05-08-2002, 10:33 AM
Nice to see some positive luv coming from Vineline, I mean the Cubune...
05-08-2002, 10:40 AM
can you post the text? i refuse to give them my life story....
05-08-2002, 10:47 AM
ARLINGTON, Texas—The man who once ran the Texas Rangers, George W. Bush, is now in charge of the most powerful nation on earth.
The man who once ran the most powerful nation on earth, Bill Clinton, is now being touted as a talk-show host.
The man who once bit the head off a live bat on stage, Ozzy Osbourne, is now the star of a hit TV reality show.
In America, everyone seemingly wants a second act, the chance to follow a different path no matter where it goes. So it is for White Sox fans, who hope this is the season after which they finally experience their own Act II—life after a championship.
Problem is, they have seen the same first act so many times, from the Black Sox to the Go-Go Sox to the South Side Hit Men to the Winning Uglys to the Kids Can Play. Enjoyable seasons all, marked by disappointing conclusions.
After going 16-10 in April, the Sox entered Tuesday night's game with a 19-13 record, 11/2 games behind division-leading Minnesota. The health question of 2001 has been muted, with Royce Clayton's sore tooth the most prominent injury to date. The lineup is solid, the closer is back to normal and the division is very winnable.
Is it real, or just another Sox-related fantasy? Here are 10 good reasons to believe the Sox can do it.
1. One Mag Mile: Magglio Ordonez is a career .367 hitter in June with 27 home runs in 403 at-bats—one homer for every 14.9 at-bats. He hits .257 in April and .295 in May, slowly building to a crescendo when the weather heats up. But this year Ordonez is ahead of his usual pace, hitting .336 heading into Tuesday with a team-leading seven home runs and 24 RBIs. If Ordonez has one of his usual Junes, on top of his season-to-date numbers, he will be a viable candidate for most valuable player.
2. Frank's happy pills: Frank Thomas vowed in spring training he was a new man and wouldn't be upset by what was said about him on sports-talk radio or written about him in the papers. For the most part that has been the case, though Thomas was either gloomy, dejected or both after a loss during the 0-for-Oakland series. Thomas is one of six Sox with 20 or more RBIs, though he still is struggling at the plate somewhat with a .274 average. The team's success with Thomas as a complementary player instead of a superstar could be encouraging news. They learned to win without him last summer, so he no longer has the pressure of carrying the team.
3. McBuehrle: Let's review Mark Buehrle's season thus far. He ticked off Sox management in March when he decided to have his contract renewed instead of signing it. The Sox took $15,000 off the final offer and renewed him. He ticked off Sox management when he talked about the renewal to the media. He dyed his hair blond. He ticked off Detroit pitcher Jose Lima when he wiped his eyes in a "boo-hoo" manner as Lima complained to the umpires. He won his first four starts, suffered his career-worst defeat in his sixth start and leads the league with five victories. Last Friday he ticked off Oakland manager Art Howe when he said "we don't think they're that good of a team to beat us 10 games in a row." Except for the fact he's left-handed, Buehrle is turning into an updated version of Jack McDowell. It was McDowell who verbally sparred with the A's, notably Dave Stewart, during the memorable "Farewell Comiskey" season of 1990. McDowell set the tone, and the Sox of the early '90s became a dominant force.
4. Clutch Konerko: Paul Konerko has been the Clutch Cargo of the lineup, hitting .423 in late-inning situations. He finished second in April's player-of-the-month voting in the American League and is among the league leaders in hits, average and RBIs. And he's not even on the All-Star ballot.
5. Sometimes it's karma: Upon his arrival in 2001, David Wells announced he was a firm believer in karma. Over the course of the year Wells outwardly yearned for a return to the Yankees. Wells' pinstriped karma eventually came to fruition; he's now 4-1 in New York. On the flip side, Wells brought some bad karma, as evidenced by the rash of injuries while he was there, including his own. Now that Wells is gone, taking his pinstripe karma with him, the Sox are building on their own karma.
6. The wall: Royce Clayton probably should have been charged with an error Saturday when he let a grounder bounce off his chest, and it originally was called that way. But an inning later the scoring decision inexplicably was reversed and Clayton's error-free streak was kept intact at 58 games. Going into Tuesday night, the streak was at 60 games, the longest current errorless streak of any American League shortstop. But whether he committed an error against the A's or not, Clayton's fielding continues to sparkle, a necessity with so many young pitchers in the Sox's rotation. The Sox also lead the league in turning double plays, thanks mostly to the work of Clayton and Ray Durham, along with effective pitches. Clayton undergoes prolonged stretches at the plate when he's not hitting, followed by prolonged stretches when he is. Right now he's not hitting much, just like this time last year. The difference is the rest of the lineup is producing and the team is winning. Should Clayton start hitting like he did in the second half of 2001, his value to this team only increases.
7. Bottom feeders on tap: Statistically speaking, the Central Division features three of the four worst pitching staffs in the American League: Cleveland is 11th, Detroit 12th and Kansas City 13th. The Sox are already 11-4 against these three teams and will get more opportunities to knock them around all summer. The more C.C. Sabathia's weight balloons, the more it looks like the Sox and Minnesota are the only true contenders in the Central. By the time the Sox and Twins first meet, June 24, they should be the clear front-runners. By then, Minnesotans will be resurrecting the Durham quote from SoxFest 2002, when he told fans: "Honestly, I don't think the Minnesota Twins can duplicate the season they had last year. I'm not worried about them." The Sox and Twins play each other six times during the final week, including the last three in Minnesota on Sept. 27-29.
8. Foulke hero: The Sox's closer has given up one run in 13 innings over his last 11 outings, but he doesn't have many saves to show for it. After exploding in the third game in Seattle when he gave up four runs in the ninth, Foulke raised significant questions for the first time in his three seasons as closer. He since has settled down. With so many blowouts, both by and against the Sox, Foulke hasn't gotten into a reasonably normal schedule. Things should even out as the season wears on.
9. No more cam shots: The Sox are done with Seattle for the rest of the regular season, meaning the Mike Cameron-induced storm damage is over for the year, or at least until the playoffs. By that time, Jim Parque and Jon Rauch, who served up the record-tying four homers to Cameron, may be footnotes in the 2002 season.
10. Numerological logic: The Black Sox season was 1919, a year with a combination of two numbers, 1 and 9. The current season is 2002, a year with a combination of two numbers, 2 and 0. Maybe it's in the stars.
05-08-2002, 11:24 AM
May we be able to look back upon this column in November and bless Paul Sullivan as a prophet, indeed.
05-08-2002, 02:16 PM
9. No more cam shots: The Sox are done with Seattle for the rest of the regular season, meaning the Mike Cameron-induced storm damage is over for the year, or at least until the playoffs. By that time, Jim Parque and Jon Rauch, who served up the record-tying four homers to Cameron, may be footnotes in the 2002 season
We face the M's for three more games sometime after the Break, at Comiskey.
05-08-2002, 02:27 PM
Originally posted by Pete_SSAC
We face the M's for three more games sometime after the Break, at Comiskey.
Aug. 9, 10, 11.
05-09-2002, 12:30 AM
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story indicated that the White Sox don't play Seattle any more this season. They do -- and this story has been edited to reflect that.
Nice to see that Paul Sullivan does a little research before he puts these things together. :D:
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