Saying goodbye and thank you to 2010

The final day of the baseball season is always bittersweet, but it was made more so by the thoughtful and graceful way the Sox handled the (possible) departures of three White Sox icons on Sunday.

The final day of the baseball season is always bittersweet, but it was made more so by the thoughtful and graceful way the Sox handled the (possible) departures of three White Sox icons on Sunday.
A.J. Pierzynski gave way to Tyler Flowers before the fourth inning began, and Paul Konerko left with one out in the seventh, both to standing ovations, and with Nancy Faust providing the soundtrack one last time. She got her standing ovation in the ninth inning, and provided a cool scene in the process. From the WGN center field camera, when Chris Sale threw the first pitch of the inning, everybody had their back turned to the field to applaud Faust.

Except for the one guy in the Blackhawks sweatshirt. What’s up with that guy?
We know, sadly, that Faust isn’t returning, and there are no strong indicators yet for Konerko or Pierzynski. But it’s kind of funny how each will (or would) leave a void. You have the captain (and a chant — it was weird hearing “O-E-O, Magglio!” in Detroit), the team’s resident a-hole, and one of the last ties to the stadium across the street. It was a sad day, but the Sox did it right.
And thanks to Scott Reifert for capturing Nancy’s last song, “Don’t Want to Let You Go.”

Assorted thoughts from the last day of the season:
*Bobby Jenks was the notable omission from the day’s ceremonies, and Kenny Williams had to stop himself when asked about Jenks’ future:

“That’s something we have to evaluate strongly because I’ve been disappointed on a number of levels,” William said when asked if he wants Jenks back in 2011. “And there are certain things that … I’m not going to talk about right now.
“What I will say is Bobby Jenks has been good for a long time here. He is one of the reasons we’ve got that (World Series) banner up here and a (20)08 division as well.
“Two years after winning the division in ’08, I’m not going to criticize one of the guys that helped us get there. We’ll just make the moves necessary for the continuity of the team and the success of the team.”

*Edwin Jackson finished his first half-season with the White Sox 4-2, but more importantly, the Sox went 8-4 in his starts. Normally that would be pretty good for anybody, but the Sox probably needed one more win, considering the ridiculously easy slate Jackson had to face.
It represents the kind of razor-thin margin for error the Sox had in dealing with the Twins. Kinda like when they started a road trip 7-1 and only gained a game in the process.
*Brent Lillibridge is probably glad the season is over. He struck out in nine of his last 10 plate appearances, which brought his season line down to .224/.248/.378.
That’s shocking for a couple reasons. For one, he was hitting .424 through his first 34 plate appearances, and I didn’t think he’d get enough playing time to sink it down to that level. But finishing the season 8-for-69 will do that. He had no middle ground:

  • First 34 PA: .424/.441/.758, one walk, 11 strikeouts
  • Last 71 PA: .116/.141/.174, two walks, 29 strikeouts

The other is that he actually slugged .378 in spite of the free-fall.
*Tyler Flowers, on the other hand, was just getting started. He rapped a single through the left side to give him his first and only hit of the season.
He’s got some problems to work through, as he’s 4-for-27 in his big-league career with 13 strikeouts, and that’s no accident. He’s whiffed an awful lot, and either his swing is long or his bat his slow.
He has a great eye though, with seven walks over those 35 plate appearances, and in the times I’ve seen him catch, both in Chicago and Charlotte, I think they can live with his defense. He did a pretty good job blocking a lot of Jackson’s pitches in the dirt, including three in one inning. But if he doesn’t cut down on the strikeouts, the rest is immaterial.
*Juan Pierre finished the season with 68 steals, becoming the first White Sox to lead the league in that category since Luis Aparicio stole 31 in 1962. Black ink is always nice.
Now that it’s Oct. 4, we can officially close the book on the fifth season of the Sox Machine era.
It was a blast to talk about, especially since I was bracing for another 2007 through the first month and a half. In the end, it couldn’t have been further from that lost season. 2010 had about as much variety as a blogger could hope for — smart decisions, dumb decisions, flops, breakout performances, streaks, slumps, heroes, villains, plenty of drama, and, above all, relevance. Really, it only lacked postseason play.
A hearty thanks to all of you who take the time out of your day to read Sox Machine, and perhaps tell your sons/daughters/friends/neighbors about it. Thanks to your support, the site’s growth continues to astound me.
And I’m especially grateful for those who set the tone in the comments every day. The combination of the natural trajectory, the partnership with ESPN and the abnormal amount of highs and lows inspired a lot of new people into the fray, and still the conversation and debate remains (almost) always friendly, civil and smart. To me, baseball’s supposed to be fun above all else, and failure can be fascinating, and I’m thankful we don’t spend too much time yelling at each other.
For those of you who are new to Sox Machine, don’t confuse this group hug as any kind of goodbye, because I still keep going just about every day. October is for deconstruction, November is for offseason planning, and then the news of the winter carries us from there. The only difference is that I tend to write shorter, because I’ll be writing next year’s White Sox Outsider at the same time.
I hope everybody will stick around through the winter (what, you want to see Jay Cutler get sacked again?), but I know a lot of people check out between now and March. So I just wanted to say thanks to everybody before baseball starts dropping off the radar, and I hope to see you next season, if not tomorrow.

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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88 wins is a lot more than I thought this team would wind up with,yet 2010 seems more disappointing than 2009. Did this team over-achieve or under-achieve?


Part of the reason that it seems dissapointing is that it is finally sinking in for some that this team is losing the very core that brought us a world championship in 2005. The team has been among the lead leaders in payroll but once again has failed to deliver a post season appearance. Attendance continues to decline, so it’s seems unllikely that payroll will increase enough to resign AJ and Konerko, not to mention buy what we need in the free agent market.
We have traded away three solid starting pitchers and others with very little to show for it. Maybe now Kennny finally gets it and keeps inexpensive younger guys with upside guys like Morel,Viciedo and Sale. And for God sake, unless the name is Soria or Grenke, stay the hell away from KC’s players.
88 wins is a nice season, but an awful lot went into the composition of this team. This will indeed be a very interesting off season.


Jim – I think the guy in the Blackhawks sweatshirt is wheelchair-bound.


“My, what beautiful music. Hey, what’s everybody looking at?”


The White Sox were the 11th best team in baseball, which is alot better than most predicted. If we can win within our divison then we can win our division.
Jim, thanks for writing twice everyday (including the game summaries). Your hard work and great writing is appreciated.


Thanks Jim, great season


Yesterday, was the conclusion of the most draining season of White Sox baseball in the 26 years since my establishment. Yet, I couldn’t help but be sad as I drove to the ballpark for the final time of the season. 179 days til Opening Day 2011 in Cleveland. Kenny needs to re-tool this thing by then and hopefully give the team an actual HITTER as the Designated Hitter. Until then, all we can do is sit back, relax, strap it down and enjoy as the Twins run their playoff losing streak to 12


“88 wins is a lot more than I thought this team would wind up with,yet 2010 seems more disappointing than 2009.”
Seems quite the opposite to me – in 2009 the division was winnable but they never really challenged for it that much, and the games were just boring – Gordon Beckham and not much else to like. This year was full of excitement, the division just wasn’t winnable against a 94-win Twins team. Much better than 2009.
I got my ticket signed by Nancy. Huge line of people waiting to talk to her after the game. Not looking forward to twice as much cha-cha slide next year instead of organ music…


Thanks, Jim. I plan on offering you arbitration with the hopes of re-signing you long term in the offseason. I expect another 8.1 BQAR (Blog Quality Above Replacement) in 2011.


Another great year Jim!! Thanks for all that you do for us. You have the best site for White Sox info on the net!!
Actually, I feel pretty good about our 88 win season. At the beginning of the year I felt we’d have to be a little lucky to go .500! Anyway Jim Hendry told me that with only 2 or 3 player moves we should be a lock to win it all in 2011!!


8 teams are heading to the playoffs, I feel the sox are actually better then 3 maybe 4 of those teams. That being said there is definitley the feeling of some disapointment on the south side, we had a division lead at the break and it didnt just slip away it rocketed away from us. The twins played phenomenal ball but we didnt put a ton of pressure on them.
This team better come back next year with an answer to playing the twins and for that matter the rest of the division which beat up on them for the most part.
Its sad to see AJ, PK, and Bobby possibly going but I think its for the better in Bobby and AJ’s case and I still think Konerko gets signed back.


And another one bites the dust.
Thanks for another great year, Jim, especially for providing us miscreants with a safe haven to argue/discuss various White Sox minutiae, and all the rest.
Great job everybody.


As someone who started following the Sox mainly through weekly immersion in the Sporting News (I’m 66, grew up rural), I still find it hard to believe the extraordinary quality of writing, reporting and analysis provided daily on Sox Machine. Jim, you are in a class by yourself. Thank you!

As Cirensica

Thanks for keeping up the blog. I just discovered it this year…and at mid-season, but I quite enjoyed it, and practically read it everyday. I am certainly gonna miss baseball as usual (I don’t follow basketball, I never understood football, Nascar is just a bunch of cars running in circles (Boring), and Hockey is un-watchable)….so I guess I will kill more time with my X-Box live and wait until next year for the best sport created….Baseball….and the White-Sox to win!!!
Be careful, have a great winter, and loads of health for you and yours!

Doctor Memory

Your good work is much appreciated. I enjoy Sox Machine especially for two things – one which you mentioned, and the other which some readers have.
First, the “friendly, civil, and smart” participation of your readers allows me the opportunity to discuss baseball in a manner that gives pleasure, and also promotes growth of my understanding and appreciation of the game. When one loves baseball as I do, and has decades of investment in this love, one values greatly interchange with knowledgeable and respectful fellow fans. (Kinda like watching a game in Fenway, surrounded by Boston fans.)
Second, your lucid writing style sets a tone for these discussions that I admire. Your positions are well-reasoned, knowledgeable, and are articulated clearly. Rarely do we witness misunderstanding of the point(s)of your blog entry – your readers respond to what you truly meant to state. (Nothing bores a reader like watching two folks argue two different points, laboring under the misapprehension that it’s one.)
Similarly, your tone – even when critical – is never condescending or rigid. I can’t overstate the importance of your clarity, civility, and knowledge. If it were otherwise, I wouldn’t read Sox Machine.
When rabid fans express themselves in group-think, (call-in shows, postings to stories, fan blogs for the ignorant, etc.), a competition to glorify oneself often ensues. There is passion without understanding or respect for the other.
Here, at Sox Machine, most readers attempt to understand the decisions of management, and the challenges and character of each player, before offering an opinion. There is passion, but the passion is grounded in intelligent respect for others.
Sox Machine is a colloquium of people who put themselves in the position(s) of the Sox employee/owner about whom they are commenting – be it manager, player, or owner.
I recognize the day that this became apparent to me. I’d posted a simple statement – that the Sox are an 85-win team, and “here’s why”. I called Alexei Ramirez a “complementary” player – for which I was called to task. But, after several exchanges, I was able to make clear what the word means to me, and those who questioned my initial remark very graciously let the matter rest. (In shoutfest forums, I would have been labeled an idiot – a claim which would have been at once uncivil and entirely wrong.)
Because I’ve been an Indians fan since the ’50s, I doubt that I’ll ever come to “ultimately” root for the Sox. But, reading the cogent thoughts and insights of you and your readership will always enhance the joy of the baseball season.


Very well put.
Jim, the only item in your post I’d disagree with is your labeling yourself a “blogger.” You do yourself a great disservice. Like Doctor Memory, I can’t stand “shoutfest” sports discussion. Your thoughtful, reasoned analysis of the season makes this site stand head and shoulders above the din of the talking heads — blowhards, bloviators, and blatherers all.
You’re a writer. And that’s why I read. Congratulations on another great season.


I made the mistake of devoting WAY too much effort and energy to another site that shall remain nameless. Despite my best efforts to improve the quality of its commenting content, it was an absolute failed enterprise. I plan to follow a more informed brand of White Sox analysis and commentary beginning this off-season, in the hopes of enjoying 2011 more than I did 2010 as a stubbornly loyal, and passionate fan of this franchise. I can see with my own eyes, and with the seal(s) of approval printed above by other fans, that this choice to frequent a more worthy place will likely be a much wiser investment of my time. Thanks for creating this venue.


thanks a bunch, jim. no doubt we will enter 2011 as confused about this team as we were in march.


Thanks for your write ups and in-depth analysis.


Another great year of writing, Jim. CORNGRABULATIONS!!!


A bunch of end of year thoughts in no particular order:
1. Thank you, Jim, for providing this site. I’m sure it takes a lot more effort than we realize.
2. Thank you all for maintaining the site as a place for serious discussion, and the opportunity to pretend that all this stuff matters, even though my wife mistakenly believes it’s just a game.
3. Thank you to Willard Marshall for being probably the only guy on the site older than I am.
4. I remember Nancy Faust as a impish twenty-something cutie. How can she be retired? Things pass too fast sometimes.
5. But at least we can count on the Cubs to remain the same, and I hope we can count on Sox Machine for some years to come. Thanks, Jim.


It has been a great, and disappointing season. I am very glad to find the SoxMachine. I learn something every time I come here. Thanks, Jim.
Personally, I could have had a better season…. ended the season something like 3-10 in-person… including an expensive trip to the Twin Cities. I hate that town and that team.
>>“That’s something we have to evaluate strongly because I’ve been disappointed on a number of levels,” William said when asked if he wants Jenks back in 2011. “And there are certain things that … I’m not going to talk about right now.<<
So, Kenny…. when are you going to talk about it?
What did Jenks do, other than lose his curve?


Jim, Any chance you see Jenks being traded? Or is non-tendered the route the Sox will go? For all he HAS done, it sure would at least feel like a more fitting exit than simply being shown the door. Plus, it is always nice to get something of value in return for a guy that seemingly still has something of value to offer another club. Jenks has REAL value in this league, just maybe not to us anymore with as much water that has travelled under his bridge, and certainly not at his “market price”.


Problem with re-signing Jenks is that he would probably net something above his actual market value through arbitration. Then the Sox are looking at eating a sizable chunk for the privelege of trading him for prospects. Plus the other club would have the upper hand, knowing if you don’t accept their lowball offer, then you’re on the hook for a guy you just wanted to get rid of. Jenks is already showing a sullen attitude from likely being gone; imagine the drama if a trade attempt blew up in Kenny’s face. Safest move seems to be wishing him well in his future endeavors.


This is likely my ignorance here, but could he not be traded before being offered arbitration, or after he was offered it, but before it was awarded? Or after it was awarded, signed & traded? Not sure it can work any of these ways, but since he is “under control” of the Sox, I figured there might be some value to be gained from an interested team. I know the arb process can get a little “chippy” on both sides (which is why most want to avoid it), and the White Sox certainly have a launry list of beef from this past season alone in which to attempt to whittle away at his future salary dollar amount. It’s a risk regardless of the figure, but my motivation is purely: “get as much as you can for any player you control that will be pitching (and could possibly still be pitching at a high level against you) for someone next season”…


Brett Ballantini tweeted this about Bobby’s recent clubhouse demeanor: “Bobby was getting a bit of pariah treatment in locker room, and in turn he was brazenly spitting on the floor of his locker…”
Bit of a chicken/egg situation, but it does not suggest the actions of a mature adult. Who else thinks Jenks is back on the sauce HARD?


I doubt that Bobby was ever confused with a mature adult, and it slid because there was never a plan B…now that “life after Bobby Jenks” has plans B,C, D, and maybe E…the handwriting is not only on the wall, but in BOLD, and everybody (except him) can read it. “The sauce” is likely something that gets thrown on the table for an arb hearing, not to mention the injuries (real or otherwise)…just for starters.


Thank you Sox, Nancy, posters and Jim for work on the site.


Enjoy the winter break responsibly. We’ll see you all next spring. And yes nerds, the library will remain open.


Thanks again for all the work. With sheer amount of baseball analysis available, it’s difficult to find unique angles of attack on a daily basis.
You found ’em, and served ’em up fresh every day.
Thanks for giving me something to read first thing in the morning. Can’t wait to dive into the offseason.


Great job, Jim. Next year you can buy me a beer in Tampa. And Jayson Nix still sucks. 😉
I plan on posting more here this offseason. I like the tone, it appears I am not the oldest on this site, and there does not seem to be so many inside cultural references I don’t understand. And I agree that you do set the tone.
Now sign my book, dammit.


Back from a long road trip in which I missed my daily Sox Machine fix, I’m catching up with the write-ups I missed. Congrats on another great season! As one of your senior readers, I especially appreciate your occasional comments and links to the team’s heritage (that Comiskey Park videographer did a superb job). Your site has steadily grown in quality content along with its readership.


I’m a little late for this thread, but with hot stove in full swing right now, maybe a fitting time for me to end the season. And I’m ending it the way I started it: sitting in Gordon Biersch, reading Sox Machine (though, when I started it, it was Spring Break, and I was sitting outside reading the White Sox Outsider).
I’m with that Blackhawks guy at the Sox game, in spirit, a little. I’ve been to about 5 Sox games in the past 15 years (don’t live in Chicago anymore . . .) and I still cringed each time I had to sit through the plinky plunky version of “The long and winding road” or “Stop in the name of love.” You’re a big part of my childhood, Nancy, and I love you, but, man, I’m ready for another aural experience at Sox park.
Anyway, this is a great blog, Jim. Yes, it is a “blog,” and that’s not a problem in my book.