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Sox it to Us?
2005-10-27 05:37
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

A year after the Boston Red Sox ended their long championship drought, the Chicago White Sox, their cousins in futility followed suit and won the World Serious for the first time since WWI. The White Sox defeated the Astros last night 1-0 to complete a four-game sweep of Houston. Chicago became the first team since the 1999 Yankees to go 11-1 in the postseason.

It was fitting that the Red Sox had to beat their arch rivals last year to get to the Serious (and the way in which they toppled the Yanks likely helped sooth a few old sores too!), but superstitions aside I don't think anyone could have been truly shocked that Boston won it all last year. They had an excellent team were one of the favorites all season. It is also fitting that the White Sox, whose legacy apart from the infamous Black Sox scandal is that they are a losing team without a legacy (or curse if you'd like) won it all this year. They were a solid team and they played very well this year but I doubt that many fans would have predicted that this was their year at the begining of the season. (Not surprisingly, this Serious didn't draw in viwers like the 2004 Serious did--the White Sox ain't the Red Sox and the Astros aren't the Cardinals.) Eric Neel and David Schoenfield debated the relative merits of the Serious over at ESPN. I like Neel's take:

I see this Series as worthy of some credit because the White Sox just got off an 88-year schneid, trumping their whining North Side brothers and providing a welcome antidote to all the Red Sox logorrhea we've been subject to these last 11 months, and doing it with a bunch of pretty likable and unlikely heroes. I further give this series, regardless of the level of play, some credit because it's got heartache at it's heart. What's happened to the Astros here -- the return to form of their offense after a brief period of productivity, the injury to Clemens, the struggles of Brad Lidge, their one "sure bet," the repeated closeup shots of those terrible Chuck Norris beards -- added up to another chapter in the star-crossed history of the franchise. The week began so promisingly, and it's ending so familiarly. It's sad. And there's a kind of pathetic greatness in that. This club that's waited 40-plus years for a shot is shooting nothing but blanks. I know that's not entertaining, but it is strangely gripping, I think.

Plus, this series has that catch Uribe made in the bottom of the ninth, and that's a bit of greatness right there.

Finally, it is also somehow fitting that the Cubs should be the last team standing here as well. (Now the Indians and Giants have replaced Boston and Chicago in the two and three slots, but 1948 and 1954 feel a lot different from 1908.) I have a feeling they'll hold onto that dubious distinction for a little while longer but who knows? What if they go for the trifecta next year? Wouldn't that be something?

Anyhow, congrats to the White Sox and their fans.

Meanwhile, on the home front, it appears that Brian Cashman and the Yankees have settled on a three-year deal worth just less than $6 million that will keep Cashman in New York. There has been no official announcement yet but that is because Bud Selig didn't want anything to distract from the Serious. I figure Cashman and the Yanks will make a statement later today or tomorrow. Good news. I'm glad to have Cashman back.

Comments
2005-10-27 06:40:15
1.   Murray
Can't be bothered to care about TV ratings, much, but instead of blaming baseball for it, maybe baseball should think about blaming its television partners. FOX's coverage is nearly unwatchable, panning constantly between each pitch from the face of Andy Pettitte to the face of some fat blonde chick holding some sort of Astros fetish. They never allow the game to breathe. And that was a good game. Can you imagine covering a football game that way?
2005-10-27 06:51:11
2.   Dimelo
I agree with Murray that fat blonde chicks should not be put front-and-center in my living room. However, a very good looking blonde, brunette, or red-head is very much appreciated. Less fat chicks and more hot chicks, YIPPIE!!!! Another reason why it was so hard to find slim attractive (blonde, insert your preference here) chicks is because Houston is fattest (most obese) city in Amercia.

Let the hot stove begin, the White Sox are so...how should I put it...YESTERDAY!!! Today is now, baseball is over and it's time to figure out what the Yankees will do this off-season.

2005-10-27 07:08:45
3.   jedi
My first grade teacher once told us how "chivalry is sadly becoming a thing of the past." Now I know what he meant.

Real classy, guys.

2005-10-27 07:19:41
4.   Dimelo
I couldn't spell chivalry in first grade. You must have been in honors.

Jedi, it was a joke...ever have a laugh in the morning? My first grade teacher told me how "people that appreciate a good joke is sadly becoming a thing of the past".

2005-10-27 07:28:32
5.   Knuckles
Alright, we got the Cash-man back, now let's get goin'. Hopefully the 3 year deal will help Cash put the Boss in a long-term frame of mind, no matter how old or senile he may be getting.

Gimme a defensive CF (Bubba, if no one else is available) as a stopgap, and let's hope one of the minor leaguers can be our next homegrown CF. Don't even think about trading Wang/Cano. Load up on relief pitchers, and tell Torre to use more than just 2 of them. See if you can find a young fireballer to learn the cutter from Mo, and maybe groom him for a couple years. I'm betting that if the Yanks win the 06 Series, Rivera rides off into the sunset.

Some good articles in the NY papes today about the relationship b/w Mara and Shockey. Hope they can kick the Redskins ass this weekend. Living in DC, all I hear about is the Redskins. Every sports radio guy is a ballwasher extraordinaire, and a beatdown this weekend by NY would be a double scoop of goodness for me.

Congrats to the Chisox, I am happy for them. To go 15-1 or whatever, against CLE, BOS, ANA, and HOU is pretty damn impressive.

Chivalry loses its sheen pretty quickly when, instead of maybe showing us the players on the field, I see a woman pushing 2 bills in glorious hi-def on my 42" TV.

Anyone got any good ideas for Halloween costumes? I'm stumped this year and it's really bugging me. My only good option right now is Ron Burgundy. "Go F yourself, San Diego."

2005-10-27 07:32:45
6.   unpopster
so Brad Lidge, whom many sports pundits have recently labeled the "best closer in the game," has directly caused three 'Stros losses in the last two series.

If Arod and Vlad are the goats of the ALDS and ALCS respectively, then Lidge is the ultimate goat of this 2005 post season.

Mo Rivera, oh Mo, how do I love thee. Let me count the ways!

2005-10-27 07:52:08
7.   Murray
Apologies. My point was that I don't need relentless closeups of anybody. You can replace "fat blonde chick" with "jiggling 20-something brunette in a tube top" or "cherubic boy in a plastic Astros helmet" or "graying ex-President in an Astros varsity jacket" or "frat boy in a JR Richard shirt" and my feeling about the way FOX assembles a broadcast would be the same. The quick cuts are distracting.

And if Joe Buck finds baseball too boring to suit his taste, then maybe he can find another gig. He's not funny, he's not perceptive, and his voice is generic.

2005-10-27 08:45:46
8.   Simone
Thank goodness that is over. Not just tedious baseball, but some downright bad baseball. Congratulations to the White Sox and their fans. Someone had to win.

Ozzie better enjoy his 15 minutes. The media and the players will stop praising his obnoxiousness/quirkness as soon as the White Sox start to struggle (see Jack McKeon).

I can only hope Lidge can recover from his particular disaster. Backe was wonderful. He was such a cheerleader in the series and when his turn came, he gave all that he had to give the Astros a chance to win. A gamer for sure. He and Garcia were good.

Good news about Cashman. Now if Stick's situation is straightened out, all will be well or at least positively dysfunctional with the Yankees.

Alex, did you mean to spell word, series, "Serious?" A typo or some inside joke that I'm missing?

2005-10-27 08:49:25
9.   BobbyBaseBall
On the subject of Lidge, The Baseball Crank posted an extended run-down (at the request of Bill Simmons) of postseason failures and how it affected the rest of that pitcher's career. Let's see how Lidge turns out.My guess is he'll be decent, but never the quasi-dominating pitcher he could've been.

http://baseballcrank.com/archives2/2005/10/baseball_the_ta.php

2005-10-27 09:04:06
10.   KJC
One thing about this series: I think I've seen an entire season's worth of bunting in these four games! I understand the White Sox play 'small ball' (oh yeah, and hit 200 home runs) and the Astros are NL, and not every team has to play 'moneyball' style. But...

What was with the White Sox bunting (or trying to) in the first inning after a leadoff double (in game 3)? Is their #2 guy so bad a hitter that they won't swing away that early in the game? I thought that was taking the whole 'small ball' think a little too far.

2005-10-27 09:36:09
11.   rbj
I dunno, "jiggling 20-something brunette in a tube top" might have kept me, um, up last night past 10 pm. What's happened to Fox that they're reduced to close ups of fat chicks. It's a damn shame, and enough to make a man cry.
Seriously, games that start at 8:30 pm are not going to get watched by a lot of people who have to get up in the morning. I tuned in for parts of it, but if I know I'm not there for the ending then it just isn't going to hold my interest. Instead of snazzy graphics and tricked up all star games, have post season games start and end at reasonable times.
Oh, and try and get a team that can hit the freaking ball out of the infield. Endsberg, ugh.
2005-10-27 09:59:21
12.   murphy
knuckles, as per the end of 5: i went to a Halloween party last weekend as a soccer hooligan and it was very well-recieved. it gave me an "excuse" to get drunk and curse a lot.
2005-10-27 10:16:18
13.   Dan M
Murray, I'm not the biggest Buck fan in the world, but his Game 3 comment about the Big Wheel being the greatest Christmas present ever had me in stitches.

Simone makes a great point. I thought the level of play was subpar, and found myself in asking, "These can't be the two best teams in baseball, can they?" (in the ALCS too). Too bad Cleveland didn't make it.

2005-10-27 10:16:49
14.   Ben
I turned on the game in the bottom of the first, I think. Batting Clean-Up, Morgan Ensberg. Yeesh. Anyone can stink up a series, but Ensberg? Weak groundout, yup end of inning and end of my night.

Oh, and can anyone tell me if the Astros are a real team, or just the same guy jumping from position to position when the camera cuts, "first base, bugs bunny, second base bugs bunny, centerfield bugs bunny..."

2005-10-27 10:27:29
15.   Alex Belth
Simone, to the best of my knowledge is was Ring Lardner who originially called it the "World Serious." My grandfather, who worked briefly as a sportswriter for the Brooklyn Eagle back in the 1920s (not covering baseball or anything that lofty I might add), called it the Serious too. I picked it up from him. It's an affectation but one that I've used for years.
2005-10-27 10:33:43
16.   Alex Belth
More on the Cashman deal via "Was Watching": http://www.waswatching.com/archives/2005/10/cashs_new_deal.html
2005-10-27 10:37:21
17.   brockdc
Good points, Murray.

In their incessant pandering to the lowest common denominator, FOX trades insightful analysis for cut-away shots of everyone from random fans (usually women) to the celebrity of the moment. Remember all the cut-aways of female Red Sox fans last year? It reminds me of when I'm watching a 60 minutes interview and they keep cutting away to Ed Bradley's expression of disbelief/contempt/empathy. Just plain annoying.

2005-10-27 10:40:00
18.   Dimelo
Alex, When I first saw you do that I thought it was an honest mistake, but after reading what you've written in the last few weeks (when talking about the World Serious) it started to look like you were doing that by design as opposed to by mistake. Thanks for explaning. I was going to ask the same question but someone beat me to it.
2005-10-27 10:54:08
19.   Dimelo
My brother seems to have washed away his pinstripes to talk a hole in my head about these White Sox and how much they remind him of the 1998 Yankees. I almost blew a gasket when I heard him say that, WasWatching had another good piece on that today. I hate hearing that comparison, but it bugged me more hearing it from my Yankee blood bro'tha.

I agree with DanM, these two teams definitely didn't feel like the best baseball had to offer. The Red Sox were a superior team last year, I could even accept the Marlins in 2003 (not 97, I thought the Indians were better), the Angels were the best team in MLB in 2002, I still don't think the Snakes were better than the Yanks in '01 but it doesn't matter at this point. I can't wait till next year.....my predicition is that they won't make the playoffs.

2005-10-27 10:56:53
20.   Shawn Clap
Hat's off to the Sox.

There's been a lot of 1917 vs. 2005 comparisons in the straight press (price of milk, who's the president, etc.) But I feel the real date to compare is 1976, that's right the year the ChiSox wore shorts for a uniform!

http://whitesoxinteractive.com/OldComiskey/EmbarassingMoments.html

From a bunch of clowns running around in Ball-Huggers to World Champions! That's a big hole to climb out of in just 30 short years. Congrats!

2005-10-27 12:27:23
21.   singledd
How about Fox's Sesame Street cartoon character that explains what a change-up is. This stupidy alone is worth yanking Fox's licience for. But on top of that, it's a terrible explaination that would only confuse a novice more.

A change-up, the cartoon says, is a very slow pitch.

Now if you were 8 and not familiar with the nuances of pitching, wouldn't you think a major leaguer would have any easier time hitting a very slow pitch then a fast one?

Doesn't ANYBODY at Fox watch their own telecasts with a critical eye? God, I miss NBC doing the games.

And Joe Buck used to be a good announcer. He's now been Carverized!

2005-10-27 14:02:37
22.   wsporter
Alex:

Check out a great short story by Ring Lardner - "Horseshoes", in it he refers to the "Serious" and generally mangles up the language pretty good.
I'm glad Cashman is staying. If what he did putting that rotation together after May doesn't certify him on the top rung of the GM racket nothing will. He doesn't get it all right all the time but who the hell ever did anyway? Thanks Mr. Cashman for 8 great years and counting.

2005-10-27 14:27:16
23.   randym77
I'm just grateful that they only play one game at a time during the World Series, so Fox couldn't show two games on split screen again. :-P

If the Cubs win the World Series, Star Trek's "future history" of baseball will be invalidated. In one episode, they let slip that even 400 years in the future, the Cubs still hadn't won the World Series.

Of course, in the Trekiverse, professional baseball goes extinct in 2042, so I guess it's not really that long. (According to Sisko, the best team ever to play the game was the 1999 Yankees.)

2005-10-27 15:06:34
24.   ChuckM
Joe Buck is a self-righteous, pompous ass and McCarver (who I always thought was a windbag) is now moving thisclose to the Kiner/Carey/Rizzuto territory (later years, of course)
2005-10-27 17:05:35
25.   alsep73
In his interviews since officially signing the extension, Cashman has said that he only agreed to return if George put an end to the Tampa/New York BS and made Cashman the definitive head of all baseball operations. I don't know how that's going to stop one of the Tampa guys from whispering in George's ear, but at least the chain of command sounds improved. One can only hope.
2005-10-27 17:33:54
26.   randym77
It's pretty clear that money was never the issue for Cashman. It was the Tampa thing. As Torre pointed out, you can ask the Boss to change, but how can you hold him to it?

Steinbrenner's son-in-law is supposed to be assuming more responsibility, and that might be a good thing. He's rumored to be less meddlesome than his father-in-law.

2005-10-27 19:42:33
27.   JVarghese81
Outside this topice - actually, more of an aside as if this turns out to be true and has to do with a yankee...it would have a hell of an impact on Cash's job.

http://yanksblog.com/item/347
Anyway, it looks like AL playoff team's outfielder tested positive for steroids. There also looks like we have a small corfirmation (from Will Carroll) of this.

2005-10-28 04:18:34
28.   randym77
Yikes. I hope it's not Sheff.

Weren't there rumors about this earlier in the year? Supposedly, a big-name east coast player had tested positive. Could this be the same incident, still working through the system? A lot of people here thought it might be Manny. Or Damon.

I hope it's not a White Sox. (Ironically, one of the headlines at USA Today right now is "Dye, Sox earn win by simply outmuscling opponents.")

And I'm gonna be ticked off if it's a Halo. Guerrero? Finlay?

2005-10-28 06:55:30
29.   Knuckles
Can anyone confirm that Sheff still doesn't have an agent? The comment section of that yanksblog.com link talks about how he doesn't have one, which would take him out of the mix if the unknown player's agent is talking about the appeals process...
2005-10-28 07:08:36
30.   Dimelo
He might not have an agent, but he has a lawyer -- someone has to read over the contract, I doubt Sheff does it all w/o a lawyer present. They could easily be using the word agent, in this context, to be synonymous with lawyer. I really hope it's not Sheffield.
2005-10-28 07:39:13
31.   Shaun P
Good point, Dimelo - even though Sheff did his own contract, he may still have an agent to represent him in endorsement matters and stuff like that.

I'd actually be surprised if it was Sheffield. Whatever flaws he has, stupidity just doesn't seem to be one of them. I really hope it isn't a White Sock. The last thing baseball needs is a 21st-century Black Sox scandal.

We know of at least two examples of players who used to help (or try to help) recover from injuries (Luis Castillo of the SD Chargers, Mike Morse of the Mariners). Pure speculation on my part, but I wonder if that's involved here?

2005-10-28 08:10:27
32.   Dimelo
Maybe the Ginseng that Matsui THOUGHT he was taking WASN'T Ginseng after all. That could explain his awful performance. Hmmmm….all sorts of angles to this story that we can speculate….I love it.
2005-10-28 09:20:30
33.   Shaun P
And yes, I realize that raising the possibility of "use to recover from injuries" could potentially apply to Sheffield, who was hurt as the season wound down.

However, as someone at baseballmusings.com pointed out in the comments, the Palmiero appeal caused announcement of the result to be delayed 3 months after the positive test occurred. Sheff was hurt in September, but not in July (3 months ago).

2005-10-28 09:28:02
34.   Ben
I know we'll all find out soon enough, but it's a pretty short list.

Yankees, Matsui, Bernie, Gary
Boston, Damon, Manny, Nixon
White Sox, Dye, Rowand, Podsednik
Angels, Guerrero, Finley, Anderson

it could go in any direction. But smart money has to put it on Sheff, just because of that "residual" issue that popped up with another player this year who claimed he tested positive for use that he'd already been penalized for. Beyond that, it really could be anybody. I'd like to think it wasn't Bernie, It would seem very out of characer, but you never know. Steroid use at this point of scrutiny is really a sign of desperation more than criminality: I mean, you're gonna get caught.

2005-10-28 10:13:35
35.   Dan M
Bubba!!

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