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Kansas City Blues

Sox Psalms!
by Patrick Ferrini

ESPN? Nyet!

Patrick Ferrini

If you were to turn on Baseball Tonight you'd think there was only one team in Chicago and that they were bound for another World Series ring – and they aren’t named the White Sox. This is obviously no surprise to the vast majority of those with any baseball knowledge in Chicago, of which they refer to themselves as White Sox fans, but what IS shocking is how little these "baseball insiders" know about the sport of baseball.

May I submit to you piece of evidence number one, the New York Yankees and Chicago Cubs. These two teams have all but been etched in stone to play in the World Series the last 3 years and why? Because these "baseball analysts" have one simple equation for computing how the best teams are: take a team from a big market and add few big name starters to lots home runs.

Hence slugging a home run is all that is needed to win a ball game offensively. Never mind every recent World Series winner has had a balanced attack with speed, contact hitting, a dose of power, and key situational fundamental hitting. This is why the Diamondback in 2001, the Angels in 2002, the Marlins in 2003, and Red Sox in 2004. This is why the Yankees and Cubs look so g**-d*** awful – they have a group of overweight, lazy sluggers that hit "station-to-station."

As far as big named pitchers are concerned, this is the obvious reason why the ESPN crew is lining up to hand Minnesota a ring – they have Johan Santana (in case their love-children on the Cubs and Yankees let them down). Never mind all these teams had depth in their rotation. Nevermind that they had stellar bullpens that could carry the load if the starters faltered. Never mind the most important thing to a pitcher is a catcher with experience, a defense you can rely on, and a consistent attack that can put up at least a few runs every night.

Why am I ranting about this if I'm talking about the Sox? Well, if you can't see why then you're name is obviously Peter Gammons or you get your sporting news from that dipshit Jay Mariotti. This is "smartball." This is what Ozzie and Kenny have been preaching. And this is EXACTLY why everyone in the media is writing off the Sox as "early-season aberrations."

There is no team in baseball that can boast someone as good as Jon Garland as their fifth starter. Our "overrated pitching" staff may be the most vastly UNDERRATED in baseball. Buehrle is probably the most overlooked pitcher in baseball. Garcia is a horse that will consistently give you quality starts. The last time El Duque was this healthy he won 17 games. If Contreras ever started trusting himself he has some of the best stuff in the American League, and Garland… well, take a look.

There is no team that have the bullpen the Sox have – Takatsu has always struggled early in the year but is lights-out come summer and fall, Marte and Hermanson can and have closed games, Politte closed for the Blue Jays before coming to the Sox, Vizcaino was ordained the Brewers next closer before being traded, and Cotts is a young kid with nasty, nasty stuff if he ever put it all together.

When was the last time you heard anyone in the media talk about defense? And I'm not talking about the Yankees lack thereof (that has gotten more coverage than 27 other team in baseball). The Sox defense should be credited greatly to the rapid improvements to this pitching staff as well – the infield is as solid as I have seen in years, if not a decade or two (okay, except Paulie). And the Sox have legitimate center fielders patrolling 2/3 of the outfield with a cannon arm in right-field.

Finally, we have a balanced attack. The Sox can FINALLY steal a base, bunt a man over, hit behind the runner – you know, actually play major league BASEBALL. If I want to see a softball team I'd go to the suburbs, but this is baseball and these are the things that win ballgames. And don't forget, this team can STILL hit 180-200 home runs without that lazy former left-fielder, whining former right-fielder, and GOD AWFUL shortstop – all of whom shall go nameless.

This team is built in the model of Marlins and Braves. I give Kenny and Ozzie props for being men and doing what needs to be done to build a winning team. True baseball fans in Chicago, i.e. Sox fans, know this change has been long overdue. We finally have a team that can compete day in and day out. We finally have a team that takes us back to our Winning Ugly and Go Go roots. We still have 137 games to go and lets hope it doesn't change.

One final point, since 2001 every team that has won the World Series has been the team with the best attitude – the team that wanted it the most, the underdogs, the truly passionate team. Now I'm a Sox fan and I confess I don't have any clue what a hometown World Series team looks like, but this team has the POTENTIAL to be something truly special. But first things first, its time to prove to these know-it-all know-nothings in the media what makes a winning baseball team.

Pat Ferrini has been a White Sox fan since his father hung a Winning Ugly poster in his cradle has continued to follow every game possible since then. After his obsession with the White Sox, his passion is watching the Cubs lose and collapse and credits Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS as one of the greatest moments in modern history. He lives in Northwest Indiana and attends DePauw University.

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