White Sox finish second–time to look at the positives

By S.C. Zuba
Sports Columnist

In the words of White Sox television announcer Ken “The Hawk” Harrelson, “This season is o-vah!” Well, for the White Sox, that is.

As the White Sox defeated the Indians 6-5 Sunday, Oct. 3, Chicago ended its 2010 campaign in second place—six games behind the first-place Minnesota Twins.

The White Sox finished the season 14 games over .500 at 88-74. That record is significantly better than last year’s mark when the White Sox finished the season in third place at four games under .500.

Improvement? Yes. Enough? No.

Second place stinks. It’s worse than third place or even last place. It’s plain and simple.

But sometimes you just have to look at the positives. So, let’s do that.

Look back to June and July when the White Sox put together one of the most impressive runs in the history of Major League Baseball. After falling nine games out of first place, the White Sox needed a spark before General Manager Kenny Williams began dismantling his team in hopes of a better 2011 season.

That’s exactly when the White Sox put together a 25-5 run to take first place in the American League Central. Everyone was playing well. The hitters were hitting. The pitchers were pitching. Surprisingly, even the bullpen was getting quick outs and closing games.

Another bright spot for the White Sox was the acquisition of Juan Pierre. Finally, it seems the White Sox have a typical leadoff man. Pierre hit .275 in 160 games for the White Sox with a career-high 68 stolen bases in 86 attempts.

For me, however, the brightest spot of this season was the MVP-type season from the captain Paul Konerko. Admittedly, Konerko won’t get much attention in the MVP talks, but he most certainly deserves it.

Just look at his numbers: In 149 games, Konerko hit .312 with 39 home runs and 111 RBIs. If that doesn’t scream MVP consideration, then I don’t know what does. He is the captain of this team for that very reason.

Unfortunately, Konerko may have played his last game in black and white Sunday, Oct. 3. The five-year contract extension Konerko signed after the 2005 season has run out, and he is free to test the free-agency water, which he undoubtedly will do.

He deserves at least that. But he most certainly deserves a rich enough contract to lure him back.

It was a crazy year indeed for the White Sox. Baseball fans can only sit back and hope that next year brings as many—if not more—good memories as this one did.

From the Oct. 13-19, 2010 issue

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