Spare Parts: A head start on reliving White Sox’s misery

If you can’t wait until my review of the White Sox’s worst losses of the season coming sometime next month, you can get a head start in your self-hate because James Fegan provided his own journey of the season’s darkest moments.

Fegan’s article is a reminder not just of all the ways they went wrong, but how multiple signs of distress appeared in the same game and challenged for the leading takeaway. It’s almost like an episode of Police Squad, 30 Rock or Arrested Development, where the joke density is so high that it rewards multiple viewings. For instance, the game that inspired this passage …

Maybe an analysis of this disaster piece should focus more on that fifth inning where Jake Burger clanked a backhand attempt to extend the frame, Dylan Cease doubled up on changeups (his worst pitch) to Freddie Freeman for a two-run double, and was allowed to throw 40 pitches as a 4-0 lead turned into a 6-4 deficit. […]

And after the game, the distressing part of discussing how the inning unraveled on Cease was that La Russa could not pivot his focus to comprehend that he was being questioned on the process that led to a young starter exhausting 40 pitches in an inning that ended his outing anyway. He only assessed it in terms of whether each successive batter had produced a result that blatantly demonstrated that Cease was ineffective, which at best was a demonstration of his dedication to letting his starting pitchers die on their swords.

“The way I look at it too, he’s pitching, it’s his inning,” said La Russa, before revealing that qualifying for the win weighed into Cease’s usage. “(If) we escaped that, (he’s) pitcher of record on the good side.”

… is the same game as the first of Tony La Russa’s two intentional walks on a 1-2 count.

A couple of key differences: These White Sox weren’t trying to be funny, and nobody will be rewarded for watching these games again.

Spare Parts

At the top of Monday’s podcast, I talked about how little I care that the Cleveland Guardians won the Central, mostly because the White Sox deserved to be embarrassed. I said that before seeing the footage of the Cleveland Guardians’ clubhouse festivities, which included a profane chant about the White Sox, and a random “Fire Tony!” And … yeah, it still doesn’t really register. From their lips to God’s ears on the latter one, really.

The first season of an expanded postseason has resulted in no late-season races of note. With more than a week remaining in the season, all six American League postseason teams are effectively set, as the Tampa Bay Rays have the AL’s lowest postseason probability among the contenders at 99.6 percent. In the National League, the Brewers (21.6 percent) have a chance at slipping in if the Padres (91.9) or Phillies (86.6) slip up, but without tie-breaking games, the only tension stems from which team gets home field, and that doesn’t register as compelling to me, especially since …

… home games in Toronto won’t pose any kind of unique challenge for visiting teams anymore.

Had Byron Buxton had knee surgery when he knew he needed surgery, his walk-off against Liam Hendriks wouldn’t have happened. Alas.

If Lucas Giolito were still worth an extension, Luis Castillo’s case would be another one that might reflect an average annual value to work with. Alas.

Rosner is The New Yorker’s food writer, but the discussion about the pluses and pitfalls of connoisseurship applies to discussing baseball.

On one hand, when a conversation comes down to “science” or “facts” — which is what a lot of these connoisseurship conversations are — it comes down to things like “Where was the tuna caught? What time of year was it? How fatty was it? What’s the protein-to-fat ratio?” These things often come down to questions of biology, ecology, chemistry, mathematical ratios, they’re very much scientific-method questions. And so in that respect, you can have access to facts, you can synthesize and analyze information. Regardless of what your background might be, it’s that idea that science doesn’t care who you are.

But on the other hand, questions of taste or connoisseurship are in many cases “subjective facts” — which I know is an oxymoron. And expecting expertise in a reader, and expecting expertise in the writer, can be very off-putting. In a general-interest publication, or if it’s in something that in all other respects is being pitched at me on my level, then I can find that very alienating and feel like this isn’t a community that I’m allowed to participate in.

So I think the problem with expertise or connoisseurship, or whatever we want to call it, itself becoming a cultural trend is that there’s no room in that for the on-ramp to expertise.

Take a second to support Sox Machine on Patreon
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.

Articles: 3793
24 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
dwjm3

I saw the Castillo extension over the weekend and my stomach turned a bit.

We are at the point where middle market teams are handing 100 million dollar contracts (see Mariners and Twins, heck even the Rangers)

We are structurally uncompetitive with Jerry as our owner in my view. One has to be willing to give out these contracts from time to time.

BenwithVen

His willingness to kneecap his own organization instead of ever giving players any sort of leverage is remarkable.

PauliePaulie

They offered 5/120+ to Wheeler. The highest offer he recieved.
FA’s also have to want to come to the South Side.
$194mil should have been enough to easily win this grabage division.
Although not totally his fault, the VAST majority of the blame must finally be directed at Hahn.
He jumped the gun in ’19, and made terrible decisions in the 3 years since.

dwjm3

I tend to focus on completed contracts as there is a record.

I realize there was reporting that they offered Wheeler 100+ but it difficult to ascertain the veracity of that reporting. The organization has incentive to tell friendly media types like Nightengale they were willing to pay top dollar.

If we do assume for a second that they offered him that, why did they not take that money and go after another tier 1 guy like Springer? I imagine other clubs throw high dollars at multiple free agents until one sticks. I’m not giving them the benefit of the doubt until they actually land one.

The argument that players have to want to come here isn’t particularly compelling to me. The Cubs were giving out 100 million dollar deals 15 plus years ago. You mean to tell we couldn’t find one guy who wanted to take our money over the last 15 years.

Hahn has stated himself that decisions are typically made by consensus of him, Jerry, and Kenny. Armed with that information I lump them all together.

Last edited 2 months ago by dwjm3
texag10

They took the Wheeler money and spent it on Keuchel. The next offseason they traded for Lynn and signed Hendriks and Eaton. Then it was Graveman and Kelly while trading for Pollock. The money has been spent, just in really dumb ways. When most of your free agent acquisitions crash and burn, better to spread that money out…I guess?

dwjm3

I would argue that most of their free agent targets are busts because they don’t participate at the top of the market. Tier 1 guys like Bryce Harper tend to deliver consistent results year after year. Many tier 2 and tier 3 guys will not. It isn’t particularly surprising that Josh Harrison is replacement level.

Last edited 2 months ago by dwjm3
Trooper Galactus

They could also have tried to offer a sixth year or something that would have been actually hard for him to ignore instead of a 1.5% increase in pay or whatever.

jorgefabregas

I used to buy the “Oh, they’ve offered 100M contracts to free agents, who just haven’t taken them.” What I’ve realized is that on those big deals, they’re not willing to endure the winner’s curse and pay the most OR not willing to pay extra if someone has other factors. Wheeler looks like he might have been worth $150M.

texag10

I mean, they’ve definitely botched the majority of their free agent dealings. It’s just weird because supposedly Wheeler was the one case where they publicly offered the most AND a decent bump over Philly for the residence concerns that Wheeler’s wife had.

Qubort

If he wasn’t willing to come for $120, who says $150 would have done the trick. At some point you’re negotiating against yourself and I don’t blame them. Missing on Wheeler isn’t the issue (you can’t land em all) but not landing ANY of those big fish over the last 5 years should be enough to get a GM fired. The organization is a joke.

To Err is Herrmann

I hate to be this dour and pessimistic and resort to paranoid conspiracy thinking, but given the way they “just missed” and “:could not believe” Machado turned them down, I can’t help but wonder if they had a thought Wheeler might not leave the East Coast. The White Sox FO is either delusional or clueless, doesn’t really matter which.

Trooper Galactus

Dude, the Rangers handed out a $250 million contract 20 years ago.

itaita

I wonder if the Cleveland celebration is different if Elvis didn’t say the whole crumble line about them. Cleveland going on a 10-1 run or whatever it ends up being masks just how much of a tepid slop fight the division was this year when it seemed the teams fought themselves and their own flaws more then the main rivals for the division.

I mentioned it a couple days ago but like Jim i was almost happy with how little i was upset over the Sox flopping this last week. This team was just not very fun to root for this year.

Shingos Cheeseburgers

Honestly if the White Sox were run by Gob Bluth they couldn’t be any worse

Shingos Cheeseburgers
Last edited 2 months ago by Shingos Cheeseburgers
Greg Nix

You’re going to tell the guy in the $10,000 dollar suit he made a bad trade? Come on!!

HallofFrank

With help from his mother: “It’s one utility player, Michael, what could it cost? 16 million dollars?”

BillyKochFanClub

According to Dan Bernstein, TLR won’t be coming back in ’23 due to health issues. Also unlikely to return in any capacity.

dongutteridge

Best news I’ve heard all season.

steelydan52

I’d like to know what his source is.

Right Size Wrong Shape

Marty34

roke1960

I really doubt he’s coming back after the way this ended.

upnorthsox

Of course not, he was literally locked out of the clubhouse. That just doesn’t happen if Jerry wants him back. I don’t know what else to say to the people whinging over his mythic return. There’s not a single reason to believe he is returning but there are 4 million reasons for them to let this play out for a while and see if he’ll concede and re-retire.

To Err is Herrmann

I believe it because…..it’s the White Sox????