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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

Dirt Bikes, Bruises, & More!

Some random musing at the end of a strange week: 

Aaron Rowand is fortunate he wasn’t killed in his dirt bike accident if his story is to be believed.  According to Rowand, he was traveling at a speed of about 25 mph on his bike when he reached a cliff with a 25-foot drop-off.   

Rowand says if he’d been going faster he would have landed flat.  Of course if he had been going faster, he also might have ended up in a pine box.   

Rowand claims his rehab will take about three months.  We saw what a torn triceps muscle did to Frank Thomas’s swing in 2002.  We’ll now find out what a broken shoulder blade does to Rowand’s swing. 

Mark Buehrle is also fortunate that he got away with just a bruised shoulder when that line drive struck him.  After Mike Sirotka supposedly aggravated his shoulder injury in Japan, it’s a wonder that the Sox allow any players to go there in November.   

Somehow the Sox did do something right when they signed Paul Konerko on Thursday.  The signing was quickly overshadowed by the Cubs signing of Dusty Baker, but the Konerko signing could end up being more beneficial to the affected team.  Konerko may not be a superstar, but he is a decent first baseman and a solid hitter.  He’s part of the core that the Sox vowed to keep together, and he has become a leader in the clubhouse.   

It was a good signing. 

I just have to comment on the signing on the North Side.  Dusty Baker apparently signed for something close to $4 million a year for the next four years.  The whole mini-drama surrounding the signing shows a major difference between the Sox and the North Siders. 

First, the Cubs were a very bad team, but they still outdrew the Sox by over a millions fans in 2002.  They fired Don Baylor and found the next best manager to Terry Bevington in Bruce Kimm, but the fans still came, if only to watch the ensuing train wreck.  This points out a major difference between Sox fans and their North Side counterparts.  Sox fans don’t like train wrecks.  They actually want to win something.  Why they should is a mystery, since we haven’t seen anything close to a winner since 1959. 

The Cubs then courted Baker, unofficially at first, before the World Series even started.  This kept them in the headlines while the Sox were busy doing nothing except preparing to let go the best hitter ever to wear a Sox uniform.  While the Cubs were preaching hope, no matter how false, the Sox were trying to weaken themselves. 

Baker’s salary is worthy of a star manager.  The Cubs spent money on Baker to at least give the illusion of a commitment to winning.  Of course Baylor got big bucks, too, but that’s beside the point.  The Cubs had several high salaries going to personnel who contributed next to nothing.  They are living proof that big names and a few big salaries won’t get you anywhere if your bullpen stinks and no one can hit. 

The Sox tend to be frugal in the managerial department.  The last experienced manager they had was Jeff Torborg, over a decade ago.  The problem is that the results have been mixed at best with Gene Lamont and Gen. Disarray both going from Manager of the Year to Bum of the Year in the course of 365 days each.  In between was Boomer Bevington, who may be everyone’s candidate for Bum of the Century.   

Of course the big problem is the inexperience in the front office.  The last experienced general manager the Sox have had was Roland Hemond, who was inherited by The Chairman from Bill Veeck.  Since then, it has been nothing but rookies:  Hawk Harrelson, Larry Himes, Ron Schueler, and now Prof. Chaos.  Each has been terribly flawed in some way. 

The most telling thing about the Sox is that they never seem to learn from their mistakes.  The Sox always seem to be good pitcher away from having a really good team.  They seem to always seem to have an overabundance of LF/1B/DH types and not enough defense.  They always seem to have a manager who doesn’t know how to handle pitchers.  And every few years, they always seem to have to chuck it all and rebuild. 

Will we ever get off this merry-go-round?


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 nsmf@aol.com.

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