04.10.12

Thugs In Our House: Ozzie Guillen vs. The Terrorist Threat

Posted in Baseball, Free Expression, History's Not Happening, Total Fucking Terror at 1:02 pm by

Consider if you will, somewhere in the world of sports a story where a team manager makes a public statement touching on the politics of the area. It goes very badly. The utterance so enrages the local government and status quo that he is made to apologize by a rattled, sanctimonious local leadership before being suspended. Not satisfied with this, a group of extremists associated with terrorist acts appears at the team’s home, vowing to boycott, calling for his being run out of town.

Given this mix of disregard for free speech, grand statements by petty bureaucrats, and terrorist thugs issuing threats, in what war-torn hellhole might you imagine this story unfolding? Bosnia? Mozambique? Tajikistan?

Try the United States.

When Ozzie Guillen’s mouth ran in Miami, the gale force winds blew away much cover for the rank hypocrisy of those who wrap themselves in the flag and “freedom”.

(Above: Vigilia Mambisa’s Miguel Saavedra, palling around with terrorists.)

Miami Mayor Carlos Gimenez said in a statement yesterday that he joined his community and “all freedom-loving people in condemning” Guillen’s comments.

What he didn’t mention is that the loudest of these “freedom-loving” people — the ones who plan to camp out in front of Marlins stadium — have proudly harbored violent terrorist thugs who “love freedom” so much they murdered dozens of innocent civilians in its name.

There is much to dislike about Castro’s Cuba. It’s certainly true that you don’t have to be a violent psychotic to be a Cuban expatriate screaming about “freedom”.

But it sure helps.

On October 6, 1976, Cuba Aviation Flight 455, a DC-8 passenger jet from Barbados to Jamaica was bombed in-flight. In what was then the deadliest terrorist attack in the western hemisphere, 78 passengers and crew were killed including the 1975 Cuban national fencing team.

The justice for this terrorist attack? None. The anti-Castro perpetrators — Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada Carriles — were sheltered in Miami for decades.

Yelling the loudest today about Guillen’s Castro comments we find the Miami “advocacy group” Vigilia Mambisa, a collection of anti-Castro extremists drawn from the group who did most of the sheltering of Bosch and Carriles.

Bosch died peacefully in Miami of old age last year. Carriles remains alive while the US’s wider “War On Terror” has somehow failed to send a drone attack aircraft to his home.

Perhaps Carriles will appear with Vigilia Mambisa on the anti-Ozzie picket line in front of Marlins stadium. Maybe he will hold a placard and yell for Ozzie’s ouster, happily using the free speech protection he would deny others — basking in the fresh air and sunshine he denied forever to 78 innocent civilians in 1976. If not him, then surely his friends will.

If we can endure that kind of disgusting hypocrisy, surely we can endure Ozzie Guillen.

04.06.12

Bona Fide On The South Side: The Argument For Encouragement

Posted in Baseball, Medical Science at 10:31 am by

(Above: Adam Dunn’s Appendix, 1979-2011)

After trading the Chicago Democratic Machine for the Miami Sound Machine, what’s been left behind in Ozzie’s wake? A GM fresh out of second chances. A farm system lacking a harvest. In the manager’s office, an untested former infielder struggles to figure out the phone system. A closer role mystery. A DH power outage. A 2012 White Sox team written off by baseball’s cognoscenti, the universal sentiment handing the Tigers the AL Central, some so confident as to predict double-digits.

Detroit’s formidable. But you don’t have to bleed black and silver to spot the flaws. Jim Leyland can only reach for Verlander six times a month. Fister and Porcello live for contact, relying on infield defense. That’s a real problem: Fielder and Cabrera at the corners will ensure, along with much sumo-wrestler-vs.-golf-ball hilarity, inflated ERAs for contact pitching. Delmon Young in left means similar RBI inflation for right handed pull hitters – short of giving a glove to 3B coach Gene Lamont, that baseline will be as blank as a Juggalo’s passport. Add in Detroit’s tendency to let runners on base score (finished 23rd in 2011 in defensive runs saved) and the Tabbies don’t look like a lock. Cap it off with the extra wild card courtesy of Bud Selig’s terminal case of playoff fever, and suddenly, things look very different.

On the Sox, much else looks radically altered in a positive direction. The two most important areas are in the pen and in the pop.

The Pen

With the dealing of Sergio Santos and his ridiculously nasty slider to Toronto for Nestor Molina, eyes turned first to Matt Thornton to step into the closer role he left behind. Then, those same eyes were hidden behind hands cradling faces in agony as unwelcome memories returned of the last time he was given that job.

There is absolutely room for optimism with Thornton. One year following an offseason where the usually reclusive hurler went out of his way to complain to the media about both Ozzie Guillen and his attention-starved middle son Oney’s classless public airing of the ongoing personal problems of fellow reliever Bobby Jenks, Thornton today looks like somebody unburdened from an ongoing distraction. A transformation in his poise this spring is apparent, moving toward a Billy Wagneresque mound presence and away from the Charlie Brownian shitshow that marked his disastrous stint as closer last Aril and May. He’s calmer, more focused and substantial, sits at 96, his cutter retains bite and he’s hasn’t left his slurve up this spring. If he gets the closer nod as I believe he will, sure, the South Side has every reason to worry, but his spring also gives every reason to forgive.

The Pop

A long-delayed order of lumber might finally arrive at 35th and Shields. Having openly copped to his early-season appendix surgery as the scapegoat for his dismal 2011, Adam Dunn has turned in a completely turned around Spring. A .263/.408/.596 line with 6 bombs, including a notable 2-HR day vs. Sox-killing lefty Bruce Chen, a restored look, radically improved plate discipline, a bending mobility around the waist and concomitant ease getting to balls outside all adds up to justified enthusiasm.

Add to this the mounting medical evidence that Dunn’s last year was a one-time-only outcome that couldn’t be repeated if he tried. Some evidence is of an inside nature; following the embattled slugger’s April 6 emergency operation to remove his inflamed appendix while on the road in Kansas City, Dunn’s liberated vestigal organ immediately took to Twitter:

 

In a classic case of middle management worrying more about the boss’s money than about the hired help, Ozzie decided to play the weakened DH two days following the surgery and every day after. Thus began Dunn’s agonizing, legendary limp to a season .159 average with 170+ Ks.

While this took many by surprise, at least one social media phenomenon walking the streets of Kansas City saw it all coming as early as April 20th. Before succumbing to an unknown fate (necrosis?, local barbecue pit?) Dunn’s Appendix tweeted:

 

Now we know why they say you should listen to your body.

The Prediction

White Sox: 86-76, snagging a wild card.

(Any further look into the future would clearly be irresponsible speculation.)

09.15.11

Finally, Thankfully, Something Small About Bobby Jenks

Posted in Baseball, Medical Science at 12:12 am by

It’s incredible what can happen when a doctor is motivated to keep his perk-laden position. Most Americans, saddled with the crappiest outcomes for the most money spent on health care in the western world, often wonder about the enthusiasm or competence of the HMO sawbones we might get to see when we have a serious problem.  But no such worries are suggested for patients wearing Boston Red Sox.  A thorough going-over of RHP Bobby Jenks for back stiffness managed to catch a small pulmonary embolism on the hurler’s lung in time for treatment well before things got worse.  Of course, White Sox Nation offers best wishes to Bobby, who has been shut down for the year.   The Boston Herald’s Scott Lauber is there to throw doctor-patient privilege to the wind:

“This was a very small — I mean, this is still nothing to mess around with — but it’s a very small embolism. They have it under control,” [Manager Terry] Francona said. “Certainly, they want it to go away, but I think they feel that he’s in good shape.”

Jenks was in the Red Sox clubhouse yesterday but wasn’t available for comment.

It’s been an injury-filled season for Jenks, who signed a two-year, $12 million contract with the Sox last winter. He has made three trips to the disabled list for a right biceps strain and back tightness, and hasn’t pitched since July 7. In only 19 appearances, he posted a 6.32 ERA.

Francona said it’s possible Jenks also might require offseason surgery on his back. For now, though, it’s more important that he continues to be treated for the embolism, which isn’t expected to impact his ability to pitch next season.

06.19.11

Crown Rule Double: Sox Top Snakes

Posted in Baseball at 1:57 am by

White Sox 6 Diamondbacks 2

How many sides do you think you could retire immediately afterwards if you took a line drive/ground rule double to your melon? Roughly none?  That’s because you’re not White Sox LHP John Danks.

It looked phenomenally ugly.  When Steven Drew’s line drive comebacker ricocheted off of the hurler’s head in the fourth inning with enough force to sail into the stands over the Arizona dugout, the gasps were loud.  Yet, incredibly, the only dismay registered by the enclobbered Texan on the mound was at giving up the runner. In a queasy couple of minutes, trainer Herm Schneider examined the perky, chuckling lefty and gave him the green light to stay in the game. While that couldn’t have won the good doctor many fans at the National Head Injury Foundation, pending a post-game examination, it turned out to be the right baseball move.   Danks returned immediately to midgame form, later gave up two runs and nearly saw the lead fly out of the park courtesy of Melvin Mora. With runners on in the seventh, Danks preserved the lead, aided somehwat, it should be said, by Snakes skipper Kirk Gibson’s decision to send reliver Micah Owings to bat and an easy out with runners on.

Enjoying a dose of that too-elusive commodity called run support, including a Paul Konerko solo bomb and Alex Rios’ 5th dinger bringing in three, Danks cruised to his third victory on the season – and straight to a post-game CT scan.  At press time there was no confirming the rumor that Adam Dunn was scheduled next in the medical machinery in a hunt for his missing batting average.

04.01.11

Carmona Not Glue: Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number (That Is Less Than His ERA)

Posted in Baseball at 11:55 pm by

White Sox 15 Indians 10

“It’s going to take a lot of scoreless innings to bring that average back down to a respectable level,” cackled a gleeful Steve Stone from the booth in the 4th inning of an Opening Day Cleveland RHP Fausto Carmona (0-1, 30.00) would prefer to forget.   Allowing 10 runs on 11 hits, including bombs to Adam Dunn and Carlos Quentin, the 27 year old Carmona’s sinker, not unlike my Bohemian’s grandmother’s dumplings, did more floating than sinking.

Sox offense, jolted suddenly awake after a spring training that saw only 11 wins, feasted on the offerings, producing expectations that unlike the past five, this Pale Hose April would be different.  The team’s propensity for sleepy early seasons has irritated the South Side while it has given the Twins and Tigers the leads they needed to pull away into the playoffs in the up-for-grabs division.  One 8 run inning can lead one to guess that’s over.

After one strikeout, Adam Dunn’s (4 RBI) casual swing sent what looked at first like a pop-up 10 rows back over the left field wall.   Quentin’s (5 RBI) tater tagged the yellow line in right, sending the replay machinery into action before the index finger was ultimately twirled. Belts by every starter but Alex Rios piled into an 18-hit showing by the day’s end.

But after Mark Buehrle’s (W 1-0 6IP 8H 4R 1BB 0K) departure, the Tribe’s hits came at a similar pace, adding up to 10 runs from the 6th on.  Recent North Side acquistion Will Ohman looked especially hapless, earning 3 runs and a 40.50 ERA before being sent into the Cleveland afternoon to hunt area thrift stores for Pere Ubu 7 inches.

02.26.11

Ozzie To Red Sox Setup Man: My Kid Can Beat Up Your Kid

Posted in Baseball, Leave No Child Unbeaten at 4:49 pm by

(Above: Oney Guillen contemplates a career in the GOP)

When White Sox reliever Matt Thornton went on record in December about Ozzie Guillen’s son Oney’s tweeting and media habits being clubhouse poison during the slap-fight between Guillen and the departing-for-Boston Bobby Jenks, it became impossible to ignore the ramifications: instead of expecting confidentiality, players in their manager’s office had to watch their backs for daggers courtesy of the Guillen family’s half-bright middle child whose thirst for cheap attention far outstrips his capacity for excellence on the diamond.

Said Thornton:

What happened here with Oney tweeting what he did, that’s crossing a pretty big line in my personal opinion. That’s something that’s gotta be addressed quickly and taken care of and snuffed out real fast. Anytime you bring clubhouse stuff out in the open, I don’t care what it is, it’s that person’s personal business and also the clubhouse’s personal business.

Apparently, the only thing that was “snuffed out real fast” in the Guillen household was contrition.  Any recognition of the giant ethical breach and lousy baseball management inherent in weaponizing private information on players flew out the window today when Ozzie explicitly threatened Bobby Jenks with more Oney-nism.

In a stomach-turning rant that looked past Jenks to his family – you know, the only family in this tawdry episode that isn’t milking it for web clicks and Twitter followers – Guillen proclaimed his respect for Jenks’ wife and kids by announcing that he would let his own kid drag them through the mud if Jenks didn’t shut up.

“He showed up once a week to pitch,” Guillen said. “We were loyal to him, played him. I was a very bad manager because I kept him as my closer when he couldn’t (close). He’s got to look himself in the mirror. Too bad. I still love his kids and wife.

Guillen joked that he was keeping a low profile and wanted spring training to run smoothly.

“Thank God he wasn’t talking about the club. If Bobby was taking about the club, I would have been everywhere on ESPN because I will rip his guts. But he was talking about me. I can take that. Just be careful of what you say about Oney because Oney will say stuff he’s not supposed to be saying. That’s just a warning for him just in case somebody don’t call him. Just stay away and don’t name Oney for this because it will be pretty ugly.”

08.05.10

Ozzie Blows Blowing The Whistle On Baseball

Posted in Baseball at 11:36 am by

Ozzie Guillen’s proclamations concerning the plight of Latino ballplayers this week had me thinking about Earl Bush.  The press agent during most of the reign of Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley (father of the incumbent), Bush’s job was to massage the malformed utterances of his boss into comprehensible messages for the media.  Oratory not being a Daley trait, it took some effort.  ”Write what he means, not what he says,” Bush once tiredly snarled at the press corps.
This is a service Ozzie Guillen could use.  Because the White Sox skipper, right as he is this week about Latin American baseball players being routinely taken advantage of by the institution of baseball, has not done much to tell that story.  Instead, he’s fired the starter pistol at the dumbass derby, promtpting nothing more than another wave of outrage at uppity newcomers to our country from the game’s dullest fans.  Worse, Guillen has led his own organization to quietly distance itself from the truth, as the Sun-Times Joe Cowley notes:
What is the the truth?  Due to the hugely lopsided economic disparity betwen Central and North America, Latin American kids, aged 15-16, are in fact pressured to come to the states to play ball.  In stark contrast, adults from the US and from other places with pro ball infrastructures that the DR or Venezuela can only dream of having are instead offered an opportunity.   This distinction is huge, all-defining and of course totally lost on most of North America’s baseball fans, who are this week lining up at blog comment forms and radio call-in queues with nugget after nugget of speak-English-or-get-out stupidity in the wake of Ozzie’s softball blurts.
And softballs they were: “Japanese players skip the minors and Latino players don’t.”  Yeah, no kidding: Japanese players are in pro leagues before they come here.  ”Minor league teams don’t provide Spanish translators”.  Yeah, no kidding: not only do a full third of the players speak Spanish already, you’re talking about the minor league: home of the modest salary.  If there aren’t translators in the kitchens of the nation’s TGI Fridays (and there are not) why would anyone expect there to be one on duty for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans?   May as well complain about the lack of jet transport.
The symptoms of two untreated diseases called colonialism and neoliberal economics need to be taught.  One of those symptoms is called Major League Baseball, and it’s reasonable to expect a whistleblower or two from within.  I just wish they were clearer

Ozzie Guillen’s proclamations concerning the plight of Latino ballplayers this week had me thinking about Earl Bush.  The press agent during most of the reign of Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley (father of the incumbent), Bush’s job was to massage the malformed utterances of his boss into comprehensible messages for the media.  Oratory not being a Daley trait, it took constant effort.  ”Write what he means, not what he says,” Bush once tiredly snarled at the press corps.

This is a service Ozzie Guillen could use.  Because the White Sox skipper, right as he was about the general case of Latin American baseball players being routinely taken advantage of by the institution of baseball, actually has not done much to tell that story.  Instead, he’s fired the starter pistol at the dumbass derby, prompting nothing more than another tsunami of outrage from the game’s dullest fans toward uppity newcomers to our country.  Worse, Guillen has led his own organization to quietly distance itself from the truth, as the Sun-Times Joe Cowley notes:

From Curt Schilling to Eduardo Perez, Bobby Valentine to Nomar Garciaparra, former major-league players both of Latin descent and born right here in the good ol’ U.S. of A. all publicly came out in support of the statements made by Ozzie Guillen.

His own White Sox organization? The same organization he has professed time and time again that he would ”die for”?

Well, cut them some slack, they were a little busy. After all, cleaning the tires of the bus they used to run over their seventh-year manager required a bit of time.

Even more embarrassing for ”The Club” was the fact that it refused to identify the driver of that bus Tuesday.

”The statement came on behalf of the entire White Sox organization, which is why there is no specific attribution, and we will not disclose who was involved with authorship,” Sox vice president of communications Scott Reifert wrote in a text when asked about putting a name to the release.

It was in the wake of Guillen’s comments about the treatment of Latin players before the game Sunday that the Sox issued ”the statement,” with fun little shots such as this: ”This is an issue Ozzie Guillen obviously feels very passionately about. Ozzie certainly has his own experiences as a player, coach and manager, and is entitled to his own opinions, but the Chicago White Sox believe his views are incorrect.”

What is the the truth?  Due to the hugely lopsided economic disparity between North America and its southern neighbors, Latin American kids, aged 15-16, are in fact pressured to come to the states to play ball.  In stark contrast, adults from the US and from other places with pro ball infrastructures that the DR or Venezuela can only dream of having, are instead offered an opportunity.   This distinction is huge, all-defining and of course totally lost on most of North America’s baseball fans, who are this week lining up at blog comment forms and radio call-in queues with nugget after nugget of speak-English-or-get-out stupidity in the wake of Ozzie’s softball blurts.

And softballs they were: “Japanese players skip the minors and Latino players don’t.”  Yeah, no kidding: Japanese players are in pro leagues before they come here.  ”Minor league teams don’t provide Spanish translators”.  Yeah, no kidding: not only do a full third of the players speak Spanish already, you’re talking about the minor league: home of the modest salary.  If there aren’t translators in the kitchens of the nation’s TGI Fridays (and there are not) why would anyone expect there to be one on duty for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans?   May as well complain about the lack of jet transport.

Two untreated diseases called colonialism and neoliberal economics have produced the symptoms in MLB that Ozzie brings up.  In the foreign countries most blessed with baseball talent, these diseases have performed as designed and extracted the local resources with a quickness, building training camps for teenagers instead of stadiums.

If US fans knew this, would we hear caller after caller echo how “millionaires should hire their own Spanish translators”?   Lacking an Earl Bush, Ozzie needed to say it right.  It’s too frustrating to see a blown opportunity where a blown whistle should have been.

07.30.10

Edwin Jackson To White Sox, But Is Kenny Dunn Yet?

Posted in Baseball at 12:22 pm by

(Above: DBacks focus efforts to calculate final pitch count in Jackson’s July 2nd no-hitter.)

In spite of USA Today’s Bob Nightengale throwing a wave of revulsion into the South Side over the momentary prospect of violent moron Brett Myers passing muster with Kenny Williams, ESPN has announced that the Sox have traded Daniel Hudson and prospect LHP David Holmberg for journeyman hurler Edwin Jackson, he of the recent 8-walk 149-pitch no-no against his former Tampa Bay teammates. 

What remains to be seen is whether or not the deal is two legs of a table. The rumor mill concerning the Sox and Dunn has been spinning for more than two weeks, such chatter morphing into suggestions of a three-way pact putting EdJax to work for the Nats in exchange for Dunn’s stick.  While it’s uncertain at press time if Kenny plans to flip or grip Jackson, maybe USA Today isn’t the place to be watching for the answer.

07.29.10

Mariners Mauled, Massacre Misses Mayor, Moose

Posted in Baseball, politics at 8:49 am by

Following a contentious visit to the Comcast TV booth by White Sox legend Bill “Moose” Skowron, wherein one-man death panel Steve Stone helpfully offered to usher the 79 year-old first baseman into the next life Jack Kevorkian-style, the bony finger of death next grazed a considerably more deserving figure. In the 4th inning, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, taking a break from ladling out city pension funds to imbecile relatives narrowly survived Andruw Jones’s assasination attempt by flying bat.

White Sox 6 Mariners 5

Following a contentious visit to the Comcast TV booth by White Sox legend Bill “Moose” Skowron, wherein one-man death panel Steve Stone helpfully offered to usher the 79 year-old first baseman into the next life Jack Kevorkian-style, the bony finger of death would next graze a considerably more deserving figure.

In the 4th inning, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, taking a break from ladling out city pension funds to imbecile relatives narrowly survived Andruw Jones’s assasination attempt by flying bat. Down 5-3 with a man on, Jones hacked at 1-2 Jason Vargas offering around the letters, loosing his lumber at the calculating coconut of the Mayor, who demonstrated the cat-like reflexes that have already foiled many a US Attorney.

Jones, a Dutch citizen, could not be reached for comment, but is expected to receive special tribute from the city in the form of parking citations bearing the cheerful orange Netherlands national color.

The Sox, whose sweep of the Ms boosts their home winning streak to 10, battled from behind, solo blasts from Alexei Ramirez and Paul Konerko closing the gap with the go-ahead courtesy of an Alex Rios RBI single.  Closing duties fell to the enlarged and embattled Bobby Jenks, whose ridiculous 98 MPH heat silenced critics and produced a 1-2-3 outing characteristic of days long past…days like, you know, two weeks ago.

07.18.10

Twins Oppose, Pale Hose Lead Grows

Posted in Baseball at 11:31 am by

Last night’s complete game from Carl Pavano (pictured, W, 11-6, 9IP, 7H, 2R, 6K, 0BB 3.48) put the Twins up 3-2, handing the Sox their second loss in a row, an occurence not seen since early June.
Yet, the Sox lead in the division grew to a game and a half with the second-place Tigers loss to Cleveland, the latter squad still working out their frustrations at losing the great Harvey Pekar last week.
Mark Buehrle (L, 8-8, 8IP, 9H, 3R, 3K, 0BB, 4.18) whose characteristic pace meshed with Pavano’s to bring the game in at 1 hour 52 minutes, picked off both Denard Span and Delmon Young at first, reddening Twins skipper Burl Ives noticeably.
South Side concerns going forward include the 0-4 Carlos Quentin and his recent HBP hand injury as well as a recent tendency for Paul Konerko to bite hard at away changups. The campign for the series split begins this afternoon with Freddy Garcia (9-3) vs Nick Blackburn (7-7).

Last night’s complete game from RHP Carl Pavano (pictured, W, 11-6, 9IP, 7H, 2R, 6K, 0BB 3.48) put the Twins up 3-2, handing the Sox their second loss in a row, an occurence not seen since early June.

Yet, the Sox lead in the division grew to a game and a half with the second-place Tigers loss to Cleveland, the latter squad still working out their frustrations at losing the great Harvey Pekar last week.

Mark Buehrle (L, 8-8, 8IP, 9H, 3R, 3K, 0BB, 4.18) whose characteristic pace meshed with Pavano’s to bring the game in at 1 hour 52 minutes, picked off both Denard Span and Delmon Young at first, reddening Twins skipper Burl Ives noticeably.

South Side concerns going forward include the 0-4 Carlos Quentin and his recent HBP hand injury as well as a recent tendency for Paul Konerko to bite hard at away changups. The campaign for the series split begins this afternoon with Sweaty Freddy Garcia (9-3) vs. the comparatively moisture-free Nick Blackburn (7-7).

07.08.10

Danks Beats Angels, Traffic

Posted in Baseball at 4:34 pm by

White Sox 1  LAA 0

In a 2-hit complete game shutout coming in at 1 hour 50 minutes, Pale Hose LHP Johnny Danks (W, 8-7, 2H 7K 0BB 3.29)  completed the team’s first sweep of the Angels since 1983, a season similarly marked by a jaw-dropping turnaround on the South Side.  (Only this time, the Orioles are not a factor.)

The white-hot club is 22-5 over their last 27, are 8 games over .500 and half a game behind idle 1st place Detroit with three games in KC between now and the ASG.  Outside the exercise yards of the nation’s maximum security prisons, the Sox are credibly the most dangerous team in baseball: what a difference a month-and-change makes. June 2nd it ain’t.

07.07.10

Peavy On The DL: Did Torii Break Jake?

Posted in Baseball at 4:45 pm by

According to the White Sox front office, following today’s evaluation, a detached right latissimus dorsii suffered in last night’s White Sox/Angels tilt has put a sudden stop to the rejuvenation of RHP Jake Peavy and landed him on the 15-day DL, (a time frame more optimistic than those found in Pentagon briefings).

From my view last night in section 534, Peavy looked fine until Torii Hunter moved to steal in the second inning. Everything was weird about the attempt; Hunter’s jump looked ill-advised and Peavy, after spinning around, jogged toward to second before awkwardly tossing him out by a mile.

Peavy’s next few windups to Mike Napoli looked somehow hitched at their tops. A 2-2 fastball finally sent the Cy Young winner marching right off the mound in pain, practically stalking past trainer Herm Schneider.

Tony Pena came in and held the Halos to 5 hits and their only run.  As the pen suppressed the Angels a second time in the series for a 4-1 win, thoughts first turned to the likely callup Daniel Hudson, whose appearance in the All Star Futures game was today cancelled.  The 23 year old has a 3.47 ERA, 1.20 WHIP over 17 starts with Charlotte, averaging 10.4 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9.

Shortly after, thoughts of past infield transgressions dating to Torii’s reign with the Twins surfaced.  But these were not more than the disgruntled ramblings of scapegoaters.  With long memories.

07.06.10

NBC’s Gleeman: Ozzie Won’t Take A Lillibridge Too Far

Posted in Baseball at 11:33 am by

(Above: Brent Lillibridge, dressing to the right.)

In last night’s White Sox 9-2 pounding of Anaheim, 2B Brent Lillibridge’s stand-in for the benched Gordon Beckham (.206/.271/.280) satisfied, both in terms of leather and wood.  At the plate, Lillibridge’s (.467/.933/1.433 on 15AB) 1 for 3 w/1 RBI was more than sufficient to eclipse Beckham’s lousy numbers of late, and the steady diet of rockets to second courtesy of Angels biting at Gavin Floyd’s (W, 4-7, 7IP, 5H 1R 4K 2BB) bent heaters kept Lillibridge impressively busy with numerous big-league grabs.  Adequacy in his role is no delusion.

As comfortable as the replacement seems, enthusiasm is not universal for twitterer @BSLillibridge, as NBC Sports’ Aaron Gleeman illustrates (while raising suspicions as to which second baseman appears on his fantasy team):

Beckham has followed up his strong rookie season by hitting just .206/.271/.280 with two homers in 72 games, but the good news is that being benched in favor of Lillibridge “for as long as he hits” won’t be very long.

Lillibridge is 7-for-15 with four extra-base hits in his latest stint in Chicago, but prior to that hit just .177/.258/.251 with a 49/17 K/BB ratio in 197 plate appearances as a big leaguer. And he wasn’t much better in the minors, hitting .255/.321/.379 in 1,247 plate appearances at Triple-A. He’s a utility man-caliber hitter, at best.

Beckham has been bad enough that it’s tough to blame Guillen for riding the hot hand and perhaps losing some starts to a marginal big leaguer like Lillibridge will motivate the disappointing sophomore, but it’ll be a surprise if “for as long as he hits” lasts until the end of the week.

That’s a bet I’ll take.  The evidence: the diminutive Lillibridge is less so than before; work on his strength has upped his bat speed (and gun caliber).  To my eye there’s not much difference in his general acclimation to the bigs than was seen from Beckham last season.  Seems it’s going to take a magnificent BP from Beckham to change Ozzie’s mind on Lillibridge.

06.23.10

Singles Going Steady: Pale Hose Eschew Long Ball, Break .500 Anyway

Posted in Baseball at 5:25 pm by

Sometimes it’s tough to write about a team as a homer during an upturn.  When things begin to go well on the field, opportunities for savaging the responsible parties dwindle and the mind turns to attaboys and accolades.  And, really, who wants that?  You just can’t wail, gnash teeth nor unleash withering bathos against the impression that tens of millions of player contract dollars are being *well*-spent.
So it’s with a thimble of selfish regret that I report the Chicago White Sox have remarkably returned as a contender in the AL Central power struggle.  A tussle, to be sure, only slightly more epic than an outbreak of hair-pulling in the back of a second-grade classroom, yet the playoffs seem to hinge upon it.
The Sox, who once considered adopting the pointless solo home run as the team mascot, have left behind their free-swinging ways, a decision that has paid handsome dividends.  With the rhythmic regularity of Mountain Dew belches from Bobby Jenks, the Pale Hose have notched 12 of the last 14 and moved above .500 for the first time in 2010.  They’ve mowed through the National League on an 8-1 road trip, dealing defeat to the Cubs, Pirates, Nationals, and last night, the far more serious Braves, piling on 16 hits and finally, a dinger.  Prior to last night’s Carlos Quentin 3-run bomb, the Sox’s turnaround was engineered without a single home run in 8 games, a drought that reaches back to the 1940s.
Bats that no longer twitch trying to correct.200 averages in one swing are one story.  On the bump, the prospects are no less bright.  Sunday’s complete-game Jake Peavy victory against the Nats is a signal of a rejuvenated rotation including the awakening of Gavin Floyd and a general deep-inning work ethic. Reliefwise, outside of Sergio Santos (control problems) and Scott Linebrink (meatball delivery problems), the rested pen holds, the LOOGYs get their men and the leads get protected.
As a package, this is no longer a team that can be counted out of a division dominated by the Twins and the Tigers, whose arms can’t match up to these when firing on all cylinders.

Sometimes it’s tough to write about a team as a homer during an upturn.  When things begin to go well on the field, opportunities for savaging the responsible parties dwindle and the mind turns to attaboys and accolades.  And, really, who wants that?  You just can’t wail, gnash teeth nor unleash withering bathos against the impression that tens of millions of player contract dollars are being well-spent.

So it’s with a thimble of selfish regret that I report the Chicago White Sox have remarkably returned as a contender in the AL Central power struggle.  A tussle, to be sure, only slightly more epic than an outbreak of hair-pulling in the back of a second-grade classroom, yet the playoffs seem to hinge upon it.

The Sox, who once considered adopting the pointless solo home run as the team mascot, have left behind their free-swinging ways, a decision that has paid handsome dividends.  With the rhythmic regularity of Mountain Dew belches from Bobby Jenks, the Pale Hose have notched 12 of the last 14 and moved above .500 for the first time in 2010.  They’ve mowed through the National League on an 8-1 road trip, dealing defeat to the Cubs, Pirates, Nationals, and last night, the far more serious Braves, piling on 16 hits and finally, a dinger.  Prior to last night’s Carlos Quentin 3-run bomb, the Sox’s turnaround was engineered without a single home run in 8 games, a team drought record that reaches back to the 1940s.

(Above: Alex Rios puts it where they ain’t.)

Bats that no longer twitch trying to correct.200 averages in one swing are one story.  On the bump, the prospects are no less bright.  Sunday’s complete-game Jake Peavy victory against the Nats is a signal of a rejuvenated rotation including the awakening of Gavin Floyd and a general deep-inning work ethic. Reliefwise, outside of Sergio Santos (control problems) and Scott Linebrink (meatball delivery problems), the rested pen holds, the LOOGYs get their men and the leads get protected.

As a package, this is no longer a team that can be counted out of a division dominated by the Twins and the Tigers, whose arms can’t match up to these when firing on all cylinders.

06.02.10

Feliz Navidad, Neftali Feliz

Posted in Baseball at 12:02 pm by

(Above: Omar Vizquel leaves those little yellow diamonds right where they were.)

Rangers 9 White Sox 6

Yesterday, it could be said that without a .620-plus showing in June putting the team to 4 behind, the Chicago White Sox are done. But after last night’s home loss against Texas, make that a .650 showing from here on in.  .650 from the dead-last batting team in baseball?  Did that mean last night was a must-win on June 1st?  Pretty much, yes.
Sadly, nobody told Ozzie, whose mishandling of the 9th inning against Texas reliever Neftali Feliz will go down as an especially violent cramp in a legendarily dyspeptic season.
The wheels fell off in the sixth inning.  After blowing a 4-0 lead on the latest bad outing by Mark Buehrle (L, 3-6, 5.1 IP, 12H 6ER, 3K), pen phenom Sergio Santos chose the evening to regress, giving up one more run, followed by Randy Williams and the ever-reliable Scott Linebrink combining for two ERs.
Feliz, whose average against right-handed batters is at .308 yet against left-handed batters is .106 helpfully pitched himself into a serious jam, loading the bases with no outs and the score 9-6.  The last thing in the world Feliz needed to see was a power-hitting righty step up to pinch hit.  Like say, Andruw Jones, who had no plans for the evening.
Luckily for Feliz, Ozzie put this troubled linup on auto-pilot.  Mark Kotsay left his fourth, fifth and sixth runners of the evening unadvanced, then Alexei Ramirez hacked the first pitch into a popup, leaving Kenny Williams baseball card collection prize Omar Vizquel to settle matters.
With the game – and at this point the season –  so exquisitely on the line, even the most libertarian among looks to the manager for something other than a torrent of sunflower seed shells. Something, oh, you know, manager-y.  Forethought-ish.  Competent.  Awake?
Nope: not only did Ozzie fail to pinch hit Jones for the HOF infielder, the switch-hitting Vizquel went into the lefty batter’s box, despite the splits on Feliz saying he was cutting his chances by 2/3rds.  The weak fly to center was a foregone conclusion.
When 2010 is over, 2005 will be too.

Yesterday, it could be said that without a .620-plus showing in June putting the team to 4 behind in the AL Central, the Chicago White Sox are done. But after last night’s home loss against Texas, my calculator says to make that a .650 showing from here on in.

.650 from the dead-last batting team in baseball?  Did that mean last night was a must-win on June 1st?  Pretty much, yes.

Sadly, nobody told Ozzie, whose mishandling of the base-loaded 9th inning against Texas reliever Neftali Feliz will go down as an especially violent cramp in a legendarily dyspeptic season.

The wheels fell off in the sixth inning.  After blowing a 4-0 lead on the latest bad outing by Mark Buehrle (L, 3-6, 5.1 IP, 12H 6ER, 3K), pen phenom Sergio Santos chose the evening to regress, giving up one more run, followed by Randy Williams and the ever-reliable Scott Linebrink combining for two ERs.

Feliz, whose average against right-handed batters is at .308 yet is .106 against left-handed batters helpfully pitched himself into a serious jam, loading the bases with no outs and the score 9-6.  The last thing in the world Feliz needed to see was a power-hitting righty step up to pinch hit.  Like say, Andruw Jones, who had no plans for the evening.

Luckily for Feliz, Ozzie rolled over and put this troubled linup on auto-pilot.  Mark Kotsay left his fourth, fifth and sixth runners of the evening unadvanced, then Alexei Ramirez hacked the first pitch into a popup, leaving Kenny Williams baseball card collection prize Omar Vizquel to settle matters.

With the game – and at this point the season –  so exquisitely on the line, even the most libertarian among us looks to the manager for something other than a torrent of sunflower seed shells. Something, oh, you know, manager-y.  Forethought-ish.  Competent.

Awake?

None of the above. Not only did Ozzie fail to pinch hit Jones for the HOF infielder, the switch-hitting Vizquel marched right into the lefty batter’s box, despite the splits on Feliz saying he was cutting his chances by 2/3rds.  The weak fly to center was a foregone conclusion.

When 2010 is over, 2005 will be too.

05.29.10

MLB Punches Out Joe West

Posted in Baseball at 2:30 am by

I’m not normally one to throw stones at the professional who sidelines in music for the sin of moonlighting.  I have my own glass house,  it offends my sense of fair play and no matter how many blues lawyers or jam-band dentists the world has to suffer, I know the history of worthwhile music would shrivel badly if you removed its insurance executives or accountants.

But something about Wednesday’s multiple-ejection tantrum at the Indians/White Sox tilt by baseball’s least introverted umpire has me wondering if Cowboy Joe West’s muse isn’t worried a little too much about taking a solo – a time-honored tradition best left on the small and hacky stage, not behind the plate. Would a bit of focus on the job at hand kill anybody?

At Progressive Field, West, whose upper strike zone is harder to find than an army recruiter in a white neighborhood, twice called a balk on LHP Mark Buehrle’s move to first base, having apparently noticed the trademark motion’s rubber-grazing character for the first time in ten seasons.  The first balk call brought out Ozzie, who West ejected.  The second disgusted the normally level-headed Buehrle so much, he dropped his glove.  For that, West sent him following Ozzie into the Cleveland afternoon with no plans.

Today, MLB decided that West needed to lose some weight – in his wallet. Along with Guillen and Buehrle, baseball fined West an undisclosed amount, the petulant authoritarian’s penance no doubt taking a deeper bite compared to either ballplayer’s bankroll.  Rolling Wednesday together with West’s quasi-inappropriate excoriation of the Yankees and Bosox pace of game last month,  Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan could barely contain his glee at West’s comeuppance:

MLB doesn™t have nearly the perception problem with umpires that the NBA does with its referees. It doesn™t want one, either, and so its move to muzzle West is appropriate. The Yankees and Red Sox do push pace-of-play boundaries; they also provide the greatest rivalry in the sport, and fans who appreciate good baseball are willing to sit through extra time as long as the drama remains. West should™ve apologized and moved on. His targeting of Buehrle “ pitchers get called for multiple balks about once a decade “ was the vindictive sort of call that cements his reputation.

Undeterred, West™s diarrhea of the mouth continued. He had CDs and gear to sell, a website to push, a brand to promote. Attached to the latest e-mail from his publicist were 11 pictures, just in case one or two weren™t enough. It also included a funny subject line: œThe Real Joe West.

Like everyone doesn™t already see him for what he is.

05.09.10

“Steve” Bellán And A Feliz Dia de las Madres

Posted in Baseball, We Aren't The World at 1:17 pm by

(Above: pelotero especial Esteban Enrique Bellán)

It’s Mother’s Day, which means I don’t have a whole lot of time.  I have to head over to the other side of the city and drop in on Mom and my grandmother, who turned 99 this year.

So it’s only a quick perusal of Baseball Reference’s always-awesome BR Bullpen Today In Baseball History that allows me to report a notable anniversary.  May 9, 1871 is the date Cuban national Esteban Enrique Bellan became the first Hispanic player in major league baseball, taking the infield for the Troy Haymakers of the National Association.

There are two reasons this resonates for me.  First, given the recent and sickening Gestapo turn in Arizona, it is always worth remembering that too much of what too many of us think as quintessentially American is simply not, has never been, and never ever will be.

Second, the elder of the ladies I am visiting today was born in Puerto Rico, but did everything she could in her life to obscure that fact once she moved to Chicago.  Her entire family, of Catalonian Spanish roots, strove for decades to meet the expectations of the surrounding white culture, suppressing their own language and history thoroughly enough to wipe it out in only a generation.

That this has left me linguistically unequipped today to follow the narratives in Telemundo’s jiggliest programming is no great tragedy, but nonetheless makes me wonder what might have been – personally and nationally – had “Steve” Bellan and all those following who spoke his language on the diamond had more influence on the far greater number who never took the field.

04.23.10

The Possibly Urological Musings Of Gordon Beckham

Posted in Baseball at 4:14 pm by

With the White Sox sporting a 5-11 start (their worst since 1997), a .215 team batting average, a lineup designed by way of Santeria, a winless Cy Young starter with a .400 OBA, and a catcher openly wondering in April about his next assignment, you might guess clubhouse pessimism would reign on the South Side. Add in a .217 lead-off hitter, a manager obsessed with Twitter, and the grim news that traded-away Scott Podsednik is busy savaging the pitching staffs of the American League, and you’d be doing more than mere guesswork.

So when youthful 2B Gordon Beckham appeared on WSCR’s Mully and Hanley show this morning, it was with some surprise that Chicago heard a more hopeful perspective.

“Baseball,”
offered Beckham, “comes in spurts.”

Indeed it does, young Gordon. So reminded, thoughts reel with the hydraulic possibilities. After all, weather remains terrible at home, and like many Southern-built models, Jake Peavy is not optimized for 39-degree outings. Even the ’97 team was competitive with an 81-80 finish. The bullpen is frighteningly good, and Freddy Garcia’s slippery spot may well provide the means to deservingly bust Matt Thornton into the rotation. On offense, the front office could heat up more than the temperature – hitting coach Greg Walker may finally fulfill his true function: to be pointlessly fired as a scapegoat. Cowed by guilt at the charade, Sox bats might catch fire in memory of their hapless coach. Anything could happen.

What Beckham is saying is that things can change. Whether he’s channeling Richard Hell, The Runaways or Peter North, we would do well to remember this as we fertilize our own lawns this spring.

04.21.10

Comcast And Twitter: Cozy Before Ozzie

Posted in Baseball, twitter twatter at 5:19 pm by

Some trends in new media reach great heights of popularity while others vanish.  While it isn’t clear in every case what differentiates a future IPO-worthy juggernaut from a worthless abandoned domain name,  success stories tend to come from those ideas that are widely embraced by business.  Suggest that your interweb gewgaw makes or saves money in some way, and its prospects brighten.  Prove it, and they brighten even further.

This was the history of the rise of Twitter.  In 2008, the microblogging service didn’t have to struggle much to explain itself, as its proponents could point to a series of corporate early adopters who had leveraged the medium.  Of these, at least to internet pundits, cable TV operator Comcast was the most remarkable.  The audacity of the hated, legendarily customer-hostile company making a digital whipping boy available for damage control one pissed-off customer tweet at a time made lots of news and generated lots of notoriety for both Twitter and Comcast.   PR flacks, net pundits and social media consultants agreed: nothing could go wrong with this new synergy.

To be fair, none of them were thinking of Ozzie Guillen, Comcast customer/avid Twitterer.  As a fellow victim, repeatedly burned by Comcast’s classically laissez-faire approach to showing up and doing stuff, it is with a certain joy that I present the skipper’s afternoon tweets as reported by Sun-Times blogger Kyle Koster:

Ozzie Guillen’s White Sox may have used the comforts of home to snap a four-game losing streak with a victory over the Tampa Bay Rays last night, but he’s having a bit of a rough day back at his own home.

It seems Comcast has drawn the ire of the outspoken manager.

Waiting for comcast people to show up in my house godddddd please take a little longer is not free,” he tweeted.

Guillen was apparently led to believe the cable company would be there at 8 a.m. As of around noon, he was stil waiting.

Its amazing to me how u have to wait for cable. As if I was getting it for free. 8 am they said wow,” another tweet reads.

Comcast is now saying they came to my house. They suck. Its not free they r not the only cable company,” he continued.

It just goes to show it doesn’t matter who you are. Between 8 and noon doesn’t always mean between 8 and noon, World Series ring or not.

04.16.10

Sweaty Freddy Explores Alternatives To Leaving Men On Base

Posted in Baseball at 7:13 pm by

Blue Jays 7 White Sox 3

Given that the Pale Hose had dropped their previous ten games against the Jays, a 2-2 series split might, in some quarters, be viewed with a certain satisfaction. To snap such a longstanding spell – and to do it with former Blue Jay Alex Rios leading the charge – might provide succor on the South Side.

But it won’t. Instead, panic buttons from Pullman to Pilsen are receiving more energetic jabbing than the Fielder family turkey at Thanksgiving. With a loss record equaling basement-dwelling Cleveland, Sox fans – a proudly dour and fatalist bunch to begin with – need little more than a pair of staff rotations to divine a glum future AL Central dominated by Twins.  Will the pessimism be justified?

The consternation in White Sox Nation has risen upon the recognition that crappy hitting with RISP is not the only way to lose games. This team could leave as few as 4 on base and still lose, as 5th starter Freddy Garcia (L, 0-2, 8.10 3IP 8H 7R 3K) aptly demonstrated last night. Garcia’s 2nd ining lob to Travis Snider for a solo HR was the low point of an 8-hit outing that RH reliever Randy Williams couldn’t get out of.  The vaunted rotation is demonstrating something less than complete command.

On the bright side, down by 7 in the 5th, backup C Donny Lucy had little splainin’ to do, sending Dana Eveland’s (W, 2-0, 1.35, 6IP, 3H, 2R, 4K) up fastball into the stands. AJ Pierzynski, fleeing from Canadian justice at the time could not be reached for comment.

04.05.10

Jesse White Tumblers Served Notice On The South Side

Posted in Baseball at 10:52 pm by

White Sox 6  Indians 0

It’s tough to know what’s redundant and what isn’t in today’s media-saturated world.  Chances are most of you have already seen Mark Buehrle’s incredible tumbling snap of a Lou Marson grounder in the fifth on White Sox opening day.  You might have already witnessed the Gold Glove hurler/moundtender’s Tony Esposito-esque leg technique.  It might be old hat by now to see horsehide leave leather to arrive in a meat hand.  Who knows, you might even live inside a Tex Avery cartoon universe where gently floating baseballs routinely outpace desperately galloping batsmen by a hair in daily photo finishes.

But just in case you don’t, the button with the triangle on it will play the video again.

03.19.10

Oney Guillen: The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From The Twee(t)

Posted in Baseball, twitter twatter at 4:07 pm by

(Above: Jerry Reinsdorf personally confiscates a Blackberry)

Since its inception 120 tweets ago, Ozzie Guillen’s Twitter account has proven rich in density and nuance, exploring themes of transition and longing with an effortless grace that invites and rewards exegesis in equal measure:

7:04 PM Mar 16th: let’s eat suchi now

7:08 PM Mar 11th: The wings vegasa yesssasa

4:37 PM Mar 10th: I wish I have my bike in this moment

Even delightful whiffs of grand satire find their way into his 140-character pearls:

8:45 PM Mar 14th: Was nice to see dusty baker one off the best

10:15 PM Mar 6th: Where is my guy arsenio hall my favorite show in the 80s

While the Humanitas award committee debates the establishment of a Twitter category, social media itself waits for nobody, least of all inside the Guillen household. Recent front-office kibosh-laying on a proposed Ozzie Guillen website preceded the placement of one more online Guillen in Kenny Williams’ crosshairs. Is middle son Oney Guillen the New Media mogul behind the thwarted effort?  The Sun-Times Joe Cowley reports:

Meet Oney Guillen, the second of White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen’s three sons — and the one making his father seem like a wallflower.

He put his Twitter account on the shelf last season at the request of the team, and now it seems OneyRoberto — his latest account in the world of social media — is being watched by Big Brother in the Sox’ front office.

That much was obvious by a tweet he sent out Wednesday that read: ”I love it how people are monitoring my tweets like I’m someone important. Everyone is entitled to there[sic] own opinion.”

So why are the Sox taking an interest in what Oney has to say? Well, he does know a little about the game, considering he was the one who told his father to put Geoff Blum in the game during Game 3 of the 2005 World Series. A Blum home run later, the Sox were on their way to a sweep and their first championship in 88 years.

But the kicker in all of this is that Oney works for the Sox on the scouting side of things.

Apparently, someone in the organization thinks trying to keep a saddle on one sharp-tongued Guillen is enough, let alone two.

Some of Oney’s better work this spring:

”And then aj delivers perfect baserunning we need to resign him in my opinion”

”Sorry about that Milton I guess chicago is tough. When u overpaid but I can’t hate”

”Get ur boys in line cora. That’s 2 [errors]”

The Guillen family just got screwed over or [bleeped] … but dont worry we have our own way of handling this

While the last tweet might sound vague, it had to do with the news last week that the Sox drew a line in the sand when Ozzie Guillen wanted to start his own Web site, a project that the family had been working on for several months.


03.18.10

Some People Doodle While They’re On The Phone…

Posted in Baseball, Modern Art at 3:15 pm by

…but I have Photoshop.  Not really inspired by Cliff Lee’s 5-game suspension for headhunting Chris Snyder as much as by the approaching season (of burritos de pollo at La Pasadita).

03.03.10

The Ricketts Family Is Tired Of Taxes (Unless They Pay For The Cubs ST Facility)

Posted in Baseball, Greedy Motherfuckers, Ugly New Stadiums at 4:05 pm by

The state of Arizona and the Cactus league have come down with a severe case of affluenza.  The symptoms are classic: on one hand, Republican fury over taxes and “government waste” while the other hand finds itself busy in the public’s pocket.  As AP reports in today’s Baltimore Sun, at Casa De Ricketts, they have no problem with levying taxes on the locals for the benefit of their sports franchises:

PHOENIX – Four teams opposed to a funding plan for a new Chicago Cubs spring-training stadium skipped a kickoff event Tuesday hosted by Mesa.

The Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers and the Cincinnati Reds oppose a spring-training ticket surcharge to build a new Cubs complex and to finance other improvements.

Angels spokesman Tim Mead said it’s fundamentally wrong to implement a tax on loyal baseball fans.

State Rep. John McComish’s bill would add a $1 surcharge to car-rental fees in Maricopa County and an 8 percent surcharge to all spring-training tickets. It’s intended to generate $58 million that would finance bonds issued by the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority for a new Cubs complex.

Mesa would be responsible for $26 million of the $84 million price tag.

Given the state of Arizona’s shameful political legacy (playing host to the Keating / S&L scandals of the 80s,  giving MLK the finger, electing Senator/Douchebag John “unemployment benefits prevent people from looking for work” Kyl), there is much to like in the poetically just idea that Cub Nation’s new bosses have chosen those particular sun-bleached suburbs for their panhandling efforts using local government as a sock puppet.

Yet, it shouldn’t pass without comment that the billionaire Ricketts clan, far from shining examples of the wonders of free-market capitalism, are old hands at socialism for the rich.  In 2006, family trust member Pete Ricketts’ attempt to buy a Nebraska Senate seat included a TV spot where the plucky former Ameritrade CEO is transplanted to a farm and thereupon fulminates against “special interests” and rising taxes from atop a hay bale, the accompanying bucolic aroma no doubt appropriate to the hypocrisy.

02.20.10

Television Discovers Second City’s Second Baseball Team

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV, The World Of Entertainment at 1:10 pm by

Does the MLB Network see dollar signs in a nascent White Sox Nation?  Long shunned by the camera’s eye on a network where Chicago history means the Cubs (yes, lets look at Ernie Banks round the bases yet again while we have to rely on photographs to remember Dick Allen  – or for that matter any White Sox between 1959 and 2005)  MLB Networks has announced a new reality TV show centered on the Chicago White Sox front office and management. In addition to giving fantasy league managers the world over further reason to avoid productive work, Kenny Williams, Jerry Reinsdorf and Ozzie Guillen are on tap to become the reality genre’s next…whoever the reality genre puts on TV.  The big question:  subtitles for Ozzie or no?   The Sun-Times Chris DeLuca reports:

”We have to provide the viewers something different about the game that they haven’t experienced before. How many fans of baseball are in baseball fantasy leagues? I know some people that are three leagues at the same time. We wanted to provide people a unique look at how one team — an owner, general manager and manager — go about their business.”

They couldn’t have picked a better season to focus on the Sox. Tension has already been running high between Guillen and Williams about the makeup of the 2010 team. We got a glimpse of that over the Jim Thome debate last month during SoxFest.

That’s when the cameras began rolling. They roll again Sunday, when the Sox open camp. Gavant’s crew will gather hours of footage for the one-hour July 4 debut that takes viewers from the offseason to the weeks before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. After the debut, each of the next five episodes will be half-hour segments that provide a glimpse of the Sox’ midseason manuevering.