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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

Quitters!
by Hal Vickery

There’s not much to write about this week. Bobby Jenks gave up a hit to stop his streak of hitless batters at forty-one to tie the major league record. The Sox briefly emerged from last place only to have their derrieres handed to them by the Red Sox three times in two days. As a result, the Sox are now 1.5 games behind the Royals in the battle for oblivion while the Cute and Cuddlies are just as far ahead of the Brewers in the race for the NL Comedy Central championship.

It has been a bad week. It has been one of many bad weeks. Some of us dreamed of a dynasty when the Sox won the 2005 World Series. They won ninety games last year despite what most of us thought was a bad bullpen. Brother, we didn’t know the meaning of the words “bad bullpen” until this year.

And of course you have to look at the way the starters have been getting bombed on a more frequent basis lately. You have to ask yourself, “Has this team given up? Are they playing out the string?”

A few days ago, Mike North interviewed Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf. He was asked to rate Ozzie Guillen’s performance as a manager this year. He gave Ozzie an A based on the fact that the team hasn’t quit on him. From their appearance the past few days, I’d say the chairman might need to re-evaluate that assessment of the players’ performance.

It’s not that they’ve been beaten. It’s that they’ve been crushed. They’ve been humiliated. They’ve become impossible to watch.

At least I can be thankful that real life has intervened most of this summer. I’ll be teaching a new course this summer, so I spent all but the last two weeks making PowerPoint presentations and lesson plans for that course and revising that sort of thing for my other courses.

This fall I’ll have the excuse that I’ll be teaching four different courses, which should keep me busy. If I’m lucky, maybe I’ll be busy enough to avoid having to watch this team through the September stretch drive as the Sox strive to become the dregs of the American League.

It has been a painful year for Sox fans who are still less than two years removed from the glory that was the 2005 World Series championship. It has to be even more painful for the guys who played on that team to see what has become of them in that short a time.

It is getting close to the time when the Sox will have to make a decision on certain players. Should they sign them? Should they trade them? What does this team need to do to improve?

It is certainly going to get interesting starting sometime around November 1 as Kenny Williams starts wheeling and dealing. We can only hope that the players he picks up this time around perform a whole lot better than this year’s acquisitions.

Remember how it was just two years ago that Sox fans were starting to go into a panic because of the hard-charging Cleveland Indians. People were ready to concede the pennant race. I recall the word “suck” being used a lot in reference to the Sox.

This season just goes to prove how relative things can be. If the Sox “sucked” in August and most of September of 2005, exactly how would one describe this year’s team?

Sox fans can take consolation in one fact. The worst Sox team in my memory is also the worst Sox team ever to take the field. The 1970 White Sox lost a team record 106 games. As this is written the 2007 Sox have lost seventy-three games and have just thirty-three left to play.

This means that if the Sox win one more game between now and September 30, they will guarantee that they will not be the worst team in White Sox history. I don’t know about you, but I take at least some consolation in that fact.

______________________________________________________________________

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.

More features from Hal Vickery here!

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