I saw an off hand comment about which baseball team was the mythic “team of the decade” and it got me thinking about the White Sox decade. I can’t believe that I’ve been rooting for the Sox for ten years now. That feels pretty good. I was going to go through the decade, count up the wins, post season appearances and all of that, but Mr. Mark Liptak has already done that here. As you go through Lip’s article you’ll notice its been a pretty good time to be a Sox fan; three post season appearances, one World Series win, an overall winning record (only two losing seasons! Growing up an Indians fan reaching .500 was the great dream) and I think it’s worth mentioning a great home record. Nothing like going to the ball park and having a really good chance at seeing a win. Looking through Lip’s comments it’s amazing that this is first time in franchise history that the Sox have had only two managers in a decade. Along with the World Series, which trumps all, being a fan of a team that has had two no-hitters, a 500th career homerun and two players reaching 300 homeruns (in the same game no less) has been a real treat. Taking this kind of perspective, it really is hard to find a lot to complain about with the White Sox and how they have gone about their business this past decade. Except for teams like the Yankees and Red Sox which play ATM baseball, I think it is almost delusional to believe a team can have a winning record every year. Some rebuilding will inevitably have to occur and honestly, the down times make the high times that much better.
In light of the decade just concluded, I’m feeling pretty good about the upcoming season and what Kenny Williams, the Gambler, is doing. Getting Alex Rios and Jake Peavy were both very good moves as far as the White Sox are concerned. Peavy, when healthy (please dear god stay healthy) is going to be solid. I won’t make any predictions on wins or other stats, but on paper adding him to the Sox staff makes them quite impressive. Peavy, Buehrle, Danks, Floyd, Garcia (hang in there Freddie) it’s hard to find another starting five that at this point has as much potential. Rios, is definitely more of a gamble, but with a certain safe side. The Sox really need his bat to come back, at the very least to career norms or he is a liability just about anywhere in the lineup. The great part about Rios is his defense. He is probably the best center fielder the Sox have had since Aaron Rowand (a case, defensively could be made for Brian Anderson, but he just couldn’t hold on to the job) and it takes at least one of the constant off-season holes out of the picture. Also, I’m a fan of Kenny’s New Deal approach, that philosophy of trying new things, seeing what works, abandoning what doesn’t and trying again. I also like the aggressive streak that Kenny has. The day after the World Series concluded, Kenny was making moves, signing Mark Kotsay (who played great for the Sox) maybe securing a trade for Mark Teahen, and this just in: buying out Jermaine Dye. Already I’m wondering where the power is going to come from, but there is a long way to go until opening day. (117 days to go!)
Finally a word about Ozzie Guillen. Yes, he’s crazy, foul mouthed and it seems like he can really rub some guys the wrong way (hello Nick Swisher.) But overall, he’s done a pretty good job, especially the last two years. No one picked them to win the division in 2008 and looking at his starting lineup of 2009, the fact that he managed to keep the team in it until August (technically September, but we all knew it was over after the 1-6 east coast trip.) I’m not a big believer that a manager does a lot to affect wins and loses, but he does deserve some credit for the Sox success during his tenure. He may not be the best manger in baseball, hell he’s not even the best in the division, but he definitely isn’t the worst. I just may have to give in and go to Soxfest this year.