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View Full Version : Spark, spirit, and smarts


ArkanSox
05-23-2007, 09:41 AM
What was it that captivated White Sox fans during the 2005 championship season? In this fan's case, it was a combination of spirit and smarts.

About a month into the 2005 season, I could tell that the Sox were a special team. Obviously, the pitching was great, but the spark they played with that year was the real clincher. On offense their speed, aggression, and execution broke down the opponent's pitcher and defense to the point of panic. The Sox moved runners along and wasted few opportunities to take a lead and hold it. With solid pitching, stellar defense, a big bop here or there, and new-found flamethrower Bobby Jenks sealing the deal, the White Sox played with smarts and unabound enthusiasm. Obviously having fun, Chicago's very own Boys of Summer were simply a joy to behold.

Last year and so far this season, their spark has been sputtering. The pitchng is still great, but as any Sox fan can tell you, there's been something missing.

Speed? Spark? Pods being out of the lineup is one thing, but it's something more. Or something less.
Less execution. Less enthusiasm. Less smarts.

Watching the 2007 edition of the White Sox has been more than a bit painful because they have that potential to be so much better. Many WSI contributors have called for Ozzie's head, but I truly don't feel that's the solution. I have a lot of respect for Guillen as a manager and think that he's more than proven himself. His players are grown men, professionals. Soulless attention whores like North and Mariotti are trying to appoint him as their daddy, or referree.

I think that the healing has to come from within. When Ozuna, subbing for Crede, doesn't realize that he has a force play at third, he needs to be called out on it, not just by Guillen, but by his teammates. Gamers like Konerko, Pierzynski, Erstad, Crede, Dye, and Podsednik meed to take control of this team.

Spirit? Smarts? A. J. Pierzynski. He plays the game with enthusiam and smarts. Though a plodder, he runs bases better than most of our faster guys. He should be this team's captain. His enthusiasm needs to rub off on some of the others. Duh, he wants to play.

Despite the recent bullpen meltdowns, the Sox definately have the arms to win it all again this year. Despite their anemic start at the plate, they definately have the hitters to go all the way.
Will Pods be the spark?
When will they rekindle that championship spirit?

RockyMtnSoxFan
05-23-2007, 11:42 AM
I agree with you all the way. The 2005 season was really special, and I think that we Sox fans didn't realize what it meant. We mostly responded with "Great, let's do it again," without taking the time to savor the magic of '05.

That said, I've noticed the absence of "spark" as you call it. I think it can be traced to a difference in offensive strategy. In 2005, the Sox did not score very many runs compared to the league leaders, so they had to rely on a team effort to win. This meant sacrificing, hitting behind the runner, doing whatever was necessary. Beginning with last season, they have come to rely on home runs to win. They seem to be either trying to hit a 3-run HR, or waiting around for someone else to do it. The fundamentals are awful, even when they are attempted. It has become a group of individuals rather than a tight-knit team.

As far as Pods being the spark, we can only hope. If he could return to the form of early 2005, he might be able to do it. However, I doubt he will be anything more than a shadow of his former self. This is the third time in just under two years that he's had groin related problems, and I'd be surprised if he can run like he used to. I certainly hope he can, though.

Iwritecode
05-23-2007, 12:25 PM
I think that the healing has to come from within. When Ozuna, subbing for Crede, doesn't realize that he has a force play at third, he needs to be called out on it, not just by Guillen, but by his teammates. Gamers like Konerko, Pierzynski, Erstad, Crede, Dye, and Podsednik meed to take control of this team.

Unless we're in the dugout or clubhouse with them, we don't know if this happens or not. It's possible that Ozuna was called out on that play, but they surely aren't going to tell us about it.

ewokpelts
05-23-2007, 12:47 PM
What was it that captivated White Sox fans during the 2005 championship season? In this fan's case, it was a combination of spirit and smarts.

About a month into the 2005 season, I could tell that the Sox were a special team. Obviously, the pitching was great, but the spark they played with that year was the real clincher. On offense their speed, aggression, and execution broke down the opponent's pitcher and defense to the point of panic. The Sox moved runners along and wasted few opportunities to take a lead and hold it. With solid pitching, stellar defense, a big bop here or there, and new-found flamethrower Bobby Jenks sealing the deal, the White Sox played with smarts and unabound enthusiasm. Obviously having fun, Chicago's very own Boys of Summer were simply a joy to behold.

Last year and so far this season, their spark has been sputtering. The pitchng is still great, but as any Sox fan can tell you, there's been something missing.

Speed? Spark? Pods being out of the lineup is one thing, but it's something more. Or something less.
Less execution. Less enthusiasm. Less smarts.

Watching the 2007 edition of the White Sox has been more than a bit painful because they have that potential to be so much better. Many WSI contributors have called for Ozzie's head, but I truly don't feel that's the solution. I have a lot of respect for Guillen as a manager and think that he's more than proven himself. His players are grown men, professionals. Soulless attention whores like North and Mariotti are trying to appoint him as their daddy, or referree.

I think that the healing has to come from within. When Ozuna, subbing for Crede, doesn't realize that he has a force play at third, he needs to be called out on it, not just by Guillen, but by his teammates. Gamers like Konerko, Pierzynski, Erstad, Crede, Dye, and Podsednik meed to take control of this team.

Spirit? Smarts? A. J. Pierzynski. He plays the game with enthusiam and smarts. Though a plodder, he runs bases better than most of our faster guys. He should be this team's captain. His enthusiasm needs to rub off on some of the others. Duh, he wants to play.

Despite the recent bullpen meltdowns, the Sox definately have the arms to win it all again this year. Despite their anemic start at the plate, they definately have the hitters to go all the way.
Will Pods be the spark?
When will they rekindle that championship spirit?for me, it was winning 99 games, and going 11-1 in the postseason.


winning makes them captivating.

RockyMtnSoxFan
05-23-2007, 02:01 PM
for me, it was winning 99 games, and going 11-1 in the postseason.


winning makes them captivating.

Sure, anyone would agree with you. But that year they seemed to be capable of winning every game. You always felt that, even if they were behind, they could come back at any moment and score just enough runs to win. This year -- the last few games excluded -- any time the Sox are down by more than a couple of runs, it seems like an insurmountable deficit. There's just something missing.

WhiteSox5187
05-23-2007, 02:12 PM
Sure, anyone would agree with you. But that year they seemed to be capable of winning every game. You always felt that, even if they were behind, they could come back at any moment and score just enough runs to win. This year -- the last few games excluded -- any time the Sox are down by more than a couple of runs, it seems like an insurmountable deficit. There's just something missing.
I think that this team is starting to click. Maybe I'm crazy, but I think there is going to be something special about this team. We're playing better sound baseball this year, and I think that the loss of Thome almost helped unite this team. It was like "Okay, we lost our big guy, we gotta grind it out now" (I know that's a cliche, but that's what they did). This team HAS come from behind a lot and now they're starting to hit. If the starting pitching keeps up like this, this is going to be a GREAT year. Since we've lost Scotty we don't have the speed threat we once did, but guys like Erstad are heads up running the bases, Ozuna is good running the bases (although Ozuna is not the guy you want out there everyday). There will never be a team like the 2005 team in White Sox history ever again, that team was just so special and unique and will always have a fond place in our hearts. 2007 is going to have a different charecter and could yield the same results. It all comes down to our pitching.

RockyMtnSoxFan
05-23-2007, 02:34 PM
I think that this team is starting to click. Maybe I'm crazy, but I think there is going to be something special about this team. We're playing better sound baseball this year, and I think that the loss of Thome almost helped unite this team. It was like "Okay, we lost our big guy, we gotta grind it out now" (I know that's a cliche, but that's what they did). This team HAS come from behind a lot and now they're starting to hit. If the starting pitching keeps up like this, this is going to be a GREAT year. Since we've lost Scotty we don't have the speed threat we once did, but guys like Erstad are heads up running the bases, Ozuna is good running the bases (although Ozuna is not the guy you want out there everyday). There will never be a team like the 2005 team in White Sox history ever again, that team was just so special and unique and will always have a fond place in our hearts. 2007 is going to have a different charecter and could yield the same results. It all comes down to our pitching.

Exactly how I feel. I also hope you're right about this year's team starting to come around. If they can learn to win without Thome, then he becomes just another weapon and not the backbone of the offense. I think that will make them much stronger in the long run. But I think your last statement was correct: pitching is the most important. With the way the starters have been going this year, I think they have a decent shot.

eriqjaffe
05-23-2007, 04:45 PM
With the way the starters have been going this year, I think they have a decent shot."

They've managed to stay afloat - over .500, in fact - while hitting around 20 points lower than the next worst hitting team in the AL. If this team can hit league average (currently .262) or higher (which they are certainly capable of) down the stretch, there should be no stopping them.

nlentz88
05-23-2007, 04:51 PM
With the way the starters have been going this year, I think they have a decent shot.

Seriously. And if Danks keeps up his pace, maybe this time around Kenny will get the GM of the Year award he deserved in 2005.

JB98
05-23-2007, 04:55 PM
Sure, anyone would agree with you. But that year they seemed to be capable of winning every game. You always felt that, even if they were behind, they could come back at any moment and score just enough runs to win. This year -- the last few games excluded -- any time the Sox are down by more than a couple of runs, it seems like an insurmountable deficit. There's just something missing.

They're missing that chip on the shoulder. I hope some of the bull**** that was written about them during the Cubs series will bring it back.

In 2005, the Sox played like a team that had something to prove. There were several individuals who were castoffs from other organizations. Everyone played with an attitude. The 2005 season was a big, collective "**** you" to all the critics, to other organizations that had given up on certain individuals. The critics are still hanging around in 2007. Let's hope our team decides to say "**** you" to those people again.

ewokpelts
05-24-2007, 09:18 AM
Sure, anyone would agree with you. But that year they seemed to be capable of winning every game. You always felt that, even if they were behind, they could come back at any moment and score just enough runs to win. This year -- the last few games excluded -- any time the Sox are down by more than a couple of runs, it seems like an insurmountable deficit. There's just something missing.
i was sure they'd win every game, until august happened. and most of september.

rdwj
05-24-2007, 09:32 AM
I think it’s easy to look back on 2005 and say that you saw something special. I know that was true in the beginning of the year, but post-all-star break, there was MORE than enough complaining and whining to go around. There were points in the season where that team had NO spark and MANY people thought they would either be caught by Cleveland or get swept in the playoffs.

The funny thing is most of the complaints are the same – Ozzie is over-managing, we’re too reliant on the long ball, we play the bench too much, blah, blah, blah. The truth is that the team we’re watching now has more talent than 2005. If this team gets hot, there is no reason that they shouldn’t make the playoffs.

It’s fun to romanticize the past, but if you REALLY sit back and think about it, there were just as many questions marks about that team as there are about this team. The only difference is that you know how that season ended.

ewokpelts
05-24-2007, 09:35 AM
I think it’s easy to look back on 2005 and say that you saw something special. I know that was true in the beginning of the year, but post-all-star break, there was MORE than enough complaining and whining to go around. There were points in the season where that team had NO spark and MANY people thought they would either be caught by Cleveland or get swept in the playoffs.

The funny thing is most of the complaints are the same – Ozzie is over-managing, we’re too reliant on the long ball, we play the bench too much, blah, blah, blah. The truth is that the team we’re watching now has more talent than 2005. If this team gets hot, there is no reason that they shouldn’t make the playoffs.

It’s fun to romanticize the past, but if you REALLY sit back and think about it, there were just as many questions marks about that team as there are about this team. The only difference is that you know how that season ended.exactamundo.

eriqjaffe
05-24-2007, 11:42 AM
I think it’s easy to look back on 2005 and say that you saw something special. I know that was true in the beginning of the year, but post-all-star break, there was MORE than enough complaining and whining to go around. There were points in the season where that team had NO spark and MANY people thought they would either be caught by Cleveland or get swept in the playoffs.

The funny thing is most of the complaints are the same – Ozzie is over-managing, we’re too reliant on the long ball, we play the bench too much, blah, blah, blah. The truth is that the team we’re watching now has more talent than 2005. If this team gets hot, there is no reason that they shouldn’t make the playoffs.

It’s fun to romanticize the past, but if you REALLY sit back and think about it, there were just as many questions marks about that team as there are about this team. The only difference is that you know how that season ended.I think the main difference between this year and 2005 is that the '05 team started out hot, even with critical components misfiring horribly - remember how poorly Konerko & Dye started out? Yet the Sox still charged out of the gate. They set an MLB record by having the lead at some point in each of their first 37 games with those guys hitting something like .220. Granted, it was really just those two guys...

We didn't really have to worry until pretty darn late in the year, by which point we already had seen enough good things happen to have plenty of "this is a glitch" optimism.

This year, pretty much all we've seen has been discouraging piled on top of more discouraging, and that's going to color our view of this team for the rest of the year. Every time they get hot, we're going to wonder, "when are they going to start sucking again?"

WhiteSox5187
05-24-2007, 01:35 PM
I think the main difference between this year and 2005 is that the '05 team started out hot, even with critical components misfiring horribly - remember how poorly Konerko & Dye started out? Yet the Sox still charged out of the gate. They set an MLB record by having the lead at some point in each of their first 37 games with those guys hitting something like .220. Granted, it was really just those two guys...

We didn't really have to worry until pretty darn late in the year, by which point we already had seen enough good things happen to have plenty of "this is a glitch" optimism.

This year, pretty much all we've seen has been discouraging piled on top of more discouraging, and that's going to color our view of this team for the rest of the year. Every time they get hot, we're going to wonder, "when are they going to start sucking again?"

I remember my dad, who is a big pessimist (as am I), kept asking "When are we going to fall apart?" in '05. When we started to stumble in the second half my dad kept saying "Well maybe we were just playing over our heads in the first half. Maybe we're not that good." So I think that pessimism was still around in '05. I think White Sox fans are used to being pessimisitc because we've seen really good teams stumble before like in 1963, 1983, 1984, 1990, 1991 etc. those were some good teams that just came up a bit short and I think there was this feeling of "Oh no! Here we go again!" as the Indians just went crazy in the second half of '05.

Obviously this year the Central is a lot better than it was in '05, and it would have been nice to come flying out of the gate, but ya know what? We kept our heads above water. We looked like crap too. We're only 4 out and we've looked pretty lousy for most of the season, if that's how this team plays while they suck then man, I can't wait to see how they play when they get hot. And they will. They will hit, they already have started hitting (they got beat last night by a good young pitcher). If they keep pitching like this, this team will be playing in October. They may have given a couple members heart attacks, but they will be playing in the playoffs. I guarentee it. Small ball is overrated, to an extent, in '05 we hit over 200 HRs and had a lot of HR hitters in that line up (and Thome is a huge improvement over Everret, thank you very much) but we won that year not because we manufactured runs (we DID do that) but because our pitching was so great. And we didn't make it last year because our pitching sucked in the second half. Offense wasn't the problem last year. And so far it has been the problem this year which is good because the one thing I know this team can do is hit.

ArkanSox
05-24-2007, 02:32 PM
I think it’s easy to look back on 2005 and say that you saw something special. I know that was true in the beginning of the year, but post-all-star break, there was MORE than enough complaining and whining to go around. There were points in the season where that team had NO spark and MANY people thought they would either be caught by Cleveland or get swept in the playoffs.

The funny thing is most of the complaints are the same – Ozzie is over-managing, we’re too reliant on the long ball, we play the bench too much, blah, blah, blah. The truth is that the team we’re watching now has more talent than 2005. If this team gets hot, there is no reason that they shouldn’t make the playoffs.

It’s fun to romanticize the past, but if you REALLY sit back and think about it, there were just as many questions marks about that team as there are about this team. The only difference is that you know how that season ended.
Yeah, I guess I did have rose-colored glasses on. Thanks, guys, for the comments and insight. No doubt there were some scarey, flat streaks that year also, especially down the stretch with Cleveland.
Hopefully we can get hot and put it all together soon.

eriqjaffe
05-24-2007, 02:38 PM
I really think the 2005 team was something different, though. We had the whole "Under The Radar" thing going, nobody expected the Sox to accomplish anything (BP pegged the Sox as a 72-win team, Pierzynski's gonna be a cancer and everybody's gonna hate him, "Lee for Podsednik, is KW insane?", etc.) and then they just came charging out of the gate, and were in every single game, even when they lost.

For me, at least, it seemed like something special was up even before opening day. The reports of Buehrle breaking his foot, and then he goes out and blanks Cleveland on opening day in like a 14 minute long game.

Sure, there was a certain amount of "oh, crap, we're gonna blow it" in August and September, but I can think of two words that should have reminded us all what a special season it was.

JOE! CREDE!!!!!That walk-off put any doubts in my mind to rest.

Then again, I posted a long-winded "the Sox are done" post on another message board after they dropped 2 of 3 to the Royals a week or two before that game...

Hitmen77
05-24-2007, 02:54 PM
It’s fun to romanticize the past, but if you REALLY sit back and think about it, there were just as many questions marks about that team as there are about this team. The only difference is that you know how that season ended.

As others have said, excellent point.

I think this year's team is starting to come together and will be impressive when its pitching and offense is clicking at the same time. We just need to stay away from those injuries.