So not only have the fans found it hard to fall in love with this team, but it looks like even the team doesn't believe they're going to win. After yesterday's rough 10-4 loss to the Rays, comments like "MLB did schedule a game for tomorrow so we're going to be back" from Manager Robin Ventura doesn't exactly sound like the troops are getting ready for war.
I'm going to say what no one else seems to want to say or believe. Ventura should be shown the door...fired. Yes, I said it, fired.
Everyone is heaping praise on the first year manager, actually first year anything. This team according to some pre-season publications was supposed to lose 95 or more games. These Sox were supposed to fold early and begin a multi-year rebuilding process. However, somewhere on the way to a lost season, the three biggest questions (Peavy, Dunn and Rios) found themselves and had career-expected years. Rios has been consistent in his whole game. Dunn has hit 40+ home runs and driven in near 100 runs. Peavy is among the leaders in the American League in quality starts and probably in lack of run support.
On top of the player resurgence, and a host of rookies who pitched in when the farm system was ranked dead last, and three shrewd moves by Kenny to acquire Youk, Myers and Liriano for virtually nothing, this team was better than most thought and had a legitimate shot to win the division. With the Tigers struggling on defense and fighting through some injuries, the Sox should have walked away with this thing.
So we entered mid September (actually September 18th) with a 3 game lead. Winners of 5 in a row, having just taken a crucial make-up game from Detroit on a Monday afternoon, and then beating Kansas City in their park now as dumbfounding to the Sox as the Metrodome was in Minnesota for all those years.
Like it or not, the White Sox got to a position to be in the post season much earlier than most thought. For better or worse, Robin Ventura was now on the spot to help deliver a team to a post season birth. This is when we find out about players and their ability to grind out a win. The same can be said for managers leading their teams to the post season.
Well, the results are in. Since that 3 game lead and 5 game winning streak after play on September 18th, the White Sox have gone 2-9. Yes, 2-9 in the most critical time of the year. We've seen more Omogrosso and Septimo early in games to wish you were a Cubs fan. We've seen an offense sputter with bases loaded and no one out yet we roll out the same players, and poorly execute when the other pitcher is supposed be so tight that you couldn't pull a tee out his butt with a pliers. Except, that tightness was the case for our hitters and Robin continued to roll out the same line up and not ask some of our hitters test the fielding prowress of the opposing players with bunts, hit and run plays, or anything resembling a playoff offense.
Hawk will say it was the fault of the pitchers who couldn't throw strikes and walked us right out of ball games, or hitters who just forgot how to drive in runs with men in scoring position and less than 2 outs. I say it's because we had a laid back manager who didn't know how to motivate, how to change a lineup, or how to put pressure on the other team for fear of losing. As soon as you're afraid to lose, you will. And did we, 2-9.
We got an early chance in Robin's tenure as manager to see what he could be about. No one expected this but we got it. And his grade is an F. F for failure. F for F*&ked up. F for First year. F for Find a new job.
Some will point to Fredi Gonzalez in Atlanta who blew their chances last September (2011) and came back this year to lead the Braves to a Wild Card spot. I say bullshit. The silver lining is that we did not have to go through a 5 year re-build to determine that Robin was just Gene Lamont and Jerry Manual reincarnated; like-able guys who couldn't command a team and lead them to success. How long will it take for Hawk to start saying this team has no fire, and needs a kick in the 'behind.' That's code for the manager needs to go.
I'm not advocating we should have kept Ozzie (Miami is sorry for that now I'm sure), but I think we in Chicago, in a big market, with a fan base that feeds off enthusiasm and excitement, deserve better. Kenny and Jerry better have a new list of candidates. The process should start in Cleveland tomorrow. However, I don't think the media in Chicago is going to ask for Robin's head. I don't think most fans are going to blame him. But 3 years from now when the Sox draw 1.4 million fans and the team still can't beat Detroit, let alone KC, someone in the front office will ask the question.
At least I have my DVD's from 2005 and subscribe to the MLB package on Direct TV. There will be plenty of good baseball to watch, just not live on the South Side.