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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

Chicago Proud
for Our Sox!

by George Bova

Here's to the '08 Sox!

by George Bova

Finally, it's over. The 2007 White Sox season is just a recent car wreck, 100 percent in the rearview mirror of Sox Fans young and old.

What took so long?

Comparing this season's level of frustration with past losing Sox seasons is mostly pointless. The 90 losses the '07 Sox piled up is the worst for any Sox team since 1989. That's a team that started the season with a loss and spent the next six months continuously in last place. That team had no aspirations of post-season glory, but this year's Sox team did. So which team was worst? What difference does it really make?

Baseball is about winning. Unlike others, Sox Fans have never needed a remedial lesson on the subject.

Sox Fans never loved the '89 team and we never loved the '07 team either. Losing has never been lovable to a Sox Fan. Get it?

This Sox team broke down early with injuries in April, then suffered a series of bullpen implosions in May that left the remainder of the season to stink and rot like a road-kill skunk. It was painful to watch... and the smell was wretched, too.

The best that can be said about 2007 is that it's over. And the next-best that can be said is that the front office wasted no time making sure the team's 2008 efforts wouldn't start by first filling the holes left by major defections.

Mark Buehrle is re-signed for four more years. Javier Vazquez is re-signed for three more years. Jose Contreras is under contract for two more years.

Jon Garland? He's next in line. While the Chicago sportsblab media will make much of his status (don't they always?), please consider this plain fact: the Sox are 3 for 4 taking care of their starting pitchers. Only Freddy Garcia is missing. And gosh! What would the Phillies have done this season without Freddy's 1-5 record and 5.90 ERA? He hasn't pitched since June 8.

Perhaps Phil Rogers will christen Freddy with the "proven workhorse" title, too? Phil gave Brandon McCarthy the same title before Brandon managed even his eighth career victory for Texas last spring.

One thing is certain, Sox Fans. It's our fate to suffer fools.

And speaking of fools, Bud Selig just christened "playoff-bound" status to a team for accomplishing the feat of eliminating another team just 2 games over .500. Is this why Bud schedules 162 regular season games? What justice is this to ballclubs who won 95+ games? Fools everywhere...

The Sox can do far worse than build their 2008 championship hopes around a core of four starting pitchers. There is very little that is "luck" about building a strong rotation, and if Kenny Williams can find just four bullpen arms to complement Bobby Jenks', the Sox pitching staff is set to dominate in a manner similar to the 2005 championship club. Perhaps this is why Kenny is talking so forcefully about staffing the Sox roster as near-complete champions, not a major rebuilding project.

As for setting a win-now mentality inside the clubhouse, Ozzie Guillen just got a 5-year deal, and A.J. Pierzynski got 2 years.

Is anyone else struck by how funny it is that Guillen is dismissed by his critics as overmatched as a manager, but he has gotten the very best from Pierzynski? And Pierzynski was labeled as a bad influence in San Francisco, the very same organization currently coddling the biggest narcissist in the game (if not the biggest cheat in the game, too) while losing 91 games.

Sox Fans will take winners, thank you.

The offense needs an upgrade. Whatever "smart ball" or "small ball" or "grinder ball" or "Ozzie ball" means to you, the 2008 Sox can be figured to stress it like never before. If getting on base and turning over the line up is what made the '05 Sox offense effective, then the loss of #2 hitter Tadahito Iguchi might also lead to the replacement of Darrin Erstad and Scott Podsednik up top, and Juan Uribe at the bottom, too. Change is in the air...

The 2008 Sox season began in earnest last July when the Kenny Williams broke all precedent and re-signed Mark Buehrle. The Sox are taking at least one more shot at the brass ring with this group, and perhaps several more, too.

Here's to the 2008 Sox and the 2008 baseball season. In this Sox Fan's opinion neither can get here fast enough.


George Bova is editor and founder of White Sox Interactive. You can write George at george@whitesoxinteractive.com

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