Monday, May 30, 2011

Finally time to look at the standings

It is a rule of thumb I have. I don’t bother to look at the standings for professional baseball until Memorial Day.

Any sooner than that, and there simply haven’t been enough games played for any team to say what they have done.

IT IS ONLY on this weekend that the people in Indianapolis want to believe the sporting world is focused on them that I bother to look at how individual teams are doing.

So it is only now that I feel comfortable in saying, “Ugh!”

Unless we get some sort of historically-significant spark in the quality of play, I don’t see any World Series activity coming to Chicago. We won’t be in Heaven in ’11!

Now in the case of the Chicago Cubs, that isn’t any serious surprise. Only the most delusional of people would have expected much from the baby bears. For the White Sox, things are different.There was a period a few weeks ago when it appeared the Sout’ Side’s ballclub could be historically awful.

THEN THEY STARTED playing winning baseball at the clip expected of them so that it seems they will eventually (they were 25-31 on Monday morning) become a .500 ballclub – one that wins as many games as it loses.

In short, mediocrity. So much for Adam Dunn’s big bat pounding out another championship team. I couldn’t help but notice earlier this past week when he was batting seventh in the line-up.

It’s going to be a long summer, since it seems these days we can’t tell on any given night whether the White Sox will be brawny, or wimpy.

Is this Harry Caray statue among those truly suffering the fate that White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen suggested on Sunday? Photograph provided by Wally Gobetz.

Which is why I enjoyed manager Ozzie Guillen’s most recent tirade on Sunday – when he used his colorful temperament to say that he realizes his championship team of 2005 doesn’t mean squat on Monday.

AS HE TOLD reporter-types, “they’ll only remember the 2005 team in 2020 when we come here in a wheelchair. Oh, yeah, thank you. As soon as you leave the ballpark, they don’t care about you any more. They don’t. The monuments, the statues they have for you, they (urinate) on it when they are drunk. That’s what they do. Thank you for coming for 30 minutes for all the suffering you did all your life, day in and day out.”

Now I don’t know of anyone who seriously is pissing all over the bronze figures of Minnie Minoso or Carlton Fisk (although there was a clown a few years ago who broke the ‘bat’ off of a statue inside U.S.Cellular Field). In fact, the worst desecration I am aware of outside a Chicago ballpark is the meatheads who keep trying to put a beer can inside the outstretched hand of the Harry Caray statue at Wrigley Field (when they're not urinating on the Lake View neighborhood lawns).

But it is true that the typical fan, while appreciating past seasons, is most interested in ‘what are you doing today?’

There are only so many times we can replay the sixth inning of Game Three of the first round of the American League playoffs from ’05 (when Orlando Hernandez so thoroughly shut down the Red Sox at a moment when they likely thought they were destined for an athletic comeback) before realizing that El Duque isn’t coming out of the bullpen to save the Medios Blancos.

THE PAST THREE games lost to the Toronto Blue Jays have been particularly pathetic. Not that the recent series against the Texas Rangers was much better.

So why have I not completely written off this season?

It’s because I look at that division they’re in, and see that the second-place Detroit Tigers on Monday are a team with a losing record, and only three games ahead of the White Sox.

Also, I’m not convinced that the Cleveland Indians are as good as their 31-19 record claims them to be (although they’re probably also not as bad as they were in those first two losses of the season to the White Sox and the Minnesota Twins aren’t really as bad as their league-worst 17-34 record indicates).

IN SHORT, I think the Indians will fall in the standings, and somebody has to surge ahead of them.

Possibly even the team with John Danks pitching, who depending on whom you listen to is the best pitcher ever with a record of 0-8 for the season.

All I know is, if Chicago does somehow make it into the playoffs come October, it definitely will be with a ballclub that deserves to be the first team knocked out on American League pennant contention.

And regardless, somebody is bound to wave this commentary in my face come October to show me how incredibly wrong I was about something. Now leave me alone so I can watch some summer baseball.


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