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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

Stupid is as stupid does?
by Hal Vickery

Another week passes with no major moves on the part of Kenny Williams, and if you read the Chicago newspapers, you’d think that the Sox have decided to go on the cheap and spend less money than the Florida Marlins for the 2007 season. Of course that’s what the “fair and balanced” Chicago media would just love to have you believe.

It comes as no surprise to readers of this and other columns at WSI that there is an anti-Sox (or is it pro-Cubs) bias on the part of the Chicago media. I’m beginning to question that assumption. It could be a much simpler explanation than the usual conspiracy theories. It could simply be that Chicago sportswriters are just plain stupid.

Here’s the hard evidence. The Cubs have made a huge splash with free agent signings for Alfonso Soriano, Ted Lilly, Mark DeRosa, and Jason Marquis. Then they added Neal Cotts to their bullpen. In the process they raised the price of mediocrity to astronomical levels.

And what was the response of our local pundits? Well, you’ve never seen so much gushing outside of an oil field. To read their insightful commentary, the Cubs have just about guaranteed themselves a berth in the World Series.

It’s more likely that with all their wheeling and dealing, with all the salary they’ve committed to pay (such as $136 million over eight years for Soriano), the Cubs have most likely guaranteed themselves a lock on fifth place in the NL Comedy Central.

To Chicago writers spending money like a drunken sailor is tantamount to success before a pitch is even thrown. Never mind that Cubs pitching is still suspect and that there are still major holes in their lineup. The Cubs are doing things right. And the writers know this because, well, because they’re the Cubs.

Meanwhile, the Sox have shored up their greatest weakness of 2006 by adding David Aardsma, Gavin Floyd, and (at least temporarily) Andrew Sisco to their bullpen. The Sox added Toby Hall as backup catcher. Meanwhile Williams has kept together most of the core of the 2005 World Series Champions.

If there is one questionable move for which Williams might be taken to task, it is the trades of starting pitcher Freddy Garcia and following that up by trading the man who had been touted as his replacement, Brandon McCarthy.

Sox fans have long memories, and it doesn’t take a very long memory to remember the days when the fifth starter slot was a revolving door. It wasn’t all that long ago that the fifth starter slot was a guaranteed loss.

Of course it was just last year that the man who is now the fourth starter, Javier Vazquez, couldn’t survive the fifth inning most starts. That means there are at least two questionable spots in the rotation as of now.

In the past the Sox have used the occasion of SoxFest to make some kind of blockbuster announcement. This hasn’t happened for the past few years. There are a lot of fans who are hoping that this year’s SoxFest will bring the announcement of a trade for a bona fide starting pitcher, not just another prospect or “live arm.”

Still, at this point the Sox are a legitimate contender in the AL Central, a whole lot more legitimate than the Cute and Cuddlies are in the NL Comedy Central. But to read the Chicago sportswriters, you’d never know it.

And that’s why we have White Sox Interactive. It’s the one place where you can find out what’s going on without the pro-Cubs spin.

______________________________________________________________________

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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