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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

Contenders or Pretenders?

The All Star Game has come and gone, and Bud Selig was not called upon to botch it this year as he did last year, since the AL managed to win the game in the bottom of the eighth inning, when Hank Blalock hit a homerun off of top NL closer Eric Gagne. The game was not without controversy though, the South Side Faithful were criticized on national television for booing the representatives from the North Side ballclub, as well as for booing their own manager, needless to say the national media needs to learn that the fans on the south side of Chicago are rather different from the pollyanna’s that frequent the dump that they call a ballpark on the north side of town. A note to the national media, the purchase of an event ticket gives you the right to boo the product on the field, and that damn well includes the manager who’s team tanked a road trip against the bottom feeders of the AL directly before the All Star game. Jerry Manuel should feel lucky that all he got was booed, when your team gets swept by the Murder City Kitties you deserve to get tarred and feathered and run out of town tied to the back of a boxcar.  


It would seem that the Sox as a team made good use of the All Star break, as they came out smoking for the second half, winning nine out of ten as of this writing, which included a run of eight consecutive wins, which becomes significant because of Kenny Williams vowing to shave his head if the Sox won seven in a row, the newly bald Kenny should probably have followed  Hawk Harrelson’s lead when Hawk said he would do the same thing if the Sox won ten in a row, because Hawk still has his hair. In the long run this probably means nothing, but this move by Kenny will get some respect from the players, not many GM’s in the game would do something along the same lines, since Gord Ash is no longer a GM. At the Break the Sox were six games back in third place, since then they have managed to climb back into the thick of things, they now sit at four  games out in second place, and are traveling to play a series with the division leading Royals, this years Cinderella team. Time will tell, I am always the optimist, but the Sox play exactly four series with sub .500 records the rest of the season, this is when we will see if they are contenders or pretenders. 

A Failure:  The Mike Porzio Experiment.

The trade deadline is rapidly approaching, but I don’t think there will be the usual deadline type atmosphere, with the change in the way deals are made due to the new CBA I think there will be more trades made after the deadline has come and gone, teams are not willing to take on any payroll unless they are in a position to win. It will be interesting to see what moves Kenny has planned, with Danny Wright in Charlotte, and the Mike Porzio experiment a failure, the Sox are in need of another starting pitcher, and there are pitchers out there to be had, but at what price is the question. This will be the true test of how confident upper management is with this team, will they spend from the farm to win now, or will they sit pat and wait till next year, my guess will be they go for it, Kenny has already proven that the days of doing business the Ron Schueler way are long gone, you use what you have to win now. Speaking of trading to win now, the three players to be named later in the Carl Everett deal were revealed, the Sox gave up Anthony Webster, CF in low A Kannapolis, who is playing in his fourth year of organized baseball. Webster is an all around athlete that is learning the game of baseball, but he is a long way from playing at the major league level. They also sent two right handed pitchers to Texas, Franklin Francisco from high A Winston Salem, who was acquired from the Red Sox last year for Bobby Howry, and has had nagging injury problems for most of his pro career, and Josh Rupe from low A Kannapolis, a third round pick in 2002 that throws four pitches for strikes, but has not been dominant with any of them. All in all Kenny gave up very little for a left handed power hitter that made the All Star team this year. 

Harold Baines for Hitting Coach!

In other notes, Harold Baines has been named acting hitting coach while Greg Walker recovers from elbow surgery  brought on from getting nailed by a Carlos Lee foul ball in batting practice, who knew being a hitting coach was such a dangerous job? Other than that there is little to add, except that I need to fix the radio on my boat, something tells me I will need it to listen to the Sox in the division title race as the season winds down.


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 can’t 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

More features from Dave Schmitt here!

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