Results tagged ‘ Yankees ’

Stopper Danks to the Rescue?

Nothing in my baseball life has been as predictable as the phrase, “The Yankees beat the White Sox” and the reality that goes with it.

Oh sure, there have been exceptions to the rule from time to time, but this is a lopsided rivalry. It has been exceptionally difficult for me the past 35 years living in Yankeeland.
Last night had all the earmarks of one those games that just makes you throw up your hands in frustration. The Sox got off to a 3-0 lead on Paul Konerko‘s three-run homer in the first and stayed ahead 4-2 until the fifth when Derek Jeter, God according to our Ozzie, tied it up with a two-run homer. The Yanks scored two more in the seventh on God’s triple off of Matt Thornton and that was it. Remember that games against the Bronx Bombers are eight innings because Mariano Rivera pitches the ninth.
John Danks, he of the 3-0 record and 1.55 ERA goes today against our old friend Javy Vazquez, whose return to New York hasn’t been pleasant. On paper this could be a win, but it IS the Yankees so we shouldn’t get too comfortable.
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Hey Paulie, Sorry About That

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Paul Konerko is off to a great start. After today’s two-homer performance, which proved to be the difference in the Sox’s 7-5 come-from-behind win over the Rangers, he is the major league leader with 10 homers along with 18 RBI and a .292 batting average.
Paulie has been only one of a handful of White Sox to play up to expectations so far. Despite that,  I have been pretty hard on No. 14 in the form of a couple of semi-snarky comments about his propensity to kill rallies by hitting into ground ball double plays.
Konerko’s double play pattern is frustrating, but where would we be with him? Our disappointing 9-13 record would likely be much worse. So, Paulie, I’m offering you an apology–and I’ll have to somehow live with your frequent DPs.

Sox notes of note: Gavin Floyd was impressive in today’s win. He gave up only a single earned run on five hits with five K’s in seven innings…Before today’s triumph, the Sox had lost six consecutive road games vs. Toronto, Cleveland and Texas with a visit to New York on the horizon. It’s never a picnic for The Good Guys against the Yankees and this year’s version of the Bronx Bombers might even be better than last year’s World Champs. That said, I wouldn’t mind seeing Derek Jeter look something like this following after the three-game series in Gotham. A guy can dream, can’t he?
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How About A Do-Over?

If it’s not one thing, it’s another.

If it’s not Gordon Beckham, it’s Juan Pierre. If it’s not Carlos Quentin, it’s A.J. Pierzynski. If it’s not Alexei Ramirez, it’s Jake Peavy. And while Paul Konerko has gotten off to a good start with eight homers, his patented ground ball double plays have proven to be a killer. Fellow Pale Hosers, it’s been a tough April.
Any good news? Well, Andruw Jones, Alex Rios and that sweep last weekend against the Mariners, which now seems like the distant past. Last night, in the 6-5 loss to Texas, Peavy settled down after the disastrous first inning, Quentin slammed a three-run homer and Pierzynski got a couple of hits. But in the end, it was still another loss with the Sox record standing at 8-13.
The South Siders try to salvage a game in Arlington this afternoon and then off to, gulp, you know where against you know who.
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The Springtime Ritual of Predicting the Winners

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We all know that preseason predictions mean nothing–nada, zilch, zero. And while we shouldn’t take them seriously, it’s still a lot of fun–especially when the so-called experts pick your team to win.
Historically, it’s very rare when the baseball media elite pick the White Sox to win their division, let alone the AL pennant or World Series. It’s not that much different this year as the Twins seem to be the most common pick to conquer the AL Central. That said, there are a few “big name” media types among those who have picked the South Siders:
* Hall of Fame electee Bill Madden of the New York Daily News and author of the forthcoming bio of George Steinbrenner.
* Fox SportsKen Rosenthal, who somewhat tongue-in-cheek picked the Sox to win the World Series while referring to them “Team Wacko.” Think that had anything to do with our Ozzie?
* ESPN‘s Tim Kurkjian, who doesn’t exactly wear a Sox jersey on the weekends.
* Jon Heyman, he of SI, SI.com and the MLB Network.
Since I’m drinking the prediction Kool-Aid, I might as well add my two cents. Here are my divisional picks for 2010:
AL CENTRAL

1. White Sox
2. Twins
3. Tigers
4. Royals
5. Indians


AL EAST 

1. Rays
2. Red Sox
3. Yankees
4. Orioles
5. Blue Jays


AL WEST

1. Angels
2. Mariners
3. Rangers
4. A’s

NL EAST

1. Phillies
2. Braves
3. Marlins
4. Mets
5. Nationals


NL CENTRAL

1. Cardinals
2. Reds
3. Brewers
4. Cubs
5. Pirates
6. Astros


NL WEST

1. Rockies
2. Dodgers
3. Giants
4. Padres
5. Diamondbacks

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Sox-wise and Otherwise…Merry Christmas to All!

My Weekly Offseason Musings About the White Sox and More…

We Sox fans don’t expect much trade and free agent action between today and Christmas, but Kenny Williams always surprises so we probably shouldn’t be so sure. While we’re waiting for his next move, whether it’s before or after Christmas, here’s a few things to ponder:

One Man’s Garbage is Another Man’s Gold                                     

The Yankees’ acquisition of Javier Vazquez brought the number to three of Ozzie Guillen castoffs that are on the roster of the World Champs. Javy joins Damaso Marte and Nick Swisher who have gone from Oz’s doghouse to The Bronx.

BA on the Move Again

Once the heir apparent to Aaron Rowand in centerfield, Brian Anderson certainly hasn’t panned out the way many expected. After a failed few years with the Sox, BA was jettisoned this past season to the Red Sox for Mark Kotsay. Now he’s off to Kansas City where he just signed a one-year $700,000 contract in an effort to salvage his career.

Top Pitching Rotations? Don’t Forget About the White Sox

OK, the Yankees have C.C.Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Andy Pettitte, Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes and now Vazquez.  And the Red Sox counter with Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, the newly-aquired John Lackey, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Clay Buchholz.

New York and Boston are all abuzz with excitement over their respective rotations–and, of course, those folks are ignoring the White Sox who have the best rotation in the AL Central. A starting rotation, by the way, that could eventually rank favorably with the more publicized staffs in the A.L. East.

I, for one, am really looking forward to watching Sox starters Jake Peavy, Mark Buehrle, John Danks, Gavin Floyd and Freddy Garcia in action next year.

Top Sox Moments Redux

In my last post, I went on record with my Top Sox Moments of the Decade. It was pretty excruciating to decide only 10, but because the 2005 postseason was the best time in my baseball life I went with seven moments from that year’s ALDS, ALCS and World Series. Hated to ignore the rest of the decade, but a guy’s gotta do what a guy’s gotta do.

I wanted to include one moment from the ’05 postseason, but felt it would be too personal for a list like this. But count it as my No.1 Sox moment of the decade–and of all-time.

The moment I’m referring to was being at Game 1 of the World Series with my 82-year-old Dad (please see the photo opposite my blog). Like so many other fathers and sons we went to countless White Sox games together at both Comiskey and the Cell and here I was with him, finally watching the South Siders play in the World Series. You see, he got two tickets for Game 1 in 1959, but couldn’t go because he had to work. I went instead with my older cousin. I had been hoping since then that the opportunity would arise that he and I could go to a Sox World Series game together.

I’ll never forget what my Dad said when the Sox finally reached the promised land when Bobby Jenks retired Orlando Palmiero on that great play by Juan Uribe.

“All those games, all those years, we finally did it.”

Amen.

Friend and White Sox Fan Bill Madden Wins J.G Taylor Spink Award, Joins Elite in Cooperstown

In a recent post, I mentioned that my friend of nearly 40 years, Bill Madden of the NY Daily News, was one of three finalists for the J.G. Taylor Spink Award, the baseball writers’ equivalent of being inducted into the Hall of Fame.

The happy news came today that Bill has indeed been selected for the award, a great day indeed for someone who loves the Hall of Fame and baseball as much as he does. And it will be a great year for Billy in ’10 as he steps on the podium in Cooperstown to accept the award as well as having his much-anticipated tome on George Steinbrenner published earlier in the year.

It is also relevant to mention that while Billy has been identified with New York baseball, he is a fan of the Pale Hose and looks forward to being alongside one of his heroes, Nellie Fox, in the upstate New York shrine.

The (Not So) Hot Stove in Indy–Day 1

The first day of the Winter Meetings in Indianapolis came and went
without any blockbuster deals–with no White Sox activity. Righty Brian Bruney was dealt by the Yankees to the Nationals and All-Star catcher Ivan Rodriguez signed with the Nats. That was about it.

The
most intriguing buzz was a proposed three-way deal among the Yanks,
Diamondbacks and Tigers. According to the rumor, The Yankees would get
speedy centerfielder Curtis Granderson from the Tigers along with a prospect or two from Arizona. The D-backs would get righty Edwin Jackson from Detroit and young hurler Ian Kennedy from New York and the Tigers would obtain pitcher Max Scherzer from Arizona, promising outfielder Austin Jackson and leftys Phil Coke and Michael Dunn from the Yankees.

My point here is that as a Sox fan, you have to like Granderson and Jackson leaving the Central Division.

While the Sox were idle on the trade front, Kenny Williams and Ozzie Guillen were a bit chatty yesterday with the media. Here are a few tidbits that came out of their interviews:

*  KW:

“No comment” on the Sox interest in Roy Halladay. All I can say is Hmmm.

Regarding the possible signing of Scott Podsednik as
a free agent to fill the leadoff role: “If he has a sincere desire both
in terms of fit and dollars to match up, then it’s time to get serious.”

“There will be some bats available after the tender date (Saturday) so you got a lot of options…We’ve got to let it play out.”

*  Ozzie:

Indicated Carlos Quentin would most likely be moved to his natural position in right field–if Quentin is comfortable with the move.

He prefers having Gordon Beckham batting sixth or seventh.

Regarding the possibility of signing DH Hideki Matsui: We need one more
guy. It could be him. He has to show us he can play the outfield too.”

Sox-wise and Otherwise…


My weekly offseason musings about the White Sox and more…

*  Not surprisingly, the GM meetings in Chicago ended without any player movement on the South Side. Kenny Williams didn’t show his hand, but we all know the Sox need another outfielder, a leadoff man, a DH, some help in the pen, a backup catcher and some more bench strength. It seems like the starting staff and the infield are all set. Williams indicated it will be a while before all of the pieces are in place and it certainly will be interesting to see what will be and if free agents Scott Podsednik, Jim Thome or Jermaine Dye will be part of the Sox future.

*  I’m looking forward to Monday’s BBWAA AL Rookie of the Year announcement. I’m eager to know if the writers will follow the two player polls and award the honor to Gordon Beckham. As I’ve mentioned before, the favorite seems to be Detroit pitcher Rick Porcello.

*  Rumors are flying in New York that the Yankees are interested in Curtis Granderson. Apparently he’s available because the Tigers are looking to cut payroll. It would be fine with me not to see him 19 times a season.

*  In last night’s panel discussion with three prominent closers at the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center (which will air on the YES Network in March), Goose Gossage recalled his White Sox days and gave full credit to then-Sox manager Chuck Tanner and pitching coach Johnny Sain for his maturation as a pitcher and conversion into a reliever. The great Mariano Rivera and John Franco rounded out the trio.

*   I recently changed my boring cell phone ringtone to John Rooney‘s call of the last out in the 2005 World Series. Boosts my spirits every time.

*  Yesterday was a happy day for me as the Sox released their 2010 Spring Training schedule. After reviewing it, I’m thinking I’ll be in Glendale the week of March 14. I’ll see the Sox tangle with the Royals, Rockies, Dodgers, Cubs and Padres.

*   In one of the great mysteries of the offseason, the Royals have signed Wilson Betemit to a minor league contract. Based on his 2009 performance with the Sox and AAA Charlotte, I just have one queston: Why?

*   Happy to report that Sox fan extraordinaire Seymour Berke is now in rehab after a long hospital stay. It’s been quite an ordeal with the constant dialysis, but it seems he’s out of danger.

Mr. Berra Welcomes Mr. Marichal

It was quite an eventful day at my day job today as Hall of Famer Juan Marichal visited his friend and Cooperstown colleague Yogi Berra at Yogi’s Museum & Learning Center on the campus of Montclair State University in New Jersey.

There are too many stories to recall, but the one I really enjoyed centered on the time that Juan and his Giants battled the great Warren Spahn and the Braves for 16 innings until none other than Willie Mays won the game for San Francisco with a homer.

Marichal, who is doing World Series color commentary on ESPN Deportes along with San Diego Padres play-by-play man Eduardo Ortega, also had rave reviews for two Yankees in particular–Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter.

In my opinion, Marichal’s greatness has been overshadowed by the fact he pitched in the same era as the likes of Sandy Koufax and Bob Gibson. But make no mistake, he WAS great. In a 16-year career he was 243-142, compiled an impressive 2.89 ERA and won 20 or more games six times, including two years when he won 25 and 26.

Sox-wise and Otherwise…

My weekly off-season musings about the White Sox and more…


* America, fasten your seat belts. Our Ozzie Guillen will be part of the Fox pre- and post-game announcing crew for the World Series. 
* How impressed are Sox prospects Jordan Danks and C.J. Retherford with No. 1 draft pick Stephen Strasburg? Not so much, it seems. In yesterday’s Arizona Fall League action, Danks and Retherford went 4 for 4 against the $15 million man of the Washington Nationals as their Peoria Javelina’s beat the Phoenix Desert Dogs, 9-6. John Danks‘ brother Jordan collected two singles and the gritty Retherford smashed a homer and a single. The duo’s performance was no fluke either. Danks is currently hitting .385 and Retherford .421 in Fall League action. Dayan Viciedo, who didn’t play yesterday, is at .333.
* The Sox picked up Alejandro De Aza this week off of waivers from the Marlins. His role? Probably a candidate for a spot as a backup outfielder. We’ll just have to trust the Sox front office on this one.
*  While the Yanks are still in the driver’s seat to get to the World Series, ex-Sox mope Nick Swisher hasn’t helped a lick. If the former “Dirty 30″ doesn’t snap out of it soon, his love affair with Yankee fans will be over in a hurry.
*  One of the most loyal and passionate Sox fans I know, my dad Seymour Berke, is in intensive care at a Hammond, Indiana, hospital. We all want him to be ready for spring training so please say a prayer.
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