The Best and Worst Things About the White Sox Sweep

Jeff · October 27, 2005 at 11:50 am · Filed Under General baseball 

With the ouster of the Astros — who went out with T.S. Eliot’s whimper rather than a bang — we can drop the curtain on this year. So it wasn’t exactly an epic battle. Say this about the World Series: no one was seriously injured, unless you count Roger Clemens, and who does?

Time to turn the page. To help with this endeavor, I’ve compiled a list of the five best and worst things about the World Series being over.

Best Things:

No more national exposure for that infernal buzzing whenever one of the “Killer B’s” comes to the plate. This means the end of the most annoying noise in sports (non-Tim McCarver division). I can’t believe more hasn’t been made of this. Whose idea was it to use what sounds like the soundtrack to a terrible 80s B horror movie as a point of inspiration? Is this the reason they were stingless? Give me a zillion Day-Os before I ever hear that again.

The hot stove fires itself up. Mariner fans have had a jump on more fortunate affinity groups, the ones preoccupied with their playoff-bound squads, but now the whole musical chairs process begins in earnest. Who should end up where? Who will? For those of us fascinated by roster construction, it’s a wonderful time of the year.

Televisions at my friendly neighborhood watering hole and gym are now safe. There was prior risk that I, or a like-minded Bellinghamster, might throw something heavy at Scooter, or react with similar rage to those brutal anti-steroid PSAs. Technology is exempted from this wrath, for the time being, thanks to the end of the World Series.

For those of us whose teams played like sick nuns in 2005, now is also when the kernel of hope cracks open. The calendar changes, and hopefully, fortunes do, too.

Finally, Ozzie Guillen might just retire now. I doubt he will, but it would be a fitting end to a wacky career.

Worst Things:

The inevitable “and they clinched with Freddy Garcia as the winning pitcher!” woe-is-me-isms from Seattle columnists and sports radio callers. We love our retrospectives, especially when they involve the saddest words of tongue and pen. Please, please, please, let’s just let this one go.

Behold the vaunting of the small ball, the clutch hitter and the stolen base. In the time it took me to drive to work this morning, my radio told me that the White Sox won because they always bunt runners over, never fail to get the timely hit, and play aggressively on the basepaths. Now, every baseball team is going to want to build a club in this mistaken image. (Wait, poor strategy is a gift when employed by one’s rivals — maybe that should be under “best things.”)

Piling on the Cub fans just got turned up to eleven. Thrilled as we have to be for the Pale Hose faithful, a dozen knives are about to be repeatedly stuck between the North Side’s collective ribs. Everyone in America knows it’s been nearly 100 years. Soon, deaf mutes in the Andes will know, too.

Unfortunate and unfair labels affixed to exceptional players. Mercifully, rumblings about Brad Lidge have been muted by other factors. But the first time he blows a save next year, expect to hear the names Albert Pujols, Scott Podsednik and Jermaine Dye. Remember when Mariano Rivera blew two saves against Boston in April, and he was supposed to be done? Everybody fails. April’s a great time to do it; October’s not.

Finally, the worst thing about the World Series coming to a close: the end of the 2005 baseball season. ‘Nuff said, true believer.


67 Responses to “The Best and Worst Things About the White Sox Sweep”

  1. Mat on October 27th, 2005 7:42 pm

    Guillen has a little too much love for the bunt, the stolen base, and the hit-and-run. After that, though, he ran a good bullpen, knowing enough to pull the plug on Takatsu even though no one else was a “proven closer” in his pen. The team improved considerably on defense, and I have to think at least some of that improvement can be traced to the coaching staff Guillen was in charge of, and Guillen himself. And if team chemistry is a factor at all, I’d have to say Guillen had a positive effect on that.

    It hurts me to say it, but if Guillen just laid off the small-ball before the 7th inning, he’d be an awfully good manager. Even with the small-ball tendencies, he’s no “nincompoop.”

  2. LB on October 27th, 2005 9:12 pm

    #50: Exhibit D: Bob Brenly.

    #51: Agreed–Guillen really knows how to manage a pitching staff, and in the AL, that’s the lion’s share of the managers job as in-game tactician. Of course, the pitchers he had to manage this season were pretty good, too. Joe Torre looked like a genius between 1996-2000, but somehow he’s not as smart now that he’s got his current crop of pitchers.

  3. Theodicus Groot on October 27th, 2005 10:46 pm

    “The most annoying noise in sports” is the buzzing at Orange Juice Park? Not. The most annoying noise in sports in the tommahawk chop, hands down (so to speak). May the Atlanta fans never have another post-season.

  4. Colm on October 27th, 2005 11:15 pm

    The one thing that impressed me about Ozzie Guillen in the post- season, was that after the Sox ran themselves out of game 1 in the ALCS, with a series of botched hit and runs, bunts and steal attempts, it seemed to me that he largely shut down the small-ball antics in the early part of the games. I wasn’t watching closely though. Am I mistaken in that?

    Certainly he looked a more savvy manager than Mike Soscia, who never curbed his teams costly, free-swingin’ ways.

  5. tede on October 27th, 2005 11:45 pm

    Now that the Chicago White Sox are off the clock for the last championship in 1917, what about the Seattle Metropolitans?

  6. LB on October 28th, 2005 1:24 am

    #54: Am I mistaken in that?

    I think so. In every ALCS game in which Podsednik got on base to lead off the game, Iguchi sac bunted him to second, with one exception: when Iguchi was hit by a pitch before he could get the bunt down. Podsednik never got on base in the World Series to leadoff the game. I realize there’s more to small-ball than this, but this says pretty conclusively that Ozzie was ready, willing and able to throw away the first out of the game if he possibly could.

  7. Bonefan on October 28th, 2005 6:57 am

    Interesting biographical footnote on Ozzie Guillen: He actually won a World Series. Small ball or not, throwing away outs or not, with Freddy Garcia or without, inefficiant use of the sb or not. The guy took his team through the gauntlet of a 6-month regualr season and going 11-1 in 3 series. Like him or not — and I think he’s pretty cool — he’s now one of about a half dozen guys still managing to have won the ultimate prize.

    I enjoy most of the sabremetric analyses bandied about here and elsewhere, but aren’t they just means to an end? Finding inefficiencies to gain a competitive edge and win? The game is still played by mortal dudes on grass and dirt It’s still about winning, and I for one would rather see the M’s win a series than satisfy my abstract notions of how to go about it the right way.

    The grudging (at best) credit being given to Ozzie for winnging the WS makes me wonder if have lost track of the forest in our examination of some statistical trees. Anybody else wondering if all us stat-heads are — not wrong — but merely half-right? I mean, couldn’t we be absolutely correct in our analysis of SB’s being as stupid stat and a SAC’s being a dumb tactical move and still be wrong about them being a barrier to the ultimate mlb measure of success?

    Ozzie, Ken W. and the ChiSox … congratulate, don’t playa hate.

  8. Aboba on October 28th, 2005 7:51 am

    A comment about Ken Williams. You have to give him credit for filling quite a few holes on the offseason. Reasonable acquisitions included:

    Player Position AB BA OBP SLG VORP
    Jermaine Dye rf 579 .274 .333 .512 35.7
    Tadahito Iguchi 2b 582 .278 .335 .438 30.9
    A.J. Pierzynski c 497 .257 .308 .420 17.7
    Carl Everett dh 547 .251 .311 .435 14.2

    However, the Podsednik trade didn’t help the White Sox in 2005, and probably won’t pay dividends in the future either (Podsednik and Lee are the same age):

    Scott Podsednik lf 568 .290 .347 .349 13.6
    Carlos Lee lf 688 .265 .324 .487 34.3

    Note also that the Contreras trade doesn’t look as good this year as it did last year:


    Jose Contreras 204.7 3.61 4.00 41.5 34
    Esteban Loaiza 217 3.77 3.86 42.2 34

  9. Pilots Fan on October 28th, 2005 8:02 am

    Bonefan, I like your thinking. We have to remember what goes into the stats — it is simply raw data. So when doing an analysis on sac bunts, for example, for the most part *all* sac bunts are part of the equation. You generally can’t try and pick out the instances that seem to make more contextual sense than another.

    So, I wouldn’t argue with anyone who groans about early game sac bunting. However, late in the game when you’re up by one, the leadoff man gets on, your bullpen is strong, your defense is strong, the man up can actually lay down a bunt, next couple of batters have high avg./obp’s, etc. etc. etc. — then I am definitely a traditionalist and vote for “small ball”.

    Sometimes baseball people (Ozzie in this case? And now the small ball crowd?) fall in love with something, and it turns into too much of a good thing. When that happens, let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater.

  10. Gregor on October 28th, 2005 10:18 am

    OK, one of the things I didn’t learn in the future was how to use this blockquote thing.

    But if you are living in the future, could you a) send word on who the M’s should draft and b) let us know if there is anyone we should protect from an intelligent android sent back to “terminate” him.

    Jeff, I’d be happy to oblige, but they tell me my time travel privileges will be canceled if I mess around with the past too much.

  11. Gregor on October 28th, 2005 10:19 am

    Aargh, I give up. Derek/Dave/Jeff/somebody, please feel free to fix it.

  12. LB on October 28th, 2005 10:19 am

    #57: The grudging (at best) credit being given to Ozzie for winning the WS makes me wonder if have lost track of the forest in our examination of some statistical trees.

    If Ozzie consistently hit on 17 when playing blackjack and managed to take money away from the casino one night when doing so, would that make it a smart play or make him a great blackjack player? I don’t think so. One WS title = one night at a casino.

    And if the 2005 Red Sox had last year’s pitching staff still in place (with a healthy Schilling and Foulke, which of course means I’m in an area of wild fantasy), all of Ozzie’s “smart ball” tactics would have gotten his team eliminated in the first round.

    #58: However, the Podsednik trade didn’t help the White Sox in 2005

    I’ve read that unloading Lee’s salary made it possible to sign other players (e.g. Taguchi, et. al.), but I haven’t dug into the figures to see if it’s actually true.

  13. Brian Rust on October 28th, 2005 10:55 am

    Effectiveness of strategies aside, Ozzie gets props for having his team mentally ready to go out and play. Starting with the Cleveland series the last weekend of the regular season, they won 14 out of 15 games when it counted the most. Is it coincidence the only game they lost was the one they didn’t know their opponent 24 hours in advance? Statistically, of course, it is. But statistics can’t tell you everything, and statheads sometimes deny themselves knowledge simply because it can’t be statistically demonstrated.

    Is Ozzie a “great” manager? Probably not. But for THIS season, with THIS group of players, in THIS World Series, he was the right guy, and he did a hell of a job.

  14. Conor Glassey on October 28th, 2005 11:56 am

    Two things…
    1) I like the buzzing bee noises. And, as a side note, if you’re looking for a good 80s B horror movie, check out “The Gate.”

    2) Biggio was physically unable to grow his playoff beard because he’s had years of electrolysis.

  15. Aboba on October 28th, 2005 3:53 pm

    #62 — Here is the salary data on Dye, Podsednik, and Taguchi vs. Lee:

    2005 Salary VORP

    Podsednik: .7 million 13.6
    Iguchi: $2.3 million 30.9
    Dye: $4 million 35.7
    Total: $7 million 80.2

    Lee: $8 million 34.3

    So yes, for their money, the White Sox got a lot more mileage out of Podsednik, Iguchi and Dye than they would have gotten from Lee.

  16. ray on October 28th, 2005 4:04 pm

    Sorry the USS M’s guys missed my point (my post was deleted)

    I posted “yawn” in reference to the WS being boring as the best and worst point. It wasn’t a knock on the post or posters.

  17. ray on October 28th, 2005 4:08 pm

    Oh, and if don’t agree check the Nielson ratings: “worst ever” beating out the previous “Bonds vs. Spiezio” WS 😉

    BTW, this makes the NL 0-8. Talk about a slump of Mariner proportions.