Friday, October 28, 2005

Black Sox History

There was an interesting article in the WSJ Online yesterday covering new ground on the 1919 Black Sox scandal. Things were not as simple as Eight Men Out would lead you to believe. Give it a read here.

I Love Parades

The parade route ends right at my building at LaSalle and Wacker. It's 10:30 right now, 90 minutes beofre the parade starts, and there is already a large and loud crowd outside. I can hear them loud and clear on the 25th floor.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

World Champions

I don't have anything to add right now. Just enjoying the moment. A great game to end it, another 1-0 victory. And the Sox finish the year with their fifth 8 game winning streak. Unbelievable.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Blum Trail Blazer

So if the roof is closed Blum's liner doesn't make it out of the park, right? I think that is what all the Ass-Trolls were whining about.

Thankfully, Houston got all those walks, a bad call in their favor, and the benefit of an error on what should have been the last out of the game. If that would have happened to the Sox, we would be hearing even more bitching and moaning about how they get all the breaks. More importantly, the Ass-Trolls showed very clearly that its not the good breaks in themselves that put you over the top but rather how you respond to them. You can respond like Houston by popping out, striking out and hitting weak grounders, or you can respond like the Sox and hit grand slams and walk off homers.

As for Blum's heroics, they couldn't have come at a more opportune time. Marte was the last guy in the bullpen and he really can't be relied upon to throw many zeroes up there. If after Blum's homer, I was still plenty worried about marte coming out for the bottom of the 14th.

He started off great, getting Ensberg on three pitches. I was tired and I'm not even sure of the exact sequence, but how do you then walk Orlando Palmiero (or was it Vizcaino). I'll have to check the boxscore, but I remember way too many walks to very weak Houston batters. I guess there were way too many walks period.

But kudos to Ozzie for bringing out Buehrle. One inning of work (and it ended up being 1/3) isn't going to prevent him from starting Game 6 on Saturday. And more importantly, bringing him in for the save makes a game 6 seem unlikely.

One game away from being World Series Champs. I can't believe this.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Bring On The Astros

The White Sox certainly have their work cut out for them. They face 3 starting pitchers that all have a lower ERA than the Sox number one starter Mark Buerhle. But the Sox do have some things going in their favor.

According to the ESPN Stats page, the Sox hit power pitchers to a tune of 273/326/446 this season compared to 256/291/429 against finesse pitchers. This is a good sign going up against some of the best power pitchers in the game (and in Clemens case, baseball history).

Another good sign are the Sox career stats against the Astros top three pitchers.

They've banged around Ol' Roger pretty well: 280/351/518 including 10 home runs. Big Frank did a lot of that damage, but Crede, Dye and Konerko have hit him pretty hard as well.

Sox batters have a similar line against Pettitte: 305/369/500 including 5 home runs. Again, most of this damage was done by Big Frank, but he has also been hit hard by Konerko and Dye.

Only Pods has had over 20 ABs against Oswalt going 261 with a double. But AJ has gone 5/8 the few times he has faced him.

One thing that is overblown, and is not much of an advantage to the Sox, is the ineptitness of the Astros offense. In fact, the inept Astros offense scored more runs per game after the All Star break than the Sox (who had the benefit, or in the case of Carl Everett the detriment, of the DH). The Astros averaged 4.38 runs in the second half while the Sox scored 4.32.

What does all this mean? Probably not much. But I know this, if the Sox continue to limit their opposition to 3 runs per game they will win the World Series. And since they have limited two better offenses in the postseason to that so far (3 rpg to the Red Sox 2.2 to the Angels) they should be able to shut down the Astros.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Scoop Jackson: Bringing Incoherent Rambling to A New Level

I usually don't read the South Side's very own Scoop Jackson. His style of writing is a bit disjointed and rambling. But hey, when the Sox are in the World Series, you will read anything that mentions them.

Anyways, I don't want to write about how hard it was to drudge through Scoop's column. I just wanted to mention a couple things that didn't ring true to me. Actually, the whole thing doesn't ring true to me in a "he doesn't capture the feeling of a city" kind of way. But two statements he makes don't ring true in the "I doubt that actually happened" kind of way.

First he writes that "I knew it was serious when I heard little black kids walk past my house after they got out of school and pronounce Pierzynski's name right" Haha. Maybe this was just meant as a joke. But I just don't see little black kids getting out of school and talking about the exploits of A.J. Pierzynski. Actually, I don't see any kids getting out of school talking about A.J. Pierzynski.

Now, I don't live on the Southside, and I don't know if Scoop does either. Maybe he does, and maybe all the kids around there have bought into Sox fever. And maybe, just maybe, AJ is attracting some type of cult following among them. But I have to call total bullshit on this next example:

"I knew it was serious when I drove downtown to pick up my wife from work and heard someone in a group of white businessmen actually say: 'Even though he's not the prototype executive, Kenny Williams is the best general manager in Chicago sports history.'"

Now, I do work downtown, and I know what type of things come out of whitey's mouth. And this doesn't sound like one of them. This sounds like something a black sportswriter thinks a white businessman would say.

"Not the prototype executive". See, now this is Scoop's way of implying that the person speaking is prejudiced . And the sentence really doesn't make sense. "Even though...". Even though what? Even though he's not the prototypical executive. What does that even mean? How is he any different than the other GM's. Oh right, he's black. Whitey can't get over that fact. Racists. The things you overhear from your car when you pick up your wife from work.

And secondly, I've never heard anyone say anything like Williams is the best GM in Chicago sports history. I'm not saying no one believes it, or that there aren't a lot of Kenny Williams fans out there (I'm one of them). I'm just saying you hardly ever here anyone making blanket statements like that when it comes to discussing somthing like a GM. Especially one that is experieincing his first palyoff season after 5 years on the job.

Anyways, he has a few other anecdotes in there that also sound false but I'll let you try to make your way through his column on your own..

Now, I don't want to accuse Scoop of making things upand for all I know these were just slight embellishments. It just rings a bit false to me and that's one mans opinion.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Chicago Baseball

I don't want to go into too much of a rant here, but Cub fans sure are bugging me, as well as sportswriters.

For a long time I used to root for both teams but that has become more and more impossible over the past few years. There's too much bad blood out there and you end up being forced to choose sides.

Its basically the same way in politics. I really don't fit into either side. I guess I'm what you would call fiscally conservative and socially liberal. And I firmly believe that both parties are controlled by special interests, often the same special interests, and care little about doing what is best for their fellow Americans. But I always end up voting for Republicans.

Why is that you ask? Because the Democrats are always running around screaming how the Republicans are evil, corrupt, and controlled by special interests. I'd rather vote for an asshole than a hypocrite.

Its pretty much the same way with Cubs fans. All they talk about is how awful Sox fans are. "They are always insulting the Cubs", "Sox fans are obsessed with the the Cubs", blah, blah, blah. Well here's a newsflash: Cubs fans act the exact same way!

Now it true you won't see much talk about the Sox when the Cubs are in the playoffs as was the case in 2003. But that's because this its a Cubs town. Even when the Sox are winning it's hard to ignore the elephant in the living room. Believe me, I would be more than happy if the sports section was completely devoid of all things Cub. But when the biggest media presence in the city owns that Cubs, that will never happen.

For crying out loud, in Sunday's Trib sport section, the day after the Sox went up 3-1 against the Angels, the Trib's two main writers had columns on how Cub fans should be rooting for the Sox. The Sox just inched closer to their first pennant in 46 years, and these idiots are writing about Cubs fans? Who gives a crap who Cub fans are rooting for.

So for all you Cub fans bitching and whining about how insufferable Sox fans will be if they win the World Series, take it from me: there is nothing more insufferable than a hypocrite.

Ecstasy Can Wait

The Sox won the pennant in dominating fashion and capped it off with a come from behind late inning victory. The game was awesome and you could not ask for a better way to win it. I was psyched when they recorded the final out. I've been in a pretty good mood the last couple of days. But I haven't had the sense of jubilation that I though would come with winning the pennant.

I think its because we're so close now that anything less than a World Series victory would be a disappointment. We've come too far, and the journeys been too long, for us to come up short now.

This has been a great season - in fact the greatest season I've ever experienced. But man, I know I'll be in a world of hurt if they don't win four more games.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

ALCS Game 2: The Phantom Trap

Wow. I didn't see that one coming. It didn't look like the Sox would ever score against the Angels bullpen. But then it happened. The Sox got the biggest playoff break since Steve Bartman went souvenir hunting. Just like that this series is tied and we are off to California.

Now, the controversial third strike call without a doubt changed the course of this game. But just like the Bartman play, it did not cost a team the game. It put a runner on first with two outs. Not exactly a threatening situation for the Angels bullpen. The Angels then let Ozuna steal second without a throw. Then Escobar throws an 0-2 meatball to Joe Crede. Joe Crede, who wakes up in the middle of the night screaming from nightmares of 0-2 curveballs in the dirt. That's what cost the Angels the game.

The Sox caught a break and took advantage of it. Luckily, Mark Buerhle pitched a gem, and gave the Sox the opportunity to steal this one. This is the performance I've been waiting to get form Buerhle since they started to slide in August. That was an ace on the mound.

Looking ahead, I think the Sox would be in a great position if they could just split the next two games. If I were the Angels, I would not want to go into to games 5 and 6, tied 2-2, against Contreras and Buerhle.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

ALCS Game 1

This is usually the type of game that the Sox would win 2-1. Unfortunately, the Angels were able to score 2 runs in the third on a couple of weak grounders and that was difference in the ballgame.

Yes, the Sox had a couple of chances to rally late and failed to execute. But the bigger problem is that AJ was the only player to hit the ball well last night. Crede did hit a homer in the third, but didn't look that great in his other at bats. Sometimes your offense has an off night. Unfortunately, the Sox offense has a lot of off nights. The great thing about this team is that they are able to win a lot of these games anyways. It didn't happen last night, but if they continue to get pitching, I'm confident they will able to put together 4 wins.

The only thing that bothered me about this game was the decision-making by Guillen. While a lot of pundits made a big deal of Pods and Rowand failing to execute sacrifice bunts, I think the bigger problem was having them bunt in that situation in the first place. The Angels were expecting it and Figgins was playing 20 feet in front of third base. You have to take what the defense gives you. If they take away the bunt, don't try to force it. Try to shoot a ball past the drawn in third baseman. The Sox just gave away two outs, and in doing so, possibly the game.

Friday, October 07, 2005

And Oh Yeah...

What the hell was Chris Berman talking about the last couple of innings? The Red Sox were tired from being in so many important games the past couple of years? Please. They have 4 months off after the season. And as far as I know, Matt Clement and David Wells, Game 1 & 2 losers, weren't even on the Red Sox last year.

Sox Sweep!

I was optimistic going into this series, but anyone who has watched Chicago baseball the last 30 years can't help but have doubts linger in the back of their head. But this is the type of team that can win the World Series. They took three games from the Red Sox in three different ways. In Game 1 they pounded them. They stole Game 2 by taking advantage of Graffinino's big error. In Game 3 the bullpen came in (what an unbelievable performance by El Duque) and shutdown the Red Sox.

But I'm not going to worry about the LCS or Worlds Series right now. I'll just enjoy the first White Sox playoff series victory in my lifetime.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Game 2 Thoughts

I’m not quite sure why so many Red Sox fans are optimistic with David Wells taking the mound tonight. He has a pretty mediocre overall ERA of 4.45 and a Jose Lima like road ERA of 5.56. I don’t think the White Sox are going to have too many problems scoring tonight and I would be surprised if they got less than 4 runs off Wells.

I keep hearing that Wells is a “Big Game” pitcher. If they mean he’s the size of an elephant I know what they're talking baout. But if they are talking about his 10-3 post season record I think they need to live in the present. Orel Hershiser had a pretty good post season record too, but I wouldn’t want him taking the hill for me in the 2005 playoffs.

The big question Mark is Buehrle. Can he contain the Red Sox offense? He couldn’t in his two starts against them in the regular season. It’s odd considering Buehrle should be the White Sox best option against the lefty bats on the Red Sox.

I think Buehrle will pull through and pitch a solid game. And White Sox fans will spend the off day on Thursday daydreaming of ALCS matchups.

White Sox 14, Red Sox 2

Well, this playoff series is already more exciting than the last one we played in 2000. And its our first series lead since the Sox took Game One from the Orioles way back in 1983. I'm optimistic this one turns out differently.

I hope all the players are ready for tonight after pounding the Red Sox in Game 1. Going to Fenway tied 1-1 would be a major downer.

My thoughts on Game 1:

* Contreras didn’t look that sharp to start the game. He didn’t really take command until the fifth. Iguchi’s play throwing Millar out at third in the fourth inning was huge. If he throws that ball away the Red Sox probably score their third run of the game (making it 6-3) if not more. And if it’s closer they might have given Clement a quicker hook and we also wouldn’t get to tee off on the hapless Jeremi Gonzalez to make it a blowout.

* Just because we scored 5 in the first doesn’t mean having Iguchi lay down a bunt was smart.

* It's not that surprising Pods hit a home run. The surprise was that he went all season without one after hitting 12 last year.

* I have to agree with the Cheat, too many curtain calls. Only A.J. deserved one after hitting his second homer. Maybe Pods just for laughs.

* Speed doesn’t slump? I guess we can put an end to that cliché. I’m sorry, but a 50% success rate stealing bases just doesn’t cut it. If Pods can’t steal at a 80% rate, he should keep his ass planted on first base. I’m not sure if he’s injured, or just getting bad jumps, and I don’t care. I’m just tired of seeing him get thrown out.