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Outside Sox Park: Getting Metaphysical

Just when I was about to give up on the season and tell Steve there was no point in my continuing to write this column (aside from causing myself stomach ulcers), the Sox go out West and win three series in a row. Go figure.

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Monday night a middle-aged couple hailed me for a ride in Lincoln Park, going downtown. Hearing the ballgame on the radio, the gent inquired, "What game is it?" Sox-Mariners, I answered. "So you're a Sox fan?" he asked, sounding relieved. Him and the wife were in from St. Louis for the Cubs-Cards series. It was a pleasant conversation the rest of the way. I pointed out that their team had the Sox former manager, which made the man chuckle. He told me he'd met LaRussa several times and liked the man. His wife piped up with a joke too: "What does the World Series and a sterile bear have in common? No Cubs!"

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It's been such a topsy-turvy season so far that it should be no surprise that on the West Coast trip where the Sox are traditionally lucky to win a game or two, this team goes and takes six out of nine. Jake Peavy came back from the disabled list and didn't embarrass himself. Now we've got six starters for five slots. It's good to have a problem like that instead of: why can't we hit, catch, or throw the ball? (What most of us were asking as late as the week before last.) Having Sergio Santos closing games hasn't hurt either.

There were metaphysical forces at work as well, as has been well documented. When was the last time anyone saw a pitcher unable to execute an intentional walk? When did Konerko join the Harlem Globetrotters? How often do we face a team so desperate for a run that they'd attempt a straight steal of home? These are all things I'll happily recall if the Sox use this baby step and keep toddling on up to .500, then the Central Division lead, which is theirs for the taking.

One thing I've appreciated with the Sox' lousy start this year is that they haven't resorted to whining or public squabbles like a certain aging East Coast club has. Reading about the latest Yankee soap opera involving Jorge Posada and his hurt feelings is sort of satisfying. What happened to going gently into that good night? Not the way for a Yankee, I guess. The personal dramas on our team seem to usually involve Ozzie running his mouth, and for that I'm profoundly grateful.

We're still seven under break-even, so there's a lot of climbing from the ditch left to be done. But, at least this road-trip showed that the fellas were interested in giving it a go. Ozzie was quoted as saying that they'd make it up to Sox fans at home. That we deserved better. It's time to deliver.

sergio_santos.jpgSergio Santos by Dmitry Samarov (Enlarge)

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Dmitry Samarov brings you Outside Sox Park every Tuesday. You can also find his work at Hack and at dmitrysamarov.com. He welcomes your comments.

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