Category Archives: Chicago Sports

Been away for a while

I have been away for a while watching all these Chicago teams excepth the Blackhawks self destruct. Since I last posted, the Bulls bowed out in the playoffs, which was at least a growth experience for the young players left on the team today. The White Sox pulled another Ozzie Guillen driven schizophrenic el foldo at he end of the season. The Cubs never played right and now need to back up the truck. The Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup and then proceeded to dismantle a lot of their team and will be rebuilding again for a couple years. And the Bears….  You may just read my past posts and you will have the same old, same old Bears. Lovie loved a vanilla preseason, the team started out of shape (but so was half the NFL, because they followed Lovie’s lead and refused to get prepared in the preseason) but despite no offensive line to speak of, is still in the race, mostly due to the other teams like Dallas, Minnesota, Arizona, Carolina, etc. also not getting in shape for the season.  My team by team capsule is as follows:

Chicago White Sox

Bye, bye Paul Konerko and maybe AJ. Starting pitching looking good, but they can’t make up their minds on a closer and are going to let some good relievers go with no real replacements from the minors. We need a third baseman, first baseman and a bench upgrade because we are sure to let go one or two outfielders. I will wait until Kenny makes his signings and trades, but know that it won’t be real upgrades, just churning of journeymen. Until there is some upgrades, second place may even be a stretch.

Chicago Cubs

They new manager looks like an upgrade from dimentia-challenged Lou Pinella. Carlos Zambrano is Carlos Zambrano, a question mark. They have a couple of good youngsters, but will be losing some veterans, have no first baseman, should lose Aramis but can’t see the forest for the trees. They need some pitching help and upgrades at most positions. Second and short look secure as well as catcher, everywhere else is a question mark. Let’s see what they do over the winter. Not encouraging right now. A new manager can only win a handful of games and the players need to play.


Our only champion. Kudos to the former gm now elsewhere for assembling the team that won. The new geniuses will have to try to match him. Let’s wait and see before we make a rash assumption.


They look pretty good so far, but obviously at least one player short of contention for a title. Boozer will help, but he will be replacing Taj Gibson who is playing as well as Boozer can. We need and off guard. We need Luol Deng to step even further up. The choice of guards in the free agent pool was iffy at best. Brewer is hopeless. Bogans was a flop in Orlando and will be a flop here. I wish we still had Heinrich or Gordon and forgot about Lebron the megamind. Playoffs will be a struggle. Maybe second round.


Watching the Bears is like going to the psychiatrist. You gotta talk it out to convince yourself to do it again. ‘Nuff said.


Del Negro finds reports of his firing ‘just funny’

Del Negro finds reports of his firing ‘just funny’ :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: John Jackson.

Well. At least Chicago has one sportswriter who has a clue. The other sheep like to echo the saying of the day: [we need a coach that can teach Derrick Rose the point guard position] [We need a coach who can manage the clock] [Vinnie is dead coach walking] [The decision to fire Vinnie has already been made] Actually what they didn’t say says a lot about them, The same writers use reverse logic when it comes to Lovie Smith. Why? They are reverse racists, that’s why. When anyone publicly calls for Lovie’s firing, they say they are racist because Lovie is black. And when the white coach is having injury  and personnel problems he has to go immediately. (Christmas Eve?) When Lovie’s defensive scheme’s are utter failures, they say Brian Urlacher is out, so it doesn’t count.

I love it when they say that Vinnie can’t help Derrick Rose be a better point  guard. Why? Because he is white? Like he didn’t play the position for many years? Oh, that doesn’t count.

When they say Vinnie can’t manage the clock, why? Is it because Bernie Bickerstaff didn’t call the timeout? He certainly added his two cents before Vinny calls those timeouts. But they forget that also.

When they say Vinnie is dead coach walking do they explain why? No they just pontificate about the record being 11-18.

When they say the decision to fire Vinnie has already been made, I agree. BY THEM. No wonder Vinnie laughs it off.

Now I know political correctness rules everything today and a white sportwriter cowers in fear to ever be referred to as another Rush Limbaugh and lose their cushy job with perks galore. But how about some even-handed reporting like the above referenced article. And the writer is not white, but a great writer. See another article he wrote on another page on this website. I posted his article on Chicago sports because it was a great article. Fair. Even-handed. Terrific.

Kudos John Jackson!

I know I threw out some broad insinuations in this  article, and I know there are beat writers and there are editorialists. But some of the beat writer sometimes are interviewed on tv and sometimes they crow the line that seems the safest. But there is also a lot of cross pollenation where the writers go on TV and spout some of the lines reffered to in this   article. Sometmes it looks like they don’t even mean what they say. This is what I refer to. Not just their articles. But the overall gist of what becomes a jingoism and concensus.

2009 White Sox…Did they earn their paychecks?

Friedell: Report card for the 2009 White Sox

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The above link shows ESPN’s take on the 2009 White Sox. I want to do my own, instead focusing on each player, and if I felt they earned their paycheck.  I don’t care how much they make and if they were a value or not. I only want to play GM and say how much I would add or reduce their current paycheck based on performance as I perceived it. Here goes:

Ozzie Guillen.....Success or Failure?

Ozzie Guillen.....Success or Failure?

Manager: Ozzie Guillen      70%

Ozzie had a horrible season making pitching moves. Every move seemed like the wrong one and his timing was horrendous. This is one of the main jobs a manager has in managing a game. His timing on calling for steals was also off many times. leading to unneeded double plays. But overall, the team seems to respond to his leadership abilities. He has tremendous rapport with the latin players, and may coerce Alexei Ramirez into becoming a star yet with his method of tough love. The veterans on the team all appreciate his support when they stunk, which helped team harmony, and he has assembled a pretty competent coaching staff, especially Don Cooper, who keeps the starting pitchers healthy and a strength of the team. Overall, if he is not fired, as I think he deserved at times, he is better than average at team leadership, which I hope will mean a better future. If next year turns into a repeat of this year, he should be gone. But for now……lower his salary.

Coaching staff:

Don Cooper  110%  Greg Walker  50%  The rest 100%

As I said, Don Cooper is one of the best pitching coaches around, and his starting pitchers are always prepared and remarkably healthy. Most of the pen is the same, although some of the players are not up to major league ability, but that is not his fault. He does his job, they sometimes don’t do theirs. Greg Walker did not do the job. Hitters cost the Sox many games with incompetent bunts, swinging at pitches out of the zone and lack of preparation to hit the first pitch when it is down the center of the plate. This is a part of his job to fix and it continued from start to finish this season. Dump him…or cut his salary. The rest of the coaches did their jobs well, although I do think Harold Baines could have been a little more forceful in advising hitters.


Mark Buerhle 85% with a 20% bonus for a perfect game and leadership

Perfect game? Enough said. The rest was a little less exciting.  He was competent in that he kept the Sox in the games he pitched almost every game, but he failed as number one starter to be the stopper and big game guy he was paid to be. Competent but average earns a little less in my bottom line.

Gavin Floyd    95 %

If not for the awful start, he deserved his pay this season, making more progress toward being a number two starter. If  not for Jake Peavy being on the team, I would say he could earn number one status in the future. Very positive future.

John Danks   100%

At times looked like a number one starter and at times was just average. But over all, he made strides and could turn into one of the best left handed starters in the game if he keeps improving. I see losing him in the future because we won’t be able to afford him, but for now, he certainly earned his pay.

Jake Peavey     100%

Season grades for Jake Peavey are incomplete due to his injury, but he is a former Cy Young pitcher for a reason, He has all the pitches and knows how to use  them. I am really excited about his future, now that he seems to embrace the team and Chicago. A real professional in dealing with the media means he will make a great team leader. Pay him whatever it takes, but no raise due to incomplete performance.

Freddie Garcia    100%

Although no longer a number one starter, he certainly earned his salary this year. Hope for the future if he can just do what he did for the short time he pitched this year. Bring him back!  (I never thought I would say that when they signed him)

Bobby Jenks          100%

Although he had a couple bad games under the spotlight at the end of the season, the rest of his season was very good. It started out spectacular, so good I thought he deserved an all star spot. The rest of the year was fine and he is probably up for a raise. Even though I would not give him a giant raise, I would pay his arbitrated salary rather than trade him. He is not done by any means.

Matt Thornton        150%

Not only did he have a great year, hev was consistently good and may have even earned the closer job. Another guy we are gonna have to pay and pay big to keep. Give  him a raise!

Octavio Dotel          80%

Great at times, but way too inconsistent. Probably not worth keeping at present salary.

Scott Linebrink       60%

Even more inconsistent than Dotel. Not worth his salary, whatever it is. Keep only if he takes a cut in pay, to be  used in washup duty.

Tony Pena           50%

Did not earn his pay. Cost us a good prospect. Kenny Williams’ worst move. “nuff said

D.J. Carrasco           125%

Give the man a raise. consistent in long relief. Good in short relief. OK as a starter. A keeper.

Carlos Torres      100%

Inconsistent as a starter, but looked good at times. May be a diamond in the rough. Bring him back. May be good in the bullpen.


A.J. Pierzynsky    100%

Although a defensive liability at throwing stealers out, I had to gulp hard and say he well deserved his pay. With a .300 average, 13 homers and 49 RBI, he was one of our few consistent hitters.  And he is absolutely great calling the game and getting the most out of the pitchers. They never shake off his signs. They have confidence in him and he seems to be the team leader, if not a love/hate character in the locker room.

Ramon Castro        100%

Did not play enough to judge his true value. Caught the perfect game, so must know how to call a game. Looks like  a competent backup catcher.

Tyler Flower           100%

Did not see enough to know his worth. He  is certainly big and strong, but looks too big to be a catcher. The ump can’t see around him. May have a big future at a different position, but for now, pay him and  keep him.

First Base

Paul Konerko          88%

Still a liability on the bases, he caused more than his share of base clogging this year because he drew so many walks and got plenty of hits. He had a much better offensive year with 28 homers and 88 RBI. Should have had more RBI considering his place in the lineup, but he is a specialist at the solo home run, my least favorite statistic. He was very consistent and at times well above average in the field, making a shaky defensive infield passable. My favorite candidate to trade but it doesn’t look like it’s gonna happen so pay the man, albeit not a full salary that should command at least 100 RBI. At least he was more consistent than last year.

Mark Kotsay    150%

Whatever we pay him, give him a raise. Good in the field, both at first and in the outfield. Hit .278 in limited appearances, but was very consistent, professional, and positive in every thing he did in the field and at bat. You can never have enough of this type player.

2nd Base

Chris Getz           150%

Might have been rookie of the year if Gordon Beckham stayed in the minors. Very good in the field. Had injuries that affected his hitting averages as they came just when he started to hit consistently. Still ended up with .261 and many key hits anchoring a surprisingly good bottom of the batting order. Looks like a keeper. Give him  a raise!

Jayson Nix          100%

Had he not been injured in spring training, probably would have been the starter. Is smooth in the field at all three infield spots. Hits well, although striles out too much trying for the long ball. Hit 12 homers and 32 RBI in limited appearances, so probably has a good upside. His fielding makes him a better alternative to Juan Uribe and he is young and has time to grow. A keeper.


Alexei Ramirez       100%

I am really tempted to say cut his pay due to inconsistency, but when you look around the league and think back on our recent shortstops, Alexei stacks up. He is still young and learning a new country and job. He hit .277 with 15 homers and 68 RBIs.(another reason Konerko’s 88 looks shabby) Ramirez’s biggest problem is that he is still erratic defensively. He made 20 errors this season. He has a knack for the big hit, which we sorely lacked this year. Overall. you have to say he earned his pay.

3rd Base

Gordon Beckham           200% plus a bonus for rookie of the year and team’s best player

As you can tell, I love Gordon Beckham. I loved him in the College World Series. I loved him in spring training. I thought the Sox were nuts to send him to the minors at all. He got thrown into a new position with no training, made a few errors, but became a very good fielder by the end of the season. You could see improvement from game to game. At bat, he started out lousy, got hot and ended with .270 with 14 home runs and 63 RBIs in just four months of action. He has actually been referred to as a doubles machine. I like to think of him as the next Arod, The Sox better start investing in gold in order to pay him when he reaches arbitration and better never let him near free agency. Can’t pay him enough.

Josh Fields           50%

What do you pay a bust? He fooled the management with his hard work over the winter becoming competent in the field (an upgrade from awful), then went into the tank hitting. Strikes out way too much. Doesn’t know the strike zone. Has good power, but pitchers never have to throw him strikes to get him out. He was so bad he forced management to see the error of their ways and caused them to bring up Gordon Beckham. For  that Josh Fields at least deserves part of his salary.


Carlos Quentin         85%

My favorite outfielder had a very inconsistent season due to injury. They best I can say he looked like the best hitter on the team the last week of the season. The rest of the year was like watching rehab in the minors. He did manage to get in 99 games and had 21 home runs and 56 RBI, but never really was playing injury free. I still have big hopes for the future, but his future was supposed to be  this year. One of the main reasons the team dropped from contention was a missing Carlos Quentin of 2008. Can he stay healthy? The answer to that may be the key to the White Sox future. If he fails next year we will have to start over with youngsters.

Jermaine Dye             60%

Another big favorite of mine but I’m afraid he’s done. His defense slipped all year. His offense went totally in the  tank in the second half. As bad as he was he still had 27 homers and 81 RBI, again emphasizing how bad Konerko’s RBI total was. His bad second half and Quentin’s missing numbers cost the Sox the season. Not much can be said when you see a favorite lose his skills. My heart says bring him back.  My head says goodbye and thanks for the memories.

Scott Posednick          130%

Another player I was totally wrong on. I cried when we signed him. (Of course we could have had Bobby Abreu), but it turned out he was not only just what we needed (a leadoff man to get on base), but he became one of the few consistent hitters we had. He stole some bases but was always being thrown out somewhere, negating some of his speed, but was fun to watch. He is a liability in the outfield, making his return problematic, but he surely earned his pay and then some.

Alex Rios                 90%

I know. You think I’m nuts to even suggest we pay this guy at all. But I see a big future. My most favorable impression was his fielding ability. He is fast. He can catch. He is not afraid of the wall like Posednick. The other team NEVER runs on his arm. And he looks like he can play any position. Hiting wise, he is a puzzle. He did almost nothing in the White Sox offense, but his overall numbers show 17 homers, 71 RBI, a .296 OBP (amazing since it seemed like 0 on the Sox) and a slugging percentage of .395 overall. He must have done a few things right on Toronto. I think he just had a bad slump at the same time as all the other Sox, which made him look worthless. I am hopeful for a big season and future. So for now,  just a slight pay cut for a lousy few games with the White Sox.

Ozzie admits my recent blogs were right

Sporting News Today – September 8, 2009

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Ozzie changing pitchers - alwayds at the wrong time

Ozzie changing pitchers - alwayds at the wrong time

The attached article in a national magazine confirms exactly what I have been saying all season. I love Ozzie Guillen as a person, I love his enthusiasm and even his game knowledge. But as a a manager in major league baseball, he stinks at the most important element, handling his team to maximum performance. Maximum performance can only be defined as winning record. I don’t know Ozzie’s overall record of manager, but I’d be surprised if it isn’t hovering somewhere around .500. If you told me it was around .600 I’d give  him a pass for a bad season and move on. But somebody has to take blame for this season, where he took a veteran laden lineup and got no consistency and actually poor performance, out of all the veterans except AJ Pierzynski, who already was one of the worst catchers defensively in baseball  (based on throwing out runners stealing at will on him).  At least AJ hit well and was moved around the lineup to take advantage of his hitting. This is the one thing Ozzie did that I think was good managing. The bad thing was that AJ was way overplayed in a position that needs a break at least once a week or more. If he did a better job with the other veterans he could have rested AJ properly and maybe even helped the defense.

Ozzie’s handling of pitchers has been awful and his timing was not just bad this year, but has been bad every year. Other teams seem to be able to get a few wins at least out of a fifth starter, but we as Sox fans have looked at a parade of losses every time we trot out a fifth starter. Why? They are not that much worse than a Cub, Tigers or Cardinals fifth starter, they are similarly flawed.  The difference is Ozzie does not know when to take them out of the game and who to replace them with.  Most of the games go along ok for three or four innings and then the roof caves in. Some smart managing might minimize these collapses, but no, it NEVER happens. A similar thing happens with our regular starters. They pitch their hearts out until they are done, and  Ozzie leaves them in to try to get them a win. But he doesn’t make lineups that produce run support, so this system is faulty. And when he goes to the bullpen, he always seems to get the wrong pitcher at the wrong time. He follows the book okay, but somehow it never works out.  Must we sit through these mistakes year after year? It appears so.

Floyd pitches White Sox past Boston 5-1

Floyd pitches White Sox past Boston 5-1 :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: White Sox

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Gavin Floyd gives us a thrill on national TV

Gavin Floyd gives us a thrill on national TV

Gavin Floyd gave us all a thrill today watching him blow away Boston hitters one by one. I really felt bad for him when that first hit came in the 6th inning. He looked like we all knew he would this year. If only this game can be replayed about 20 more times this season, all of us Sox fans would still be happy. But we all know this 4 game winning streak is a little too late to save our season. But again I say it bodes well for the next five years. Now if we could only rid ourselves of the two other boat anchors Dye and Konerko, the future would be really bright. We got a glimpse Friday night of some of the kids. And the future looks bright.

This one’s on you OZZIE

Real double-edged sword :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: White Sox

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Ozzie overlooks his wreckage

Ozzie overlooks his wreckage

The White Sox did it again. Ozzie’s lineup left runner after runner after runner in scoring position. I would normally just consider it bad luck or just a part of the game, but it has now gone well past coincidence. The same replay happens over and over and over. The problem is the three lumberers coming up at the wrong time every time. Due to their track record, some last year and a lot this year the trio of Dye, Konerko and Thome just aren’t getting the job done. They need to be benched, traded or be put at the bottom of the lineup or at least be separated from each other. I am tired of seeing their strkeouts, double plays, or worse, going station to station with the crucial run in the game. They cannot score from second on any hit. Konerko, as good a fielder as he has been over the years, is now getting cramps in the field as well. He allowed Jose Contreras to make a fool of himself and the team yesterday by not taking charge and fielding the grounder that turned the game into a rout when we still had the lead. Jermaine Dye is starting to make crucial mistakes in the field as well. Any way, they don’t belong in the key parts of our lineup and should now be platoon players, as we have competent backups.

The pitching, though, is Ozzie’s real Achilles heal. All last year and now all this year, time after time after time, every time Ozzie makes a pitching move, something always seems to go wrong. He and the press are great at blaming then relievers in question at the time, but nobody seems to say anythng about Ozzie’s bad timing over and over again. He does this repeatedly, always with bad results. The starter pitch count nears 100 and out comes the reliever who has trouble controlling the game. Last night Freddie Garcia retired nine batters in a row and was breezing along, when he gives up a double.

He was on a roll, let him win the game!

He was on a roll, let him win the game!

Out springs Ozzie to put in a replacement, and oops, there goes the game. Please Ozzie, it happens too often. It is now a trend. When you get that urge to take out a pitcher, take a deep breath, go get some sunflower seeds and let  the game take its course. It may turn out wrong, but what you are doing is costing games too many times. If it is obvious, like in the third inning Monday, please take out the pitcher to save him and the team from the embarrassment Jose Contreras turned that fiasco into. Stop managing two or three games ahead. Your bullpen does not need babying, If they continually fail, find some minor league hotshot to pitch those middle innings. Whatever, please manage a team that needs help by using the hot player and stop thinking so much. Let the game play out.

I am a very frustrated White Sox fan that lives and dies with the Sox and want to see some professionalism. I am not seeing it right now. A part of managing any organization is getting the best out of those under you and taking responsibility for recurring failures. It is time to step up Ozzie. Either change, or be relieved.

Even Ozzie recognizes the problems, going by his quotes after Tuesday’s Game:

”That killed us,” Guillen said. ”If you watched us all year long, we’re really bad with men on third base and less than two outs, maybe the worst team in baseball right now. If someone is worse than us, that’s a record. That continues to bite us. Good teams score the guy from third base, and we’re not doing that right now. We haven’t done that all year long, period.”

What happened next? The obvious. Fresh off getting out of a bases-loaded jam to end the seventh, Scott Linebrink served up a one-out home run to Jason Bay that gave the Red Sox a 4-3 lead. By the time the eighth was over, it was 6-3.

”I just told [Ramon] Castro, ‘When I call someone from the bullpen, make sure you leave the pitcher there and you come out — our backup catcher,”’ Guillen said. ”I called [Octavio] Dotel [on Monday], and he got his ass kicked. I called Linebrink, he got his ass kicked. No matter what I do, I call the wrong guy. I guess it’s my fault for calling the wrong guy.”