That Dewayne Wise is hurt should not really shock too many people; 31-year-olds face similar fates every day doing far smaller things, and where a normal man would’ve played deep or watched the ball bounce off his leg and roll towards the fence, Wise made a fantastic catch and sacrificed his shoulder so that the Sox might maintain a four-run lead rather than stay up by a measly two, surely not enough to beat these vaunted Detroit Tigers.
Anyway, when Jerry O makes his triumphant return tomorrow, some of you making the trip to Comerica might get out the boo horns and lambast young Owens for committing the horrible crime of losing something – anything – to Dewayne Wise. That may be justified to some, but around the 35th Street offices we found ourselves handed a startling revelation this afternoon: Jerry Owens cannot fail under any circumstances. Not that he isn’t capable of failure – oh boy, is he capable – but that neither the team nor the fans can bear the weight of another .324 on-base campaign or 0-fer afternoon, and not just for the obvious reasons.
Sure, it’s extremely important to have solid defense up the middle and okay, you want to put speed as prodigious as Owens’ to good use by actually putting it on base, but think about what Owens really represents: a backup plan to the backup alternate (Brian Anderson) to the pipe dream scenario (moving Alexei Ramirez to center and calling up Gordon Beckham). If Owens fails, the fate of the team suddenly falls on the shoulders of that riskiest of propositions, the unproven prospect; if Owens fails, idiotic ideas like “trade the farm for Ichiro” will suddenly have to be taken seriously; if Owens fails, the White Sox don’t have a centerfielder but more importantly, we will have to admit they never had one. Which would hurt, except we’ve actually had to do that plenty of times before.
So what are we looking at? A stopgap Plan J filling in for a Plan D destroyed making a brilliant catch Plan BA would’ve been parked under except, you know, Brian Anderson is not the centerfielder. Up is down, left is right, Jerry O is still Jerry O and somewhere out there Aaron Rowand smiles a mischievous smile.