, I was just an embryo. This reinforces the case too, eh?
(SM) Excuse me, who is the ONE sports writer in all of Chicago that said our Sox could win the division all season long?  So I have always thought they were for real. Ramirez really seems to be turning it up a notch, displaying spectacular defense in addition to speed and a decent bat.  He’s fun to watch right now.
Here’s your “reinforcement” stats that prove we are for real:
Our team batting average rose from .246 to .258 in one week, ascending from 26th to 18th!
We are now second in the AL (fourth in MLB) in team homers, surpassing even the Cubs!
We are now 6th in MLB in team RBIs.
We have the best team ERA in MLB (3.29), the best WHIP in MLB (1.22) and the second fewest hits allowed in MLB (507). The weather and the “soxybacks” at the Cell were not the only things that were smoking hot this weekend!

The offense has been on a tear since Ozzie had his latest X-rated tirade. Steve Berthaume on ESPN “Baseball Tonight” called Oz “an evil genius.” Perhaps he’s right?

(SM) Do you NOT find just a little bit strange that this offensive explosion also started the day Soxman’s advice ran in the Red Eye?  The Sox appeared to have followed my advice by having fun and believing they can win. As far as Ozzie goes, I sided with him on that rant if you remember.  It was long over-due.  I give credit to Ozzie but I also give credit to Kenny Williams as I believe both of their comments had the “good cop\bad cop” effect on the team. As it relates to me?  How’s this for a baseball answer? 
“I just go out there day-after-day and do my best to inspire my team to win.  To do that you can never give up hope and have to stay focused on winning, one out at a time.  The ultimate goal is to win that final out it October.”

As the marathon that is the MLB season rolls on, is this what we should expect? The offense will have its ups and downs, Ozzie will @##$%%^^&&$$$****&& and throw people under the bus when scoring droughts occur…however everyone will be in Happyland when the run production resurges.
(SM) Baseball is a game of ups and downs so it is almost a certainty that our bats will fall asleep again (hopefully not as a team), and Ozzie will lose his temper about something.  If he didn’t, he wouldn’t be doing his job. In the end, if our pitching stays hot, I’ll be a broken record repeating: “WE CAN WIN THIS THING!”


Yes, and we all know that the Sox bats will warm up even more once the weather stays hot every day. Meterological summer doesn’t even begin until the 21st, and when it does, and its 85 almost every day of the week instead of just once a week…we’ll likely be seeing less clothes on the soxybacks and many more offensive fireworks.

Finally, I was on story assignment in Kane County yesterday and the opponent was again a single A affiliate of our Central division rival- the Beloit Snappers, a breeding ground for the Minnesota Twins. You gotta love the way their organization drafts and develops talent within their own system. I also thought it was awesome how they have both a 7’1” relief pitcher in Mil Van Loek and a 5’3” third baseman named Chris Cates. The Snappers played some good Twins style “smallball” and this time my interview “get” did not elude me like the Royals #2 overall draft pick, Mike Moustakas, did the last time I visited Geneva, IL. Baseball America ranks Chris Parmalee and Joe Benson as the #4 and #8 overall prospects in the Minnesota farm system. What do you know about these potential future “Piranhas” and upcoming TSB interview subjects?

(SM) It would be fun to see Van Loek and Cates sitting next to each other on the team bus.  I bet it would look a lot like Yao Ming and Vern Troyer sitting next to each other in those laptop commercials.
Parmalee was the Twins first overall pick in the 2006 draft after being named the second best high school hitter by Baseball America.  He’s a big lefty, who may end up at DH depending on the Twin’s long-term commitment to Justin Mourneau.  He’s hitting .243 with 12 homers in 181 Abs.  While he’s stuck out 61 times, his patience is also improving as he has walked 42 times for a very respectable OPS of .918.  His MLB ETA is likely 2010.
Benson is still a raw prospect but has all the tools to materialize into a quality outfielder for the Twins.  The Hinsdale, IL native is a graduate of Joliet Catholic High School and was selected by the Twins in the second round of the 2006 MLB draft.  He projects to be an on-base outfielder with slightly below average power and above average speed.  Despite 15 stolen bases this season, he only has 22 walks and a .709 OPS.  His MLB ETA is likely 2011 or later. 
Damn. You know a lot about baseball! I heard Cates and Van Loek are going to be on ESPN First Take soon….


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  1. Great exchange, especially whenever you can mention Paul M. Banks and Al Gore in the same sentence. Tough loss yesterday with some decisions to run when we should have held. Still in first and our teams energy is still positive!

  2. Go Sox!

  3. Jason Moe says

    When Juan Uribe is not in the line-up, I know the Sox have a chance to win..

    Swisher is coming around and so is Thome…So the season is looking great, i know there is alot of baseball to play, but I like there chances..

    Sox/Cubs in the SICA next Friday…Be there!!!

  4. Stranger things happen Mr. Banks. That’s why it is baseball. The play that took us out of the game was Quentin being waved around on the shallow single by JD to LF. He would have scored on a wild pitch the next AB and we would have been tied.

  5. Beavis, heh huh, heh huh huh, the Indians are like not a threat or something because their pitching sucks, heh huh, heh huh huh and they..ya know… have no wood in their bats…heh huh heh huh huh

  6. A little tid bit to add to the Exchange…there was a deal in place to actually trade Uribe for Loaiza as the Dodgers needed a shortstop until Furcal came back. Kenny waited it out and got him for close to nothing.

    Uribe appears to be ok with his bench role and could be a useful UT infielder if needed.

    Alexei is playing out of his mind right now.

  7. Right now I would say Cleveland not Minnesota is the biggest threat in the division

  8. paulmbanks says

    I never thought the winning streak would end in a Nate Robertson-Jose Contreras matchup with the way this season has gone so far…things are still looking very up though

  9. The Cam Man says

    Soxman, I love your writing. You truly know baseball and it is awesome seeing you at games giving the crowd 100% of your energy. Mr. Banks great site. I will try and post here more often.

  10. Yeah yeah yeah Ramirez rocks! huh huh huh.

    AC DC rocks too. “duh-da na na na duh na duh na na na na duh back in black” dude we’re there

  11. seymourpennants says

    Wait, is that the same Paul M. Banks that invented the internet?

    The Sox are only interesting when they lose, so Ozzie can go off on one of his World Series class rants.

  12. paulmbanks says

    Seymour, you gotta hear my Al Gore impersonation. I’ve gotten a ton of compliments on it. I like to repeat the part from “An Inconvenient Truth” with the cartoon frog. “it’ll just sit there. and sit there. it’ll just sit there”

  13. Paul said that “under my plan I’d put the sportsbank in a lock box” where only only he and perhaps Sarah would have the key.

    We voted on it and he was believed to have won until Seymour complained the ballot was too hard to read and that he thinks he might have accidently voted for Pat Buchanan instead.

    Soxman believed that dimpled chads should have been counted because it showed intent. The rest my friends in sportsbank history.

  14. seymourpennants says

    Soxman….making fun of the elderly, infirm, and blind. Nice.

    I know Pat Buchanan…and you Sir, are no Pat Buchanan. And I voted for Pat on purpose…the only dimpled chads are on my lilly white ass.

    Banks, Can you do the Al Gore impersonation while dressed up as Baby Spice?

  15. paulmbanks says

    Can you make a Banks/Soxman ’08 graphic? with a Sox logo where the American flag would be? If the Cubs writers play nice we could make one for them too. You’re a wizard on Power Point, your party fliers are amazing. Lemme know

  16. paulmbanks says

    I havent been able to find my “Baby Spice” Halloween outfit picture…so instead I’ll put the pic of Dave and I from his 2002 ghetto party in the next WIR

  17. Hamburglar says

    Robble Robble

    Swept by DET

    Bats inconsistent- still 5.5 up

    Cuban Missle my guy!

    Will be at game 2nite vs. COL with mini-hamburglars

    Gavin Floyd

    Robble Robble

  18. paulmbanks says

    Some people might think that Sarah has a key to the lockbox, but that could in fact be a dummy lockbox that I set up to throw people off the trail of finding the real lockbox

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