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Well that was a fun little first half, am I right people? The White Sox have been about as competent as anyone could have hoped for before the All-Star Game. Ozzie hasn't been banished to a second round of sensitivity training, Juan Uribe hasn't killed anyone, and - hey - the Sox are in first place at the break. It has been a successful start by any measure. As an added bonus, Jose Contreras is still alive. What an upset.
With that in mind, let's take a look at some of the first half's signature stories.
Strangest story: Nothing that happens this baseball season will be as odd as the blow-up doll fiasco in May. While the entire episode was just weird, its bizarreness was nearly topped in the media coverage. One paper had the story on the front page (of the actual paper, not just the sports section), while the other had only a few sentences tucked away inside a game story. We get that these two papers are different, but you would think they'd be able to put some gauge on the newsworthiness of a story like that.
Best Ozzie rant: This one may just be our favorite ever, for obvious reasons:
''We won it a couple years ago, and we're horse[bleep]. The Cubs haven't won in 120 years, and they're the [bleep]ing best. [Bleep] it, we're good. [Bleep] everybody. We're horse[bleep], and we're going to be horse[bleep] the rest of our lives, no matter how many World Series we win. We are the bitch of Chicago. We're the Chicago bitch. We have the worst owner - the guy's got seven [bleep]ing rings, and he's the [bleep]ing horse[bleep] owner.''
Biggest headache: Though Orlando Cabrera has the third highest batting average of all AL shortstops, he hit a two-month streak during the first half where he couldn't do anything right. Still, it's impossible to hate a man holding a sign like this.
Must improve: Batters' entrance music! Seriously OC, listening to Nickelback has been clinically proven to tear apart a human's cerebral cortex. Don't argue with science, man. It's also worth noting that Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy still comes on whenever you go to Nick Swisher's personal website. We still have work here to do, people.
The king of cool: Hawk Harrelson loves saying that second basemen Alexei Ramirez is the team's best player. It's a statement that seems impossible to quantify - he certainly doesn't have the best numbers, but he is the only guy with five shiny tools- but I think we all can agree on one thing: Alexei is clearly the team's coolest player.
Week in Review: My biggest second half fear is that the wheels may start to fall off for Gavin Floyd. Thursday's start wasn't a good way to head into the All-Star break.
Week in Preview: For the players, nothing will be more glorious than the four-day break. It'll be nice for fans too. The grind of a 162-game baseball season is tough for everyone.
The Missile Tracker: Finally, we have our first defining moment of the Alexei Ramirez Era. On Tuesday, Alexei scored a run on a sacrifice fly. From second base. I doubt Konerko would have even made it to third.
Fields on the Farm: Fields went deep on Friday against the Richmond Braves after a sizable homer drought. No word yet if Atlanta's AAA affiliate made any videos about him.
Over/Under: Infinite: The number of times you'll want to throw the remote through your television as Chris Berman guides you through the Home Run Derby.
Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The White Sox Report staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that the All-Star game deciding home field advantage for the World Series may be the dumbest idea in the history of sports, but you already knew that.
The White Sox Report: Read 'em all.
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