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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

Bum of the Week?
by Hal Vickery

More odds and ends, bits and pieces….

• Wasn’t it just last January at SoxFest that Kenny Williams and Ozzie Guillen were telling fans that the reason they had were keeping Brandon McCarthy in the bullpen was so they would have a sixth starter in case any pitchers went down with injuries, came up with a dead arm, etc.?

So last week when Jose Contreras went down with sciatica, what did they do? Why naturally they brought up Charlie Haeger from Charlotte to start in Contreras’ place! The results were predictable. Haeger showed that he wasn’t ready for the big leagues, that is, unless they change the rules so that he could pitch in only even-numbered innings.

And Brandon McCarthy? Why of course he was brilliant in his four innings of relief.

Was I the only one who was reminded of a couple of years ago when the Sox kept bringing up the “bum of the week” to act as the fifth starter?

After the game was over, some radio sportsblabber said something about how McCarthy was stretched out now because of his four innings of relief, and would start the next time around the rotation. What exactly would have happened, though if Haegar hadn’t thrown over a hundred pitches four-plus innings? Would McCarthy still be sitting in the bullpen?

It seems to me that if you have a plan, you stick with it until the evidence shows that it isn’t working. In this case, the plan was thrown aside before it was even used. As someone remarked to me at the game last Wednesday, “This reminds me of the days of Prof. Chaos.”

All, I could say is “Me, too.”

• Someone should inform Fred Huebner and Mike North that the Saturday morning show on WSCR is called White Sox Weekly. Then we wouldn’t have to listen to North calling Huebner on the show and complaining about waking up to the Cubs getting the snot kicked out of them by the Padres.

The only times the north side team should even be mentioned on that show is in relation to their playing the Sox. We also really don’t need to hear that the reason North woke up to this was because “God must have been punishing me for falling off the wagon last week.”

Someone from the Sox should remind the sportsblabbers at that station that the Sox are marketing to a family audience, and that such references (either to the Cubs or North’s boozing habits) don’t belong in team-sponsored shows.

• When is a check swing not a swing? In the mind of Dale Scott, the bat can not only break the plane of the plate but can also go around to the point at which it is nearly pointing at the pitcher. In what had to be one of the worst calls I have ever seen, Scott, the first base umpire in Saturday night’s game at Minnesota, ruled that Mark Cuddyer checked his swing when replays showed that his bat took exactly that trajectory.

To make matters worse, the call, which occurred on a 2-2 count with two out, led to a ruling by plate umpire Ron “Mea” Kulpa that Cuddyer was entitled to first base because the pitch had hit him. Had Scott ruled correctly that Cuddyer had swung, the inning would have been over. Instead, by the time it was over, the Sox were down 5-4 instead of up 4-3.

• Ozzie’s post-game tirade was interesting. Rather than complaining about the call, he went off on the inability of managers to be allowed to even argue a call without being ejected.

Guillen complained, "One thing about this league, you can't argue about anything. You argue about balks, you're out of the game. You argue about strikes, you're out of the game. You argue about checked swings, you're out of the game. You argue about hit by pitches, you're out of the game.

"What I'd like to know, whoever runs this game, send me a note and say what any manager can go out and argue with the umpire. Send me to a class, like high school, what the manager can argue. Because I don't say it was wrong or right, but I'd like to know what you can argue.

"When you go argue with the umpires and the first thing they say is you can't argue this or that, then what is my job? To make the lineup and watch the game?"

• Don Cooper, who had gone to the mound to try to settle down pitcher Javier Vazquez was ejected by Kulpa. According to Cooper, he had shouted back to the plate umpire, “That’s a swing, Ron.” That’s it. No profanity. Cooper said he was looking into the dugout, not even at Kulpa, so he wasn’t exactly trying to show up the umpire.

According to Cooper, the only other time he had been ejected from a game was in Class AA, “and I was right then, too.” Cooper added, “I can't wait to see what he writes about it. There wasn't a curse involved."

That should make for a rather interesting report.

What neither Guillen nor Cooper mentioned is that it’s hard enough to have to beat your opponents in a game, let alone having to overcome bad officiating. Saturday night, it was just too much for Vazquez and the Sox to overcome.

• We’ll be taking the next couple of weeks off to prepare and grade final exams. I don’t know if it’s age or the fact that the baseball season ran to the last week of October, but this school year seemed to fly by. Maybe part of that was also the afterglow from winning the World Series. As they say, “Time flies when you’re having fun.”

I hope to see many of you on the 22nd for the second annual “Core of the Core” patio party. If it’s anything like last year’s gathering, it will be a blast.

For everyone else, see you in June!


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 hvickery@svs.com.

More features from Hal Vickery here!

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