Sunday, October 2, 2016

End of season really end of Sale?

I recall going to the final home game of the Chicago White Sox’ 2002 season largely because not only did I want to see a final ball game that year, I fell into the hype concerning Frank Thomas.
Was it really 'the end' for Sale?

Now, he’s the White Sox’ latest contribution to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. But in 2002, he was in the final year of his contract – and the speculation was that the Sox would let Thomas leave.

ACTUALLY, THAT THEY’D slam the door behind him and be sure to catch his behind on the way out.

That final game against the Boston Red Sox was supposed to be the final chance to see Thomas in a White Sox uniform. Sure enough, his contract did expire and Thomas was briefly a free agent.

Only to see the White Sox make him a contract offer that had him rejoining the team in 2003, and for another two seasons beyond that.

I couldn’t help but think this when Sunday’s 2016 finale came up and was being billed as the final chance to see current ace pitcher Chris Sale start a game for the White Sox.

FOR THE SPECULATION is that the White Sox are fed up with his oft-juvenile behavior. His earned run average (3.21 going into Sunday’s game, 2.97 for the seven seasons he has pitched for the Sox) is no longer good enough to overcome his ego.
Or is it?

The end for "the Big Hurt" came 6 years later
I don’t know if Sale is really gone. I suspect it’s really more up to him if he wants to return to Chicago, rather than the team dumping on their top pitcher.

Although I couldn’t help but flinch when Sale let the Minnesota Twins start off Sunday’s ball game with an inside-the-park home run by Byron Buxton, then allowed four more runs to pile on during the five innings he pitched – ensuring that even if the White Sox had been able to win the game, he would not have been the “winning” pitcher.

IT’S THE END of another regular season of baseball, and I know fans of a certain other ball club will act as though “history” is being made. Even though to those of us of the “South Side” mentality (even if we have moved and now live elsewhere), we know all it will mean is that the other team will finally have matched the White Sox in championship achievements this century.

We’ll now enter the winter dormant period (unless we care enough to follow beisbol activity in the winter leagues of assorted Latin American nations), eagerly awaiting both spring training of 2017 AND the coming of the World Baseball Classic.
Will Rick Renteria (right) be the new White Sox manager?
For which Sale could also be a significant story. For Sale has hinted he is interested in being among the pitchers carried by the U.S. national team as they take on national teams of 15 other nations in an effort to show true international baseball superiority.

If Sale does wind up pitching in competitive ballgames come March, the real question will be which ball club will get bragging rights for his international achievements – the White Sox? Or the highest bidder amongst other teams?

WE ALSO GET to see, probably in the near future, whether White Sox bench coach Rick Renteria will be the new White Sox field manager. Intriguing for those of us who remember not only the year he was the Chicago Cubs manager, but also that he managed team Mexico back in the World Baseball Classic held in 2013.

I'm sure Renteria would love the chance to show that his release by the Cubs two years ago wasn't really a sign of managerial incompetence -- particularly if he could achieve it while wearing the Old English script of the "Sox" logo on his chest while doing it.


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