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By Andrew Reilly
It's unfortunate Jake Peavy threw a good game Saturday, because now we Sox fans can play the game of "what if?" while the Sox themselves go on playing "strike out looking" and "load the bases and score zero runs." And as the season enters its desperate final weeks, maybe this is how we can stay interested while we stay home.
What if Carlos Quentin hadn't done exactly what he's done every non-2008 year of his career? With another 50 RBI to their credit, the Sox could be watching the out-of-town scoreboard seriously, like a team for whom other teams' fortunes count, rather than pathetically, like a certain broadcaster's ruminations during Sunday's "big" game against the last-place Royals.
What if Josh Fields didn't wait two years to have his sophomore slump? Even if he'd been merely adequate, the Sox wouldn't have needed to call in Gordon "Calvary" Beckham, whose initial burst of brilliance once suggested October but has since cooled off into that same mere adequacy Fields could, nay, should have provided.
What if Nick Swisher hadn't been such a disaster last season? Perhaps his poop jokes and needlessly elaborate high-fives would be exactly what the South Siders need to stay loose down the stretch instead of relying on more tired, conventional methods. Like winning, for example, which is obviously out of the question.
And the thing is, you can do this all day with these Sox. Razor Shines, Mark Buehrle, Gavin Floyd, Alex Rios, Scott Podsednik, Scott Linebrink, Jermaine Dye, Hawk, Darrin "D.J." Jackson, and on and on the possibilities go. The hypotheticals become almost infinite because in the end, the 2009 White Sox are not just a team that begs questions; as the past few months have shown, they are a team without any answers, either.
Week in Review: Burying. Drop two to a lousy team on the road, then do the same at home for a 2-4 Festival o' Failure.
Week in Preview: Fateful. The Twins come to town for three, followed by the Tigers in town for another three. It's a shame those are such a pair of terrible clubs, otherwise we could all take comfort in this week being the official end of the season.
The Q Factor: In the fifth inning of Saturday's game against Kansas City, Carlos Quentin came up to bat with the bases loaded and one out. Remembering something he had read in the November 2008 issue of Reports on Progress in Physics, Quentin quickly drew up an equation in the batter's box dirt: n * (3r / 16^t) = (d^4) - (n^2). As the count expanded to 3-1, Quentin stepped out and turned his head to the side for a moment, suddenly realizing his error, then revised his notation: n * (3r / 17^t) = (d^4) - (n^3). After sending the next pitch into the left field stands for a grand slam, Quentin rounded the bases and celebrated with his teammates at home plate. First baseman Paul Konerko congratulated Quentin on working the count so well, to which Quentin replied with a laugh,"Silly me, I was using the radial distance for a concave arc when I should have viewed it as a convex arc! How embarrassing."
That's Ozzie!: "I don't have any more quotes, seriously. What the [expletive] am I going to say? They horse[expletive]? Yes, they are." - Guillen at a loss for words after Thursday's disgrace in Seattle
The Guillen Meter: His season all but over and his team all but useless, the Guillen Meter reads 10 for "I find myself let down by your lack of heart and achievement in these crucial times. I expected better, and honestly think I only have myself to blame for such misplaced optimism. And by the way, go [expletive] yourselves with a [expletive] [expletive] until the [expletive] rots out your [expletive]. [Expletive]."
Underclassmen Update: With his whiff as a pinch-hitter in Friday's game, Brent Lillibridge continued his season-long streak of not being a good baseball player.
Alumni News You Can Use: Now that he's no longer a threat to the Good Guys, The White Sox Report wishes a speedy recovery to former Sox third baseman Joe Crede, now officially out for the season and scheduled to have a third round of back surgery.
Hawkeroo's Can-O-Corn Watch: There are some teams, and you see this every year, but there are some teams where maybe the guys don't hit the ball the best. Maybe their pitchers don't pitch the best games or have their best stuff most of the time, maybe their defense isn't too good or maybe they just don't win a whole heckuva lot of baseball games. But you get teams like that, and every year there's one that does all that, they might be ten, 20, 30 games out this time of year and you say, "You know what? They're gonna make a run for it." And I see our Sox here, and you mark my words, they're gonna be in this thing until the end. We could be looking at a game 163, 164, heck, maybe even a game 165 or 166 because, with all due respect to Jim Leyland's Tigers, our Sox are probably the best team in the league right now. Sure, some teams might have better records, some teams might show up here and take two out of three, but just from watching these guys day in, day out, I strongly believe our Sox have the best team in the league, bar none. Bar none. And that's why they're gonna get out there and play the games every day.
Endorsement No-Brainer: The Sox' abysmal August and September for Hank Williams Jr.'s classic reworking of "All My Friends Are Coming Over Tonight": Are you ready for some football?
The White Sox Report: Read 'em all.
The Cub Factor: Know your enemy.
Andrew Reilly is the managing editor of The 35th Street Review and a contributor to many fine publications.
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