Usually with the White Sox mathematically eliminated I would be rifling through my bottom drawer for the old Bears shirts and hats, especially with a promising new QB and an honest chance to achieve something in Soldier Field this year. But I cannot turn away from the Sox just yet. Spoiling the Tigers in the final week would be a moral victory, especially if they were eliminated from the post-season now after leading the division from the very first day. The reasons this week matters:
White Sox Redemption
This year held a lot of promise with an highly touted bullpen, big bats, great young prospects, but from the very beginning of the season the team has sustained one disappointment after another. Quite a few players are on the bubble and their performance this final week may actually have significance. Aside from Thornton and Carrasco, nobody's bullpen job is safe. Bad performances from Dotel, Linebrink, Nunez, or Pena could find them on the trading block, or in a couple cases out of baseball altogether.
Peavey, after being absent during the crucial meltdown just when we needed him, could redeem himself in the fans' hearts with a couple strong outings such as last night's outstanding shutout. Buehrle would validate his perfect game by winning at least game since that stellar performance.
The quiet bats from Quentin, Rios and Dye have been disturbing. Only Beckham, Pierzynski and Podsednik have been playing up ton their potential and a few victories without Thome's power would do a lot for the confidence going into the off-season.
Playing a week without the appalling errors we have seen this year in the field would go a long way to instill some pride. A flawless week out of Ramirez could be significant in showing that he does not belong at second base for the Padres.
Despite their huge payroll ( 3rd highest in baseball), the Tigers are only barely hanging onto the lead in the worst division. Sure, the White Sox have no room to gloat, but handing the Tigers a hugely ironic ticket home before the post-season after leading since April 10th would be quite comforting.
In recent history the Sox have owned the Tigers, and especially Tiger pitching, and continuing this dominance would be a nice boost going into next year. The Twins winning ways over the Sox should end when they move outside of the Baggy Dome next year, so proving that we still can beat the Tigers is important for our sentiment next year.
Andrew Reilly outlines other reasons to point our animosity at Detroit, including their over-hyped septuagenarian manager, their empty city and their unemployed fans... none of which will find any argument from me.
Baseball season will be mercifully over this weekend and I can still have plenty of time to don the Blue and Orange for Sunday's big game against the Seahawks, one of the worst passing defenses in the league-- prediction Cutler throws for 400 yds and Knox scores two TD's. And then, the following week: the Lions come to Soldier!
UPDATE 11:30 pm, 9-26-09
The Sox are terrible. After going ahead 5-0, Garcia and the bullpen gave up 11 runs before I turned it off. Stop. The. Pain.