View Full Version : The Moron column count '02: Flubs 22, Sox 8

05-27-2002, 12:34 PM
Jay writes about the Sox and Yankees and our chances at the division title. Jay projects his own hatred toward David Wells on how Sox fans feel. Jay overestimates how much we care about David Wells. Sox fans care more about winning.

I give this one a 3.

5=Extremely positive
3=equal parts positive and negative
1=extremely negative

That makes the totals (columns/points/average points):

Flubs 22/76/3.45
Sox 8/25/3.13



Sox have bigger fish to fry

May 27, 2002


The date has been underlined for months. Unofficially, this was to have been Bash Boomer Night at Comiskey Park, a public flogging of the highest comedic kind. With fresh memories of how an overly plump and destructively opinionated David Wells stole $9.25 million last season, White Sox fans have been waiting to exact some classic South Side verbal revenge.

But do yourself a holiday favor, OK? Ignore Wells and focus on more relevant issues, such as how the Sox will fare against the always-imposing Yankees and whether they can contend for a pennant this season with Mark Buehrle as their only big-time starting pitcher. Not only is Wells missing from Joe Torre's roster of starters for the intriguing three-game set, his career appears to be in a quandary again with what he's calling a bulging disk in his lower back.

Much as misery loves company, don't give him any.

Sure, it would have been great fun watching Frank Thomas face the quack doctor who opined on his radio show that the Big Hurt was Big Skirting it. No guts, no glory? Imagine a 250-pound pitcher dodging line drives all night. Yet Boomer has enough problems these days avoiding the snipes of unnamed teammates and club officials, who suspect he's back to his partying ways and wonder if his recent back woes and weight gain are related to lifting more longnecks than free weights. Not surprisingly, given the $6 million gift he was handed by George Steinbrenner, Wells denies he's on the nocturnal prowl and fires back at the faceless, nameless clubhouse critics.

''Put in 16 years, then pop off,'' Wells responded to Newsday. ''They need to tend to their own garden. ... People can assume whatever, fine. They don't know what I'm doing. They can assume I'm getting my groove on. But I don't want to go out [at night] and do something stupid and take a chance with my back. I'm trying to get back out there.''

Sound familiar? As he nears 40, Wells is becoming baseball's Ozzy Osbourne, burned out and barely able to move while eagerly still taking the paycheck. Needless to say, the Sox don't miss his act one bit, with mouthy disciples like Jim Parque now mired in the minor leagues and Thomas trying to work out his own inconsistency as a full-time designated hitter. What this team definitely continues to lack, though, is a pitching veteran of Boomer-in-his-prime quality. This is the topic of the month--and, for that matter, the riddle of a promising season.

Entertaining and high-powered as the Sox can be, they still carry a heartbreak quality easily detected in a cursed baseball town. Just when you're tempted to declare them a serious contender--only the Red Sox, Yankees and Mariners look better at the American League's two-month pole--Todd Ritchie enters the crisis zone on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon at the ballmall. As it is, general manager Ken Williams took the civic blame last season when his grandiose trade for Wells, which sounded good at the time, flopped miserably. Could it be Williams' second season hinges on the currently shaky status of another big pitching deal: Josh Fogg, Kip Wells and Sean Lowe to Pittsburgh for Ritchie?

The Sox won't be winning the AL Central, let alone any pennants, if Ritchie keeps performing recklessly. He was rocked for a second straight start, this time by the lowly Detroit Tigers, and increasingly looks more like a major liability than a solid No. 2 starter. Sometimes you think nothing can stop the Sox, but two things clearly can. One is playing on Sunday, shown by their 1-7 record. The other is playing behind Ritchie, who is 3-6 and fading while the younger (and much cheaper) Fogg and Wells compile impressive numbers in the Pirates' rotation. ''It all starts with our starting pitching,'' manager Jerry Manuel said. ''We'll have to get that together at some point.''

At least we know Ritchie can take a punch. In the first inning, he was leveled in the face by a Robert Fick liner that would have sent most men to intensive care. As the ball careened all the way to left field, Ritchie crumpled to his knees. Was he alive? Where was the ambulance? Incredibly, he quickly pulled himself up and demanded the ball. He continued to pitch, and while the results were lackluster, his toughness can't be questioned.

Too many poor pitching starts will put too much pressure on a formidable offense. Oddly, the Sox have a way of either blowing out the competition or being blown out, as shown by closer Keith Foulke's lack of work. They are 1-20 when trailing after the sixth inning. In what is becoming a mental game, the Sox rise or fall depending on the early success or failure of their starting pitcher. That isn't a good trend when Ritchie is struggling and three kids are trying to learn on the job. Jon Garland was sensational in silencing the streaking Red Sox, but is he ready to perform consistently? Danny Wright goes tonight against someone named Mike Thurman, but solid as Wright has been of late, it wasn't long ago when the Angels were drilling him mercilessly in Anaheim.

Yes, baseball could be facing a labor stoppage, the sort of cloud that paralyzes GMs and halts sincere trade talk. But with a 1994-like public-relations nightmare possibly facing chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, the Sox would be wise to stay on the lookout for a veteran starter. These next three nights will bring sizable crowds to Comiskey, which should address Williams' ill-advised decree that attendance must soar for the Sox to spend at the trading deadline.

Perhaps a sweep of the Yankees will loosen the club's pursestrings. It's possible, with Thurman and Ted Lilly pitching the first two games and a Wednesday start by Roger Clemens offset by the opposition of Buehrle. All of which makes Boomer an afterthought. Sox fans have seethed while reading stories of the new Wells, the fitness-conscious Wells, the Wells who dropped from a high of 276 pounds to a relatively svelte 238, the Wells who traded in burgers and beer for veggies and bottled water. Why couldn't he be bothered to take care of himself last season?

Consider it a bad dream. The Sox have moved on to bigger dreams that require your full energy and attention. Lower the Boomer Night?

Let it go.