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Kansas City Blues

Free Agent Frustration!

by Matt Michel


There are two things I generally like to believe about myself.  The first is that I really, really hate when armchair GMs preach on about how they could save the franchise because they've managed to build a powerhouse dynasty on their PlayStations.  The second is that I don't want to judge something (say, an off-season), until it is over and you can look back on it with perfect hindsight.  However, as the days, weeks, and months tick away on the winter, I cannot help but feel an overwhelming sense of frustration at the complete inactivity of the White Sox so far.  As I said, I don't believe that a team should be making moves based on what the fans think most of the time.  Generally, we are rash and don't have a complete understanding of what is going on behind the closed doors at U.S. Cellular Field's management offices.  So, I guess I could even take my own criticism with a grain of salt.

This little rant of mine has been fueled mostly by the news I woke up to this morning.  Bartolo Colon is officially gone to sign a 4-year deal with the Anaheim Angels.  Come on, Kenny!  Give me something to perk my hopes for 2004.  Since the close of last season, I have become increasingly pessimistic about the White Sox hopes.  It has been a frustrating few months that started with Cub- and Red Sox-mania sweeping the nation and has (for now) climaxed with the loss of one of our top pitchers.

So I am pleading to the Sox's front office now. On my hands and knees. Please give me something to look forward for in 2004!  It doesn't have to be big. I'm not talking Cy Young caliber pitcher of MVP type hitter.  None of that is necessary, but anything!  In my short time as a Sox fan, I have never been more frustrated at their lack to even try and give me, a fan, any kind of hope.  I have moved beyond the stage of just waiting for Kenny Williams to pull the trigger.  In his first three off-seasons, he has proven himself to be an unpredictable gambler, but so far there has been nothing but rumors and speculation and a minor deal involving a 27-year-old minor leaguer and a 24-year-old bust.  Great.

I know there are still a number of free agent "grinders" out there and I do expect one or two players to come to the South Side via free agency or trade.  However, the anxiety of watching other teams get fill their holes and watching prime players don their new caps at press conferences is starting to wear down on me.  I need a boost to carry me over to Spring Training.  I don't know how much longer I can stand the feelings of frustration and uneasiness these few lackluster months have left me with.

I suppose if there is one sign of hope for the new year it is that the Minnesota Twins have also begun a slow talent slide.  Already, A.J. Pierzynski, Eddie Guardado, and Eric Milton have departed and I suspect that one or two more of their better players will be leaving as well.  The difference is, however, that the Twins have a much better stock of upper-level minor league talent to fill those roles.  The Sox have no such luck, and if the season started today, there is a very real possibility we could see a starting lineup that included Aaron Rowand, Juan Uribe, Willie Harris, and Paul Konerko.  Excuse me if I am not impressed.

I find it hard to believe that this is the best way the front office has come up with to woo the already disappointed and alienated fan base.  Despite what we may like to believe, there is at least a average level of intelligence floating around the upper tiers of Sox management.  However, I doubt that they really feel the excruciating tension I feel.  I'm sure somewhere on Kenny William's desk, buried in a stack of papers, there is a clear and positive plan for the team for the rest of the off-season and beyond.  And I am sure that there is a number of papers he has scribbled to himself with interesting trade offers or scout evaluations of players he may actively pursue.  However, none of this means anything to me.  As far as I'm concerned, I am on the verge of complete baseball apathy.  If all the Sox can give me are promises and speculations, how much can I give them?  I want to believe the best, I really do, but as each day, week, and month passes by, and I still have little to lift my spirits for the upcoming campaign, how much longer can I be expected to hold out?

Please, Kenny.  Please.


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