Getting all up in White Sox business

It took Scott Merkin three words to turn the premise of his interview with Brooks Boyer into a tenuous one.

CHICAGO — A positive buzz already has been tied to the 2010 Chicago White Sox, without a pitch being thrown or a bat being swung.

If I were Dan Dierdorf, I’d say I’m not so sure there isn’t a negative buzz not absent.  Looking at it another way, if there’s a “positive buzz” surrounding the White Sox, there must be pandemonium in Minnesota.
Minnesota is doing what Kenny Williams said he’d do but never did — wait until February for bargains.  After signing Jim Thome unnecessarily, because he’s good and cheap, they upgraded their infield by signing Orlando Hudson for a year.
Adding Hudson’s $5 million to the Twins’ books, they’ve boosted payroll from $65 million to an estimated $96 million. That’s within spitting distance of the White Sox’s payroll, and whenever they do extend Joe Mauer, that will nudge them even closer.
The good news is that their rotation doesn’t stand up, and they’re banking heavily on Francisco Liriano to bolster the top of it.  That should keep the disparity between the Twins and Sox from being exaggerated too greatly.
It’s a disheartening one-two punch nevertheless.  Not only are the Twins adjusting to the demands of their new ballpark while the Sox are fighting their own, but they’re almost equal in resources, too.
Johnny Damon is the other shoe waiting to drop.  The links to the Tigers are growing in number, and if he signs with Detroit for anything resembling what the Sox are paying Juan Pierre, the Sox will be paying more than just money for their misallocations.
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Positive buzz or not, the interview with Boyer is interesting, and I’d recommend reading it.  For example, the formulation of the new campaign says a lot:

I think this year’s commercials, if they go off the way we want them to go off, are a little more grinderish. Because you are going with a tagline of “It’s Black or White,” all based on the honesty of the team and a work ethic, I don’t think they are going to be as funny as they were. I think they are going to be cool, but we have some viral things planned that we think have a chance to be funny and engaging and so truthful.

I’m both surprised and not at all surprised that “grinder” is still popular, mainly because I can’t wait for it to run its course, and it probably never will.
Still, I see “grinderish” and “work ethic,” and I see the byproduct of this whole glorification of the grinder — a team fighting itself to score runs. In other words, I’m seeing this slogan:

BASEBALL SHOULDN’T LOOK EASY

It kind of goes back to the Mark Teahen thing.  The Sox are emphasizing some idea of a “work ethic” and a “ballplayer,” meaning that a guy has to give 110 percent to be just halfway decent, whereas I prefer clearly defined skills that easily translate to projectable success.  Emphasizing defense at DH doesn’t seem to help.
At any rate, “Black or White” is a far cry from the running thread of potential slogans at South Side Sox. A few of my favorites:

  • Look Busy, Do Nothing
  • No Fireworks on Dog Day Now Year Round
  • Because You Touch Yourself At Night

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Jerry Reinsdorf isn’t happy with the Cubs, who decided to stay in Mesa thanks to a Cactus League ticket surcharge that will help fund their new park.
Mesa Mayor Scott Smith fired back:

“Is this the same Jerry Reinsdorf that skipped out on Pima County taxpayers who had spent tens of millions of dollars to provide him with a taxpayer-funded stadium, to come to Glendale, where Maricopa County taxpayers provided him a Taj Mahal spring-training facility?” Smith said. […] “The irony is delicious,” Smith said.

I have to agree with the mayor. Reinsdorf doesn’t have much of a leg to stand on when it comes to a personal beef.
For one, if he were so concerned about high ticket prices, he wouldn’t be charging way more than any other team (besides the Dodgers) in the Cactus League.  That pretty much saws the legs off the high horse he wants to be riding.
And then there’s the fact that he could be biting the hand that feeds him.  Games against the Cubs are the only true difference-maker between Glendale attendance and Tucson attendance, and it’s the only time the Sox are going to sell out Camelback Ranch unless Michael Jordan plans to revive his baseball career.
Now, objection from Arizona Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall?  That’s a little more credible.  If all Cactus League owners are on board, then Reinsdorf would probably be better served sitting in back while this plays out.  I still imagine the Cubs will stay in Arizona, but the gymnastics are going to be impressive.

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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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phastphil

I can’t wait til they actually start playing games. Speculation and hand-wringing is tiring.

ricksch

Point being though, the Sox do seem to have been outfoxed by the Twins in the offseason. Seeing the division very close or basically up for grabs, the Twins are stocking up and going after it while we’re talking about DHing Omar Vizquel?
I’ve been on the Damon bandwagon for a while as a good fit for the Sox, but KW doesn’t care and isn’t listening. Sticking him with the Tigers in our division is another pin in the ass.
I might be more into Ozzie’s desire to have this 12 man pitching staff if we had anywhere close to 12 arms worthy of getting a Major League call. They should look into Mahay to replace Williams. Kenny loves Royals’ washouts.

knoxfire30

Twins have had a fantastic offseason and they have completely changed my outlook about entering 2010 as a team I thought would underachieve in a new park. They have already almost transitioned to their new park without throwing 1 pitch in it, and they seem to be banking on a fan base that is likely to come out for the first couple years to see what outside baseball is about allowing them to jack their payroll way out. I love their lineup when a right hand pitcher will be on the mound.
Sox on the other hand wanted to bolster their 25 man roster with mediocrity and ignored bargain basement shopping, wouldnt they have been better off with ODog at 2nd and leaving beckham at third, never trading for Teahan, then having Damon leadoff and play left then trading for Pierre. WOUld have saved money, saved prospect, and been better off!!!! I dont get it but… Kenny has earned my trust so Im hoping it works out.

blah

Wouldn’t have saved money. Agree with the rest.

knoxfire30

by saved money, i meant that we paid teahan for three years and pierre for two, so in total would could have saved money, although technically yes you are right we might have added a lil payroll for just 2010

soxophone

Knox you can really only say those things in hindsight. I agree having Odog would be great but in November when KW made that trade he had no way of knowing Odog would be available in february and the same goes for damon.
I am going on record as saying that I believe Teahen can exceed expectations and be SLIGHTLY above average. I could realistically see 70 rbis.
Anyway..do you prefer 28 year old Teahen or 34 yr old ODog and 36 yr old Johnny Damon? And signing those guys leaves us no wiggle room during the season. I guess it doesnt really matter either way now. As far as im concerned there is at least one and maybe 2 guys that are playing for the Twins that should be wearing White Sox uniforms. And if we dont win the division im going to point to those signings.

knoxfire30

what does age have to do with anything, teahan in his prime wont be better then odog or damon right now, im trying to win in 2010
commiting three years to teahan will be a mistake, mark it down
and its not hindsight, my offseason plan suggested being very thrifting at the start of the offseason and waiting on guys to fall through the cracks, thats exactly what happened, again during this offseason
damon, thome, odog, instead of pierre, teahan, 3 man wierd dh platoon would have made the sox a lot stronger team with no long term committments and a smarter financial outlook

blah

The only thing I disagree with on soxophones many point is that “signing those guys leaves us no wiggle room during the season.” We heard the same song and dance about the Sox having no money to make a move last season and KW goes out and acquires Jake Peavy and Alex Rios.
As for Knox, IMO signing O-Dog and Damon earlier in the season would cost more $$ and contract years. I think if KW had seen the market going this way, he would have waited to sign Kotsay. I know you said a lot of that stuff in your offseason plan, but I doubt too many people had foreseen the market like this especially when Alex Cora and a few other career back ups were getting some serious guaranteed money in Nov. Dec.

blah

I should say all the Sox offseason moves probably could have waited, especially the trades for Teahen and Pierre. They were going nowhere.

soxophone

Knox i guess my point with Teahen is being in his prime he is less likely to fall off a cliff as far as production is concerned. I would take Johnny Damon anyday over him. However, Damon just doesn’t supply the positional “flexibility” that Teahen supposedly does. I was not excited about the Teahen trade in November nor am I now. I do believe he will be less of a concern than most other guys will be. Im right there with you tho on the 3 yr extension. In my mind, he has to prove something to us first. Yeah Yeah he rakes at the Cell, but that was wearing a Royals jersey. Do something for me in a Sox jersey then talk extension. I feel cheated by KW because he claimed that the Teahen trade would leave them in the perfect position to shop for bargains. Once the bargain players became obvious he just sat on his hands. Now everybody is unhappy with the 3 headed DH disaster.
I dont hate this team. I just cant believe Kotsay/Vizquel are actually going to get a significant amount of DH at bats. Frankly, if one of them were DFA’d in May i wouldn’t bat any eye.

john

Saw that article about Reinsdorf pitching a fit about the Cubs and immediately thought of you. Good to see you come through.

marshlands

“Look Busy, Do Nothing” is awesome.
It’s the antithesis to what I’ve been clamoring about Aramis Ramirez for years, amidst a resistant sea of Blue & Red whiners: Look Lazy, Do Everything (Well).
I’d much rather have real production, even if its clouded by laziness, drunkenness, ego, swag, or the illusion of all, than the illusion of production masked by false notions about ethics. But I guess, who wouldn’t? Besides Ozzie and/or the White Sox marketing team?

JJ

So many fans bought into that kind of baseball in ’05, a year when the Sox supposedly had offensive success because they did all the little things and hustled. There are plenty of Sox fans who are pretty surprised when you tell them the ’05 team hit 200 home runs.

eddystankysghost

I’m missing something regarding a cactus league surtax.
Other than reduced attendance (what’s half of nothing?), how is Reinsdorf on the hook for a new ho-ho-kam?

ricksch

Sox make another class move in unretiring Aparicio’s number 11. Hell, who cares about history? And that thing about retiring someone’s number being irrevocable, hell, screw that too. Vizquel was once a great player himself. The Indians should retire his jersey — at least until someone else who wants his number comes along.

blah

In fairness Aparicio O.K.’ed it with a glowing endorsement.

marshlands

Not to mention Vizquel’s former number, #13, is occupied on the Sox by Ozzie, who surely isn’t giving it up.

ricksch

Of course Little Louie is going to okay it — when do you think the last time the team called him was before they decided to do some Venezualan cross-promo? It just seems silly, if not absurd to me, when the whole intent is that no one uses that number again. BTW — Ozzie’s not on the field, what the hell does he even need a number for? If he wants to kiss Omar’s ass, give him his own number.
I’m beating the “let’s salvage the offseason by picking up Johnny Damon drum” — for those who don’t know me — and see that Phil Rodgers is now on the Damon to Sox bandwagon.