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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

Down the stretch!
by Hal Vickery

Some thoughts as the end of the regular season nears….

• As we stated here last week, the Sox are in control of their own destiny. After losing two of three to Cleveland and the opening game against the Twins, the Sox came back to take the next three against Minnesota. While their lead has dropped to 2.5 games, their magic number to win the AL Central has dropped to 5 as this is written.

If the pressure is on anyone, it should be on the Indians. After Sunday’s action, the Indians are 22.5 games behind the Sox, but they are only one-half game ahead of the Yankees and Red Sox in the Wild Card race. The Indians, who have won an unbelievable eighteen games of their last twenty-one have to keep winning.

It’s hard to imagine the Indians maintaining that pace. The best-case scenario for the Sox puts their magic number at 1 when they head for Cleveland on Thursday. That probably won’t be the case, but the Sox do need to keep winning. They do have a chance to pick up an extra game in the win column on Monday as they sit idle while the Sox invade Detroit.

The most likely scenario, and the one Bud Selig probably has dreams about, is that the Central Division race will be decided sometime between September 29 and October 2 as the Sox play the Indians. Is it likely? Well, let’s just say that after Saturday night’s game, the promo on WGN television billed next Saturday’s game as a “showdown for the American League Central Division title.”

• Scott Reifert stole my thunder on this one in his blog, but did anyone else notice that after the Sox lost Monday night, the Tuesday column written by J. Moronotti was headlined, “Now playing in Chicago: Choke-Job Theater” and Thursday’s column was headlined, “Punchless Sox can’t escape choke-hold.”

This pillar of journalistic integrity had no column Wednesday. The Sox won Tuesday night. Chicago’s number-one media windsock, who just a couple of months ago was declaring the Sox “for real” has changed his tune one more time. Is anyone surprised?

One can only wonder what he will do if the Sox go on a tear this week. I can see the “I told you the Sox were for real” headlines to his column now.

• Class Act Dept.: One of the unannounced guests at Saturday’s Windy City Sox Fans luncheon was Roland Hemond, special assistant to Sox GM Kenny Williams. Roland came to town for a speaking engagement Tuesday and was approached by a WCSF board member and asked to come to the luncheon.

Hemond not only came, but he postponed a return flight home in order to do so. That tells you something about the guy.

One other thing about Hemond: all Sox players and executives are honorary members of the Windy City Sox Fans. For years Roland has been a dues-paying, card-carrying member.

If you weren’t at the luncheon, and if you happen to see Roland at SoxFest in January, be sure to ask him about his dance partner in Cleveland several years ago.

• If this column disappears next week, it is because I will have decided to make the weekend trek to Cleveland. If it’s here, then I couldn’t get someone to share the driving duties with me. Stay tuned….


Editor's Note: Hal Vickery has been a White Sox fan since 1955 when he was five years old. For much of that time he also had a secondary rooting interest in the Cubs, which he has shown the good sense to abandon. When not cheering for or writing about the Sox, Hal teachers chemistry and physics at North Boone High School, in Poplar Grove, IL. Hal commutes there daily from Joliet, where he lives with his wife Lee, and their dog, Buster T. Beagle. Hal's opinions are not necessarily those of North Boone High School, his wife, or Buster T. Beagle. You can write Hal at hvickery@svs.com.

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