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By Andrew Reilly
If the White Sox run the table from here on out, history will inevitably add variants of "just another .500 team" to the litany of alternately bland and damning terms needed to talk about this club.
"They were terrible, but at least they didn't have a losing record."
"They couldn't put up a fight when they needed to, but at least they didn't have a losing record."
And to this, let us collectively ask, "who cares if they didn't lose 82 games?" At best, they can only finish in a tie for second place, and the Sox themselves have not just shown but also told us just how much a near-miss is worth. So why bother? Why not just tank the rest of the way and take that 10th pick in next year's draft for all it's worth?
But of course it's not that simple, because this isn't basketball. In basketball, you add one really good player to even a halfway-decent team and you've suddenly changed the landscape not just of that squad but of the entire league. The Sox, meanwhile, used this year to illustrate that adding not one, not two but three really good players to a team can actually make that team worse and reinforce the league-wide status quo. In that sense, the season was a success; in most others, however, it remains a colossal failure. But, you know, they can still finish at .500. Team of Destiny!
Week in Review: Lossful. Although they were swept by the Twins, the Sox managed to take two of three from the Tigers. If this rate of improvement continues, the Good Guys stand a good chance of going undefeated through the entire 2010 season.
Week in Preview: Final. Three at Cleveland followed by three at Detroit, after which we can bid farewell to this whole wretched mess.
The Q Factor: His hands resting atop his knees, Carlos Quentin sits alone in a dark room deep underground, watching his rivals on a wall of monitors, all continuing to play their game - his game - with post-season hopes still running high. His cell phone lights up with a new text message reading, "There's always next year." Quentin, in a rare moment of uncontrolled and unfocused rage, jumps to his feet and punches a hole in the concrete wall. He calms himself, regains his composure, and walks further into the Earth towards a batting cage the size of a football stadium. "There is next year," he thinks, "but I will not wait for it. Let it wait for me. Let it fear me. Let next year hear my footsteps echoing down that long hall and let the world know its time has come. Revenge will be sweet, but surely not short."
That's Ozzie!: ''I don't mind losing games. That's part of the game. But when you lose games and you don't even care about it, we're going to have problems. I run this ballclub, and I'm going to run this ballclub the way I want to. If they don't want me here, I'll get another job, or get me other players. But getting your ass kicked like that, then all of a sudden you're watching football games, that's a bunch of [expletive].''
- Guillen on the existential nature of losing and 12-5 ass-whoopings
The Guillen Meter: His team officially eliminated and players mentally gone home for the winter, the Guillen Meter reads "zero" for "Hey man, they're you're problem now."
Underclassmen Update: Gordon Beckham's on-base percentage has fallen to seventh among American League third basemen, thus making him a complete failure of a baseball player.
Alumni News You Can Use: Former infuriating White Sox shortstop spent the bulk of last week batting cleanup for the San Francisco Giants. Seriously. Juan Uribe.
Hawkeroo's Can-O-Corn Watch: Grady Sizemore is still the best supermodel baseball player of all-time and might just go 20-for-this-series despite being out with an injury since September 4.
Endorsement No-Brainer: The mathematical consequence of this weekend for the game-ending assault course from American Gladiators: all roads lead to the Eliminator.
Cubs Snub: The champagne flowed freely this weekend as the Cubs, already enjoying a considerable lead over the rest of the division, clinched the NL Central crown. Haha, just kidding. That was the Cardinals.
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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