David Banks - Getty Images
As the season comes to a close, members of the White Sox assess why they fell short, and where they might go from here.
With the 2012 season in the books, the White Sox will have plenty of business to address heading into the offseason. The self-assessment started on Tuesday, as David Haugh talked to Kenny Williams before the beat reporters did.
Nothing disappoints Williams more than hearing people say the Sox choked. But after 12 seasons on the job, he knows better than to get caught up arguing they didn't.
"Sometimes things happen and you just have to wear it,'' Williams said. "We can't change the culture, whether it's the social media world or traditional media world or the fan blogger. Everyone has a voice. You can't react to it, but you can use it as motivation."
Hey, that's us!
Actually, I don't much care for the word "choked," because it's often used as a synonym for "lost." There are better, more constructive ways to describe how a team ended up on the losing side of history. That said, when Williams describes the problem like this:
"I just think they were trying to do too much in those situations,'' Williams said. "They wanted it too badly and couldn't relax.''
Well, you can see why some people might draw that conclusion.
At any rate, he goes on to defend Robin Ventura for what we thought was curious usage of September call-ups, and says they'll investigate why the Sox continued to struggle in September, even without the distractions of previous seasons.
And as the season wrapped up on Wednesday, Williams had more to say.
- White Sox will explore ways to bring out more fans - chicagotribune.com
- More Thoughts on White Sox Attendance - The Rob Report
For the time being, Williams is placing the responsibility of drawing more fans on the front office's shoulders, saying, "But I'm not about to point the finger, especially nowadays with the economy the way it is." Additional development around U.S. Cellular Field isn't in the forecast, so maybe lower ticket prices are in the future.
The latter would fall in line with what our friend Rob/67WMAQ says at his new blog: The Sox either need to get friendlier or sustain a success cycle. Both would be fine, too.
- Major League Baseball completes eight-year deal with Fox, Turner Sports - ESPN
- Fox-TV ending Saturday out-of-market blackouts in 2014 - Baseball Nation
One reason you could see lower ticket prices is a newer, more lucrative TV deal with Major League Baseball. Out-of-town fans like myself will at least see one benefit in 2014 -- no blackouts for MLB.tv and Extra Innings customers for Saturday games on Fox.
- Hahn will ascend to the GM job on the South Side, but then comes three tough free-agent calls - CBSSports.com
- Youkilis enjoyed White Sox tenure, surprised playing second-fiddle - CSN Chicago
After confirming the Williams-Rick Hahn transition, Jon Heyman goes on to predict what will happen to the Sox's three biggest free agents, A.J. Pierzynski (probably too expensive), Jake Peavy (the same, though Sox will try), and Kevin Youkilis (he stays).
Youkilis seemed amenable to the idea in theory, considering he spoke in the collective first person about attendance in 2013, saying, "I think with this season and the promise for next season, we will see better crowds.”
Brett Myers only finished 41 games, so his $10 million option for 2013 didn't vest. However, Williams didn't rule out bringing Myers back next year, nor did he rule him out as a starter. I'm guessing he's just saying that to cover all bases.
Gavin Floyd bounced back from his arm problems to give the Sox a strong final month (3-2, 3.07 ERA over five starts). Supposedly, there's a reason:
Bench coach Mark Parent recently suggested Floyd adjust his delivery. The right-hander described the difference in his action as his arm getting out earlier, which has freed him up.
Whether or not it sticks, Floyd probably did enough for the Sox to pick up his $9,5 million option for 2013. That doesn't mean they won't trade him afterward, though.
Last year, Dan Johnson hit the game-tying homer for the Tampa Bay Rays in the final game of the season, and Evan Longoria won it with a walk-off.
This year, both Johnson and Longoria again homered on the final day of the season. Better yet, they both homered three times. For Johnson, the pressure was on:
“AJ was reminding me before my last at-bat,” Johnson said. “He said that Longo had three already. I had to go out there to not let him shut me out.”