Monday, October 9, 2006

Co-Comeback Players of the Year?

White Sox DH Jim Thome won the A.L. Comeback Player of the Year award, and there's no doubt that his credentials justify the honor. However, there's a case to be made that Update favorite Frank Thomas should have shared the title with Thome. True, Jim had three more homers and an 18 point advantage in batting average. But Frank had five more RBIs, despite playing six fewer games and not playing half his games in the homer-friendly Cell. Probably most significant is the fact that Jim had Paul Konerko hitting behind him in the lineup. Frank had Eric Chavez and, for much of the season, guys named Crosby and Payton batting immediately after him. Chavez was the "best" of the lot -- 22 homers, .241 average -- and the other two might as well have been Bing Crosby and Walter Payton, for all the protection they provided. This is in no way meant to disrespect Jim Thome, whom the Update absolutely appreciates, but it is meant to honor Frank Thomas, with whom we had sixteen great years.

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Not Even Spoilers

Despite Meat Loafing the Twins over the weekend, the White Sox were unable to prevent Minnesota from overtaking the Tigers for the Central Division title. Detroit crumbled down the stretch and the Twins passed them on the last day of the season. Both teams accomplished something the Sox did not, however -- they made the post-season. The failure to play more than one game in October makes it feel like this season was a disaster, but if you step back from the ledge for a moment, you'll see there are plenty of reasons not to jump.
As White Sox seasons go, it just wasn't that bad. The team's 90 wins were the sixth most in the majors this year, meaning they had a better record than three of the teams in the playoffs. That total also winds up being the 17th most wins in franchise history and the tenth highest total since I became a Sox fan in 1956. The team did not have a losing record against any A.L. division and it absolutely kicked butt against the N.L. And I'm sure I don't need to remind you that the Cubs finished with the worst record in the N.L., not that we Sox fans take glee in that.
Look on the bright side. The team was not eliminated from the race until the last week of the season. The Sox set an attendance mark this year, just a couple of good games away from the three million mark. The team led the majors in homers, with 236, with Dye, Konerko, Thome, and Crede each cracking the 30 HR mark. The first three of those guys each surpassed the 100 RBI mark, with Crede close behind at 94. Nine Sox players racked up at least 20 doubles, with the aforementioned foursome plus A.J., Gooch, Pods, Uribe, and Anderson reaching that plateau in two-baggers. Garland was 18-7, Garcia 17-9, and Contreras 13-9 for a combined 23 games over .500 for those three starters. And don't forget that Bobby Jenks had 41 saves. These stats don't mean anything other than there's a lot of talent on this club. If it's still here next year, the team will be set to make another run. Maybe this year will make them hungry for what they had in 2005. The Update sure is and suspects that you are.
From this point on, the Update will publish only periodically. Until then, Go Sox!