Exactly five months ago today, I wrote in these pages that the Chicago White Sox would repeat as American League Central champions:
So what happens? What happens is that the Sox win the worst division in baseball with an embarrassing number of wins. What happens is the Twins are lost without Joe Mauer and the Indians don’t have half the team so many experts say they do. What happens is the Tigers fold up the tent early and the Royals make huge strides yet remain a few pieces away. Eighty-six wins take the Central; seventy take the seat in the basement. We’ll hear a lot about grinding and winning and chips on our shoulder and the economy is killing us all, all this while ticket prices are up, payroll is down and ticket sales, to hear the club say it, are apparently doing just fine.
In some ways I was right – 86 wins technically takes the division, Whatever stayed in center even as he changed names and teams, talking nonsense in bars is still a blast – but in most of the important ways I was wrong. The Sox were terrible, yes, but I’d taken it a step further and said they’d be the least terrible by default. Obviously they weren’t so what, all told, were they?
They were a club that hit homers (nine hitters in double digits) made of players who didn’t (none with 30) and a softball team that couldn’t produce runs (Paul Konerko led all Sox batters with 88 RBI).
They were a team of great pitching (second-lowest staff ERA in the Big Kids’ League) that could do anything but win (Mark Buehrle and John Danks tied for the lead with 13; Matt Thornton was third with five).
They were a slightly speedier, craftier, more athletic team (113 stolen bases) that couldn’t compete when it came time for speed, craftiness and athleticism (first team to 100 errors!).
They boasted a young future core in Alexei Ramirez, Chris Getz, Gordon Beckham yet had to find hope in the aging grizzle of Scott Podsednik and Freddy Garcia.
They started the season with some vague notion of less reliance on their mashers, yet found their best output coming from Konerko, A.J. Pierzynski and the departed Jim Thome.
They said hello to two famous names while waving goodbye to two others. They will spend this winter making a few moves they shouldn’t while refusing to make a few others they should. They will talk a lot about the new day on the South Side, about how next season will be different and how some drastic changes will be afoot in time to shake the very core of the Earth in time for Opening Day. The grinders will grind and the winners will win and we, as we often do, can only hope they don’t all end as poorly as this one.
With another season in the books, I’d like to take a moment to thank you, dear reader, for tuning in so faithfully this year. If you found anything written here entertaining, it is only because of the source material we were working with; should you have found it useful or informative, I assure you that was purely accidental.
I’d also like to thank the rest of the Soxosphere (we need to come up with a better word for that) for another season of showing me the light, especially Jim over at Sox Machine, J.J. at Examiner and the multi-headed hydra of excellence running the show at South Side Sox. Anything good produced here on 35th Street stems only from trying to show you guys up, which I can say with some authority is no easy task.
We’ll be hanging around through the playoffs and into the offseason, obviously (someone has to contextualize the monster Wise-for-Bradley blockbuster), and if you click the handy little RSS subscription link up top you won’t even have to type in the address to check in with us. We aim for nothing around here if not for laziness, save perhaps for helping you, dear reader, to become a little lazier as well. In the end I can only hope you get as much out of this site as I do.
Thank you as always for reading,