It doesn’t seem so long ago, but more than seven years have passed since the White Sox swept the Houston Astros to win the 2005 World Series. They’ll aim for another World Series title starting Monday, although such a lofty goal might be unrealistic. Sports writer Meghan Montemurro and columnist Tom Musick discuss:
Musick: I miss Ozzie Guillen. I miss Mark Buehrle. I miss Jermaine Dye, I miss Jim Thome, I miss Carlos Quentin, I miss Freddy Garcia, I miss Bobby Jenks, and – I never thought I’d say this – I even miss A.J. Pierzynski. Help me out here. With so many proven winners long gone, which of the current Sox characters can I look to for pleasant summer nights?
Montemurro: Do I need to leave you alone to relive the glory days of White Sox baseball? I feel like I’m interrupting a man-crush moment. But if you’re looking for an old-school vibe and reminders of yesteryear you can’t go wrong with the captain, Paul Konerko. He’s the only player left from the Sox’s 2005 World Series title team and entering the final year of his contract, this might be the last year Konerko wears a Sox uniform. Then again, there’s always Chris Sale, who is quickly becoming the face of the franchise.
Musick: I miss their scent! I miss their musk! OK, fine, I’ll stop. You’re right, Konerko and Sale are great cornerstones, and the Sox have plenty of other talented players. But I’m worried it won’t be enough. The Detroit Tigers look really strong, and the Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals both figure to be improved. Thank goodness for the Minnesota Twins.
Montemurro: Take it easy, Champ! And yes, the Sox will not have an easy road to the playoffs in a division that features a Tigers team that adds Torii Hunter and Victor Martinez, who was sidelined last year because of a torn ACL, to the lineup. So it’s safe to say Detroit remains the favorite. Plus they have one of the best names in baseball in their bullpen, good ol’ Al Alburquerque! The Royals added starting pitching, their weakness finally addressed, and the Indians are the hot pick after bringing in manager Terry Francona, as well as Michael Bourn, Nick Swisher and Drew Stubbs. As for the Twins, well, you know what happens when you assume ...
Musick: Remember when the Twins were the feared “piranhas”? Things change fast in baseball. OK, I know the season will depend on health and trades and all that jazz, but let’s take a shot with some predictions. Give me your best-case scenario, your worst-case scenario, and your most likely scenario for the Sox in 2013.
Montemurro: Best case for the Sox involves a little luck, but if everything works out they replicate last year’s 85 wins, though this time they hold off the Tigers to win the division. On the flip side, should health problems plague the starting rotation combined with an underachieving lineup that starts to show its age, the Sox will find themselves finishing fourth in the AL Central just ahead of the Twins. But most likely, the Sox will finish with 79 wins and hover between second and third in the AL Central. Sorry, no one’s going to be breaking out the Big Hurt Beer to celebrate their first division title since 2008.
Musick: Yeah, I agree with you. Oh, and I thought of one more thing that I miss. Playoff baseball on the South Side.