Friday, July 16, 2010

I dub thee: The White Hots

Lakes of Fire 2010 (A Spaced Oddity) has come and gone, and at the risk of offending some of my more hippie friends, who often think that sports in general are trite and gauche - I have to admit that one of the best moments of the event for me took place on Saturday afternoon, talking to a certain Mike from Chicago whom I'd never met before.

You see, somehow Mike and I got on to the subject the White Sox, who, for most of the first three months of the season, were looking seriously craptastic. Our vaunted "best starting pitching in baseball" was looking like anything but, and as seems to usually be the case over the last few years (with the noted exception of Pauliewood Paul Konerko) the hitting appeared to directly linked to the temperatures . . . as long as the temps remained below 85, the collective batting averages remained below .250. Mike and I got to talking and I was a little struck when he said: "How 'bout those Sox man, can you believe it?"

Now you gotta understand, the week before Lakes of Fire, I was in full-scale Organizer/Info-bot/Production mode. Sports had been the very last thing on my mind, and of course I was at the event for six days, so I was getting NO updates whatsoever. I was clueless. My response to Mike was something like: "Yeah, it's been pretty shitty, hasn't it?"

Mike was the one to hip me to what the hell was going on. He says: "Didn't you know they've won eleven in a row?"

I'm like Moe from that one Simpsons episode: "A-whaaaaah?"

Sure enough . . . the White Hots are the hottest team in baseball right now. They won eleven in a row. They're 26-5 in their last 31 games, and now they've put together another win streak of nine games!!
White Sox pick up right where they left off

Offense supports Danks as Chicago gains half-game in Central

MINNEAPOLIS -- Thursday's 8-7 White Sox victory at Target Field came down to a simple case of the South Siders beating the Twins at a style of play they have made famous.

Despite John Danks getting touched up for six two-out runs in the second inning, the White Sox (50-38) were able to back up their starter via 14 hits, four successful hit-and-run situations and three sacrifice flies, not to mention a handful of slick plays in the field. . .

At this stage during the White Sox amazing 26-5 run over their past 31 games, pretty much everything they do qualifies as fun. Two runs in the first and two runs in the second off of Minnesota starter Kevin Slowey gave the White Sox a 4-0 lead, with Alex Rios delivering two sacrifice flies and Gordon Beckham launching his fourth home run of the season.
So what changed? My theory is this. Around June 10th or 11th, just before the White Sox became the White Hots, Manager Ozzie Guillen and GM Kenny Williams had ANOTHER mighty public spat. The team was doing poorly, and once again, Sox fans were treated to headlines of our loose cannon manager and his smooth-operator boss getting "heated." I think that these little spectacles, which at least some sports reporters have openly suggested could be scripted, take the public pressures off of the players who are underperforming, and shift it to the management. With some of the public heat taken off of a guy like, say, Gavin Floyd, a starting pitcher who has seriously turned it around after a piss-poor start, the players can relax and start doing what they're supposed to be doing. I don't necessarily know if I agree with The Rock Report's speculations that these feuds are purposefully enacted to achieve this, nor do I particularly believe that Ozzie Guillen needs any "scripting" or coaxing to be his irascible, bellicose, straight-from-the-gut self. But scripted or not, I think these public blow-ups at the management level take some of the heat off the players, and that can be a very good thing, especially when a team is struggling.

So White Sox? I dub thee the White Hots! Let's grab them Twins by the next and shake 'em until they stop moving!!!

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