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WSI News - WSI Spotlight


Chicago Proud
for Our Sox!

by George Bova

Playoff Time!

by George Bova

Six games to go.  Six games to decide the entire season... unless a seventh is necessary next Monday.  Pity the Detroit Tigers, picked to become the A.L. Central Division champions last spring by nearly half the nation's sports mediots -- the half not voting for Cleveland.  The Tigers would rather be anywhere than Sox Park the day after everyone else finishes the 2008 season just to play that rained out game from September 13.  They're losers twice over for being nothing but also-rans plus missing their first tee time, too.  If playing that game becomes necessary, will a character like Gary Sheffield bring his "A" game?  Not likely.

So it's really six games and the other 155 already played going back to last April don't count for one damned thing besides this:  The Sox get a 2-point head start in the six-point contest for the playoffs over Minnesota, plus one extra chance to tip it in "if necessary."  Think of it like the old NBA free throw rule, "3 to make 2" except for the Sox it's "7 to make 6" with a two-point lead to start.  The Sox have a real advantage.

Best of all, three of these six games are a face-to-face tilt with the Twins inside their own house.  There is no crying in baseball, so no regrets if the Sox can't nail it down.  And speaking of crocodile tears, no crying from the Twins clubhouse either if they make up some ground but still fall short.  Though I doubt Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire would be dumb enough to suggest the Sox weren't deserving of the division crown, I have little doubt one or two of the younger and dumber members of the Twins roster won't firmly insert their spikes into their mouth before this season is over.

Make no mistake, these are playoff games and not just the three played inside the Baggie Dome.  The Sox are only 1-5 against the Twins so far, but the notion these past results indicate future performance would be a bit like predicting the Sox can't handle the Angels in October because Anaheim was a superior team across prior encounters, April-September.  Tell that one to Mike Scioscia who remembers too well presiding over his team as they cleaned out their lockers after being victimized by perhaps the four greatest post-season pitching performances of the last fifty years after four consecutive Sox pitchers pitched four consecutive complete-game victories to knock out the Angels.

For the 2008 White Sox, the playoffs start a week early.  If some fans don't realize it, or the city's sports mediots remain too clueless to cover this obvious angle, rest assured Ozzie Guillen has reinforced the point with his players over and over again.  "If I have to be on their ***, I will be on their ***! I'm not scared. We've been through it. We won the world championship with a lot of guys out there and they shouldn't be scared." You've got to love Ozzie.

Unlike any game they've played the last six months, there is NO TOMORROW for our Chicago White Sox.  This is it.

Guillen has lined up what theoretically is his strongest pitchers for the Twins series:  Vazquez, Buehrle, and Floyd.  Danks pitches the first game at Cleveland before Vazquez and Buehrle close it out... with Floyd possibly pitching September 29's make up game. 

Our 2008 Sox have answered every challenge this summer.  They've discovered and developed new talent like Alexei Ramirez and Gavin Floyd to overcome shortfalls from previous heroes like Paul Konerko's sub-par performance and Jose Contreras's season-ending injury.  They've moved around previous stalwarts like Juan Uribe and they have been rewarded with adequate production from third base even as Joe Crede struggled with a stiff back.  Aging warriors like Jermaine Dye and Jim Thome have delivered again.   Acquiring Carlos Quentin has proven a master stroke by Kenny Williams even if acquiring Ken Griffey, Jr. hasn't.  Nobody much misses either Brandon McCarthy or Chris Young, unless you're the sort of self-important dope too childish to admit you were flat-wrong to predict either of these two kids were "proven workhorses" when career victories continues to remain embarrassing low (McCarthy) and career strikeout totals continue to skyrocket (Young).  You can forget about Phil "Second City" Rogers ever being man enough to choke on his Tribune-published comments.

Our Sox have earned their ticket to October baseball like nobody in Chicago.  Now it's time to make it show for the wider world to appreciate.

Forward, Sox Fans!  Fear nothing for glory is finally here to be grasped!  Know -- like nobody else in Chicago knows -- how sweet and glorious all our team's future victories will be.  They start this week.

Go Sox!

George Bova is editor and founder of White Sox Interactive.  You can write George at

More features from George Bova here!

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