It's been awhile, but nothing gets the blood going like some Ozzie Guillen and some Darin Erstad -- now in one convenient South Side package!
First up, Ozziesmartball Smallballguillen, the professor of wrong, has commenced 2007 by continuing to be totally misguided about baseball things and is already being praised for it
.Ozzie: The appetite's back
Four words in, and you know the article's going to be a gem.Sox skipper 'hungry' to make up for '06, starting with bunts
So problematic it's almost a parody of itself. The White Sox manager, a man who will play zero minutes of baseball this year, will singlehandedly "make up" for the last season (which he also managed) solely because he is "hungry" and he will do this by bunting, generally a poor strategy.
Guys, this is so crazy it just might work
. I think we can blow this asteroid up with a crackerjack team of the world's best drillers.
Come Saturday, Ozzie Guillen returns to his comfort zone.
That means White Sox pitchers and catchers report to ''Camp Ozzie 2007'' prepared to hear four-letter expletives and one-liners from their fiery manager. But jokes won't be the only thing Guillen is cracking this spring.
Throw in a whip this time around.
Throw in an iron maiden. Throw in a medieval torture rack. Draw and quarter Joe Crede in center field. It won't matter. 2006 wasn't about guys not being hungry. It was about pitching.
Your pitching wasn't as flukily good as it was in 2005. Got it?Fact is, Guillen's offseason, which began as disappointment when the regular season ended and the Sox failed to defend their 2005 World Series title, turned to embarrassment by the holidays.
Because of the pitching. This is not hard to understand.
2005 White Sox ERA: 3.61 (3rd in baseball)
2006 White Sox ERA: 4.61 (21st in baseball)
In 2005 tons of guys had career years and the staff was extraordinarily healthy. You weren't so lucky in 2006. The end.Now, Guillen says, it's hunger.
Good luck parlaying your metaphorical hunger into another set of Neal Cotts and Cliff Polittes. By the way, how much of Ozzie Guillen's managing genius can be attributed to these two randomly fluctuating middle relievers?
Neal Cotts 2005: ERA 1.94, WHIP 1.11
Neal Cotts 2006: ERA 5.17, WHIP 1.63
Cliff Politte 2005: ERA 2.00, WHIP 0.94
Cliff Politte 2006: ERA 8.70, WHIP 2.07
SO UNHUNGRY IN 2006.'They got a little taste of the success and winning the World Series, and you want to get it back,'' he said recently of his players. ''They are mad because we didn't win it last year. They are hungry to do it again.''
Good. Great. Neal, Cliff, give me your hungry 2005 stats again. Oh wait. You're not even on the team anymore.That's also when the phone calls to bench coach and good friend Joey Cora became more frequent. Cora has been Guillen's right-hand man the last three seasons and is in charge of putting together the Sox' spring-training program.
The continued message to Cora was, ''Let's get back to small ball.'' Far too often in 2006, Sox hitters failed to move the runner or get the bunt down in key situations.
Yee-ha! Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong. I cannot believe that anyone believes that the problem with the 2006 White Sox was a lack of smallball -- and yet the only person whose opinion matters believes just that. Bunting? The team ERA went up an entire run and we're talking about bunting?
Plus, Jesus, just take one second and look at this:
2005 White Sox Runs Scored: 741 (13th in baseball)
2006 White Sox Runs Scored: 868 (3rd in baseball)
I guess what I'm saying is your offense made a quantum leap forward
in 2006. Your offense was the only reason you weren't 15 games out of the playoff race.
At the Tucson, Ariz., training facility, Cora has designated a special field that will be used for ''Bunting 101,'' and only a few Sox players have a pass.
The good ones.
"Everyone has to go through it besides [Jermaine] Dye, [Paul] Konerko and [Jim] Thome."
Exactly.''We have a different way. We're going to play games -- give bunt situations, give pointers, the way they used to teach. We're going to make it fun, but they're not going to [expletive] around. I'll be in charge on that field because we have to do stuff better.''
Not saying this stuff is going to hurt the team -- okay, it might -- but seriously, this seems like a misuse of time and resources. The team was third in runs scored last year. Thome and Dye should be worse than last year, so there's that, but the answer to a problem that doesn't exist is not bunting. It's not.
I would also say that in a certain way, practicing bunting over and over again sort of is [expletive] around.
Guillen also will play mad scientist this spring, moving the top and bottom of the lineup around regularly in hopes of finding a solid formula.
Guillen will play mad scientist with a lineup that scored the third most runs in baseball to the New York Yankees and the Cleveland Indians. My guess? Erstad hits 2nd, 6th, and 8th and OPSes a hungry .590 in 1800 at bats.While Guillen has a hands-off mentality regarding the pitching staff, he and pitching coach Don Cooper do have a message for the entire staff, as well as the minor-leaguers.
That message is: magically rekindle the improbable run of health and quality you experienced in 2005 that made people think Ozzie Guillen knew what the hell he was doing.
And now, Part 2, wherein we once again encounter the notion that the White Sox' offense and its lack of smallness was the reason for their non-championship-winning ways. Plus, Erstad
.TUCSON, Ariz. – Darin Erstad and the White Sox. Now there’s a match made in OzzieBall heaven.
Now there's a giant turd of a lede.He’d run over your mother to catch a flyball, and he just might run over his own mother if she tried to block home plate.
He just might punt your mother in the tits because when this guy punts he punts to win and he sometimes thinks breasts are footballs.His body is beaten up, not from his days as a college football player
(punter)at Nebraska or a high school hockey star in North Dakota
Holy. Shitfuck. Add that to the Darin Erstad resume, quick. Opens up a whole new world of toughness metaphors and similies. "Darin Erstad plays baseball like he plays football. And he plays football like he plays hockey. With a stick that he uses to hit people with."
From now on, The Punter shall be referred to as The Highschoolhockeystar.When healthy, Erstad is similar to Aaron Rowand, the popular, fence-crashing center fielder who was the classic “grinder” for the ’05 Sox. Except Erstad is faster and stronger.
And he parlays that speed and strength into hitting really, really atrociously. Like scary bad. Pokey Reese shit. I'm exaggerating. But here are Erstad's post-2000 EqA seasons: .252, .256, .241, .274, .259, .219.“The fans of Chicago,” Guillen said, “will appreciate the way this kid plays.”
I bet they will. Dirty-hat type guy. Still: .252, .256, .241, .274, .259, .219.Yes, the White Sox lost their way and relied too much on home runs last season, but they hit a lot of homers in 2005, too.
Here we go again. They lost their way to the tune of 127 additional runs. Adding a crazy-good Jim Thome will do that.The difference? In ’05, they were aggressive on the bases. They bunted. They hit behind runners. They broke up double plays. They risked bodily harm to make sensational catches. They constantly put pressure on opponents.
They scored 127 fewer runs. They rode a scintillating pitching staff to unwarranted acclaim. They subjected us to way too much Ozzie Guillen.
They were 13th in runs scored. They scored fewer runs than the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. They on-based worse than the Cubs and the Orioles and the same as the Nationals and the Astros and the Pirates.
Offensively, they weren't that good. And now we have to hear about how Ozzie Guillen is revamping his far better 2006 offense to be more like the shittier, less effective, decidedly mediocre 2005 version.
Labels: darin erstad, highschoolhockeystar, joe cowley, ozzieball, ozzie guillen, punter, smallball, smartball, white sox