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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

Chicago Proud
for Our Sox!

by George Bova

Sox '08 now with #56!

by George Bova

Mark the date of July 8, 2007 as the first date in the rebuilding of what was the 2005 world champion Chicago White Sox.

Mark Buehrle is the cornerstone of the starting rotation for the foreseeable future. All Sox Fans will agree this is a good thing.

It could have been different. A certain type of pessimistic fan -- forever living in the past of what was the Old Sox they supported for most of 88 years -- has been telling the rest of us countless yarns about "White Flag Revisited" or how much the '07 Sox resemble the '60 Sox. Two years later and they still haven't figured out how to support a winner like the New Sox.

Another group of self-proclaimed "experts" will tell you the 101 reasons they were right about everything that is wrong about the Sox. Never mind these same fools achieved "expert" status by predicting the Sox would suck the last 89 years straight and who can argue with an "expert" who was only wrong once? What dopes...

And then there are the sportsblab microphone swallowers and lumpy-skinned sportswriters -- taking time out from grazing in front of the pressroom buffet -- to tell us what a "despicable" done deal it was that the White Sox were dismantling a dynasty. Wrong... wrong... wrong... and given their track record of feeding us nothing but sensationalistic nonsense, no surprise at all.

These folks have been in their glory the last 10 weeks or so. Sure, every single one of them will claim they're relieved Buehrle is back. And I'm equally sure they'll be looking for yet the next negative issue so they can go right back to contemplating their navels -- obsessed with their own misery -- using the Sox, Sox management, and Sox Fans as their whipping boys for indulging their own demented view of the world.

Feel sorry for them. I do.

The over/under on how long before Jon Garland's contract status takes center stage inside their twisted minds is about 90 days. Check back here in October.

Mark Buehrle has been the real centerpiece of the Sox roster for several years now. If Paul Konerko is Ozzie Guillen's "captain", then certainly Mark Buehrle is the real leader of what truly makes the White Sox a championship-caliber organization: the pitching staff. The Sox couldn't begin to hope to fill the hole created by his loss. Getting a four-year deal to pitch is a true rarity for the Sox to negotiate. Pretty damned impressive, and 100 percent deserved.

Details of the what were negotiated are still a bit sketchy, but it's clear Buehrle cannot be traded for at least one more season. This provides a key bit of information for Sox Fans perceptive enough to understand how deals are arrived at (i.e. more perceptive than clueless baseball feature writers writing nonsense for the Chicago Tribune).

The Sox gave Buehrle that guarantee because the Sox believe they're still close to fielding a championship team in 2008. With Buehrle now locked and loaded for at least a year, the Sox will follow through with what they were willing to negotiate with Buehrle: filling the roster holes revealed this season to make the Sox champions again. Anything beyond that, all bets are off.

The Sox' negotiating stance with Buehrle tips their hand.

It turns out Kenny Williams was being perfectly honest when he told the skeptics the Sox were buyers. The first move for rebuilding the Sox has been completed. Now Williams has roughly seven months to fill the rest of the holes. The outfield, the bullpen, and the left-side of the infield of a future champion Sox team remain problems to be fixed. A few of the veterans are looking long in the tooth, too. Gambling on who to keep and who to replace won't be easy to figure out.

Unlike his predecessor Ron Schueler, Kenny Williams has never been one to sit tight and hope things work out. He is well-suited to this task.

The New Sox aren't the same old team... even if huge swaths of the fan base are still the same old smelly fart fans.

Give 'em time. They'll come around... eventually.


George Bova is editor and founder of White Sox Interactive. You can write George at george@whitesoxinteractive.com

More features from George Bova here!

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