What I Love And Hate About The 2008 Chicago White Sox
What I Hate...
There is a lot to throw up about when talking about the 2008 Chicago White Sox. For one, if there is a more streaky team in the MLB, well, they should be sent down to Triple A. The same Sox team that took 2 of 3 from hands down the best team in the MLB, the Angels, will then get labeled by the bottom feeding Royals in Chicago. I know this sort of thing happens in baseball, but it seems the Sox are at their best when games don't matter.
They had to take 2 of 3 from the Indians, a team they slapped around all season, to pass the Twins and make the playoffs.
This, apparently, proved to be impossible.
While on the topic of the Twins, here is a little fun fact. The Sox have over 100 more homeruns this year then the Twins, yet the Twins have more RBI's.
This speaks volumes. Dye, Thome, Konerko. Slow, slower, slowest. AJ can't run either, neither can most of the team. How does White Sox GM Kenny Williams adress this problem? Trading for Ken Griffey Jr. of course!
Don't get me wrong, the move was cool for name dropping purposes, but it did nothing to make the Sox any less dependent on the long ball. The very idea of "Ozzie Ball" is meaningless these days because Kenny Williams has made it impossible to play that style of baseball.
No one can steal a base, no one can beat out a throw, no one can turn a pop fly into a sac-fly.
Save for Alexei Ramirez and maybe Orlando Cabrera, you'd be hard pressed to call most of the Sox squad athletes.
Then there is Javier Vasquez. Could he be any less clutch? I couldn't care less how many K's he's tossed this year, the man can't win an important game to save his life. How is he going to contribute in the playoffs if the Sox make them? They are ALL big games.
And lets not forget Carlos Quentin. Yes, he has been amazing this year and looks like he's going to be helping the White Sox for a long time. That doesn't change the fact that the dude injured himself a month before the season ended in a tight race against the Twins. Sorry you popped out Carlos, but it's going to happen. A lot. Punching your bat until you fracture something is not only insane and stupid but it's also embarrassing. You were the leading MVP candidate.
What I Love...
They circle the wagon better then any team in baseball. Get drubbed in Tampa? Ozzie will freak out and they go on a winning streak. Star player takes himself out? Struggling vet Paul Konerko steps it up and bats .380 in September. ESPN analysts start demanding Ozzie's job over demeaning locker room decorations? The team circles their manager and gives him their complete support.
They are less like a baseball team and more like Animal House, stuffing each other in lockers and slamming the game MVP with a shaving cream pie during their post game interviews.
They either got totally lucky or knew something no one did when they hit the jackpot with Carlos Quentin and Alexei Ramirez. They did the same with Gavin Floyd and John Danks. They took chances paying struggling vets Mark Buehrle and Jermaine Dye and both have paid off.
Speaking of taking chances, he may seem insane half of the time but you can't deny there is a method to Ozzie's madness. Whenever the Sox run into a wall Ozzie wigs out, drops a couple f-bombs and for whatever reason they start winning again. Call it taking the heat off his players, call it making his players and coaching staff fearing for their jobs, it just works.
And at the end of the day, as many games as the White Sox have blown this year, they just refuse to go away. Like Peter Gammons said going into the Sox-Tigers game that Chicago pulled out to force a one game playoff against the Twins, there is just something about the "prickly" nature of the White Sox that makes them dangerous when their backs are against the wall.
And special for this post...
What I Better See...
If the Sox are getting pounded by the Twins in the tie breaker game, I better see a bench clearing brawl. Why not? If you can't make the playoffs, why not beat up on a team that will? What are they going to do, suspend you for games that you aren't going to play? I'm thinking A.J. sucker punches Carlos Gomez when he's standing at the plate, or maybe Ozzie Guillen could kick an unsuspecting Twins bat boy in the knee cap.
If you can't beat them, beat them up.