With things going so well for the White Sox, you would think it would just be eternal bliss time for most fans of the team, right? Well, almost, as the one thing that I’ve heard from other Sox fans is how they are tired of Joe Buck and Tim McCarver making such a big deal out of every call which has went Chicago’s way.
It’s well-documented at this site that I’ve found less fault than the average baseball fan in how the major calls have went down, but I’m not about to pretend that the White Sox haven’t gained from the 4 calls in question. It should also be mentioned that I’ve praised Buck as the best play by play announcer in football and one of top 5 in baseball, so if anything, you could say I am biased towards him. Having said this it’s time for Buck and McCarver to go a little deeper into the situations, when a controversial call is made, instead of proclaiming it as the reason the White Sox are winning their games.
Let’s take the Jermaine Dye incident last night. It was the wrong call. OK. Instead of just declaring that this is the reason Paul Konerko was able to hit a grand slam homerun, let’s explore the possible scenarios, if the umpire hadn’t of sent Dye to first base.
1) In truth, it was lucky for the Astros that the ball hit Dye’s bat in the first place, as it would have been ball four and was such a wild pitch, it was possible that if it would have missed him, it could have been a passed ball and scored a run.
2) It’s called a foul ball (which should have been the right call, as difficult as it was to see). So another 3-2 pitch is delivered by a reliever who had thrown already a couple of other pitches that were out of the strike zone that Dye offered at. We will never know what would have happened, but this wasn’t a Pierzynski play where he was out, if the play was called the other way.
While a lot of the national television analysts have lauded the White Sox for making the plays after the breaks they have received, Buck and McCarver have mainly had the tone of conspiracy theorists, broadcasting like these plays are the primary reason the team has won the games where controversy was involved. Let it be said that not one of these disputed calls gave the White Sox a run or even put the player in scoring position. While the Fox World Series crew has on a couple of occasions acknowledged the great play of the White Sox after these incidents, this has been dwarfed by their overall tone of these events having put the Chicago in the position they are in.
As I’ve written before, I think the 2005 season has been one where there has been an absence of a great team in MLB. Considering that the White Sox were seen prior to the season as a 3rd or 4th place team in the weakest division in baseball by most prognosticators, it’s been hard for most baseball experts to wrap themselves around how this team could be a World Series Champion.
Let me remind everyone that the 2005 White Sox went practically wire to wire with the best record in the AL. This same team finished one game behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the best overall record in the Majors, and the Cardinals had the advantage of playing against weaker NL competition. If the White Sox win the next 2 games, they would tie the 1999 Yankees for the best single season playoff record. (I’m not expecting this, but it’s a possibility at this point.) In a baseball world where the past few World Champs were wild card entries, the White Sox have earned acclaim, no matter what format you are using.
If they win this Series in 5 games or less, I think everyone will need to reevaluate if the 2005 Chicago White Sox weren’t a great team, because the strength of the whole pitching staff. Add to this them not having one weak-link position player, either offensively or defensively and it makes up for not having one superstar. (I would argue that Konerko and Buerhle are just below that level.) While it’s hard to compare Ozzie Guillen to Bill Belichek, you could make the argument that the 2005 White Sox’s are the baseball version of the New England Patriots Super Bowl Champs.
Sure the White Sox have been lucky, but the reason they are only 2 games away from winning the World Series is because they are damn good. If events happen the way I suspect they will, later this week there will be no doubt of this.