Robin Ventura must be FIRED!

Robin Ventura must be fired……please ignore if your thoughts on manager value are as lazy as Chris Rongey or Herb Lawrence.
Most of you, like us at the 108, are soul-crushed after watching/listening to the Friday and Saturday games in Kansas City………I had this post written (or mostly written) after Friday nights game, but after the collapse on Saturday, I was too heartbroken to want to get it posted.  Chorizy-E convinced me that I need to post this so I wouldn’t vomit from these recent losses.  So here goes….its bloody and gory, like a bad horror film, but no breasts and no Joe Bob Briggs.
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Optimal Lineup Construction
Various folks who are smarter about baseball than I have pointed this out, but I do harp on this consistently, RV continues to hit (mostly Jimmy Rollins, but occasionally Austin Jackson) his worst OBP regular 2nd.  This is a gigantic error in optimal roster construction.  Tom Tango (who wrote “The Book” a must read for any serious baseball fan) created the seminal work on the subject, you can search the webs for that, or please do buy “The Book” it is still great!  The key that is being missed by RV.
“Your three best hitters should bat somewhere in the #1, #2, and #4 slots. Your fourth- and fifth-best hitters should occupy the #3 and #5 slots. The #1 and #2 slots will have players with more walks than those in the #4 and #5 slots. From slot #6 through #9, put the players in descending order of quality.”
Batting essentially your worst regular in one of the spots where your best hitters should hit is a gigantic error.  In sabr/nerd circles, optimal lineup construction over random is worth about 10-15 runs a season, which is worth between 1 to 2 wins per season in this run environment, which is a huge loss for having a non-optimal lineup.
Your 3 best hitters are Eaton, Cabrera and Abreu….NOT Jimmy Rollins or Austin Jackson.
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Bench Player Usage
In some respects, you are dealt what you are dealt with regards to bench players and in modern baseball, with so many relief pitchers your bench is severely strapped, so while some of these concepts are valid, it is a big stretch to think RV is cerebral enough to not only get them, but to be an independent thinker enough to use them.
Carlos Sanchez (@WriteSox baby boy) – was called up on April 28, 2016, in that time (24 games) he started exactly twice at 2b.  The one thing Sanchez clearly does is provide defensive value at 2b, especially compared to Brett Lawrie who is a negative defender at 2b.  In 2015 Sanchez was worth 1.0 dWar according to baseball reference, so letting Lawrie, who had not had a day off and is a large injury risk, have a day off more regularly or DH occassionally seemed a reasonable.  Of course that didn’t really happen and Sanchez is back at AAA.
Jerry Sands – I’ve been told he has done nothing but crush lefties in the minors……and yet, 2/3 of his plate appearances have been against righties.
Tyler Saladino – I for one did not believe the preseason hype of Tyler’s glove, but I did believe and after watching the first week of the season, everyone should believe that he is a far better defender than Jimmy Rollins, yet, RV almost never replaces Rollins with Saladino late in games.  I really liked the gamble on Rollins preseason, but most of it was predicated on him hitting……….his defense is gone and has been gone for awhile.  It should be an automatic defensive sub late in games………..
Thinking Outside the Box – There are creative ways to use your bench to maximize offense, one would be to use Navarro at DH vs a tough righty to maximize your lefty bats.  Yes, I know Avila is made of glass and if Navarro has to fill in for him, you lose your DH, but so what?  The occassion is rare and the value of adding a better bad vs a tough right is worth it.  I can’t kill Robin for this though, because he’s too dim to do some of the easier things previously mentioned, so he won’t do something avant garde like this.
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Bullpen Usage
I can’t communicate the piss and vinegar that is a nightly occurrence on White Sox twitter with the often curious usages of the bullpen……….Friday and Saturday vs. the Royals were prime examples.  I think the majority of it boils down to not understanding high leverage situations and how one of your two excellent relievers (Nate Jones and David Robertson) should be pitching in them.  The bullpen usage the last few days has been snap your laptop in half, kick your cat, type stuff.  Maybe we can assume Don Cooper is calling the shots, but I don’t remember this silly stuff when Ozzie Guillen was manager (maybe my memory is shot), so RV has to be culpable.

MORNING JOURNAL/DAVID RICHARDChicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen gestures to Cleveland Indians fans and Tribe mascot Slider during a pitching change yesterday at Jacobs Field. The White Sox swept the Indians to keep Cleveland from earning a playoff spot despite a torrid second half.

(Deep Breath)
Alright………fine, I know what you are saying, if you are still reading and still defending, you’ll have one good point in your pocket, being the Manager is more about managing people and the egos of 25 players and staff…….its about people skills and knowing when someone’s personal life isn’t in the best spot or a player is slumping and knowing to give them a day off……….its about interpersonal relationships and managing the working environment…….
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Enuff said………….exactly what the fuck does RV do here that adds to your chance to win?  Why did Kenny have to do all the heavy lifting here, it reminds me of Godfather II where one of Michael’s body guards comes up to Fredo and says “If you can’t control your wife, Michael says I have to.”………..that’s right friends, our manager is Fredo…..He’s smart, not dumb, like everyone says……………and he wants respect.
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If you aren’t done with RV, please show yourself out……no Kirkland beer for you.

– BeefLoaf

MSS’s “That Grinds My Gears!” – Souvenir Cups.

In 2006, I was living in California.  I was riding high on the 2005 Championship and my father went to a game at Sox Park.  He walked around after the game and picked up multiple souvenir cups to send me some and keep some for himself.

I used these cups for the last 10 years, these are great cups.  I retired them last year when I got the 2015 version.

These were only available during the weekend celebration for the 2005 team.  I got a bunch that folks left behind.  I was pretty excited to have a new cup in the rotation.  Great graphics, great size for work or home, all around a great cup except –

They FLAKE. I first noticed this with a Memorial Day cup a few years ago.  The paper/sticker they print the graphic on is pretty solid, but it doesn’t stand a chance against a hand washing. Disclaimer – I use these ALOT.  I wash them ALOT too.  But the flaking started a few uses in.  I was pretty bummed.  So what is the deal?  I like the look, but if they can’t stand the test of time like the 2006 cups, what’s the point?  They did other cups last year in the same style, the results are very similar.

I know what you are saying, much like minimum wage paying jobs, these cups aren’t supposed to replace the good cups that you would purchase at Bed Bath and Beyond.  Or Pottery Barn.  Or even Walmart.  But Folks, this hasn’t been an issue in previous years.  I give you the last few cups that the made before they started using these sticker based cups.

These are from 2011 and 2012.  They are screen printed, so they retain the colors and the images.  There is some loss on the graphics if you look close but overall these guys look pretty similar to the day they first came out.  Very reliable.  Speaking of reliable, the Sox’A’Rita glasses are top notch.

When the weather warms up in the 108, James the Sox’a’rita vendor is our go to guy.  James has dreads and is one of the most friendly vendors that we have in the 108, so patronize him! We need to reward the good vendors so they keep coming back year after year! Your service will improve and so will your game experience, trust us, we’ve done ALOT of research in this area.

So White Sox, please do me a favor and go back to the screen printed cups! I hate throwing these away and love to have multiple cups around the house.  More importantly, my WIFE loves having them around the house too.  Paying ~$6 for a soda (only available in sections 122, 140, 522 and 538) the cups should give you a few years of use too.

Hope to see you guys in the 108 this weekend! From what we heard from our regular beer vendor they are expecting close to 30k this Saturday and 35k this Sunday.  So get there early and party your butt off in that lot.  Make that $20 ($10 on Sunday) work for you. Weather is perfect for grilling, drinking and Sox wins!

Go Sox! – MSS

The 5 – Left Handed DH

Pretty much everyone has written about the Sox need at DH and more specifically, a left handed DH.  I feel obligated to put together my own wish list, so here it goes:

Barry Bonds

I know what you’re gonna say, he’s 51 years old.  That said, his last year in the bigs, he had over 1.000 OPS and that was only like 10 years ago.  So ok, you agree he could hit, but he’s with the Marlins as a coach.  Coach trades are usually pretty cheap.  Also, his affiliation with Dee Gordon shows me that he still knows where to get the magic potion that helped him extend his career.

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Adam LaRoche

This is a guy I definitely did not expect to be available this far into the season, but hey he’s out there.  Also, the fact that the Sox are nearly 40 games into the season means it is nearly impossible for Drake to attend as many games as he did last year.  I assume that should be enough to make everyone happy.

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Carlos Zambrano

This not only gets us a hitter, but also a pitcher.  He’s actually a switch hitter, which is even better.  In his career, he hit 24 HR and had 74 RBI, so he’s got some much needed pop.  If he could eat some innings as a reliever too, oh man, what a deal.  Few problems though: he only has 10 BB in 744 PA, he can’t pitch anymore, and he’s a fucking maniac.

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Prince Fielder

OK, so let’s look at a guy who is actually in the league.  He’s having a down year, but I am sure he still has some pop left in that bat.  The real story here is that he’d platoon with Avi, which he has kind of done in the past.  Reuniting those two great friends would be something you rarely get in this sport.

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Jordan Danks

He’s terrible, but we’re throwing so much money at his family for nothing, we can probably convince him to play for free.  Also, people loved him for some reason, it was as misguided as Bears fans love for Dane Sanzenbacher.

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-Chorizy-E

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Farewell John Danks – By Chorizy-E

When you’re old and gray like your buddy Chorizy-E, you build up regrets over time.  Whether it’s saying “Yes, clown in a van, I WOULD like some candy” or deciding “I will try mescaline in this abandon building in Detroit” or telling Beefloaf “Why would we re-sign Buehrle?  We’ve got Danks!”  Obviously, the last one is the most regrettable.

Yes, I said it.  I hate myself for it, but I said it.  And I believed it.

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With Danks, it is all about the Blackout game.  This is one of the greatest games I have ever attended and John Danks was incredible.  He took the team on his back and got us to the playoffs.  It was awesome, everyone was happy, and then it was all over.

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In 2012, he suffered a shoulder injury and just never seemed to recover.  Even the most optimistic Sox fans, like Slumpbuster, couldn’t find anything to latch onto with Danks in the past few years.

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In the end, I can only compare his career to listening to a Dream Theater song.  Kind of intriguing at the beginning, by the middle you’ve lost interest, at the end you realize it went on for way too long, and you end up disappointed in everyone involved.

The 5 – Reasons TO Buy The Hype

Have you bought in yet? Find yourself wanting to head to 35th and Shields to catch some of this awesomeness? It feels good Sox fans.  For us who have suffered through the past few seasons, we deserve this.  The players deserve this.  Ventura deserves this.  Here’s my 5 reasons to buy in now!

Offseason moves.

Unlike 2015, the Sox actually filled holes.  Frazier, Jackson, Avila. In the short term, it seems to be working. Allowing Garcia to only DH, makes sense.  Maybe will keep him healthy.  Who knows? The talent is there, let’s stay healthy guys!

AMAZINGLY Good start.

I ran into Jim Rose (@jimroseabc7) at Walgreens down on State St. I asked him his thoughts before the season started and he hesitated to give me the solid thumbs up.  he was very concerned with the clubhouse mood after the whole LaRoche  incident.  But he did say we’ll know how well this team will do a few weeks into the season.  I agree 1000%.  In 2012, they started strong and held that lead till September.  Sad decline, but was a fun year to watch Sox baseball.  I think that year also set us back, thinking that we did have the right components for a winning team, which we clearly did not after three abysmal  seasons in a row. We chatted about some other stuff, which I will share with anyone in a private conversation, then went about our way.  Mine was to look for clearance Easter candy that didn’t suck, his was for gift cards.

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Timely hitting.

It’s been kinda sparse, but last year when we had two on with no outs, you hit that slump in the order that produced little to no runs.  Had to deal with the Beckham and Flowers vortex that just sucked any momentum we had going.  This year, so far, we have seemed to come up and got a few hits that got us the runs we needed to win that game.  I hope it will continue to happen as the bats warm with the weather, but honestly, who knows. If we are down 2 runs in the 7th, this year we know it isn’t over.  Been very fun to watch.

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Matt “El Niño” Albers and the pitching staff.

I like his passion.  I like his pitch selection.  I like his overall size.  His consecutive out record that he was carrying since last August is just a nice thing to see.  Good to see the bullpen coming in and kicking some ass.  Will he keep this type of production up the rest of the year?  Maybe.  Most likely not, but let’s hope so.  Will he help you finish a helmet sundae?  You know he will.  Cause he’s a team player.

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Chris Sale is 6-0.  Mat “Cat” Latos is 4-0. Jose “Q” Quintana is 3-1.  Once again, it’s early, but these are some great numbers. I bow to you Donnie Cooper. The offense is helping it happen too. We have a stinker, Mr. Danks, but honestly that guy is trying as hard as he can.  He’s had his chance, it ain’t working, let’s bring him in for long relief situations.  I like John, but it’s time to move on.  Bring in the new guys, feed off their energy.  Feed off this hella good start.  Let’s cash in bitches!

No pressure.

Besides us crazy ass fans, no one is expecting the White Sox to do anything.  I want them to have a chance to make the playoffs.  They don’t have to make the playoffs, but I would like to see some meaningful baseball in September.  They boys up north have all the pressure on them.

We are playing the perfect hand.  The city is Cubs crazy.  The fact that the Sox have stayed with ’em as far as wins is really amazing. Fans are starting to show up on the southside, causing some longer wait times, which is pretty cool too.  The best baseball is being played in Chicago right now.  Amen. Good time to be in the city.

UPDATE – I wrote this weeks ago, still holds up, but within that time the Sox have swept two series.  They are playing crazy good right now.  I am almost fully on board.  However, I know once I buy in at 100%, shit will go badly.  So for all of you, I will not be 100% till we make the playoffs.  It’s awful fun to watch them win though.

-MSS

 

Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli.

Baseball blogs don’t have to be about baseball all the time…………sometimes they should about the nonsense chatter that occurs while you enjoy a baseball game (especially at the park)…………this inspired me to think……………. “What if I made an entire lineup out of fictional mobsters, what would that look like?” and voila……..

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SS – Batting Leadoff – Tony Montana (Scarface)

The local mercurial radio personality that is Dan McNeil once dubbed Ozzie Guillen “Ozzie Montana” in reference to his fast talking and cut throat nature…….got me thinking that none other than Tony Montana himself should lead off for this group. Tony Montana was smart, tough and talented…..willing to take risks to go to the top, that’s what we need in our defensive leader and lead off hitter. I am guessing the downside of his career will be a coke-laden disaster, but we won’t worry about that right now.

Favorite scene – Killing Frank Lopez and Mel Bernstein….bone chilling scene, but offering Ernie a job at the end always cracks me up.

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LF – Batting Second – Mr. French (The Departed)

Reliable…..that’s Mr. French. That’s what we need in our left fielder. He’s the best #2 in fictional gangster folklore, which is why he hits here. He’ll go down with the ship. Your prototypical #2 hitter.

Favorite scene – He and Frank Costello talking about how reliable he is, smash cut to him strangling his wife to death. Loyal….to a point.

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CF – Batting Third – Russell “Stringer” Bell (The Wire)

The #2 (really #1b) of the Barksdale Organization, Stringer Bell was the brains behind the Organization, bringing modern business techniques to match up with the ruthless violence that is needed to run an inner city cartel. Stringer is one of the most skilled of this entire group, which is why he plays CF and hits 3rd….he can do basically everything (although is fatally flawed like the rest of the group). He taught the young gangsters how to think like businessmen and it would’ve worked out alright if his vigilante partner, Avon Barksdale didn’t want to go to the mattresses over “his corners”.

Favorite scene – There are so many, but the exchange between he and Barksdale revealing D’Angelo’s death is probably the greatest….it’s the beginning of the end for them, but dramatic and thrilling.

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1B – Batting Fourth – Tony Soprano (Sopranos)

For my money, there isn’t a more interesting, a more complex character in television series history…..there isn’t one more alpha either. Tony Soprano drinks, eats and fucks whatever, whenever and whoever he wants. He is also a brilliant business man who constantly learns and evolves. He’s a monster and an everyman. He’s also the clean up hitter on this squad, he’s a force…..although a fat force, so 1st base it is…….if he lived a little longer, he’d probably migrate to DH just like Big Frank did.

Favorite scene – The whole exchange leading up to and through killing Ralph Cifaretto. Pure madness.

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3B – Batting Fifth – Marcellus Wallace (Pulp Fiction)

Anybody who can call Winston Wolf at a moments notice and make problems go away has to be on the list. Nobody really knows if he threw Tony RockyHorror off John Danks’ condo……err………the roof into the greenhouse, but I like to believe he did. A ruthless, but reasonable boss (as he did make peace with Butch), he has to be on this list and prominently featured. If you are around my age, Pulp Fiction is the first GREAT movie of our generation.

Favorite scene – “Telling Jules Winfield that the Wolf is coming directly.” A true gangster that has it under control never needs to raise his voice to get the job done.

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DH – Batting Sixth – Teddy KGB (Rounders)

Russian mobsters fit just fine on this list……….so do guys that run gambling rooms (the kind of place you would find someone from the 108). Teddy KGB can be more comical at times due to his ticks and mannerisms, but for this list he slots in nicely as a guy who gets the money. He’s our DH, older, wiser, but still productive.

Favorite scene – Opening scene of Rounders when he traps Mike McD with aces full. A crafty old gangster knows how to get the money with an inexperienced business counterpart.

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C – Batting Seventh – Peter Clemenza (Godfather)

Inspiration for the title of this article. Clemenza is your workman like gangster, perfect to be our catcher (plus he’s a big fat fuck). He teaches Michael Corleone many valuable lessons on his way to becoming the don, how to commit a murder in a crowded restaurant, how to cook for 10 guys, and he’s incredibly loyal……….of course it was Tessio who arranged the meeting………….when I think of Clemenza, I think of an old hand catcher like Carlton Fisk, someone who is good and reliable back there.

Favorite scene – The aforementioned scene where they kill Paulie. Not necessarily a great scene, but iconic.

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RF – Batting Eighth – Omar Little (The Wire)

Your RF ought to have a gun…..and nobody has a bigger gun that Omar Little…………think prime Bo Jackson level gun. The Wire is a series that gets in your head and stays there and of the characters in the Wire, Omar Little is often cited as people’s favorite. Robbing drug dealers is an odd vocation, that takes both high intelligence and guts and thats what we want in our RF.

Favorite scene – There are some many, but his alley meeting with Brother Mouzone is great, two cold blooded sonuvabishes, talking out a business arrangement at gunpoint.

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2B – Batting Ninth – Fly Guy (I’m Gonna Git You Sucka)

A seminal movie that most people probably haven’t seen, but this comedic take on blaxploitation blasted open the door for Keenan Ivory Wayans and a generations of comics. Fly Guy tied it all together and while hilarious, he was also of great importance. He’s your gritty keystone who gets the job done, providing the key information and then saving the day.

Favorite scene – “Pimp of the Year Speech” is about the silliest shit I can remember.

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SP’s – Frank Lucas (American Gangster)

An unlikely gangster and one of my favorites on this list. A true business man who had to do some of the darker things that gangsters do. He didn’t like to be flashy, he just liked to get the job done. He’s your #1, with a big fastball and 2 other plus pitches.

Favorite scene – Frank kills Tango. Might be the best scene on this entire list.

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Frank Costello (The Departed)

From trolling the priests about sexual assualts on altar boys to dressing down the Chinese mafia about their use of automatic weapons, Frank Costello is an original and our #2 starter….crafty, but with still enough stuff to get the job done.

Favorite scene – Breakfast with Billy Costigan and Mr. French at his apartment

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Nino Brown (New Jack City)

Basically Frank Lucas light…..but 1980’s version.

Favorite scene – When an eyeliner clad Ice T exclaims “I want to shoot you so bad my dick is hard”

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Paul Cicero (Goodfellas)

Masterminded the police force for wise guys. Who knew that in real life he was messing around with Karen. He never talked to more than 6 people, too bad one of them was Henry Hill…gg.

Favorite scene – $3,200 for a lifetime…..the third stanza of Goodfellas is great and sad all at once.

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Enoch Malachi “Nucky” Thompson (Boardwalk Empire)

Leading the bootlegging charged through an icon gambling city, a bright and ruthless enterpriser.

Favorite scene – Nucky killing Jimmy

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CL – Anton Chigurh (No Country For Old Men)

I can’t think of a more terrifying or ruthless killer in recent memory. Nobody else uses a Captive Bolt Pistol to kill their victims and nobody so mercilessly and effortlessly gets the job done. That’s why he’s our closer.

Favorite scene – The gas station scene, where he flips a coin for the owners entire life.

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Manager – Vito Corleone (Godfather)

Our skipper has to be the don of modern gangsters. There can be no other.

Favorite scene – As much as I love the original Godfather much more than Godfather II, the scene in Godfather II where he kills Don Fanucci. The basis for the empire.

-BeefLoaf