Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Dog Days Starting Early

Keep it interesting. That's all I ask. Ok, the World Championship in 2005 changed my expectations level somewhat, but still, all I really ask on the White Sox each season is that they keep it interesting. Be part of the race until September. Be part of the conversation on Baseball Tonight. I fear that won't be the case this year. I've feared that all along. The White Sox look like a .500 team. And that's how they're playing. Some days the pitching is there, some days the hitting is there, and some days they have it all and look like contenders. But they lack the depth on the mound or at the plate to do it consistently and truly compete with the Indians in the Central.

Maybe I'm wrong. I hope I'm wrong. Look the Sox have played even worse than their record this season, but that record is not so bad. They are at the moment above .500, and only one game out of the Wild Card in the loss column -- a preposterous observation a quarter of the way into the season, if I do say so myself. But I just feel "blah" about the whole thing. Maybe going to Minnesota does it to me. That dome is one of the most soul-less places left in baseball after the recent wave of stadium construction and rehab. And, the team is the kind of group you'd love to root for, but who you absolutely hate to play against. They sap your will. It's not getting beat by Johan Santana and Justin Morneau that bugs me; it's getting beat by Nick Punto and Jason Tyner. It's losing because of ground balls that bounce 75 feet into the air off the green concrete that passes for a field there.

These doldrums are bad. I'm actually excited about inter-league play. Inter-league play is the kind of thing that's needed to drum up interest in places where they don't really care about baseball. Usually I view inter-league play as an annoying interruption of the divisional race. This year, I bought tickets for an extra Cubs-Sox game at Comiscular, and I find myself contemplating who excites me on the Houston Astros. A couple of weeks ago, I bought tickets for the Sox-Yanks game Monday because I heard that Clemens might be making his first start then. It paid off. But I find myself more excited about seeing Clemens start than going to a Sox-Yanks game.

Maybe this team will get on a role. As much as they lack depth, the top of their roster is very good. Unlike most .500 teams, the Sox have the talent to put together a really good record with the right combination of health and luck. Maybe the Sox will show passion and fire, and I'll get fired up, too. But I fear that the dog days of summer may drag a little more than usual this year.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mega dittos.

I live out in Arizona and don't have the Extra Innnings package, so I schedule my life around watching the occasional Sox game on the Superstation. The Sox seem to be creaking towards a return to mediocrity. It will be a shame to see Buehrle in Cardinals or - or Jeebus forbid- a Tigers uniform in July.
As a typical Chicago fan, I can take solace in seeing hope for the future. Danks, despite his recent stumble, seems to be promising. Terrero is a masher. Sweeney shows incredible promise.
I'll be sad to see my favorites go, but this stretch is showing that the Sox just don't have it this year. White Flag II: Electric Boogaloo is on the horizon....

5:32 PM  

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