Well, it’s all over but the shouting, and that will continue long into our winter of discontent. The Sox dropped their final contest of the season yesterday, a 13-3 loss to the equally homeward bound Detroit Tigers.
Tigers fans are no doubt disappointed that the Tigers failed to make the playoffs, especially after coming so closing to winning it all last year. At the very least, the Tigers did have a respectable season, finishing 88-74. However, while Tigers fans are disappointed with their team’s season, White Sox fans are appalled by the results of our team’s season.
Actually, I’m not sure a thesaurus would have enough words to describe my reaction to this season. I’m appalled, astounded, bewildered, confused, and disappointed – and there are still 22 letters to go in the alphabet.
What happened? Let’s look back at the good, the bad, and the ugly:
The Bad: Injuries and Slumps
Injuries are a part of the game, but they can take a heavy toll on a team.
March 25, 2007 – Toby Hall, backup catcher, tears his right labrum while playing first base and is out until May 18.
April 17, 2007: Podsednik strains his right adductor during a workout and is out for about a month.
May 27, 2007: Ozuna fractures his right fibula and tears a ligament in his ankle in the first inning of a game against the Devil Rays. Super-sub Ozuna plays just about anywhere in the infield and outfield, and he’s hitting well against left-handers. He’s gone for the season.
May 31, 2007: Erstad, center fielder, injures his ankle during a swing at the plate. (How often does this kind of thing happen? Rarely enough that he probably should have bought lottery tickets.) He aggravates the injury during his return on June 22, and is out until the beginning of August.
June 12, 2007: Crede has back surgery. Starting third baseman, should have been an all-star, could have won gold gloves, known for hitting well in clutch situations. He’s gone for the season.
June 23, 2007: Dye could have gone on the DL with a right quadriceps injury, but he remained active due to Erstad having to return to the DL. Kudos to Dye for putting the team first and playing hurt. Kudos also to the other Sox players who played hurt, though we fans did not know it.
There were probably more injuries, but I think I’ve covered most, if not all, of the extended absences.
The Offense – Where did it go? Usually teams have a player or two in a bit of a slump at all times. Each player winds up covering a little for his teammate who is struggling at the plate. The people struggling and the people covering vary over the course of a season. This, to me, is the definition of a team: each person does the best they can, and when one person falters, another covers for them until they recover. However, when the entire team goes into a hitting slump, there’s no way to cover for that. Such was the White Sox offense this year.
The Bullpen – need I really say more? Of the pitchers that started the year with the Sox, the only two who did not suffer a complete collapse were Jenks and Thornton, and Jenks was the only one who was truly stellar this year.
Yes, Virginia, there really is a “good” section, because there really were a few good things that happened this year.
April 18, 2007: Mark Buehrle’s no-hitter.
August 12, 2007: Jenks ties the record for consecutive batters retired (41.)
September 16, 2007: Jim Thome’s 500th career home run.
The play of rookie Josh Fields: Appearing in 100 games, he batted .244 with 23 homeruns and 67 RBI. Fields received AL Player of the week honors for the week ending September 23 by batting .524 with three home runs during that week.
One last good thing about the White Sox 2007 season: It’s over. All White Sox fans can do is look to next year. If the Sox 2007 season wasn’t such a bitter pill to swallow, I might be happy for the Cubs. Those on the north side have waited even longer for a championship than we south side fans had to wait.
However, for the immediate future, this lady has to set her jaw, do her best to make a grimace look like a smile, and listen to the Cubs fans cheer on their team.