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Lip Man 1
06-02-2008, 12:58 PM
Many of you know that Dave Wills, former pre and post game host for the Sox is the Rays play by play announcer. He's also a long time friend of WSI and of yours truly and I asked him, since he has some distance from the club, not only what he saw this weekend but also what he thinks about this team.

He was kind enough to get back to me and I wanted to share with you his thoughts.

Feel free to discuss:
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Mark,

Good to hear from you and things are just fine down in Tampa Bay.

As far as the White Sox offense... I think offense is down EVERYWHERE!!!

There are several reasons... I think the AL has some great pitchers...and especially young ones, that hitters don't have a book on yet... The Rays have already pitched around 20 games where they have allowed 2 runs or less.

Some others believe that with the advent of steroid testing etc... that the offensive players aren't getting the extra "help" they had in the past.

Watching the White Sox this weekend and back in April...the lack of speed is a concern...but I am more concerned with the lack of enjoyment I witnessed this weekend...even in the win on Thursday it seemed like it was more of a relief than fun...Ozzie talks about the pressure of playing in Chicago...its the manager's and coaching staffs duties to try and deflect it...and watching them this weekend they add to it...even Coop does that with the pitching staff.

I think the White Sox have a good enough team to win the AL Central... even one of our staff members said they were the best team we have played this season... I still think the Red Sox are better...I asked Joe Maddon if he sees anything different with Thome, Konerko and Swisher... he thinks Thome and Konerko still have the same swings they always had... he just has never seen Swisher chase so many bad pitches.

As that legendary band "Frankie Goes To Hollywood" said... RELAX!!! The weather is warming up...U.S. Cellular Field is about to become its usual summer launching pad...the White Sox will score runs...if your bullpen holds up (and I have a few concerns about that) the White Sox should be the 2008 AL Central Champs...and the MLB playoffs are getting more and more like March Madness...you gotta get in it to win it...you get hot at the right time and look out!

Talk to you soon,
Dave
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To me the key point in his comments (something I hadn't thought about) was his talking about the coaches deflecting pressure off the players and also that he didn't think they were doing a very good job of it right now. "They add to it" he said. Plus his notation that the players weren't having fun.

Two secondary comments that I noticed was his talk about lack of speed and his thought that he wasn't sure if the bullpen could keep it up the way the have been.

Anyway the floor is now yours.

Lip

Madvora
06-02-2008, 01:03 PM
even in the win on Thursday it seemed like it was more of a relief than fun...

I would disagree about that first win. I felt really good about the team after that one. I think WSI did too.
Danks pitched outstanding and Thome, Konerko and Cabrera each had two hits and an RBI each.

http://www.sportsline.com/mlb/gamecenter/recap/MLB_20080529_CHW@TB

Lip Man 1
06-02-2008, 01:09 PM
Mad:

I don't think Dave in his comments was talking about the fans being relieved over the win, I think he was talking specifically about the Sox players themselves.

Given that he was there and probably talked to some of them before and after the game I found that reference (i.e. along with his coaches comment) very interesting.

Lip

Madvora
06-02-2008, 01:09 PM
Mad:

I don't think Dave in his comments was talking about the fans being relieved over the win, I think he was talking specifically about the Sox players themselves.

Given that he was there and probably talked to some of them before and after the game I found that reference (i.e. along with his coaches comment) very interesting.

Lip
Yeah I figured he was talking about the team and Ozzie, but they were very much in control that game. I don't know why they would be relieved to win it.

CHISOXFAN13
06-02-2008, 01:12 PM
I don't understand his comment about Thursday either. That was a pretty comfortable win, one that was never in jeopardy. From watching it, I didn't see a sense of relief at all. The Sox were coming off a nice road series win in Cleveland as well, so it's not like they were trying to stop a losing streak of some kind.

KyWhiSoxFan
06-02-2008, 01:16 PM
Lip.

Thanks for posting that reply from Dave Wills. It's nice to get some outside perspective.

What he says about the Sox being able to contend till the end of the season is correct, and that is what is driving everyone here crazy. We can see the Sox have the pitching to be competitive in every game; it's the lack of hitting, situational hitting, and lack of speed on the basepaths that is dragging the team back toward .500.

JohnTucker0814
06-02-2008, 01:26 PM
I understand that it is the coaches job to deflect negative media, but I think Ozzie has tried everything he can to deflect negative attention and putting pressure on the players. Up until last night he has ALWAYS backed Konerko, Thome & Swisher... saying we need to stay the course these guys will come out of it. He has moved them around in the line-up but not once has he benched them for long periods of time. He has stood behind his players and tried to deflect the critics. But how can he deflect it when it continues for 2 months...

One thing that disturbed me about responses was Konerko. Saying that "the effort is there"... Ya think? Effort is not enough... it shouldn't be enough either! Ozuna gives maximum effort every play, but does he have a starting job... NO! Results are what matters. I don't give a **** if Konerko, Thome and Swisher are busting their ass and giving maximum effort... RESULTS! Start doing what you're being paid to do, drive in runs, get on base, etc. You are not being paid to give effort... because if you were I'd have a job at the major league level! There is a problem if your not giving full effort all the time... quit using that as an excuse!

now my rant is over!

Lip Man 1
06-02-2008, 01:29 PM
John:

I do agree with you. It's a results business. Anyone can try but as John Wayne once said in a movie, "trying don't get it done..."

Lip

cws05champ
06-02-2008, 01:56 PM
Very interesting perspective, especially the part about them not having any fun. I think that is the reason we could least afford to have Swisher slumping like he is. He is a "clubhouse" guy and a personality that could help keep things light and less tense. When you are going good or just producing to career norms your clubhouse affect may take, however, when you are slumping the same personality come off poorly. Maybe he is not interacting the way he normally does because of this bad stretch he's in.

I wasn't happy with Ozzie's rant to the media considering they are still in 1st place. It should have been kept internally, but you start calling out players/GM in the media it may have the opposite effect than what he desires. Lets hope any changes work poitively and we start to turn the offense around.

thedudeabides
06-02-2008, 02:25 PM
Lip,

Thanks for posting that. It's always nice to hear an outsiders point of view, although I know he is not completely objective.

I miss tipping back a couple of beers at TC's with him. :gulp:

Madvora
06-02-2008, 02:39 PM
I wasn't happy with Ozzie's rant to the media considering they are still in 1st place. It should have been kept internally, but you start calling out players/GM in the media it may have the opposite effect than what he desires. Lets hope any changes work poitively and we start to turn the offense around.
I was happy with the rant. It made me get over the loss a lot quicker because I took it as a "don't worry, we're not going to be doing this anymore" type of thing.
I would have been a lot more pissed if they continued saying the same crap. Of course I first understood it to mean that Ozzie and KW already had a plan in place, but after KW responded to Ozzie's comments, it looks like there might be another problem now.

The thing that I think implicated Walker is that Ozzie mentioned the batting slump for 2 years now. He didn't just mention failing to hit in the series. There's only one reason he'd mention a 2 year hitting slump.

Bill Naharodny
06-02-2008, 02:40 PM
John:

I do agree with you. It's a results business. Anyone can try but as John Wayne once said in a movie, "trying don't get it done..."

Lip

Or, as I was once told by a wise person: "Never confuse effort with accomplishment."

infohawk
06-02-2008, 02:48 PM
I'm no hitting coach, but I've noticed that Swisher hardly ever swings at the first pitch. Not necessarily a bad thing for a selective hitter, but it seems like pitchers know he likes to work counts, and therefore they get ahead of him by grooving a pitch down the middle. He's watched a lot of good first pitches sail by. I wonder if it would help him to turn on a few of those. He would either mash the ball around the yard, or, at the very least, make pitchers think twice about grabbing such an easy first strike.

Regarding Thome, if he's getting busted inside, why isn't he moving further off the plate?

By the way, great post, Lip!

russ99
06-02-2008, 02:55 PM
One thing that disturbed me about responses was Konerko. Saying that "the effort is there"... Ya think? Effort is not enough... it shouldn't be enough either! Ozuna gives maximum effort every play, but does he have a starting job... NO! Results are what matters. I don't give a **** if Konerko, Thome and Swisher are busting their ass and giving maximum effort... RESULTS! Start doing what you're being paid to do, drive in runs, get on base, etc. You are not being paid to give effort... because if you were I'd have a job at the major league level! There is a problem if your not giving full effort all the time... quit using that as an excuse!

Actually I think that's a big part of the problem. These guys need to relax and just see and hit the ball. I don't know if it's pressure or expectations, but all this "effort" has them squeezing the bats too hard.

This is my main complaint with Walker, it's doesn't matter how much work they put in, until they go to the plate relaxed with a clear mindset of what they can do, the slumps will continue.

Ziggy S
06-02-2008, 03:01 PM
Do or do not. There is no try.

kaufsox
06-02-2008, 05:10 PM
Do or do not. There is no try.

Zig, Iraq? really? take care of yourself thoughts and prayers mate, thoughts and prayers.

Lip-

Thanks for Willsy's comments. I think I'm the last happy man standing these days. The sox are in 1st place and its June. I'll admit it, I did not pick the Sox to win the division this year, I figured 80-83 wins. Now, if the Tigers and Indians keep playing poorly, and the Sox play around the same level or just slightly better those 80-83 wins get bumped up to 85-88, good enough to win the division. I still don't think its a 90+ win team. So, I'm top of the table and havin' a laugh. I wish some of my fellow fans would join me. With all of that, this team is going to go through stretches like this weekend, no need to panic. Now, where did I put those rose-colored glasses...