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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

Contreras Rx?
by Hal Vickery

Odds and ends, bits and pieces…

For both of you who might have wondered where I’ve been all this time, here’s the explanation. There seems to be a rumor out there that teachers take the summer off and have a three month vacation. In my case, this couldn’t be further from the truth, and this is true of most of the teachers I know and work with.

Many of us attend classes, a requirement to fulfill state and Federal mandates. Others of us work jobs to help make ends meet. I have to say, I haven’t been doing either this summer. I’ve spent most of my time since June 11 (the Monday after school was dismissed) working on lesson plans for next year, in particular a new second-year chemistry course which our school now seems to be large enough to support.

This involved making lessons plans, setting up Power Point presentations, and writing worksheets for topic-related activities. When I finished with that, I decided that I wanted to extensively revise another course by making new Power Point presentations. I finished that project this past Friday.

So now I won’t be spending seven days a week sitting in front of a computer for four to eight hours revamping courses. I actually might get a little over two weeks of real vacation time before school is back in session on August 24.

Now to the White Sox….

Have you ever noticed how whenever a team goes bad due to injuries, the players invariably say, “Injuries are no excuse”? How many times have we heard this just this season regarding the Sox. As a result of this old adage, we’ve heard many complaints about the bad team that Kenny Williams put together. We’ve also started to hear rumblings that maybe Ozzie Guillen isn’t as good a manager as fans thought.

I have been spending a little time at the WSI message boards during breaks this summer, and I’ve seen the complaints about Ozzie and about Kenny Williams. I’ve listened to some of the complaints on the Sox postgame show.

I have just one question for all of the fans who think they are baseball experts. Just exactly how would you manage a team where your number one and two hitters have spent two months or so on the disabled list and where your All-Star caliber third baseman is out for the year? Just exactly how do you manage a team where one-third of your lineup is out due to injury?

Now I’m not going to completely exonerate Kenny Williams for the mess that the Sox have been for the past few months. He is the one who put together the bullpen that has repeatedly failed so miserably time and time again.

However, let’s put this in perspective. I had a talk with Chris Rongey a little over a week ago, and he said something that I had also been thinking. “What were people worried about at the start of the season? Was it the bullpen? No, everybody thought the starting rotation was suspect.”

I couldn’t disagree with him because I was in that camp, too. As it turned out, the only starter who has been really bad was the one I feared most for, Jose Contreras. People have speculated that Contreras might be injured. Apparently he isn’t because instead of going on the DL, he has simply been demoted to the bullpen.

What’s wrong with Contreras? I’m not a doctor, and I’m not a gerontologist, but from watching the game since 1955, my best guess is that age has finally caught up with him. This sometimes happens when pitchers are around thirty-five years old, which Contreras claims to be. If he’s as old as some observers think he really is, it’s almost a certainty that age has caught up with him.

As usual I’d like to put in a plug for the third and final Windy City Sox Fans “Lunch Bunch” meeting, scheduled for this coming Friday, August 10. Those who attended the luncheon on July 27 featuring Matt Thornton and Ryan Bukvich were impressed with the candor and sense of humor these two relievers showed.

The Sox have been unable to let us know who the guests will be this week. They will probably find out Tuesday when the team returns home. As soon as I find out, I’ll be posting it at the top of the “Sox Clubhouse” message board here at WSI. Chris Rongey will be back as emcee, so you can be sure that as soon as he knows, he’ll let everybody know on his postgame show.

The luncheon is $35.00 for WCSF members, $45.00 for non-members, and $25.00 for kids age ten and under. As usual it will be held at the Old Eagle Banquet Hall at the Polo Café, 3322 S. Morgan in the Bridgeport neighborhood, about a mile west of U.S. Cellular Field. The festivities start at 11:30 a.m. and will wrap up at about 1:30 p.m.

For more information, including the names of the guests when they are announced, and to make reservations (required), call the WCSF Info Line at (708) 424-8500.


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

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