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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

The Tenth Man †with Dave Schmitt

Second Base Disappointment!

Greetings Sox fans, I would like to introduce another weekly feature to WSI , The Tenth Man , which is basically one Sox fans view on the the game of baseball , and not limited to the team that plays on the south side of Chicago. Though the bulk of this column will concern White Sox baseball, which is only fitting considering where it appears , it will also at times tend to ramble on about other topics concerning the game of baseball. It will not be uncommon to see opinions stated on the utter arrogance of the men that own MLB teams , and Wendy up in Milwaukee is not part of this group , we all know who calls the shots there. It will not be rare to see an observation of the absolute greed of the MLB players , which at times rivals the greed of the owners themselves, as a group I have not decided which side is worse. You will also see some of my opinions on the job being done by the puppet also known as Bud Selig ,whom I prefer to call the Spineless Wonder, if there has ever been a man that was more of an automaton than Bud I would like to see it. Needless to say you will get one fanís view of the game, and the opinions that go with it, for whatever they are worth.

What is going on at second base?

I find it kind of interesting that the Sox have five second basemen at camp this year, though I will grant the fact that Tony Graffinino should probably be a question mark for this list. The question does arise though that the Sox are not seriously considering re-signing Ray Durham? Ray had a rather disappointing season last year, and yes part of it can be attributed to Frank Thomas not being in the line-up, a fact that had Jerry Manuel playing with the batter order on a daily basis, and moving Ray from lead-off to the two, and eventually the three hole, before putting him back in the lead-off spot. The fact remains that Ray Durham has never lived up to the expectations that the Sox originally had for him. Though Ray has probably become one of the top second basemen in the A.L., it is more due to the lack of quality second basemen, than to Rayís talent to play the position. Ray does show flashes of what the Sox thought they were getting when they gave him the job at this level, but his inconsistency to play the position well has me questioning his real desire to succeed here. I think Kenny Williams agrees with me on this, hence the trade that brought Willie Harris to the Sox. Between Harris and Hummel you will see the replacement for Ray Durham in 2003. †

Biddle's hurt.† Now what?

It was reported in the Daily Herald this week that Rocky Biddle may miss the entire season recovering from his shoulder surgery. As of this writing I have yet to find any evidence that substantiates this story, I am not trying to call Scot Gregor a liar, but I would like to see what this item was based on. Rocky went in for minor shoulder surgery at the end of last season, and was projected to be ready by the middle of Spring Training, so either Scot has a source that is better than every other news media that covers the White Sox, or he based this assumption on pure speculation. If he has done this he should be held accountable for it, it is one thing to speculate on player movement, to speculate on a players health is another matter entirely. That being said, I would like to see Rocky in the four spot in the Sox rotation, it would put them in a good position to allow Garland to continue his learning curve in the three spot. The way I look at it , with Buehrle in the one spot and Ritchie† in the two, the Sox can let Garland pitch the three spot and let him learn, knowing that you have a guy that will go after the hitter and give his best effort pitching in the four spot. It† would put Garland in a position where he would not have the pressure to win every time he took the mound, all he would be asked to do is give his best, and the judgement could be made later. It would also allow a platoon of sorts for the five spot, most of the breaks in the schedule tend to coincide with the fifth starters spot, so early in the season the Sox could use real game performance to gauge some of these young pitcherís ability to perform under pressure.

Nardi Contreras, Prince of Darkness?

Speaking of pitching, just four days into spring training has the first injury to a Sox pitcher, reliever Kelly Wunsch pulled a hamstring in practice to day doing routine coverage drills. Hamstring injuries are usually due to a couple reasons, the player in question did not warm up properly ,or the conditioning program he is on is not working. Both of those are the responsibility of the pitching coach , in ST more so than in the regular season ,it is the coaches responsibility to make sure these guys are in playing shape, and to set the warm up and stretching schedule to make sure that these injuries donít happen. If the pitching coach canít handle this simple task, how can he handle the rest of the job? What does it say for his concern for his staff and for the good of the team? It seems to me that Nardi is not really interested in teaching his staff† what it takes to stay healthy, or maybe it is a case of him just plain being incapable of doing it, either way something needs to be addressed with the situation, they canít continue to let him destroy a young pitching staff that shows so much promise. If a factory had a rash of injuries that shared similarities they would investigate it and get to the bottom of it, why are the Sox unable to do the same thing? Instead of paying millions of dollars for a rehab facility in Lisle ,try firing the cause of the injuries and spending the money on players instead. It is long over due the time for Nardi to be fired, there are viable replacements available Tommy John, Rich Gossage, and Kirk Champion come immediately to mind, I am sure others could be thought of. Nardi has proven what he is best at, wounding pitchers.†

Newest French Canadian:† Jose Canseco!

Jose Canseco has accepted a chance to try out for the Expos, which begs the world to ask, why? Then you consider who is running the Expos and it makes more sense, MLB has a hard enough time trying to keep their own house in order, let alone trying to run a franchise, yet they are doing so anyway, supposedly with the blessing of the MLB owners. This whole situation is ridiculous, and accomplishes little more than make the people that are in charge of the league look like a Volkswagen Bug full of circus clowns. I wonít list all the conflict of interest points that could be brought up on this subject, simply because I would be an old man by the time I was finished, but I question why the league would outright turn down an offer to buy the team, knowing that their every move is being scrutinized on Capitol Hill right now. Granted the offer involved wanted to up and move the Expos to the DC area in time for the 2003 season, but I have a feeling that this will happen regardless, so why turn it down in order to have the league run it in a clear conflict of interest? Because of Budís contraction plan? A plan that soured the entire off-season for all baseball fans, that forced Bud to commit perjury on Capitol Hill, and that may still cost Baseball their anti-trust exemption? Bud, admit it was a mistake and move on, or better yet, do something that would really benefit MLB and its fans, tender your resignation.†

Thatís†it for now Sox fans, check back for more later.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 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.

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