Monday, January 01, 2007

Thoughts on McCarthyism

I don't understand the White Sox trade of Brandon McCarthy and David Paisano to Texas for pitchers John Danks, Nick Masset and Jacob Rasner. McCarthy was supposedly the best young arm in the Sox organization, and he is under contract until 2008. He already had several succesful starts at the major league level. I don't understand why the Sox couldn't have traded Javier Vazquez instead, and inserted McCarthy into his place in the rotation. I hope I am eating my words a few months from now, but I think this deal doesn't make a ton of sense. We'll see.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Happy Holidays

I won't post again til Tuesday most likely...but I do have some thoughts on the Brandon McCarthy trade, and they aren't positive. I'll write more later. Until then, have a safe and happy holiday!

Monday, December 18, 2006

One more thing...

Forgot one thing from the Knicks-Nuggets brawl...did anyone else see the fan in the ugly Christmas sweater in the second row? That thing was nearly as offensive as the fight itself.

Thoughts on the weekend...

A lot went down this past weekend, what with the Tank Johnson stuff, the Bears near collapse, the Knicks-Nuggets brawl and the White Sox making two minor moves. Let me touch on each topic briefly:

On Tank Johnson: I'm on the fence on whether the Bears should cut him or not, but I do think he should sit for at least one more game, and he definitely is troubled. One thing is clear: it's not very bright to go hanging out in a bar just two days after having your home raided and being hit with six major gun charges. That's not a good idea if you are Joe average, and its certainly not a good idea if you are a major part of a professional football team, especially if players on that team are easily recognized. Bears players get noticed in public whether the team is playing well or not, and they obviously are playing pretty well right now. I'm not saying Tank brought it on himself, but I had hoped he might be wiser than that. I do offer my condolences, losing one of your best friends that way cannot be easy.

On the Bears near-collapse: I didn't see the game, I was at a holiday party, but I saw enough of the highlights to be worried about the defense. The good news is the offense is clicking again. Now if the defense can return to form, I think the Bears will be fine.

On Knick-Nuggets: When the Pacers-Pistons brawl happened two years ago, it was one of those "remember where you were" moments. I was one of two sports editors on the DePaulia, and I was walking into a resturant to have dinner with my girlfriend at the time when I remembered I needed to call my co-editor and ask him a question about something. Tony, my co-editor, is a Pistons fan, and as soon as he picked up the phone instead of saying hello he said "I know, I know, I just saw it!" I wasn't in front of a TV, so I was confused as hell as to what was going on. Tony explained it, but it didn't seem that bad. At least not until I got home and turned on "SportsCenter". I'll never forget watching the highlights over and over, and nearly staying up to watch the 2 a.m replay of the entire game, before deciding the lack of sleep wouldn't be worth it. As for the Knicks brawl, I remember where I was (at a friend's apartment, getting ready to go out) two days later, but I don't know if I will in two years. In other words, it's not that memorable. I do think Isiah Thomas is a punk for saying the Nuggets were trying to embarass his team. Even if George Karl was running up the score (and he probably was), there was no reason for Isiah to react by telling Carmelo Anthony to stay out of the paint. The proper way for Isiah to handle it would've been to challenge his to respond by playing better. The proper way for Isiah to talk about it to the press would've been to say nothing or maybe a quick throaway comment about it. Instead, Isiah ordered a cheap shot, and started something bigger. That's obviously not very this man is employed as the coach of a major sports team is beyond me.

On the White Sox recent moves: The Ross Gload for Andrew Sisco trade looks bad on paper if you look at the player's stats...but knowing what the Sox need, it makes sense. Or at least the idea behind it does. These minor trades often have more of an affect on a team's success or failure over the course of a season than the major ones do. Let's hope it works out well for the Sox.
As for picking up Toby Hall, well, I think that's an upgrade at backup catcher over Sandy Alomar. Alomar was fine, but Hall is younger, has more pop in his bat, and will be able to play enough so that A.J. Pierzynski will be able to get some rest. This is the first move of the offseason that I've felt totally good about as a Sox fan.

Alright, enough for now. More later this week.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Airing of Grievances

So the "Festivus" episode of Seinfeld was on last night, and that's one of my favorites. My cousin left me a note quoting Frank Costanza online: "And now it's time for the airing of grievances! I've got a lot of problems with you people!" Well, just like Frank, I've got some grievances. Except instead of airing grievances about my family, friends, and co-workers, I've got some problems with people and things in the sports world, as well as the world in general. In no particular order and without further ado:

Frank Thomas: It wasn't necessary to rip the White Sox on the way out the door, was it?

Kenny Williams: Just because you built the 2005 World Champion White Sox, doesn't mean I can't give you crap for the bad moves you make.

Terrell Owens: Go. Away. Now.

Jim Hendry: Not because you spent a ton of money to fix your team, but because you should have been fired along with Dusty Baker. Still, I can't go too hard on a guy who was recently hospitalized.

Houston Texans: You passed on Reggie Bush AND Vince Young. You get what you deserve.

The Chicago White Sox: For not winning about six more games and making the playoffs. If you hadn't played so poorly in July, you would've played in October.

Dennis Green: You are who I thought you were.

The Oakland Raiders: I shouldn't have to explain this one.

The Chicago Blackhawks: For still being behind the times.

People who slow down way too much to make a right turn: Are you trying to piss me off? Because it's working.

MySpace: Too many times I see: "Sorry! An unexpected error has occurred!." Stupid MySpace.

Weblogs: For feeding the media frenzy a little too much at times.

ESPN: For occasionally being annoying.

Chris Berman: For always being annoying.

Stuart Scott: Ditto.

Dick Vitale: Ditto again.

The BCS: For creating more harm than good.

USC, Michigan and Ohio State: For being USC, Michigan, and Ohio State.

That's all I can think of for now. But I'm sure there's more.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Hot Stove League

Well, the winter meetings are over. And all the White Sox got from their trip to Florida was a couple of lousy prospects.
The Sox traded Freddy Garcia to Philadelphia for Gavin Floyd and former Sox prospect Gio Gonzalez last week. I don’t necessarily disapprove of the trade – as valuable as Garcia was over the past two seasons, I understand the financial reasoning behind the deal – but I still scratched my head in wonder when I heard the deal. Why not get more for Garcia? Like maybe bring back former Sox centerfielder Aaron Rowand? Or add some more prospects into the mix? I also had to ask another question: will others follow Freddy out of town?
I was far more disturbed by the trade that didn’t happen: pitcher Jon Garland to the Houston Astros for pitcher Taylor Buchholz and speedy center fielder Willy Taveras. The Sox do need help in center field, but not at the expense of Garland, who is in the prime of his career. I’d rather give Brian Anderson another chance in center than lose Garland, no matter how low his batting average is.
The talk around Chicago is that the 2005 World Champions are getting ready to start a youth movement again. Can the Sox be getting ready to dump their current marketing slogan – “win or die trying” – just so they can go back to the “kids can play” message from five years ago?

I hope not. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, but October 2005 was only 14 months ago. The 2006 club wasn’t nearly as good, yet they still won 90 games and might’ve made the playoffs had the Minnesota Twins not gotten as hot as a stereo for sale on Maxwell Street. But after two years of success – and the 2004 team was in the hunt until sluggers Frank Thomas and Magglio Ordonez got hurt, even though everyone forgets this now – I hope the Sox aren’t reverting to the youth movement that marked most of the late ‘90s and the early part of this decade.
I know Kenny Williams doesn’t want a team that will grow old and expensive, and I know that the buzzword around New Comiskey or U.S. Cellular or Sox Park or whatever you want to call it now is “pitching.” And yes, the Sox rotation is either aging (Jose Contreras), mercurial (Javier Vazquez) or will be expensive when they hit free agency (Mark Buerhle, Garland). Brandon McCarthy is the only young gun the Sox have, and while his future is bright, success isn’t written in stone. Williams is obviously trying to stay ahead of the curve by bringing in some young pitching. Fine. But has Williams gone too far the other way? Or was he just unable to let the meetings end without making some sort of deal?
I’m thinking Williams isn’t done tinkering. With third baseman Joe Crede bearing the burden of a balky back and becoming a free agent after this season, there is a possibility Williams may make a move to address the future at third base, unless prospect Josh Fields pans out as a solid replacement. Scott Podsednik is back, but only for a year. Potentially gone after 2007 as well is 2005 World Series MVP Jermaine Dye. As it currently stands, the candidates for next seasons’ centerfielder job are Anderson, rookie Ryan Sweeney, utility man Rob Mackowiak, and a question mark to be named later. So I wouldn’t be surprised if Gavin Floyd never pitched an inning on the South Side, or if Gio Gonzalez got traded away from the Sox twice in two years.

What would surprise me would be watching the World Series team fall apart as fast as it was built. Eight of the nine position players from 2005 were back this past season. Four out of the five pitchers from a rotation that went 11-1 in the postseason with four consecutive complete games in the American League Championship Series returned as well. In the worst case scenario, which Phil Rogers presented in the Chicago Tribune a few days ago, most of those guys could be gone by 2008 or 2009.
Where I disagree with Rogers is that I don’t think it will happen, at least not that way. I can see Buehrle leaving at some point, and I can see the Sox refusing to pay Crede what he’s worth, but I have a feeling that Williams isn’t done dealing.
At least I hope not. A youth movement just three seasons after a World Series win seems like something out of the Jeffrey Loria playbook. Sure, throwing money after expensive free agents every season (a la Boston) is at best a crapshoot. But Sox fans waited 88 years for 2005, and they expect their team to remain competitive for the remainder of the decade. They aren’t waiting 88 years again.

Back with a vengenance...maybe

So I started this blog way back in the spring, hoping to update it frequently, sometimes even in a "running diary" format, which I will admit to ripping off from ESPN's Bill Simmons. But life got in the way. I don't have time to do this at work, and a relatively active social life keeps me busy. But I hope to update more over the coming weeks. This is supposed to be a blog about the White Sox and sports in general, and this is a busy time for both. For the Sox, I need to cover the winter meetings and the future of the team. For the rest of the sports world, there is much to cover. I think one reason why my first attempt at this stalled is that I hate the way my blogs look, I just don't like that style of writing. I think I will trying writing my blogs in the more traditional style of a sports column. We'll see if it works.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Why I love and hate sports

Within five minutes of watching SportsCenter, I saw the good and the bad of sports. Here are the stories I saw, which ran back to back on SportsCenter. The first was a highlight of Reggie Miller night at the Pacers game, and I saw how the crowd showed appreciation for him and all that mushy stuff. The next story up was about the alleged rape at Duke. Nice contrast. Sports is just like real life, good and bad all at the same time.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Not to take anything away from George Mason, but I think Connecticut was of the biggest underachievers in recent NCAA Tournament history. Again, I'm not taking away from George Mason -- they earned it today. But UConn played horrible against Albany and Washington as well. George Mason shouldn't have been playing the Huskies, they should've been playing Washington. UConn did play well today, so George Mason earned the win, but I still think the Huskies never once looked like a championship team in their four tournament games. Talent alone can only take you so far.
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