Thursday, July 29, 2004

Tribune Corporation Spins For Kerry

As far as newspapers go, the Chicago Tribune is somewhat moderate.  But since they bought the LA Times a few years back, Chicago readers are occasionally treated to some vintage liberal journalism - California style.

Actually, I usually don't even pay attention to the byline.  But sometimes I read articles that are so biased that I know it was imported from LA.  Today the Trib has an article by three LA Times reporters Janet Hook, Mary Curtius and Greg Miller, headlined "Bitter debate, then conflicted vote". 

This article is basically defending Kerry against the flip-flopper label.  He's not unwilling to take a principled stand, he's just conflicted.  I swear the article could be a press release from the DNC. 

It actually bashes Bush early, albeit indirectly.  It has Barbara Boxer wondering, "Why would you trust the president?", implying that Kerry would be and was misled.

It then goes on to describe Kerry's thought process: 

A look at how Kerry made up his mind on the war vote makes clear how conflicted he was before he cast his vote. The concerns that plagued him--the questions he asked at public hearings, the caveats and reservations he voiced on the Senate floor before casting his vote...

Later we find out that:

Kerry announced that his gut told him to vote for the resolution. But his speech on the Senate floor was riddled with reservations and caveats.

So there you have it.  Kerry voted for the resolution but had lots of reservations about it.  He even stated them on the Senate floor!
Now I'm sure if you go back and look at the questions each Senator asked in a meeting, or the speeches they gave on the Senate floor, they would all have caveats and qualifications.  It's called covering your ass and it's something politicians do quite often.
And none do it better than Kerry.  In fact, I'm sure it was especially easy finding material that had Kerry expressing doubts about the resolution since he seems to be on all sides of every position at one time or another. 
The article also states that the problem isn't that Kerry is a flip-flopper, only that he looks like one. As a Stanford University political scientist is quoted, "The strategic blunder is that he's allowed Bush to make the case that this guy is all over the map."  Whatever.
The article actually quotes Kerry telling the Boston Globe that "I have the ability either way to make substantive arguments for what I'm doing."  
That should be his campaign slogan. 

Forget About It

In my last post I tried to find a silver lining in losing to the Twins.  But yesterday's game was truly depressing.  I'm not sure I'll ever see six straight batters reach base safely while only scoring one run again. 

I hope I never see it again.

There is a lot of baseball left but Sox fans cannot like what they saw these past three days..  I'm just going to try and forget this series ever happened.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Were There Any Positives?

Yesterday was another loss, and the media have notched up the hysteria to another level. 

Marriotti might have the dumbest line I ever read, "Now it's the Twins who are teaching harsh, sobering lessons as contenders emerge and sphincters do what sphincters do."  Since he has his head up one most the time I guess he knows what he's talking about.

Morrissey thinks the Sox are soft and have no heart.

Whatever.  The Sox went up against the best pitcher in the AL last night.  No one has scored more than two runs off him in his last 11 starts.  They guy has been unbelievable. And you know what, the Sox hitters did a good job against him.

This may sound crazy since they only had two hits.  But they were patient and took a lot of pitches.  By the time Santana got in some trouble in the 7th he had thrown 105 pitches and had to be taken out. 

That's smart baseball.  Maybe you get lucky and are able to knock in some runs.  But going up against a top pitcher like Santana, the best strategy is try to get to the bullpen as soon as possible.

The Sox did that last night.  Unfortunately, Garcia wasn't able to pitch out of a jam in the 5th and the Sox fell behind. 

But even though they lost, they played smart.  I don't want to read this crap about heart, toughness and emotions.  That crap is for sportswriters meeting a deadline.  And I think it has very little to do with the result of last night's game.

The Sox played smart.  I can't ask for anything else.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Here We Go Again

It's that time of year again.  When one loss sends the media and talk radio listeners into full hysterics.  All of the sudden the Sox have "trouble" beating the Twins, even though we lead the season series 7 game to 4. 

Columnists singing the praises of Guillen and the Sox all year are flipping faster than John Kerry losing a primary.

I think things are even worse when it comes to the Cubs.  It must have been all those expectations at the beginning of the year.  The papers sure will look stupid with their preseason articles on possible World Series pitching matchups between the Yankees and Cubs.

But let's have a reality check.  There are over 60 games left.  The Sox sit 1.5 games out of a playoff spot and the Cubs are 2 games back.

The Cubs have, without a doubt, the best starting pitching in baseball.  Even if they continue manufacturing runs as often as Michael Moore tells the truth, the pitching should carry them to the playoffs.

As for the Sox, they will have a much harder time making it to the postseason without Frank and Maggs.  I'd say their chances were slightly less than 50%.  But I won't be surpised if they make it.  And I'm not going to overreact to one loss in July.

In fact I won't overreact to 2 losses either.  Johan Santana, who has been nearly unhittable for the past two months, goes up against our "ace" Freddy Garcia tonight.  We could very well drop the first two games of this series.

But this Sox team has been extremely resilient and I expect them to come out fighting tonight.  And whatever happens the rest of this series I expect that the six games these teams play in September to be meaningful for both ballclubs.

Friday, July 23, 2004


Magglio is back on the DL, may be out for season.  Read the details here

Without Ordonez and Thomas knocking in runs, the Sox will need the starting rotation to step it up a notch.  I think Buerhle, Garcia and Garland can be relied upon, but have my doubts about Loaiza and Schoenenweis.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Division Race

The Sox begin a stretch of 22 games against Central Division rivals tonight.  I think we will no know after these 22 games who will be the Central Division champs.
Cleveland has hung around all season and now find themselves only 4 games out of first, 3.5 behind the Sox.  The Sox and Indians have a two game set starting tonight with each team's top hurlers facing each other.  Tonight it’s Buerhle against Lee, tomorrow Garcia against Sabathia.  I would be happy with a split to end the current 10 game road trip.
The Sox will also face Cleveland in a 4 game set at the Cell starting August 6th.
I don’t think Detroit is really in the mix, but the Sox will face them 7 times in the next 22 games.

The Sox only play the Twins 3 times over the next 22 games.  But more importantly, the Twins start a 13 games stretch against the Sox, Boston, Anaheim and Oakland next Monday.  The Twins have had trouble beating good teams this year.  Let’s hope their troubles continue.  Maybe Minky will come off the disabled list and they’ll send Morneau back down to AAA  Or better yet, maybe they'll trade him to Toronto.

The fun starts tonight

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Crazy Carlos

Hey Carlos.  Chill out man.  Take a break.  A few days off.  Maybe go down to the keys and hang out.  Whatever it takes to make you stop acting like a horse's ass. 
I have no problem with you sending a message and hitting someone after being tagged for a couple of homers.  It would be better not to give up the homers in the first place, but go ahead and take your frustrations out on Jim Edmonds when it happens.
But you need to shut up and lose this attitude about players showing you up because, frankly, you have no right to complain.  You're out there yelling, screaming, pumping your fist, beating your glove - pretty much acting like Ed Norton beating himself in Fight Club
Now I understand that this might because you're completely nuts.  But nevertheless, you've been showing people up since you arrived in Chicago.  And you haven't been here long enough to earn the right.
So give me a break and drop the self righteous bs. 

Monday, July 19, 2004

Sox News

A disappointing loss yesterday ended a disappointing 4 game set against the A's.  The Sox got up early on Mulder, but Loaiza wasn't able to hold the lead. 
Loaiza actually didn't pitch that poorly, but made two mistakes to Dye and one to Crosby.  Rowand almost made a great catch on Crosby's 2-run shot, but he couldn't hold on as he crashed into the fence.  On the bright side, the Twins dropped 3 of 4 to the Royals, which is much worse than losing a series to the A's.  So the Sox were able to knock off 4 of the hardest games of their schedule without losing ground to the Twins.  I would saying losing 3 out of 4 to the Royals was pathetic, but I'm sure if I did, the Sox would end up doing the same. 
In other news, the Sox reacquired Carl Everett.  Unfortunately, the 2004 version does not seem to come with the same features as the 2003 version.  Missing are home runs, hits and rbis.  But I do feel more comfortable with Everett than I do with Borchard taking the at bats left by the Big Hurt's big hurt.
35th Street Mess believes the Everett trade means that we can officially close the books on trying to resign Magglio.  What, you don't thing another team will give Carl more than $4 million next year?  Yeah, me neither.
Everett replacing Maggs in 2005 would certainly be a downgrade.  But I have to add that Magglio probably isn't worth more than the $14 million that he is currently being paid.  If the Sox keep the same budget, I'm sure they will be able spend the money saved to make up for Magglio's absence.  After all, Magglio has put up some great numbers as a player, but he hasn't reached the level of hitters such as Thomas, Ramirez, Guerrero, or Rodriguez that would justify such a big contract.

Monday, July 12, 2004

2nd Half Schedules

It looks like the second half schedule gives the Sox a slight advantage over the Twins. I broke down the AL Teams (and the Phillies) into three groups:

Group A - Playoff Caliber Teams (Yankees, Red Sox, A's, Angels, Rangers, White Sox, Twins and Phillies)

Group B - Not Ready For Primetime (Indians, Tigers, Devil Rays)

Group C - (Blue Jays, Orioles, Royals, Mariners)

Here is how the schedule breaks down:

A - 32
B - 29
C - 17

A - 39
B - 21
C - 15

The Sox have 78 games left with 32 against top teams while over half of the Twins 75 remaining games are against top competition. Advantage Sox.

19 of the Sox "B" games are against the Tigers. It wouldn't be at all surprising for the Tigers to start fading in the second half, especially considering that a quarter of their games are against the White Sox. I hope the Sox can at least do better than their 11-8 record against the 2003 version of the Tigers. Advantage Sox.

Also, 9 of the Twins "C" games are against the Orioles (6 at Canmden), a team that could arguably be in the "B" group. Advantage Sox.

You might quibble with the classifications for the Devil Rays and Blue Jays, but the Sox are done with both and the Twins only have two games left with Tampa. No matter which way you look at it, the Sox have an easier road to the playoffs than the Twins.

Friday, July 09, 2004

The Hardball Times

First I want to say that The Hardball Times has a lot of informative and enjoyable articles. But like most other media that covers baseball, it is way too focused on the Yankees, Red Sox and Twins.

Okay, maybe that last team isn't exactly overexposed in most media outlets. But Twins baseball sure does take up a lot of bandwindth on the internet. This is due to some popular sites like Twins Geek and Seth Speaks, but mostly due to Aaron Gleeman.

Since Gleeman has started penning articles for The Hardball Times his style of writing has been nearly identical to the pieces he published on his blog. Unfortunately, so is the content.

Now if this was any other team I wouldn't care that much, but the Twins are turning into the Sox's biggest rivals. So the last thing I want to read each day is how great Joe Mauer is going to be or how Johan Santana is the best pitcher in the AL.

But more bothersome are the constant jabs at the White Sox. Today he had this to say:

Konerko is having a nice year, sure, but he currently ranks just 9th among American league 1B/DH in Win Shares Above Average (WSAA).

Just looking at Konerko's offense, he trails David Ortiz (who made the AL team) and Travis Hafner (who didn't) by about 20% in Value Over Replacement Player (VORP) and trails ... brace yourself ... Frank Thomas by nearly 25%. Throw in the fact that Konerko was awful last season (.234/.305/.399 in 137 games) and I don't see what the big fuss is about. Clearly The Big Hurt is not an avid THT reader, because he'd know to save his expletive-laced tirades for a good cause, like Bobby Abreu.

Now I'm not sure how many stats Gleeman looked for before finding ones that fit his argument that Konerko wasn't deserving of a spot on the All-Star team. In fact he gets the VORP wrong. He states that Ortiz and Hafner have a VORP 20% higher than Konerko while Frank Thomas has one 25% higher. Now I know Gleeman is very capable at statistics so maybe he is looking at a different numbers, but here are the numbers I see in the link:

Frank .509
Hafner .495
Ortiz .449
Konerko .445

So Konerkerko is about 15% below Frank and Hafner and pretty much even with Ortiz. Oh, and the other three mainly play DH. Konerko actually leads AL 1B in this category.

I mean the category is 1B right? So guys who actually spend most their time playing it should get consideration before a player like Hafner who has spent all of 36 AB at the position.

But the most compelling arguments for considering Konerko for All-Star spot are not found in the stats that Gleeman produces but rather in the ones that he conveniently leaves out. I mean, Win Shares and Replacement Values aren't the first stats I look at when I want to see who is worthy of All-Star status.

Konerko is 9th in the AL in OPS, 3rd highest as a 1B if you include Thomas & Ortiz.

Kornerko is 7th in the league in slugging %, again 3rd highest as a 1B if you include Thomas & Ortiz.

Konerko is 6th in the AL in Home Runs.

Konerko is 4th in the league in IsoP.

Obviously, there is a strong case to made for Konerko to be on the All-Star team. I can only assume Gleeman ignored these stats because of his strong dislike for the White Sox.

But unless Gleeman wants to become a lawyer instead of a journalist, he should present all the facts, not just the ones that fit his argument. Now I have no problems with people who cherry pick facts on a blog dedicated to their favorite team. But I assumed The Hardball Times was more of a journalistic enterprise and would have higher standards.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Huge Win

This losing streak was about to get out of control and it looked like the Sox were about to dig themselves a huge hole before the all-star break. Gee, does that sound familiar.

But the Sox made an impressive comeback against one of the best relievers in baseball, Francisco Rodriguez.

In fact, the Sox twice came back from 3 run deficits today. The bad news is that Esteban Loaiza was the cause of both deficits as he continued his string of bad outings. Hopefully he won't actually pitch in the All Star game. This will not only help rest his arm but might save the Sox from watching their "All-Star" from getting shelled by the NL All-Stars on national television.

In fact, the whole staff could use some rest. With Ordonez coming back, the offense should be fine. It's the pitching staff that has me worried.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Garcia Signs for $27M

Well, the Sox went ahead and signed Garcia to a 3 year deal for $27 million. I'm amazed at how many people think this actually makes the Garcia trade better.

Look, it doesn't matter if Garcia signed a ten year contract for a bag peanuts. The trade was Reed/Olivo/Morse for Ben Davis and 3 1/2 months of Garcia. Garcia could have been signed at the end of the year without giving up Olivo and Reed (although they would have lost draft picks to Seattle).

So the 3 year signing in no way changes the value of the trade, one way or the other. And I'm still sticking with my original opinion of the trade which is that it stinks and will most likely be an embarassment to the organization for years to come.

As for the contract Garcia signed, it is a little bit pricey. I haven't watched Garcia pitch a lot and have not been overly impressed with his two games in a Sox uniform. He definitely has some great stuff, but has left some pitches over the plate that have been hammered in each game.

I hope the trade and contract works out. But I think Garcia may struggle to earn this money at the Cell.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

AL All-Stars

I don't make an effort to watch the All-Star game nor do I generally care who makes the teams. But the player selections the last couple of years has seemed espoecially bad.

This year, Esteban Loaiza, was chosen as the Sox representative even though Mark Buerhle has a better ERA, winning percentage, strikeout ratio, and WHIP. It just doeasn't make sense.

And Frank Thomas is being robbed for the third year in recent memory. He was also deserving in 2000 and 2003. For better or worse Frank Thomas is the most recognizable face on the Sox, and if we have just one representative, it should be him. He has done enough in his career to justify it.

Both Frank and Konerko have been included in Final All-Star contest. But of course by including both players the Sox get screwed over again by having their votes split between the two.

Just another reason not to watch the game.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Stop the Hate

I received an e-mail from the Cubs this morning. It starts:

It's time for Round Two of baseball's best intra-city, Interleague rivalry as the Cubs host the hated White Sox this weekend at The Friendly Confines.

Aren't Cubs fans always saying they are indifferent towards the Sox? That they could care less what we do? Someone better tell it to the Cubs!

Of course, the indifference line is BS, just another way for Cubs fans to try and stick it to the Sox.

Anyways, the e-mail made just confirms what I already knew. They hate us! They really, really hate us!