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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

West Coast Post Mortem

I donít know what it is with the Sox playing on the Left Coast, but they sure seem like they play like they just got kicked by a mule when they fly out there. This is a trend that has to stop and soon, you will never be able to win a playoff series that way. And yes, despite some poor performances lately I still expect the Sox to win their division, and to do it with relative ease. As bad as the Sox have been at times in this young season, none of the other teams in the division have done much to make me think otherwise, while the Sox were getting their heads handed to them in Anaheim the Twins managed to get swept by the Yankees in the Baggie Dome, where they are supposed to be unbeatable. The only concern I will continue to have is the Sox pitching, which continues to be a weak spot, taking an idea from Mark Liptak, it may not be a bad idea to move Ritchie down in the rotation to split up the top two in hopes of preventing three game losing streaks. A healthy Rocky Biddle in the rotation would help the Sox out a bunch too, but I am glad to see they are not forcing him back into the rotation the way they did last season, it did no good then either.†

Konehead the new offensive key?

Jerry Manuel decided it was time to move Frank Thomas down in the line-up on Sat., the first time Frank has not hit in the three spot since 1991, and moving Magglio Ordonez to three spot, unfortunately Maggs exited the game after his first at-bat, leaving Aaron Rowand in the three spot, OOPS. Luckily Magglio just had a pulled back muscle, and was able to hit a pinch hit HR and play two innings in RF on Sunday. He was rewarded for his effort by being named the AL player of the week, but I wonder how Paul Konerko managed to get snubbed when he was in the middle of an 18 game hitting streak and leading the league in RBIís to boot. Paul did get some respect from Mike Sciosia though, who had his ace closer intentionally walk him in the top of the ninth inning, knowing full well that Paul has become one of the best fastball hitters in the league, and Percival only has two pitches, fast and faster. It is nice to see him get some well deserved respect from the rest of the league, but what I would really like to see is respect in the form of him making the All-Star team as a first baseman.

Props for the Manager

Kenny Lofton has matched his stolen base total from last season already this year, and the season is just more than a month old, Ray Durham is also averaging better than his usual tilt, making this a tough team for pitchers to deal with. Combine that with a line-up that can hit through the eight spot and you have an offensive machine, although it has been sputtering like a an old Ford pickup truck on the Left Coast, as the weather gets warmer this machine will start to click on all eight cylinders and the rest of the division will be hard pressed to keep up. There has been a lot of criticism floating around about Jerry Manuel lately, and I have a hard time agreeing with it, the players play the game, not the manager, and Jerry has shown in the past that he can motivate his players to get out and play the game, perhaps everyone has forgotten the fact that the Sox were the first team to come back from a 16 game deficit to finish above the .500 mark in twenty years last season. Dislike Jerry Manuel all you want, question his decisions at every point, but the fact remains that this team can and will play for him, despite losing an entire pitching staff and starting a wounded pitcher for two months this team won when they needed to, and the only reason they did is because that was what Jerry expected them to do.

More Labor Woes

Just a few random notes, the owners have rejected a deal from the MLBPA† that would guarantee the playoffs this year, in return for a postponement of contraction till 2004.Granted the MLBPA is dealing with the upper hand, but they are leaving the alternative open to contraction in return for a guarantee of MLB having a post season this year, and the owners are foolish for not jumping on it. The owners are placing all their eggs in one basket banking on winning their case with Shyam Dys, †and I doubt they will get the ruling they hope to see, simply because the whole plan was ill conceived to start with. The owners have done nothing but prove that they know things will not go their way, and the whole situation makes me doubt that we will see a World Series this year. Only time will tell.

My boat is ready to be picked up, so thatís it for now.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Daver


Dave Schmitt is a life-long resident of the Joliet area, with the exception of two years spent being the only Sox fan in the hell hole known as Baytown Texas, where the trucks are large and the alligators are hungry.† Plumber by trade, hunter by choice, and fisherman 'cause you canít hunt year round.† Married With Children, and four dogs that are confirmed Sox fans.† The kids have less sense.† You can send email to Daver at daver@whitesoxinteractive.com.

More features from Dave Schmitt here!

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