July 28, 2006


Fixing the Sox: A 7-step solution (JOE COWLEY, July 28, 2006, Chicago Sun-Times)

The White Sox are no strangers to forcing their fans to the ledges of buildings. It happened last season, when a seemingly unconquerable 15-game division lead in August melted to just 1-1/2 games by late September.

The result? A World Series championship.

While avoiding one of the biggest chokes in baseball history would seem like a huge obstacle overcome, the Sox apparently enjoy doing things the hard way.

One season later, they're at it again. A team with arguably more talent than last season's went into the All-Star break trailing red-hot Detroit by just two games in the American League Central, while looking to be a sure thing for at least the wild card.

Two weeks later, Sox fans are back on the ledges, looking for answers.

While the problems are many, not one is beyond repair.

Baseball teams with that many problems don't fix them in season and he doesn't even touch on the two biggest.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 28, 2006 9:12 AM

The difference last season was they only had one team (Cleveland) to contend with -- this year they've got two in their own division, and as many as five others in the wild card battle, if the BoSox, Yanks and Jays stay at roughly the same won-loss level as the AL Central leaders and the A's and Angels put on their usual late-season surges. If the White Sox don't start showing some signs of life this weekend against Baltimore, they're really in trouble.

Posted by: John at July 28, 2006 10:54 AM

Great headline.

The articulate is mostly idiotic. The solution seems to be more Podsednik and more bunting? Please. Another moron who buys into the Sox won with small ball myth.

The reality is Podsednik has been hurting the team since day one. A corner outfielder who slugs well under .400 and is an average to below average fielder? The Sox would have been much better off with Carlos Lee.

They need to get Javy out of the rotation, and Mac in. And they need to admit that the Podsednik deal was a mistake and either go get Carlos Lee, or Soriano, to play left -- without giving up Mac.

I'd also think about moving Crede for another starter. Josh Fields has an ops well over 900 in AAA, Crede's value is about as high as its ever been and he's a free agent.

Out of curiosity, what do you think are their two biggest problems? Ozzie and ?

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at July 28, 2006 11:23 AM

Yes, they won by destroying the starting pitchers.

Posted by: oj at July 28, 2006 11:28 AM

Is it just me or does Ozzie remind you a bit of Billy Martin. Not the sociopath of the mid-late '80s but the Billy who managed the Twins, Tigers, Rangers, A's and the 1st turn with the Yankees. When Billy took over a team:

- They won in year 1 or 2 usually with a significant improvement.
- Billy won with the talent he inherited, he re-jiggerd his line-ups but did not precipitate big trades very often.
- His teams almost always got better defensively up the middle (as you would expect from a former 2B) and almost always were extremely productive at the top of the batting order (as you would expect from a former lead-off man).
- He got an inordinate number of career years out of his top pitchers (Dave Boswell, Jim Perry, Mickey Lolich, Fergie Jenkins, the Oakland quartet, Joe Coleman, etc). Same with closers, particularly John Hiller and Gossage.
- A number of good but not great veteran players had career years for him (Cardenas, Northrup, etc).

Sounds like Ozzie so far.

The problem was the end game was always the same:

- The constant intensity in the clubhouse and the showboating to the press began to wear the players down emotionally and cracks in the foundation started to show as the players got sick of the constant barrage. Sounds familiar.

- Bill James did an amazing analysis showing that of the first 16 pitchers who gave Billy 225 innings or more, every one had a severe career decline within 3 years. A few (Lolich, Kaat, Jenkins) recovered. A lot more (Coleman, Boswell, Norris, Langhorn, McCatty etc.) did not. Look at Buehrle and Garland.

- He started embarassing the front office in ways they couldn't ignore. Check.

Billy always managed as if he didn't expect to be anywhere for very long. I think the Sox fans are justified in having a nagging feeling that this isn't going to end well.

Posted by: jeff at July 28, 2006 12:04 PM

Ozzie is Billy.

Posted by: oj at July 28, 2006 12:07 PM