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Kiss Ozzie's Shiny Metal Ass

"First place Chicago White Sox." What were the odds?

So we close the first leg of the 2010 season with the Chicago White Sox - the White Sox! - riding high as baseball's hottest team, compiling a 27-10 record since June 1 and obliterating every team in their path. How is that even possible? When did John Danks become the best pitcher in baseball? How is Carlos Quentin driving in 11 runs in the span of a mere week? Why in the world is Omar Vizquel playing with the energy of someone half his age?

I don't know; I suspect you (and they) don't either, outside of idiotic platitudes about how this team never gives up and was built to win, so we'll leave that one unanswered for now. However, what we do know is that, thanks to an improbably fantastic past six weeks, we suddenly have a season.

Not too long ago, we were talking about how great it would be if the Sox didn't lose 100 games this year and why the team should be dissolved, dismantled, and dismembered; as I write this, the Good Guys are 11 over .500 and a half-game up on the hated Tigers.

Life after the All-Star break carries the potential for one of the great pennant races in recent memory - and with the Sox standing a very strong, very real chance of winning it: twenty-seven of the Sox's remaining 75 games involve either the Twins or the Tigers, giving us plenty to look forward to (if they keep playing like this) or plenty of reasons to get excited for hockey, football, and basketball (if April and May were actually the real deal).

That said, let us not get too far ahead of ourselves, at least not while Jake Peavy becomes David Wells and Bobby Jenks becomes Billy Koch.

Paul Konerko may regress to his usual good-half, bad-half ways. Alex Rios might start having flashbacks of his past life in Toronto. Quentin may rip out his own heart just to prove he has something stronger than blood flowing through his veins. Dayanetics may prove to be just as flawed a belief system as Teahenism.

But with the team playing its best baseball in years, maybe we don't have to worry about those things.

Admittedly, after what we saw out of these guys early on in the season, optimism may not feel quite right. But it certainly beats the alternative.

Week in Review: Infinite. Clip the Angels' wings four times, then take down the Royals in an act of heinously violent regicide for a 7-0 week no one saw coming.

Week in Preview: Fateful. Matt Thornton and Paul Konerko will rejoin the team Thursday in Minneapolis for a crucial four-game set against the Twins.

Hawkeroo's Can-O-Corn Watch: "You get some teams that are good first-half teams, then you get some teams that are good second-half teams, and being one doesn't always mean being the other, and vice versa. There was a hitter, a great third baseman by the name of Ed Charles when I was in Kansas City, and he explained to me when I was coming up how you have to look at the season like each part makes up fifty percent of the other part, so that by the time you get to September, you've got two whole seasons under your belt, and you can take those seasons and turn them into a way for teams to approach the playoffs, which is what good teams are really out there trying to do, is to play the best games they can play before they play them."

Gordon Beckham Hall of Fame Update: Gordon Beckham games played last week: five. Trevor Hoffman games played last week: two. Advantage: Beckham.

Alumni News You Can Use: Former White Sox outfielder/first baseman/offensive liability Nick Swisher won the fan vote for the final spot on the American League All-Star Team, and was then invited to participate in the Home Run Derby. The world is a confusing place sometimes.

The "H" in "DH" Stands For: Hammerin', as Carlos Quentin hit three home runs as the Sox's gloveless bat over the weekend.

The Q Factor: Twins, he tells himself, laughing without making a sound. I see their fair cities seated next to each other, divided by . . . by what, exactly? Is it mere water? Have these people, these pleasant neighbors from the North Country allowed themselves to splinter among such artificial lines as geography? Has man once more defeated himself? I say no, and I say no more as well; let me be the one to merge these Twin Cities into one larger whole, a whole united in fear of the warrior riding in from the South. They shall know my name but dare not speak it; explorers shall happen upon this charred settlement on the banks of the Mississippi and ask the survivors, "Who did this to you?" To which they will only respond by outlining a "20" in the dust blanketing their city's ruins.

The Guillen Meter: His team entering the break atop the standings, the Guillen Meter reads 2716057 for "Kiss my shiny metal ass."

Endorsement No-Brainer: Andruw Jones's 400th career home run for the Wild Gasmasks KG1: In your face, Big Cat.

Cubs Snub: Team owner Tom Ricketts is reportedly "disappointed" by the Cubs first half, but you have to wonder why he expected otherwise.

The White Sox Report: Read 'em all.

The Cub Factor: It's funny because it's true.

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Andrew Reilly lives in Chicago and can't wait for Sunday's Dream Theater/Iron Maiden show at the World. He also still refers to the outdoor concert venue in Tinley Park as "the World." The White Sox Report welcomes your comments.

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