Saturday, August 19, 2006

Michael J. Fox Said They Had To Do It Without the Wolf: Game 121 Thoughts

Sox Lose: 3-7...bummer.

From the graveyard of kitschy '80s movies comes a pitcher whom the White Sox could not beat. Boof "Teen-Wolf-is-my-lover" Bonser held the Sox bats in check for the most part, and cry-baby Freddy Garcia said, "no wolf for you," as he gave up the lead three times in the Twinkies comeback victory.

This game had all the earmarkings of a big time heavyweight boxing match with the teams trading punches in the first half of the game. But when Torri Hunter yanked a 6th inning homerun, his 4th off Freddy in his career, the White Sox were down for the count. (If that's a cliched metaphor, oh well. That's honestly what watching the game felt like.)

Quick note to self: when Neal Cotts comes in the game with inherited runners, they will always score.

In hindsight, Cotts didn't that pitch poorly. In the 7th after a Punto single with one out, Neal was called on and struck-out the newest wonderboy, Joe Mauer, and then intentionally walked Cuddyer to pitch to Justin Morneau, he of the .318 average, 31 hr's and 108 rbis. (How this guy is not in the MVP discussion is a mystery to me). Unfortunately Morneau's 2-run single was a severe jam-shot to swallow CF that BA just couldn't reach -- as true a ducksnort as you'll ever see. Cotts then IBBed Hunter before striking out Kubel to end the inning.

Speaking of BA, the yin and yang of baseball -- and the trampoline that is the Humphrey-dome carpet -- reared its ugly head when the defensive hero of the last game with KC committed his first error on the season getting too close to Morneau's ducksnort that bounced off the turf, his glove then his shoulder and past him into centerfield. How the baseball gods are fickle.

Not much else good happened. JD did homer to give us the lead in the 4th. (What new? Why JD isn't part of more national MVP talk is also a mystery.) And Paulie delivered an rbi single in the 6th. The only other significant chance the sox had in the game, 2nd & 3rd with 2 outs in the 3rd inning, went the way of left-over dinner slop: down the drain.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention a few things about the state of the team's chemistry right now. In Cheat's recap of last night's game he mentions that the team is starting to show some cracks in that quasi-scutinized aspect of the game. First Javy Vazquez and now Freddy Garcia have tweaked the offense saying you can't win if you don't score. To that I say: Aren't the Sox the leading run producers in all of MLB? Freddy's hissy-fit in the dugout last night surely didn't endear him to Neal Cotts or any other reliever for that matter; maybe Ozzie needs to bend him over his knee and spank him for the spoiled brat that he is. And now there's word that Crusty Alomar, Jr., and AJ had a spat over an article in which Crusty said he was gonna knock out AJ. Crusty claims he said it in jest (and the editor of the ESPN the Magazine article acknowledges the misunderstanding saying the publication played it as a straight quote instead of the joke it was -- fucking media troublemakers), and supposedly they sqwashed it, but in a locker room under intense pressure to win any spark could lead to dissention which could lead to schisms which could lead to... BLAH BLAH BLAH.

Okay, I'm not the first to write about the subject and my view is certainly not unique, but in the world of baseball, chemistry, in my humble opinion, is overrated. The games aren't like basketball where no-look passes are more of the feel and sense variety and pick and rolls need two people to be in tune with exactly what the other is doing. The games certainly aren't like football where words like gang-tackling, zone blitzes, safety valve passes and run blocking all conjure up images of 11 different guys doing intricate jobs to the achievement of one goal. In baseball, 99% of the defensive plays will involve 3 fielders or less. To wit: According to Snobs vs. Slobs, "...Of all the plate appearances in MLB so far this year (more than 138,000), only 2,853 of them resulted in a double play. That’s less than one percent of the PAs that turn into double plays." The most isolated person in all of team sports is a batter at the plate (unless you're a kicker and you just missed a game-winning 30-yard field goal as time expires.) Baseball rarely uses team huddles, time outs or specialty plays that require every player on the field's participation. And spare me the semantics lessons; I know you can call time out and from time to time the infield will huddle, but these occurances don't evoke team chemistry but rather game pace. In fact, in professional baseball unless you're the hitting coach, you never -- and I mean never -- pat a guy on the fanny after making a non-productive out, especially a strikeout. Why? Because hitting is such a personal, intimate thing tha no amount of ass-grabbing comradrerie is gonna make it any easier or harder.

Hopefully the certain ensuing media storm will pass. Maybe Ozzie will run into Jay Mariotti or Andy Van Slyke at some restaurant and offer them a glass of wine only to have it tossed back in his face leading to a Gold Coast riot. Phil Rogers and Rick Telander will then have something else to drivel about.

Hey! Did I mention the Bears won their preseason tilt over the Chargers? Oh, wait, this is a White Sox blog.

Fever gone. Onto the game awards.

Bad Ozzie Move of the Game: not sacrificing a live chicken to the baseball gods before the game.

Good Ozzie Move of the Game: not sacrificing a live chicken to the baseball gods before the game for sanitary reasons. Santeria is fine practiced in the privacy of your own home.

Play of the Game: Funny. Hero one night, goat the next. BA's gaffe on the Morneau ducksnort sapped the life out of the Sox last night. Then again, not funny.

Big Ups of the Game go to Pods for NOT getting thrown out on an attempted steal. Sad. Just sad.

And my White Sox Player of the Game is....

Jermaine Dye (13)

His homerun was about the only good thing that happened in this game.

Sox Record: 72-49 Only 1 up in the WC over the Twinkies and still 6.5 behind the Tiggers in the division.


Blogger Fornelli said...

Taking Thome today.

8/19/2006 8:50 AM  
Blogger DickdaStick said... / hate relationship.

I AM a big believer in Chemistry - in a game of inches and angles like baseball, I think it is the ingredient that tips the delicate balance in your favor. Makes you jump 1 more inch, run 1/2 step faster, see the ball a split second earlier....and Ozzie has not been cooking the same batch of chemistry for awhile now. We have our moments, but there's no real wellspring to keep drawing from...and now little fractures are developing

Just my 2 cents and attempt to figure out this team

8/19/2006 9:47 AM  
Blogger TX via Chicago said...

I'll take Gooch...he's overdue.

8/19/2006 10:41 AM  
Blogger jamesmnordbergjr said...

" is the ingredient that tips the delicate balance in your favor. Makes you jump 1 more inch, run 1/2 step faster, see the ball a split second earlier..."

I gotta disagree, friend.

I just don't see the bunker mentality in baseball. To me it's personal pride that makes someone elevate their game, not the guy in the locker next to him who tells the best dirty jokes.

Personally, I'm not running hard to first base cuz so-and-so and I had dinner the night before, and he paid the bill. I'm running hard cuz it's my duty to play hard and things will happen if I do hustle.

Can that motivate others? Sure. But it's just not as big a piece of the pie as some make it out to be.

Think about this, and maybe this is an oversimplification but...reaction times in baseball are split second entities. There is no time for thinking about the coffee Joe Blow firstbaseman dumped in my lap as I'm fielding a screaming liner at 3B. The catcher doesn't not block a pitch in the dirt because the pitcher just shook him off twice. There's too much pride at stake, at least I hope there would be with professionals.

Where any thoughts might come in is when a player is struggling in the field, and another defender puts pressure on himself to make the outs the struggling player can't handle, i.e., an infielder pressureing himself to throw a good ball cuz the 1b isn't picking the ball out of the dirt well, or say an CF trying to cover too much ground cuz he's afraid the other OF can't get there.

And there is certainly no part of chemistry when it comes to muscle memory.

While it's nice to have a comfortable lockerroom, was Sammy Sosa's blaring boombox to really to blame for Kerry Wood's poor pitching last year? I don't believe that.

Every player in baseball is accountable for his own actions reguardless of the team love-fest or bitch-fest in the lockerroom.

(On a side note specifically about Pods, if you've noticed lately he's either hurting or is just lazy cuz he hasn't been running out routine grounders with that much hustle. Kinda like that commercial with the Pony Leaguers that addresses big leaguers saying, "This is how you run out a ground ball," and show the kid gritting his teeth as sprints all out to first on a grounder to SS. Pods need to take a good look in the mirror.)

8/19/2006 10:50 AM  
Blogger DickdaStick said...

...we could debate til Jeeves is found, but I can cite quadzillions of examples of guys who leave bad situations on one team - join another and get embraced and suddenly "come back to life" and completely chage as Maddux has just done. I'm not saying the whole performance or the whole game hinges on chemistry alone - hell no ! - but even if it's a mere 5% of the package, that can tip some close games over the course of a season. 9 men focused and bonded will beat 9 equal men who operate as individuals, more times than they will lose.

The whole "Don't stop believing" trip further amplifies...

you young guys spend too much time on your electronics...

8/19/2006 5:58 PM  
Blogger jamesmnordbergjr said...

If you're insinuating that I need to get a life, well, you can look no further than a very missing Jeeves for that. Keeping the site updated is a labor of love, and I have a very new and very healthy respect for Jeeves after this week.

I even got up early today, on a Saturday with a slight hangover no less, to make sure I got a recap up in time to get decent responses. I then had breakfast, cut the grass and did laundry before I realized I didn't update the sidebars, which I'm still getting the hang of, let me tell yah. It normally takes two or three "republish this blog" tries before everything is correct, and I'm alway afraid I deleted half the existing blog.

Thank god I love the the Sox and like writing and am developing a taste for this blogging thing (as you can tell by the ever increasing size of my posts), or I might be bald right now. It has been fun though, and I hope it doesn't sound like I'm complaining cuz I'm not. It's been a learning experience and I gotta thank Jeees for letting me help out.

By the way, Thome just hit a sky high 2B and Paulie reached on an error and the Sox lead!

8/19/2006 6:25 PM  
Blogger Jeeves said...

I should be thanking you. You've taken great care of the site and I like the things you've brought to the recaps. I'm for sure going to start including good and bad ozzie moves.

Pander, wonderful work as well. I'm glag you came back after the awesome stuff you did at the ASB.

And if you haven't figured it out, I'm finally back from London! The internet connection died the second half of the week, so unfortunately (maybe fortunately, cuz i missed out on a lot of stress) I wasn't able to keep up on the Sox.

8/20/2006 12:46 PM  

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