Wednesday, November 26, 2003

News Roundup

The Cubs traded Choi to the Florida Marlins for Derek Lee. Derek Lee is a fine player. So was Mark Grace when the Cubs traded Rafael Palmeiro.

The Bulls hired Scott Skiles (Update: I jumped the gun. This is not yet official). The players are unhappy. The last thing they want to do is work. I think that speaks volumes of the type of program Cartwright was running. The Bulls will improve under Skiles. But I have doubts whether a coach of his temperament can last more than a couple of years in the NBA.

The Sox signed Jon Garland to a one year contract (2.3M) and avoided arbitration. Will Garland finally have a breakthrough year? Probably not. But $2.3m is not that bad for 3/4 starter.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

A Democratic Alternative?

Well, the prescription drug policy passed today. Another crowing achievement of our President's “conservative” domestic policy, otherwise known as "Spend, Spend, Spend... and Spend!" I truly wish there was a Democratic alternative. But I have no doubt they would spend even more if given the chance. And none of them seem to have a serious grasp of foreign policy. I can’t even sit through their debates. Last night I watched five minutes and had to switch the channels to keep my eyes from rolling out of their sockets. The two exchanges I did hear are below.

Dick Gephart explaining why it’s not very smart to call Kim Il Jong evil:

“When Bush came in office, he called the agreement that Clinton had appeasement. He then put them in the axis of evil without explaining to anybody what in the world that was. And then he called the leader in North Korea the most evil leader in the world. Now this guy's half nuts anyway.”

I’m sure he’ll like being called half nuts much better than being labeled evil.

And here’s General Wes Clark, inexplicably still trying to pin the blame of 9/11 on Bush:

“And I think the real failure occurred after the change of administrations. It took a few weeks after the Cole was attacked to really definitively pin it on Al Qaida. By that time, the Clinton administration was on the way out. As I'm told, as John Edwards said, the Bush administration was told the greatest threat to the United States is Osama bin Laden”

Well, the Cole bombing did happen in October 2000, but it’s not like that was the first time we were attacked by Al Qaida. The embassy bombings happened August 1998 and it’s been reported that Al Qaida played a role in Somalia as well as the first WTC bombing.

Now I believe trying to blame the President for the 9/11 is repugnant. On top of that, I think it’s a pretty stupid campaign strategy. If we are going to play the blame game, do you expect the American electorate to place more of it on the Bush administration after 8 months in office, or the Clinton administration after 8 years in office?

And Clark keeps repeating Truman's phrase “The Buck Stops Here” (at the President's desk). But it sound like he’s trying to pass the buck to me. All this talk about the Clinton administration handing over some plan to tackle Al Qaida and telling the Bushies that Al Qaida was the biggest threat to the United States is horseshit. If they had some magical plan to defeat Al Qaida, and prevent 9/11, why in the hell didn’t they initiate it themselves?

Clark went on to say, "And I think the American people deserve to hear exactly what happened during that period." I totally agree with that statement. We need to know what happened so we can learn from our mistakes and try to prevent another attack. But Clark can make that point without trying to blame President Bush for the death of over 3000 innocent people.

Monday, November 24, 2003

Second Chicago Coach Fired, One More to Go

The Bulls fired Bill Cartwright today after starting the season 4-10. There is still a lot of games left to turn things around, especially in the weak Eastern Conference. But is Pete Myers the man for the job? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

The Bulls have a lot of talent but generally play stupid basketball. That’s a combination that will get any coach fired. But the overall problem with the Bulls is that the talent doesn’t fit together. It would make the most sense for the Bulls to try and take advantage of their inside strength by feeding the ball into Curry and Fizer with Tyson Chandler crashing the boards. In Cartwright’s defense, Chandler and Fizer have missed games with injuries. But even so, the strategy would be hard to implement with perimeter players, such as Rose and Crawford, handling the ball. These guys shoot first, and then shoot some more. It’s also distressing to watch Donyell Marshall, Pippen and Gill, jack up jump shots repeatedly, as none of these players can be considered “shooters”.

Of the bunch, Crawford has probably been the biggest disappointment. He might be the most talented player on the team, but has no concept of “team”. The worst thing that can usually happen to the Bulls is for Crawford to get off to a hot start. Because he will then proceed to put up ill-advised shots for the rest of the game. That’s why Cartwright had to insert Hinrich into the starting line up even though he isn’t nearly ready for such a role. But at least Hinrich attempts to get the ball down low. And Crawford is so stupid he’s at a loss to explain why he’s been pulled from starting lineup. Maybe its because you take shot after shot without even passing the ball once. Do you not know what a point guard does? Do you think you're Michael Jordan? Even Michael would work within the framework of the offense until the closing minutes of the game. Do you not see a correlation between losing and poor shot selection? Do you know what a poor shot is? But I digress.

Role players like Hinrich (if he can cut down on the turnovers) are probably what this team will need to win. But with the ability to score from all five positions, the current roster had the potential to be a good team. Cartwright was ultimately resposnsible for trying get things to work. But I'm not sure anyone is up to the task of getting Rose or Crawford to pass the ball. That's why Paxson will be trying to unload both of them before the season ends.

Friday, November 21, 2003

Where Will It End? When Does It Start?

When I started this blog I figured I would get a lot of material from blasting local journalists, especially Jay Marriotti. But most times I can't take reading more than a paragraph of his ego driven, player/GM bashing, humorless dreck. Other columnists aren't much better so I usually refrain from reading them too often. But yesterday I read a column from the normally bland Greg Couch that I had to comment on.

The article is titled, "And The Reason Number One Not Turn Pro at 14 ..." You figure if that's the title of the article Couch should try to answer the question. But he never does. The article is more of the "where will it end" variety.

Now I know teens signing professional contracts is a very important societal issue. It ranks right up there with the millions of children living in poverty who don’t have health insurance. I mean this year there may be only ten teens jumping to the pros, but next year there may be 15. I shudder to think of the number 5 years from now.

Couch also seems to have a problem with the professionalization of youth sports, specifically traveling teams. This seems to wreak havoc on Greg’s comfy suburban lifestyle. But again, what exactly is the problem with them. Are the kids being forced to play at gunpoint. My bet is that they participate because it’s actually fun to be on a traveling team. I was on two traveling teams in my youth. I participated in Small Fry basketball and got to visit such wonderful places like Highwood, IL and Kenosha, WI. I was also on a traveling baseball team that played throughout the south suburbs of Chicago. They were two of the more enjoyable experiences of my childhood. If I didn’t enjoy them I wouldn’t have played.

Couch’s columns gets even sillier when he drops this whopper:

“It already has become a sign of failure for basketball players to go to college instead of jumping to the NBA.”

Whatever. Name me player who feels like a failure, or is called a failure, for being a top twenty high school player instead of a top five.

Couch vents through out the column while never giving a reason why Adu shouldn’t turn pro or offer any solutions to fix the “problem”. That’s probably because there really isn't a problem at all.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Quote of the Day

“My brother is not eccentric. We had an incredible, wonderful childhood,” - Jermaine Jackson, defending his brother Michael

Not eccentric? Actually, I would think this has to be a misquote. Being eccentric is his only defense against the accusation. Let's face it, he's either eccentric, or plain old child molester.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Gone In A Flash

The Sun Times is reporting that the Sox will not try to resign Tom Gordon. This probably means they weren't able to find any serious takers for Billy Koch. If they had they might have used the extra cash to try and keep Gordon.

Gordon didn't have a great ERA last year, but at times he was dominant. The Sox will now look for Damaso Marte to take over closing duties and he's more than capable. But this still leaves a big hole in the bullpen. Hopefully Koch will be able to bounce back from his poor 2003 season.

There is some good news in the article. Williams says he expects Ordonez to be in the lineup in 2004. I've gone on record saying I don't want the Sox trading Ordonez. But everyone has a price. And it's important to remember that Seattle prospered after the departures of Griffey, Johnson & ARod.

My main worry was that Williams wouldn't get enough in return if he traded Ordonez. At least this article gives me some comfort that Williams will demand a high price in order to depart with Maggs.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Two New Blogs

The Sox didn't have alot of representation in the blogosphere this year. As far as I could tell, I was the only one out there. Pretty pathetic compared to the dozens of sites committed to the Cubs, not to mention the Twins.

Although, I have to admit, I do enjoy reading the many blogs that cover Minnesota. But it was a shame I had to go to their sites just to read about the Sox. That's why I was glad to find two new sites devoted to the White Sox, Put It On The Board! Yes! and Two Headed Monster. Although it appears the monster will be on top of both the Cubs and Sox. Actually, from the looks of his site, he seems to have all baseball covered pretty well.

And I love the title Put It On the Board! Yes! All I can say is don't expect a lot of links from Twins fans. I don't think they like that phrase!

Anyway, it's great to have company.

Linked By Sullivan

It's been almost three months since I started this blog and its been a lot of fun. The motivation was never to get a lot of visitors. Actually, there was no great motivating factor. I just had a few hours to kill at work one night waiting to get our accounting server back up so I started ChiSox Daily.

Nevertheless, I was interested on how many visitors would stop by. I didn't think there would be that many for a couple of reasons. One, I'm writing about the White Sox, which pretty much limits my potential market. Two, I'm not the greatest writer. And three, I don't put in the effort to overcame the first two obstacles.

But I did get some links from some fellow bloggers and a decent amount of traffic. A couple of times I attracted over 50 visitors in one day (well I guess "decent" is relative). But as the baseball season ended traffic slowed down considerably. And judging to the self-referred/bookmark originations, I was down to a select group of regular readers (probably family and friends). I was approaching the 900 total visitor mark but figured I would have to wait a couple of weeks until I reached the 1000 threshold.

That was until I wrote the snarky item below about Josh Marshall's critique of the administration. I sent the post to Andrew Sullivan who linked to it right away. In minutes, I doubled the amount of visitors I had in 2 plus months of existence. I passed 1000, then 2000, then 3000 and on past 6000. I was on cloud nine the rest of the day.

But now I feel a little bit guilty. Like someone who gets rich by playing the lottery. I don't feel like I really earned those visits with the quality of my writing. Its as if they were handed to me, which of coure they were. But like the lottery winner, I don't think I'll be giving my prize back. So as the lottery winner will say he's a millionaire, I guess I'm blogger who averages 80 hits a day.

Friday, November 14, 2003

A Quick Political Tidbit

Does Josh Marshall actually believe the administration's policy towards North Korea is aggressive and unilateral? Or does he just not mind contradicting himself to advance the Democratic agenda? I report, you decide.

Josh Marshall on the administration’s North Korea policy, November 14, 2003:

"But in no small measure the stance of the current South Korean government is the result of the Bush administration’s aggressive and unilateral policies toward the Korean Peninsula."

Josh Marshall on the administration’s North Korea policy, March 6, 2003:

"QUESTION NUMBER TWO tonight in the president's news conference was on the North Korea crisis. The answer was depressing. And the message was clear: we have no policy. The president wants help from the Chinese, South Koreans, Russians, Japanese, etc. etc. etc. Can anybody help? Does anyone have a policy we can borrow? Does anyone have another question? Next question. "

Now I guess having no policy can in fact be argued to be aggressive. It wouldn't be easy to argue, but one could try. But I don't see how you can spin asking for help as being a unilateral policy.

Da Bulls

The Bulls missed a chance to get to 500 last night, losing in overtime to the T-Wolves. Sprewell hit a tough 3-pointer to tie the game at the end of regulation (after Rose missed a free throw that would have iced it). Spree also made a tough jumper to put the T-Wolves in the lead for good in overtime. The loss dropped the Bulls to 4-6. The loss also featured a nasty fall by Jamal Crawford, who fell over Fred Hoiberg and landed squarely on his head. Man, that karma thing is a bitch!

Now this has been a strange start to the season for the Bulls. They are 1-5 at home after going 27-14 at home last year. They are 3-1 on the road after going 3-38 on the road last year. Anyway, there were high hopes for this team which makes the 4-6 start disappointing. But in reality this is still a vast improvement over prior years. In 1999, 2000, and 2001, the Bulls started the year 1-9. Last year they did start 4-6 before dropping 9 in a row to fall to 4-15.

Also, the Bulls have played half their games without Tyson Chandler and Marcus Fizer, arguably their best starter and best bench player. Both are scheduled to be back for Saturday's game. So even though the Bulls are off to a slow start, I’m still optimistic they’ll make the playoffs.

But the upcoming road trip will be key. The Bulls play Seattle at home before taking a 5 game Western Conference Road Trip. The Bulls are 0-27 over the past five years taking their early season road trip out West. This year they play the Suns, Lakers, Kings, Mavs & Spurs. Now that’s brutal! The Bulls will be the underdog in each game. But if the Bulls can somehow win 2-3, I think they’ll be in a good position to make some noise in the East.

Thursday, November 13, 2003


The latest rumor, courtesy of Phil Rogers, is that Magglio is now on the trading block. Magglio will be paid $14 million this year and will be free agent in 2005. The Sox plan on having a payroll of $60 million next year and have already committed 43.4 million to 6 players:

Loaiza $4m
Valentin $5m
Thomas $6m
Koch $6.375m
Konerko $8m
Ordonez $14m

This doesn’t include arbitration eligible players such as Carlos Lee, Buerhle and Garland. As you can see the Sox will not have much room to sign any free agents unless they unload some players.

Now the two obvious choices to unload would be Koch & Konerko. But it would be real hard to find any takers. But it doesn’t make any sense to try and unload Ordonez. Yes he will earn the most of any Sox player next year, but he is also been the best Sox player for the past 4 years. It’s hard to see them competing without him on the team. Especially since, if what Rogers writes is true, they would only be looking to get players such as Percival & Erstad in return.

If the Sox don’t think they could resign Magglio for 2005 they could always look to trade him in mid-season if the Sox are doing poorly. I don’t see the urgency to let go of him even before the season starts.

The person Williams should be trying to trade in Carlos Lee. He has put up some good numbers although with a low OBP & walk total. But there are still plenty of GMs out there willing to trade for a .300/30/100 player. The Sox have a few young outfielders they could try in left. They'll probably give Joe Borchard the first shot, although he seemed to regress in AAA. But you also have Rowand, Harris and Rios. I admit these are not great options, but with a $60m payroll, you’re going to have some weak spots. There is also Jeremy Reed who hit lights out at AA this year. The bottom line is that the Sox do have some options in the outfield.

One thing that doesn’t make sense to me is how Colon could have been offered $33m for 3 years if the Sox want a payroll near $60m. Who would they have gotten rid of then?

All I can say is that I hope the Magglio rumor is not true. I have to believe Williams is smarter than this.

Friday, November 07, 2003

2003 White Sox Season High/Lowlights

High Points
Taking 4 out of 6 against the Cubs - It’s always fun to beat the Cubs. This was the first year I went to the cross-town series as I attended Games 1 and 3 at Wrigley. But the best game had to be Game 1 at Comiskey which I watched at Monk’s Pub. It's great that my boss is a Sox fan.

Twice in that game the Sox intentionally walked Patterson with one out to load the bases for Sammy. Sammy had been struggling the first half of the season so it was probably the smart baseball move to make. But even if it was smart it still had to be insulting to Sammy.

Both situations were intense and the crowd was going crazy. The first time up Sammy struck out. The second time he managed a sacrifice fly. Anyway, Sammy could have changed the game in either at bat but failed. Man, was it enjoyable. The Sox went on to win that game with a walk off home run by Jose Valentin.

Winning 13 out of 14 after the all star break to make up 7 games in 2 weeks - The Sox started the second half on a great run that I thought would propel them to the division championship. But after a 12-1 win at Seattle on August 1, the Sox would basically go on to play .500 ball the rest of the way.

The Sox sweeping the Twins at home at the beginning of July - The last game, the first with Everett and Alomar in the line up, was fantastic. Down to their last out in the 11th, Konerko hit a home run to tie it. Frank then won it in the 12th with his second home run of the night. It was a great at bat against everyday Eddie that ended in a walk off 2 run homer.

Low Points
Being swept by the Tigers (and losing 2/3 to the Rays) - The Sox finally built some momentum in early July by sweeping the Twins at home and then promptly lost 5 of 6 on the road to the two worst teams in the AL. Ugly.

Being swept by the Twins in September - After the Sox won the first two at Comiskey versus the Twins I again became optimistic that the Sox would win the division. Those were big games and the Sox came to play. However, they would go on to drop the next five against the Twinkies. Even worse, the games were hardly competitive. Culprit number 1 was Esteban Loaiza. The Sox ace had two of his worst outings of the year against the Twins which pretty much sealed the Sox fate.

Turning Point
While the head to head versus the Twins was obviously a turning point in the season, the first sense of doom came on Wednesday September 3rd. The Sox were one game up on the Twins. Every knew they needed some breathing space in order to win the division since the Twins had a much easier schedule down the stretch. Things looked good in the afternoon as the Angels built a lead on the Twins. But then something, if not miraculous, then certainly out of the ordinary happened. With 2 outs and no one on base, and Troy Percival pitching, the Twins scored two runs to win the game. The tying run, Dustin Mohr, was out by two steps at home when he ran into the catcher, Molina, and broke his wrist. Stewart then came in to score the winning run in the ensuing mayhem. I was tracking the game on Sportline and I couldn't believe my eyes when they posted the score.

So the Sox needed to win to stay a game ahead. They should have won the previous night against Boston when they left plenty of men in scoring position with less than two outs. The same thing was happening on this night. But then in the ninth they had a chance to win the game. Like the Twins/Angels game this involved a close play at home. Rowand had come in to pitch run at first after Thomas singled. Ordonez then doubled down the line. But Rowand, looking like he’s running in quick sand, gets nailed at the plate. Boston went on to win on an Ortiz homer in the tenth. Just like that the division was tied but the Twins had the clear advantage. That was the turning point of the season.

Now the Sox had to at least win 5 of 7 head to head against the Twins in September to have a shot at the title. Well, they lost 5 of 7 to the Twins. The Sox did end up going 8-5 with their tough opponents down the stretch (NY, BOS, KC) while the Twins went 9-4 against the Indians and Tigers. But it’s not likely the Twins would have dropped 3 of 4 versus the Tigers if they hadn’t already clinched the division.

So while the Sox did go 41-27 in the second half they weren’t able to hold off the Twins. There were some exciting moments in the season but overall it was a disappointment. Look for individual player evaluations in the next few weeks.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Sox Keep Valentin

The White Sox went ahead and exercised their one year option on Jose Valentin for $5 million. I don’t think Jose is a bad player to have in the lineup but I do think the Sox could have gotten him a little bit cheaper. First they would have had to buyout his contract for $500,000. They then could have tried to sign him to a two year deal for about $3M per season.

I’m sure Valentin would have tested the free agent waters but I’m not sure he could have done much better even with the limited depth of shortstops in the free agent market. And if he did do better the Sox could have tried to match. But I guess there was no plan B for the Sox and they didn’t want to risk being stuck empty handed at short.

And speaking of free agents, At Home Plate has a nice round up of who’s available listed by team.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Favorite TV Sports

Seth at SethSpeaks asked his readers to send in their lists of their favorite sports to watch so I decided to put my list below. My list only includes TV watching since that's how I take in most of my sports.

1. NCAA Basketball Tourney – I have huge expectations for the tournament every year and it never disappoints. This goes number one since I enjoy watching it even why I don’t have a local team to root for. Gambling may influence my enjoyment of the event!

As for the local teams, I was a fan of DePaul basketball before I was a fan of any other sport team. Back in the late seventies and early eighties they were probably the biggest sporting event in town. I got a early lesson in Chicago sports as DePaul lost in their first game as a number one seed back in 1981. They followed up with some gaudy regular season records and more early exits in the tourney the following years. I've only cried one time as a fan (hey I wasn't even ten) and DePaul basketball was to blame. I was a little more mature when Illinois lost to Michigan in the final four in 1989 after beating them twice in the regular season. But it still hurt!

2. Pro Football – I’ve probably watched 95% of the games played by the Bears since 1985 when I first became a Bears fan. And what a time to be a Bears fan as they dominated the NFC Central in the mid 80's. But even when they lose I watch every Sunday. But when they win, watching Bear football shoots up to my number one sport watching activity. Now, I never used to watch that many games played by other teams. But I found that gambling makes those other games enjoyable in their own right!

3. College football (regular season) – In general, I find it more enjoyable to watch college sports. The passion of both the fans and players make the games more exciting. And the rivalries are a bit more intense than those usually found in pro sports. As for the bowls, I usually don’t make a point of watching many. Normally just the Rose Bowl & Championship game if I’m not busy.

4. College Basketball (regular season) – see college football (except of course postseason is #1 on list).

5. NBA – There are just too many teams that suck. Unfortunately the Bulls are one of 'em. Back in the Bulls hey dey I’m sure this would have been higher on the list.

6. MLB – Now I love to watch White Sox baseball but I can’t in good conscience say it's my favorite sport to watch on TV. I have a hard time not wearing out the remote when I’m watching other teams play. I usually watch 10% of Sox games at the beginning of the season. That percentage will slowly increase as the season wanes depending on how well the Sox do. This year I watched just about all of their games in September. I also follow the Cubs pretty closely throughout the year (and actually attend more Cubs games).

Now just because baseball isn’t a game I watch religiously on TV doesn’t mean I’m not a huge fan. Reading about baseball over the course of the year is one of my favorite activities. A baseball season tells a story that can be followed even if you don’t see the games. You can also dig into statistics in way that’s not possible with other sports. And going to baseball games is definitely a more enjoyable (and affordable) activity than going to the other pro sporting events in town.

7. The Majors – Back when I was single I would waste entire weekends watching the Masters & US Open. It’s also nice to wake up early, grab a cup of coffee, and watch the British Open. You have to invest a lot of time watching a tournament to truly enjoy it. There are so many ups and down, great charges and great chokes, that cannot be enjoyed by the casual observer. Now that I’m married I’m lucky to get in a couple hours on Sunday. Of course, I won't be complaining as long as I get to keep my three hours of Bears football each week.

In addition to watching the majors, I attended the US Open at Olympia Fields this year and had a great time. It was my first time watching golf in person and it was awesome following all the great players from up close. I’ll definitely try and get to more golf tournaments in the future.

8. World Cup Soccer – I never played soccer in my life but found myself watching more and more the past few years. I even woke up early in the morning last year to watch the US play in Korea. It must be the great tournament atmosphere.

DePaul Heads East

This is great news for Blue Demon basketball. DePaul has been inching closer to other city schools like Houston, San Francisco & Dayton, which have made a complete transition from national powerhouse to second tier basketball program. Many people would say they have already joined them. Except for the short-lived Q. Richardson era (two years) there hasn’t been much to get excited about this last decade. And while CUSA had some strong programs, I don’t think the conference helped the University in recruiting top talent.

But the Big East is a whole new ballgame. DePaul will get to renew some traditional rivalries with Notre Dame. St. John’s and Georgetown. They will also get games with great programs such as Syracuse & UCONN.

Dave Letiao has already brought some respectability back to the program. They will certainly need to get a whole lot better to before competing in the Big East. But the exposure the Blue Demons will receive in the Big East should help them compete with area recruits who would normally opt for a Big Ten squad. And the additional TV exposure will definitely help DePaul nationally. Let’s just hope DePaul’s ready when they begin their Big East schedule two tears from now.

Monday, November 03, 2003

It's Official

Ozzie Guillen is the new Sox manager. The Sun-Times is the media only outlet with details as of now.

Welcome back home Ozzie! May you have a long and successful run.

Chisox Daily Gets Results!

It looks like Guillen has had a second interview and is now the front runner to become the new White Sox manager.

Now its probably foolish to get excited about a new manager but I think Guillen will bring a lot of enthusiasm to this ballclub. Maybe a Tony Pena type of shakeup? Who knows, but a new manager always brings hope.

I liked Manuel, even though I knew he wasn't a great tactician. But I thought this was a ballclub that should have won at least one more divison title since 2000. So the next year should tell us whether the White Sox were poorly managed these past three seasons, or just overrated.