“It’s killing me, it’s killing my family. It’s killing my coaching staff, it’s killing White Sox fans, it kills the owner. It’s killing everyone. I just hope it’s killing [the players] the same way we feel.”
As the fall of the 2005 White Sox entered its grim endgame, a four-alarm Ozzie meltdown was inevitable, but the full-team tongue-lashing he delivered following yesterday’s loss–their eighth straight on the road and their 15th in their last 18 tries–was by all acounts scorched-earth Lee Elia-level stuff. Color me child-on-Christmas-Eve breathless with anticipation for the triumphant Mariotti column presumably being composed at this moment (though I’ll bet Jay is kicking himself for having wasted so many bullets on this greatest hits piece he phoned in a couple weeks back).
Not that Ozzie doesn’t have cause for disgust. Over the last week I’ve stumbled into more than a few fans, wide-eyed as somnabulists jarred awake in midstride, and had the same exchange: “I mean, I knew we were done, but can you believe we’re the second worst team in baseball?!” Ted Cox nails the fundamental failures of Ken Williams’s postchampionship strategy in this week’s Sports Section, though he’s too much of a gentleman to echo the oft-cited crux of the off-season’s trading mistakes: a philosophy of “Let’s build a bullpen out of firethrowers without strike zones! Preferably pitchers who’ve already failed in Kansas City!”
But then, that’s a level of snark more appropriate to Boers & Bernstein-style broadcasting and its fan-chatter counterpart than sportswriting proper. Speaking of which, I’ve always felt that deep Sox fandom, for all its famous “What’ve you done for me lately?” fickleness, shows its finest colors when things are at their worst onfield. Fans may stop attending games, but they don’t stop paying attention, and the utterly knowledgable vituperation they’ll idly shower on a team this bad makes for some of the finest gallows humor going. Case in point: my favorite sports blog, Southsidesox.com, whose punch-drunk cheerful hatred for the sadly denuded champions is achingly hilarious. Posters weigh in on the story so far–and the tossing under the Greyhound–here.