OK…Make the pain go away…Please! White Sox baseball has not—I repeat: NOT—been very fun to follow.
When the pitching has been good—and for the most part it has been good—the defense and hitting have been anything but! And when things appear to be working well and under control, some late-inning bullpen implosion turns things into another miserable outcome.
And that is exactly what this opening month of the White Sox 2013 season has been, and they now find themselves mired in the American League Central Division’s basement, four-and-a-half games out of first place. And though that doesn’t sound like such an insurmountable number of games (they have come back from much larger deficits in the past), the trends that are becoming clearly evident are disturbing and don’t bode very well for a very fun season ahead.
And from a fan’s viewpoint, the White Sox are bordering on being categorized as “unwatchable” (my son’s term!) and I would have to agree. Call me jaded or whatever, but I have not devoted much of my time thus far in the first month of the season to tune in to the games—radio or TV—for any extended period of time. And this from a person who would watch every single broadcast minute—commercials and all—in similarly sad seasons past!
Maybe I’ve been spending more productive time these days and nights on my writing projects (two new short stories available on Amazon Kindle Editions (“Hobo Willie” and “Pinewood Farm” and my second novel titled THE BET to be published this summer) to get too caught up in the perils of the Chicago White Sox.
I would like to think that the early-season’s dismal weather played a big role in the Sox’ inability to make routine plays and to commit ridiculous base running gaffes. But that’s an easy cop-out. Besides, the weather was the same for the teams the White Sox were being way-too-generous to! And thinking with my head, instead of my heart, I’m beginning to realize that maybe the rest of the teams in the Division are simply more talented and have exploited the Sox’ weaknesses over and over again because they are better managed and have systems that work much better.
I’ll be fair, though, and mention that the White Sox have been bitten by the injury bug (as every other team has from time to time) but it only magnifies their lack of depth on the bench. I like to think that whoever is in the lineup is capable of living up to Major League standards and being able to demonstrate fundamentally sound principles in hitting and fielding. When that goes out the window, it adds to the frustration and I don’t feel compelled to stick with a game after that. That’s what it has been so far.
It didn’t help that the team did nothing to improve in areas that clearly needed improving going into this season. For several years now catching has not been one of the team’s assets, although A.J. Pierzynski did a solid job behind the plate (mostly), even though he couldn’t throw out my mother! Once he left to become a Texas Ranger, the door was open for the Sox powers-that-be to find a suitable replacement.
I know, it’s easier said than done, and sometimes the type of player needed is just not available. No team wants to give up a blue chip front line player, and the Sox figured that what they had would be good enough to carry them through.
But the current two catchers, Tyler Flowers and Hector Gimenez, are failing to excite the few fans who show up at the park or tune in to the broadcasts. Yeah, Flowers hit some long homers the first week of the season, but his failure to do much more than strike out in key situations since then has become routine. I don’t know much about Gimenez, but he isn’t up there in the pantheon of players who make me want to scurry out to the old ballpark anytime soon!
And the veterans who should be doing something much more at the plate and on defense have been a bust thus far. Adam Dunn is still Adam Dunn—striking out more than anything else or hitting a homer when it really doesn’t matter, with the game out of reach—leaving us all to ask again how much longer can this go on.
Paul Konerko is not hitting the long ball nor hitting much of anything else, either. We like to think that it will come around for him—it always has—but something seems different this season.
The outfield of De Aza, Rios, Wise, and Viciedo has been a circus since day one. Viciedo played many fly balls into hits and rallies for the other team. He hasn’t been around the last few weeks, though, having suffered an injury while swinging the bat. Second baseman, Gordon Beckham, did the same thing and had to undergo surgery, shelving him for who-knows-how-long, a sad occurrence since he was having a pretty decent time at the plate to go along with his stellar play in the field.
I could go on and on and continue to lament the current state of affairs of White Sox
baseball, but I’ll stop right here. After all, being only four-and-a-half games out of first, and playing as poorly as they have, one can only think that things will get better. And I will come back to them—I always have—and will have plenty to write about in the summer days ahead. For now, however, I’ll keep working on getting my writing polished and ready for publishing and sneak a peek or two, every now and then, to make sure the White Sox haven’t fallen completely off the edge of the world!
See you at the ball park….