Friday, September 26, 2003

My Take

Well, there certainly were a lot of responses from Twins fans to the question “Why I Hate the Sox?” As a concerned Sox fan, I think its important we understand “Why They Hate Us.”

1.) First off, the Sox seem to be hated for both being overrated and for not living up too expectations. Somewhat contradictory, but I’ll go with it nonetheless. Tim G. states that 85% of the reason why he hates the Sox is the way the media covers and promotes them. Well, no doubt many people believed the Sox were the better team. So yes, the local media did expect the Sox to beat the Twins. However, this was a notion shared by many across the country. Even Aaron Gleeman stated less than a month ago, that yes, the Sox were better than the Twins. So if the local media “expects” the Sox to win, deal with it.

As for national media bias, that’s a joke. Maybe the Sox get a few more highlights because they hit a lot of home runs, but I’ve spent many a night waiting ‘til midnight trying to catch a 15 second clip of the Sox on Baseball Tonight.

2.) A lot of people believe the Sox don’t give enough respect to the Twins. Well that’s a bunch of BS. Every time a Sox player was asked about the Twins this year, everyone gave your standard "the Twins are a great ballclub but we think were the better team." Blah. Blah, Blah. What do you expect? I think I would hate the Sox if I heard someone say, “yeah those Twins are a lot better than us”. So the respect issue was valid in 2001, 2002, but the respect argument was a non-issue this year.

3.) Another ridiculous line of argument was about the Sox style of play. The Sox don’t play defense? Well then why do they have a better zone rating and range factor than the Twins – for the last 3 years. Now I know these numbers don’t tell the whole story, but its certainly some evidence that the “White Sox don’t play defense” argument is nothing more than a myth. Folks, 2000 is over and you need to move on.

As for ERA, the Sox have finished ranked 8th, 8th and 4th in th AL the last 3 years, while the Twins have ranked 7th, 6th and 7th. Not that much of a difference.

And it’s true the Sox are a home run hitting ball club. But Mags and Frank manage to do a bit more than hit home runs. It’s not like they have 5 Sosas up there striking out 150 times a year.

4.) I forget that some Sox telecasts go out nationally on WGN. You may find Hawk annoying, but you have to admit his Hawkisms are catchy. I find myself shouting “put on the board” and “he gone” during games. So while he’s a lot of fun for Sox fans, I do see how he can be seen as obnoxious by other teams.

Now this is taking too long so I’ll just tackle some choice quotes:

The best line is from Anthony Fox, “Were gonna outwork and out-heart them every year”. Please, don't get all mushy one me. Look, the Twins play with great chemistry, but I would hate to my faith in out-hearting other teams. It’s funny that Twins fans get mad when people believe other teams are better, but they themselves think they get by on “intangibles”. The Twins are a talented bunch. They are not great at anything, but above average at everything. For the last two years, this has been good enough to win the central.

Again from Fox on how the Sox try to outclub teams “And one year they did. Barely.” Well I don’t know about barely. They had a comfortable lead all year in 2000 and pretty much put the division away by sweeping 7 games in mid-summer on the road vs. Cleveland and NY. And sweep doesn’t tell the whole story, they pummeled them.

“Frank Thomas is the Randy Moss of baseball”. No, I think Moss is definitely in a class by himself. Be proud Minnesota! And really, I think Frank gets a bad wrap. He’s not much of a leader, but his hitting more than makes up for it. And at $6m next year, quite a bargain.

"If we were able to spend $150 million or $130 million, we'd win every year, too," Thomas said.

..."Money doesn't guarantee you'll have big performances down the stretch when it counts," [Derek] Jeter said. "You can have all the money in the world and it doesn't matter if you don't have people who are going to play well. That's an easy out. Money, money, money. Go ask him why Minnesota is where they are."

Look, what Thomas said is true. If you spend $150 million you probably will have the best team. It’s great the Twins, A’s, and yes, the Sox can compete on smaller budgets, but that doesn’t make Thomas’ statement any less true. And maybe, as Seth says, Jeter is a classy player. But he sounds like the #ss*ole to me in that exchange.

“jose valentin. there's something truly creepy about his moustache. it's
not a bad moustache (see tom prince), it just bugs me. don't know why.
can't explain it. “ e-mail from Kirk Beller.

On that we are in total agreement.

Again from Beller: “this is just me talking, but your gm is a joke. i've hated every one of his trades. most of all, i hate the attitude that throwing money at veteran
players and dealing for the same type of guys, rather than developing talent
from within is the best way to build a club. that just reeks of
yankee-style team building, which is exactly counter to how the twins have
put together their team. his trade-for-the-sake-of-making-a-trade theory on
running a franchise--beatiful. i cheer every time i hear that the sox have
made a deal, because i know that it will make them worse in the long run. “

Look, not all of William's trades have been bad. And your mistaken in your belief that he has thrown money at veterans, they were mostly paid for by other teams. The Ritchie trade turned out horrible. But the Colon trade was a steal. He didn’t quite perform up to expectations, but he was close. He pitched a lot of innings and won some big games down the strecth.

Bottom line, I don’t see a lot of reasons to be hating the Sox. I will give you the disrespect issue from a couple of years ago and Hawk now. But it sounds like this stuff is deeper than that and goes further back. I think those uniforms (silver and black), marketing (good guys wear black), and "hate the big city-itis" also plays a role. But mostly, I think it's a good old fashioned rivalry. The Twins have come out on top the last two years, but please quit acting like your the '27 Yankees. Your maybe the fourth best team in the AL, probably 5th best, with the Sox right behind you. Lets keep things in perspective.

Finally, e-mailer Kirk Beller also asked if I might state some reasons why I hated the Twins. Well, I don’t hate the Twins. I don’t exactly like them, but I’d rather see them win than the Indians. And I would like to see them beat the Yanks. I hate the Yankees.