Saturday, June 24, 2006

Let some other fool sit down

Pop a top again
I just got time for one more round
Set 'em up my friends
Then I'll be gone
Then you can let some other fool sit down.
--Nat Stuckey

The group I work for had functions the last two evenings, so I didn't watch Thursday's contest with the Twins, nor Friday's with the Sox. It was certainly tempting to skip these functions, especially Thursday since that was the big debut of Rocket. (I kept telling myself, "There's more to life than baseball, there's more to life than baseball. . . . ") I did, however, watch today's game, with Taylor Buckholz on the mound for us versus Jon Garland of the Pale Hosiery.

The overall feeling that I am left with after the end of the game is one of resignation. Call this my tombstone post, if you will--it feels like the season's pretty much done with.

Buckholz actually pitched pretty darn well, although he got into a bit of trouble in the 7th. He went out with a 5-1 lead, bases loaded, one out. Chad Qualls came in to face Joe Crede and threw one pitch to give up the grand slam and tie the game. Fox had cut away to commercial during the pitching change, and actually came back a split second too late, and so ended up showing a replay to the television audience (at least in my viewing area). It made it all that more surreal, as if they were showing a replay from some other game. Then, while the Astros managed to make the game go to extra innings, they couldn't get anyone else across the plate.

Surprise. The Sox could, and did.

I was actually struck while watching the game that it was well-played overall, and a game any baseball fan could appreciate. Not unlike last October, I ended up feeling that Crazy Ozzie outmanaged Phil Garner by just the slightest margin, but perhaps that perception was more due to the fact that the White Sox players outplayed us by a margin as well.

That's not to say I enjoyed the game. Not at all. (And if Chad Qualls offers any excuses at all, I'll kick his 6'5" ass. And it sounds like Alyson Footer may agree with me, on all counts.)

I think I've realized what it is about the team this year that is bothering me. I couldn't put my finger on it for a long time--just felt vaguely pessimistic about their chances. But now I've realized, it just seems to me that they're not hungry this year. Or at least, not hungry enough. It's as if they just assume they'll play well in the second half and put on a glorious run like they have the last couple of years and make it back to the playoffs. They keep talking about how losses don't bother them because they know what they're capable of.

Well, I know what they're capable of, too. And they haven't been playing to their potential for most of the first half. They need to realize that there are going to be days like today--when they actually played fairly well--in which somebody (Qualls, this time) pulls some f***headed move and loses a game for them. It's inevitable. So, does it not make sense to play EVERY game to WIN?!? How are those series losses to the Pirates and the Royals looking now, huh? Because if last year is any kind of predictor, then when the 'Stros do finally start worrying, they'll start pressing and things will be worse than ever.

I hope they can pull their heads out of their asses and put some effort back into the season, or they can start looking for some other fool to sit down.


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