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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

Collared Kitties!
by Hal Vickery

There’s just one problem with writing this column when I do. I never know the outcome of weekend series. That’s because I usually write these on Sunday mornings, as I am doing right now. So as you read this, you have one up on me. I don’t know whether the Sox are 5.5 or 7.5 games behind the Tigers.

What I do know is that after facing the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Azusa, and Cucamonga in a make-up game Monday night, they were ten behind the Tigers. That was before they beat the Yankees two out of three and took the first two games against the Tigers. Those last two Sox victories increased the Tigers’ losing streak to four games.

The encouraging sign is that in the past week, no losses were incurred by Javy Vazquez or Mark Buehrle. Granted, Vazquez struggled in his win Thursday night, throwing 110 pitches over five innings, but he was still able to hold the Yankees to just two runs, leaving with the lead.

Buehrle’s performance Saturday afternoon was his best in recent memory. You know something is going right when he of the 88 mph fastball strikes out seven Tigers in the first three innings. Still, the gopher ball continued to haunt him, as it has many on this staff.

After Juan Uribe failed to execute what would have been an inning-ending double play, Buehrle ended up giving up a three-run dinger. Fortunately the Sox came right back after a couple of Tigers defensive lapses.

Another good sign is that the Sox are starting to win one-run games again. That was one of their greatest strengths last year, and it has been anything but that this year. However, from Tuesday through Saturday the Sox were involved in four one-run games and won three of them.

Another encouraging sign is that the Tigers have shown a chink in their armor. As mentioned before, they are, as this is written, in the midst of a four-game losing streak. This is their longest such streak since April.

The Tigers are not anywhere near experienced in contending for a championship. They’ve seen a ten-game lead diminish to just 6.5 in five days. Now is the time we’ll find out if Jim Leyland can convince them that they’re a better team than either the Sox or the Twins.

If he can, then the Sox will have to settle for competing for the Wild Card. If he can’t, then the Tigers will find their collars tightening as the Sox start breathing down their necks. The next seven weeks could be mighty interesting.

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I mentioned last week that the Windy City Sox Fans had received a donation from WCKG’s Steve Dahl of two Scout Seat Tickets. Those seats were auctioned at their luncheon Friday. The tickets and parking passes were sold for $470.00.

That money will be part of the WCSF’s donation to Chicago Baseball Cancer Charities in January, 2007.

Windy City Sox Fans would like to thank Steve Dahl for generously donating his tickets and Pat Dahl for coming up with the idea. Both have been made honorary members of the fan club.

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Speaking of the Windy City Sox Fans, they received a very pleasant surprise when Sox bullpen coach Art Kusnyer showed up unexpectedly. It seems that a friend of his is a member of the club, and Art asked him what he was doing Friday afternoon. The friend mentioned the luncheon, and Art asked if he could tag along.

He might have gotten a little more than he bargained for because he ended up being part of a group of coaches being interviewed on stage. Kusnyer shared the stage with guests Tim Raines and Joey Cora. All three coaches were interviewed by WSCR’s Chris Rongey who was resplendent in a lime green shirt. (Hi, Chris!)

Also attending the luncheon was Sox marketing director Brooks Boyer who was interviewed after the coaches had to leave for the ballpark. Danielle Disch, community relations manager for the Sox, accompanied Raines and Cora.


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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