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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

"Don't Panic"

by Dave Schmitt

After watching the first game of the 2004 championship season, I think to the cover of "The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy", written on itís cover in large friendly type is the words "Donít Panic". There is no need to panic after one game or even three games (as we're now 1-2).† Ozzie still has nearly six full months to prove me wrong about him being the Hispanic Terry Bevington, and 159 games to prove that he has any clue at all about handling his pitching staff.† The rest of the season awaits.† Iíll wait till a month into the season to start panicking, Iíll wait to see if the fact that the manager of this team, as well as the bench coach, have absolutely no experience in doing the jobs they have been asked to do.† After a month into the season we should have a decent idea of how well the low dollar high risk approach to naming a manager for the team works out, because in my opinion that is exactly the reasoning behind hiring Ozzie was.† Jerry Reinsdorf is banking that the fans will give him a pass for bringing back a fan favorite as opposed to paying a manager with a proven track record. Aside from the dismal performance turned in by Ozzie and the bullpen, the season opener did show some good signs, Mark Buerhle had a good outing, Paul "Wheels" Konerko came out swinging, going three for four and stealing a base, and the offense held up their end of the bargain, they came up with enough runs to win the game. There was also some not so good things aside from the bullpen, Willie Harris carried his lackluster plate presence over from last season, Jose Valentin showed us that being a lefty only hitter is probably going to be tied to a rather long adjustment period, and it is obvious that once again the pitching staff did not work much on fielding the ball in spring training.

More Notes From the First Week

All that diminishes in the fact that it was opening day, the day baseball fans wait for all winter long, to hear the umpire call "Play Ball" for the first time of the year, it is a magical time of year that renews hopes in baseball fans throughout the country. Opening day is the day that fans all over, no matter what team they root for, feel that they have hope of capturing the brass ring, because everyone starts out the season 0-0, and most can hold that hope until June. Why MLB has chosen to cheapen opening day is beyond me.† Why in the name of all that is holy does Bud choose to play the fist games of the season that count a week before actual opening day, in a country seven thousand miles away? To sell out a hundred years of tradition to make a few bucks to put in the shared revenue coffer is a sin that should not go unpunished. A note to Bud, the vast majority of your revenue is generated in this country, by people that have no interest in getting up at four oíclock in the morning to watch a baseball game. There is that little thing known as tradition, and tradition demands that the first game of the season be played by the Cincinnati Reds, in Cincinnati, not by your owner of choices teams in Japan, please stop insulting our intelligence.

And More About Juice in the Game

The Balco investigation in San Francisco has baseball fans throughout the country calling for heads on a plate, no matter whether you violate the players right to privacy or not. The court of public opinion has created a situation where every player in the game is now guilty until proven innocent, the Bill of Rights be damned. I will not go into the legalities of an agreement that is collectively bargained, an agreement that is protected by the National Labor Relations Board.† I will just say that for the public and the media to demand any changes to that is absurd.† Bud Selig threatening to use his power of office to change is laughable at best, his chances of getting his decree past the NLRB is about the same as a snow cone not melting in hell.† Bud can say all the right things to media and to congress that he wants, and he does play to the court of public opinion with the best of them, the bottom line is he has no basis in law to do this, none. Let Bud rattle the saber of fixing the game, the problem is, he is what is really wrong with baseball.

Hereís to hoping the Sox can get through New York in fine shape, but right now I have fish to clean.† Spring is truly upon us.

†††††††††††††††††††††† 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

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