I hate to hit the panic button this early on in the season, but it’s looking like a long season down on the South Side of Chicago. The White Sox are 5 games below .500 and there has been very little to cheer about so far this season. If history is any indication (and I better think that it is, or I’ve wasted the better part of my adulthood) without a fast start, the Sox are toast. 2005, unbelievable start, that worked out pretty damn good. 2006, ok start, but not fast enough and the Tigers took a decent lead into September and the Sox couldn’t gain on them or the eventual winners, Minnesota. 2007, let’s just not talk about it. 2008, pretty good start, especially as May came around, and Central Division champs. 2009 is looking pretty bad. Of course, this pretty well correlates with the off-season moves of Kenny Williams, the Gambler. He has thrown the dice pretty much every year since 2004 and the results are a mixed bag. I’ll admit, I thought getting rid of Carlos Lee and bringing in Scott Podsednik was a mistake along with counting on Orlando Hernandez in the starting rotation. I’ve never been so happy to be so wrong. 2006 brought the Sox Jim Thome, which didn’t work out as planned, but it’s hard to complain about a 90 win season. Hey, I’m not a Yankee fan. 2007 was a disaster, no other way to describe it. The “hard throwing bullpen” philosophy looked awesome for a month and then 90 losses by the end. 2008 the dice definitely came up seven with Carlos Quintin, Alexei Ramirez and the strong young pitching of Gavin Floyd and John Danks. However it is looking like these four in particular are falling back to earth. Quintin is showing signs of being the injury-plagued bust that Arizona couldn’t get rid of fast enough; Ramirez is looking overmatched by the league which makes adjustments constantly to anyone who shows even a hint of promise; Floyd and Danks are looking like the pitching equivalent of Ramirez. Kenny’s big off-season moves? Bartolo Colon, Wilson Betemit, and the gamble to “mix youth with veterans.” The only problem with that philosophy is when the youth sucks and the vets look past their prime. Throw in a couple of injuries to a pretty thin roster and the year looks over by July 4. Here’s hoping I’m woefully wrong in 2009.